Athens Christian Eagles (8-A Private)
Coach: Chris Williams
Last week: Lost to Prince Avenue Christian 55-9
Wesleyan Wolves (5-A Private)
Coach: Franklin Pridgen
Last week: Beat Mount Vernon 24-0
Wesleyan, the Class A Private runner-up last season, begins the state football playoffs Friday on a high note after an impressive showing in Game 10.
The Wolves shut down one of the state’s most prolific passing attacks last Friday in a 24-0 win over Mount Vernon, clinching their first region title since 2009. J.D. Chipman (seven tackles, two for losses, two sacks) and an active pass rush caused Mount Vernon issues, while Drew Ball (seven tackles, three pass breakups) and the secondary played deep balls well and tackled well on the shorter routes.
“I thought we defended the pass well on both ends,” Pridgen said. “We were depleted. We’ve got two starters out who would be in our secondary. Guys like Byrne Ahrenkiel did an incredible job. Drew Ball did an incredible job on Andrew Douglas, their superstar receiver. We played the ball well in the air. What I thought we did particularly well was pressure the quarterback. Their quarterback, I don’t think he enjoyed it too much. We were in the neighborhood of 17 sacks, hurries, pressures and knockdowns. That’s a big number. That’s as much a part of our pass defense as the secondary.”
Offensively, Wesleyan relied heavily on the rushing attack led by Griffin Caldwell, who scored all three touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Rose also was a big factor on the read option, taking advantage of a great night from Banks Merkl (83 percent grade), Matthew Brown (80 percent grade) and the offensive line.
“The line of scrimmage, we dominated that, especially early,” Pridgen said.
A Wesleyan victory means another home game in the second round against the winner of North Cobb Christian and Lakeview Academy.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Wesleyan won 56-7 in 2009
Location: Wesleyan School