Coaches hate when the media puts high importance on games early in the season.
OK, hate me.
I see Washington-Wilkes’ game Friday at Jefferson as compelling, and though only mid-way through the season, one that could determine the Region 8-AA champion. If this matchup between the unbeaten, No. 6-ranked Tigers (5-0, 2-0) and Dragons (3-1, 1-0) doesn’t get your heart racing, have a friend thump on your chest.
Never mind a fourth consecutive victory might boost Jefferson into the state rankings, where Washington-Wilkes has been the last four weeks. Never mind the Tigers are 5-0 for the first time since 2000, when they started 14-0 and lost to Americus in the state final. It’s a showdown between the Dragons linebackers Wesley Simonton and Kody McDonald and the Tigers’ Buck Robinson, who passed for 232 yards and three touchdowns to Mark White in last week’s 36-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Union County.
Here are other games to watch:
– Northeast Macon (4-0, 1-0) at Lamar County (3-0-1, 1-0): This is a clash of unbeaten 4-AA teams. The Raiders shut out Central Macon and Monticello and didn’t allow Twiggs County or Southwest Macon more than a touchdown. The Trojans, up from No. 9 to No. 7 in the rankings, have ripped off wins over Eagles Landing, Pike County and Taylor County since tying Spaulding in their season opener. In beating Taylor 15-0, brothers Lawrence and Lance Austin scored on runs of 10 and 11 yards, respectively, and Tyler Scandrett chipped in a 37-yard field goal. Lamar won the teams’ previous two meetings.
– Brooks County (5-0, 1-0) at Thomasville (1-4, 0-1): The Trojans won last year’s game 28-22. This time, they enter the 1-AA clash ranked No. 2 and one of only four teams that are 5-0. In beating Early County 42-8 last week, the Trojans turned four takeaways into a 35-6 halftime lead, and Malcolm Parrish passed for 213 yards and four scores.
– Vidalia (5-0, 4-0) at Atkinson County (0-5, 0-4): The winless Rebels have nothing to lose in the teams’ first meeting and should go all out in this 2-AA matchup against the unbeaten Indians, ranked No. 4. The Indians are coming off last week’s 28-7 victory against Metter, when Juan Foster rushed for 219 yards and a TD, and Tra Hardy raced for two scores.
– Heard County (4-0, 2-0) at Chattahoochee County (2-2, 0-2): The Panthers have struggled in consecutive 5-AA losses to Bremen (35-0) and Bowdon (35-6), but hope to revive against the unbeaten Braves, who are ranked No. 8. Much will depend on Chattahoochee slowing Duranta Dunson, who ran for four touchdowns in the first half of Heard’s 42-14 victory last week over Kendrick. The Braves’ 45-point average is topped in AA only by Calhoun’s 46.