Burke County coach Mike Falleur said pay attention to tonight's Region 3-AAA clash at the top.
Playoff teams may eventually emerge from two games -- Burke County (2-1, 2-0 in Region 3-AAA) at Dublin (3-0, 2-0) and Richmond Academy (2-0, 2-0) at Josey (3-0, 2-0). The winners will share first place in Region 3-AAA.
"Whoever wins tonight, that will be two teams that control their own destiny," Falleur said. "If we were to win, we would have four of our last six games at home. You still have to play the games, but you like the fact that teams will be coming to you while you wait for them. The winner of the ARC-Josey game will have to feel pretty good, too. The loser will need some help."
The Burke County-Dublin matchup is an intriguing matchup of one of the area's best defenses facing an offense (Dublin) that has scored more than 40 points in each of its first three games. The Bears have posted back-to-back shutout wins.
"They are very talented on offense," said Falleur of the Fighting Irish. "They have three good running backs as good as anybody we will play. Defensively, you have to play assignment football, because the minute you become undisciplined, they take advantage of it."
ARC-Josey appears to be a big-play affair as both teams have players who can take it the distance at any moment. Musketeers' co-defensive coordinator Galen Phillips said he's sure there has been some trash talking going back and forth since many of the players on both sides live in the same neighborhood.
"We don't need to talk; we need to perform," Phillips said.
Jefferson County coach Charles Rutland was proud of his team's grit in a 7-0 win over previously unbeaten Class A No. 1 Lincoln County.
It marked the second time in three weeks that the Warriors had defeated a No. 1-ranked team. Jefferson County beat then-Class AAA No. 1 Burke County, 12-6, in the season opener.
"Our kids really stepped up and stopped them in the fourth quarter," Rutland said. "At halftime, you could feel the desire to win the football game."
STEPPING IT UP:
Class A No. 2 Emanuel County Institute (3-0, 3-0 in Region 4-A) put three runners over 100 yards in last week's 25-0 win over Johnson County.
Gary Handson rushed 10 times for 135 yards and two TDs; Bruce Steele rushed 14 times for 100 yards and threw for 51 yards and a score; and Timothy Williams rushed 12 times for 137 yards and one TD as the Bulldogs compiled more than 400 yards of total offense.
ECI has a chance to become the first area team since Strom Thurmond in 1996 to have three 1,000-yard rushers in one season. Handson (412 yards) and Williams (312 yards) are on pace, while Steele is slightly off (270 yards) the 1,000-yard rushing pace but is likely to have 1,500 yards of total offense in the regular season.
"Everybody is so worried about (Handson) and (Steele), but it's (Williams) that has really stepped up," Bulldogs' coach Isiah Andrews said. "He's been hurting people."
Thomson defensive backwide receiver Reid Sanders didn't play in a win over Laney because of an injury.
So what did Sanders do instead? He helped his dad, Dennis Sanders, with play-by-play on the Thomson radio station.
"Nobody knows what we're going to do better than Reid (Sanders)," Bulldogs' coach Butch Jacobs said. "Of course, we would like to have him on the field."
Junior quarterback Anthony Young, the son of Thomson assistant Al Young, threw a career-high four touchdowns vs. Laney. A positive sign for a team that had not scored an offensive touchdown in losing its first two games.
"I thought he (Young) did a real good job of throwing the football and our receivers did a good job of catching the football," Jacobs said. "He threw touchdowns to four different receivers which was good to see."
Greenbrier quarterback Michael Hicks set a career high and a Wolfpack school record with 311 yards and four touchdown passes in a 41-38 loss to Dublin.
Hicks, a junior, was 16-of-27 and ran nine times for 55 yards and a score in the contest. The two teams combined for 1,066 yards of total offense with Dublin amassing 553 yards to Greenbrier's 513 yards.
Hicks' father, Michael, grew up in Kansas City and was a reserve wingback at Kansas State from 1966-1969. He played with RB Larry Brown (Washington Redskins) and QB Lynn Dickey (Green Bay Packers and Houston Oilers) at K-State.
Hephzibah (2-1) will be at Class AAAA No. 3 Northside Warner Robins (3-0) in its Region 2-AAAA opener tonight.
Rebels' coach Ivory Hugee felt his squad was not mentally ready to play in last week's loss to Westside Macon.
"We let a golden opportunity slip away," Hugee said. "We just didn't play. We were 2-0 and had a great opportunity to be 3-0. They out-hustled us and mentally, we didn't play."
Hugee believes his squad will rise to the occasion against the Eagles, the Region 2-AAAA West favorite. The top two teams in each sub-region, East and West, will make the Class AAAA playoffs.