Last week in this space, I began what I hope is not a futile exercise in counting down the top 10 football games involving our high school programs this fall. I’m not any more confident we’ll see anything resembling a normal season, especially after Social Circle, following on the heels of George Walton Academy, had to postpone off-season workouts for a couple of weeks when COVID-19 invaded its locker room.
But hope springs eternal, so I’ll move forward with three more must-see games.
Parkview at Loganville.
Given a choice, I’m guessing neither the previous Red Devils coaching staff nor the new one would want this game. Just three weeks after opening the season against your biggest rival and a week before region play begins you play to host to one of the biggest and most successful programs in the state. Sure, there’s a nice story line. A former Loganville head coach (Eric Godfree) returns to his old stomping grounds to face a Red Devils alum (Brad Smith, Class of 2004) in his inaugural season. But this one figures to get ugly early for the home team. It could get downright devastating if, in addition to the expected pummeling, some key player is lost to injury. Of course, Loganville has a history of killing giants (see Gainesville in 2012 and Southwest DeKalb in 2018). A win over the Panthers would top them all.
Providence Christian at Loganville Christian.
Welcome to the big league. After starting with eight-man football and then spending time in a pair of private school associations, the LCA Lions have finally reached the top as members of the Georgia High School Association. The Lions need only look across the field at their inaugural opponent to get a possible glimpse of their future. Providence joined GHSA in 2012 and played their first full 10-game schedule in 2014. Since then, they’ve won eight games. The Storm will be breaking in their third head coach since joining GHSA. But that’s nothing compared with LCA, which is on its second coach since joining GHSA, and it’s yet to play a game. After the Lions parted ways with Patrick Stewart after just one season, they hired Adam Miller, who stepped down just six weeks later. Enter Tim Wellmaker, who’s barely had time to meet his players thanks to the pandemic. For a program already facing a major uphill climb, all the offseason turmoil has only made things more difficult. But ready or not….
Commerce at Social Circle.
Will the Redskins move from Class AA to A help them be more competitive? The Tigers will be a good measuring stick. One of the most consistently successful programs among the state’s smallest public schools, Commerce is always a tough draw, especially at home. Fortunately, Social Circle will play the host for the this. If history’s any indication, it won’t matter. These two met regularly back when both were in Class A, squaring off every season from 2002-2011. The Redskins’ only win during that span was in 2005. If Social Circle manages to snap a six-game skid to the Tigers, chances are they’ll also be breaking a decades-long postseason drought.