Tomson at Washington County - November 10
The Region 3-AAA North title should be on the line - as will the pride of the Golden Hawks after a 28-21 loss to the Bulldogs in the opening round of last year's playoffs. A meeting of two 8-1 teams ranked in Class AAA top 10 seems possible. The Bulldogs also have won nine in a row against Washington County, dating to 1982.
Washington-Wilkes at Lincoln County - September 15
No self-respecting Tiger could say squat to a Red Devil since last season's state title clash. The Lincoln County win silenced the rivalry for an off-season, and the blue and gold hasn't beaten its neighbors since 2002. It's a nonregion game now, but so what? A Washington-Wilkes victory could soothe the heartache of last year's title defeat. But only a little.
Laney at Jefferson County - November 3
This meeting shapes up to decide the Region 3-AA title. Both squads return most of their offensive spark of a year ago and enough strength on defense. But both teams have tough schedules this year. The teams have split their four meetings over the years, with Jefferson last winning 9-7 in 2003.
North Augusta at Strom Thurmond - Tonight
The defending Class AAA state champions welcome their biggest rival to kick off the season. But opening night comes with a twist. New Yellow Jackets coach Dan Pippin beat two powerhouse Strom Thurmond teams the past two years ... at South Aiken. North Augusta football would have its biggest moment in three years if a Pippin-coached team can beat the Rebels for a fifth consecutive season.
Laney at Strom Thurmond - September 8
Always a must-see event because of the talent on both sidelines, under the headsets and the helmets. The two teams combine precise execution and physical play as well as any in the area. Laney will be favored because it returns better lines and a proven quarterback. The now-graduated Coco Hillary led Thurmond to wins in 2004 and 2005. If the Rebels win again without him, they can probably say they own Laney. Not many teams can say that.
GEORGIA'S NEXT TOP FIVE
1. Westside at Laney, Oct. 27
2. Washington County at Baldwin, Sept. 1
3. Laney at Baldwin, Sept. 15
4. Jefferson County at Thomson, Sept. 15
5. Burke County at Jefferson County, Sept. 1
SOUTH CAROLINA'S NEXT TOP FIVE
1. Camden County (Ga.) at Aiken, Sept. 15
2. South Aiken at North Augusta, Oct. 20
3. South Aiken at Aiken, Nov. 3
4. South Aiken at Strom Thurmond, Sept. 15
5. Barnwell at Silver Bluff, Oct. 27
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