Battle-tested powers await midseason tests

Battle-tested powers await midseason tests
September 26, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Craig Sager II, Score Atlanta

Germantown (Miss.) at Callaway (Miss.) 

Undefeated Class 3A Callaway has a relentless rushing attack that averages 228 rushing yards per game. The offensive line led by 305-pound Ole Miss-commit Roderick Taylor. Chris Mitchell and T.J. Washington  split time at quarterback and Washington has also carried the football for 369 yards and six touchdowns this season, while also completing 13 of 20 passes for six touchdowns. 

Ole Miss-commit Dayall Harris is a 6-foot-4 receiver who has hauled in 15 catches for 203 yards and four touchdowns this season.  Joshua Early is another explosive playmaker and has turned his eight receptions into four touchdowns. Defensively, the Chargers’ third Ole Miss commit is safety Ronald Walker, who leads the secondary. Walker flies to the football and his three fumble recoveries this season are evident of his ability to spark game-changing plays. 

Defensive lineman Breeland Speaks could be another Ole-Miss commit come signing day as the senior currently holds offers from the Rebels, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Florida State. A physical player, Speaks has forced three fumbles this season and also blocked a punt while playing the role of the Chargers’ premier run-stuffer.

Undefeated Class 5A Germantown has averaged 216 rushing yards per game and like the Chargers have the ability to spark big plays in the passing game. Tyler Shell is a 6-foot-3 dual-threat quarterback who has completed 60 percent of his passes, while carrying the ball 32 times with a 4.31 yards-per carry average. Juniors Reid Kelly and Jaylen Smith are the Mavericks’ primary receivers and the ground game is rotated through a deep backfield of ball carriers.  

Sophomore Dalton Bradfield has burst to the scene with 160 yards on 40 carries and three touchdowns this year and Jalen Brown is a 5-foot-9, 200-pound back who has powered his way to 143 yards and two-touchdowns. The feature back is senior Chester Lewis, who has 53 carries for 357 yards (6.74 yards per carry) and five touchdowns in the Mavericks’ first four games. Seven Germantown defenders have registered interceptions this season with Taury Dixon leading the way with a pair of picks. Both teams will look to continue playing aggressive on defense in order to spark the big play.  

Boyd Anderson (Fla.) at University (Fla.) 

This looks like it could be a rebuilding year for Boyd Anderson, which is off to an 0-4 start after positing a 10-3 record last season. Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) handed the Cobras a 30-0 loss last season and they will be desperate to turn the season around. Expect the Cobras to try out new players and pull out some tricks to spark the team. University, on the other hand, is the defending Class 4A state champ and is a perfect 4-0 to start the season. Suns quarterback Sean White tossed four touchdown passes on just 10 of 14 passing in University’s 57-0 rout of Somerset Academy (Fla.) last Friday and wideout Sam Bruce finished with five catches for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win. 

Colquitt County (Ga.) at Lowndes (Ga.) 

Lowndes returned 13 starters from last season including the anchor of its offensive line, Dyshon Sims, who is committed to Georgia, and its entire starting linebacking corps. This stout defense helped the Vikings claim a 42-2 win over Luella (Ga.) in their opener.  The Vikings, however,  were stunned with a 15-14 Week 2 loss to Newton (Ga.), a team they beat 31-0 last year. The loss seemed to be a wake-up call and in Lowndes’ three other games the Vikings have outscored opponents 192-2. Colquitt County has played a grueling non-region schedule and comes off a bye week. In the Packers’ last game, they posted a 34-0 win over Carver-Columbus (GA). The Packers’ defense held Carver-Columbus to just 90 yards of total offense, but Ole Miss-commit Jamiyus Pittman broke his leg in the second quarter, which is a big loss for the Packers. This will be a hard-hitting, intense game. 

Ridgeway (Tenn.) at Whitehaven (Tenn.) 

Whitehaven carries a 20-game winning streak into this Class AAA matchup and rolled past Melrose (Tenn.) 52-6 last Thursday. The Whitehaven defense held the Golden Wildcats to 131 yards of total offense, including minus-31 rushing yards in the win. Last year, Ridgeway challenged Whitehaven but could not keep pace in a 63-34 shootout. The Roadrunners reached the state quarterfinals and are battle tested heading into this year’s matchup with competitive road losses to Olive Branch (Miss.) and Henry County (Miss.) and a 2-2 record. Ridgeway is averaging over 37 points per game. 

Byrnes (S.C.) at Boiling Springs (S.C.) 

Byrnes came off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Northwestern (SC) two weeks ago and thrashed a respectable Clinton (SC) team 62-0 on Friday. Byrnes has not lost back-to-back games since 2000. Lyrics Klugh took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Shuler Bentley finished 13 of 16 for 261 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the opening half. Boiling Springs has rebounded from a heartbreaking loss as well after falling to a highly-ranked York (S.C.) team 46-45. It was the Boiling Springs defense that came up big last week in a 21-7 win over Rock Hill despite three turnovers. 

Vestavia Hills (Ala.) at Hoover (Ala.) 

Vestavia Hills may have a defense capable of at least slowing down the mighty Hoover offense. At 4-0, the Rebels have allowed just 8.0 points per game this season. In 2012, Hoover topped Vestavia Hills 35-15 and the defending 6A state champion Buccaneers are a perfect 4-0 to start the season. Hoover came back from a 10-3 deficit to top Colquitt County (Ga.) 24-10 in the season opener and has averaged 45 points per game offensively while surrendering just 6.0 points per contest. 

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