South Forsyth vs. Milton
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. at War Eagle Stadium in Cumming.
Records, rankings: South is 4-2 and unranked in Class 7A; Milton is 4-2 and unranked in Class 7A.
Series history: South leads the series 2-0.
Last meeting: South won 21-13 in 2017.
What to know: Maybe there was some hope among the region that Milton wouldn’t be a Goliath after the Eagles dropped their last two non-region games and fell out of the state rankings. But that might be fading after Adam Clack’s squad blew out West 41-0 in the region opener. South has certainly shown some bright spots so far this season, like its formidable talent on the defensive front and a solid running attack led by Jordan Brunson and Drew Morris, but Milton just looks to be more talented in all facets of the game. Last year’s War Eagles win in this matchup was proof that South’s non-region tear wasn’t an illusion; a victory here, though, would be a significant upset.
West Forsyth at Forsyth Central
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium in Cumming.
Records, rankings: West is 1-5 and unranked in Class 7A; Central is 5-1 and unranked in Class 7A.
Series history: West leads the series 2-0.
Last meeting: West won 38-19.
What to know: Frank Hepler’s Bulldog squads have generally shown good fight against West, the team he started up late last decade: Central’s 24-7 loss in 2016 was one of the closer ones of that team’s region schedule, and the 38-19 defeat at West in 2017 saw the Bulldogs outscore the Wolverines 19-7 in the second half. Coming off last week’s win at North, Central’s first over a county opponent in 11 years, this group is riding higher than any of Hepler’s teams in the past three years, and its defense, led by former West coordinator David Rooney, should be a challenge for a West squad that has been inconsistent on offense. The Wolverines have probably faced the toughest competition of any county team up to this point, though, and it wouldn’t be a surprise for West to flex its own defensive talent and get back in the playoff race.
Lambert at North Forsyth
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. in Raider Valley in Coal Mountain.
Records, rankings: Lambert is 3-3 and unranked in Class 7A; North is 2-4 and unranked in Class 7A.
Series history: Lambert leads the series 5-1.
Last meeting: North won 45-21 in 2017.
What to know: Last year’s walloping was the high point for that year’s Raiders and might have been the low for the Longhorns. Things have changed quite a bit since then. North is no longer the pass-heavy spread it was then, now relying mainly on the running skills of Carter Mullikin and Honus Wagner, and Lambert’s defense is a more formidable bunch. The result here looks like a toss-up, but it almost certainly won’t reach the 66 combined points these teams put up in last year’s matchup.
Denmark at Marist
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. in Atlanta.
Records, rankings: Denmark is 4-3 and unranked in Class 4A; Marist is 6-1 and ranked No. 6 in Class 4A.
Series history: This is the teams’ first-ever meeting.
Last meeting: This is the teams’ first-ever meeting.
What to know: The Danes’ region is split cleanly between powers and the lesser forces: Blessed Trinity, Flowery Branch and Marist are a combined 18-1 and have all scored more than 200 points while giving up less than 100. The next four teams, meanwhile, are all behind on aggregate, and the Danes’ 4-3 overall mark is the only winning record among them. Denmark still has an outside shot to get in the playoffs, if the Danes beat White County and West Hall loses out, but progress towards that goal almost certainly won’t come against Marist, which most recently pummeled West Hall 51-14.
Pinecrest Academy vs. St. Francis
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., Between the Pines in Cumming.
Records, rankings: Pinecrest 3-3 and unranked in Class 1A; St. Francis is 2-4 and unranked in Class 1A.
Series history: Pinecrest leads the series 3-1.
Last meeting: St. Francis won 28-23 in 2017.
What to know: This game was the beginning of an agonizing end-of-the-season stretch for Pinecrest last year, as the Paladins coughed up a 17-7 halftime lead, lost 28-23, and then lost their final game by two points to Oglethorpe County. This year, though, the Paladins have a real shot at a playoff berth with two region games to go, and they’ll be favored in this one, but it’s not a shoo-in. This will be a test of mettle for Pinecrest and second-year head coach Terance Mathis, with more at stake than any prior game in his tenure.