Friday recap: Stephenson, Hapeville Charter fend off newly ranked foes

Hapeville Charter and Stephenson reminded their upstart region rivals who they were Friday night while Athens Academy, Darlington and Eagle’s Landing Christian pulled rank on their opponents in three games between top-10 Class A teams.

Starr’s Mill, Sandy Creek and Marietta also scored impressive victories as the Georgia high school football season entered the second half of the regular season.

Hapeville Charter and Stephenson, both reigning region champions, impressively defeated unbeaten opponents that had recently entered the rankings for the first time in years.

Hapeville, ranked No. 2 in Class AA, defeated No. 10 Douglass 43-6. Hapeville (4-1, 3-0) has won 24 straight Region 6-AA games and three straight region titles. Douglass (5-1, 3-1) entered the top 10 last month for the first time since 2005 and was probably Hapeville’s biggest threat.

Stephenson (4-1, 2-1), unranked but defending its title in Region 4-AAAAAA, beat No. 10 M.L. King 35-0. M.L. King (4-1, 2-1) was ranked last week for the first time since 2013. Tucker (4-2, 4-0) is now the sole unbeaten team in that region after earning a 23-16 win over Lovejoy (4-2, 3-1) on Friday.

Meanwhile, six of Class A’s private-school top 10 were playing each other.

No. 1 Athens Academy beat No. 7 Prince Avenue Christian 24-0 in a Region 8-A game. Athens Academy has won the past three games in that cross-county series.

No. 3 Eagle’s Landing Christian beat No. 6 Wesleyan 54-17 in a Region 5-A game. ELCA, the four-time defending state champion, scored more than 40 points for the 18th straight time, a state record.

No. 4 Darlington beat No. 10 Christian Heritage 29-22 in Region 6-A. Darlington leads the series 7-0.

High School Sports

In other key games, No. 5 Marietta of AAAAAAA beat one of Florida’s best teams while Coffee, ranked No. 4 in AAAAAA, lost to an unranked one.

Marietta defeated previously unbeaten Edgewater of Orlando 39-24. Edgewater is ranked No. 2 in Florida’s Class 7A. Godby, a Tallahassee school that entered 2-4, defeated Coffee 35-28.

Tift County defeated defending AAAAA champion Bainbridge 24-6. Tift is only 2-4 but plays in the highest classification. Bainbridge (5-1) had won 12 straight games.

One of the more impressive teams Friday was Sandy Creek, a 44-7 winner over Troup 44-7. Sandy Creek lost to Troup 71-16 just two seasons ago in what at the time was Sandy Creek’s worst loss in history. Now ranked No. 5 in AAAA, Sandy Creek improved to 5-0, 1-0 while No. 10 Troup fell to 4-2, 1-1. 

In another game between ranked opponents, No. 6 Warner Robins of AAAAA beat No. 9 Houston County of AAAAAA 29-14.

The biggest upset Friday probably belonged to Starr’s Mill, which defeated No. 9 Griffin 38-35 in a Region 3-AAAAA game. Starr’s Mill entered 2-3 overall, 0-1 in region play. Griffin fell to 5-1, 1-1. Riverdale (5-1, 2-0) – which hasn’t won a region title since 1998 - is now the region’s only unbeaten team after the Raiders beat Decatur 21-16.

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