Five things (games?) to watch this week in Class AAAAAA:
Lowndes at Valdosta – It’s Georgia’s best-known high school rivalry. Valdosta has won 34 of the 50 meetings, but Lowndes has won seven of the past eight. Shelby Wilkes, a senior, threw two TD passes in the final 50 seconds in a 21-17 Valdosta win that broke the skid in 2011. A Valdosta victory this year would be just as unexpected. Valdosta has lost to Class AA Brooks County and been blown out by No. 1 Camden County (43-6). Lowndes, meanwhile, is 6-0 and ranked No. 4, its only defining win a 17-14 victory over Colquitt County when the Lowndes defense was dominant. Lowndes is pretty simple – run the ball (the Vikings average 285 yards rushing per game) and play defense (they have 16 sacks and 10 interceptions).
Johns Creek at West Forsyth – Both are 5-0. Both opened in the past six years. Neither has won a region title. They are in Region 6. Watch the quarterbacks in this one. Johns Creek QB Skye Overton is 49-of-82 passing for 762 yards and five touchdowns and is the team’s leading rusher with 431 yards and 11 TDs on 70 carries. West Forsyth QB A.J. Erdely, who has committed to Middle Tennessee, has passed for 935 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions and has rushed for 408 yards and five TDs.
McEachern at South Cobb – These are the only unbeaten teams in Region 4. McEachern (4-2, 4-0) has lost 2011 finalists Grayson and Walton. South Cobb (5-0, 3-0) is coming off a 27-26 victory over previously unbeaten North Cobb. South Cobb has won three region titles in its history – 1969, 1971, 2005. Another key game in Region 4 is Hillgrove (3-2) at North Cobb (4-1)
Norcross at Collins Hill – These are the remaining unbeaten teams in Region 7. Norcross is favored. RB Alvin Kamara (687 yards rushing, 110 carries, 10 TD) is Norcross’ marquee player, but QB Joseph Wilber is having a pretty nice year, too. He’s 71-of-99 passing for 1,044 yards and 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Collins Hill (4-1, 3-0) has won four straight since an underwhelming loss to Central Gwinnett in the opener. QB Brett Sheehan threw for 301 yards in the 41-10 victory over Peachtree Ridge last week.
North Gwinnett at Mill Creek – North Gwinnett beat Colquitt County and lost to Norcross. Both are Top 10 teams. But there seems to be an undercurrent of doubt at the Bulldogs (4-1, 2-1). If they’re not a legit Top 10 team, it could be exposed Friday at Mill Creek (4-2, 3-1). On the other hand, North Gwinnett has beaten Mill Creek six straight times, and it’s never been close.