Game: Mount Pisgah Christian (7-0, 3-0) at Mount Paran Christian (6-1, 3-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Mount Pisgah 42, Mount Paran 28
All-time series: Mount Pisgah leads 2-1
Prediction: Mount Paran 21, Mount Pisgah 17
Mount Paran Christian will host Mount Pisgah Christian on Friday for the outright subregion Region 6A (B) lead. Both teams enter the contest with 3-0 subregion records and they both face one more subregion opponent before the play-in game on Nov. 8.
The Eagles likely need to win Friday to have the best chance at playing for the region championship and a possible home playoff game. And with region champions earning the highest seeds among the 16 teams that qualify for the postseason, just getting into that region championship play-in game is the challenge Mount Paran faces.
“Each week seems to get bigger and bigger as you keep winning,” Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan said. “Whoever wins (Friday) night is definitely in the driver’s seat in the subregion and that much closer to playing for the region championship. But, there’s still another tough game remaining for both us.”
One subregion game remains on the schedule after this week with Mount Paran going on the road at Walker, and Mount Pisgah hosting Fellowship Christian.
The subregion champion will get to play for at least a share of the region championship.
Both the Eagles and the Patriots are playing at a high level, offensively. The Eagles are averaging 32.0 points per game while the Patriots average 31.4.
Mount Pisgah statistically has the better defense allowing 8.6 points per game to 13.6.
Currently, Mount Pisgah is third in the GHSA power ratings with 13.98 points. The Eagles aren’t far behind. They are sixth with 13.70 points.
Securing a home playoff game isn’t as easy anymore with the introduction of the power ratings system. However, Mount Paran’s play on the field has put it in good position to make a home game possible.
“There’s no way to manipulate the power ratings,” Jordan said. “We don’t talk about the ratings, but quality wins help, which is what we want to see happen Friday.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Walker (4-3, 1-2) at Whitefield Academy (2-5, 0-3), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Walker 21, Whitefield Academy 14
All-time series: Walker leads 6-5
Prediction: Whitefield Academy 28, Walker 21
It’s rivalry week for Walker and Whitefield Academy.
The teams started playing varsity football in 2002 and have met each other every year since. Walker holds a slight edge in the series, leading it 6-5, and has won three of the last four meetings.
The rivalry takes on a different meaning with the power ratings system involved. Whitefield is 19th in the standings with 9.76 points, while Walker is 24th with 9.17 points. The top 16 teams qualify for the playoffs and a win could move a team higher in the listings.
“It’s a big rivalry,” said Walker coach John East, who also spent time as Whitefield Academy’s athletic director. “Both schools started their football programs at about the same time. We’ve played each other every year since, so it’s a well-established rivalry and there’s been good back-and-forth between our kids and theirs. Our kids see it as a rivalry, and when I was at Whitefield it was a rivalry there too. It should be a good game.”
In order to get that victory and hopefully see his team climb in the ratings, East wants to see his struggling offense get off to a good start against Whitefield.
“We have to jump on it early and come out of the gate with a fast start,” East said. “We can’t get in a hole like we’ve been doing, and that’s what I’ve challenged this team to do.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Lakeview Academy (1-6) at North Cobb Christian (1-6), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Lakeview Academy 63-28
All-time series: Lakeview Academy leads 3-0
Prediction: Lakeview Academy 34, North Cobb Christian 17
North Cobb Christian has made strides offensively over the last three weeks with David Brittingham patrolling the backfield.
Brittingham was fourth in Cobb County in rushing with 784 yards and six touchdowns going into Friday’s loss to Towns County, and he might have played his last snap.
Brittingham is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, North Cobb Christian coach Scott Ryle said.
“I feel so bad for the kid,” Ryle said. “I really do. He’s worked so hard in being a steady player for us.”
It appears that Chandler Moeller will step in to fill that void Friday when the Eagles host Lakeview Academy. Moeller ended with 170 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown against Towns County, and will be counted on to post similar numbers against Lakeview.
“It’s going to be someone else’s opportunity,” Ryle said. “With (Brittingham) going down, Moeller stepping up has been great for us.”
Ryle wouldn’t mind seeing him average 4 to 5 yards a carry in order to keep Lakeview off the field. He said the Lions run the option, sometimes using three different quarterbacks.
“Lakeview is fast in the backfield,” he said. “They run a lot of option and that makes you have to be disciplined on defense. You make a mistake, they’re going to get you.”
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Sprayberry (1-6, 0-2) at Kell (7-0, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Kell 33-21
All-time series: Kell leads 4-1
Prediction: Kell 31, Sprayberry 20
Kell may be undefeated on the season with two more Region 7AAAAA (B) games to play, but based on the last three games the Longhorns have played, they aren’t where they want to be yet.
Slow starts top the list of concerns for the Longhorns.
Kell struggled in the first half in wins against North Springs, Riverwood and Osborne.
“We had an off week last week and did what we needed to do to rectify that situation,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “The guys have answered the challenges that the coaches have put on them.”
Going into its home game against east Cobb rival Sprayberry, Kell, which is coming off a bye week, is looking to start quickly and be consistent all four quarters.
Sprayberry is also looking to start fast if it is to break its three-game losing streak. In their 21-17 loss to Pope, the Yellow Jackets fell behind early, rallied for a fourth-quarter lead before the Greyhounds won on the final drive.
Like Kell, Sprayberry must cut down on the miscues in order to get out fast. It had 75 yards worth of penalties in the first half, lost a fumble on the goal line and a high snap cost the Yellow Jackets a field goal.
— By Adam Carrington
Game: Riverwood (5-3, 2-1) at Pope (3-4, 2-0), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Pope 13, Riverwood 10
All-time series: Pope leads 2-1
Prediction: Pope 28, Riverwood 24
After a rough start to the season, Pope has won two straight and three of its last four games. According to coach Matt Kemper, there really hasn’t been any key to the Greyhounds’ success as they prepare for a crucial contest against Region 7AAAAA (B) foe Riverwood at the Pope Multi-Sport Complex on Friday.
Pope has simply taken better care of the football and elimated many of their previous mistakes.
“Obviously, we’re not playing anymore (Class) AAAAAA schools,” Kemper said.
Pope went 7-4 last year and lost in the first round of the state playoffs. With many of its returning players coming back, the Greyhounds were expected to be a contender for their region championship and play to higher expectations.
Unfortunately, the team’s starting quarterback decided not to come back, and perhaps Pope’s best defensive player moved away. The result was a 0-3 start against Class AAAAAA teams before the Greyhounds picked up their first victory with a win over Class AAAAA Northview.
Things have gone well from there.
“The guys have been taking care of the little things,” Kemper said. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to do in practice with speed and enthusiasm, and that has carried over into Friday’s games. They’re taking care of business.
“We’ve played better and we’ve been more focused. We’ve made less turnovers and that’s translated into more success.”
Pope will need to maintain its formula for success if it hopes to have a chance at the region championship. The Greyhounds are 2-0 in the subregion with two games remaining, including Friday against Riverwood, and wins in those games would put Pope into the title game.
“Who knows what’s going to happen the next two games,” Kemper said. “These are two good football teams we’re going to be playing, and Riverwood’s quarterback is special.
“He does a lot of things that our offense has to prepare for. They’re a dangerous team.”
Riverwood runs a triple-option offense similar to Georgia Tech and quarterback Grant Drakeford runs it from the shotgun.
Kemper says he hasn’t seen his team play a complete game yet, which might acutally be a good thing that could help the Greyhounds on Friday.
“Wins make it easier to come to practice,” Kemper said. “Even at 1-4, we were still positive because we knew we could turn things around. We’ll have to see if that keeps up Friday night.”
— By Carlton D. White
Game: Allatoona (6-1, 6-1) at Hiram (1-6, 1-6), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Allatoona 20, Hiram 17 (OT)
All-time series: Allatoona leads 1-0
Prediction: Allatoona 35, Hiram 17
Three weeks before the postseason, Allatoona finds itself tied for first in Region 5AAAAA with South Paulding and North Paulding, with East Paulding only a game behind.
With such a tight race, the Buccaneers are on notice as they visit Hiram (1-6, 1-6) on Friday night.
“It’s hard to look past anybody because we can be first in our region or out of the postseason by the end of the year,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “Every game is important because nothing is settled in our region.”
Allatoona’s defense, which has allowed a region-low 14.3 points per contest despite difficulties with South Paulding and New Manchester, will be tested by Hiram’s triple-option attack.
“We’ll have to stay on our assignments going against their offense,” Varner said. “It’s difficult to practice for an option offense, which can lead to a slow start on defense. The players will have to make adjustments.”
The Bucs will host both North Paulding and East Paulding in the final two weeks of the season, placing more emphasis on avoiding the upset against Hiram.
“We’re moving forward as a program with a young team this season,” Varner said. “We have some big games ahead, and our ultimate goal is to make the playoffs for another year.”
— By Marcel Pourtout
MDJ Sports Writer