Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Previewing class A and AA Region Action (Week of October 6)

Tyquan Johnson (top) and Ty King (bottom) have Screven County and Jefferson County on a collision course for the class AA, region 4 title.

This Friday is the first night when all area teams will have officially made the leap into region action, sort of like Aquinas's George Welch did last Friday when the Fighting Irish jumped out to a 1-0 start in league play:

This is the first of several AugBball region preview posts before Friday's games. Here I'll focus on the area's class A and class AA regions on the Georgia side of the border. Soon to follow will be previews for class AAAA region action in both South Carolina and Georgia, as well as the key class AAAAAA region games in Georgia.

Class A Catch-Up

Aquinas (3-2, 2-0) is surging, having won two straight games including an important 9-3 win at Calvary Day two weeks ago. Because the Irish's state playoff hopes are tied to class A's "power rankings," the win at Calvary Day, which is currently #11 in the rankings on the private school side (Aquinas is currently #15), jump started the Aquinas's season after a 1-2 start that included a three week hurricane induced break from play. GPB Sports took notice of the Irish's big win and featured it on last Wednesday's mid week update:

Aquinas's more recent win, a 45-14 drubbing of region foe Hancock Central on the road Friday, wasn't nearly the nail biter as the game at Calvary Day. Quarterback John Paul posted 289 passing yards and 3 touchdown passes while completing 21 of 31 attempts in that win. Paul found the senior Welch for two of those scores, and Welch finished with 89 receiving yards on 7 catches.

Class A, Region 7B standings (Oct 3)

The Irish's next couple games, both at home, come against region opponents which aren't as close to the top 16 cut off in the power rankings needed to qualify for the state playoffs. First comes #32 Warren County (Friday), and then #25 Greene County on October 13. If Aquinas extends its win streak, its October 20 road game against Washington-Wilkes (#11 in the public school power rankings) will matter a lot. The Irish will then wrap up the regular season at Lincoln County the following week in another promising matchup. Aquinas, Washington-Wilkes, and probably Greene County and Lincoln County, are on a four week collision course of games that will determine the sub region's winner.

Live broadcast
Warren County @ Aquinas
Friday, October 6 at 6:30 PM

Speaking of Washington-Wilkes (2-3, 1-0) and Lincoln County (1-4, 0-1), those two class A public school teams, both rich with tradition, played Friday. Washington-Wilkes was victorious and the Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux had the game story at this link. Michaux's article the morning before the big rivalry game about Washington-Wilkes's 1967 state championship team was a fantastic read. It made me realize that I shouldn't wait until next season to get interested in this class A region race.

Class AA's two team race

In last week's "AugBball review," I asked if Harlem could make class AA's region 4 a three team race. CJ Wright and a host of Screven County (5-0, 3-0) playmakers and hard hitters answered that question with Friday's 35-0 route of the Bulldogs in Sylvania.

CJ Wright does it all for Screven County, including kicking off.

I wasn't the only person hoping for a competitive game Friday. Screven County's broadcast announcer Burton Kemp Jr. wrote two features in the Sylvania Telephone about Harlem's visit, one headlined "Hot Harlem here looking for the upset" and another titled "Finally, a meaningful game on the schedule." But Kemp also pointed out that the Gamecocks, or the Roosters as he calls them, are ranked #3 in class AA. And they went into Friday's game leading the state in points scored, AND holding the second spot in points allowed, for good reason.

I promise I had no idea the front page of the Sylvania's paper's sports page mention a "hot" Harlem when I prefaced my question for Wright after the game by saying "Harlem came in here kind of hot." Wright's mention of Herschel Walker in his answer was entertaining. See it and learn about his well rounded athletic record here:

It appears that Wright, Kemp, and I were all surprised by Harlem's Cameron Garnett's absence from Friday's entire game. That didn't help Harlem. And AJ Brown, who joined Garnett to make the region's top two rushers leading into the game, only played the first quarter. But with all due respect to Harlem, which has another daunting game Friday at #8 ranked Jefferson County, I don't think the final score would have been different Friday had the Bulldogs been at full strength.

The Facebook post directly below has the link to my story from Friday's game, which includes full highlights and pictures:

Jefferson County (6-0, 3-0), which entered Friday's 49-8 win over Glenn Hills tied for first in class AA with the Gamecocks in points scored, has joined Screven County on a collision course towards their November 3rd showdown in Sylvania that will likely have at stake the region title. That game has the potential to be the most exciting regular season game of the season. The offensive firepower involved is too extensive to do justice to here. But here are a couple interesting matchups involving each team's passing game:

I'll be back with previews for the class AAAA scene (for Georgia and South Carolina) and Georgia's class AAAAAA scene Wednesday night!

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