Lee County, the two-time defending champion in Class AAAAAA, had its 22-game winning streak against Georgia opponents come to an end when the Trojans lost to Peach County 40-17 in Fort Valley on Friday.
Peach County, which was projected as a six-point underdog by the computer Maxwell Ratings, picked up its second consecutive victory over a 2018 AAAAAA finalist. Peach beat runner-up Northside-Warner Robins 21-13 last week. Peach County has been the runner-up in Class AAA the past two seasons and is the current No. 1-ranked team. Lee County won last year’s matchup 33-0.
Noah Whittington, who rushed for 135 yards on 10 carries, scored on a 28-yard run to give Peach County a 13-7 lead at halftime, and the Trojans added two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the second half to make it 25-7, according to the Sports Report of Central Georgia.
Lee County had the state’s third-best defense last year, allowing just 7.5 points per game (120 points total), and it had posted shutouts in its first two victories this season. Only two teams scored more than a touchdown against the Trojans last year, and the 40 points allowed against Peach County were the most in a game since a 42-7 loss to Lowndes in 2015.
Lee County was one of four defending state champions to lose this week. Milton of Class AAAAAAA lost to Buford 26-23, Blessed Trinity of AAAA lost to Woodward Academy 13-10, and Heard County of AA lost to Hapeville Charter 61-7.
Here are some of the other big stories in Class AAAAAA from Week 3:
*Same as last year: Northside-Warner Robins overcame a 1-2 start in 2018 to reach the state championship game. The Eagles will have to travel the same road in 2019 after a 56-33 loss to Jones County dropped them to 1-2 again. Jones County’s 56 points were the most ever scored against Northside, topping the previous high set by Moultrie High in a 51-14 victory in 1964. Hunter Costlow passed for 420 yards and six touchdowns for Jones County, which broke open a tight game with a 28-point second quarter and 21 more in the third. The Greyhounds finished with 555 yards, 201 more than Northside, which plays at 0-2 Whitewater next week.
*Region 6 play begins: Allatoona fell in a hole early last season that it was never able to overcome in the 6-AAAAAA title chase, losing its region opener 24-13 to Creekview, which went on to win its first region title However, the Buccaneers showed that they plan to be in the hunt this year after beating the Grizzlies 37-7 in the rematch. Allatoona had 384 yards of total offense (231 rushing on 44 carries) and got three field goals (25, 50 and 46 yards) from Jude Kelley. “I thought we played very physical,” Allatoona coach Gary Varner said. “We got lucky in the beginning of the game. They had some turnovers, so that set the tone.” Other winners on the first night of region play were Harrison (49-0 over River Ridge), Sprayberry (48-20 over South Cobb) and Sequoyah (48-0 over Osborne).
*Undefeated teams: Lee County was one of six AAAAAA teams to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten this week, leaving 13 undefeated teams in the classification. The teams still perfect for the year are Coffee, Houston County and Valdosta of Region 1, Richmond Hill of Region 2, Lakeside-Evans of Region 3, Lovejoy, M.L. King and Stephenson of Region 4, Harrison and Dalton of Region 6, North Atlanta of Region 7, and Dacula and Lanier of Region 8. Other teams that took their first losses this week were Heritage-Conyers, Alexander, Creekview, Northview and Pope. Nineteen teams in AAAAA are still looking for their first wins.
*M.L. King’s hot start: M.L. King, which went 1-9 last season and finished in last place in Region 4, is 2-0 for the first time since 2013 after a 40-6 win over Arabia Mountain. The Lions defeated Villa Rica 26-14 last week. The Lions will begin region play next week against Mount Zion-Jonesboro and face Mundy’s Mill and DeKalb County rival Stephenson in its first three league games.
*Not going quietly: Morrow lost to Class AAAA No. 9 Mary Persons, but the game didn’t go in the direction it appeared to be headed. Mary Persons led 29-6 late in the first half, but Morrow scored two touchdowns to close the gap to 29-20 by halftime. Morrow pulled to within a point with 4:06 left, but Mary Persons hung on to win 29-28. Mary Persons won 62-12 last year. Morrow is 1-2.