Highschool soccer matches in Athens in 2021 to

With each day that ticks off the calendar, high school football is getting closer to the start of its season.

The first official training sessions can begin in three weeks (August 2nd) and the first games of the season are just over a month away (August 20th).

It’s never too early to look at key games that fans will love and could ultimately decide which teams will fight for a state title, a regional championship or even the playoffs.

We’re looking at 10 games that we can see around Athens this season.

Clarke Central v Cedar Shoals (August 20 at Billy Henderson Stadium)

The Classic City Championship has another main course for the season opener. The game can add confidence (along with showing off rights) to one Crosstown program while the others ask questions and search for answers. Clarke Central’s 10-3 win last season wasn’t a nice thing for either team, but it marked the start of a Region 8-5A championship season for Gladiators, who won 12 of 13 between schools.

Jefferson v Rabun County (August 20 at Jefferson Memorial Stadium)

Jefferson beat Rabun County early last season en route to second place in Class 4A. The matchup is UGA Football, in which Malaki Starks, a five-star athlete, and Gunner Stockton, a four-star quarterback, face each other. Starks’ teammates Jordan Perry and Sammy Brown, both Division I recruits, should make for a strong offensive and this will be the first chance to see them all together after Brown leaves Commerce.

Jefferson leads the Series 21-3, winning 18 straight from 1955 when Rabun County last led the Dragons.

More:Analysis: What will five-star athlete Malaki Starks bring to UGA football?

Commerce vs Athens Academy (September 3 at Commerce Tiger Stadium)

Athens Academy and Commerce is an underrated rivalry in the area, battling to a 14:14 tie in all meetings. For nearly three decades, starting in the 1990s, the region’s rivals played almost every season, but the Spartans have won 10 of their last 14 games, including last season’s 24-7 win.

Since being split into separate regions last season, Commerce (8-A Public) and Athens Academy (8-A Private) each have a chance to win their respective regions rather than competing for the region crown.

Both teams will have a different look this season, including a new head coach, Mark Hollers, who runs Commerce. This meeting could give the area an early glimpse of who really is in the two Class A classifications.

More:Blue collar and brave: Why Commerce sees new coach Mark Hollars as the perfect football fit

Clarke Central v Oconee County (September 3 at Billy Henderson Stadium)

Surprisingly, the schools, only nine miles apart, are only meeting for the eighth time this year, but it’s the sixth year in a row.

Clarke Central has won three of their last five games, but the Warriors won last season’s matchup 24-7 before marching to a heartbreaking second place in Class 3A.

This week three matchup is a good test for both teams before embarking on their region plans and provides the region with one of the best matchups outside of conferences.

Prince Avenue v Wesleyan (September 17 at Brad Akin Field)

The two have met over the past three seasons and have played five of their seven matchups since 2018. The teams faced each other in the 2018 and 2020 regular season and playoffs, with Prince Avenue winning the matchups, including a 50-3 win in last year’s class A private semifinals before the Wolverines won the state title.

Prince Avenue will have a new team this year after losing a number of seniors, including UGA quarterback Brock Vandagriff, Gatorade National Football Player of the Year.

Wesleyan, a 2019 finalist, was due to give Prince Avenue a tough challenge two games before the opening of his Region 8-A Private schedule.

More:As a “dog in the heart” Whit Muschamp joins the Athens Academy football program at Academy

Oconee County vs. Thomasville (September 17th at Warrior Stadium)

The Warriors, a series born due to COVID-19 cancellations last season, made the 4-hour drive to Thomasville last season. This season they will get their favor back.

Oconee County made the most of their trip last year, beating the fifth-placed Class 2A Bulldogs 44-14. It should be another test for both teams as they prepare to open their region plans.

Clarke Central on the East Side (Oct. 1 at Sharp Stadium)

Perhaps the only hurdle on the gladiators’ path to a Region 8-5A championship will be Eastside. The Eagles had beaten Clarke Central last year before the Gladiators scored a 35-34 win in the last minute.

The win propelled Clarke Central to the crown of the region, while Eastside finished second.

Athens Academy vs Prince Avenue Christian (October 8 on the battlefield)

This could have become the region’s fiercest rivalry. Schools don’t like each other that much, and neither do they try to hide this fact. The winner of the game usually has the upper hand in the region championship, as the winner of the game has won the Region 8-A title for each of the last five seasons.

Last year, Prince Avenue won 41-7 to end a streak of four games that included a state semi-final defeat in 2018. The winner will be in the driver’s seat, not just in the region, but maybe on the way to the national championship.

North Oconee vs. Cedar Shoals (October 22nd at Titan Stadium)

This late season matchup could determine the playoff seeding, or even a playoff spot, for the teams around Athens. The Titans won last season’s matchup to cement the region’s 8-4A third seed for the playoffs, but North Oconee lost quarterback Bubba Chandler, drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, and the game could be all over again Determine the third and fourth seed.

More:Replacing Bubba Chandler: Where North Oconee Might Turn For His Next Quarterback

Commerce vs. Washington-Wilkes (October 29 at Commerce Tiger Stadium)

Commerce invaded Washington last year and defeated the other Tigers, 28-17, in a game that ultimately won the Region 8-A Public title.

The teams could be in the same scenario this year, but Commerce will be hosting this year.

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