After a rain-soaked start to the week, football Friday will be a welcome distraction for many teams across the state. Widespread cancellations and postponements have led the GHSA to allow weekday games during the rest of the season. We'll try to keep you updated in my Tuesday blogs.
There are a handful of games to focus on this week, but the one that sticks out is a Region 5 battle between two ranked programs: No. 1 Cedar Grove (3-0) will host No. 9 Lovett (1-2) at Godfrey Stadium in Decatur.
The two teams have met nine times with Lovett holding a 6-3 margin in the series that dates back to 1976, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website. The Saints have won the last two meetings.
“Everything is all right after the weather,” said Cedar Grove head coach Jimmy Smith. “But we are just having a rough time practicing, and that isn’t good when we have to face a really tough opponent. Coach (Mike) Muschamp does a good job. They do a lot of stuff on offense with multiple formations and multiple plays, so we have to get better defensively.”
Cedar Grove, the defending state champions, shut out Columbia 33-0 last week and will look to carry their offensive momentum against Lovett’s defense.
“On offense, we have to find a way to score some points,” Smith said. “They do a good job with their linemen. They are really sound of defense, also.”
Last season, Cedar Grove won 28-21, and Smith looks for another close game.
“If it was 28-27, I’d take it," he said, laughing. "As long as we had 28."
Lovett has had four players complete passes this season, but the Lions have been led by Crawford Schwieger (19-of-38, 151 yards, 1 touchdown) and Blaine McAllister (18-of-32, 337 and 3 TDs). Peyton Ringer leads receivers with 10 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
Another big game is a cross-classification matchup between No. 2 Peach County (2-1) and Class AAAA No. 10 Mary Persons (3-1). This game will be broadcast live on the NFHS Network’s website.
Last season, Peach County was behind 19-0 to Mary Persons entering the fourth quarter, but the Trojans scored 20 unanswered points to secure the victory. Peach is averaging 239.7 passing yards and 136.7 rushing.
“Well, I thought we played a lot better last week,” Peach coach Chad Campbell said of his team’s rebound victory against Perry after losing to Class AAAAA Warner Robins on a last-second field goal the week before. “I thought we cut down from 85 percent mental mistakes to about 25 percent last week, so we played a lot better."
Against Perry, Peach quarterback Antonio Gilbert had his best game of the season, going 24-of-47 for 279 yards and a touchdown. He added 40 yards rushing on seven carries and had one touchdown.
Mary Persons is led by J.T. Hartage, who is 41-of-60 passing for 536 yards and seven touchdowns. Braylen Harvey leads the Mary Persons rushing attack with 281 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries.
Here are other top games this week:
-- No. 3 Greater Atlanta Christian at Class AAAA St. Pius X (0-3): To watch this game live, visit the NFHS Network’s website.
-- No. 4 Crisp County (3-0) vs. Rutland has been cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.
-- No. 5 Dawson County will host Class AAAA West Hall.
-- No. 6 Calhoun (2-1) will travel to Coahulla Creek (0-3).
-- No. 7 Jenkins is off this week before facing Southeast Bulloch next week, opening region play.
-- No. 8 Bremen (3-0) will travel to Murray County (2-1).
-- No. 10 Monroe Area (3-0) will host Madison County (1-2).
-- Westminster (0-3) opens region play at home against Redan (1-2). The game can be found on the NFHS Network.
Class AAA Rankings
1. (2) Cedar Grove (3-0)
2. (3) Peach County (2-1)
3. (1) Greater Atlanta Christian (2-1)
4. (4) Crisp County (3-0)
5. (5) Dawson County (2-0)
6. (6) Calhoun (2-1)
7. (7) Jenkins (3-0)
8. (8) Bremen (3-0)
9. (10) Lovett (1-2)
10. (NR) Monroe Area (3-0)