Photo by Jason Mussell / Jonesboro quarterback Mario Atkinson is 8-1 as a starter in his first season on the varsity level for the seventh-ranked Cardinals.
Cameron Sutton, Jonesboro: The senior had a four-touchdown performance in a win over Upson-Lee last week. Not only did the Tennessee commitment play a key role on the field for the Cardinals, but he was an inspiration in the locker room. Coach Tim Floyd allowed Sutton to give the pregame speech just before the team took the field at Twelve Oaks Stadium in the subregion win. Included in Sutton’s four-touchdown performance was a 77-yard kickoff return for a score.
Travis Custis, Lovejoy: The Wildcats were idle last week after clinching the Region 2-AAAAAA championship. Custis has been nearly unstoppable this season in the Wildcats’ ground attack. The Georgia Tech commitment has several games where he has scored at least two touchdowns. Because Lovejoy has dominated in its region, Custis has been limited in his playing time. With the playoffs set to start next weekend, Custis is expected to see an increase in his playing time.
Mario Atkinson, Jonesboro: The junior quarterback accounted for 235 yards of total offense in the Cardinals’ win over Upson-Lee last week. In his first season as a starter, Atkinson has developed into one of the top quarterbacks in the area. He passed for 190 yards and two touchdowns while toting it three times for another 45 yards on the ground. The Cardinals are ranked No. 7 in Class AAAA heading into their Region 4-AAAA play-in game against Dutchtown.
Alejandro Bennifield, Lovejoy: Since taking over the starting quarterback position for the Wildcats, the senior has led the team to two region titles. He has compiled a 22-2 record as a starter and has won 18 of 19 regular season games. Because of the Wildcats’ blowout wins this season, Bennifield hasn’t seen much playing time in the fourth quarter during region games.
Rodney Smith, Mundy’s Mill: As the Tigers are having a breakout season, so is the junior running back. He has rushed for 1,575 yards and 18 touchdowns heading into a Region 5-AAAAA play-in game against Northgate on Saturday. Smith is averaging 175 yards per game and 9.16 yards per carry. He has a long run of 73 yards this season. He also has six receptions for 55 yards and has completed a pass for 32 yards.