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Players to watch in this week's most anticipated region battles

The outlook has started to shift in Class AAAA as we enter the seventh week of the season. Region action continues its expansion and the overall number of games tightens. There are only 21 games in the classification this week and 13 teams will be off on their midseason byes (Upson-Lee, Richmond Academy, Baldwin, Burke County, North Clayton, Chapel Hill, Ridgeland, Blessed Trinity, Chestatee, White County, West Hall, St. Pius and Stephens County). But before I get into the games to watch this week in my Thursday blog, I want to focus on some of the individual players that will be major factors this upcoming week and the road ahead.


Kobe Lewis, Americus-Sumter

Kobe Lewis will play a huge role for the Panthers in what is undeniably Region 1’s top matchup this week: Cairo at Americus-Sumter. To set the stage for this showdown, both teams sit at 2-0 in region play and the winner takes control of the driver’s seat. Cairo is the defending region champion and Americus-Sumter has never beaten the Syrupmakers in their five all-time meetings. Lewis, however, is coming off the best performance of his varsity career and his impact brought a dangerous new balance into the Panthers’ attack that could keep their upward trend going. Lewis carried the ball 30 times in last week’s 21-17 win over previously-unbeaten Northside-Columbus and racked up 175 yards. He is averaging 25 carries per game this year and has ran in eight touchdowns with his 5.7 yards per carry average. Not only did Lewis spark the ground game, but he hauled in two interceptions from his cornerback position. While Lewis was wearing out Northside-Columbus on the ground, junior quarterback Kierston Harvey had a breakout performance of his own. Harvey finished 15-of-24 passing for 187 yards and three touchdowns. Braelin Williams caught seven passes for 114 yards and two of the touchdowns, while Sage Finish caught two passes for 21 yards and a score. If the Panthers can build off last week's performance and if Lewis can toughen out another 25 carries against a motivated Cairo team, this could be Americus-Sumter’s biggest win in years.


Jamari Thrash, Troup

The junior receiver is familiar with Region 5 after transferring to Troup from LaGrange this past offseason. As a sophomore for the Grangers, he caught two touchdowns against his current team and then hauled in a season-high seven catches along with LaGrange's only touchdown the next week in a loss against Sandy Creek. Now, undefeated Troup will host Sandy Creek in one of the top matchups in any classification this week. Thrash enters the game as Troup’s leading receiver and has caught four touchdowns in his last two games. Thrash took seven catches for a season-high 223 receiving yards in Troup’s 62-10 blowout over Lamar County two weeks ago and is providing the Tigers with team-high 112.8 receiving yards per game. Troup quarterback Montez Crowe has been sensational this season, completing 82-of-123 passes for 1,680 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions and he is providing the Tigers with 336 passing yards per game thanks to a huge season from his new target.



Region 1

Cairo at Americus-Sumter

Carver-Columbus at Shaw (K) Thursday

Northside-Columbus at Columbus (K)

Hardaway at Westover (M)


Region 2

Howard at West Laurens

Mary Persons at Spalding (GM)

Perry at Dougherty (M) Thursday

Upson-Lee (BYE)


Region 3

Hephzibah at Cross Creek

Clarkston at Thomson

Richmond Academy, Baldwin, Burke County (BYE)


Region 4

Eastside at Druid Hills (AV)

Henry County at Woodward Academy

Salem at Luella

North Clayton (BYE)


Region 5

Cartersville at Central-Carroll

LaGrange at Cedartown

Sandy Creek at Troup

Chapel Hill (BYE)


Region 6

Gilmer at Pickens

Southeast Whitfield at Heritage-Catoosa

Northwest Whitfield at LaFayette

Ridgeland (BYE)


Region 7

Gainesville at Marist

Blessed Trinity, Chestatee, West Hall, White County (BYE)


Region 8

Madison County at Jefferson

North Oconee at Oconee County

St. Pius, Stephens County (BYE)

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