Colquitt County's former assistant Zach Grage brings his No. 4 Class AA Thomasville Bulldogs into Tom White Field at Mack Tharpe Stadium to take on Rush Propst and the No. 2 ranked Colquitt County Packers for the first time after leaving to take the head coaching job at Gilmer after the 2014 season.
Grage, who was a part of 37 Packer victories in his time as an assitant in Moultrie, will now be facing the home fans whose cheers will now be partially against him.
After one season at Gilmer, Grage arrived in Thomasville where his first season, 2016, produced varied results. The Bulldogs finished a questionable 5-5 before falling to Dodge County 17-7 in the first round. In 2017, Grage and the Bulldogs stretched their legs. The Bulldogs opened their season with a 37-8 victory over Cairo. It continued to a 10-0 regular season and a quarterfinal appearance, Thomasville's best season since 1988 and the fifth of its five state championships.
The Colquitt-Thomasville series dates to 1978 and, for the first 12 years, Thomasville won ten games and tied 2 (1984-85) leaving Colquitt stunned. Since then, the Packers have won eight of the 10 matchups. Colquitt and Thomasville last met on Sept. 4, 2009 where Colquitt won 34-19.
This will be the first game for Grage against Colquitt as a head coach.
Cardinal Gibbons (FL) at Milton
Cardinal Gibbons (FL) comes off an 11-2 season that ended in a 58-57 overtime loss to American Heritage-Plantation. The Chiefs opened their season last week against Miami Central and fell 48-21 after getting outscored 34-7 in the second half. The defense features 4-star defensive end Khris Bogle and 3-star linebacker Yahweh Jeudy. Offensively, Nik Scalzo is a 3-star dual threat quarterback who has 6-foot-5 tight end Nikolas Ognenovic, 3-star running back Vincent Davis and 3-star offensive guard Jamari Williams supplementing group that averaged 36.6 points per game last season.
The Freedom Bowl's host team, Milton, is coming off a 9-3 season in what marked head coach Adam Clack's first year at the school. The Eagles return a trio of highly ranked Class of 2019 prospects, including Georgia Tech commit and dual threat quarterback Jordan Yates, 3-star linebacker, Louisiana Tech-commit and linebacker Allen Walker and Clemson commit Joseph Charleston, a 6-foot-2 safety. Rising junior Paul Tchio is a 4-star offensive tackle who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 325 pounds. The Eagles are off to a hot start this season with wins over Archer (21-19) and Alpharetta (37-27), both ranked opponents in their respective classifications.
Bergen Catholic (N.J.) vs. Grayson at Buford
Grayson opened its season with a statement-making victory over Tucker last week (48-7) as it rolls into its game with highly-touted Bergen Catholic of New Jersey.
The Crusaders have won 17 state titles in total but have not captured one since the 2004 season. Grayson is ranked in the top 5 of four national polls with MaxPreps (No. 4) valuing the Rams the highest.
Bergen will be without their star running back Josh McKenzie following his ACL tear in the team's final scrimmage. The Crusaders will debut Andrew Boel as a starting quarterback. Sophomore defensive tackle Tywone Malone and linebacker Javon Cruz along with freshman lineman Tyler Booker have been talked about over the offseason as players who could, and should, make an immediate impact.
Blessed Trinity at Woodward Academy
Defending state champion Blessed Trinity has shown utter dominance two weeks into the 2018 season. The offense has been in control and the defense has been able shutdown St. Pius and South Forsyth in consecutive weeks, effectively enough that is has put both games out of reach by the half. Woodward Academy has put up 44 points per game offensively, but the defensive vulnerabilities are still in question. Westminster lit the War Eagles up 56-31 in their season opener. Friday's matchup is going to be a big one, and it will prove what type of potential Woodward Academy has this year after it recovered to win over Grady in Week 2. For Blessed Trinity, it is an opportunity for the Titans to showoff some of their own offensive firepower, as well as that championship defense against one of the classification's highest scoring teams.
Peach County at Lee County
Peach County continues its mission to see where it matches up with some of the best teams in the state when it travels to Lee County on Friday. The Trojans defeated Class AAAAAA Northside-Warner Robins 27-24 last week at Mercer in Macon. Lee County, the defending Class AAAAAA champions, has never faced Peach County. In last week's victory, Peach's Jaydon Gibson passed for 140 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and a score. His 6-yard run with 9:51 left in the game gave the Trojans a 27-17 lead. Lee County is coming off a 35-3 victory over Dr. Phillips (Orlando) following its opening victory over Dougherty (47-6).