By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Here are three big games on Friday, along with five more worth keeping an eye on.
Pace Academy (4-2, 1-1) at No. 4 Landmark Christian (7-0, 3-0). Coming off of a bye week, the Knights will try to spoil homecoming in downtown Fairburn and keep their Region 5 title hopes alive. After a blistering 3-0 start, Pace dropped two in a row to First Presbyterian Day in Macon and Our Lady of Mercy in Fayetteville, but righted the ship two weeks ago with a 40-0 thumping of Strong Rock. The Knights are led by Stanford-bound DB/RB Denzel Franklin and 6-foot-4 WR Kameron Uter, along with junior QB Kevin Johnson. Landmark beat up on Strong Rock last week, 34-12. The War Eagles are looking to remain unbeaten to set up an epic clash with No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in the season finale Nov. 8. Landmark is led by sophomore QB Stockton McGuire and senior LB/FB William Higbie. Landmark won last season, 38-12.
Dooly County (4-2, 3-0) at No. 7 Marion County (6-0, 3-0). After a rough 0-2 start, Dooly County, the defending public school runner-up, has reeled off four straight wins with the defense leading the charge. The Bobcats are allowing just 6 points per game during the winning streak. Marion County’s defense has been stout this season as well, yielding an average of just 7 points per game with two shutouts. The winner will most likely be the Region 4 champion, and earn an automatic spot in the public school playoffs. Marion County won last year’s game, 12-7.
Athens Academy (4-2, 2-1) at Commerce (4-3, 2-1). Both teams have already lost to No. 6 Prince Avenue Christian, and so the Region 8 championship is most likely by the boards. Commerce appears to be returning to form after a rough couple of seasons. The Tigers battled PAC last week but gave up too many big plays – three touchdowns of over 50 yards – and eventually succumbed to the Wolverines, 28-14. Athens Academy needs a win to increase its power ranking points. The Spartans currently sit at No. 14, with the top 16 advancing to the state playoffs. Athens Academy was dominated by PAC , 41-7, back on Oct. 4. The Spartans beat Commerce last season, 45-7, en route to a undefeated regular season and the Region 8 title.
Region 2: No. 10 Clinch County (3-3, 2-0) at Wilcox County (2-4, 1-2)
Region 3: Treutlen (3-3, 2-1) at No. 5 Johnson County (6-0, 1-0)
Region 5: Our Lady of Mercy (2-4, 2-1) at No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (5-0, 2-0)
Region 6: No. 9 Mt. Paran Christian (5-1, 2-0) at Fellowship Christian (4-2, 1-1)
Region 7: Wilkinson County (3-3, 2-0) at No. 2 Aquinas (6-0, 3-0)