Solomon Leslie

Solomon Leslie picks up yardage for Loganville during Friday night’s matchup with Parkview. The Red Devils hope to bounce back with a win on the road at Greenbrier this week.

After facing its archrival and a pair of Class AAAAAAA programs, Loganville is battled-tested as it begins its Region 8-AAAAA schedule Friday night against Greenbrier. 

The Red Devils (1-2) will make their longest road trip of the year to begin pursuit of their first league title since 2008. 

Located in Evans near Augusta, Greenbrier dropped from Class AAAAAA into AAAAA during the Georgia High School Association’s reclassification last year. The Wolfpack struggled during their stint in 3-AAAAAA, though they still made the playoffs the past two years despite winning a total of just five games.

Greenbrier is off to its best start since 2017, having won three straight. But those victories have come against teams with a combined record of 2-8.

A pass-first offense, the Wolfpack are led by junior quarterback Brook Pangle, whose thrown for 646 yards and eight TDs so far.  On defense, they’ve allowed just 3 points in their past two games. In last week’s victory over Grovetown, the defense scored twice on returned fumbles.

Check out the rest of this week’s high school football action.

Monroe Area (2-1 overall) at Madison County (1-2 overall)

Thanks to COVID-19, the Hurricanes swapped out an almost guaranteed win for a grudge match.

Monroe’s previously schedule opponent was Clarkston, which has won just three games over the past six years. Instead, a week before Region 8-AAA play begins, they’ll renew what became a heated rivalry over the past 10 years.

The two schools have split their past eight meetings, with Madison winning the last time, 41-7 in 2017. 

The Red Raiders had a memorable 2019. They entered the playoffs with a 4-6 record as the fourth seed out of Region 8-AAAA. But they pulled off a pair of upsets and made it all the way to the state quarterfinals.

They appear to be on a similar path this year after losing two of their first three games.

Monroe was off last week. The Hurricanes will be trying to get their offense in gear after averaging just 20 points in their first three games.

Walnut Grove (1-2 overall) at Jackson County (1-2 overall)

Over the past 20 years, Jackson has enjoyed just one winning season, going 6-5 in 2012. Two years ago, the school took a bold step to try and jumpstart the floundering program by hiring Rich McWhorter, one of the winningest coaches in state history 

During 29 years at Charlton County, his teams won 15 region and four state titles. He’s just eight wins shy of 300 in his career.

But the Panthers’ building process took a major hit last year when, during GHSA reclassification, they were bumped up two classifications, from Class AAA to AAAAA. 

Friday will be the Region 8-AAAAA opener for both teams and their first meeting in nine years. Getting off to a fast start in the region will critical for both programs, who are trying to snap extended postseason droughts. The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since 2017 while the Warriors’ first and only trip was in 2016.

Social Circle (1-3 overall) at Oglethorpe County (0-2 overall)

The Patriots could not have popped up on the schedule at a more opportune time for Social Circle. 

The Redskins have lost three of four to start the season, and all three games had running clocks in the fourth quarter. With its Region 8-A schedule starting next week, the Redskins desperately need to build some momentum. 

No team in recent years have proven more compliant for the Redskins that Oglethorpe. Social has won four of the past five meetings, although the Patriots snapped a four-game skid to the Redskins last fall.

Offensively, with last year’s leading rusher Amarion Russell standing on the sideline on crutches, the Redskins haven’t been able to develop a consistent attack. Meanwhile, defensively they’re allowing 37 points a game.

Loganville Christian (1-2 overall) at Holy Innocents’ (1-2 overall)

Don’t let its winless record fool you. Despite an 0-3 start, Holy Innocents’ is still among the contenders for a state title.

That’s why they are ranked No. 8 in the Class A private school poll. The Golden Bears’ losses have come to the top-ranked team in Class AAAA, the ninth-ranked team in AA, and the third-ranked team in Class A. 

Holy Innocents’ had a break-out season last fall, winning 12 straight games and advancing to the third round of state before falling to eventual state champ Eagles Landing Christian. 

For the Lions, the trip to Atlanta will be its second consecutive game against a ranked team and first ever on the road.

David Johnson is a correspondent for The Walton Tribune.

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