Any time that Lowndes (Valdosta)
it’s a big week of high school football in Georgia. This time, it's bigger than usual.
This year's meeting – both are ranked simultaneously for their game for the first time since 2005 – is one of several top-flight matchups in the state for what is probably the best schedule of regular-season games this year until the region play-ins in November.
Here is a look at eight of them. Rankings are those of Georgia High School Football Daily:- No. 5 Lowndes (5-1) at No. 8 Valdosta (6-0):
This is probably the state’s most famous rivalry. Lowndes has won four state titles since 1999. Valdosta has won 23 in its history, but none since 1998. First-year coach Rance Gillespie has Valdosta 6-0 for the first time since 2001. These are Region 1-AAAAA teams.- No. 1 Charlton County (Folkston) (6-0) at No. 5 Wilcox County (Rochelle) (5-1):
Wilcox is the defending champion in Class A. Charlton is the new No. 1. Now, they’re in the same region (1-A) and have the two most heralded quarterbacks in the class in Nick Marshall
of Wilcox and Chris Milton
of Charlton. Each threw for right at 3,000 yards last season and are on pace for a repeat.- No. 7 Norcross (5-0) at No. 2 North Gwinnett (Suwanee) (5-0):
This game between Gwinnett County schools could decide the title in Region 7-AAAAA as it did in 2007 and 2008. North Gwinnett is nationally ranked in some polls. Norcross is 5-0 after slumping to 5-5 last season.- No. 4 McEachern (Powder Springs) (4-1) at Hillgrove (Powder Springs) (4-1):
This is the first meeting between west Cobb County schools that are natural rivals. Hillgrove opened in 2006, taking most of its students from McEachern, and now Hillgrove is big enough to play in McEachern's region. This is a 4-AAAAA game.- Newton (Covington) (4-1) at No. 6 Stephenson (Stone Mountain) (4-1):
Newton has its best team in 15 years while Stephenson is the defending Region 2-AAAAA champion. Each has a highly recruited running back in Newton's Akeem Hunt
and Stephenson’s Willie Davis
- No. 10 Grayson (Loganville) (4-1) at No. 9 Daculs (4-1):
These could be the front-runners in Region 8-AAAAA. Grayson is the defending champion. Both are unbeaten in region play.- No. 3 Tucker (5-0) at Mays (Atlanta) (5-0):
This is for first place in Region 6-AAAA. Tucker is led by linebacker James Vaughters
(Stanford commit) and defensive back Chris Sanders
(committed to Georgia). Mays has a top defensive end in Darius Caldwell
(committed to Georgia Tech).- No. 1 Northside (Warner Robins) (5-0) at Lee County (Leesburg) (5-0):
Northside is a traditional state power while Lee County is trying to make a name. Lee quarterback Justin Walker
has thrown for 1,452 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.TOP STORIES LAST WEEK:
- Camden County (Kingsland)
is expected to maintain its No. 1 ranking in Georgia’s Class AAAAA despite the 42-28 loss to nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
. Iowa-bound quarterback Jacob Rudock
(15-for-20 passing) threw for a school-record 333 yards and four touchdown passes for Aquinas. "I think they are the best offensive team we have ever played,’’ Camden County coach Jeff Herron said. “The receivers and quarterback are great, and the offensive line is also very good. ... Rest assured they got our attention, both our players and staff, and that will turn out to be a good thing."
- Valdosta won a wild one last week against King (Lithonia)
, winning 43-28. Ryan Whilden
was 20-for-32 passing for 343 yards and five touchdowns for Valdosta, which trailed 14-0 in the first quarter before scoring the next 29 points. M.L. King junior quarterback Jonquel Dawson
threw for 413 yards and three touchdowns on 20 of 24 passing. For the second time this season, Valdosta wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell
and tight end Jay Rome
, both major college prospects, each had two touchdown receptions. Mitchell had eight receptions for 163 yards.
- Kell (Marietta)
improved to 6-0 by beating its sixth straight unbeaten opponent, Pope, 35-21. Chris Gaines
(160 yards) and Brian Randolph
(102) each surpassed 100 yards rushing, and Randolph (commtted to Tennessee) had three touchdowns. Kell's first six opponents were 23-0 when not playing Kell until last week.
- In a big Class AA game, 5-0 Cook (Adel)
beat Fitzgerald 42-14. Shannon Brown
scored two first-half touchdowns and knocked Fitzgerald star quarterback Kaleb Nobles out of the game with a hit that stopped a fourth-and-1 bid late in the second quarter inside Cook's 30-yard line to help preserve a 21-7 lead. Cook had not beaten Fitzgerald – coached by seven-time state champion Robby Pruitt – since 1995.
- Brookwood (Snellville)
, a state power thought to be slipping, put itself in contention to win Region 8-AAAAA with a 42-21 victory over previously ranked South Gwinnett. Nick Tompkins rushed for 181 yards and Jamaal Cole had 140, part of Brookwood’s 301 yards rushing as a team. This was a game billed as the battle of Snellville. Brookwood leads the series 23-4.TOP INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES LAST WEEK:
- Lee County QB Justin Walker was 44 of 64 passing for 501 yards and five touchdowns, and wide receiver Sanford Seay
had 14 receptions for 189 yards in a 45-42 victory over Houston County.
- Alcovy (Covington)
junior running back Tre Sorrells rushed for 270 yards on offense and had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage on defense in a 41-24 victory over Ola.
- Landmark Christian (Fairburn)
quarterback Carson Barnett passed for 325 yards and five touchdowns in a little more than a half in a 54-26 victory over Southwest Atlanta Christian. Barnett has thrown for 1,741 yards in six games.
junior running back Devarus Porter rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in a 38-33 victory over Southeast Whitfield. It's Porter's third game of more than 200 yards rushing.
running back Trey Wesley rushed for a school-record 263 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in a 45-31 victory over North Paulding.