Lovett’s 30-29 overtime victory against then-No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian might have been the loudest statement made in Week 1 of the high school football season.
The victory ended Lovett's six-game losing streak against the Spartans, dating to 2013, when Lovett won 17-14. Greater Atlanta Christian holds a 17-6 margin in the series, which dates to 1999.
“We don’t really get caught up in any of the streak stuff,” Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. “It’s just a good opportunity for our kids to get out there and compete.”
And compete they did. Lovett trailed 23-7 in the fourth quarter before tying game with a minute remaining on a 14-yard pass from Blaine McAllister to Charlie Hoke and a 5-yard run from Henry Beery. In overtime, Lovett scored first on a 15-yard pass from McAllister to Ritter Windom. The game was decided moments later when Andrew Pinkston blocked the point-after attempt after GAC scored on a 4-yard run by Tre Henry. Pinkston also blocked a point-after in the third quarter.
“Andrew is a junior who transferred in from Woodward,” said Muschamp. “He had to sit out a year because of the transfer stuff. He plays corner and wide receiver for us. Great kid. Super-star kid. He stepped up and got both of those extra points from sheer effort. Effort and determination.”
The Lions moved to No. 5 in the Class AAA rankings that were released Sunday. It could be said that Lovett was playing with a chip on its shoulder after being unranked in the preseason poll. But not so fast, said Muschamp.
“Well, I don’t know about that,” he said. “When we play GAC or Marist or any of those teams, the kids know each other. They’ve been playing against each other since seventh grade. So it’s sort of a built-in kind of rivalry. There’s a level of familiarity that a lot of schools don’t have because they don’t play as often. I don’t think there’s a chip on their shoulder or anything like that. I think they’re just finally ready to be hitting on someone other than us.”
Lovett (1-0) will play host to Class AAAA No. 4 Marist (1-0) on Friday. GAC travels to No. 10 Westminster (0-1).
Here's a look at the other top 10 teams:
-- No. 1 Peach County (0-0): Peach did not play in Week 1. The Trojans will play at Northside-Warner Robins (1-0) on Saturday.
-- No. 2 Cedar Grove (1-0): The Saints defeated Hapeville Charter 26-16 in Miguel Patrick’s debut as Cedar Grove coach. Quarterback Austin Smith was 10-of-15 passing for 175 yards and a touchdown. Chavon Wright had 25 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Cedar Grove will face Central-Phenix City (Ala.) on Saturday.
-- No. 3 Calhoun (1-0): The Yellow Jackets ushered in the Clay Stephenson era with a 38-8 victory against Ridgeland in the Corky Kell Classic at Rome’s Barron Stadium. Calhoun was led by Jerrian Hames, who rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Calhoun will face Therrell on Sept. 6.
-- No. 4 Pierce County (1-0): Pierce County entered the season ranked No. 8, but climbed four spots after a 49-7 thrashing of McIntosh County Academy. Pierce travels to Bacon County (0-1) on Friday.
-- No. 6 Pace Academy (1-0): The Knights earned a 7-6 victory against New Manchester and climbed one spot in the poll. Pace will play Eagle’s Landing Christian on Friday. Last year, the Knights defeated ELCA 17-16, which snapped the Chargers’ 37-game winning streak.
-- No. 7 Crisp County (1-0): Crisp sophomore quarterback Jack Carter was impressive with 15-of-22 passing for 230 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars led 22-7 at the break. Crisp has West Laurens on Friday.
-- No. 9 Benedictine (0-1): The Cadets lost in a shootout with Burke County 55-42. Sophomore quarterback Holden Geriner was 12-of-25 passing for 118 yards. Benedictine will play Blessed Trinity on Sept. 13.
-- No. 10 Westminster (0-1): Westminster did not score against Woodward Academy, losing 19-0 after beginning the season ranked No. 4. The Wildcats will face GAC on Friday.