Athens Academy-GWA lives up to billing; Mt. de Sales, NCC still unbeaten

Here’s a look at what went down over the weekend:

Unbeatens battle to the end
No. 2 (Private) Athens Academy and No. 6 (Private) George Walton Academy both proved their metal in Friday night’s battle, won by Athens Academy, 35-28. The Spartans remained unbeaten (6-0, 2-0 in Region 8-South) thanks to a 40-yard touchdown run by Len’Neth Whitehead with just under two minutes left in regulation. GWA battle back from a two-touchdown deficit to tie the game at 28-28 in the fourth quarter, behind a strong performance by quarterback Omar Daniels, who had over 200 yards total offense. In fact, the Bulldogs (6-1, 1-1) rose one spot in the AJC Top 10 private poll, from seventh to sixth, after the loss.

Marion County remains among the undefeated
No. 5 (Public) Marion County improved to 7-0 with a comfortable 43-25 win over Brookstone (4-2, 2-1 in Region 4-Division A). The Cougars held a 12-7 lead in the second quarter but Marion County (7-0, 4-0) countered with 21-unanswered points and never looked back. The Eagles were led by Travon Mathews (171 yards on 17 carries, with two touchdowns), Trice McCannon (110 yards on 10 carries) and Josh Rodgers (153 yards from scrimmage on 10 touches). Marion clinched the subregion title with the win and are among nine unbeaten teams left in Class A.

Still no loses for Mount de Sales, North Cobb Christian
Among the nine teams that have yet to taste defeat this season, two are big surprises. Aquinas, Athens Academy, Commerce, Fellowship Christian, Irwin County and Marion County are all perennial championship contenders. Even Pelham being undefeated at this point is not a huge shock, given the fact that the Hornets are now 30-10 with a region title, since the arrival of Dondrial Pinkins in 2015. But not many expected Mount de Sales and North Cobb Christian to be on the list of unbeatens headed into the home stretch of the regular season. 

Mount de Sales has struggled since joining the Georgia High Schools Association in 2014, going 16-25. But the Cavaliers moved to 6-0 for the first time since 2010 with a 35-0 shutout of Twiggs County on Friday. North Cobb Christian has had it even worse, going 4-16 the past two seasons – the first in which the Eagles played a region schedule. Even in the nine seasons in which NCC played a non-region schedule (2007-2015) it could muster just 18 wins against 60 defeats. But the Eagles are now 6-0 after thumping Gordon Lee, 29-7. Quarterback Jake Watson paced NCC with 105 yards rushing, including touchdown runs of 1 and 65 yards, and a 38-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Pruitt. 

Savannah Christian pulls the upset of the weekend

No. 7 (Private) Savannah Christian (5-1, 2-0 in Region 3-Division A) knocked off previously unbeaten Calvary Day (5-1, 1-1), 24-21, on the strength of 21-unanswered points. After falling behind 7-3 early in the third quarter, the Raiders answered with a 5-yard touchdown run by Marquell Brown to close that period and then added a 25-yard touchdown pass from Spencer Robicheaux to Omar Burroughs and a 5-yard run by Jordan Grant in the fourth quarter for a 24-7 lead. The Cavaliers made it close with two late touchdown passes by Thomas Carver – a 48-yarder to Nye’air Grant and a 4-yarder to Jay Wetherington – but it wasn’t enough to prevent Savannah Christian’s first win over their Savannah-area rivals since 2015. The loss dropped Calvary Day from the No. 4 spot in the AJC Top 10 private poll, to No. 9.

Dallas gets first win over his former team
Trinity Christian head coach Kenny Dallas earned his first win as a head coach over the program he built into a consistent playoff contender, when his Lions downed Landmark Christian, 29-13, in downtown Fairburn. Dallas was 88-41 with six region titles and an appearance in the state finals (2011) in 11 years as head coach at Landmark. He left in 2012 to coach in his native Memphis-area, but returned two years later as defensive coordinator at rival Eagle’s Landing Christian, where he helped the Chargers win state titles in 2015 and 2016. Dallas took over as head coach at Trinity Christian in Sharpsburg in 2017 and led the Lions to a region championship and an appearance in the state championship game in the program’s final season in the Georgia Independent Schools Association. The win over Landmark has Trinity at 5-2, 2-2 in Region 5.

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