Grayson re-established itself as the state contender everyone knew it was, Sequoyah put an explanation on its new top-10 ranking, Blessed Trinity ended the state’s longest regular-season winning streak, and several Class AAA powers took their lumps playing bigger, better opponents on Friday night in Georgia high school football.
Grayson, the preseason No. 1 team in Class AAAAAAA, defeated No. 7 Marietta 38-31 on the road at Northcutt Stadium. Things got close after Grayson led 29-0 at halftime and Marietta recovered three onside kicks in the second half. Grayson wasn’t safe until intercepting a pass in the end zone in the final seconds.
Grayson had fallen to No. 5 in the rankings after a 36-22 loss to nationally ranked Bergen Catholic of New Jersey. But Grayson has done well against Georgia opponents this year. The Rams defeated Tucker 48-7 last month. Marietta, though 1-3, remains one of the state’s most talented and dangerous teams as all three of the Blue Devils’ losses have been competitive against nationally ranked opponents.
Grayson plays at Westlake next week, then at home against No. 1 Colquitt County (4-0), which hammered Valdosta 48-13 on Friday.
In AAAAAA, No. 10 Sequoyah defeated No. 5 Dalton 42-14 in a Region 6 game. Sequoyah is now 3-0 for the first time since 2008. The Chiefs entered the rankings this week at No. 10 but didn’t have a marquee victory to validate it until now.
The Dalton win will be noticed. It was the Chiefs’ second victory over a ranked opponent in the last 10 years, first since defeating No. 6 Kell in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.
Another team that made a statement win was Rockmart. The eight-ranked Yellow Jackets of AA routed No. 3 Heard County 33-0. Rockmart is a program on the rise with a 21-6 record the past three seasons after going 8-23 the previous three.
Meanwhile, Blessed Trinity, the defending champion and No. 1-ranked team in AAAA, beat No. 4 Benedictine of AAA 38-7 despite playing without four starters. Benedictine had won 34 straight regular-season games, and that wasn’t for playing weak opponents. The Cadets had beaten five ranked teams from higher classifications during the streak.
Benedictine wasn’t the only ranked AAA team that bit off more than it could chew Friday, though some did better than others.
No. 2 Cedar Grove, traveling to No. 9 McEachern of the highest class, represented AAA the best, but McEachern won 24-17.
No. 5 Westminster played No. 5 Marist of AAAA. Marist won 24-7. That renewed a rivalry that hadn’t been played since 1997.
No. 7 Greater Atlanta Christian traveled to Plano, Texas, and performed well in losing 13-7 to Prestonwood Christian, which won Texas’ biggest private-school division state title last year. Prestonwood is rated the No. 8 team overall in Texas, according to MaxPreps. GAC became the first Georgia team to play in Texas since Buford in 2008, and only the second since at least World War II.
No. 8 Pace Academy traveled to Charlotte Christian, the No. 1 team overall in North Carolina, according to MaxPreps. Charlotte Christian won 44-7.
No. 9 Lovett went to No. 4 Mary Persons of AAAA. Mary Persons won 58-21.
There weren’t many upsets, but a few other teams won by bigger margins than expected. Those included No. 8 Archer beating No. 10 Mill Creek 42-0 in AAAAAAA, No. 4 Norcross beating Norcross 42-13, and No. 1 Clinch County beating No. 6 Dooly County 40-6 in A.