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Staff file photo by Robin Rudd / Marion County's Rylee Rogers, left, has helped the Warriors average more than 350 rushing yards per game during a 5-0 start this season.

TYNER RAMS (6-0, 2-0) at MARION COUNTY WARRIORS (5-0, 2-0)

This matchup will help determine the top seed in arguably the state's toughest Class 2A region, where No. 1-ranked Meigs County, fourth-ranked Marion County and Tyner — which somehow is not yet ranked — are a combined 17-0 this season. The Region 3-2A title will be decided over the coming weeks as those three begin facing off, beginning with this showdown in Jasper. Between the Tigers, Rams and Warriors, one of the three has played for a state title in six of the past seven seasons. The Rams are 6-0 for the first time since 2002, when they opened 9-0 before losing to Baylor, and they have beaten opponents by an average score of 40-12. That includes two outbursts of more than 50 points, and they have allowed more than 14 points only once this season (21 to Polk County). Similarly, Marion has whipped its opponents by an average of 38-6, including two shutouts. The most points Marion has allowed so far is 15 to Forrest, which scored two late touchdowns against Warriors reserves. Marion and Tyner also mirror one another with multiple big-play threats in the backfield. For the Warriors, senior quarterback Taye Hutchins has accounted for 563 yards and eight touchdowns over the past three games, averaging 13.2 yards per carry. Three other runners — Alex Condra, Sam Pickett and Rylee Rogers — have had outings in which they averaged more than 10 yards per carry to help the Warriors average more than 350 rushing yards per game this season. For the Rams, junior quarterback Josh Jackson has become one of the area's top dual threats, with his past two games highlighted by a combined 467 passing yards, and Jarius Cameron, Jersey Chubb, Zashun Hubbard, Deonta Taylor and Javell Woodruf all have had touchdowns of 30-plus yards this season.

 

BRADLEY CENTRAL BEARS (6-0) at OOLTEWAH OWLS (1-4)

With last week's Region 2-6A win over Bearden, the fifth-ranked Bears not only remained unbeaten but also extended their streak of winning seasons to seven straight, tied for the longest active run among area programs. Despite competing in the state's largest classification, Bears coach Damon Floyd has guided his alma mater to winning records nine times in an 11-year stretch. Sophomore running back Jackson Wilson has been the team's breakout athlete on offense with 1,192 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, while quarterback Aiden McClary has thrown for 510 yards and five scores; the rest of Bradley Central's ball carriers have combined for just 279 rushing yards this season. The Bears have allowed just 12 points per game, and the defense has 15 players with at least one tackle for loss, led by Josh Helsdon, who has 8.5 plus five sacks. This will be the final home game of the season for Ooltewah, which will continue its string of nonregion games at Soddy-Daisy and Brainerd before returning to Region 4-5A play at McMinn County to finish the regular season. The Owls earned their first win last week, which was also the first for new head coach Goose Manning. Raymos McGee scored three touchdowns to lead Ooltewah's offense, but it was the defense that stood out most with four scores in the 52-point region win against Howard. Mason Arnold returned both an interception and a fumble for touchdowns, Edgar Lawrence added a pick-six and Jeremiah West had a fumble return for a score.

 

CALHOUN YELLOW JACKETS (5-1, 1-0) at BLESSED TRINITY TITANS (4-2, 1-0)

Things get real in Roswell as two teams ranked in the top 10 of GHSA Class AAAAA battle for playoff positioning and a shot at the Region 7 title. Both teams are coming off easy region openers, both lineups are at or close to full strength and both offenses are strong — but each does it differently on that side of the ball. For Calhoun, things start with efficient quarterback Christian Lewis, who has 1,349 yards and 15 touchdowns to one interception and has completed 70% of his passes. He has four playmaking receivers: Cole Speer (12 catches, 353 yards, five touchdowns), Quin Smith (15, 308, four), Peyton Law (12, 252, four) and Brendan Gray (nine, 138, one). The Yellow Jackets also have a strong ground game, with Gage Leonard and Caden Williams combining for 1,039 yards and 11 scores. The Titans are far less balanced, but they don't have to be. Justice Haynes can dominate games by himself, as Calhoun well knows after the four-star running back prospect ran for 360 yards and five touchdowns in Blessed Trinity's 35-21 win last year. Haynes has missed two games this season — losses to St. Pius X and Marist — but still has 843 yards and nine scores. Calhoun's defense, led by linebackers Nathan Fuller, Mason Green and Christopher Lewis, will have to limit Haynes' big plays.

 

LaFAYETTE RAMBLERS (3-2, 2-1) at RINGGOLD TIGERS (6-0, 4-0)

High-powered offenses get most of the attention these days, but this 6-AAA matchup on Don Patterson Field will have the regions's top two defenses. Of course, the Tigers also have the region's best offense so far, having averaged more than 40 points per game and a league-best 269 yards per game on the ground. Senior running back Kori Dumas has 735 yards and six touchdowns, with Peyton Williams adding 425 yards and five scores despite missing two games. That ground attack will be tested by a LaFayette defense that has given up an average of only 97 rushing yards per game, with the Ramblers paced on that side of the ball by leading tackler Ross Martin as well as Cody Davis, Jaden Morris and Lane White. If the Tigers' running game is slowed, they can turn to quarterback Mason Parker, who has completed 68% of his passes for 717 yards and nine touchdowns. LaFayette's offense has yet to get untracked under first-year coach Andy Scott, but the Ramblers do have one of the area's most dangerous athletes in Jaylon Ramsey, who has 424 rushing yards. Any shot at the upset, though, will depend on quarterback Zach Barrett and the passing game's production.

Compiled by Stephen Hargis and Lindsey Young. Contact Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com and follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis. Contact Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com and follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

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Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Calhoun's Christian Lewis, left, hands off to Caden Williams during a home game against McCallie on Aug. 27.

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

Friday, Oct. 8, 2021

Games start at 7:30 p.m. Eastern unless noted

TENNESSEE

Austin-East at South Pittsburg, 8

Battle Ground Academy at McCallie

Bradley Central at Ooltewah

Copper Basin at Meigs County

Grace Academy at Franklin Christian, 8

McMinn Central at Loudon

Mt. Juliet Christian at Sale Creek

Notre Dame at Howard

Polk County at Tellico Plains

Red Bank at East Ridge

Rhea County at Elizabethton

Silverdale Baptist at Knoxville Webb

Sweetwater at McMinn County

Tyner at Marion County, 8

Whitwell at Grundy County, 8

GEORGIA

Adairsville at Coahulla Creek

Alexander at Dalton

Calhoun at Blessed Trinity

Chattooga at Coosa

Gordon Central at Pepperell

Gordon Lee at Mount Zion-Carroll

Heritage at Central-Carroll

LaFayette at Ringgold

Model at Dade County

Murray County at Sonoraville

Northwest Whitfield at Cedartown

Pickens at Ridgeland

Rockmart at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe

Southeast Whitfield at North Murray

Walker at Christian Heritage

 

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