Scott Albert, Windsor: The senior quarterback threw two long touchdown passes -- one for 86 yards, the other for 83 -- in the first quarter against Bethlehem Christian.
Josh Brooks, Windsor: The junior running back accounted for two touchdowns in the Knights’ victory.
Noah Eure, Lamar County: The senior running back/defensive back rushed for 124 yards on 18 carries, scoring two second-half touchdowns to fuel the Trojans’ second-half comeback against Howard to force a tie.
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Willie Jordan, Northside: Whether it was with power up the middle or some wiggle up the middle, Jordan showed that he’s pretty healthy, getting 128 yards in a little more than two quarters before cramps sidelined him.
Courvosier King, Howard: The junior quarterback rushed for 44 yards on nine carries, scoring a pair of first-half touchdowns that allowed the Huskies to go into the locker room at halftime against defending GHSA Class AA runner-up Lamar County with a 13-0 lead. He also completed 5-of-10 passes for 82 yards in a game that finished in a tie at 19.
Jameson Lee, Windsor: The freshman running back ran for 172 yards on 13 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, to help lead the Knights to a 62-33 win over Bethlehem Christian.
Colby McCommon, John Milledge: The Trojans’ quarterback rushed 20 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns and completed 3-of-4 passes for 33 yards in a win over Trinity Christian.
Tobias Oliver, Northside: His first pass was incomplete. Other than that, there was little for Northside fans to complain about in the sophomore’s debut at quarterback on a few days notice. He ran for 75 yards and one touchdown and completed 5-of-7 passes for 111 yards.
LJ Smith, Lamar County: The junior quarterback/defensive back didn’t complete a pass against Howard, but he did pick off King twice. Smith also racked up 65 rushing yards on seven carries.
Clifton Tucker, Howard: The senior defensive back’s interception late in the second quarter set up King’s second touchdown.
Roscoe Wilcox, Dodge County: The Indians’ senior led the defense with seven solo tackles, including one for loss, and two interceptions as Dodge County broke a four-game losing streak to Bleckley County with a 35-10 win.
What we learned
Howard is improved: The first half of Friday’s game in Barnesville demonstrated just how much Howard has developed under second-year head coach Barney Hester. After winning a combined two games in the past three seasons, Howard looked like a team on the rise at Lamar County. Howard’s defense in the first half was especially impressive, holding Lamar County to 43 yards and three first downs. There was a bit of a letdown in the third quarter, and the game was far from mistake-free, but the Huskies found a bit of a second wind in the fourth quarter and played Lamar County to a stalemate.
Lamar County will be tested: Losing three stars to the ACC and a head coach to a Class AAAAA program can make for a difficult transition. And while Lamar County had flashes of play-making ability in the second half against Howard, there were also times when the Trojans were simply unable to advance the football. Howard’s front seven stuffed Lamar County, and it wasn’t until Lamar County opened things up outside in the second half that the Trojans got the offense going. The tests will continue up to the start of Region 4-AA play, as the Trojans’ remaining non-region opponents -- Pike County, Mary Persons, Ola and Alcovy -- are Class AAAA or larger.
Northside’s offensive line is strong: Despite being a little smaller and having less depth than expected, the Eagles -- primarily Brandon Sandifer, Tyler Dunn, Henry Scott, Curtis Spencer, Quentin Stanford and Caleb Kelly -- ran the ball nearly 60 times for more than 400 yards in rolling past North Cobb.
The streak is over: The Crawford County Eagles had gone 0-10 the previous four seasons and rode a 43-game losing streak into this season. But that came to an end Friday as the Eagles beat Mount Vernon Presbyterian 41-7. The victory was Greg Street's first as a head coach after back-to-back winless campaigns.
Howard at FPD, Friday: Once a game that was drawing interest as the first-ever meeting between neighboring programs and the first Bibb County public versus private game in nearly 50 years, this contest now appears to be very competitive, thanks to Howard’s strong showing at Lamar County. FPD’s defense, which returns just three starters from last season, will be tested.
Savannah Country Day at Stratford, GMC at Tattnall Square and Mount de Sales at Pacelli, Friday: Bibb County’s three new GHSA programs start their seasons.
Rutland vs. Westside, Friday at Ed DeFore Sports Complex: A very young Rutland team faces a balanced Westside squad with experience at running back. Westside beat Shakenneth Williams-led Rutland by 20 last season, but games in 2011 and 2012 were decided by seven points or fewer.
Northeast vs. Southwest, Friday at Henderson Stadium: Northeast launches its bid for a fourth straight winning season against its traditional rival. Head coach Bruce Mullen has built a strong defense the past few years, but only four starters return. Southwest is looking to snap an 11-game losing streak.
Peach County at Warner Robins, Friday: The Trojans’ performance in a scrimmage against Northside -- they won -- likely got the Demons’ attention, and it’s doubtful this one will match the 33-point margin of a year ago.
Veterans at Houston County, Thursday: A marquee matchups of quarterbacks with two programs seven miles apart trying to stay on the rise makes this a huge game. It’s a long week of practice for everybody in pass protection and pass coverage. And the Warhawks are ranked.
Mary Persons at Jackson: The fans have long pointed to this rivalry, although it’s pretty one-sided in Mary Persons’ favor, 52-19. But the Red Devils have climbed back into it, and the teams have split the past 10 games.
Bleckley County at Hawksinville: The Red Devils have lost three straight in the series and have scored six points in two of those losses and were shutout 31-0 in the other. They’ll be ready to go, considering the Royals just got smacked by Dodge County, which lost 21-7 last year at Hawkinsville.
Wilcox County at Dooly County: Two of Class A’s top programs of the past several seasons are likely to give the crowd in Vienna quite a show. This has been a back-and-forth rivalry, the Bobcats breaking a six-game losing streak a year ago.