North Clayton coach James Soza will be trying to help his team avoid an 0-5 start when the Eagles travels to Locust Grove on Friday. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
The first Friday of Fall will feature some of the final tune-up games for many teams in the area.
Also, there will be two Thursday games on tap this week.
Morrow will open its Region 2-AAAAAA schedule this week when it host Rockdale. Lovejoy will also open its region schedule in a Thursday night game against visiting Druid Hills. North Clayton, Drew and Mundy’s Mill are is still in search of their first wins.
Here is a look at some of the top games on tap this week:
Griffin at Stockbridge: Barring any unforseen circumstances through the remainder of the season, this should easily qualify as the Region 4-AAAA game of the year. Both teams are ranked high in the Georgia Sportswriters Association Poll. Both teams come into the contest undefeated, and dominating on opposite sides of the ball. The No. 3 Bears have been running roughshod over opposing defenses all season, averaging 41.5 points per contest. Meanwhile the fourth-ranked Tigers are handcuffing offenses, giving up a paltry 5.5 points a game, and coming fresh off a 40-0 shutout of North Clayton Friday.
Riverdale at Eagle’s Landing: The clock operator will probably be busy in this game, as two of the most high-powered offenses in the Southern Crescent meet. It is the homecoming game for the Golden Eagles as they host Riverdale. Last week, Eagle’s Landing running backs Corey Holloway and Sedrick Palmer combined for 256 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a win over Jonesboro.
Rockdale vs. Morrow: This will be the Region 2-AAAAAA opener for both teams. Both teams are coming off non-region losses on the road. Before last week’s 34-0 loss to Langston Hughes, Rockdale had only yielded an average of nine points per game. Morrow lost 43-14 at Lee County as the Trojans scored three touchdowns in the opening minutes of the game and jumped ahead 28-0 before Morrow was able to put any points on the board. This will be the eighth meeting between Rockdale and Morrow, with the Mustangs having a 4-3 edge on the series, despite last season’s 9-0 loss, which snapped a three-game winning streak against the Bulldogs.
Druid Hills vs. Lovejoy: The fourth-ranked Wildcats open defense of their Region 2-AAAAAA championship on Thursday. Lovejoy comes into the game with a 27-game region winning streak, which dates back to the 2009 season. Druid Hill has wins over Therrell and Clarkston in non-region games. The Red Devils are averaging 32 points per game, the most of any team in the six-team region.
Starr’s Mill vs. Drew: The Titans will be trying to avoid an 0-4 start when they host Starr’s Mill in a game of two Region 4-AAAAA teams. The schools are in opposite subregions, so the game doesn’t count in the subregion standings. Starr’s Mill is led by running back John Smith, who has rushed for 544 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. In the Titans loss to McIntosh, quarterback Brandon Pearson passed for 338 yards and three touchdowns. In the team’s only meeting, Drew bested the Panthers 14-6 win in Peachtree City.
McIntosh vs. Mundy’s Mill: The Tigers gave a good account of themselves in an 18-14 loss at Coffee, a Class AAAAAA school that had been receiving votes in the weekly Georgia Sportswriters Association poll. McIntosh is 4-0 to start the season for the first time in school history. The Indians are averaging 37 points per game, and before giving up 40 points to Drew last week, had been surrendering only an average of one touchdown per game. The Tigers will be looking to get their offense on track after averaging only eight points in their first three game as they have started the season 0-3.
North Clayton vs. Locust Grove: The Eagles have only scored 14 points in the first four games of the season as they enter the final game before their subregion schedule with an 0-4 record. Locust Grove is 2-2 with wins over Ola and Spalding, which are a combined 0-7 on the season. Locust Grove is averaging 18 points per game.