Class AAAAAA blog: Revenge sweet for Lovejoy, Gainesville in Week 1

Credit: Adam Krohn

Revenge, bad weather and the power of Region 1 all made their presence known during the first week of the high school football season in Class AAAAAA.

Here’s a look at how the opening weekend played out in the state’s second-highest classification:

*Lovejoy strikes back: Lovejoy was a 13-point favorite, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings, when it was stunned by Banneker 40-16 in the 2018 opener. The Trojans proved the victory was no fluke when they went on to a 9-2 finish and won the first region title in school history. Lovejoy avenged the loss Friday, although just barely. Banneker scored a touchdown with two minutes to play to cut the lead to 21-20, but Lovejoy's William Evans came up with a sack on the two-point conversion attempt to preserve the one-point victory. Lovejoy now has to turn around and face Mundy's Mill on Friday in what will be an important Region 4 game.

*More payback: Lovejoy was one of five AAAAA teams that avenged season-opening losses from 2018. The most impressive had to be Gainesville's 27-21 victory over Mary Persons, which came in ranked No. 7 in Class AAAA, was a 27-point favorite and had beaten the Red Elephants 42-0 last year. This time, Gainesville rallied from an early 14-3 deficit and won 27-21. Other teams earning payback were Evans (18-15 over Effingham County), Heritage-Conyers (18-0 over Salem) and Houston County (34-3 over Perry).

*Allatoona lets one slip away: Eighth-ranked Allatoona lost to Cartersville in the season opener for the fourth consecutive season, but the Buccaneers came closer to knocking off the AAAA power than at any time during that stretch. Trailing 14-13 with less than a minute left, Allatoona lost a fumble at the Cartersville 30-yard line after completing a 16-yard pass, and the Purple Hurricanes held on for the one-point victory. Allatoona kicker Jude Kelley, a preseason all-state pick, had already made field goals or 54 and 43 yards.

*Mother Nature strikes: Bad weather had an impact on several AAAAAA teams Friday. Tucker's scheduled meeting with Archer at Coolray Field in the Corky Kell Classic was postponed after a lightning delay and a rainstorm that left the field unplayable. The teams played Saturday at Hallford Stadium in DeKalb County, with Archer winning 41-7. Winder-Barrow's scheduled game in Athens got pushed back a day, and Clarke Central won 44-36 Saturday. Lakeside-Evans' game at Midland Valley, S.C., was canceled altogether.

*Region 1 still rolling: Region 1, which has supplied three consecutive champions (and four of the past five) in AAAAAA, continued to flex its muscles in Week 1. Two-time defending champion Lee County, Coffee, Northside-Warner Robins, Valdosta and Houston County had easy times in posting a 5-0 record. The five teams' average margin of victory was 31.4 points, and no game was closer than Coffee's 38-21 victory over Brunswick. Four Region 1 teams (all but Houston County) are ranked in the top five this week.