I’ve always been a fan of big games early in the season. Not only are they fascinating to watch, but, win or lose, you walk off the field knowing you raised the bar and tested yourself against elite competition. Nothing is better than going toe-to-toe with the best the state has to offer and gleaning the irreplaceable experience that comes through playing in a marquee game. And for Burke County’s Eric Parker, it provides quality game film displaying endless teaching points on what to improve on for the remainder of the season. Sometimes, it also acts as a springboard.
Look at last year, when Burke won 10 consecutive games after the loss to Lowndes (AAAAA) and reached the AAA semifinals. The Bears once again head to Valdosta to take on Lowndes looking for a better showing than they had last year when they were blanked 36-0. Led by quarterback Corey Mayton, Burke County did the CSRA proud by battling the perennial powerhouse till the final horn sounded in a 21-31 defeat to the Vikings. It reminds me of what Roger Sterling said to his sales team after a failed presentation to the American Airlines executives in Mad Men, “no regrets fellas. We were in it, that’s the important thing.” Indeed.
Another area shootout—not that kind, thankfully the Harrisburg Bullets had a bye week—in Sandersville between Thomson and Washington County. Coming into the game, the Bulldogs were losers of three straight to WACO and had not won in the House of Pain since 1988. Quarterback Josh Jones once again led the high scoring Thomson offense with four touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing) and found his favorite target Torrie Battle (4 rec 116 yards TD) whenever they needed a big play. It took two overtimes to get a decision between these two AAA playoff contenders, and, in fitting fashion, was won with a goal-line stand by the Thomson defense. This is the second consecutive loss for Washington County at home when they had a chance to win the game in the final minutes. One of those teams, Statesboro, is a AAAA team, but they are one of the more suspect in the Top-5. Great win for first-year Thomson coach Milan Turner.
Some nicknames are easier to come up with than others. They just pop in your head as you watch an athlete do his—Title IX: or her!—thing. Take Vince Carter’s for example, Half Man Half Amazing. Watch his numerous Youtube highlights and tell me it doesn’t fit perfectly with what’s happening on your screen. The same feeling is had watching Aquinas’ Brendan Douglas, except there is no half about it, this kid is All Man. No more evident than in his 359 yard rushing on 38 carries masterpiece he displayed last Friday against Hancock Central. He also had all five of the team’s touchdowns in a 35-20 win over the Bulldogs. What’s most impressive is that Douglas performs at this incredible clip while usually racking up 10+ tackles/game as well. What a beast.
Games to watch
Lakeside at Statesboro-Friday 7:30
Panthers really need a win here to get off this three game skid as they start region play.
Butler at Grovetown- Friday 7:30
Battle of the unbeatens. Lots of good running backs in this one.
Wilkinson County at Aquinas- Friday 7:30
Great matchup with the Warriors coming into town. Irish looking for revenge after a six point loss last year.
College/NFL Games to Watch
North Carolina at Georgia Tech-Noon-ESPN
Tech’s first true test. If you can really call it that.
Florida State at Clemson-Saturday-3:30-ESPN
The Seminoles have not won in Clemson since 2001. Should be an absolute barn burner.
Vanderbilt at South Carolina-Saturday-7pm-ESPN
Been very impressed with Coach James Franklin of the Commodores. Vandy is undefeated at 3-0 coming into this game. Never thought I’d say that. Wow.