Local teams continue their efforts for prove their mettle on the gridiron this week. While some squads have aspirations of building a strong start, others are looking to reverse their fortunes. Here are five things to look for in high school football around the area this week.
1. Mary Persons looks to keep up torrid pace
It’d be putting it mildly to say that Mary Persons has chewed up and spit out the competition so far. The Bulldogs are 3-0, having scored no less than 42 points in wins against Gainesville, Jackson and Morrow with the closest margin of victory being 31 points. The challenge starts to get a bit steeper this week in Forsyth in advance of region play.
Mary Persons hosts Lovett, a perennial postseason program in the 3A classification before traveling to Peach County next week. The Bulldogs will aim to keep up their punishing play on defense as well as their offensive dominance. So far, they have 245 rushing yards with Mary Persons’ usual stable of talented running backs led by Quen Wilson’s 382 yards and nine touchdowns.
2. Howard gets its shot at Westside
Officially, there’s no formal “city championship” game when it comes to teams in the public school ranks in Bibb County, but this one may as well be the closest to it. Both squads are 2-1 so far with a close loss and have plenty of big-play capability — Westside more so through the air and Howard on the ground. Sure, the big picture goal may be the postseason for both the Huskies and Seminoles, but Friday’s clash at the Ed Defore Sports Complex by all accounts will give the winner of a feather in their proverbial cap as the best team among Macon’s public schools. Howard also will be looking to become Macon’s second team to defeat Westside.
3. Points aplenty for Warner Robins
One way or another, games involving the Warner Robins Demons have featured plenty of points so far this year. Through two games, the Demons have outscored their opponents by a cumulative score of 90-69. What’s more? Warner Robins is averaging 564 yards of offense per game. During that two-game stretch, Dylan Fromm has already thrown for 789 yards. Marcayll Jones has been his top target to this point (12 catches for 295 yards).
After starting off the year against Tift County and Locust Grove, Warner Robins now gets ready for a grueling stretch starting this week against Baldwin before hosting one of 7A’s top teams, Colquitt County, next week prior to playing Northside the following week.
4. Passing Perry hungry for best start since 1989
The passing game continues to be very good for the Perry Panthers. In year two under Kevin Smith as head coach, the Panthers are off and rolling to a 3-0 start, their best since 1998, setting up a possible battle of unbeatens Sept. 21 between Perry and Veterans. Sophomore Lane Rucker has thrown for 800 yards so far with five touchdowns, and he has spread that passing game out to this point, as well. A trio of receivers, Malik Mullins, Jonathan Williams and Davion Ross are each averaging more than 50 receiving yards per game.
The Panthers travel to Monroe of Albany before being off next week. Veterans, meanwhile will look to stay unbeaten the next two weeks against Statesboro and Houston County.
5. Possible omen for Northside?
Northside will look to get back on the winning track as the Eagles host Whitewater. On the surface, Northside’s 1-2 start to the season would be cause for concern. The other half of that, however, is that the Eagles have taken on one of the area’s tougher non-region schedules, playing Peach County and Jones County. The hope for Northside is that the grueling schedule will have them set for region play that will consist of the 6A classification’s top teams — Lee County, Coffee and Valdosta.
Northside’s 1-2 start is its worst since 1997, but that could be an omen for the Eagles. That year, they went on to stun top-ranked Lowndes in the second round, a victory that spring boarded Northside to five quarterfinal trips in a six-year period.
Other area games of note
Northeast at Manchester
Southwest at Central (Henderson Stadium)
Rutland at Holy Innocents
Warren County at Twiggs County
Union Grove at Jones County
Glascock County at Crawford County
Lincoln County at Tattnall Square
Washington-Wilkes at Stratford
Hancock Central at FPD
Houston County at Peach County
Windsor Academy at Thomas Jefferson
Georgia Military College at ACE (Thompson Stadium)
Covenant Academy at Crisp Academy