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GAMES TO WATCH: Week 7

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Coach Max Wiltz's North Clayton team will be searching for their first win of the season when they take on No. 7 Jonesboro at Southern Crescent Stadium.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Coach Max Wiltz's North Clayton team will be searching for their first win of the season when they take on No. 7 Jonesboro at Southern Crescent Stadium.

Dutchtown at Locust Grove

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Locust Grove High School, in Locust Grove.

Records, rankings: Both teams are 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 4A-AAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Noteworthy: OK, Locust Grove, let’s see if this 4-1 start is real. The Wildcats are rewriting the school’s (brief) record books with every win. Last week, it was a 19-12 victory at North Clayton. Locust Grove quarterback Keenan Wise passed for 127 yards and rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Cortez McDowell also rushed for a touchdown. They’re sure to be who Dutchtown’s defense will be keeping an eye on. That’s a Bulldogs defense that struggled some in a 24-21 victory at Spalding last Thursday but made the big plays when it needed to. Dutchtown is making big plays on offense, too. Lately it’s been wide receiver Rodel Shorter, who had nine catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns against Spalding.

Druid Hills at Luella

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Luella High Stadium, in Locust Grove.

Records, rankings: Druid Hills is 2-2 overall, 0-1 in Region 2-AAAAAA and unranked; Luella is 0-5, 0-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Noteworthy: Can the Lions’ catch a break? It was a last-second Hail Mary touchdown pass by Henry County two weeks ago in a 22-20 loss to the Warhawks. Then it was an overtime field goal by Alcovy last week in a 24-21 loss. So Luella sits at 0-5 for the first time since 2005. Don’t blame Lions junior Trae Bonner. The running back has rushed for 360 yards and five touchdowns the past two games. That could be a good sign Luella is starting to figure things out on its young and inexperienced offensive line. Bonner could be in for another big night. Druid Hills is coming off a 58-3 loss to Lovejoy in which the Red Devils allowed running back Travis Custis to rush for 220 yards.

Griffin at Riverdale

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Tara Stadium, in Jonesboro.

Records, rankings: Both teams are 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Region 4B-AAAA. Griffin is ranked No. 10. Riverdale is unranked.

Last meeting: Griffin won 49-17 in 2007.

Noteworthy: It’s a safe bet that Riverdale coach Olten Downs has studied the film from Stockbridge’s upset win over Griffin long and hard. With the last-second loss to Stockbridge, Griffin dropped from No. 2 to No. 10 in the state. This will be the second game of the season that has high stakes for the Raiders. In an earlier matchup against Dutchtown, the Raiders didn’t fare too well in a 38-0 loss. With a top spot in the region up for grabs, Riverdale can’t afford another big letdown. In the past two weeks, Riverdale has given up at least 30 points in the loss to Dutchtown and a win over Eagle’s Landing. The chore for the defense is to keep Griffin’s big-play receivers from taking control of the game.

Jonesboro vs. North Clayton

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Southern Crescent Stadium, in Riverdale.

Records, rankings: Jonesboro is 4-1 overall, 0-1 in Region 4B-AAAA and ranked No. 7; North Clayton is 0-5, 0-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Jonesboro won 13-6 last season.

Noteworthy: This has long been one of the biggest rivalries in Clayton County, but with North Clayton having an uncharacteristically down season, this meeting lacks some of its usual luster. Last season’s win by Jonesboro snapped North Clayton’s seven-game winning streak in the series that dates back to 1952. The last time Jonesboro won back-to-back games in the series was during the 2000 and ‘01 seasons. North Clayton’s defense must contain Jonesboro quarterback Mario Atkinson, who has passed for 476 yards in the last two weeks.

Ola at Union Grove

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Wolverine Stadium, in McDonough.

Records, rankings: Ola is 1-3 overall, 0-0 in Region 4A-AAAAA and unranked; Union Grove is 3-1, 0-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Union Grove won 28-21 last season.

Noteworthy: If you’d just been paying attention to Union Grove the past two weeks, you might be wondering who this Wolverines team is — the one that lost 39-0 to Whitewater two weeks ago or the one that dominated Northgate 23-0 last week? Last week’s win was closer to the formula with Derrick Craine rushing for 192 yards on 32 carries. Miles Vaughn added 87 yards on 13 carries. But the scoring came from the passing game. Sophomore Jonathan Slade threw three touchdowns, two to Austin Brown and one to Caleb Ham. Ola has had two weeks and three straight losses to get ready for the Wolverines and get its struggles on offense fixed. The Mustangs have averaged 10.5 points their past two games after averaging 33 the first two.

Pace Academy at Strong Rock

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Strong Rock, in Locust Grove

Records, rankings: Pace is 1-4 overall, 0-1 in Region 5-A and unranked; Strong Rock is 3-1, 0-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Noteworthy: After starting the season with a win over Whitefield Academy, Pace has lost its last four games. This is the region opener for Strong Rock, which is off to its best start in school history. Pace is giving up 31 points per game while Strong Rock is averaging 19 points per game.

Peach County at Henry County

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Warhawk Stadium, in McDonough.

Records, rankings: Peach County is 5-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 2-AAA and ranked No. 1; Henry County is 1-4, 0-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Peach County won 63-29 in 2006.

Noteworthy: This is the region opener for top-ranked Peach County, which has been one of the state’s most dominate programs. The Trojans are averaging a region-leading 35 points per game with a season-high 49 points against Macon County. Peach County has had two weeks to prepare after a bye week last weekend. After scoring only 13 points in its first two games, Henry County has now scored 34 in its last two, but are still only averaging nine points per game.

Rockdale vs. Lovejoy

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Twelve Oaks Stadium, in Lovejoy.

Records, rankings: Rockdale is 1-4 overall, 1-0 in Region 2-AAAAAA and unranked; Lovejoy is 4-1, 1-0 and ranked No. 9.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Noteworthy: Lovejoy should make win 101 for coach Al Hughes just as easy as win 100 was. After handing out a 58-3 blowout to Druid Hills last Friday, tonight’s game at 1-4 Rockdale should produce a similar result. The Bulldogs won’t come into this one winless, thanks to their 9-0 win against Morrow last week. But in its four previous games, Rockdale has scored just 14 points. Meanwhile, its defense had given up over 33 points a game before last week’s Morrow shutout. Travis Custis recorded his first 200-yard rushing performance of the season last week against Druid Hills. Don’t be surprised if he notches another one tonight.

Stockbridge at Eagle’s Landing

When, where: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Eagle’s Landing Stadium, in McDonough.

Records, rankings: Stockbridge is 4-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 4A-AAAA and ranked No. 8; Eagle’s Landing is 0-5, 0-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Stockbridge won 33-7 last season.

Noteworthy: What will Stockbridge do for an encore? The Tigers are coming off their 17-14 upset victory at previously No. 2-ranked Griffin where quarterback Trenton Earl had one of the top performances in the Southern Crescent this season — 6 of 8 passing for 155 yards with one touchdown and 117 yards rushing. And don’t forget about Timarcus Cullins’s three sacks on what’s fast appearing like an imposing defensive unit. But is it good enough to stop Eagle’s Landing running back Corey Holloway? Or the Golden Eagles’ high-scoring attack, period? Holloway is averaging 179.6 yards per game and Eagle’s Landing is averaging 29.2 points. The team’s contrasting styles should make for a compelling region contest.