Here are the top high school football games this week from around the Middle Georgia area.
Mount de Sales vs FPD
7:30 p.m. Friday at FPD
Story of the game: In 1997, the Mount de Sales Cavaliers knocked off Tattnall, FPD and Stratford in the same regular season. That hasn’t happened since, but it could this week. Mount de Sales has already beaten Tattnall and Stratford in dominating fashion this season and will look to do the same against the Vikings. FPD comes into the game with three straight victories including a 27-14 win over Stratford last week. These two teams both sit at 3-0 in the region so the outcome of this one has more than just bragging rights on the line.
Keys to the game for Mount de Sales: This is one of the most talented teams in the Middle Georgia area. They have playmakers at nearly every position on both sides of the ball and there is a reason they are undefeated this season. Head coach Keither Hatcher has this team playing lights out each week. However, there are still naysayers who do not believe this team is physical enough, Hatcher said after the win over Tattnall. If they can channel that fire once again this week and not get caught up in records or accomplishments, they should be able to dominate this game.
Keys to the game for FPD: Trying to stop Mount de Sales’ one-two punch of quarterback Dexter Williams and running back Josiah Cotton is probably not possible at this point. However, the way to beat the Cavaliers could be to simply slow them down enough to pull off an upset. FPD’s offense will have to be laser-focused and not waste possessions. The Mount de Sales offense is too good and trying to come from behind against them would be tough. The key is for the Vikings to set the tone early and grind out a win over the Cavaliers in this rivalry game.
Staff pick: Mount de Sales
Mary Persons vs West Laurens
7:30 p.m. Friday at Mary Persons
Story of the game: Three teams sit at the top of the region standings heading into this week. Two of them square off in this game and could potentially decide who takes the region championship. The West Laurens Raiders are 6-1 on the season and 2-0 in region play. The Raiders have won three straight games in dominating fashion giving up a touchdown or less in each game. After a pair of losses, the Mary Persons Bulldogs have righted the ship since region play began to capture back-to-back wins. The Bulldogs sit at 4-3 on the season and 2-0 in region play.
Keys to the game for Mary Persons: This is a team that ran through the regular season last year with ease. The adversity they have faced this season has prepared them for a shot to take down a team like West Laurens who is currently the favorite to win the region. But it could be in the Bulldogs’ mind that a win this week just sets up another potential region title atmosphere against the team tied at the top, the Perry Panthers. This game could come down to which team is simply more focused on the field and less about the actual talent.
Keys to the game for West Laurens: This is a chance for this team to take control of a region that Mary Persons has dominated of late. The biggest thing will be not letting the pressure become too much. The Raiders need to avoid mistakes and limit turnovers. The Bulldogs have won games by taking advantage of those small missteps this season. West Laurens has looked like the better of the two teams so far this season but the stage of a potential region title could prove to be too much.
Staff pick: West Laurens
Warner Robins vs Bainbridge
7:30 p.m. Friday at Bainbridge
Story of the game: These two teams met in Atlanta last season for the state title game where they put on an instant classic in triple overtime with Bainbridge pulling out the win. Warner Robins was left with a sour taste in its mouth with many feeling like it was a state title game that got away from them. This season the Demons have looked again like a state title contender as they sit at 7-1 on the season with the lone loss coming to state powerhouse Colquitt County. Bainbridge started out 5-0 but has since dropped back-to-back games including one in the region to Veterans.
Keys to the game for Warner Robins: The Demons can’t let the emotions of last year’s game creep into their minds. It is a new year with some new faces at key positions and a new head coach in Marquis Westbrook. Quarterback Jalen Addie will continue to be the key for the Demons. They don’t need him to be perfect or to throw for 500 yards to win; they do need him to continue to grow into the quarterback position.
Keys to the game for Bainbridge: The Bearcats have struggled recently on the offensive side of the ball and the defense has continued to keep them in football games. In order to beat Warner Robins, the offense will have to figure some things out in a hurry or risk getting blown out. If the offense struggles against this tough Demon defense, then it could be a long night for the Bearcats barring their own defense forcing Addie into some big mistakes.
Staff pick: Warner Robins