Forsyth Central at West Forsyth
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at The Den in Cumming.
Records, rankings: Central is 0-6 overall, 0-1 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A; West is 4-2, 0-1 and unranked.
Series history: West leads 1-0.
Last meeting: West won 24-7 in 2016.
What to know: Both teams are coming off frustrating losses, though for different reasons. West came inches (literally) from defeating Milton in former head coach Adam Clack’s return, which instantly put a dent in the Wolverines’ region title hopes. Central saw a concerning return to last season’s late struggles, when the team was shut out in its final three games, in a 58-0 loss to North Forsyth. West seems better equipped for a bounce back. Wolverines quarterback Zach Burns rushed for 131 yards against Milton, which boasts a top-10 defense in Class 7A, while Vanderbilt commit Ben Bresnahan caught a touchdown pass and rushed for another. Central, meanwhile, took a step back on offense last week; the Bulldogs managed just three first downs and 65 yards of total offense.
North Forsyth at Lambert
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at The Horn in Suwanee.
Records, rankings: North is 4-2 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A; Lambert is 2-4, 0-1 and unranked.
Series history: Lambert leads 5-0.
Last meeting: Lambert won 48-40 in 2016.
What to know: At the 2017 Forsyth County Media Day in July, North seniors Ben Bales and Clayton Bardall declared that this game was the one they most looked forward to playing this season. That’s because the Raiders had their first win against Lambert within their grasp last season before the Longhorns scored the final 21 points in a 48-40 victory. The Raiders are still scoring plenty of points. North’s 35.5 points a game is ninth-best in Class 7A. And the Raiders’ defense showed some moxie in last week’s 58-0 win at Forsyth Central. Lambert, meanwhile, is coming off a 38-0 loss to South Forsyth, the worse loss to its rival ever. With games ahead against West Forsyth (Oct. 20) and Milton (Oct. 27), the Longhorns’ chances of making a fifth straight state playoff might hinge on this one.
Fellowship Christian at Pinecrest Academy
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., Between the Pines in Cumming.
Records, rankings: Fellowship is 3-3 overall, 1-3 in Region 6-1A, Div. B and unranked in Class 1A; Pinecrest is 0-6, 0-4 and unranked.
Series history: Fellowship leads 4-3.
Last meeting: Fellowship won 42-28 in 2016.
What to know: Fellowship reached the Class 1A private school state championship last year for the first time ever, but they’ve taken a step back this season. The latest GHSA Class A Power Ratings have Fellowship ranked 25th, one spot out of the state playoffs. Still, Fellowship has remained competitive, even in back-to-back losses to Walker (28-27) and Whitefield Academy (31-24). Fellowship averages almost 200 rushing yards a game behind freshman tailback Lawson Haigler (457 yards, 5 TDs). Billy McCurry (53 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 7 sacks) leads the defense. Pinecrest, of course, has taken a step back, too. They missed one of their best remaining chances for a win last week against King’s Ridge in a 14-7 loss. Michael Birozes was a bright spot, though, catching a 90-yard touchdown pass and rushing for 57 yards.
South Forsyth at Milton
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Eagles Nest in Alpharetta.
Records, rankings: South is 6-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-7A and ranked No. 5 in Class 7A; Milton is 5-1, 1-0 and unranked.
Series history: South leads 1-0.
Last meeting: South won 35-14 in 2016.
What to know: When it’s all said and done, this game could end up being the de facto region championship. Both teams have top-10 defenses in Class 7A – South is fifth-best allowing 13.50 points a game, while Milton is eighth allowing 14.33. The War Eagles have amassed nine interceptions and 22.5 sacks, while Milton is led by Justin Blanks, the reigning region defensive player of the year, and safety Joseph Charleston, who recently committed to Clemson. But South also has a top-10 offense that scores 37.17 points a game behind its powerful rushing attack, led by senior Jared Honey (600 yards, 9 TDs). The War Eagles have seen the likes of Charleston before. They scored 37 points against then-No. 10-ranked Lassiter, which had defensive backs committed to Michigan State and Notre Dame.