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A Top Ten Game
Thursday, 20 September 2012

September 20--  Friday night's game between Vidalia and Benedictine is rated as one of the Top Ten Best Games in the state this weekend by Georgia High School Football Daily.

Benedictine at Vidalia

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Reservation, Vidalia

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

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Benedictine dropped from Class AAAAA to AA this year, and the move has paid off. The Cadets, playing in the highest classification in a region that included Camden County, have not won more than six games in a season since 2002 but now have three consecutive victories for the first time since 2009. 2. QB D.J. Mincey directs a Vidalia offense that averages about 200 yards per game rushing and about 100 passing. Mincey is 17-for-39 passing for 291 yards and four touchdowns and has rushed for 114 yards and three scores. Juan Foster is the leading rusher with 262 yards, including 182 in a 40-6 victory over Long County last week. 3. The winner of this game will be the only team in Region 2-AA that is undefeated and becomes the front-runner for the region title (although Bacon County also is undefeated in region play). Benedictine has won seven region titles in its history, although none since 2000. Vidalia has won 21 region titles, most recently in 2004.


Cartersville at North Murray

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mountaineer Stadium, Chatsworth

Records, rankings: Cartersville is 3-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-AAA and No. 8; North Murray is 3-0, 0-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Cartersville freshman RB Tiamon Pennymon rushed for 108 yards on five carries in a 38-6 victory over Rockmart last week but was lost for the season with a leg injury. That may put the spotlight more on QB Brooks Barden, who passed for 162 yards and three TDs against Rockmart. 2. North Murray has a senior backfield of QB Brady Swilling, FB Christian Bukle and RB Jacob Mays. The Mountaineers rushed for more than 800 yards in their first two games, including a 229-yard effort by Swilling in the opener against Southeast Whitfield. 3. North Murray's 3-0 start already has matched the school's victory total from its first three seasons of varsity football. The Mountaineers were 2-2 against fellow new schools River Ridge and Locust Grove in 2009 and then went 1-19 over the next two seasons. That makes this game, the Region 5-AAA opener for both undefeated teams, the biggest in North Murray's short history.


Cedartown at Ridgeland

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bowers and Painter Field, Rossville

Records, rankings: Cedartown is 3-0 and unranked in Class AAAA; Ridgeland is 1-1 and unranked in AAAA.

Last meeting: Ridgeland won 29-8 in 2011.

Three things to know: 1. Cedartown's Nick Chubb is the state's leading rusher with 938 yards and 13 touchdowns on 91 carries (10.2 yards per carry). He had 182 yards and four touchdowns in three quarters in a 35-0 victory against LaFayette last week, and he ran for 171 yards and the Bulldogs' only score in the loss to Ridgeland last season. 2. Ridgeland's Vonn Bell, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 selection, is considered one of the nation's top five prospects at safety, but expect him to make an impact on offense, as well. Bell, who had more than 1,000 all-purpose yards last season, rushed for 90 in the season-opener against Calhoun and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass against River Ridge last week. 3. This could be a preview of the 7-AAAA championship game, to be played on Nov. 9. Cedartown is expected to battle Gilmer for the Division A title, while Ridgeland will vie with Dalton and Northwest Whitfield for the Division B title. Ridgeland has played in its region championship game for four consecutive seasons.


Charlton County at Fitzgerald

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jaycee Stadium, Fitzgerald

Records, rankings: Charlton County is 2-1 and No. 9 in Class A; Fitzgerald is 2-1 and No. 7 in AA.

Last meeting: Fitzgerald won 39-7 in the first round of the 2008 Class AA playoffs.

Three things to know: 1. Five Fitzgerald backs have at least 20 rushing attempts and 88 yards. They are led by QB Romarious Golden (282 yards, 28 attempts, five touchdowns). Fitzgerald has completed only six passes. 2. QB Trae Harrington has scored or passed for all five of Charlton County's touchdowns this season. He has passed for 269 yards and rushed for 108. He's also his team's punter. 3. Charlton County has won at least nine games in each of the past 18 seasons. Fitzgerald has won at least 10 games for each of the past eight seasons.


Laney at Washington County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, House of Pain, Sandersville

Records, rankings: Laney is 2-1 and unranked in Class AA; Washington County is 4-0 and No. 3 in AAA.

Last meeting: Washington County won 45-20 in 2003.

Three things to know: 1. Laney RB George Myers, a preseason GHSF Daily all-state pick, may line up as a receiver or quarterback in the wildcat formation. He has rushed for 408 yards, thrown for 105 and caught passes for 121. 2. Washington County is averaging 8.1 yards per play on offense. RB Melvin Hill has rushed for 336 yards and seven touchdowns on 33 carries (10.2 ypc), and QB William Walker, a preseason all-state pick, is 35-of-50 passing for 608 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. 3. Laney is fifth in Class AA in scoring defense, allowing 5.0 points per game. Washington County is sixth in scoring offense in AAA, averaging 39.8 points.


Lovett at St. Pius 

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, George B. Maloof Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Lovett is 2-1 and No. 4 in Class AA; St. Pius is 2-1 and No. 5 in AAA.

Last meeting: St. Pius won 28-12 in 1983.

Three things to know: 1. Lovett is allowing 11.3 points per game while facing three ranked teams from higher classifications. The Lions have forced eight turnovers. Linebackers John Coletti and Charlie Ingram have combined for five of Lovett's 16 tackles for losses. Meanwhile, the offense has struggled. Lovett averages only 3.0 yards per carry. 2. St. Pius runs the wishbone with Ryan Braswell as the primary ball carrier. Braswell has 294 yards and six touchdowns on 55 attempts. QB Jack Spear is more likely to run (28 attempts, 134 yards) than pass (11-of-26, 187 yards). 3. Both teams will be facing their fourth consecutive ranked opponent. The Maxwell Ratings rank St. Pius' schedule through three games the third-toughest in Class AAA. Lovett's three-game schedule is third-toughest in AA.


Parkview at Archer 

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Archer Stadium, Lawrenceville

Records, rankings: Parkview is 2-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 8-AAAAAA and No. 10; Archer is 2-1, 0-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Archer won 40-16 in 2011.

Three things to know: 1. Parkview has struggled offensively during its 2-1 start, failing to score a touchdown in its first two games and managing only 140 yards of total offense in its 22-7 upset of top-ranked Grayson last week. But the Panthers have allowed just nine points per game, the sixth-best average in Class AAAAAA, and they got four turnovers, including two fumble recoveries by LB Justis Rosser, in the Grayson game. 2. Archer lost a heartbreaker to Brookwood last week as the Broncos rallied for 10 points in the final 2:41 for a 20-19 victory in both teams' Region 8-AAAAAA opener. Brandon Morrow kicked a 22-yard field goal in the closing seconds to complete Brookwood's comeback. 3. The last time these teams met, Archer picked up the biggest victory in the program's three-year history with an upset that essentially clinched the school's first playoff berth. Ernest Alexander, now a senior, rushed for 227 yards and four touchdowns, including two in the second half that broke the game open.


Riverdale at Dutchtown

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bulldogs Stadium, Hampton

Records, rankings: Riverdale is 3-0 and No. 9 in Class AAAA; Dutchtown is 2-1 and unranked in AAAA.

Last meeting: Riverdale won 27-12 in 2007.

Three things to know: 1. Riverdale is ranked this week for the first time since the end of the regular season in 2005. That's also the last time the Raiders made the postseason, losing a 30-28 game against Valdosta in the first round of the Class AAAAA playoffs. 2. QB Donovahn Jones committed to Missouri last week, making him the first Dutchtown player to commit to an SEC team since the school opened in 2004. Jones passed for 183 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 45 yards in the Bulldogs' 35-10 victory over Class AAAAAA Luella last week. 3. Riverdale has been opportunistic in its three-game winning streak. The Raiders turned two interceptions and a botched punt attempt into three touchdowns in their 21-0 victory over North Clayton, they got a touchdown on a fumble return by Tony Wyche in a 21-14 victory over Drew, and Ti'Keem Cooper has returned two kickoffs for scores.


Statesboro at Burke County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bear Den, Waynesboro

Records, rankings: Statesboro is 3-0 and No. 4 in Class AAAA; Burke County is 2-1 and No. 5 in AAAA.

Last meeting: Burke County won 35-17 in 2009.

Three things to know: 1. QB Donquell Green, a star player in Burke's state championship victory over Peach County in 2011, rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-21 victory over Coffee last week. For the season, Green has rushed for 390 yards and seven touchdowns and completed 24 of 43 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He has not thrown an interception. 2. Statesboro RB DeQuan Daniels made all-state as a sophomore before injuries slowed him as a junior. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the first three games this season and scored six touchdowns. 3. Statesboro and Burke County are in the same Region 3-AAAA but separate subregions, Statesboro in A, Burke in B. The subregion winners are scheduled to meet Nov. 9 for the region title. According to the Maxwell Ratings, Burke and Statesboro are top-10 teams in AAAA, while no other region team ranks in the top 30.


Thomas County Central at Tift County

When, where: 8 p.m. Friday, Brodie Field, Tifton

Records, rankings: Thomas County Central is 3-1 and No. 6 in Class AAAAA; Tift County is 2-1 and unranked in AAAAAA.

Last meeting: Thomas County Central won 32-13 in 2007.

Three things to know: 1. Thomas Central aims to run the ball. QB Adam Choice (62 carries, 335 yards, six touchdowns) and RB Deondre Cooksey (49-326-5) getting most of the work, but RB Shaq Coleman rushed for 164 yards in a rout of Cairo last week. 2. Tift County RB Rashad Daniels rushed for a school-record 368 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-7 victory over Houston County earlier this month. 3. The series between these two is tied 9-9, with Central winning six of the past seven. They have not been in the same classification since 1985.



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