COVINGTON, Ga. — Buckle up.
Week 7 of the Georgia High School Association varsity football schedule promises to be a wild ride for the local scene.
All three Newton County high schools will be taking their shows on the road against top-tier opponents. Nearby Social Circle will be returning home from a road trip of its own, but the Redskins will have their hands full with a powerhouse as well.
We’re only halfway home in the 2020 regular season, but this week could go a long way toward setting the tone for how the next month of games will play out.
Each of the four games are currently slated to kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. For live high school football updates all season long, please follow The Covington News on all social media as well as @CovNewsSports and @mason_wittner on Twitter.
Alcovy (0-5) at Lowndes (5-0)
The Tigers’ woes continued on Friday night when they suffered a 39-7 loss to visiting South Forsyth at Sharp Stadium. They’re now sitting at 0-5 for the first time since 2015.
Unfortunately, there’s no rest for the weary.
Alcovy will trek down to Valdosta this week to take on a national powerhouse in Lowndes. The Vikings came in at No. 8 in the latest MaxPreps Top 25 national rankings for high school football after knocking off Valdosta, 33-21, on Friday.
While the Tigers have shown flashes of brilliance on offense this season, the defense has continuously struggled to keep the team in games. That unit will be tested once again as the Vikings are averaging a whopping 37.6 points per game through their first five contests.
Eastside (4-1) at Clarke Central (3-2)
The Eagles are flying high thanks to back-to-back blowout victories to open Region 8-AAAAA play.
After handling business on the road against Johnson two weeks ago, Eastside looked sharp in spite of a short week of preparation as it trounced Apalachee, 35-7, in a Thursday night showdown. Consequently, the club was rewarded with an extra day to prepare for what could very well be its toughest test of the season.
Make no mistake about it — Region 8 runs through Clarke Central. The Gladiators have earned that respect.
Clarke Central upset Buford in the final week of the 2019 regular season to claim the region crown. The reigning champs are now are now 3-2 on the year but 2-0 in the region, having handled their own business against Apalachee (28-0) before taking down Jackson County (38-10) last week.
The Gladiators struggled early on in the year, squeaking past fellow Athens resident Cedar Shoals (10-3) in Week 1 before getting smacked around by Oconee County (24-7) and Buford (47-0) in the weeks that followed. But the question will be how Eastside’s power run game — averaging 259 rushing yards per contest — will stack up against a defense that has effectively shut down its last two opponents.
Newton (2-2) at Parkview (4-1)
The last two weeks have been unkind to the Rams.
Coming off a gut-wrenching, last-minute defeat at McEachern, Newton failed to produce enough offense to keep up with Houston County in a 21-7 loss Friday night.
Newton graduated a plethora of talent on defense last year, but that unit has held its ground through the first four games. Instead, the team has struggled to find success on first down, and convert the drives in which they do find it into points.
Parkview is coming off a season in which it posted a 12-2 mark and was bounced out of the state semifinals by eventual champion Marietta. The Panthers have found non-region success early on in 2020 and come into the week riding a three-game winning streak after taking out Loganville (42-0), Marietta (50-28) and Tucker (38-33).
The bad news is Newton will be backing its way into one of the toughest regions in the state after dropping two straight games to state powerhouses. The good news is the season is still in front of the Rams as their spot in the postseason is dependent upon how the next five contests unfold.
“The four ball games we’ve played up to this point — no matter what our record is — you throw them out of the window. None of those games are going to get you into the playoffs,” head coach Camiel Grant Jr. said Friday night.
The Rams must now wipe their slate clean and head into the Big Orange Jungle this week prepared to scrap and claw their way to victory.
Social Circle (2-3) at Washington-Wilkes (4-0)
The Redskins took advantage of a struggling Oglethorpe County squad two weeks ago as they rolled to a 27-12 victory.
Now Social Circle will open up the Region 8-A Public slate against a program that has yet to receive a blemish this season.
Washington-Wilkes hasn’t simply won its first four games of the year. It has dominated them.
The Tigers have blown past Cross Creek, Warren County, Elbert County and Southeast Bulloch by a combined score of 169-27.