Friday lookahead: Alexander, Eagle’s Landing turnarounds; Logjam behind Marist

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Alexander hasn’t been to the playoffs since 1997. But, after a 4-2 start that includes region wins over LaGrange and Shaw, the Cougars are very much in the hunt this season. “I think our team has confidence,” said coach Matthew Combs. “They’re definitely walking around the hallways, around the community feeling like they have a shot. But we’re taking it one game at a time.”

That confidence will be tested severely the next two weeks. Alexander is at defending state champion and top-ranked Sandy Creek on Friday and then hosts No. 2 Carrollton next week. The Cougars have never beaten Sandy Creek or Carrollton.

“If we’re talking about going to the playoffs, playing the best two teams is the best way to prepare for it,” said Combs. “Everyone has complained about playing in the toughest region in the state, but it doesn’t matter. Everybody has to play a schedule. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

Even if Alexander comes up short against those two juggernauts, Combs’ senior-laded team still will have a shot to earn a playoff bid with winnable games against Columbus and Fayette County to wrap up the season. Alexander beat both of those teams last season.

“We’re thinking about Sandy Creek,” said Combs. “They’ve got the name. We’re Alexander, with no name. We want to go out there and give them our best shot and, at the end of the game, see what we can do.”

Alexander’s best shot likely includes a heavy dose of junior running back Mikell Lands-Davis, who rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win over LaGrange. Lands-Davis has rushed for 1,125 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Cougars’ spread attack, but has yet to receive an official offer, Combs said.

At 6-0, 215 pounds, Lands-Davis boasts a combination of power and agility. What separates him in Combs’ eyes is his football IQ.

“You can throw all the tags on this young man,” said Combs of his star back. “A lot of coaches come across players who are great athletes, but don’t have all the other attributes. He’s got it all. He comes back and watches film throughout the week, then comes to me and says, ‘Coach, you know we can run this against them.’ He’s scouting his linebackers, he’s scouting the D-line, and he’s out there motivating our O-line.”

Turnaround: After back-to-back 1-9 seasons, Eagle’s Landing has raced out to a 5-2 start. The Golden Eagles have never won more than six games in a season and have had only two winning seasons and one playoff berth in their program’s 22-year history.  Eagle’s Landing (5-2, 1-1 4-AAAA Div. A) travels to Woodland (Stockbridge) on Friday.

Region 6-AAAA Division A logjam: Four teams sit at 1-1 in Region 6-AAAA’s Division A: Chamblee, Columbia, Lithonia and Stone Mountain. Only two of the four will reach the region play-in round. All four teams are looking up at Marist, the favorite to grab the top seed out of the division. Columbia, which knocked off Chamblee last week, plays host to Lithonia on Saturday at Avondale Stadium. Stone Mountain and Chamblee meet Friday at Avondale Stadium. Stone Mountain and Chamblee still have to play Marist, which hosts winless Redan on Friday.

Region 1-AAAA notable: Westover (4-2, 3-0), the only unbeaten team in Region 1-AAAA play, hosts second-place Americus-Sumter (3-3, 2-1 1-AAAA) on Friday. The last two meetings have been decided by a total of four points, with each team winning once.

Region 2-AAAA notable: After last week’s bye, Region 2 returns to action tonight. Mary Persons and Veterans are both 3-0 in region play. Mary Persons hosts Rutland on Friday; Veterans is at Perry. Mary Persons hosts Veterans on Nov. 1.

20 comments Add your comment

NoDistrictLinesInDekalb

October 17th, 2013
10:39 am

The only thing that will surprise me in 6-AAAA is if someone scores in double digits on Marist in region play. That includes the play-in game.

Just a Fan

October 17th, 2013
11:45 am

Alexander seems to be improved but a blowout loss to Troup Co does not bode well for the next 2 games against SC&Carrollton.

Trojan94

October 17th, 2013
12:09 pm

I’ve seen mister land-davis earlier this season this kid is a stud he could be starter in carrollton backfield if he had came up in carrollton system.

dick'n seems easy until you're dicked

October 17th, 2013
1:19 pm

how sweet to see big a putt a noose on sandy creek
alexander got more fans this week than the creek

Just a Fan

October 17th, 2013
2:36 pm

Maxwell ratings predicts a 32 point spread-SC over Alexander-could be bigger.Alexander looks like the favorite for #4 playoff spot in region 5 though.

Creek Rising!!!

October 17th, 2013
5:25 pm

More fans won’t equal more points. Game will be over by halftime. Sandy Creek is warming up for their game against Carrollton.

Patriot Power

October 17th, 2013
5:49 pm

Sandy Creek fans have better grammar and less vulgar names. Having confidence is good. Having talent, depth, and a game plan is better.

Trojan '85

October 17th, 2013
5:58 pm

I’ve been keeping up with Alexander and they seem to be much improved over last years team. What in the world happened to them against Troup Co. No knock on Troup Co..

Just a Fan

October 17th, 2013
6:12 pm

Trojan 85- I read the Lagrange game coverage-game was tied in 3rd qtr;13-13 I think. Lagrange had 3 turnovers. Alexander back had 49 carries-may be difficult to even run 49 plays against SC or Carrollton. Troup had the potential to be a better team than we saw. Making the playoffs will be a big improvment for Alexander-watch Fayette Co though-very accurate QB and some good athletes.

Sportsnut

October 18th, 2013
5:33 am

Lets go Eagles Landing. Southern Crescent style !

dick'n seems easy until you're dicked

October 18th, 2013
6:19 am

@Trojan94
@Trojan ‘85 now they thinking they smarter

Patriot Power “Sandy Creek fans have better grammar”

dick'n seems easy until you're dicked

October 18th, 2013
6:21 am

big a takes it tonight anyway you say it country talk or city talk

turn up you ac alexander bring heat tonight

Patriot Power

October 18th, 2013
10:08 am

I said it. Now what? The fact is Sandy Creek fans, students, athletes, coaches, and administrators are better. Our school wide talent is better than Carrollton, Griffin, Monroe Area, Statesboro, any Gwinnett school, the entire state. Sandy Creek is #1 until proven otherwise.

Patriot Power

October 18th, 2013
11:55 am

Apparently there are two Patriot Powers. The previous post was not mine. Even though we are ranked #1, I believe Carrollton is playing the best right now.

Mr Alexander Wood B Great If

October 18th, 2013
5:24 pm

Alexander will lose by 40 guaranteed because the coach at Alexander (Combs ) is clueless. He takes a 5 star athlete and turns them into a 2 star one. Several really good players have left his program and went to other high schools because college recruiters know under him, the kids and parents lose any chance of going to a D1 college on a scholarship. In other words Combs sucks as a coach. Watch the score this week and next week and you’ll see what I speak of.

Upset

October 18th, 2013
9:27 pm

Wooooooooo, Sandy Creek losing at HOME with 6 minutes to go against Alexander.

Upset NOT

October 18th, 2013
9:28 pm

Oh well. 52-42 final.

badbrad

October 18th, 2013
9:43 pm

#2 for Alexander as good as advertised. Entertaining game.

Hmmmmm

October 19th, 2013
1:55 am

AHS put 42 points on the board against Sandy Creek, scored first and led twice during the game. So I guess it wasn’t over by half time, and it wasn’t until the last 4 minutes of the game the SC really held the lead. So what was that you were saying????

Big A

October 19th, 2013
9:13 am

4 post in, Dick’n had more insight than ANY other posters on here. We slid the noose on, it’s up to Carrollton to pull the lever and let the floor fall out from under Sandy Creek. Patriots have been exposed.

This post from above: “Alexander will lose by 40 guaranteed” So much for all the great know it all posters on this board.