For the first time since the 2013 season, Alcovy, Eastside and Newton will all play each other in the regular season.
That’s a fact that, even in mid-February, is already stoking the in-county rivalry flames as several Newton and Alcovy players have taken to Twitter to engage in some good-natured trash talking.
It's all in good fun, though. Newton and Alcovy have played eight times in two different stints of four consecutive matchups. The first such streak of games happened between the 2006 and 2009 seasons, with Newton winning the first matchup in 2006 and Alcovy taking the next three.
Then, after a two-year hiatus, the two schools got back together again for four straight games between the 2012 and 2015 seasons with Newton winning all four, and current head coach Terrance Banks at the helm for three of those victories.
Alcovy and Newton whet the community's appetite a bit with the matchup when the two schools met last May for a scrimmage that culminated the spring football season.
But both Banks and Alcovy coach Chris Edgar, now heading into his third season atop the Tigers' program, have both said on several occasions that this was a game they wanted to make happen again soon for the regular season.
The Rams and Tigers' August 17 game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff and will be the county's season opener at Sharp Stadium. The first three games of the season at Sharp will feature Newton, Eastside and Alcovy all playing against each other.
Here's a look at each of our four GHSA football teams’ 2018 schedules and make your early plans as to which non-region matchups will be be on your must-see list.
2017 Record: 3-7 overall, 0-5 in Region 3-AAAAAA
Early Outlook: Alcovy hasn’t won a region contest since a 15-12 win over Lakeside back in October 2015. But each year since, particularly since coach Chris Edgar has come on board, the Tigers have increasingly looked the part, both from the eye-test perspective and from just an overall spirit of competitiveness. Look for that elusive first region win in the Edgar area to come, perhaps on Oct. 11 against Lakeside. But before that, a solid non-region schedule including both Newton and Eastside, as well as Rockdale and Salem will be entertaining. Also note that Edgar will have two weeks to prepare his team to travel to South Georgia powerhouse Colquitt County on Sept. 28.
8/10 vs. Miller Grove, 6:30 p.m. (scrimmage)
8/17 at Newton, 7:30 p.m.
8/23 vs. Rockdale, 7 p.m.
8/31 vs. Eastside, 7:30 p.m.
9/7 at Salem, 7:30 p.m.
9/28 at Colquitt County, 7:30 p.m.
10/5 at Grovetown, 7:30 p.m.
10/11 vs. Lakeside, 7 p.m.
10/19 vs. Heritage, 7:30 p.m.
10/26 at Evans, 7:30 p.m.
11/1 at Greenbrier, 7 p.m.
2017 Record: 8-3 overall, 4-1 in Region 4-AAAA
Early Outlook: After a season opener at Ola, Eastside won’t have a true road game until Sept. 14 at North Clayton. But thanks in-county tilts with Newton and Alcovy, the first three weeks of the 2018 football season will feature county rivals locking horns against each other at Sharp Stadium for the first time in three years. You’ll bet Eastside will want some payback with Newton after the 40-0 beatdown it took from the Rams last year. Alcovy will probably want to exact a little revenge against the Eagles as the Tigers feel it let last year’s matchup with Eastside slip through their fingers.
8/10 at Walnut Grove (scrimmage)
8/17 at Ola
8/24 vs. Newton
8/31 at Alcovy
9/14 at North Clayton
10/5 at Woodward Academy
10/12 vs. Salem
10/19 vs. Druid Hills
10/26 vs. Henry County (Senior Night)
11/2 at Hampton
2017 Record: 7-4 overall, 3-2 in Region 8-AAAAAAA
Early Outlook: There will be a lot of “new” on the football field for the Rams in 2018. But coach Terrance Banks didn’t let that hold him back from scheduling a heavy non-region slate, of course with the in-county rivals. But three straight games against Arabia Mountain, at Buford and against Westlake will challenge a younger Newton squad than we’re used to seeing before opening region play with South Gwinnett for Homecoming. By the way, the aforementioned three non-region opponents are all 2017 playoff teams that posted a combined 28-9 record overall while going 18-0 collectively in their respective regions.
8/17 vs. Alcovy
8.24 at Eastside
9/7 vs. Arabia Mountain (Youth Night)
9/14 at Buford
9/21 vs. Westlake (Military Appreciation Night)
9/28 South Gwinnett (Homecoming)
10/5 at Archer
10/19 at Grayson
10/25 vs. Shiloh (Senior Night)
11/2 at Rockdale
Social Circle Redskins
2017 Record: 3-8 overall, 2-5 in Region 8-AA
Early Outlook: For a team that’s still looking for its first playoff appearance since 2009, the Redskins have scheduled some non-region opponents in Stone Mountain and Cross Keys — two games sandwiched between a pair of bye weeks — that will hopefully give them some early season momentum to ride into Sept. 14’s home and region opener against Banks County. In fact, after the Sept. 7 bye, Social Circle will play three of its next four games at home.
8/10 vs. Cherokee Bluff (scrimmage)
8/24 at Stone Mountain
8/31 at Cross Keys
9/14 vs. Banks County
9/21 vs. Elbert County
9/28 at Oglethorpe County
10/5 vs. Clarkston
10/12 at Putnam County
10/19 vs. Rabun County
10/26 at Union County
11/2 vs. Monticello