The top two teams in Class AAA make major statements Friday, making you wonder if the other teams in the class will be able to mount regular-season or playoff challenges.
No. 1 Peach County defeated Class AAAAAA No. 1 Lee County in Fort Valley, and No. 2 Cedar Grove traveled to Colorado to defeat one of the best teams in that state. Peach's 40-17 victory against Lee County helped the Trojans forget about last season's 33-0 loss in Leesburg. Lee had won 22 consecutive games against Georgia opponents dating to 2017 and 42 consecutive against non-region opponents dating to 2009.
Cedar Grove defeated Valor Christian, Colorado's defending Class AAAAA state champions, 27-17.
Lee County took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but Peach, who lost in the final seconds to Cedar Grove in the 2018 title game, scored on an 80-yard pass from Jaydon Gibson to Noah Whittington, but missed the extra point. Whittington scored again on a 28-yard touchdown run with 8:44 left in the first half to give Peach a 13-7 lead at the break.
Whittington scored again early in the second half on a 66-yard run to extend the lead, and then Peach began to show off. Justin Harris caught a 53-yard pass from quarterback Jaydon Gibson with 9:37 left in the third. Gibson extended the lead to 33-7 on a 7-yard run minutes later. Gibson then connected with Dorrian Smith on a 32-yard touchdown pass to make it a 40-7 before Lee could muster a response --a field goal with nine minutes left and a touchdown with 4:21 remaining.
Cedar Grove made the most of its trip to Colorado. After trailing 17-7 entering the fourth quarter, the defending-champion Saints held Valor Christian scoreless while scoring 20 points to pull away. With less than a minute left and Cedar Grove leading 21-17, Valor mounted a drive. Quarterback Cole Bott connected with Jack Howell to get to the 13-yard line with one minute left. On the next play, Bott tried another pass on the right side, but it was intercepted by Tee Denson and returned for a touchdown.
Last week, Peach defeated Northside-Warner Robins, Class AAAAAA's fourth-ranked team, 21-13.
In other games:
-- No. 3 Calhoun had little trouble with Therrell at the newly dedicated "Hal Lamb Field" at Phil Reeves Stadium. After leading 7-0 at the break, the Yellow Jackets added two touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away. Quarterback Jake Morrow threw two touchdown passes -- a 5-yarder to David Braden in the second quarter and an 8-yard screen pass to Grant Gilmer late in the third. Jerrian Hames led Calhoun with two rushing touchdowns.
-- No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian defeated Prestonwood Christian (Texas) 43-37 after trailing 14-0 in the second quarter. Tyler Bride scored on runs of 80, 77, 5, 3 and 1 yards to account for all of GAC’s scoring. He finished with 251 yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries.
Class AAA top-10 results.
1. (1) Peach County (2-0) beat Class AAAAAA No. 1 Lee County (2-1) 40-17.
2. (2) Cedar Grove (2-1) beat No. 1 Valor Christian, Colorado (1-1) 27-17.
3. (3) Calhoun (2-0) beat Class AA Therrell (1-2) 30-0.
4. (4) Pierce County (2-0) vs. Beach (cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian)
5. (9) Benedictine (0-1) off. Next game: Sept. 13 vs. Class AAAA No. 1 Blessed Trinity.
6. (8) Greater Atlanta Christian (1-1) beat Prestonwood Christian, Texas 34-27.
7. (NR) Hart County (2-0) beat Class A-Public No. 5 Commerce (2-0) 40-20.
8. (5) Lovett (1-1) beat B.E.S.T. Academy (1-1) 39-8.
9. (NR) Appling County (1-0) beat Class A-Public No. 9 Charlton County (1-1) 40-20.
10. (7) Crisp County (1-1) lost to Class AAAAA No. 6 Dutchtown (2-0) 19-17.