By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Here are seven big games this weekend, plus three more to pay attention to as well:
Mount Paran Christian School (2-0) at Landmark Christian School (3-0). The Eagles will look to continue their march to respectability when they visit Landmark on Friday. Mt. Paran finished 3-7 last season, but a new offense – the old single-wing with some spread principles – along with the addition of players like WR/RB Emoni Williams, who didn’t play last season, and the emergence of QB Jake Allen has turned the Eagles into a contender for the Region 6 crown. Landmark, a Class A private school state semi-finalist last season, is one of the few teams in the state to play in all three weeks of the season thus far. The War Eagles are undefeated despite playing a number of young players, including freshman DB DJ Brown. They are led by sophomore QB Stockton McGuire and RB/DB William Higbie. Last season: Landmark 28, Mt. Paran 10.
Clinch County (1-2) at No. 8 Seminole County (2-0). The Indians, the team many have dubbed the favorites to win the Class A public school championship, will look to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2005. They are led by QB Alex Fudge and RB Robert Speight, who ran, caught and threw touchdowns in a 49-0 win over Turner County last week. Clinch County is coming off a 30-0 loss to defending private school champion Eagle’s Landing Christian School last week. Last season: Clinch County 13, Seminole County 12.
Trion (2-0) at Walker (2-0). This public-private match up is a Region 6 crossover game featuring two teams looking to make an early statement this season. Both reached the state quarterfinals last season with Trion losing on the public school side to eventual champion Emanuel County Institute (27-10) and Walker falling to George Walton Academy (37-7). Trion is paced by QB Corey Bethune who accounted for 179 yards of offense, threw two touchdowns and ran for another in a 35-14 win last week over Class AAAA LaFayette. Walker is led by QB Cameron Bloebaum who passed for 150 yards and all three touchdowns in the Wolverines’ 21-0 win over Temple last week. Last season: The teams did not meet.
Dooly County (0-2) at No. 9 Wilcox County (1-1). Last season’s Class A public school runner up is still looking for its first win of the season. Meanwhile, the Patriots are looking to rebound from a 26-7 loss to Class AAAA Monroe. Last season: Wilcox County 28, Dooly County 14.
Holy Innocents (2-1) at George Walton Academy (1-1). Both teams are looking to rebound from losses last week. Holy Innocents fell 35-21 to Class AAAAA Riverwood, while George Walton loss 19-16 in OT to No. 4 Aquinas, as All-State RB Stanley Williams was sidelined for most of the second half. Holy Innocents is led by RB/DB Clay Pfohl. Last season: George Walton 45, Holy Innocents 14.
Telfair County (2-0) at Baconton Charter (0-2). One of the feel-good stories of the season is Telfair County. After going 4-26 in the four seasons prior to the arrival of Matt Burleson, the Trojans finished 6-4 last season but narrowly missed qualifying for the public school playoffs. This year, Telfair County is looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1994. Winless Baconton Charter is the likely victim. Last season: Telfair County 41, Baconton Charter 0.
King’s Ridge Christian School (2-0) at Pace Academy (2-0) (Thursday). This game is being held a day earlier in honor of Yom Kippur. Both teams feature dynamic offenses. Pace is averaging 40 points per game, while King’s Ridge is averaging 36. Pace is led by seniors WR Kameron Uter and RB/DB Denzel Franklin (bound for Stanford), juniors QB Kevin Johnson and WR/DB Trevor Cefalu, sophomore RB Malik Staples and freshman LB DeAndre Byrd. King’s Ridge is paced by QB Henry Jones, WR Penny Hart and RB Connor Henderson. Last season: King’s Ridge 48, Pace Academy 20.
Three more to watch:
Hancock Central (2-0) at No. 1 in AAA Buford (2-0)
Our Lady of Mercy (0-1) at Mount Pisgah Christian School (2-0)
Portal (0-1-1) at Johnson County (2-0)
Your turn, Class A Blog heads. Until Saturday …