The final Friday night of October will be highlighted by a slate of significant high school football games in Columbia County.
Trick or treat arrives early, as this week's winners can savor their spoils, while the losers may be left holding the bag.
Jonesboro quarterback #3 Kenyari Addison runs over Evans' #18 Osmond Brinson during their game Friday night.
Photo by Todd Bennett
Lakeside plays Greenbrier in a 7:30 p.m. contest at the Brierpatch, where local bragging rights take a back seat to the Region 3-AAAA standings.
The Panthers prevailed last week, picking up a 17-6 homecoming decision over Butler. Lakeside improved its record to 3-3, and kept pace in the Region 3-AAAA race with a 3-1 mark.
The Wolfpack defense came through last week, posting a 17-0 shutout of Glenn Hills during Region 3-AAAA action at Lumpkin Road Stadium. In the process, Greenbrier (2-4, 1-3 in region play) ended a four-game losing streak and kept its playoff hopes afloat.
Greenbrier has some extra incentive this week: the Pack was knocked out of the 2001 playoff picture with a 23-20 loss to Lakeside at Panther Stadium, and would love to return the favor Friday night.
This Friday at Pride Valley, Augusta Christian and Tattnall Square Academy kick off at 8 p.m. The Lions are seeking their first-ever victory over the Macon powerhouse, and if AC breaks through, a Region 2-AAA crown would be in sight.
Augusta Christian (6-3, 1-0) opened its region schedule last Friday with a 33-14 win over Mount de Sales. The game at Pride Valley stayed close until the Lions exploded for 20 points in the fourth quarter.
As usual, AC tailback Joel Whinghter did most of the damage. He was coming off a record-breaking 406-yard rushing performance against Brentwood, and the speedy senior didn't slow down against Mount de Sales: Whinghter rushed for 284 yards and notched five touchdowns to match his own single-game scoring record.
For the season, Whinghter now has gained 1,824 yards and has tallied 25 touchdowns. The TD mark eclipses his record of 23, which was set during his junior campaign.
Since all four teams from Region 2-AAA automatically qualify for the Georgia Independent School Association Class AAA state playoffs, AC will play at least three more games this season, which means Whinghter has a shot of breaking his own school-record, single-season rushing total. In 12 games last year, Whinghter rushed for 2,465 yards.
Prep football games don't get much bigger than the Region 3-AAA tilt between Harlem and Jefferson County. The Bulldogs will be defending their home turf, and a win in the 7:30 p.m. matchup would nail down a No. 3 seed in the state playoffs, at the very least.
Harlem won at home last week, totaling 422 yards of offense during a 24-7 romp over Richmond Academy. That performance gave the Dogs a four-game win streak, a 4-1-1 overall record, and a 3-0 region record.
Technically, some stange things have to happen to keep Harlem from being one of four region teams to garner a state playoff berth, but if the Dogs take care of business this week, postseason play will be a mere afterthought.
''Our situation, with the way I've looked at it, is we've got to beat Jefferson County to ensure us third place in the region," Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis said. ''The key is to beat Jefferson County and have third wrapped up and then play for seed in the next two games (against Washington County and Westside)."
Jefferson County (3-4, 2-1 in region play) also is in the playoff hunt. The Warriors are coming off a 34-20 win against Laney.
Evans makes the familiar journey this Friday on Interstate 20, as the Knights play a 7:30 p.m. road-game against Forest Park. The last time Evans went west, on Oct. 12, the Knights knocked off Henry County to earn their only win of the season.
The Knights fell last week, losing their homecoming game to Jonesboro 33-20. Evans held a 14-7 halftime lead, but the Cardinals scored 26 unanswered points to pull away in the Region 4-AAAAA (B) subregion battle at Blanchard Stadium.
While Evans (1-6, 1-3 in subregion play) is out of the state playoff picture, the Knights should have an opportunity to beat Forest Park. The Panthers dropped to 0-4 in the subregion with a 24-0 loss to Fayette County last week.
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