Region play is here.
Well not for everybody, but for the teams in AAAAAA that means everything counts from here on out. The trek towards the playoffs starts now and the importance of each game seemingly doubles with each passing week.
The teams in 7AAAAA and 6A will get a taste of region play with crossover games against schools from the opposite sub region for the next two weeks. But sub region play — which determines region standings heading into region Play-In games — won’t start for two more weeks. And Blessed Trinity, the lone AAA school in North Fulton, will finish out all of non-region play this week against WhiteCounty.
Anyhow, it looks like another exciting night of football led by region/local rivals Roswell and Milton in their 5AAAAAA opener. Alpharetta will try to stem the falling tide against an undefeated West Forsyth team, Chattahoochee will see if North Forsyth’s 3-0 record is for real, and King’s Ridge will test their mettle against Darlington — everyone’s preseason pick in 6A.
So let’s tee it up for another night of football. Games, previews and picks are below.
Milton (2-1) vs. Roswell (1-2)
Milton and Roswellsquare off in each team’s 5AAAAAA opener, to say this is the biggest game of the season for each team would surely be an understatement. Both teams have looked strong at times this season and I am sure that both have playoff aspirations at this point. But 5AAAAAA is going to be really tough with Lassiter, Walton, Wheeler, Etowah and these two vying for just four playoff spots. So getting off to a 1-0 start, and not falling to 0-1, is critical for each team.
On the field this one shapes up as a battle of big time backs and big time running games. At Roswell, Andrew Kwateng has been an absolute workhorse, toting the ball 82 times for 557 yards in three games. Peyton Barber at Milton has had just as strong of a start this season with 476 yards on 64 carries. Both guys have a wealth of big-play potential too, so look for the defense that can limit those 20+ yard gashes to have the upper hand.
My take —Back and forth affair, but Milton and Barber finish on top
Alpharetta (1-2) vs. West Forsyth (3-0)
A battle of two teams that finished at the top of region last season in the 6AAAAAA opener this season. Alpharetta, who has played a pretty tough schedule, lost last week to Lovejoy — a powerhouse team in AAAAA. West Forsyth comes in undefeated with wins over three traditionally strong programs —Gainesville, Flowery Branch and Starr’s Mill.
Alpharetta won this game last year 27-14 and if they hope to do it again this year they’ll need a defensive effort like they showed in 2011.
My take – Busy day for the scoreboard operator, but I’ll take WF in a shootout
Johns Creek (3-0) vs. Centennial (0-3)
Two programs seemingly heading in opposite directions. Johns Creek is rolling right along and running over everyone in their way with a dominant running attack — Skye Overton and Chase Solomon combined for over 300 yards and 6 TDs against Roswell last week.
That doesn’t play into Centennial’s hands well as the Knights have given up huge rushing totals to all three teams they’ve lost to — Roswell, Etowah and Milton.
My take – Gladiators roll
Chattahoochee (2-1) at North Forsyth (3-0)
Coming off back-to-back shutout victories, Chattahoochee heads to Cumming for their 6AAAAAA opener to take on one of the more surprising undefeated teams in AAAAAA — The Raiders went 1-9 a year ago. But a deeper look at their shows the competition hasn’t been that great with wins coming over Forsyth Central, Dawson County and Cherokee, not exactly powerhouses in North Georgia.
My take – Cougars win third straight
Cambridge (0-2) vs. Osborne (0-3)
Despite losing by a big margin in game two, to a pretty good South Forsyth team, Cambridge made some marked improvements — most notably scoring their first points of the season. It’s a small step, but it bodes well for the Bears and gives them hope of gaining their first win this week against Osborne.
The Cardinals, a perpetually bad program in southern Cobb County, come in 0-3 with losses to McNair (AAA), Chapel Hill (AAA) and Campbell (AAAAAA)
My take — Cambridge comes close, but their first win will have to wait. 21-14 Cardinals
Northview (0-2) vs. Pope (1-2)
Northview settles into region play for the rest of the season after taking their lumps against a pair of AAAAAA schools. Hopefully that bodes well for their defense which has given up over 100 points in two games.
Pope, which is coming off two straight state playoff years, has struggled to score points in the early going, seeing their offense post just one touchdown against Marietta and Wheeler and not exactly lighting things up in an overtime win against Etowah last week.
My take — Pope by a touchdown
BT (2-1) at White County (3-0)
The Titans continue their tough non-region slate with a trip to White County, an undefeated program in northeast Georgia. White County has shown a strong defense this year and even shutout AAAAAA Habersham Central in their home opener, so look for this one to be low scoring.
My take — White County wins at home
King’s Ridge (3-0) vs. Darlington (1-2)
It’s safe to say that King’s Ridge is the surprise team in 6A so far this season. The Tigers have scored 45 or more points in all three of their wins and are currently the highest scoring team in all of Class A. But they haven’t faced anyone like Darlington yet.
Tommy Atha’s Tigers, which will make the drive over from Rome, are a perennial state power at the Single A level and their quarterback Brad Butler is one of the top quarterbacks in the state and he has plenty of weapons to work with.
My take — King’s Ridge is a playoff team, but their win streak ends here
Fellowship Christian (1-2) vs. Christian Heritage (2-1)
Two programs that are young and building towards success. It’s hard to know much about Christian Heritage, but since they are in their first season of GHSA varsity football, I’m inclined to go with the hometown team.
My take — Paladins even things up at 2-2
St. Francis (0-4) at Hebron Christian (1-1)
The Knights continue to struggle in their first season of varsity football and will travel to Hebron Christian for their final game before their mid-season bye week. Hebron Christian, in Dacula, has a 42-0 loss to Lakeview Academyand a 60-0 win over Cross Keys on their resume.My take — Hebron by a touchdown