By David Purdum / For the AJC
No. 5 Griffin features an explosive no-huddle, up-tempo offense that is putting up 41 points a game. The Bears are led by senior quarterback Jaquez Parks, a three-year starter with a 3.8 GPA who is being recruited by Harvard, Yale and Air Force.
No. 3 Stockbridge has a defense loaded with big-time talent that is allowing 5.5 points per game. The Tigers are led by senior defensive back Kendarius Webster, who will be deciding between Georgia, Florida State, Ole Miss and others next Friday.
The two Region 4-AAAA teams collide Friday in the marquee game in the state. Stockbridge beat Griffin for the first time last season, 17-14, on a last-second field goal. The Bears had won the previous six meetings by an average score of 38-11.
“They don’t have weak spot on defense,” said Griffin coach Steve DeVoursney of Stockbridge. “All 11 players look like college football players.”
Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley was equally respectful of Griffin’s offense.
“Just pray for me,” Whitley joked with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this week. “They’re very explosive. I’ve compared their first four games to last season and what they’re averaging, and they haven’t missed a beat. But you have to be better when you’ve got all your skill guys and the quarterback back.”
Losing streak over, Columbus out for respect
The Columbus Blue Devils snapped a 19-game losing streak with a 35-13 win over Northside (Columbus) last week. The Blue Devils reward? A meeting with No. 2 Carrollton, a team that pummeled Columbus 66-0 last season and has been dominant early this season.
Columbus coach Phil Marino said there was little talk of the losing streak. His staff didn’t bring it up, and he rarely heard his players mentioning it.
“They only knew that we hadn’t won a game in awhile,” said Marino. “I don’t think anyone here was counting how many games it was.”
Still, the handful of seniors on the Columbus roster knew last week’s win was special. Senior Jaylin Trice, who Marino calls the team’s “backbone,” had 11 tackles and forced two fumbles.
“Jaylin was ecstatic,” said Marino, “but for us, it doesn’t stop with that.”
Marino knows his team is a massive underdog against Carrollton, but believes the Blue Devils are out to earn some respect from the Trojans.
“For us, I hope Carrollton will notice us, notice the athleticism that we have,” Marino said. “Our SEC schedule starts on Friday. We want to be competitive.”
Make-up: The Redan-Banneker game has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m., Thursday at Pantherville Stadium in DeKalb County. The game was originally schedule for last Friday, but Banneker missed the 5:15 p.m. kickoff.