There won’t be another weekend with so many good games in Class AAAAAA until the playoffs, so get a good seat somewhere and watch Georgia’s highest classification reveal more secrets.
Here’s a sampling -
Booker T. Washington vs. Tucker – This is the final of four games in the Battle of the Borders event at Hallford Stadium, the only one involving a AAAAAA team. BTW – which won mythical national titles last season - is ranked as high as No. 4 by Scout and is Florida’s reigning Class 4A champion. BTW beat Norcross 55-0 last season. Norcross beat Tucker 32-29 last week.
Hoover (Ala.) at Colquitt County – Hoover had its 30-game winning streak broken last week by Central Miami, but the Bucs are two-time Alabama state champs. Colquitt is ranked No. 1 in Georgia. Hoover beat Colquitt 24-10 last year after trailing 10-3 at halftime and did it by shutting down Colquitt’s run game. Of course, Colquitt coach Rush Propst was Hoover’s head coach from 1999 to 2007 and won five state titles there. (BTW - Miami Central, the one that beat Hoover, plays Stephenson on Saturday before the Tucker-BTW game).
Plant (Fla.) at Lowndes - Plant, of Tampa, has won four state titles since 2006 and reached the Florida Class 8A semifinals last season. Remember that Plant is the team that tied Sandy Creek 27-27 last season. Plant is best known in Georgia as the alma mater of former Georgia QB Aaron Murray.
Creekside at Hughes – Neither was ranked a year ago, when Creekside beat Hughes 16-14, but both would finish in the Top 10, with Creekside winning its first state championship in AAAAA. Hughes, the AAAAAA team in this fight and ranked No. 7, could be poised for a breakout of its own this season. These have become arch-rivals in south Fulton County. Both share a Fairburn address, although both schools are a few miles outside of town.
Archer at Peachtree Ridge – Peachtree Ridge QB Chance Thrasher (2,364 yards passing) and Archer’s Gabe Tiller (2,370) are the leading returning passers in Gwinnett County, and all of Class AAAAAA, for that matter. Both led their teams to the second round in 2013.
Thomas County Central at Valdosta – Valdosta made the Top 10 in three polls this week after the 31-0 thumping of Brookwood. The Wildcats have a defensive back that probably should’ve made preseason all-state. Josh Norwood intercepted two passes, returning them 42 yards, and made a team-leading six solo tackles – one for a 4-yard loss – vs. Brookwood. TCC is ranked No. 6 in its new home of AAAA.
Walton at Marietta – Two popular Cobb County teams go at it. Surprisingly, Walton has won five straight in the series and hasn’t lost to the Blue Devils since 1999. Marietta is granting free admission to any veteran or active military personnel in uniform for Friday night’s game with Walton. They will be honored on the field before the National Anthem.
North Cobb at North Gwinnett – North Cobb’s Tyler Queen is the preseason all-state quarterback in this class and committed to Auburn. John Urzua of North threw for 498 yards and seven TD passes last week in the win over No. 1 McEachern.
Milton at Alpharetta – It wouldn’t be shocking if either of these North Fulton teams won their regions. Milton is in 5. Alpharetta is in 6. Milton has first-team all-state OL Nick Wilson, who is committed to Stanford. Alpharetta has first-team all-state DL Andrew Butcher, who is committed to Tennessee.
Mill Creek at West Forsyth – Two more teams that think they can win their regions. Watch the quarterbacks in this one. Mill Creek’s Daniel David the nation’s No. 36 dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports, is committed to Appalachian State. West Forsyth’s Hampton McConnell, committed to Georgia Southern, passed for 1,761 yards and rushed for 794 last season.
Gainesville at Grayson – Grayson is most people’s second choice in Region 8 behind Archer despite the 4-6 anomaly of 2013. Gainesville begins life without QB Deshaun Watson, now at Clemson.