Kenneth Harrison

1 2 3 10

Pick Away

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The NFL regular season is winding down. We know who the contenders are and the teams that need to try again next year.

I’m going to take a look at the projected NFC South draft order and team needs.

Pick #5 Atlanta: The biggest team needs are edge rusher, defensive back and offensive line.

The Falcons have struggled to protect their $150 million quarterback Matt Ryan. In the Thanksgiving game against New Orleans he was sacked nine times (tying a career high). Atlanta failed to sack Drew Brees, which brings the team’s needs in the trenches into focus.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is by far the best pass rusher in the draft. I do not expect him to be around when the Falcons pick, so I think Iowa edge rusher AJ Epenesa will be their pick. He had double-digit tackles for loss the last two seasons. He had 10.5 sacks in 2018 and 9 in 2019.

Pick #12 Carolina: Their biggest team needs are DB, OL and defensive line.

Quarterback might also be a need since Cam Newton has not played since Week 2. Kyle Allen has stepped in but he has not played well. His QBR is 38.3, which is 30th, and he’s thrown double digit interceptions.

The Panthers defense cannot stop the run, ranking 29th in run defense. Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs would be a good pick. He has great size standing at 6’2 and 208 pounds. He has 3 interceptions and 8 pass breakups this season.

Pick #14 Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers biggest team needs are QB, RB, OL and DL.

Jameis Winston is in the final year of his rookie contract and he’s still struggling. He’s been a turnover machine his entire career and this season is no different.

Winston leads the league with 20 interceptions. That would be too much for a rookie but he’s in his fifth season and he has also had off the field issues.

The Bucs have several other areas of concern but I believe they will prioritize drafting a franchise quarterback.

Oregon QB Justin Herbert could be the answer. He has prototypical size at 6’6 and 237 pounds. He’s a senior so he has a lot of experience which is invaluable.

Herbert helped bring the Ducks program back to a national title contender. This season he has 31 touchdowns with only 5 interceptions, so we know he can protect the football.

Pick #29 New Orleans Saints: The Saints are truly Super Bowl contenders so this might turn into the 31st or 32nd pick.

The biggest needs are WR, interior OL and DB. Michael Thomas is great but he could use another receiver to help stretch the field. Thomas is a true possession receiver and he is the focal point of the defense.

A player with speed would be explosive and they could make teams pay for covering him one on one.

Three of the seven Saints defenders who have played the most snaps in 2019;  Vonn BellEli Apple and P.J. Williams happen to be members of the New Orleans secondary. All three are scheduled to become free agents in 2020.

Clemson receiver Tee Higgins would be a great addition, assuming he’s still on the board.

GHSA 7A

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We’re down to the final eight teams in Georgia high school football. Let’s take a look at the Elite Eight in AAAAAAA.

# 10 Mill Creek vs # 6 Marietta: Mill Creek blew out their first two playoff opponents (Newton & Roswell). The Hawks (10-2) are very good but they have been outclassed by superior talent this season. They were crushed 45 – 3 by # 4 North Gwinnett last month.

Marietta (10-2) is the most talented team in the state. They beat the defending state champs, # 9 Milton in the second round. The Blue Devils are led by five-star tight end Arik Gilbert, an LSU commit. Gilbert has 1,343 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

His quarterback Harrison Bailey is committed to Tennessee and a four-star player. He’s thrown for 3,378 yards and 36 touchdowns.

The Blue Devils have another LSU commit on defense, defensive end BJ Ojulari. Marietta was my preseason pick to win the state championship and my opinion has not changed.

# 3 Grayson vs # 1 Lowndes: Lowndes (12-0) has dominated all season and they are nationally ranked. The Vikings have won every game by double digits. The closest margin of victory was 11 points against Colquitt County. They are the only remaining team not in Metro Atlanta.

The interesting thing about Lowndes is that as good as they are, they don’t have a player ranked in the top 100 in Georgia in the class of 2020.

They are led by sophomore quarterback Jacurri Brown. He’s the team’s leading rusher with 1,150 yards and 16 TD’s. He also passed for 1,066 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Grayson (10-1) steamrolled their first two playoff opponents. The Rams lone loss was a blowout loss at home to Colquitt County (31-7). Since that is a common opponent for both teams it does not look good for Grayson.

Senior quarterback CJ Dixon is a four-star recruit and he should keep Grayson in the game. I expect Lowndes to continue doing what they have done all season and win this game by double digits.

# 8 Archer vs # 7 Parkview: This is a matchup of two Gwinnett county schools. Parkview (11-1) is a traditional powerhouse that fell on hard times, but they are back. The Panthers have won four state championships. They won three consecutive championships and were undefeated from 2000-2002.

Their only loss was at home against Lowndes, 38 – 7. They did beat Colquitt County in the second round, 40- 21.

Colquitt had reached the quarters or better each season since 2009.

Junior running back Cody Brown is a four-star recruit and the offense goes through him.

Archer (9-3) had a tough schedule with all three losses coming to ranked teams. Their biggest loss was by three points.

I expect this to be a close game, but Parkview should win.

            # 2 McEachern vs # 4 North Gwinnett: McEachern (12-0) is the other undefeated team in 7A. The Indians also have several talented players like their crosstown rival, Marietta.

The best player on the team is senior four-star wide receiver Javon Baker. He’s committed to Alabama. McEachern has only had two games won by single digits so they have been dominant.

North Gwinnett (11-1) lost the season opener to Colquitt County. They have not lost since then. The Bulldogs won the state title in 2017 and they hope to get back there this year.

I’m picking North Gwinnett for a slight upset win.

 

Not Your Father’s Tigers

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The college football regular season is winding down. Clemson won the national championship last year and they are in the hunt again this season.

They currently have the top ranked recruiting class for 2020. Let’s take a look at some of the incoming talent.

So far, they have 20 commits including six 5-star recruits and nine 4-star. The Tigers have a hard commit from the top player in the nation, defensive tackle Bryan Bresee. He attends Damascus High in Maryland.

At 6’5, 290 pounds he already looks like a pro lineman. He’s dominant and if you have not seen his highlights yet I advise you to check him out.

Another 5-star defensive lineman joining Bresee in Death Valley is defensive end Myles Murphy. Murphy attends Hillgrove in Powder Springs, Ga. He’s 6’5, 260 lbs. so he also looks physically imposing. At The Opening he ran a 4.65 forty and had a 34.10 vertical. He’s the No. 4 recruit in the country.

Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei is the best pro style QB in this entire recruiting class.

He’s like a bigger more powerful version of Tua, standing at 6’4 and 246 pounds. You might be familiar with him from the show QB 1 Beyond the Lights.

He plays for national power St. John Bosco (California). Getting a highly recruited player like him from California shows just how much Clemson has grown as a program. They typically recruit well in the Southeast but rarely get players from outside that region.

DJ also plays basketball and baseball so he’s a good athlete and he moves well for his size. Through 11 games this season he has passed for 3,177 yards, 35 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. He also completes 63% of his passes.

His team travels and plays several ranked teams from out of state. They also played the top high school team in the nation, Mater Dei so his numbers are impressive.

Running back Demarkcus Bowman (Lakeland, Fl) is ranked No. 3 nationally at his position. He averaged 11.9 yards per carry this season and last season was the same. Through 10 regular season games he has 1,523 yards and 23 touchdowns. He’s a big play threat and his longest run of the season is 88 yards.

Cornerback Fred Davis II (Jacksonville, Fl) is 6’0 so he has good size for the position. He’s ranked third at the position nationally. His official forty time is 4.3 so he’s very fast. He is expected to step on campus and be a shutdown corner.

The final 5-star player is defensive tackle Demonte Capehart from IMG Academy. IMG recruits nationally so being a standout player for that team means he’s an elite player. He’s the No. 4 recruit in the state of Florida.

Capehart is 6’5 and 295 pounds. Many of these players have prototypical size already.

Clemson has been very successful without having top 5 recruiting classes. Now that they are getting this much talent it’s frightening for the rest of the college football programs.

Their defensive line should be the best within the next two years.

Pick A Number

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We are coming off the biggest weekend of the college football season. There were two games featuring unbeaten, highly ranked teams. No. 2 LSU beat No. 3 Alabama 46 – 41. No. 17 Minnesota defeated No. 4 Penn State 31 – 26.

The AP and Coaches Poll rankings for the week were revealed. Alabama only dropped one spot, which has upset fans of other one-loss teams. Let’s look at my top four teams.

#1 LSU: The Tigers have the best resume in the nation. They have beaten four ranked teams; all of them were ranked in the top 10 at the time. This is the first LSU team I can remember with a potent offense.

They are ranked fourth nationally in total offense despite playing one less game than two of the teams ranked ahead of them.

Quarterback, Joe Burrow is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy. Burrow has passed for 3,198 yards, 33 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions.

He also completes 80% of his passes. They also have a great running game led by Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He has 11 TD’s, averages 5.8 yards per carry and he’s on pace to eclipse one thousand yards.

The surprising weakness is defense. The Tigers rank 33rd nationally in total defense, allowing 340 YPG.

#2 Ohio State: The Buckeyes are the most balanced team in the nation. The defense is #1 in total defense, only giving up 215 YPG.

The offense is fifth in total offense with 536 YPG. Quarterback, Justin Fields is also a Heisman contender. He’s the best dual threat QB in college. He’s passed for 1,859 yards, 27 TD’s and only one interception. On the ground, he has 347 yards and 10 touchdowns.

J.K. Dobbins is one of the best backs in the game. Dobbins has already gained 1,200 yards, 11 TD’s and averages 7.2 YPC.

Star defensive end and possible No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, Chase Young may miss significant time with a suspension. He did not play the last game due to a possible NCAA violation from 2018.

#3 Clemson: The Tigers are the defending national champions but they struggled early in the season. They narrowly beat unranked North Carolina 21 – 20 the last week of September.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence looked great in the national championship game but he has not performed up to expectations thus far.

Lawrence has thrown 23 touchdowns and 8 picks. Running back Travis Etienne has been dominant with 1,214 yards, 13 TD’s and 8.9 YPC. Despite the problems, they rank second in total offense at the FBS level. They also rank fourth in total defense.

So far, they faced one ranked opponent and have one more on the schedule, No. 19 Wake Forest.

#4 Oregon: The Ducks began the season with a 27 – 21 loss to No. 16 Auburn. Since then they won 8 consecutive games.

They’re led by QB Justin Herbert, who will be a top five pick in the 2020 draft. He has thrown for 2,329 yards, 24 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Oregon should play No. 8 Utah in the Pac 12 championship game and that will be a good win.

The first team on the outside looking in is Georgia. The Bulldogs lost at home to unranked South Carolina.

The only ranked team left on the schedule is No. 11 Auburn. If they win the rest of their games including the SEC Championship, they have to be in the playoffs.

Alabama still has an outside shot of making it if some upsets happen and they win out.

Awesome ACC

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The college basketball season begins this week.

Last season was very exciting because we expected Duke to win it all. Instead, Virginia bounced back from an epic collapse from the previous year and won their first national championship. Let’s take a look at the ranked ACC teams.

#4 Duke: The Blue Devils had one of the best recruiting classes of all-time last year led by Zion Williamson. Duke started the season ranked No. 1 and maintained that ranking for most of the year. They lost by one point in the Elite Eight to Michigan State.

The 2019 recruiting class features five recruits and the class is ranked third nationally.

Three of them are five-star players; center Vernon Carey, small forward Wendell Moore and power forward Matthew Hurt. The other two are both four-star recruits; shooting guards Cassius Stanley and Rejean Ellis.

They bring five top 40 prospects to Durham and point guard Tre Jones is returning for his sophomore season.

Duke opens the season against No. 3 Kansas at Madison Square Garden.

#5 Louisville: The Cardinals start the season with a conference game at Miami.

The football team is also playing the Hurricanes this week.

Junior forward Jordan Nwora was voted preseason ACC Player of the Year. He averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds per game last season.

Freshman guard Samuel Williamson is a four-star recruit and he should make an immediate contribution. I expect him to be second on the team in scoring. Senior forward Dwayne Sutton is also a key contributor.

This is the first time in the post Rick Pitino era that Louisville is a serious contender.

#9 North Carolina: The Tar Heels always expect to compete for a national title. The thing that surprises me is they don’t get the elite recruits that you would expect for a program of their caliber.

Their 2019 recruiting class was ranked ninth. That’s behind inferior programs like Memphis, Oregon, USC and Florida.

The recruiting class consists of four players and two of them are five-star recruits. Point guard Cole Anthony and center Armando Bacot are joining an experienced UNC team.

Last season ended in disappointment with a Sweet Sixteen blowout loss to Auburn.

They also begin the season with a conference opponent, Notre Dame. The first ranked team on the schedule is in game 6 versus No. 18 Ohio State. The second game after that is at No. 8 Gonzaga.

# 11 Virginia: Virginia has finished outside the nation’s top 10 once in the last six basketball seasons, and its 89-19 ACC record during that span is historically dominant.

The Cavaliers are replacing four starters, including their top three scorers.

“We know it’s going to be a big challenge,” senior forward Braxton Key said. “We know the X is going to be on our back every game, but we’re excited for it.”

The season opens against a tough Syracuse team.

Virginia is the ACC’s 15th men’s basketball national champion. It’s traditionally the best conference and I think that will be the case this year. I believe the team that wins the national championship this year will be from the ACC.

The Best Rivalry

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC has some great programs and traditions. It seems like every team in each division is a rival with the exception of the two newest members (Mizzou and Texas A&M).

Some of the great rivalries are Alabama-Auburn, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Arkansas-LSU and Florida-Tennessee. We can also add anyone that shares a border with Tennessee as one of their rivals.

The best rivalry in the conference has to be Georgia and Florida. There are several factors that make this very unique. Both teams are in talent rich states. They both recruit the best players from states that are top five in the nation in talent.

Both teams are extremely competitive and produce a lot of NFL talent consistently. Some of them have won the Heisman Trophy. Some legendary names that played in this series include Herschel Walker, A.J. Green, Matthew Stafford, Hines Ward, Emmitt Smith, Tim Tebow and Danny Wuerffell.

We cannot say the same for other programs in the conference like Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Mizzou and Vanderbilt.

This game is also played at a neutral site. The Auburn-Alabama game used to be played in Birmingham at Legion Field. Since 2000, they are played on campus.

Arkansas – Texas A&M game is played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tx.  The contract was signed before A&M joined the conference and it ends in 2024.

The first time both teams met was in 1915 and has been played every season since 1926, except for a war-time interruption in 1943.

The game has been played in Jacksonville since 1933 with just two exceptions. It was formerly called the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” but that name is no longer used officially.

The schools also dispute their first meeting, which UGA counts as a 52-0 win in 1904. UF does not count this because it was one of their predecessor institutions, called Florida Agricultural College based in Lake City.

The modern university was established the next year in 1905 and fielded the first officially recognized football team in 1906.

Since the league was divided into two divisions in 1992, both teams have been competing to win the SEC East. The game is high stakes and that makes it more entertaining.

This year both teams have one loss and are ranked in the Top Ten. The team that wins this game will win the division. As long as they continue to win, they will make the College Football Playoff.

Steve Spurrier was known for taking shots at rival teams and it seems current Gators head coach Dan Mullen is continuing the tradition. He trolled UGA this offseason when he announced the attendance for the spring game was 39,476. Mullen previously admitted he has having fun with the spring game numbers to rile up his rivals.

Georgia has not won a championship in 39 years and has played 476 games during this drought. Now, Mullen claims he doesn’t know where that number came from.

“I had no idea. I don’t even know how they came up with that number, the most random thing ever,” Mullen said. “But everybody started freaking out about it, I guess, until three days later somebody put enough math together to go figure that out. Maybe Georgia fans were really so uptight they haven’t won in 39 years they got all uptight and tried to figure it out. But it was pretty random actually, it was pretty funny.”

I hope this game lives up to the heavyweight matchup we are all expecting.

Clipped Wings

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We all saw this coming from Week 1. The Atlanta Falcons lost again, falling to 1-7. How did we get to this point? Should we be surprised?

It’s been all downhill since the epic Super Bowl LI collapse. That is understandable since there is nowhere to go but down.

Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator during that time. He left to take the head coach position in San Francisco.

The Atlanta offense has struggled since his departure. He currently has the 49ers at 7-0, the only undefeated team in the NFC.

Dirk Koetter has returned as offensive coordinator this season, after his first stint in Atlanta (2012-14). On paper, the offense is decent. Their ranked 7th in total offense, averaging 386 yards per game. They lead the league in passing offense. They are ranked 29th in rushing offense with 69 ypg.

We have grown accustomed to bad Falcons defense and this year is no different. They rank 27th in total defense, giving up 31 points and 380 ypg.

They were 28th last season. We know Dan Quinn got this job because he led a great defense in Seattle. That has not translated in Atlanta.

The Seahawks won 27-20 so the final score was close. Matt Ryan missed his first game in 10 years with an ankle injury. His streak of 154 consecutive regular-season starts ended.

They trailed 24-0 at halftime but they played considerably better in the second half.

“We have to come out for the second half of the season the way we came out for the second half of the game today,” Quinn said.

Seattle rushed for 151 yards. Atlanta has been outscored 144-50 in the first half this season. The Falcons have faced six double-digit halftime deficits.

Team owner Arthur Blank said after the game he will “take the next couple of weeks … and evaluate where we are” before reaching a decision on Quinn’s future. He said the record is “just not acceptable at any level.”

The offensive line has been a problem and the team tried to fix it in the draft. The team made a $150 million investment in Ryan, but they have to keep him upright and healthy.

The bad offensive line also makes it difficult to establish the run game. Losing running back Tevin Coleman in free agency was also a tough blow. I always thought he was better than Devonta Freeman and he’s having a better season.

In his last game against Carolina, Coleman rushed for 105 yards and 3 touchdowns. Freeman has not rushed for 90 yards in any game this year.

Kicking has also been an issue for the Falcons. Matt Bryant missed two field goals in the second quarter. In Week 6, he missed an extra point to tie the game in the final seconds against Arizona. He’s made 64% of his field goals in 2019. His career average is 86%.

The team is going into their bye week, so they will go about two weeks without losing another game.

They return Week 10 at New Orleans. The following week is at Carolina. They will be under dogs in both of those games.

At this point general manager Thomas Dimitroff and Quinn should be fired as soon as possible. They need to clean house and select the right player with the third pick in the upcoming draft.

Lurking Gators

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Florida (6-1) is back in familiar territory as a top 10 team and national championship contender. The Gators beat No.7 Auburn about two weeks ago.

The Tigers came into the game as the favorites but left Gainesville with a convincing 24-13 loss. Florida was feeling great after that win and headed to No. 5 LSU the following week.

UF won the game in Gainesville last season, 27-19. The Tigers had revenge on their mind and pulled away in the second half. The game was tied at 21 at halftime. LSU won 42-28.

LSU coach Ed Orgeron declared that holding Florida’s defense without a sack was “the biggest stat of the night,” noting how the Gators’ defensive ends had “destroyed” opposing offensive lines in previous games.

Kyle Trask was 23-of-39 passing for 310 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

“There’s two ways you can go: You can either lose and start pointing fingers or you can lose and start coming together,” Trask said. “We have a great group of guys and at the end of the day; it’s just going to make this team better.”

This is the toughest part of Florida’s schedule. So far, they are 1-1 during these four games. The remaining games are at South Carolina and Georgia at a neutral site (Jacksonville).

Previously I did not think the USC game would be difficult. The Gamecocks were under .500 prior to this weekend.

They shocked the college football world by beating No. 3 UGA in Athens. The Bulldogs turned the ball over four times and South Carolina did not have any. Now this game in Columbia looks like a heavyweight matchup.

South Carolina (3-3) gave up 468 yards to Georgia but forcing the turnovers was the difference. The Gamecocks also lost freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski to a knee injury. He’s actually a backup and has been playing since senior Jake Bentley suffered a mid-foot sprain in the season opener.

Third string freshman quarterback Dakereon Joyner played several snaps against Georgia. Currently, it does not sound like he will start the Florida game because Hilinski is expected to return.

“He’s got a sprained knee,” Muschamp said of Hilinski. “It’s nothing serious. I’ll know more Tuesday. He’s a little sore, obviously, today. But again, it’s nothing serious. We expect him to play on Saturday.”

So far, I give the early advantage to the Gators. They are ranked 20th nationally in total defense but they have played at least one more game than all of the teams ranked higher. That means they are actually better than many of them.

The Gamecocks are not good on offense and they are led by an injured true freshman QB.

If he cannot make it through the game, the third string QB will come in and they were not effective with him. They should be able to stop them and hold them to under twenty points.

I don’t think they will overlook this game since they know Carolina is capable of beating them. After that, they will go in to the bye week with two weeks to prepare against Georgia.

Time to Rise Up

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Atlanta Falcons are off to a 1-3 start. The beginning of the Dan Quinn era started great but it’s been all downhill since the Super Bowl LI debacle.

On Sunday, the Falcons lost to Tennessee (2-2) 24-10. The Titans are not a good football team and this was a home game, so this is a bad loss. The question is who is to blame for this terrible start? Can Atlanta turn this season around?

“It is a tough loss, and we’re as disappointed as our fans are,” Quinn said. “You better believe we’re going to look at everything. When you’re sitting at 1-3, you want to make sure you’re finding the answers.”

The first person to start with is head coach Dan Quinn. He took over as the HC in 2015. He’s a former defensive coordinator and so far he has not produced a good defense in Atlanta. They ranked 28th in total defense last season. This season they make every team look like super stars.

Marcus Mariota has been a bust thus far in his NFL career. He’s consistently injured and his play is inconsistent. He played poorly in the previous two losses before they broke that streak against the Falcons. He had 227 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions and completed 66% of his passes.

Rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown had 3 receptions, 94 yards and 2 TD’s. Derrick Henry rushed for 100 yards. You can see the defense didn’t stop the run or pass.

The talent on the roster has been built by Quinn over the last 5 years. Sadly, they are in the same position they were in back in 2015.

“When you see Atlanta, what bothers you is if they don’t get to the quarterback, it’s all about speed (in the secondary),” Phil Simms said on “The NFL Today” studio show. “They play one defense. Guys wide open.”

The defense under Quinn consistently has gaping holes in the zone coverage, poor angles to pass-catchers and lack of speed in the secondary. The first two things can be attributed to Quinn’s defensive design and poor technique by his players.

The strength is supposed to be on the offense and they are playing poorly. Dirk Koetter is back in his second stint as offensive coordinator in 2019.

He previously held the OC position in Atlanta from 2012-14. Some of the growing pains might be from him trying to get familiar with the new talent on the roster.

Atlanta also has a poor offensive line they tried to fix in the offseason. They drafted two offensive linemen in the first round and guard Chris Lindstrom broke his foot in the season opener.

Guard Jamon Brown left the Titans game with a concussion in the first half and could not return.

Center Alex Mack has never missed a game in his Falcons career but he had to leave Sunday’s game with an elbow injury. He was able to return later in the third quarter.

Because of the poor line play, Atlanta cannot run the ball or protect Matt Ryan. The Falcons are ranked 27th in rushing offense with 70 yards per game. Ryan has 8 TD’s and 6 interceptions this season.

He’s second in the league in passing yards behind Patrick Mahomes by less than 200 yards. The difference is Mahomes has 10 TD’s and no INT’s.

There are two division rivals playing with backup quarterbacks and Atlanta still will not win the division. Hopefully they end up with a top 5 pick at the end of the year.

The Best Of The Best

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The season has been somewhat unpredictable for 7A teams.

Marietta started the season ranked No. 1 in Georgia and they were nationally ranked. They lost at Grayson 28-14 on September 13. The Blue Devils (3-1) had a bye week after that and they play Edgewater (FL) this week. Marietta dropped to No. 4 in the polls.

Grayson (4-0) is the new top team in the state. They beat Westlake 32-21 last week. The Rams trailed 14-7 at halftime but scored three touchdowns in the third quarter.

Lafayette Gurvin rushed for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns and had a fourth TD receiving. They play at Colquitt County this week.

No. 2 McEachern (4-0) beat Collins Hill 30-14. The Indians led 30-0 in the third quarter, and Collins Hill got most of its 220 yards in the fourth quarter.

Jordon Simmons rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries. They have a bye week now but the next game is 10/4 against East Coweta (1-3).

No. 3 Lowndes (5-0) beat Miami Northwestern (FL) 48-21. The Vikings led 35-7 at halftime, held Northwestern to minus-12 yards rushing and routed a team that entered ranked No. 22 nationally in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25. Northwestern was Florida’s Class 6A champion last season.

Lowndes QB Jacurri Brown rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. Gary Osby rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. They play their archrival Valdosta Friday.

No. 5 Colquitt County (3-1) beat Warner Robins at home 31-14.

Jaycee Harden passed for 332 yards and 4 touchdowns, three to Lemeke Brockington.

The Packers lost the game before that at Valdosta 50-49. Colquitt has played an extremely tough schedule before the region play begins. No. 1 Grayson comes to town this Friday for another battle of top teams.

No. 6 Archer (3-1) demolished Norcross 31-0. The Tigers led 10-0 at halftime, then scored three third-quarter touchdowns and shut out Norcross for the second consecutive season.

Archer rushed for 190 yards with no player over 70. This week’s game is at Buford (4-0) and the Wolves are the top ranked team in 5A.

Buford just beat an undefeated 7A team (Newton) 42-14 last week so this is a heavyweight matchup.

No. 7 North Gwinnett (3-1) blew out a good Walton team 35-0. Devin Crosby rushed for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns on 13 carries. Walton was shut out for the first time since 2014 and just the third time this decade.

No. 8 Camden County (5-0) beat Brunswick 48-20. It is impressive to see the Wildcats back in the top 10. Their next game is at Glynn Academy.

No. 9 Hillgrove (4-0) won a close game against Etowah 27-24.

Jose Chaires kicked a 27-yard field goal in overtime after Reuben Lowery got a hand on Etowah’s field-goal attempt in the first OT possession.

The Hawks forced four turnovers and took a 17-7 lead in the third quarter when Jourdan Smith returned a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown.

Garrett Wilds rushed for 86 yards, and Matthew McCravy passed for 242. Their next game is at South Forsyth (3-1).

No. 10 Parkview (2-1) beat Tift County 20-7. Tift County is only 1-4 so this is not impressive.

Cody Brown was held to less than 10 yards rushing in the first half. He finished with 142 and his 92-yard run in the fourth quarter put the game away. The one good team they played is Lowndes and Vikings thrashed the Panthers 38-7.

1 2 3 10