Yeah I know the season is still 3 months away but it’s never too early to start talking NwGa high school football. Here is our picks for the Top 5 games of opening night 2021. For a complete list of games on Aug 20th for NwGa you can click here.
#5) Pickens Dragons at Gilmer County Bobcats:
On paper it may not seem like a can’t miss game. Two teams that were both 3-6 last season and missed the playoffs but the story line in this rivalry game makes it a can’t miss in 2021. Pickens new Head Coach Grant Myers will be making his regular season debut for the Dragons. Across the way Coach Paul Standard will make his debut for the Bobcats after a storied 20 year career at St. Pius where he won 174 games, 8 Region Titles and 2 State Championship appearances.
#4) Haralson County Rebels at Pepperell Dragons:
No doubt two of the best coaches in NwGa square off in this one in front of a packed house in Lindale opening night. After 10 straight years of below .500 ball for the Rebels, Coach Peavy has led Haralson Co to a school record 3 straight playoffs appearances. Pepperell has qualified for the post season 16 consecutive seasons, including all 6 under Coach Hurst.
If you like QB play this is the game for you. Haralson Co QB Clay Hyatt is one of , if not the, top rushing QBs in the State. Pepperell rising Junior Matthew Waddell, who recently won a State Wrestling Title, is slated to take over signal calling duties fulltime for the Dragons in 2021. Keep an eye out for Pepperell rising Junior RB DJ Rogers, who has the potential to be one of the top backs in NwGa this season. He will be challenged by a stout Rebel defense led by DE Riley Bell and LB Kade Mullins.
#3) Fellowship Christian Paladins at Christian Heritage Lions:
2 teams that should be in the Top 10 when the polls are released later this Summer for Class A Private. Christian Heritage gave the Paladins all they could handle in the 1st half last season before letting their upset bid slip away late. Head Coach Jay Poag has done an excellent job at Christian Heritage. The Lions have made the playoffs 3 straight years and last season won their 1st Region Title. Expectations are high this season. They return two of the top offensive performers in NwGa in QB Christian Thomas and RB Solomon Locke and should compete once again for the Title in 7A Private.
#2) Cedartown Bulldogs at Denmark Danes:
A good early test for the Bulldogs as they travel to Alpharetta to take on the Danes from Region 6-AAAAAAA. 1st year Head Coach Jamie Abrams led the Bulldogs to their most successful season in 20 years wining their 1st Region Title since 2001 and making the State Quarterfinals. Cedartown returns a lot of experience from last years squad, including the 1-2 punch of CJ Washington (UGA Commit) and rising Junior Harlem Diamond out of the backfield. On the defensive side Senior DE/LB/TE Demarieo Sims and Junior LB/FB Eli Barrow have jumped on a lot of recruiting radars this off season.
#1) Rome Wolves at Rockmart Yellow Jackets:
Two of the most successful programs in NwGa over the last decade square off in Rockmart opening night. This game is full of playmakers on both sides of the ball. The best battle on the field may be two of the hottest names in the recruiting circles this off season going head to head. Rockmart WR/DB Jakari Clark, who was a top performer this Spring at the MVP Camp and recently picked up an offer from Navy, and Rome rising Junior WR/DB Martel High who has picked up several SEC offers this offseason.
Two highly touted sophomore QBs will be starting their 1st season openers. Rome’s Reece Fountain stepped into the starting role midway through the 2020 season and threw for over 1000 yards leading the Wolves to the playoffs. Rockmart’s JD Davis has some big shoes to fill but he did a good job last season filling in for a injured Whatley during the game at Barron Stadium vs the Wolves.
Get your tickets early for this one!