Game: Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (ELCA) Chargers at Wesleyan Wolves
Date and time: Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: ELCA 35, Wesleyan 13 (Nov. 25, 2016)
Prediction: ELCA 30, Wesleyan 24
With region play entering its full slate for Henry County prep football programs, three local schools – Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (ELCA), Stockbridge and Eagle’s Landing High School – are looking to establish themselves as the class of their regions and contention for state supremacy.
ELCA, the two-time defending Class A Private state champions, host Wesleyan on Friday in a Region 5A contest. The Chargers enter the contest on a school-record 27 games, which is unofficially one of the top-20 longest marks in Georgia football history. ELCA picked up a 49-0 region road win at Holy Innocents’ on Sept. 15. Brayden Rush completed six out of seven passes for 168 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for an additional 128 yards and a TD. Josh Mays returned the opening kickoff for a 70-yard touchdown and George Shockley notched 11 tackles for the Chargers’ defense. ELCA has averaged over 41 points a contest while allowing 10 points per contest.
Wesleyan provides a formidable challenge for the home team. The Wolves have won four of their first five games, including a 42-7 region home victory over Our Lady of Mercy on Sept. 15. Banks Ramsey completed 15 of 17 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns in the air along with 60 rushing yards and a TD on the ground as well for Wesleyan. Zach Peterson had 91 receiving yards and two touchdowns while teammate J.D. Kavel also had a touchdown reception in addition to 91 receiving yards. Connor Thompson caught a 25-yard touchdown pass; George Bielen rushed for a team-high 114 yards and had a 15-yard TD run. Defensively, Ramsey had six tackles and four sacks. Charlie Taylor and Kavel each had an interception, Evan Fleming had a team-high 11 tackles and Daniel O’Sullivan notched 10 tackles. Kicker Matro Rengifo had six touchbacks.
“We played aggressive, sound defensive right from the start which set the table nicely for the offense,” Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen said.
The Wolves have lost only four times over the last two seasons with two of those losses coming to the Chargers, including last season’s 35-13 loss in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
Stockbridge has gotten off to a strong start to the season with a 4-0 overall record. The Tigers have won their first two Region 4AAAAA contests, including a 33-3 road win at Ola on Sept. 15. B.J. Riley had three total touchdowns including an eight-yard rushing score in the first quarter. Babriel McKenzie had a 40-yard touchdown run and Demaje Carter returned an interception for a touchdown in the victory. Defensively, Mike Price had a team-high seven tackles and an interception for Stockbridge while teammates Nasir Greer and Brandon Lopes each had six tackles.
The Tigers have won 17 of their last 18 games dating back to last season. This Friday, Stockbridge hosts Locust Grove in a region tilt. The Tigers have won all five previous meetings against the Wildcats, including last year’s 21-10 victory. Locust Grove enters Friday’s contest against Stockbridge coming off a 38-34 region road loss at Union Grove on Sept. 15.
Eagle’s Landing HS has also won its first two Region 4AAAAA games this season, picking up a 34-0 home win over Hampton on Sept. 18. Cameron Lewis rushed for a game-high 84 yards and touchdown while also throwing for a game-high 118 yards in the win. Dandre Addison had three rushing touchdowns as well and teammate Logan Friddell hit two field goals. Eagle’s Landing HS hosts Dutchtown in a region contest on Friday. The Bulldogs lead the lifetime series over the Eagles 3-2 including last year’s 14-6 win.
Dutchtown earned a 10-7 region road win at Heritage (Conyers) on Sept. 15. Ocean Curvin’s 21-yard field in the second quarter for the Bulldogs were the lone points scored in the first half. Shanaan McKoy’s two-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining in regulation proved to be the game-winner. Dutchtown’s Chris Joyce had three interceptions on defense.
“The biggest key factor for us was staying the course,” Bulldogs’ coach Clifford Fedd said. “We had a lot of success moving the ball offensively and holding their offense from moving the ball up and down the field like they have done in previous games.”
In its win over Locust Grove, Union Grove trailed 34-24 in the fourth quarter. Devin Tumlin connected with Winston Reese on a 30-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 34-31. Winston Reese recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt and Michael Reese’s 15-yard touchdown run secured the comeback victory. Tumlin rushed for 101 yards on offense while notching eight tackles and an interception on defense. Michael Reese had two touchdown runs and Keyon Carter had a rushing TD in the win.
“They key for us to winning over Locust Grove was our ability to finish drives,” Wolverines’ coach Chad Frazier said. “Our offense did a good job of scoring touchdowns instead of field goals or punts. The other part of that were the takeaways.” Union Grove is off this week.
Hampton visits Jones County on Friday in a region contest. The Hornets dropped last season’s contest 45-6 in the lone lifetime meeting between the two programs.
Woodland visits Ola on Friday in region play. The Wolfpack look to rebound from a 46-7 home loss to Jones County on Sept. 15. Jalen Echols had a rushing touchdown in the loss. Woodland leads the lifetime series over Ola 4-1, including last year’s 28-0 victory.
Luella hosts Salem in its Region 4AAAA opener on Friday. The Lions are looking to pick up their first win of the season after falling at Class AAAAAA program Lee County 57-7 on Sept. 15. The Lions fell to the Seminoles 6-0 last season.
Henry County High School also looks to earn its first victory of the year this Friday in a Region 4AAAA road contest at Woodward Academy. The Warhawks dropped their last contest at Riverdale 53-20 on Sept. 15. Henry County HS has dropped all 22 previous meetings against Woodward Academy, including last year’s 48-6 defeat.
Strong Rock Christian is off this week.