Zander Barnett

Milton’s Zander Barnett (46) warms up before a 2018 game. 

Game:♦ Milton Eagles vs. Buford Wolves

Date: ♦ Aug. 23, 2019

Last meeting: ♦ Milton 6, Buford 0 (Sept. 9, 1983)

All-time series: ♦ Milton leads 4-0

Milton’s contest against Buford at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville as part of the Corky Kell Classic on Aug. 23 serves as the main contest in the opening night of the 2019 prep football season for local programs.

Milton, which has been playing varsity football since 1950 won its first state championship in program history with a 14-13 win over Colquitt County in the Georgia High School Association Class 7A title game on Dec. 12 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Eagles finished their 2018 campaign with 13 wins, another program record, and only its third region title in history.

“Preparation for the upcoming season has been fantastic,” Milton coach Adam Clack said. “The team is very focused on turning the page and working our process to this point to prepare us for the 2019 season. We are excited to put the pads back and continue to build and prepare for a challenging non-region schedule.

The Eagles face a Buford squad out of Class 5A that won 10 games and reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs in 2018.

“There is a belief and trust that we have a solid formula to build a competitive team that can compete on the biggest stage and play or best ball when it matters most,” Clack said. “We also know that last year’s success will not put a single point on the scoreboard for us this year. This is a new year with new challenges and it will be our task like any other year to work through the same steps to build this team week after week.”

Blessed Trinity secured its second consecutive state championship last season with a 23-9 win over Cartersville in the Class 3A on Dec. 12, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The victory secured a perfect 15-0 campaign for the Titans and extended the program’s winning streak to a record 21 contests.

The Titans are back at it in 2019 and host St. Pius X in their season opener. The Golden Lions earned 10 wins and reached the second round of the Class 4A playoffs in 2018. “What we hope carries over is their tremendous work ethic and attention to details,” Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin said. “If we can fill those gaps with consistent play, we should be OK.”

Wesleyan earned seven wins last season and reached the second round of the GHSA Class A Private state playoffs for the second consecutive year. The Wolves have made the playoffs seven straight years and are back in preparations to take the next step in the postseason.

“It was a great summer,” Wesleyan head coach Franklin Pridgen said. The Wolves host Class 7A program Meadowcreek on Friday.

Fellowship Christian was also in the Class A Private playoffs last season, winning 10 games and advancing to the quarterfinals of the postseason.

“The team has worked hard this off season in the weight room and in seven-on-seven competitions,” Paladins coach Al Morrell said. “The 2018 season went well but the lesson learned once again is that we must stay healthy to compete in Class A football. Everyone on the squad must be prepared to fill in even if you’re a backup so practicing well and staying focused is very important.” Fellowship hosts Class 5A program North Springs to open its season.

Three teams from Region 7AAAAAA open their seasons on Friday.

Centennial finished second in the region last season with seven wins and qualified for the playoffs. The Knights return senior wide receiver Richard Shaw who a team-high 980 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Junior Drake Mason also comes back after 770 receiving yards and seven TDs in 2018. Centennial faces Northside (Warner Robins).

Cambridge won three contests last season and look to improve with the return of sophomore quarterback Zach Harris who threw nine touchdown passes in 2018 and junior running back Phillip-Michael Collins who posted a team-high 11 TD runs last season. The Bears host Creekview.

Chattahoochee looks to bounce back after a winless 2018 campaign. “The preparation is to focus on the details,” Cougars coach Mike Malone said. “Do your job, be attentive, pay attention to details and put the team first on and off the field.”

Chattahoochee brings back senior linebacker Parker Jekins who had a team-high 91 tackles and senior defensive back Gianluca Jones who had 70 tackles. Senior defensive back Eli Price had a team-high four interceptions in addition to 67 tackles. The Cougars visit Riverwood.

Mount Pisgah Christian visits Holy Innocents’ to open its 2019 campaign on Aug. 24.

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