North Forsyth at Forsyth Central
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Bulldog Stadium in Cumming.
Records, rankings: North is 3-2 overall and unranked in Class 7A; Central is 0-5 and unranked.
Series history: North leads 9-6.
Last meeting: North won 28-15 in 2016.
What to know: This rivalry that dates back to 1996 can’t be called old – yet – but it’s in danger of getting one-sided like it started to become in 2001 when most of the players who will take the field tonight were just infants. That year, North began a string of five straight wins in the series. The Raiders are on a new streak in the rivalry that stands at three straight wins, and they’ll be favored to make it four thanks to a high-powered offense that’s averaging 31 points and 437.8 yards a game. Despite Central’s record, the Bulldogs have seemingly found some answers on offense, too; Central has produced over 450 yards in its past two games, both overtime losses. So it’s likely this game hinges on which defense rises to the occasion. North’s is allowing 27.4 points a game, Central’s is allowing 27.2. Both allowed 49 points in their most recent game.
Lambert at South Forsyth
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at War Eagle Stadium in Cumming.
Records, rankings: Lambert is 2-3 overall and unranked in Class 7A; South is 5-0 and ranked No. 5.
Series history: Lambert leads 5-2.
Last meeting: Lambert won 28-21 in 2016.
What to know: What started as a one-sided rivalry in 2010 has gone back and forth the past four years, with Lambert pulling through against the War Eagles in last season’s region opener on the way to claiming its first region title in program history. The Longhorns enter this season’s game in the same shape as last year – 2-3 and under the radar. South is in much different shape than last year. The War Eagles are undefeated and ranked the highest the program has ever been. Both teams’ offenses are relying on the running game. Lambert has three players with over 200 rushing yards in Marcus Chatelain (413), Justin Bruno (239) and quarterback Bobby Gabriel (204). South has relied on senior Jared Honey as its workhorse. He has 526 yards and eight touchdowns and is on pace for over 200 carries by the end of the regular season.
Pinecrest Academy at King’s Ridge Christian
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., in Alpharetta.
Records, rankings: Pinecrest is 0-5 overall, 0-3 in Region 6-1A, Div. B and unranked in Class 1A; King’s Ridge is 1-4, 0-3 and unranked.
Series history: Pinecrest leads 4-3.
Last meeting: Pinecrest won 34-6 in 2016.
What to know: This game features two of the three teams still winless in Region 6-1A, Div. B play. King’s Ridge has lost four straight games since their opener Aug. 18 against Glascock County, and the Tigers haven’t defeated Pinecrest since 2013, a string of three straight losses to the Paladins. King’s Ridge relies on its running game – the Tigers average 189 yards on the ground compared to 46.2 through the air – led by running backs Casey Flanigan (343 yards, 4 TDs) and Kaleb Harris (224 yards, 3 TDs). Though Pinecrest is 0-5, it has faced much stiffer competition than King’s Ridge to this point. The Paladins’ three losses in region are to the top three teams (Mount Pisgah, Mount Paran and Walker) in the standings. This looks as good an opportunity as any for Pinecrest and first-year head coach Terance Mathis to get their first win together.
Milton at West Forsyth
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at The Den in Cumming.
Records, rankings: Milton is 4-1 and unranked in Class 7A; West is 4-1 and unranked.
Series history: West leads 3-0.
Last meeting: West won 31-6 in 2016.
What to know: The wait for this highly anticipated matchup is finally over. The hype started the moment it was announced Adam Clack had stepped down as head coach at West after three seasons to take the same position at Milton, setting up this return trip to the The Den on Region 5’s “Rivalry Week.” And the Wolverines’ former leader is off to a strong start with his new program. The Eagles played a tough non-region schedule and have found a lot of answers. The offense is balanced, averaging 190.4 yards passing and 184.6 rushing behind quarterback Jordan Yates (914 yards, 14 total TDs), running back Solomon VanHorse (586 yards, 3 TDs) and four receivers with at least 100 receiving yards, led by Dash Hairston (301 yards, 3 TDs). The Eagles also have last season’s Defensive Player of the Year, Justin Blanks, who has four sacks. Of course, West’s new head coach, Shawn Cahill, is off to a strong start himself; the Wolverines are in exactly the same shape (record-wise) entering region play as they were last season under Clack.