Aquinas at George Walton Academy
Here’s an early test for Aquinas. The Irish lost some veterans from 2011, but with Brendan Douglas leading the returning players, Aquinas was seen as a threat to have another playoff run. But George Walton Academy is home and went 8-3 a year ago, losing in the first round to Wilkinson County (a team the Irish beat 24-21). I think Aquinas wins a thriller.
Hephzibah at Burke County
Here’s some medicine for Burke County. The Bears have had two weeks to think about the Thomson game and they get to play a team they’re 12-0 against all-time. Expect the BC offense to dominate and the defense to be strong. Don’t be surprised if the mercy rule is needed.
Burke County, 55-7
Butler at Westside
Two years ago, Butler’s 42-0, season-opening win against Westside showed the Bulldogs were on their way to drastic improvement. But this past Friday, Butler lost 43-0 to Laney. Now the question is whether or not Butler will fall back to the bad days, when it went through that 41-game losing streak. Don’t expect the Bulldogs to be that bad, but don’t expect a playoff season, either.
Josey at Glenn Hills
Big win for the Eagles last week, as turnovers fueled the victory. Meanwhile, Glenn Hills finally begins its season after a disappointing 1-9 campaign in 2011. The Spartans are 31-16 all-time against the Eagles, but they have lost three in a row. However, I think Glenn Hills wins a close one this year.
Glenn Hills, 27-21
Greenbrier at North Augusta
No shame for the Yellow Jackets after a 28-7 loss to Valdosta, one of the best teams in Georgia’s high classification. Now North Augusta is home against a Class AAAAA-Georgia team, and it’s a local one. The Wolfpack did beat Cross Creek in game No. 1, but asking Greenbrier to win this one is probably wanting too much.
North Augusta, 31-10
Grovetown at Swainsboro
Both teams want to get that win to be 1-1. Grovetown lost to Washington County by 51 a week ago while the Tigers lost to Worth County, 14-7, on Aug. 24. With Swainsboro getting an extra week to prepare – and getting homefield – the Tigers should come away with the first win in this series.
Lakeside at Thomson
Is Thomson “back?” Or have the Bulldogs never really left? Regardless, that 21-14 win at Burke County was impressive, especially with the physical nature of it. That should be seen again at the Brickyard as the Panthers visit. The Bulldogs won a wild 57-39 game just a year ago, and should get another win this time. Just don’t expect the same amount of points.
Westminster (Atlanta) at Laney
Welcome to the top 10 in Class AA, Laney. The local Wildcats trounced Butler 43-0 behind an impressive defensive performance. But another Wildcats team makes its way to Augusta, and this version also has top-10 ability. Honestly, maybe just flip a coin; this could go to either Wildcats squad.
Statesboro at Richmond Academy
Statesboro dispatched Lakeside 26-7 in Evans and probably will win by a bigger margin this week. The Musketeers’ offense struggled to pass against the Knights and the defense couldn’t stop the ground game. Some recent history: The Blue Devils have won the past three games (1999, 2006 and 2007) by a combined 115 points.
Washington-Wilkes at Lincoln County
Debates about best Georgia rivalries could arguably end here. These two meet for the 75th time, with the Red Devils up 36-32-6 in the series. Lincoln County has won five in a row and nine of 10 and is also No. 1 in Class A. The Tigers are improving under the leadership of coach Robby Robinson, but they’re not there just yet.
Lincoln County, 28-7