By Alvin Richardson
Morgan County will host Monroe Area Friday night at Bill Corry Stadium in the Region 8AAA opener. The two schools are long-time rivals with a series that dates back to 1948. If you count games with Madison High School vs Monroe Area the series goes all the way back to 1923. Since 1948 however Morgan County leads the series 29-20 and have won four of the last five and seven of the last ten games versus the Purple Hurricanes dating back to 1999.
Monroe Area won last year’s tilt by routing the Bulldogs 39-0 and going on to win the Region 8AAA title, finish with a record of 12-1 and advance to the state quarterfinals before losing to Pierce County 24-7. Monroe and Morgan have accounted for the last three region titles with the Bulldogs capturing the region crown in 2016 and 2017.
With both teams expected to be in the playoff hunt the game takes on added significance. Because head to head games are the first tie-breaker, the winner of this contest gains the upper hand on seeding.
The Hurricanes come into this game with a record of 3-1 having posted wins over Apalachee (18-7), Loganville (17-14) and Walnut Grove (42-2). Their lone loss came at the hands of Pace Academy (25-0). Morgan County has also gone 3-1 over their non-region slate with wins over Loganville (38-17), Greene County (28-15) and Walnut Grove (35-14). The Bulldogs lone loss came at the hands of Oconee County (34-6).
The Canes are coached by Kevin Reach who is in his tenth season as a head coach. In his first seven seasons he led the Collins Hill (Gwinnett County) program and posted a record of 46-36. He is in his third season as head man at Monroe Area and his teams have been outstanding as his 24-5 record attests. His career record is 71-40 (.639).
Morgan County’s Bill Malone is in his 13th season and has posted a record of 73-59 (.553) with seven trips to the state playoffs.
Statistically Monroe has averaged 19.3 points per game and is allowing 12.0 while Morgan comes in averaging 26.8 and giving up 20.0 per game.
The Bulldogs hope to get starting quarterback Trent Folds back on the field this week. Folds, who injured his elbow early in the game against Greene County, missed the past two games. At press time his status was still unknown.
This year’s match between Morgan and Monroe looks pretty even on paper and should be an entertaining night of football. The Bulldogs will need solid community support to give them the edge. Should be fun.
Game time is 7:30.