Phoenix drop AAA Region 6 opener

Sonoraville’s Zach McAfee, shown here making a tackle against Rockmart, is one of the top tacklers in AAA Region 6.

At the halfway point of the Georgia High School football season, Sonoraville has some of the top players in AAA Region 7, statistically speaking.

Going into Friday night’s games, the Phoenix needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but on just the sheer numbers, head coach Denver Pate’s team had some of the league’s biggest playmakers.

Offensively, sophomore quarterback Jaxon Pate leads the Region in passing, yards passing per game, total yards, and touchdown passes.

He has thrown for 1,065 yards in his team’s first five games or an average of 213 yards per contest and during that time, connected on 71-of-121 passings attempts with 13 touchdown throws.

Pate has also done damage with his legs, running for 254 yards, or just over 50 a game, and three touchdowns.

Those combined numbers give him 1,319 total yards or 263.8 yards per game, making Pate the league’s top offensive threat.

Murray County senior Justice Knott is second in the league in throwing with 943 yards, but that is through six games.

Three of the top five passers in the Region are sophomores with Adairsville’s Jonathan Gough averaging 121 yards per game and Rockmart’s JD Davis 93 yards per outing. Those two teams are presently half of the four teams in the region that would be in the AAA playoffs if the postseason started today.

Even though he missed one game and only played a quarter of another, junior running back Zach Lyles is fourth in the Region in rushing with 416 yards on only 49 carries. And Lyles does set the pace in the league with an average of 104 yards per game and an 8.5 yard norm per carry.

Lyles is just nine yards away from sitting third in rushing as LaFayette’s Jaylen Ramsey has 424 yards on the ground in five games.

Coahulla Creek senior Tyler Locklear leads the league with 565 yards rushing in six games and he has helped the Colts stand 4-2 overall, which is the best record in school history to this point in any season.

Adairsville senior Eli Agnew is third with 503 yards on the ground.

Pate’s 254 yards rushing actually has him in seventh place in that category in the region.

Junior Brant Bryant is fifth in Region 6 in receiving with 19 catches for 268 yards. Nicholas Beddington has made 16 grabs for 163 yards and Wyatt Springfield has 13 mores for 166.

Murray County has two of the top three receivers in the Region as far as passes caught. An Adairsville receiver is fourth and another is sixth in the region, sandwiching Bryant.

Defensively, Sonoraville senior safety Matthew Parrot and four guys from Rockmart are tied for the region lead in interceptions with two each.

Junior linebacker Tristan Mullins is second in the region in tackles with 49 through the first five games. He has 28 solos, assisted on 21 more and has six tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He went into this week just one tackle behind region-leading Chase Jarvis of Adairsville, who has made 50 rundowns.

Linebackers Zach McAfee and Wyatt Springfield are fourth and fifth, respectively in the region, and not far behind Mullins.

McAfee has 41 tackles on 22 solos and 19 assisted. He has also made five behind the line.

Springfield has made 40 drops with 28 solos and 12 assisted. He has four tackles for loss.

Senior end Jebb Knight has 30 tackles, including 21 solo bring downs. And he has been extremely disruptive in the other teams backfields, making seven tackles for loss this year.

Bryant has 27 tackles with 18 solos and he has assisted on nine others.

Senior Spencer McDaniel has 22 tackles and they are split evenly with assists on 11 of them and 11 all by himself.

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