Here are the five games this week in AAAAAA that are most intriguing, IMHO -
- Peachtree Ridge at Mill Creek: Both are 3-0 and ranked in the Top 10 but could use a signature victory to make their case as a serious state or Region 7-AAAAAA contender. Expect a physical, run-oriented battle. Peachtree Ridge (much improved from the 4-6 outfit of 2012) has several Division 1 recruits, including running back Jordan Ellis, a Virginia signee who has rushed for 314 yards in three games. Mill Creek ( 9-4 in 2012) graduated a 2,000-yard rusher, Jacory Lewis, but is well stocked at running back with DeVozea Felton (202 yards rushing), Carter Governale (164) and Johnathan Hawkins (123). Each has at least one touchdown in all three games.
- Alpharetta at West Forsyth: West Forsyth’s 63-42 victory over Alpharetta in 2012 was the catalyst toward the Wolverines’ first ever region title. It also is where the Region 6 title defense will begin in 2013. In the 2012 game, West Forsyth QB A.J. Erdely rushed for 189 yards and passed for 159 while Alpharetta QB Josh Dobbs passed for 514 yards and five touchdowns. Those guys are gone, and Region 6 appears wide open at the moment. Alpharetta nearly pulled a shocker last week, falling a point short vs. Lovejoy.
- McEachern at Marietta: Marietta is down one in the Region 4 standings after losing to No. 9 Hillgrove last week. Next is a visit from No. 2 McEachern. Expect a running back duel between Marietta’s KirVonte Benson (463 yards rushing) and McEachern’s Taj Griffin (456). Nobody doubts that McEachern is pretty good, but remember this is a school that hasn’t gotten out of the second round this century. This could be the year.
- Archer at Parkview: Archer is 3-0, and Parkview is 0-3, but this game at Parkview remains a critical Region 8 game for both. Parkview, coming off a 9-4 season, hasn’t been 0-4 since 1986. Archer is a 4-year-old that looks ready for a breakthrough season.
- Tift County at Thomas County Central: Tift County is undefeated, but most don’t consider the Blue Devils a serious playoff contender because they haven’t won a Region 1 game since 2010. Thomas Central has handled Tift pretty good the past two seasons, winning 34-14 and 32-13, so it’s a chance for Tift to make a statement. One Tift player is worth noting: WR/DB Malik Henry had six receptions for 129 yards, scored three touchdowns and made 10 tackles in a 47-21 victory over Houston County last week. The week before against Henry County, Henry scored every time he handled the ball – a 90-yard kickoff return, a 70-yard punt return and 40-yard reverse. And in the opener, he scored two touchdowns, one on the return of a blocked punt, in a 19-3 win over Westover.