Dacula and Lanier, two of the semifinalists in Class AAAAAA last season, are the only two remaining unbeaten teams in Region 8 after avenging 2018 losses against Class AAAAAAA Gwinnett County teams Friday night.
Dacula ended a four-game losing streak against rival Mill Creek when Zach Gerks kicked a 27-yard field goal with four seconds remaining for a 24-21 victory. Nose guard Jalen Cole set up the winning score when he came up with an interception near midfield and returned it to the 14-yard line with 23 seconds left, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post’s game report.
“Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes because it’s been so long since we’ve had a moment like this where it’s a huge school rivalry,” Gerks told Will Hammock of the Daily Post. “It’s just amazing. It’s the best feeling I’ve had in a long time.”
Dacula started 1-2 each of the past three seasons but went on to win the region title each time. The Falcons lost to Mill Creek 49-21 last year.
Lanier was routed by Central Gwinnett 35-7 in 2018 but turned the tables Friday, jumping out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and cruising to a 36-12 victory over the Black Knights. Cole Thornton had touchdown receptions of 28 and 24 yards in the first quarter and nine yards in the third. He finished with five catches for 68 yards.
Lanier started the season 1-2 last year but went on to finish in second place behind Dacula before winning three playoff games to reach the semifinals for the first time.
Gainesville, the only other unbeaten team from Region 8 entering the weekend, lost to North Forsyth 21-7.
Here’s a recap of some of the other big stories in Class AAAAAA from Week 2:
*Wrapping it up early: Two-time defending champ Lee County improved to 2-0 but has yet to play a full four quarters in a game. The Trojans' 28-0 victory over Dougherty last week was called in the second quarter because of bad weather. Their 27-0 win Friday over Life Christian Academy of Virginia was stopped with 6:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, reportedly because of sportsmanship issues involving the Life Christian sideline. Lee County has won 23 straight games, not including a postseason bowl game in 2018.
*Taking on the South: Lee County was one of six AAAAAA teams playing out-of-state opponents in Week 2. Brunswick and Johns Creek went 0-2 against Florida schools (Bartram Trail beat Brunswick 24-7; Jones beat Johns Creek 47-16). Three Augusta-area schools from Region 3 went 2-1 against South Carolina (Grovetown beat Midland Valley 27-0; Lakeside-Evans beat South Aiken 36-21; Evans lost to North Augusta 14-7). Mays will take on Carver of Birmingham Saturday in the C1N Classic at Lakewood Stadium.
*Another big night for Dalton, Gibbs: Running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who rushed for 420 yards and eight touchdowns in Dalton's season opener last week, added another 183 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in a 73-7 victory over rival Northwest Whitfield. Dalton's 73 points tied for third-most in program history. The Catamounts have averaged 67.5 point per game during their 2-0 start.
*Losing streak over: Chattahoochee ended a 13-game losing streak that was the longest in school history with a 46-28 victory over Lambert. Chattahoochee trailed 28-23 in the third quarter but scored the final 23 points of the game to pull away. It was the Cougars' first win since beating Northview 50-28 on Oct. 27, 2017. Osborne currently has the longest losing streak in AAAAAA at 24 games.
*Early leaders: Lovejoy and Morrow are in first place in Region 4 after winning the first region contests to be played in AAAAAA this season. Lovejoy handled Mundy's Mill 26-0 in a battle of teams that made the playoffs last year, Lovejoy as the No. 3 seed and Mundy's Mill as the No. 4. Morrow beat Forest Park 35-0. Region 6 will kick off its league portion of the schedule next week.
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Credit: Channel 2 Action News