Here is a look at the best games on the board this weekend:
No. 5 (Private) Darlington (1-0) at AAAA No. 9 Ridgeland (2-0)
Darlington won its fourth season opener in a row last week, a 50-0 blitzing of Gaston of Gadsden, Ala. The Tigers’ 260 yards rushing was paced by Player of the Year candidate senior Tijai Whatley, who ran for 95 yards on just five carries, three of which went for touchdowns. The Georgia Tech commit also returned a punt for a touchdown. On defense Darlington was just as dominant, holding Gaston to just 21 yards of total offense. Ridgeland will be a much tougher opponent. The Panthers blasted Pepperell last week, 35-7. Jalyn Shelton rushed for 91 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries while WR Stephon Walker had 103 yards from scrimmage. Counting a 48-7 beat down of Adairsville in Week 1, Ridgeland has outscored its first two opponents by a combined score of 83-14. Panther senior RB/DB Markeith Montgomery, last year’s Region 6AAAA Defensive Player of the Year, has committed to Kennesaw State. Ridgeland leads the overall series 2-1, including a 40-28 win last season.
No. 8 (Public) Irwin County (1-1) at No. 2 (Public) Macon County (1-0)
Defending state champion Macon County got off to a good start in its opener last week, a 44-36 win over Dooly County. Even without record-setting QB K’hari Lane, now at Arizona, the Bulldog offense was potent, rolling up 559 yards total. Senior Jadarrius Hicks, who has stepped in for Lane, was 9-of-12 passing for 173 yards and four touchdowns – two to senior Akeevious McLendon, who also returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, one to Keldric Thomas and a 94-yarder to all-state senior Trey Brown. Hicks also ran for 166 yards and a touchdown. Irwin County drilled AA Berrien in its opener, 31-0 on Aug. 18, but were trounced by AA No. 3 Fitzgerald, 31-6 last week. Irwin is led by DE Marlon Jackson, LB DJ Martin, WR/RB Jomarri Colson, QB Will Stephens, WR Javon Stanley and LB/RB DJ Lundy. Macon County leads the overall series 2-1, including a 57-15 drubbing last season.
Other games of note:
No. 1 (Public) Clinch County (2-0) at AA No. 8 Brooks County (1-0)
No. 2 (Private) Prince Avenue Christian (2-0) at Athens Christian (1-0)
No. 3 (Public) Manchester (2-0) at AA Southwest-Macon (1-0)
No. 4 (Private) Mount Paran Christian (2-0) at AAA Bremen (1-0)
No. 5 (Public) Commerce (1-0) at Hebron Christian (1-0)
No. 6 (Public) Turner County (2-0) at AAA Crisp County (2-0)
No. 7 (Private) Calvary Day (2-0) at Aquinas (1-1)
No. 10 (Private) Stratford Academy (1-0) vs. Landmark Christian (0-2)