Eastside vs. Newton, Aug. 30
Last year’s in-county battle between Eastside and Newton was one for the ages. A back-and-forth affair eventually led to an Eagles victory over the Rams, their first in the series since 2013.
The Eagles were able to overcome a 6-3 halftime deficit behind 24 second-half points. Taylor Carter was responsible for two of the Eagles’ three second-half touchdowns while Jeffery Haynes mixed in a 32-yard pick six.
Heading into this year’s matchup, the two programs find themselves with seven wins apiece and one tie in 15 career meetings. The Eagles have not led the head-to-head series since 2008 when they took a 4-3 all-time record against the Rams on the heels of a 29-27 victory.
When the two rivals meet at Sharp Stadium on Aug. 30, the Eagles will be led by senior quarterback Noah Cook, senior receiver, linebacker Colby Shivers and senior corner, wide receiver Haynes.
The Rams will be led by senior receivers Robert Lewis, Diondre Glover and Jerrol Hines, as well as defensive standouts Josh Hardeman, Tyon Bigby, Ronald Graves and Nyland Green.
Eastside head coach Troy Hoff is 1-1-1 all-time in the series while Camiel Grant will make his debut as a head coach in the series for the Rams.
Alcovy at Rockdale County, Aug. 30
The Rockdale County Bulldogs left Sharp Stadium last season feeling stunned in just their second game of the season.
Looking to give then first-year head coach Jamie Baldwin his first career win, the Bulldogs were an extra point away from defeating Alcovy in the closing seconds.
However, a successful point after was negated due to an offsides call on the Tigers, a penalty not able to be declined by the Bulldogs. Instead, an attempt from five yards closer was missed, sending the game into overtime that was eventually won by Alcovy, 25-19.
The Tigers built a commanding 19-6 lead in the game thanks to a pair of touchdown runs in the fourth quarter from NaTorien Holloway and Andrae Robinson.
The Bulldogs answered back with two touchdowns in the final two minutes, the second coming with two seconds remaining in the game.
Robinson won the game for the Tigers in overtime following an interception by the defense.
With the all-time series now in favor of the Tigers, 4-3 dating back to the school’s opening in 2006, the Bulldogs will look to exact revenge at home on Aug. 30. The Tigers will look to make it two wins in a row and give themselves some momentum heading into Week 3 of the season.
Heritage at Rockdale County, Sept. 13
The 39th all-time meeting between in-county rivals Heritage and Rockdale County featured a little bit of everything in its eventual 30-28 final ending in the Patriots’ favor last season.
A blocked punt returned for a touchdown, a kickoff returned touchdown, a 79-yard touchdown pass and more led to big roars. The Bulldogs held the early advantage over the Patriots, but a see-saw first-half battle ended with a 16-14 advantage for the Patriots.
Two more scores in the second half for the Patriots was the difference, handing the Patriots their first win of 2018 and the Bulldogs their third loss in four games.
Patriots head coach Corey Johnson will take his 3-0 record against Rockdale County into this year’s meeting on Sept. 13. The Bulldogs have not defeated their cross-town rival since 2015 and are 15-24 against them all-time.
Both schools will trot out brand new Week 1 starters, setting up what should be an interesting 2019 showdown at Rockdale County.
Salem at Alcovy, Sept. 9
For both Salem and Alcovy, their Week 4 matchup in 2018 was the turning point in their respective seasons.
The Tigers used 16 unanswered points in the second half at Salem to stun the Seminoles 23-20. A seven-yard touchdown run from Andrae Robinson won the Tigers the game in the closing seconds in what would turn out to be the Tigers’ final win of 2018.
The Tigers finished off their season losing their final six games while the Seminoles finished 5-1 to reach the Class AAAA state playoffs.
In 2019, the Seminoles will travel to Sharp Stadium looking to return the favor while the Tigers will look to win its second straight game over Salem and draw even in the all-time series 2-2.
Newton at Buford, Sept. 20
When Newton travels to Buford in Week 5 of the 2019 season, they will be in search of a much different result than that of 2018 when the Wolves rumbled to a 54-27 victory over the Rams.
While the offense was there for the Rams, the defense fell short in holding the Wolves’ offense at bay. The Rams were out-scored by the Wolves 24-0 in the first half before scoring four touchdowns of their own in the second half.
Their 2018 meeting marked the first ever against the Class AAAAA powerhouse.
With a re-tooled offense and defense, the Rams will look to draw even in the series 1-1 and make an early-season statement in their second to last non-region contest of 2019.