TOOMBS COUNTY (2-3) AT LANEY (3-1)
LAST WEEK: Toombs County lost 41-6 at Dublin; Laney won 35-0 at Dodge County
KEY PLAYERS: Toombs County-- RB/LB Demery Hawkins, DL/TE Neal Rogers, RB/DL Kevin Dennard; Laney-- RB Eugene Moore, DB/WR Cameron Stallings, WR James Bing
KEY MATCHUP: Toombs County's offense vs. Laney's defense. Toombs County runs a spread offense that has sputtered two of the past three weeks, when it combined for one TD against Jefferson County and Dublin. Laney is coming off a shutout win.
OUTLOOK: Toombs County, led by successful former Swainsboro coach Shane Williamson, has lost three in a row since a 2-0 start. Laney Memorial Stadium doesn't seem like the place to turn things around in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
PREDICTION: Laney 24, Toombs County 6
HARLEM (0-4) AT RICHMOND ACADEMY (3-1)
LAST WEEK: Harlem fell 22-15 to Lakeside; Richmond Academy lost 41-10 at North Augusta
KEY PLAYERS: Harlem-- RB/S Seth Hill (Jr., 5-9, 180), RB/LB Edmond Jones (Sr., 5-10, 200), LB/RB Forrest Christian (Jr., 5-11, 190); Richmond Academy-- WR Brandon Vereen (Sr., 6-3, 195), QB Mar-Quon Medlock (Jr., 6-0, 180), DL D.J. Brooks (Jr., 6-1, 320)
KEY MATCHUP: Harlem's seniors vs. Richmond Academy's seniors. This is a leadership, gut-check-type of game for both teams. Harlem has yet to win, and it'll be up to the Bulldog veterans to provide the necessary motivation to prevent the rest of the team from giving up. After a 3-0 start, the Musketeers are coming off a blowout loss reminiscent of so many defeats during a multi-season losing streak. The Richmond Academy seniors must rally the team to bounce back.
OUTLOOK: The 2008 season isn't halfway through, but Harlem is already facing a must-win situation. Expect the Bulldogs to respond to the pressure, but Richmond Academy was reminded what it was like to lose two weeks ago and won't let that happen again tonight.
PREDICTION: Richmond Academy 24, Harlem 14
HEATHWOOD HALL (4-1) AT AUGUSTA CHRISTIAN (5-1)
LAST WEEK: Heathwood Hall beat Wilson Hall 21-16; Augusta Christian needed four overtimes to beat Ben Lippen, 48-41
KEY PLAYERS: Heathwood Hall-- QB Mac Whalen (Jr.), WR Jack Moorman (Sr.) LB Walker Sojourner (Jr.) ; Augusta Christian-- QB/WR/RB William Banks (Sr., 5-9, 180), WR Evan Wells (Jr., 6-2, 175), LB Cameron Hoover (Jr., 6-0, 180)
KEY MATCHUP: Banks vs. Sojourner. Banks has made the offense go at Augusta Christian with 777 yards rushing, 465 yards passing and 14 total touchdowns. Sojourner is the defensive leader at linebacker with 13 tackles (two for losses) against Wilson Hall and 11 tackles (five for losses) against Porter Gaud. Something has to give.
OUTLOOK: Heathwood Hall used to be the Lions' unbeatable foe until Augusta Christian broke through with wins in 2007 and 2008. Both teams have fallen in the shadow of two-time state champion Hammond in recent years, and the winner of this game will challenge Hammond for the SCISA crown.
PREDICTION: Heathwood Hall 38, Augusta Christian 35
HEPHZIBAH (3-1) AT LAKESIDE (2-2)
LAST WEEK: Hephzibah was off; Lakeside won 22-15 at Harlem
KEY PLAYERS: Hephzibah-- QB Connell Reddick (Sr., 5-9, 175), WR/DB Blake Bush (Sr., 6-4, 180), RB/LB Demetrious Washington (Sr., 5-9, 190); Lakeside-- QB Chad Chandler (Sr., 5-10, 185), RB/LB Michael Paul (Sr., 6-1, 180), WR Levi Hanks (Sr., 5-10, 170)
KEY MATCHUP: Hephzibah's offense vs. Lakeside's defense. Lakeside has allowed at least 15 points in its three region games, and now it faces a RB (Antoine Nabors) who ran for 271 yards last time out. It's time for the Panthers to stiffen up.
OUTLOOK: Hephzibah has yet to lose a region game as it enters a crucial part of its schedule. A sweep of Lakeside and Glenn Hills would virtually guarantee the Rebels their second playoff berth. They should be halfway there by the end of the night.
PREDICTION: Hephzibah 26, Lakeside 17
CROSS CREEK (2-2) AT GLENN HILLS (2-2)
3 P.M. SATURDAY
LAST WEEK: Cross Creek beat Josey 14-6; Glenn Hills lost 17-0 at Evans
KEY PLAYERS: Cross Creek-- QB Keenan Grissett (Sr., 6-2, 210), WR/LB Pat White (Sr., 6-0, 195), DB/WR Jermaine Dewberry (Sr., 5-10, 170); Glenn Hills-- RB/LB Lonnie Moore (Sr., 6-1, 235), DE Jerico Brown (Sr., 6-2, 245), RB/DB Collin Bing (Sr., 5-11, 185)
KEY MATCHUP: Cross Creek's offense vs. Glenn Hills' defense. Cross Creek hasn't scored on Glenn Hills in two years. The offense, led by Grissett, is the team's strength.
OUTLOOK: Cross Creek has won two in a row since a tough start that included a blowout loss at Washington County and a 308-yard rushing performance by Westside's Chris Hunter. It will be tough to sustain that momentum against a stronger opponent.
PREDICTION: Glenn Hills 19, Cross Creek 13
WESTSIDE (2-2) AT JOSEY (0-4)
3 P.M. SATURDAY
LAST WEEK: Westside was off; Josey lost 14-6 to Cross Creek
KEY PLAYERS: Westside-- RB Chris Hunter (Jr., 5-10, 175), TE Eric Vivian (Sr., 6-6, 210), QB Josh Edmunds (Sr., 6-3, 195); Josey-- RB Charles Hankerson (Sr., 5-11, 195), RB/LB Tywain Brown (Sr., 5-11, 210), QB/WR/DB Darnell Brown (So., 6-1, 175)
KEY MATCHUP: Westside's running game vs. Josey's defense. The Patriots blue-collar offensive line will look to wear down the thin Eagles and carve huge holes for Chris Hunter (824 rushing yards). Josey has allowed at least two TDs in every game.
OUTLOOK: Westside has had two weeks to regroup since blowing a second-half lead to Hephzibah. This seems like a good spot to rebound. Josey is going to get a couple of wins this year, but not here.
PREDICTION: Westside 34, Josey 22
-- From staff reports