Georgia high school football blue bloods such as Grayson, McEachern, Colquitt County, Valdosta, Marist and Cartersville won huge region games Friday, but it was the underdog that carried the night.
Hancock Central, Sprayberry and Brookstone achieved rare victories over top-10 teams while Riverwood and North Murray took giant steps toward the first region championships in their histories.
Hancock Central of Sparta, a small town between Augusta and Macon, defeated Class A private-school No. 6 Aquinas of Augusta 22-14. That’s the first victory over a top-10 opponent for Hancock since 1984, covering 54 games against the ranked opponents.
Hancock improved to 4-3 overall, 3-1 in Region 7-A, tied with Aquinas (6-1, 3-1) for the subregion lead. Hancock has never been ranked.
Sprayberry of Marietta, which hadn’t beaten a top-10 team since 2010 covering 16 games, defeated No. 8 Dalton 20-17. Sprayberry (4-3, 3-2) is now in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Brookstone, a private school in Columbus, had lost 12 straight games to top-10 opponents until its 28-27 win over No. 8 Manchester, a Class A public school.
Though not an upset, Riverwood (7-0, 4-0) defeated Carver-Atlanta 21-6 in a showdown between the only teams that hadn’t lost a 6-AAAAA region game. Riverwood, a north Fulton County school that opened in 1971, has never won a region title.
Neither has North Murray, a northwest Georgia school that opened in 2009, but the Mountaineers (7-1, 6-0) are now the only team with no region losses in 6-AAA after beating Haralson County 32-15. North Murray upset Calhoun last month and is now heavily favored to end Calhoun’s state-record streak of 18 region championships.
In the more marquee matchups Friday, familiar names usually came out on top.
No. 4 Grayson beat No. 9 Archer 34-31 in overtime in Region 8-AAAAAAA. That makes the Rams (6-1, 2-0) the clear favorite to win their seventh region title in nine years.
No. 2 McEachern got by No. 5 Marietta 14-12 in Region 3-AAAAAAA. McEachern (7-0, 2-0) is the region frontrunner now while Marietta’s quest to claim its first since 2005 took a big hit. Marietta opened the season ranked No. 1.
No. 3 Colquitt County beat No. 10 Camden County 34-17 in 1-AAAAAAA. It was the region opener for both.
No. 2 Cartersville beat No. 4 Sandy Creek 52-42 in a 5-AAAA game. Cartersville (8-0, 4-0), seeking its eighth straight region title, is now the lone unbeaten team in its region.
In other games between ranked teams, No. 1 Valdosta beat No. 6 Coffee 28-7 in AAAAAA; No. 2 Carrollton defeated No. 7 Kell 34-14 in AAAAA; No. 1 Marist beat No. 9 Denmark 37-14 while No. 5 Blessed Trinity beat No. 6 Flowery Branch 20-17 in overtime in AAAA; No. 4 Appling County beat No. 5 Liberty County 21-6 in AAA; No. 2 Clinch County beat No. 10 Turner County 41-16 in Class A (public); and No. 10 Christian Heritage (private) beat No. 4 Bowdon (public) 28-14 in Class A.
In an interclass contest, No. 7 Allatoona of AAAAAA tied No. 2 Hapeville Charter of AA 21-21.
Three other unranked teams beat ranked teams. They were Monroe Area over No. 10 Hart County of AAA 28-21; Thomasville over No. 7 Fitzgerald 20-14 in AA and Hebron Christian over No. 6 Commerce 21-7 in Class A.
Three more weeks remain in the regular season.
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