I must admit, after seeing the Evans High School football team turn in a poor performance against Lakeside earlier this season, I thought the Knights would struggle to win two games in 2003.
Well, my apologies to coach Marty Jackson and his staff at Evans. The Knights have now posted three straight wins and are in the playoff race in Region 7-AAAAA.
Getting quarterback Brad Freeman back from an injury has been a big reason for the turnaround. After managing just six points per game during a four-game losing streak to start the season, Evans has averaged 21.3 points over the three-game winning streak.
That's the good news. The bad news is that Evans will next play Stephenson High School. The Region 7-AAAAA power visits Blanchard Stadium next week, and that Halloween matchup could get scary for the Knights.
Despite losing quarterback Reggie Ball (Georgia Tech), Kregg Lumpkin (Georgia) and T.J. Gartrell (Georgia), Stephenson is still loaded.
But we'll save that prediction for next week. For now, we'll pick the winners in this Friday's prep contests.
Greenbrier (6-1) at Burke County (2-4): This is a Region 3-AAAA matchup of two teams going in opposite directions. After winning its first two games, Burke County has dropped four straight. In those defeats, the Bears have been outscored 110-0! That is not a misprint - Burke County has gone 16 straight quarters without scoring.
As for Greenbrier, the Wolfpack's young defense is starting to play much better. The Pack yielded 25 points a game through four contests, but the squad has become stingy lately. In the last three games, all victories, Greenbrier has allowed only 8.6 points per game, and in the past two wins, the Pack has outscored their opponents 72-19.
All told, Greenbrier has scored 214 points this year, while the Bears have managed only 29 points.
That said, this game is at Burke County, and the Bears are due to find the end zone. But that won't be enough to stop Greenbrier.
Greenbrier 27, Burke County 7
Harlem (2-5) at Jefferson County (1-4-1): The Bulldogs have been through a demoralizing time the past three weeks. First there was an embarrassing 72-0 loss to Washington County, then the Dogs fell to Josey in the closing seconds, and last week Harlem took a first-half lead at home against Richmond Academy, only to watch the Musketeers score 24 unanswered points to claim the win.
Next up for the Dogs is Region 3-AAA foe Jefferson County, which could be the best one-win team in the state. The Warriors lone victory was over Laney, and Jefferson County has lost two games to Class AAAA squads.
The Dogs get bitten again this week.
Jefferson County 27, Harlem 13
Butler (5-1) at Lakeside (3-3): This battle pits the two surprise teams in Region 3-AAAA. Butler won just twice last year, but are on track to make the state playoffs this season. The Bulldogs don't have to play region powers Thomson and Statesboro, which doesn't seem fair or make any sense, but that seems standard for the Georgia High School Association.
Lakeside is in a must-win situation, an if the Panthers do the job this week, they may get thank-you cards from several Region 3-AAAA teams, most notably Greenbrier and Hephzibah.
The key for Lakeside is getting the offense back in gear. After scoring at a 34-point clip during their three wins to start 2003, the Panthers have scored 24 total points in their three losses.
Lakeside should be back on the offensive this Friday night.
Lakeside 20, Butler 17
Riverside Military Academy (5-3) at Augusta Christian (7-1): The Lions will get a stern test from Riverside. The Eagles and Lions have had only one common opponent this year, and they both handily beat John Milledge Academy.
Forget the numbers, though. Riverside Military will march back to Gainesville with a loss.
Augusta Christian 27, Riverside 20
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