Here are the featured matchups in high school football from around Middle Georgia this week.
Peach County vs Jackson
8 p.m. Friday at Peach County
Story of the game: This is a showdown between the top two teams in the region with each sitting at a perfect 4-0 in region play. The Peach County Trojans have outscored their region opponents 241-34 in those four games and have looked like one of the most dominant teams in the state. Jackson, on the other hand, has had to work hard for success with a pair of wins by three points or less. Both teams come in with a chance to take control of the region if Jackson takes a win over Peach County. Peach County would still need a win next week over Westside to avoid tiebreakers if Westside knocks off Pike County this week to improve to 4-1 in the region.
Keys to the game for Peach County: Let the playmakers make plays. This team is loaded with top-level talent on both sides of the ball. Guys like Clemson commit Sergio Allen at linebacker are almost unblockable in the run game but can easily drop into coverage for an interception. On offense, quarterback Jaydon Gibson has a plethora of weapons to pick apart a defense. There is a reason this team has scored over 40 points in all but three games this season and has crossed the 70 point threshold twice.
Keys to the game for Jackson: The Red Devils can’t afford to get into a shootout — they simply don’t have the offensive weapons to compete in a track meet against Peach County. The best chance Jackson has to upset Peach County is by turning this into a game of ball control. Northside did it effectively in the second half against Peach County earlier in the season but had created too big of a deficit in the first half to come back. The lone loss on the season for Peach County came in overtime to Houston County. In that game, it was about turnovers by the Trojan’s offense. Jackson will need to find ways to force turnovers and grind out the clock as much as possible
Staff pick: Peach County
Perry vs Mary Persons
7:30 p.m. Friday at Perry
Story of the game: Perry is looking to stay perfect in region play before taking on the other undefeated region team, West Laurens, next week. Mary Persons is coming off of a surprising blowout loss to West Laurens last week and is fighting to get a higher seed going into the playoffs.
Keys to the game for Perry: Quarterback Lane Rucker has this offense looking much better in recent weeks. Early in the season, this team struggled to consistently put points up on the board. They have outscored their last two opponents 78-14. Rucker must be mindful of Enrico Harden who even in the blowout loss last week had a pair of interceptions, one that he returned for a touchdown.
Keys to the game for Mary Persons: This game is about bouncing back. It is rare to see Mary Persons get blown out like it did last week. For the Bulldogs to win, they must put that game squarely in the rearview mirror and focus on a surging Perry team.
Staff pick: Mary Persons
Tattnall vs FPD
7:30 p.m. Friday at Tattnall
Story of the game: Tattnall lost a pair of rivalry games in a row to Stratford and Mount de Sales before bouncing back with a win over Central Fellowship last week. Tattnall hasn’t lost to all three in-town rivals since 2015 and before that, 1986.
FPD is coming off of a loss to Mount de Sales in which it looked poised for an upset until the Cavaliers took over in the second half.
Keys to the game for FPD: This team can lineup and pound the ball for four quarters on the ground. The Vikings have the ability to dictate the pace of the game with short effective runs that pile up over four quarters of play. It will take a lot of pressure off the passing game if they can run the football more effectively than they did a week ago.
Keys to the game for Tattnall: Tattnall will need to force some turnovers in this game. FPD has the ability to play a physical brand of football and match up well against Tattnall. Last week, Mount de Sales forced Vikings quarterback Parker Ingram into some bad throws that resulted in multiple interceptions.
Staff pick: FPD