Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Top 10 games of Week 9

Brunswick at Coffee

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jardine Stadium, Douglas

Records, rankings: Brunswick is 4-2 overall, 3-1 in Region 3-AAAAA and unranked; Coffee is 6-1, 4-1 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Brunswick won 26-19 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Brunswick has a freshman quarterback, and he's not a project. Randon Jernigan has rushed for 727 yards and five touchdowns on 115 carries, and he's 49-of-83 passing for 668 yards and eight touchdowns. LB Davonnis Johnson has 50 solo tackles, more than twice that of any teammate, and has been in on 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. 2. Coffee's Tyree Paulk is one of the region's top quarterbacks (79-of-114 passing, 849 yards, 11 TDs), but Coffee remains more of a running team. Sophomore RB Demetrius Davis has rushed for 665 yards on 95 carries. Coffee has two players on the line who are committed to Florida State - TE Jalen Wilkerson and OL Cole Minshew. Wilkerson has three TD receptions and 24 tackles on defense. 3. These are the only one-loss teams in region play behind No. 1-ranked Ware County (6-0, 4-0). Brunswick controls its destiny because the Pirates play Ware in the 10th game. Brunswick and Coffee played in 1-AAAAAA together the past two seasons and split their two region games.

Colquitt County at Valdosta

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, Valdosta

Records, rankings: Colquitt County is 7-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 1-AAAAAA and No. 1; Valdosta is 7-0, 2-0 and No. 3.

Last meeting: Colquitt County won 17-10 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Valdosta is 15-12-1 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (see Daily List). That's despite a five-game losing streak against No. 1s. The last victory over a No. 1 came in the 1998 Class AAAA championship game against McEachern. Valdosta defeated the No. 1-ranked Moultrie Packers 42-14 in 1972. Wright Bazemore was 7-2 against No. 1 teams. Nick Hyder was 7-3-1. 2. Colquitt County RB Sihiem King continues to lead the region in rushing yards (722) and touchdowns (13). QB Chase Parrish is the leader in passing yards (1,323) and touchdowns (14). WR Kiel Pollard is the leader in receptions (31) and is third in receiving yards (437) and tied for first in touchdowns (five). 3. Valdosta is secretly a good passing team concealed by the use of two quarterbacks - Seth Shuman (41-of-79, 606 yards, six TDs) and Cole Massingill (51-of-75, 478, two). They have not thrown an interception. But Valdosta hangs its hat on a AAAAAA-leading scoring defense (6.3 points allowed). CB Josh Norwood has five tackles for losses, four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. Junior MLB Todd Bradley has 62 solo tackles and 16 stops for losses. PK/P Brennan Goodson has made eight field goals, one a 47-yarder, and put 15 of 20 kickoffs in the end zone.

Fitzgerald at Brooks County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Veterans Stadium, Quitman

Records, rankings: Fitzgerald is 5-1 overall, 1-1 in Region 1-AA and No. 7; Brooks County is 5-2, 3-0 and No. 5.

Last meeting: Brooks County won 39-21 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Brooks and Fitzgerald have been in 1-AA together since 2006, and the winner of their game has won the region six of those eight seasons - Fitzgerald in 2006, 2009 and 2011 and Brooks in 2008, 2012 and 2013. This season, Fitzgerald doesn't control its destiny because of a loss to Thomasville (4-3, 3-0) earlier this month. 2. Fitzgerald QB Gerald Morgan has rushed for 907 yards and 14 touchdowns on 148 carries. He's less effective passing (27-of-64), but WR Trey Graham is a big-play receiver (14 catches, 301 yards, four touchdowns). On defense, DB Daniel Rivera has returned both an interception and a fumble from one end zone to the other this season. 3. Brooks County RB Ahmad Brown has rushed for 730 yards and four touchdowns on 81 carries. Brooks is 4-0 when he surpasses 100 yards, 1-2 when he does not. But Brooks is a balanced team. Demontay Jones threw five TD passes in a 42-13 victory over Seminole County and has 1,025 yards passing on the season (50-of-94, 13 TDs, 3 INTs). The team's best player is probably WR Exavius Medlock, who has 22 catches for 501 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hawkinsville at Marion County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagle Stadium, Buena Vista

Records, rankings: Hawkinsville is 7-0 overall, 5-0 in Region 4-A and No. 5; Marion County is 6-0, 4-0 and No. 2.

Last meeting: Marion County won 40-7 in the 2013 Class A public-school semifinals.

Three things to know: 1. Hawkinsville and Marion County are the only remaining unbeaten teams in 4-A, and the winner of this game is almost certain to claim the region championship. No other team in the region has fewer than two losses. Hawkinsville won the teams' regular-season matchup in 2013, handing Marion County its only loss since the start of last season, but Marion avenged the loss in the state semifinals on the way to the Class A public-school championship. 2. Hawkinsville is primarily a running team, rushing for 243 yards per game and passing for 41. The Red Devils spread the workload - seven backs have at least 15 carries, 100 yards and a rushing touchdown this season. QB Dakota Sloan, one of those rushers, attempts only about six passes per game. However, Hawkinsville is winning with defense. The Red Devils are giving up a Class A-best 5.9 points per game. 3. Marion County's best all-around player is junior Lorenzo Smothers, an all-state selection at defensive back last season. Offensively, Smothers leads the team in receiving (20 catches, 421 yards, seven touchdowns) and is second in rushing (46 carries, 581 yards, 11 TDs). On defense, he is fifth in tackles (28) and has two of the team's four interceptions. He also averages 31.3 yards on three punt returns.

Jones County at Houston County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins

Records, rankings: Jones County is 5-1 overall, 4-1 in Region 2-AAAAA and unranked; Houston County is 5-1, 4-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Houston County won 38-0 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Jones County and Houston County are two of the four teams with one loss in 2-AAAAA, and the winner of this game will be tied with the Warner Robins-Northside winner for first place in the region. However, the Jones County-Houston County winner will be the region champion if it wins its final three games. 2. Houston County (43.7 points per game) and Jones County (42.8) rank second and third in scoring among AAAAA teams, and both are led by sophomore quarterbacks having outstanding seasons. Jones County's Bradley Hunnicutt is 83-for-126 passing for 1,299 yards and 10 touchdowns. Houston County's Jake Fromm is 105-for-178 for 1,465 yards and 13 TDs. Houston County averages 469.5 yards per game compared to 411.2 by Jones County. 3. Each team suffered its only loss of the season in consecutive weeks against Lakeside of Evans, which is just 1-3 in its other games. Houston County outgained the Panthers 349-267 but lost 24-20 on Nick Patterson's 24-yard touchdown run and 14-yard TD pass in the second half. Jones County had at least 410 yards in each of its first five games but was held to 242 by Lakeside in a 35-16 loss.

Rabun County at Union County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Records, rankings: Rabun County is 5-2 overall, 3-0 in Region 8-AA and unranked; Union County is 7-0, 3-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Rabun County won 42-18 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. The winner between these schools in the Blue Ridge Mountains will be the lone unbeaten team in the region. Rabun County has won one region title in its history (1998). Union County has won two (1972, 1973). Both programs have been revitalized under head coaches who have returned to their alma maters. Union County is 7-0 for the first time since 2001, which was Brian Allison's last season in Blairsville before he returned home in 2008. Rabun had not had a winning season since 2000 until Lee Shaw arrived in 2012. The Wildcats are one victory from their third consecutive winning season. 2. Union County junior QB Joe Mancuso is 103-for-165 passing for 1,884 yards and 25 touchdowns against only one interception. He passed for a season-high 388 yards last week against Greene County in a 42-27 victory. He has thrown at least two touchdowns in every game. Union's defense allowed more than 40 points five times last season, but it hasn't happened once in 2014. Senior linebackers Chase Barnett and Nic Sparks have seven tackles for losses each. 3. Rabun County's marquee player is all-state junior RB/WR/DB Charlie Woerner. He has rushed for 702 yards and 10 touchdowns, caught 20 passes for another five touchdowns and ranks third on the team in tackles with 60. Senior MLB Tucker Williams (6-0, 220) leads the team in tackles (65) and tackles for losses (seven).

Thomas County Central at Cairo

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, West Thomas Stadium, Cairo

Records, rankings: Thomas County Central is 5-1 overall, 2-0 in Region 1-AAAA Div. A and No. 5; Cairo is 5-1, 1-0 and No. 8.

Last meeting: Thomas County Central won 21-0 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Thomas County Central and Cairo are the only remaining unbeaten teams in 1-AAAA Div. A play, and the winner is likely to win the subregion championship and play for the region title. Thomas County Central has won three straight against the Syrupmakers and leads the series 23-17-1. 2. Both teams have defenses that rank in the top 10 in Class AAAA. Cairo gives up 8.5 points per game to rank No. 3, and Thomas County Central is No. 7 at 11.8. Cairo gave up just 48 yards of total offense in a 31-0 victory against Crisp County last week. Thomas County Central is led by DE Austin Bryant, a Clemson commitment who is the nation's No. 11 weakside defensive end in the 247Sports Composite rankings. 3. Cairo's offense is coming around after averaging 11.3 points per game during a 2-1 start. QB Chad Marshall was 11-for-12 passing for 107 yards, Johntavis Johnson rushed for 122 yards and the Syrupmakers finished with 376 yards of total offense against Crisp County. Thomas County Central's run-first offense is led by RB Nick Patterson, who rushed for 103 yards and four touchdowns in a 50-13 win over Albany last week.

Vidalia at Benedictine

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, T.A. Wright Stadium/Savannah State, Savannah

Records, rankings: Vidalia is 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Region 2-AA and No. 2; Benedictine is 5-1, 3-0 and No. 4.

Last meeting: Benedictine won 28-0 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Vidalia and Benedictine are the only  undefeated teams in 2-AA play, and the winner is likely to win the region championship. Benedictine won decisively last year under similar circumstances, although the game was earlier in the season. The loss was Vidalia's only regular-season defeat since the start of the 2012 season. 2. Benedictine has a balanced offense that both runs and passes for about 240 yards per game. QB Stevie Powers has passed for 1,538 yards, which ranks No. 2 in Class AA, according to the GHSF Daily Leaderboard. WR Brad Stewart is No. 2 in receiving yards with 691, including 205 in a 42-0 victory against Jeff Davis last week. Chance Jackson and John Kennedy both rush for more than 70 yards per game. 3. Vidalia is giving up 3.8 points per game, the second-best average in the state and the best in Class AA. The Indians have recorded four consecutive shutouts and given up just 23 points for the season, 17 of which came in a 30-17 victory over Class AAAA West Laurens. Vidalia has held 21 of its previous 30 opponents to seven points or less.

Warner Robins at Northside (Warner Robins)

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, McConnell-Talbert Stadium, Warner Robins

Records, rankings: Warner Robins is 4-2 overall, 4-1 in Region 2-AAAAA and unranked; Northside is 5-1, 4-1 and No. 10.

Last meeting: Warner Robins won 28-18 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. Warner Robins and Northside are two of the four teams with one loss in 2-AAAAA, and the winner will be tied with the Jones County-Houston County winner for first place in the region. Because Northside lost to Jones County and Warner Robins lost to Houston County earlier this season, the winner of this game will still need help to win the region title. 2. Warner Robins averages 259.5 yards rushing and is led by two players with similar numbers. Junior Terry Harris has rushed for 444 yards and nine touchdowns on 57 carries (7.8 yards per carry), and senior Jaquan Burns has 426 yards and four TDs on 56 carries (7.6 ypc). QB Ivan Corbin has passed for 665 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 189 yards and two TDs. 3. Northside averages 320.5 yards per game rushing, with almost half of the production coming from Willie Jordan, who has run for 848 yards and 17 touchdowns on 103 carries. Three other players - T.J. Anderson (38 carries, 276 yards), Desean Dinkins (31-245) and QB Tobias Oliver (63-241) - average at least 40 yards per game. Oliver is 37-for-61 passing for 662 yards and three touchdowns.

Westminster at Blessed Trinity

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell

Records, rankings: Westminster is 6-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 4-AAA Div. B and No. 6; Blessed Trinity is 6-0, 2-0 and No. 3.

Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 18-0 in 2013.

Three things to know: 1. These are the only ranked or unbeaten teams on either side of the region, but the loser is likely to get no better than the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The subregion champions will play for the No. 1 seed in the 10th game. Westminster leads the series 6-4, but Blessed Trinity has won the past three meetings. 2. Blessed Trinity junior RB Milton Shelton has played only four games but rushed for more than 100 in each and scored 10 touchdowns. That included a 141-yard, three-touchdown effort against St. Pius. But the Titans are a good passing team, as well. Junior QB Conor Davis is 56-of-87 passing for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns with only one interception. All-state LB Pat Jasinski leads the defense, but Westminster will recall his 93-yard TD reception at tight end a year ago. 3. Westminster sophomore RB Isaiah "Zay" Malcome leads the subregion with 663 yards rushing. He's only about 5 feet, 3 inches. Also dangerous in the return game, Malcome has 958 all-purpose yards. Westminster doesn't pass that well (completing only 44 percent of its passes), but is solid defensively and outstanding in special teams. Westminster's net punting average is 37.4 (compared to its opponents' 22.8). Westminster has put 28 of 32 kickoffs in the end zone (compared to its opponents' 1-for-14).

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