Football: Previewing Week 4 matchups for North Fulton teams

By Zach Shugan

We’re a quarter of the way through the 2021 regular season. 11 local teams take the field this weekend, with two playing games out of state against nationally-ranked opponents.

Here are some brief previews for this week’s matchups.

Class 7A

No. 5 Milton (2-1) at St. Joseph’s Prep (1-0)

Milton quarterback Devin Farrell (#1) and head coach Adam Clack speak during a timeout in Milton’s Freedom Bowl win over Life Christian on Sept. 2, 2021. (Zach Shugan)

When: Saturday, Sept. 11 at noon
Where: Philadelphia, PA
All-Time Series: First meeting
Stream: FloSports

For the second time in program history, Milton will travel outside the state to play a game. The Eagles are set to visit Philadelphia to take on St. Joseph’s Prep, the No. 8 team in the country according to High School Football America. Notable alumni for the Hawks include former NFL MVP Rich Gannon, former Georgia (and current Detroit Lions) running back D’Andre Swift and Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. Milton is 2-1 in games against non-Georgia teams, with one of its wins coming last week in the Freedom Bowl against Life Christian Academy (VA). If the Eagles are at full strength, they have a real shot at beating St. Joseph’s and showing the strength of Georgia football. However, No. 1 recruit L.T. Overton hasn’t played a game this season due to an injury — although he might be making his debut this week — and senior running back Jordan McDonald (8 carries, 17 yards, 1 touchdown) didn’t play much in the Freedom Bowl as he continues to recover from an injury he suffered in the season opener.

No. 8 Roswell (2-0) vs North Paulding (2-0)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Roswell High School
All-Time Series: Roswell leads, 1-0

Roswell returns from a bye week with a home game against North Paulding, another team fresh off a bye. In their last games, the Hornets won 40-14 over Centennial, and the Wolfpack defeated South Paulding, 37-14. The Hornets have scored over 40 points in both of their games this season, with senior quarterback Robbie Roper passing for 770 yards and 10 touchdowns. It’s been a strong start to the season for the Hornets, who started the season unranked but have opened eyes and earned some respect, just like they did in 2020.

Alpharetta (1-2) at No. 2 North Cobb (2-1)

Referees accompany Alpharetta seniors Whitman Sperry (#3) and Matteo Carriere (#7) to midfield for the coin toss prior to the Raiders’ win over Chattahoochee on Aug. 20, 2021. (Zach Shugan)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: North Cobb High School
All-Time Series: Alpharetta leads, 2-1

Alpharetta is almost halfway through what might be the toughest five-game stretch of any team in the state, and none of the games are at home. Following games against Hoover (AL) and Grayson — which the Raiders lost — their next three opponents are North Cobb, Collins Hill and Milton. All three of those teams are currently ranked in the top five of Class 7A. To have a chance at beating North Cobb on the road this week, the Raiders will have to limit mistakes against the Warriors’ four-star quarterback Malachi Singleton and a defense loaded with college prospects, which is much easier said than done.

Class 6A

Cambridge (1-0) vs Forsyth Central (1-1)

Cambridge senior Bennett Long (#22) lines up for a snap in the Bears’ scrimmage with Denmark on Aug. 6, 2021. (Zach Shugan)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Cambridge High School
All-Time Series: Cambridge leads, 3-2

The Bears finally opened their regular season last week with a 21-19 win over North Oconee. They’ll play at home for the second week in a row, hosting former region foe Forsyth Central. The Bears and Bulldogs were both members of Region 7-5A from 2012-16, and they also played in 2020 (the Bulldogs won 42-14). A win over Forsyth Central on Friday would give Cambridge its first 2-0 start since 2015.

Centennial (0-2) vs Peachtree Ridge (1-1)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Centennial High School
All-Time Series: Centennial trails, 2-1

Centennial should be well rested for its matchup with Peachtree Ridge following a bye week. The Lions, meanwhile, won 10-0 last week at Discover following a 39-3 loss to Pebblebrook in their season opener. Centennial played at Peachtree Ridge in 2020 and lost by three points, the closest margin of any game they played on the season. The Knights will look to get the job done this time around and pick up their first win since 2018.

Johns Creek (1-1) vs St. Pius X (2-1)

Johns Creek senior Tylan Johnson carries the ball in Johns Creek’s scrimmage with Hapeville Charter on Aug. 13, 2021. (Zach Shugan)

When: Friday Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Johns Creek High School
All-Time Series: First meeting

For the third week in a row, Johns Creek will not follow its original plans. The Gladiators will host St. Pius X, Class 5A’s No. 7-ranked team, in their final game before region play begins. They were supposed to be off this week but scheduled St. Pius following the cancellation of their game last week against Heritage. The Gladiators’ trip to South Carolina in Week Two was also called off, but they found a replacement in Carrollton. Expect a raucous crowd Friday at Johns Creek for its first home game of the season.

Class 5A

No. 9 Blessed Trinity (1-2) at Charlotte Catholic (NC)

Blessed Trinity junior Mavrick Torrico celebrates after a sack in Blessed Trinity’s loss to Marist on Aug. 27, 2021. (Zach Shugan)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Charlotte, NC
All-Time Series: First meeting

Following losses to rivals Marist and St. Pius X, the Titans head to Charlotte this weekend for a battle with one of North Carolina’s perennial powers. The Cougars are ranked No. 2 in North Carolina and No. 81 in the country. This marks Blessed Trinity’s fourth game against a non-Georgia opponent and its third trip outside the state. The Titans played at McCallie (TN) and visited Ireland for a game against St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) in 2016. A big factor in the outcome of Friday night’s game will be the health of Blessed Trinity running back Justice Haynes, who missed the last two games with an injury.

Northview (0-2) at Dawson County (0-3)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Dawson Co. High School
All-Time Series: Northview trails, 1-0

The Titans look to bounce back from a 41-8 loss to Chattahoochee last week and pick up their first win under head coach Scott Schwarzer, as they travel to Dawsonville to take on Class 3A’s Dawson County. The Tigers’ losses this year came to Cass, Flowery Branch and South Forsyth. Northview hosted Dawson County last September and lost 42-20.

Class A Private

No. 9 Fellowship (1-1) vs B.E.S.T. (1-1)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Fellowship Christian School
All-Time Series: Fellowship leads, 1-0

The Paladins took a tough 56-20 loss on the road last week at the hands of No. 1 Trinity Christian. They’ll have a chance to get the bad taste out of their mouth Friday when B.E.S.T. comes to town. Fellowship won 42-0 when the two teams faced off last September. There might be new faces on the field and sideline this year for the Paladins, but the outcome should be the same.

King’s Ridge (1-1) at Landmark Christian (2-1)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Landmark Christian School
All-Time Series: King’s Ridge leads, 1-0

The Tigers came close to winning in Dalton last week against Christian Heritage, a team that entered the season ranked in the Top 10, but they ultimately fell 34-32. They’re back on the road this week, heading to Fairburn for a game against the Landmark Christian War Eagles. When King’s Ridge hosted Landmark in 2020, the Tigers won 23-16. This is a good sign for the Tigers, however, it’s a bad sign the War Eagles went to Dalton a couple weeks ago and defeated Christian Heritage, 27-18.

Mount Pisgah (1-2) vs Hebron Christian (1-1)

When: Friday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Patriot Athletic Complex
All-Time Series: Mount Pisgah trails, 1-0

The Patriots earned their first win of the season last week, as they went to Marietta and defeated Walker in decisive fashion, 41-12. Senior tight end Cole Spence, who committed to Vanderbilt during the offseason, made an immediate impact (7 receptions, 94 yards, 1 touchdown) in his return from injury. Following three road games to open the 2021 season, the Patriots finally play at home Friday against the Hebron Christian Lions. The two teams played in 2020, and Mount Pisgah lost a close one, 17-13. The Patriots have a chance to avenge that loss and improve to 2-2 this season when the Lions come to Johns Creek.

BYES: Chattahoochee (1-2; next 9/17 at River Ridge) and St. Francis (0-3; next 9/17 at Lumpkin Co.)

Sources: GHSFHA, MaxPreps

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