This Week's Prep Football CapsulesCompiled by CHRIS GOLTERMANN and DOUG GORMAN
Listed below are brief capsules highlighting tonight's Coweta County prep football games.
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., Drake Stadium
RADIO: Magic 98.1 FM; NuLink Channel 7 (audio only)
THE SKINNY: For the second consecutive week the Cougars pulled out a comeback victory after trailing at halftime, coming from 14-points down early against LaGrange. Newnan, however, faces its toughest challenge yet in a Patriots program that hasn’t lost in the regular season since a trip to East Coweta to open the 2009 season. Sandy Creek’s skill on offense expects to be the toughest and deepest of any opponent on the Cougars’ schedule this fall.
LAST WEEK: Newnan defeated LaGrange 24-21 at home. Sandy Creek beat Banneker 52-6 in College Park.
SERIES RECORD: This is the first meeting between schools. The Patriots are 7-1 against Coweta County opponents (6-0 vs. Northgate, 1-1 vs. East Coweta).
GAME BALL: It’d be hard to vote against Matthews, who made 4 tackles and finished with five catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns. But linebackers Cameron Walker finished with 10 tackles including two sacks and two more tackles for loss while in the middle of things on both of Newnan’s fourth-down stops in the second half. Tonaris Portress led the defense with 13 tackles in the win over LaGrange.
KEY PLAYERS: Newnan — S/ATH Tray Matthews, Sr. (14 tackles, 236 rec. yds., 5TDs), QB Bailey Bryant, So. (460 yards passing, 5TD, 0 INT), WR Traon Moss, Sr. (10 rec., 107 yards, 2 TDs), RB Quinton Dix, Sr. (14 car., 140 yds, TD), LB Tonaris Portress, Jr. (20 tackles, fumble recovery, INT), LB Maurice White, Sr. (12 tackles, sack, QB hurry), LB Cameron Walker, Sr. (3 sacks), S/WR Darrell Morrow, Sr. (9 tackles), CB Rodney Tennie, Sr. (7 tackles, INT, OL/NG Jamal Carlisle (6-1, 287, Sr.), DL/TE Mark Harris (7 tackles), DL Ricky Kirkland (7 tackles), OL David Raschen (6-4, 290, Sr.), P/K Tyler Mulvenna, Sr. (2-2 FGs, 6-7 PATs) .... Sandy Creek — Offense: QB Cole Garvin, Jr. (6-0, 180),T Alan Knott, Sr. (6-4, 280; South Carolina commit), WR Kyle Wilson, Sr. (6-3, 190); G Issac Saxon, Sr. (6-0, 290); WR Demarre Kitt, Jr. (6-1, 190); WR Chancellor Triplett, Sr. (6-0, 180), K Mitchell McMillin, Sr. (5-10, 170); Defense: DT Michael Henderman, Sr. (6-3, 310), CB Shaq Wiggins, Sr. (5-11, 170; Georgia commit); S Corey Griffin, Sr. (6-2, 190); DL Jamon Rowe, Sr. (6-0, 230); DE Josh Branom, Sr. (6-2, 230); S Juwan Pulliam, Sr. (5-10, 170)
WHEN NEWNAN HAS THE BALL: The Cougars have to get their running game in gear after struggling much of their first two weeks in between the tackles. Newnan is averaging just 3.8 yards a carry with senior bulldozer Quinton Dix leading the way. In order to keep the clock running and the chains moving, a downhill attack may be a must with Sandy Creek’s talented secondary expected to clamp down on sideline screen passes that provided the brunt of the Cougars’ success against LaGrange. Sophomore quarterback Bailey Bryant had less time to throw the ball last week, taking a pair of 10-yard sacks. If the blocking can hold up against a Sandy Creek front led by 310-pound Henderman, Newnan can hang around.
WHEN SANDY CREEK HAS THE BALL: Even with Garvin, a second-year starter who has grown comfortable in his role after a trip to last year’s Class AAA quarterfinals, the Patriots will primarily try to run the ball in its multiple-I with sophomores Delvin Weems and Eric Swinney. The receiving corps, even after the loss of Division I prospect JaQuay Williams, is as deep and talented as any in Class AAAA led by Kitt and Alpharetta transfer Wilson. Look for the Patriots to try and keep Newnan’s secondary guessing to prevent its standout safeties Matthews and Morrow from creeping up on the line of scrimmage. Last week, the safeties were able to help out on stops during two key fourth-and-1 plays in the second half.
NOTES: Last week’s defensive leaders were led by 13 tackles from Portress and 10 from Cameron Walker. Matthews, who now has five touchdowns in his first two games playing on offense, had 154 yards receiving and three TD catches vs. LaGrange. Linebacker Tonight’s trip to Drake Stadium will be the first visit back to Coweta County for former Northgate coaches Bill Luckie and Casey Smith, both in their third seasons as assistants on the Patriots staff.
Archer Tigers (1-0) at. East Coweta (1-0)
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., Garland Shoemake Stadium, 92.5 FM The Bear
THE SKINNY: An Indians team that opened the year trying to replace 32 seniors lost to graduation had all kinds of success in their 2012 debut. Archer equally opened just its third full varsity season with an impressive victory for a program looking for its first ever winning season.
LAST WEEK: East Coweta defeated Henry County 35-7 at home. Archer defeated Mountain View 46-7 at home.
SERIES RECORD: First Meeting
KEY PLAYERS: Archer — CB Trevellous Cheek (SR, 5-10, 170); CB Deondre Singleton (SR, 6-0, 170); RB Ernest Alexander (SR, 5-8, 210) RB Sean Fowler (SR, 5-11, 190); DL Antonio Riles (SR, 6-4, 270); S John Gillis (JR, 5-11, 170); K Zach Wachholz (SR, 5-8, 150); OL Andre Smellie (SR, 6-4, 250); OL Marcus Lightford (SR, 5-11, 300); WR Wil Kone (SR, 5-11, 160); ILB C.J. Lindsey (SR, 5-11, 240). ... East Coweta — CB Demarcus Godfrey (SR, 5-8, 170); OL Zack Harness (SR, 6-3, 280); K Spencer Smith (SR, 6-0, 180); OL Anfernee Burks (SR, 6-0, 290); S Markell Boston (JR, 6-1, 180); QB Bryce Ingram (JR, 6-0, 180); RB Weylin Orr (JR, 5-9, 180); DT Dartayvious Walker (JR, 6-1, 270); OL Qua Fuller (JR, 6-2, 270); WR Devontay Parker (r (JR, 6-2, 190); DE Sanoj Allen (JR, 6-2, 210).
WHEN ARCHER HAS THE BALL: The Tigers have plenty of offensive weapons to chose from as they come to Sharpsburg after beating Mountain View 46-7 in the season opener. The running game could be the team’s biggest strength as Sean Fowler tries to equal his 133 yards and one touchdown performance. Teammate Ernest Alexander scored four touchdowns, including one after a catch, and rolled up 110 yards. The Tigers don’t mind throwing the football when they have too. Quarterback K.J. Parmer made his first start on the varsity last week and was 5 of 10 for 86 yards.
WHEN EAST COWETA HAS THE BALL: Look for the Indians to attempt to get the ball in the hands of running back Demarcus Godfrey. A week ago, Godfrey only carried the football nine times in the 35-7 victory over Henry County, but he finished with 115 yards and three touchdowns. Dexter Boyd is also one of the Indians’ go-to running backs after picking up 51 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Bryce Gemmel looked sharp running the offense last week in his debut as the Indians’ starter rushing for two touchdowns and picking up 49 yards. He also completed 6 of 8 passes for 63 yards. Nigel Gay was on the receiving end of three of those receptions for 32 yards.
Griffin Bears (1-0) vs Northgate Vikings (0-1)
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m., Henry Seldon Field
THE SKINNY: The Vikings have to deal with a regular season loss for the first time since 2010 following a tough 9-7 loss at Heritage. State-ranked Griffin, meanwhile, is on the rise again following a year where a young lineup peaked at the right time.
LAST WEEK: Northgate lost at Heritage-Conyers, 9-7. Griffin defeated Dutchtown 42-16.
SERIES RECORD: First Meeting
KEY PLAYERS: Griffin — Quyleem Barham (JR, 5-7, 220); QB Jaquez Parks (JR, 6-1, 190); WR Trey Willis (JR, 6-3, 190); ATH Keyston Fuller (SO, 6-1, 190); DE Johnathan Frost (JR, 6-1, 210); CB Quantico Dodson (JR, 6-0, 170); RB Devonta Freeman (JR, 5-11, 180); RB Justin Goddard (JR, 5-10, 180); S Malik Miller (SO, 5-11, 200). ... Northgate — ATH Brandon Facyson (SR, 6-3, 180); DT DeAndre Johnson (SR, 6-3, 320); DL Sean Spencer (SR, 6-2, 270); S Torres Johnson (JR, 6-0, 180); CB Aaron Stargell (SR, 5-9, 180); OL Chase Smith (SR, 6-0, 220); OL Dustin Foley (SR, 6-0, 210); DE Blake McCollum (SR, 6-0, 200); LB Connor Usher (SR, 5-10, 180).
WHEN GRIFFIN HAS THE BALL: The Bears like to mix things around with their offense, running and throwing the football with equal efficiency. A week ago in the Bears 42-16 victory over Dutchtown, running back Malik Miller scored on touchdown runs of 5, 10 and 37 yards. Quarterback Jaquez Parks finished the game 12 of 28 passing with 197 yards. He highlighted last week’s performance with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Quay Mangham, who caught four of Parks’ 12 passes for 117 yards.
WHEN NORTHGATE HAS THE BALL: With a banged up backfield, Northgate enters the second game of the season looking for running back by committee. Michael Willis, who caught a touchdown pass last week out from Josh Harrison out of the backfield, missed most of the second half after leaving the game with an ankle injury and is doubtful for Friday’s game with Griffin. Benton Washington, who didn’t play in the loss against Heritage, could also miss his second game. That could leave the door open for Marquis Jennings and Cole Carter to get the bulk of the snaps. Jennings finished with 39 yards on 12 carries last week, while Carter added 9 yards om six carries. Harrison was 5 of 8 for 76 yards in his debut last week including the one touchdown pass. He showed his ability to spread the ball around last week.
Dominion Christian (1-1) at The Heritage School Hawks (1-0)
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. , The Field at Heritage School
THE SKINNY: Playing without senior starting quarterback Joe Bonner, The Heritage School received a huge dose of confidence by dominating Flint River from start to finish in last week’s opener in a well-rounded effort. Dominion has split its first two games this fall after taking a year off from play in 2011, but the Hawks will be the team’s first major test of the season. The Knights’ victory came against non-GISA school Crown Academy.
LAST WEEK: Heritage School defeated Flint River 48-14 at home. Dominion Christian of Marietta defeated Griffin Christian 53-32.
SERIES RECORD: This is the first meeting between schools.
GAME BALLS: Last week’s victory had contributors in all three phases. Candler Rich returned a punt for a score and Dalton Trammell blocked a punt for another on special teams. But on defense, nine tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble showed how junior Tyler Henson could dominate on the defensive line. On offense, three running backs scored touchdowns and combined for 252 yards on 10.1 per carry.
KEY PLAYERS: Dominion Christian — QB A.J. Wilson, So. (5-11, 160); WR Luke Luwallen, Jr. ( 6-4, 210), S Nick Carr, Sr. (5-10, 160); OLB Connor McDuffie, Sr. (5-9, 170). ... Heritage School — ATH/S Candler Rich, Sr. (5-11, 190), TE Tyler Henson, Jr. (6-2, 200), QB Brad Macke, So., OL/LB Tyler Nix, Sr. (5-8, 180), OL/DL Richard Ebersbach, Sr. (5-9, 190), OL/DL Tyler Bean, Sr. (6-1, 220), LB/FB Dalton Trammell, Sr. (5-8, 190), FB/LB A.J. Gainwell, Fr.; WR Spencer Perry, Fr.; OL/DL/P Ben Dudley, Sr. (5-9, 170), RB/CB David Bready, Jr. (5-11, 170).
WHEN DOMINION HAS THE BALL: Despite not playing a GISA schedule in 2011, the Knights enter with the ability to spread the field in shotgun sets behind Wilson and a group of receivers led by Luwallen, who expects to be a potential mismatch physically. Dominion, however, goes up against a Heritage secondary that picked off three passes in Flint River’s spread attack last week including a pair by sophomore Harrison Holland. Last week the Hawks were able to rotate seven defensive linemen in its 3-4 scheme led by Henson.
WHEN HERITAGE SCHOOL HAS THE BALL: Balance may have been the biggest key in the Hawks’ opening victory. Heritage used six ball carriers and completed five passes to three receivers against Flint River. Patrick McKee was a spark while joining All-State returner Candler Rich and senior David Bready. McKee finished with 54 yards on three carries, two of which went for touchdowns. Look for Heritage to try and settle into its run-option again tonight to control field position and the clock. Starting quarterback Brad Macke finished 5 for 10 in his first start for 74 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Arlington Christian Eagles (0-2) at Trinity Christian Lions (0-1)
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. at East Coweta Middle School
THE SKINNY: Though disappointed in the outcome, Trinity may have sent a message to the rest of Region 2-AAA with last week’s 14-6 loss to a John Milledge team that reached last year’s GISA state playoffs. Tonight is an opportunity for the Lions to take the next step against an another opponent that took advantage of Trinity in its first season of 11-man football. Arlington Christian, meanwhile, is trying to get things back on track under first-year head coach Kenneth Scissum after stumbling against Dawson Street and Gatewood to open the season. Either way, one of the two teams will celebrate its first victory of 2012 tonight.
LAST WEEK: Trinity Christian lost 14-6 at home to John Milledge. Arlington Christian lost 45-8 to Gatewood at home.
SERIES RECORD: Arlington Christian leads 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Arlington defeated Trinity Christian 34-0 last year in week two of the schedule.
KEY PLAYERS: Arlington Christian — RB Shaw Powell, Sr. (5-6, 160), QB Davey Matthews, Jr. (5-10, 155), OL/DL Darius McNair, Sr. (6-6, 235), LB/RB Swade Hutchinson, Sr. (6-1, 170), LB/FB Ashton Norwood, Sr. (5-10, 210). ... Trinity Christian — QB/TE Connor Adams, Sr.; CB Daniel Shoates, Jr.; FB/LB Drew Gibson, Sr.; RB/S Jay Warner, Sr.; OL/DL Mark Collier, Sr., WR/S Dee Snelling, Jr.; OL/DL Conner Owen, Jr.; DL/WR/P/K Cody Houser, Sr., LB Edwin Rivera, Sr.
WHEN ARLINGTON CHRISTIAN HAS THE BALL: Powell’s 98-yard touchdown run put last year’s game against Trinity out of reach, and in a year where the Eagles have been faced with not only a coaching change, but heavy losses both to graduation and elsewhere, the senior running back expects to be the No. 1 target of the Lions defense. “We know how dangerous a player he is when he gets the ball,” said Trinity coach Chris Hanson. “We’re going to have to keep him in front of us.” Despite numbers that have most of the lineup playing ironman football, Arlington has plenty of size in third-year starter Darius McNair and fellow senior Triston Gregoire (6-2, 230) on the offensive line. Trinity will have to win the battle among turnovers for a second consecutive week. ...
WHEN TRINITY CHRISTIAN HAS THE BALL: After struggling with turnovers all of last season, the Lions took a major step last week by holding on to the ball. Look for Trinity to again spread it around with a deeper corps of skill players led by Gibson and Warner in the backfield. “We’ve tried to make some corrections on some of the things we didn’t do well last week. We may throw some different things at them. It’s going to be a challenge for us,” Henson said.