North Gwinnett at North Cobb highlights must-see Week 1 slate

North Gwinnett at North Cobb

The Atlanta Falcons High School Game of the Week will feature the North Gwinnett Bulldogs and North Cobb Warriors in a rematch of last year’s 36-29 victory. The two teams met for the first time in school history last year as now Auburn quarterback Tyler Queen burned the Bulldogs for 475 yards of total offense and five touchdowns. Queen may be gone, but this year’s starter Will Lovett is more than capable of leading a dangerous aerial assault. In North Cobb’s 27-24 loss to defending Class AAAAA state champion Northside-Warner Robins, Lovett completed 20 of 27 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns. North Gwinnett also played a defending champion week 1 and fell also lost its opener, 45-14 to Class AAAAAA’s reigning champions, Colquitt County. Although the Packers were way too much for the Bulldogs to handle in the MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic last week, playing the top team in the state certainly prepared a battle-tested North Gwinnett team on both sides of the football. Since taking over the program in 2006, Bob Sphire is a perfect 9-0 in games following a loss. This matchup will be streamed live right HERE

Plant (FL) at Colquitt County

Plant of Tampa is a nationally recognized brand, but the tall task of visiting Colquitt County will pose a difficult situation. The Packers won their first state title since 1994 last season with a perfect record. The defense has lost some valuable pieces but you wouldn’t have noticed after their 45-14 romp of the high-powered North Gwinnett Bulldogs in the Corky Kell Classic. Quarterback Chase Parrish is a leader and winner who doesn’t make mistakes. His favorite target, Kiel Pollard, is a load to bring down. Pollard ran for two scores and caught seven passes for 124 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. For Plant, Rex Culpepper, a Syracuse-commit, is an experienced quarterback but his top receiver and running back from a year ago have both graduated leaving some questions as to who will step up.

Langston Hughes at Creekside

Class AAAAA’s Creekside and Class AAAAAAA’s Langston Hughes meet for the fourth time in school history on Friday. The Seminoles trail the all-time series 1-2 after falling in a thrilling 21-20 game to Hughes last August. Hughes took a 21-14 lead but later fumbled on its own 30-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game. Creekside scored with a Bricen Terry touchdwon to make it 21-20 but an unsportsmanlike conduct on the play forced the PAT to a 35-yard kick and the Seminoles missed wide left. Creekside opened the 2015 season with a 33-13 win at South Cobb and Hughes is coming off a 36-26 loss to Mays.

Alpharetta at Milton

Alpharetta and neighboring Milton meet for the 10th time but none of the previous regular season matchups seem as big as this one. Alpharetta has dropped three straight games to the Eagles, including a 17-10 loss last year and a 31-24 overtime defeat in 2013. The Raiders will look to score a W against their rivals and continue the success the saw in 2014 as they were led by first-time head coach Jacob Nichols to a school-record 10-2 season. Milton is also coming off a record-breaking season after Howie DeCristofaro’s bunch rallied for an 11-2 season. Milton’s only defeats last year were a 33-31 week 3 loss to Roswell and an impressive 42-35 loss to Colquitt County in the quarterfinals.

St. Pius at Blessed Trinity

The top-ranked Titans burst into the limelight last season with a 13-1 record with their only loss coming to eventual state runner up Washington County in the semifinals. Blessed Trinity routed the Golden Lions in 2014 to the tune of 42-20 and beat them in 2013, 21-20, after losing their first five meetings with St. Pius. The Titans return fully loaded with dual-sport star Conor Davis under center and Milton Shelton ready to receive the bell-cow back carries after a 1,356-yard season. The Golden Lions will counter with one of the most disciplined systems in the state and are coming off a state runner up season. Reed Egan is a jack of all trades with the ball in his hands while Grant Holloman is a lethal runner and only a junior.

Westminster at Lovett

These two schools know each other very well, having been Class AA rivals dating back to 2008 before last year’s reclassification when Westminster made the jump to AAA. The Wildcats hold a 17-10 all-time series lead over the host Lions and won a nail-biter 13-10 in 2014. Lovett lost its season opener 24-0 to Pace Academy last week. The Lions return just three starters from last year’s team but return senior running back Jay Harris, who gained 76 yards against the ‘Cats last season. Both teams’ seasons ended with losses to their classification’s eventual state champ. 12-2 Westminster lost to Calhoun in the semifinals 19-8, while 9-4 Lovett dropped to Benedictine 31-10 in the quarterfinals.

Eagle’s Landing Christian at Stockbridge

In their first ever meeting, the Stockbridge Tigers dominated ELCA 33-3 last year. Artemus Mitchell led the way with 106 yards and two touchdowns, but he now suits up for Eastern Arizona. Quarterback play will be crucial in deciding who wins tonight’s game. Donald Hammond III will lead the Chargers offense from under center and is starting to rise up recruiting boards while Malachi Brown can make plays with both his arm and legs for the Tigers. ELCA must account for defensive end and Ole Miss-commit Charles Wiley at all times, as he will be on the hunt for ball carriers all night.

Peachtree Ridge at Archer (Saturday)

Saturday’s ESPNU matchup is arguably the most intriguing matchup of the weekend. The top-ranked Tigers were outstanding last Friday, as they cruised past North Paulding 49-21 at the MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic. Junior Jameyst Williams led a near-perfect Archer offense with five rushing touchowns and first-time starter Will Bearden kicked off his senior year with an 8-8 passing performance for 198 yards and two scores. Peachtree Ridge has one of the most talented secondaries in the country and will have to contend with the Potent Archer offense and the Tigers’ five-star receiver Kyle Davis. Peachtree Ridge fell 35-21 last Saturday to Christ Presbyterian (TN). The Lions (2003) are a young program like Archer (2009) and last year was the first meeting between the schools. It was a defensive struggle as Peachtree Ridge stifled Archer for a 14-10 victory.

Coconut Creek (FL) at Marist (Saturday)

Marist will once again open the Chick-fil-A Battle of the Borders this year and will take on Coconut Creek from Pompano Beach, Fla. Marist Coach Alan Chadwick is entering his 31st season at the helm and comes off a third round loss to eventual state champions Buford last year. Coconut Creek started 2014 3-1 but eventually fell to a 4-6 record. Uncommitted recruits Trayvon Mullen and Binjimen Victor along with Georgia commit Malek Young and Arkansas commit Alexy Jean-Baptiste lead Coconut Creek. Marist used its relentless rushing attack and opportunistic defense to dominate time of position and score a dramatic 17-14 win over Godby in last year’s Battle of the Borders. Coconut Creek is making its first appearance in the event.

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