Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

No. 1 (Public) Manchester vs. Marion County, No. 2 (Private) Prince Avenue vs. George Walton are two of tonight's best

Here is a look at two of the top games of the weekend:

No. 2 (Private) Prince Avenue Christian (4-0) vs. George Walton Academy (3-0)

This one has the potential to be one of the best games of the night. Both are traditionally solid programs with Prince Avenue having the most success of late. Mark Farriba (now at Stratford Academy) took over the program in 2007 entering its third season of football. The Wolverines’ record at the time was 4-10. By 2010 Farriba had PAC in the state playoffs and the Wolverines have not missed the post season since. In fact, since that season PAC has an overall record of 78-15, under Farriba, Jeff Herron (three seasons, 31-6) and now Greg Vandagriff, who led the Wolverines to a 12-1 record last year in his first season. PAC is led this season by seniors QB Grant Roland (completed 65 percent of his passes, thrown for 850 yards and nine touchdowns to two interceptions, and rushed for two touchdowns) and RB/LB Sam Wessinger (350 total yards, 36 tackles, two sacks). The Wolverines are No. 5 in the power ratings. GWA joined the GHSA in 2010, a year after winning its fourth state title in 40 years competing in the GISA. The Bulldogs went 27-9 in their first three years in the GHSA with three state playoff appearances. They struggled the next three, going 13-17 from 2013-2015. But Don Williams, in his 25th season as head coach, turned things around last season as GWA finished 8-4 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. PAC has won the last four meetings between the schools, including a 39-21 victory last season at GWA. PAC is fifth in the private school power ratings, GWA is sixth.

No. 1 (Public) Manchester (4-0) vs. Marion County (4-0)

Another outstanding matchup. Manchester has won all three previous meetings against Marion County, including a 35-7 win last season. The Blue Devils are 22-6 midway through the third season under Evan Hochstetler, and are a serious contender for the state title. They are led by a trio of seniors:  WR/DB Kalil Brawner, RB/LB Kelvin Turner and LB/TE Jontavious Ferguson, who has more than a dozen Division I offers. Marion won the public school state title in 2013 and is 29-7 since, though the Eagles did stumble a bit last season with a 7-4 finish and a loss in the first round of the state playoffs. This season Marion is led by sophomore QB/DB Trice McCannon, junior RB Travon Mathews, junior WR/DB Josh Rogers and seniors Austin Connor (OL/DL), Thomas Nguyen (OL/DL), Quentez Battle (WR/DB) and Willie Davis (LB). Manchester is No. 4 in the public power ratings, Marion is No. 5.

Other games of note:

No. 2 (Public) Irwin County (3-1) vs. Telfair County (1-3)

No. 3 (Public) Taylor County (3-0) vs. No. 4 (Public) Macon County (2-1)

No. 3 (Private) Wesleyan (4-1) vs. Holy Innocents’ (1-3)

No. 5 (Public) Clinch County (2-2) vs. Wilcox County (1-2)

No. 5 (Private) Tattnall Square (3-0) at Washington-Wilkes (1-2)

No. 6 (Private) Calvary Day (3-0) vs. Aquinas (1-2)

No. 6 (Public) Commerce (3-0) vs. Athens Christian (1-2)

No. 7 (Private) Athens Academy (3-0) at Towns County (2-2)

No. 8 (Public) Turner County (3-1) vs. No. 10 (Public) Charlton County (3-0)

No. 9 (Public) Emanuel County Institute (3-1) at Treutlen (1-3)

No. 9 (Private) Stratford Academy (3-0) at Lincoln County (1-2)

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