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PREP FOOTBALL: Last week's top performers, this week's big games
High School Football Rewind
Newton should like its chances at pulling an upset against third-ranked Archer if it can get a big game from its star tailback, Nuru Tinch. - photo by File Photo

It’s going to be a big weekend for local football teams, and for the Newton Rams in particular.

After the Lowndes debacle, the Rams have flexed their muscles against its last two opponents, including a 30-8 win over a talented region foe in South Gwinnett. Now Newton has a chance to get some get-back against another top five squad when No. 3 Archer comes to town Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

We’ll get there, but first we want to pass out some game balls from the previous week and preview this Friday’s action. 

First, big shout out to Newton running back, Adarius Thomas. The junior showed up big against South Gwinnett last week, particularly in the second half. With over 150 all purpose yards, he helped prove that Newton can still have an effective running game, even when Nuru Tinch is out. 

Let’s stay with running backs and toss a big, collective game ball out to the Eastside offensive line. All it did in last week’s 52-14 romp of Druid Hills was pave the way for 300 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. It’s the second 300-plus rushing performance of the year. Cumulatively speaking, Eastside is averaging 214 rushing yards per game and over six yards per carry. 

Taylor Carter looks for running room against Oconee County two weeks ago. Through six games, the junior tailback is Eastside's leading rusher. - photo by Anthony Banks

Not bad for an offensive line unit that Eagles coaches may have had a little concern about coming into the season. Junior tailback Taylor Carter leads the way with 333 yards and six scores through the first six games. But do you know who’s the team’s second leading rusher? I’ll give you a hint: He wasn’t on the team last year. Heck, he wasn’t even in high school last year. 

If you said, freshman Quincy Cullins, you win the prize. He’s got 249 yards on 41 carries. He’s got five touchdowns and he’s doing it at a 6.1-yards-per-carry clip. Pretty impressive, considering Cullins was running with and against seventh and eighth graders this time last year. 

Now we’ll swing down Highway 36 to the Alcovy Tigers who, though losing to Grovetown last week, have definitely showed itself to be a team and program that’s much improved. In order to highlight those improved players, each week the Alcovy Football Booster Club selects players of the game. 

From last week’s Grovetown game, it was kicker, Jose Ramos who booted a long field goal, providing the Tigers with their only points in that game, and defensive players, Stephon Jefferson and Jakob Streeter . 

Jefferson’s currently the team leader in tackles with 73 total stops, including 36 solos and seven tackles for loss. Meanwhile, Streeter has carved out a reputation as being one of Alcovy’s hardest hitters. The Tigers will hope to get in the Region 3-AAAAAA win column Friday when it travels to the Augusta area to play Evans. 

Here’s a bite-sized recap of this weekend’s GHSA games. Check back later for full game previews and predictions. 

No. 3 Archer (5-0, 0-0) at Newton (5-1, 1-0): Archer comes to Sharp Stadium as the second of three top 5 Class AAAAAAA schools on the Rams’ schedule. Newton is hungry to show itself in a better light this time around against a highly ranked opponent. Meanwhile, Archer’s had narrow wins in its last three games against Mill Creek, Norcross and Roswell. The latter two teams have a combined record of 3-8. Kickoff: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Henry County (0-5, 0-1) at Eastside (5-1, 2-0): While the Warhawks are looking for their first win, region or otherwise, of the season, Eastside wants to grab maximum momentum, heading into next week’s showdown at eighth-ranked Woodward Academy — a game that will likely give Region 4-AAAA pole position to the winner. After the 40-0 non-region loss to Newton, Eastside has reeled off three impressive wins, and has a real shot at finishing the regular season atop the region standings. Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Alcovy (3-3, 0-1) at Evans (3-2, 0-0): The Tigers are looking to avoid another 0-2 start in region play, but to do so, not only will they have to make the long trek to the Augusta area, but they’ll have to face an Evans team that presents a formidable rushing threat. The Knights are averaging close to 245 yards per game on the ground, and are led by running back Corey Watkins and quarterback Damekus Taylor. Combined, the duo has 996 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Demetrius Tuggle has been a special teams spark on kickoff returns for Alcovy this season. - photo by Anthony Banks

Social Circle (2-4, 1-1) at Monticello (0-5, 0-1): On paper, this looks like the prime opportunity for the Redskins to notch their first “W” over Monticello since a 21-13 win back in August 2009. Social Circle has lost the last three against the Hurricanes by a combined score of 115-7. Monticello is off to its third straight 0-5 start, so it could be vulnerable. But then, again, two of the Canes’ last three blowout wins against Social Circle have come within those aforementioned years. Kickoff: Friday, 7:30 p.m.