Welcome to Week 10. We have arrived in November, which means the varsity football playoffs are in sight. The region picture is beginning to take shape right before our eyes as the question of seeding begins to enter the conversation. Here are this week’s matchups for Floyd County-based teams as the playoff push begins to enter the final quarter.
Armuchee (2-4, 0-2) at Trion (2-6, 0-2), 7:30 p.m.
The Armuchee Indians return to action Friday night with a Region 6-A Public showdown at Trion High School against the Bulldogs. Both teams are in search of their first region victory.
“It always special when you get to play Trion, but coming off our second time being off for a few weeks, it’s just going to be good to play again,” Indians head coach Jeremy Green said in a phone interview. “It’s more of a focus on us getting to be together in the light of everything that’s going on.”
Armuchee’s record stands at 3-4 overall with an 0-2 Region 6-A Public mark. The Indians have not played since Oct. 16 at Mt. Zion, a 31-14 loss.
“We felt like we were getting better and improving and we’re just trying to pick up where we left off,” Green said. “We felt like at times over the last few games, we’ve played some of our better football.”
Trion is 2-6 so far in 2020, looking to end a two-game losing skid. The Bulldogs’ two victories include Dade County and Southeast Whitfield County. Last week, Trion fell to B.E.S.T. Academy 16-6.
“Trion’s Trion,” Green said. “Every Trion team I’ve seen almost of the course of my life, they’ve always got really big, strong kids and they play really tough. They’ve got a really great running back and they love football there and they’ve got a great tradition. Not everyone will understand this, but I just always say ‘Trion’s Trion.’ You know what you’re going to get with them every year.”
In a six-team region, the victor of Armuchee-Trion is in a solid position to contend for a playoff spot in the Class A playoffs.
The Indians and Bulldogs have met 48 times on the gridiron, going back to 1964. Armuchee is 13-33-2 all time against Trion, with its first win a 14-7 contest in 1984.
Trion won last year’s meeting 41-6.
Dade County (2-5, 1-2) at Coosa (3-4, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.
The Coosa Eagles battle the Wolverines of Dade County as both teams aim to stay in contention for a playoff spot in Region 7-AA. The Eagles are 0-3 in 7-AA and a loss to Dade would essentially see their playoff chances end.
Coosa has struggled offensively since beginning Region 7-AA play, scoring just 13 offensive points in three region meetings.
The Wolverines are looking to start a win streak after knocking off Chattooga 19-14 in a head-turner in Trenton last Friday. Senior quarterback MacKinley Everett led the way offensively with 60 passing yards and 103 rushing yards. Fellow senior Cody Williams registered 141 yards on 23 carries.
Chattooga tailback Lashaun Lester, who had rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns versus Coosa, was held to just 28 ground yards at Dade, but did pick up 80 yards and a receiving touchdown in the loss.
History has overall leaned with Coosa, as the Eagles are 18-8 all time against the Wolverines. The Eagles have won seven of the previous 10 matchups. However, Dade won last year’s meeting 33-14.
North Cobb Christian (6-1, 1-0) at Darlington (5-3, 1-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Darlington Tigers are back in action Lakeside as the North Cobb Christian Eagles make their way northwest. The Tigers are in need of a rebound after a 31-24 loss at Christian Heritage last Friday.
“Coming up against another very good opponent for the second week in a row,” Tigers head coach Tommy Atha said. “We’re certainly glad to be at home. Our kids love playing here, so anytime you can play a big game at home, I think it’s good.”
Darlington junior quarterback Patrick Shelley threw two touchdown passes and had a scoop-n-score in the seven-point loss.
Atha said the Tigers focused on taking advantage of opportunities in this week’s practices, as the team has been either tied or within a score late in the fourth quarter in all three losses to date.
“We have to execute when it counts,” Atha said. “We can’t afford to make mistakes that are going to put us behind. We’ve got to play out front and not from behind.”
Last time the Tigers were Lakeside, a comeback was needed to knock off Mt. Paran Christian 30-27. In that game, Shelly and senior running back Harrison Allen each recorded two rushing scores.
Meanwhile, North Cobb Christian is looking to make it three-in-a-row and keep pace with Christian Heritage for Region 7-A Private. Their 48-7 win over Walker was the Eagles most lopsided victory so far in 2020.
“They’ve just got so much speed,” Atha said. “They’ve got skill players all over the place. They’re big up front, so they certainly pose a challenge there. Defensively, they move a lot and they bring a lot of pressure. Making sure that we fit properly and block the right people is certainly very important.”
Darlington is 3-1 all time against North Cobb Christian as the teams first met in 2016. The Tigers won last year’s contest 21-6.
Pepperell (3-4, 2-1) at Model (4-3, 2-1), 7:30 p.m.
A high-stakes battle is about to take place between the hashes Friday in Shannon as the Pepperell Dragons meet the Model Blue Devils.
“They have a lot on the line just like we do,” Dragons head coach Rick Hurst said in a phone interview. “It’s been all about poise and composure this week.”
“Coach Hurst is going to have his kids prepared,” Blue Devils head coach Jeff Hunnicutt said. “We came in Sunday and started challenging our kids. We’ve really gone back to a lot of fundamentals this past Monday trying to build a little success in regards to that. I hope we respond the same way we did after the Haralson County loss and, if we can do that, I think Floyd County’s in for a good game.”
Model and Pepperell currently occupy second and third place respectively in Region 7-AA. The winner of this contest would maintain sole possession of second place in the region and own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The victor would hold second for at least 24 hours as Chattooga, also at 2-1 in 7-AA, will face Fannin County on Saturday night in Summerville.
The contest will feature a pair of highly-regarded tailbacks as sophomore D.J. Rogers faces senior Joseph Wallace.
Quarterback-wise, Model’s Sam Silver will go against a Pepperell defense that has allowed an average of about 21 points per game in region competition. Pepperell’s Matthew Waddell faces an equally tough test in a Model defense that had allowed 19.6 points per game.
“We’ve worked a lot on our passing game, which has not been what we’ve wanted and what we felt like it would be in the beginning of the year,” Hurst said. “When you’ve had the injuries we’ve had, it definitely puts a damper on your vertical passing game. Not to say we can’t do it; we just haven’t had a good success rate. We’ve got guys who can make plays all over the field, ... (but) from a consistent standpoint, we just haven’t been able to put together a lot of good things in the passing game.”
This will be the 58th meeting all time between the Dragons and Blue Devils with the first game occurring in 1951. Pepperell leads the series 34-20-3. Pepperell has had Model’s number in more recent years, winners of 19 of the previous 20 meetings. Pepperell has won the last four in a row.
“It’s great for fans, it’s great for the kids, but as coaches, it’s another game and we try to focus our guys,” Hurst said. “It’s important, don’t get me wrong, 365 days of bragging rights is huge. We definitely want to keep those. But you’ve got to be able to put it into perspective.”
“It’s always a big game,” Hunnicutt said. “With 18 seniors, we’re trying to make sure they understand these opportunities. It’s an opportunity to play and it’s a big game because it is the next game.”
Alexander (5-2, 3-1) at Rome (4-3, 3-1), 7:30 p.m.
The Rome Wolves return from their final bye week to a crucial Region 5-AAAAAA matchup against the Alexander Cougars at Barron Stadium. The matchup in terms of regional placement is strikingly similar to that of Pepperell-Model.
Two weeks ago, the Wolves defeated East Paulding 14-3. Rome’s defense has allowed 11 points over its previous two games.
With a Rome win, the Wolves would either move into sole possession of second place or a tie with Douglas County, should Douglas County defeat Dalton.
Offensively, Alexander is led by junior quarterback Donovon Hoskins, who has passed for 537 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Hoskins can also create plays with his feet, as he leads his squad in rushing with 75 carries for 555 yards and eight TDs.
Senior running back Tyren Curd is second on the Cougars with 330 yards and four rushing scores.
For Rome, freshman quarterback Reece Fountain has started the Wolves’ previous two contests. In 2020, he is 31-for-43 passing for 310 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions.
Rushing wise, senior EJ Burks has been a mainstay, but junior Bryson Hill and the emergence on freshman Shaun Nelson give Rome options at tailback distributions. All three have rushed for over 200 yards with two ground TDs apiece.
Rome’s defense has stood tall for much of 2020. In their previous region two games, the Wolves have allowed just 11 points.
Friday will be the first-ever meeting between the two football programs. According to Maxpreps.com rankings for football teams in Georgia, Alexander ranks 74th and Rome is 75th. Heavyweight first encounter? Count on it.