Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hillgrove, Marietta seize early momentum in Region 3

Friday’s games marked the first full week of region play in five Class AAAAAAA regions, so it’s early, but four teams made statements worth hearing. 

Here goes: 

1. Hillgrove: The Hawks, the defending champion in Region 3, defeated McEachern 31-21 in the region opener for both. One or the other of these teams has won seven of the past eight regions in which they’ve co-existed, so this outcome was highly significant. Hillgrove is now 5-4 against its cross-town Powder Springs rival in that time. Hillgrove is now 6-0. For more on the Hillgrove-McEachern game, read Chip Saye’s account on

2. Marietta: Don’t crown Hillgrove the region champ yet, or even the region favorite. That’s too close to call. The Blue Devils defeated previously undefeated North Paulding 36-14. Harrison Bailey threw five TD passes to Arik Gilbert. Marietta is 2-4 and hasn’t won a region title since 2005, but the four losses have come against teams that have been in the nation’s top 20 at one time or another this season. Marietta also is the region’s most talented team as far as D-I prospects go. Marietta travels to Hillgrove on Oct. 26. (And don’t forget that North Cobb is 6-0 and also in this region.) For a replay of the Marietta-North Paulding game, find it on GPB

3. Wheeler: The Wildcats were ranked the past two weeks for the first time since 1993. That honor will be short-lived. Wheeler lost 36-34 to Newnan, showing that while the Wildcats are much better (5-1 overall with a nice win over Roswell), they aren’t a top-10 team yet. Newnan is 3-3. Until further notice, the team to beat in Region 2 is still Westlake (4-2, 1-0), which has won four straight region titles. 

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4. North Gwinnett: The Bulldogs, the defending state champs, ended suspense in Region 6 with a knockout of what some believe is their only real threat, Mill Creek (4-3, 2-1). Collins Hill (2-4, 2-0) remains unbeaten in region play and will get its chance at North next week, but North has won their meetings 45-6 and 41-7 the past two seasons. 

Looking ahead, here are the best games next week: 

Colquitt County vs. Camden County 

Lowndes vs. Tift County 

Marietta vs. McEachern 

Milton vs. South Forsyth 

Grayson vs. Archer

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