By Ryan Rohde
A plethora of big-time matchups are on the docket this weekend in the Southeast. Many teams have already clinched their league titles and now look for that elusive perfect season. Meanwhile, many other teams will try to capture their conference championships in order to solidify a playoff berth. This weekend should be full of surprises and thrills.
Game of the Week
Sweet Water (9-0, PR: 92.33, Rank: 1) vs. Leroy (9-0, PR: 94.38, Rank: 1): Sweet Water looks to extend its three-game win streak against Leroy this Friday. Both teams -- defending state champs in each of their respective classes -- also look to cap off undefeated regular seasons. Sweet Water’s defense -- led by DL Tyrice Lockett, LB Delano Brewer and DB Antonio Landrum -- has been stifling all year. The Bulldogs have shutout four opponents while the offense has been just as dynamic in averaging 55 points per game. Leroy will likely lean on Clint Moseley the team's all-state QB who has a big arm and is a threat to take off with his legs. With both teams already clinching a postseason berth, this game does not have playoff implications, but it should be fun to see two state champions go after it.
Prattville (7-1, PR: 92.31, Rank: 5) vs. Central-Tuscaloosa (8-0, PR: 92.95, Rank: 1): Central has a big opportunity to show just how formidable they are against one of the most talented teams in the state. Prattville has been crushing in-state opponents all season long, which includes five shutouts. Central -- the defending 4A state champs -- has been playing 5A football this season and the move has led to eight straight wins. A victory here could give them some great momentum heading into to their playoff run.
Lincoln (9-0, PR: 94.46, Rank: 2) vs. Clay County (9-0, 93.36, Rank: 5): This matchup pits two more undefeated teams. Both squads recently wrapped up district titles and will try to finish with perfect records. Consider this a great chance for one of these teams to have an upper-hand in the playoffs with a win here.
Tuscaloosa County (9-0, PR: 97.76, Rank: 2) vs. Oxford (8-1, PR: 88.39, Rank: 8): Tuscaloosa County has a chance to grab the top spot in the polls going into the playoffs with a win on Friday. The Wildcats have rolled through their schedule so far, but their toughest test awaits this weekend. Oxford's only loss came by one point to a tough Hewitt team. Oxford has bounced back extremely well this season after having to forfeit seven games last year due to an ineligible player.
Game of the Week
Madison County (7-0, PR: 96.79, Rank: 1) vs. Godby (7-0, PR: 96.00, Rank: 1): This game won’t have much impact on playoff positions, but it does feature two of the Sunshine State's best on Friday night. The name of the game in this one will be speed as both squads feature dynamic, athletic players. Madison County showcases an explosive offense led by the running back duo Chris Thompson and Cory Akins. Meanwhile, Godby has a strong defense that has posted two straight shut outs and will have their hands full with an explosive Cowboys offense. Godby’s offense will be lead by Florida State commit wideout Willie Downs. Mark my words, this will be one of the best games of the year in Florida.
Ridge (7-0, PR: 90.71, Rank: 6) vs. Lakeland (7-0, PR: 93.47, Rank: 6): It's hard to believe that Lakeland has quietly marched to a 7-0 record, but this squad just keeps on winning. The Dreadnaughts have encountered their fair share of close games this year but continue to climb up the polls and will likely face their toughest opponent all season. However, Ridge comes into Friday's clash very confident after a giant win over Lake Wales last weekend.
Indian Rocks Christian (8-0, PR: 85.57, Rank: 3) vs. Fort Meade (8-0, PR: 91.38, Rank: 1): The top spot in 1A is on the line this Friday. The Indian Rocks offense is anchored by the running back trio of Johnny Sitton, Lou Mason, and Ethan Englebert. Meanwhile, Fort Meade’s defense has been outstanding this season, allowing just four points a game. This will likely be a showcase of a great offense against a great defense.
Plant (6-1, PR: 88.69, Rank: 2) vs. Chamberlain (8-0, PR: 95.23, Rank: 4): This is a huge Tampa Area battle. So far this season, the only loss for Plant came against national power Armwood, while Chamberlain has been cruising to easy wins from the start. The quest for a championship has become a lot more difficult for Plant since last week with the loss of QB Aaron Murray, who is out for the season with a broken fibula. Still, a win here for either team gives them a big boost for the playoffs.
Coffee County (7-1, PR: 81.55, Rank: 5) vs. Lowndes (8-0, PR: 90.94, Rank: 2): Lowndes has likely come to its final hurdle on the way to a district title and an undefeated regular season. Lowndes RB Greg Reid -- a Florida recruit -- has been shredding defenses all year long and is a contender for Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Coffee’s lone loss came to Northside team, one of the state's best teams, by just three points. The Trojans have a big chance to shake things up in the district and in AAAAA.
Westside (8-0, PR: 90.42, Rank: 1) vs. Thomas County Central (7-1, PR: 79.06, Rank: 8): Westside can solidify itself as the best team in AAAA and win the district title with a victory on Friday. Westside has been very impressive this year on both sides of the ball behind an offense averaging 44 points per game and a defense giving up fewer than four per game. Thomas County lost earlier in the year to an excellent Cairo team, but has reeled off six straight wins since. This game could be a possible playoff preview.
Turner County (7-1, PR: 75.51, Rank: 6) vs. Wilcox County (8-0, PR: 84.75, Rank: 1): The Region 2-A title is up for grabs this Friday. Turner County can grab at least a share of the title and can boost its ranking with a win. The Rebels have won seven straight since an opening season loss against Worth County. Wilcox County has gone through its schedule with relative ease, averaging 43 points per game, and should have its hands full this weekend.
Game of the Week
Ooltewah (7-1, PR: 88.29, Rank: 5) vs. Soddy Daisy (7-2, PR: 75.65, Rank: 17): Ooltewah features good size and speed on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense led by DT Que Jackson and DE Jaques Smith. Most of Ooltewah’s seven victories have come in dominant fashion with the team's sole loss coming against a tough Maplewood team. On the other side, Soddy Daisy looks to regroup after falling hard to Farragut, 42-12, last weekend. This is a great opportunity for the Trojans to bounce back from last Friday defeat.
Greenback (9-0, PR: 87.97, Rank: 5) vs. Oneida (9-0, PR: 88.42, Rank: 4): This has the potential to be the game of the year in 1A. These two squads will vie for the district title and most likely the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. While these teams are playoff bound, this game remains important in determining the path each will take in the playoffs.
Howard Tech (8-1, PR: 80.63, Rank: 7) vs. McMinn Central (9-0, PR: 91.13, Rank: 3): McMinn Central has had one close game all season, a 17-16 win over East Ridge on Oct. 3. Jordan Jackson has anchored the Chargers offense at QB this season, while the defense has put up three shutouts. Meanwhile, Howard Tech is battle-tested this season and is hungry for a peace of the district title. All indications point towards a down-to-the-wire finish in this gridiron battle.
Cordova (8-1, PR: 82.79, Rank: 11) vs. Millington Central (9-0, PR: 94.15, Rank: 1): Millington Central comes in with an average margin of victory of 28 points. The Trojans can win region seven and solidify the top spot in the polls this Friday. Cordova has pulled off eight straight wins after opening the season with a loss to Evangelical Christian and want a piece of that league title.
Battle Ground Academy (7-1, PR: 83.05, Rank: 3) vs. Ensworth (9-0, PR: 95.37, Rank: 1): This is a huge Division II matchup in Tennessee. Battle Ground is led by its Miami-OH recruit QB Jamal Ramsey. The Wildcats' only loss came to a strong Brentwood Academy team earlier in the year. All the while, Ensworth comes in at No. 1 in the polls and hopes to stay that way. All-state DB Taveras Jefferson leads a vaunted Ensworth defense. This game is going to be tight with the East/Middle division title going to the victor.
Morgantown (8-1, PR: 84.94, Rank: 5) vs. University (9-0, PR: 89.67, Rank: 2): The North Central League title is on the line this Friday and both of these crosstown rivals march into this contest on a roll. Morgantown has an experienced squad led by QB Ben Miller and the offense has been racking up the points this year. Meanwhile, University has a very formidable defense led by DB Brandon Tucker. Both teams know each other very well, so expect this one is going to be a knock-down-drag-out battle.
Look for Ryan's regional breakdown each week right here at FootballPower.tv.