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Preview in 7A: Colquitt, Tift visit Gwinnett

Here are five games to watch this week in the highest classification. Three involve Region 1 teams, who that will be playing in Gwinnett County. For more on some of these games and top matchups in all classes, see GHSF Daily’s Top 10 Games.

Colquitt County (4-0) at Brookwood (1-2): Colquitt County’s defense has been a big story to the Packers’ 4-0 start. (The Packers’ 0-4 start of 2016 is a distant memory now.) Mo Dixon resigned as Walton’s head coach suddenly last spring. Walton is doing better, and so is Colquitt. Dixon’s defenses are holding teams to less than 175 yards per game. Brookwood returned 10 starters on offense and was supposed to have (and probably still will) one of the class’s top scoring outfits. Brookwood was ranked No. 6 in preseason, before losses to Archer and Walton.

Tift County (4-0) at Parkview (2-1): Tift County is undefeated but unranked despite wins over Valdosta and Glynn Academy. That’s because Blue Devils commonly do well in their pre-region slate, only to fade in October. This team shows signs of being different. QB Griffin Collier, the school’s all-time passing leader, has thrown for 737 yards and nine touchdowns. Parkview got as high as No. 5 before losing at Lowndes last month. The winner would be a ripe candidate for a Top 10 spot.

Newton (3-0) at Lowndes (3-0): Newton is unbeaten but largely untested. DT Darnell Jefferies is committed to Clemson. RB Nuru Tinch is going to UAB. Could be a sleeper team in Region 8 to challenge Archer and Grayson. Lowndes, behind dual-threat QB Michael Barrett, is averaging 55.0 points per game.

Marietta (3-0) at Lassiter (3-0): This one would’ve been even better if Marietta QB Harrison Bailey were going to play. Bailey passed for a school-record 464 yards in a 24-20 victory over Pebblebrook last week but was injured in the process, suffering a reported broken collarbone. "He will miss a few games, but we will have him back for the stretch run and playoffs," Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. Lassiter trailed Marietta 14-0 in the third quarter last season but scored 21 points in the final 15 minutes to pull out the victory. Lassiter started the season 5-0 last year but stumbled down the stretch, going 1-4 in region play but still earning the Class AAAAAAA wild-card playoff berth. Lassiter's best player is DB/WR Derrik Allen, who is committed to Notre Dame. Marietta’s best will be DE Azeez Ojulari, who is committed to Georgia.

Norcross (1-2) at Archer (3-0): Archer was 4-7 last season. Norcross was 11-1. But they’re headed in different directions this season. Archer's best player is probably CB/WR Andrew Booth, a top-250 national prospect among juniors. He has a team-leading nine solo tackles and one catch on offense, a 41-yard touchdown. Norcross has struggled to run the ball, with only about 125 rushing yards total in its first three games. Norcross had five turnovers last week against North Gwinnett.

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