Ware County (3-AAAAA) and Lanier (8-AAAAA) take charge of regions

Ware County of 3-AAAAA and Lanier of 8-AAAAA established themselves as the teams to beat in their regions with victories on Friday against teams that were among the top challengers in their leagues.

Second-ranked Ware County improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in region play with a 24-21 victory against fifth-ranked Coffee, which moved into the region from Class AAAAAA this season. It was a bit of revenge for Ware County, which has lost just two regular-season games since the start of 2012, and both came against the Trojans.

Lanier, playing its third full varsity season but its first in Class AAAAA, is 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the region after a 27-12 victory against ninth-ranked Flowery Branch, which finished second in the region last year and won the title in 2012. Lanier’s other region victory came against Clarke Central, giving the Longhorns wins over two of the region’s perennial playoff teams.

Gainesville still will have something to say about who wins 8-AAAAA. The Red Elephants, who won the region title last year and the state championship in 2012, recovered from a 39-0 loss to Class AAAAAA Grayson in the opener and routed Winder-Barrow on Friday. Gainesville and Lanier meet on Oct. 10 in Sugar Hill.

Here are some of the other big stories in Class AAAAA from Week 4:

- Woodland-Stockbridge, playing its seventh full varsity season, is 4-0 for the first time in program history after a 23-14 victory over Northgate. Woodland has already matched its victory total from the past two seasons combined and has reached four wins in a season for just the third time. Woodland is in its first season under Steve Davenport, who was a former head coach at Redan (1998-2001) and Decatur (2003-04) before leaving for the college ranks. Davenport was hired to replace Scott Schmitt, who started the program.

- East Paulding had to scramble down the stretch to salvage a playoff berth in 2013, and it looks like the Raiders will have to do the same this year after falling to 0-2 in Region 5-AAAAA with a 24-14 loss to South Paulding. Working in East’s favor, however, is that the losses came against 2013 playoff teams (Allatoona was the other), and the schedule should lighten considerably the rest of the way.

- The end zone continues to be elusive for M.L. King, which has been outscored 115-0 in its three games after a 51-0 loss to Tucker on Friday. The Lions lost to Norland of Florida 30-0 in the opener and to Mays 34-0 last week, so at least none of the losses has counted in the 6-AAAAA Div. A standings. M.L. King’s next chance comes against Carver-Atlanta next Saturday at the Georgia Dome.