Valley Preps

Here are the top 10 prep football games in Chattahoochee Valley this season

The Chattahoochee Valley area provides some of the best high school football in the region, with heated rivalries, historical bragging rights and postseason implications nearly every week.

There is no shortage of big games on the docket this season. Some carry more weight than others, so here the ones that will likely have the most at stake — bragging rights, postseason implications and potential statement games.

Harris County vs. Carver

Date: August 23

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Hamilton, Ga.

What’s at stake: A matchup between two of the top teams in the area, on the first Friday of the regular season. What more could you ask for?

For Harris County, the game represents a chance to start on the right foot (and avenge last season’s opening loss to Carver) as they shoot for their first winning season since 2014. Jamie Fox returns for year two with a squad full of talent, fresh off a 5A first-round playoff loss a season ago.

Carver, meanwhile, looks to build upon the success found in head coach Corey Joyner’s first season as head coach — a season in which his Tigers went 9-2, but lost in the first round of the GHSA 4A playoffs. A season-opening win for either team would set a positive tone for the rest of the season.

Central-Phenix City vs. Hoover

Date: August 23

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.

What’s at stake: The clash of Alabama 7A titans headlines a packed Week 1 as defending state champion Central-Phenix City travels to Montgomery to face historic power Hoover in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic.

Hoover leads the all-time series 2-0 and last beat the Red Devils in 2016.

This matchup likely will not have any postseason implications (Central and Hoover reside in different regions), but may serve as a preview for one of the later rounds in the Class 7A playoffs.

Carver vs. Spencer

Date: August 30

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Memorial Stadium

What’s at stake: Bragging rights. There are some big rivalries in the area, but perhaps none more historic than the Heritage Bowl between Carver and Spencer.

The Tigers and Green Waves split the previous two contests, with Carver winning the previous 18 before that. These teams have competed every year since 1962 despite normally being in different classifications, and the Tigers lead the all-time series 43-12-1.

Spencer went 3-8 last season but came within seven points of the Tigers. The Green Waves will be out to pull the upset. The Tigers will be looking for another win over their rivals.

Columbus High School takes on Northside High School in this file photo from November 3, 2018. With football season right around the corner, here are four predictions for high school football in the Chattahoochee Valley. Darrell Roaden Special to the Ledger-Enquirer

Columbus vs. Troup County

Date: Sept. 5

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Kinnett Stadium

What’s at stake: Troup County was a GHSA 4A semi-finalist last season. Columbus had its first winning season since 2015 and made the second round of the 4A playoffs. Columbus’ rivalry game against Northside will always get the most attention, but this early-season matchup might be the most important for the Blue Devils.

For the Blue Devils, it’s an opportunity to prove early-on that last season’s 7-5 playoff season was not a fluke. For Troup, it’s an opportunity to remind everyone that the Tigers remain a force to be reckoned with in Class 4A.

The Tigers won last season’s matchup 47-14. Is another convincing win in line for the Tigers, or could the Blue Devils make an early statement?

Calvary Christian vs. Sherwood

Date: Sept. 13

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Calvary

What’s at stake: A state-championship rematch and potential playoff seeding.

Calvary lost the inaugural GICAA Class 2A state championship to Sherwood 21-13 back in November 2014. That game, up to this point, has served as the peak for the young Knights football program.

The teams meet again September 13 at Calvary, a mid-season region game between two top-12 teams in the GICAA that could carry playoff implications. Calvary wants a first-round bye in the playoffs this year, and a win against the Eagles would help carry them toward that goal.

Hardaway vs. Carver

Date: Sept. 13

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Memorial Stadium

What’s at stake: A program-changing win for Hardaway.

2018 was a big year for the Hardaway football team, which went 6-5 and made the Class 4A playoffs for the first time since 2010. They lost to Carver by six points and were one win away from being the No. 3-seed out of Region 1-AAAA.

The Hawks achieved a lot last season. A win over Carver could skyrocket them to even greater heights.

Spotted at the Brookstone vs. Pacelli football game Friday night Special to the Ledger-Enquirer/Darrell Roaden

Brookstone vs. Pacelli

Date: Oct. 4

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Pacelli

What’s at stake: The Broocelli Jug.

Arguably the most heated rivalry in the area, Brookstone vs. Pacelli hasn’t really been much of a rivalry lately. The Cougars have taken each of the past four matchups, all in blowout fashion (aside from a 14-0 win in 2015), and haven’t given up more than 14 points in the series since 2014.

Brookstone finished second in Region 4-A Division A last season. Pacelli missed the playoffs. The Cougars look to overtake Marion County at the top of the region standings, and the Vikings look to spring an upset and overtake Manchester for that coveted playoff spot. A win over Brookstone would do wonders.

Smiths Station vs. Auburn

Date: Oct. 11

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Smiths Station

What’s at stake: A chance for a statement win for Smiths Station.

The Panthers welcome Auburn High, which finished 10-2 and came second in Region 2 behind Central, to Panther Stadium at T.C Britton Field for an early-October region bout. Aside from Central, Auburn might be the best team on the Panthers’ schedule. The Tigers have won the previous five dating back to 2014, and the final scores haven’t been close. Auburn also holds a 22-7 advantage in the all-time series.

Still, a big home game for the Panthers means anything could happen. For a team aiming to get back to the playoffs, this game is an important one. A win over Auburn would be a massive statement.

Marion County vs. Brookstone

Date: Oct. 11

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Brookstone

What’s at stake: Likely a region title.

Marion County won the Region 4-A Division A title last season, going undefeated in the regular season and falling in the Class 1A semifinals. Brookstone lost one game in the region — a 43-25 road loss to the Eagles — so this matchup could very well serve as a de facto region championship.

The Cougars get Marion County at home this time around, so anything could happen.

1103_COSP_High school football roundup 110218_0157.jpg
Northside’ Jerry Adams forces Columbus’ Donovan Carter to the sideline in the first quarter of Friday night’s game at Kinnett Stadium on November 2, 2018. Darrell Roaden Special to the Ledger-Enquirer

Columbus vs. Northside

Date: Nov. 8

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Kinnett Stadium

What’s at stake: Bragging rights and a potential playoff spot.

Phil Marino’s Blue Devils torched Northside 34-3 last season, an exclamation point on the team’s first winning season in years. It was also Columbus’ first win over the Patriots since 2013.

If Columbus continues its momentum from last year and the Patriots grab two more region wins than in they did in 2018 (Northside went 3-5 in Region 1-AAAA), this game could have serious playoff implications.

Related stories from Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Joshua Mixon is a reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. He covers sports (Auburn and preps) and local news, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He previously covered Georgia athletics for the Telegraph. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshDMixon.