Region action is well underway in Region 1-AAAA, the largest and only 9-team region in the classification. Newcomer Dougherty grew the region to nine teams this offseason after getting classed up from Region 1-AAA, and suffered a 32-12 loss to Shaw on Friday; Shaw finished 0-7 and in the basement of this region last season. Columbus finished just ahead of Shaw in 2017 with a 2-5 region record and scored an impressive 46-26 win over Westover to open region play (Westover was a 26-13 winner over Columbus a year ago). Cairo made a serious statement after its disappointing 0-2 and blanked Northside-Columbus 38-0 in its region opener. Carver-Columbus (3-0) is the only Region 1 team left without a loss this season, and scored a crucial 27-21 win over Hardaway in its region opener. Americus-Sumter was the only team playing a non-region game this past weekend, and the Panthers suffered a 49-7 loss to defending Class AAAAAA state champion Lee County in it to drop to 1-2.
Mary Persons (4-0) put 31 points on the board in the first quarter of Friday’s 58-21 win over Class AAA Lovett and Quen Wilson rushed in four of the Bulldogs’ six touchdowns. Perry sophomore quarterback Lane Rucker passed for 320 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 43-0 win over Class AAA Monroe that improved the Panthers to 4-0. Howard defeated Class AAA’s Westside-Macon 28-21, Spalding cruised past Region 4-AAAA’s Henry County 34-16 and Upson-Lee was defeated on the road 28-24 by Class AA’s Fitzgerald.
Burke County’s 0-2 start included a 23-22 Week 1 loss to Benedictine and a 25-24 loss to Ware County that ended on the Gators’ successfully gambled 2-point conversion in overtime. Burke County’s latest outing, however, wasn’t close at all as the Bears walloped Wilkinson County 52-6. Richmond Academy defeated Class AAAAAA Grovetown 24-14 and improved to 4-0 for the first time since its 1998 season. Baldwin (0-4) remains winless after a 48-14 loss to Class AAAAA Warner Robins. Cross Creek sits at 2-2 after its 42-14 loss to Class AA Swainsboro, and Thomson will be 1-2 heading into this week’s matchup against Class AAA Greater Atlanta Christian following its disappointing 42-21 loss to Class AAAAA Clarke Central.
It was the final week of non-region play for the eight-team Region 4-AAAA and Woodward Academy, Eastside and North Clayton were on the bye. Druid Hills defeated Class AAA Towers 20-12, and Salem (23-20 to Alcovy), Hampton (8-6 to 5-AAAA LaGrange) and Henry County (34-16 to 2-AAAA Spalding) each found the losing column. It appeared that Luella was heading in the direction of another defeat as well, but an improbable comeback from a 23-0 deficit to McIntosh ended with a 44-37 overtime victory. Trailing 23-0, Luella’s Dejon Conway got the Lions going with a 58-yard touchdown before the half and opened the second half rally with a 6-yard touchdown run and successful 2-point conversion to cut the deficit to 23-15. McIntosh’s Dane Kinamon answered from 44 yards out to push it back to 30-15, but Conway found the endzone again from 61 yards on the next Luella possession to cut the deficit to 30-22 with 7:57 left in the game. After a McIntosh fumble, Luella quarterback Jalen Doby found Lamer Overton for a 74-yard touchdown and successful 2-point conversion to tie it 30-30 with 5:49 to play. Kinamon gave McIntosh a 37-30 lead with a 6-yard touchdown run, his third of the game, with just 30 seconds left. That was enough time, however, for Luella to drive down the field and for Conway to score his fourth touchdown of the game on a 5-yard handoff with just .9 seconds left on the clock. Tied 37-37, Luella got the ball first in overtime and took its first and only lead of the game on a 2-yard quarterback sneak by Doby. McIntosh took a costly sack on third down and the Chiefs’ desperation 4th-and-12 attempt from the 17-yard line landed incomplete.
Cartersville outgained McNair 377-to-8 in first half yardage and quarterback Tee Webb threw a touchdown pass to five different receivers in Friday’s 70-0 win. Chapel Hill defeated Class AAAAA Starr’s Mill 49-19 to join Cartersville at 3-0 and Troup handed Class AAAAA Harris County a 53-6 defeat to also improve to 3-0. Troup’s Kobe Hudson rushed for an 11-yard touchdown and threw touchdown passes to Ja’Rell Smith (52 yards), Mark-Anthony Dixon (31 yards), Jamari Thrash (31 yards) and Luke Purnell. Tre Williams and Tyree Carlisle each rushed for touchdowns in the second quarter and Troup’s Ja’Rell Smith returned the opening kickoff of the second half 80 yards for a touchdown. LaGrange got its first victory since the 2016 season in an 8-6 win over Hampton, Cedartown fell 13-9 to Bremen, Sandy Creek lost 23-21 to Region 6-AAAA Ridgeland and Central-Carroll was on the bye.
Pickens moved to 3-0 after defeating Region 7-AAAA’s White County 42-35 and Northwest Whitfield handled business in a 46-14 win over Stone Mountain. LaFayette lost its first game of the year in a 35-26 battle with Class A Christian Heritage, Gilmer was defeated by Class AAA Lumpkin County 23-13 and Heritage-Catoosa fell 31-17 to Pepperell. Ridgeland scored its first win of the season in a 23-21 win over Region 5-AAAA’s Sandy Creek. Quarterback Tanner Hill scored on a 15-yard keeper in the fourth quarter and the missed extra point kept the score locked 21-21 until Sandy Creek’s punter stepped out of bounds for a game-deciding safety and 23-21 Panthers’ victory.
Blessed Trinity (4-0) running back Steele Chambers led the defending state champs with four rushing touchdowns in Friday’s 38-7 win over Benedictine. The Titans will be on a bye this week. Marist (3-0), Denmark (3-0) and Flowery Branch (3-0) are also undefeated and had big wins over the weekend that all displayed defensive excellence. Marist dominated Westminster 24-7 and held the Wildcats scoreless until the 2:48 mark in the final quarter. First-year program Denmark used well-executed clock management and clutch goal line defense to defeat Forsyth County’s oldest program (Class AAAAAAA’s Forsyth Central) 7-3. Flowery Branch defeated Class AAAAAA’s Winder-Barrow 23-7. West Hall fell 45-14 to Dawson County, Chestatee lost 56-41 to Class AAA East Hall and White County lost 42-35 to Region 6-AAAA’s Pickens.
North Oconee (3-1) is off to its best start since 2013 and defeated Class AA Elbert County 27-19. Oconee County (3-1) shutout Class AAA Morgan County 20-0 and St. Pius (3-1) cruised past Class AAAAA Decatur 27-6. Stephens County got blown out by Class AA Rabun County 41-14 and Madison County dropped a 24-14 contest to Class AAA’s Hart County.