Westminster, GAC win top-10 matchups; Jefferson remains unbeaten

The top-ranked teams in Class AAA played to form Friday, with higher-ranked teams winning both games when matched against ranked opponents.

Westminster weathered an away-game crowd as it moved past Pace Academy 28-16 to stay flawless in the Region 5. Two Patrick Markwalter field goals gave Pace a 6-0 lead before Westminster found its rhythm. Once it did, Westminster mounted two 80-yard drives, both capped with Parks Harber touchdown passes, one to Grant Matzigheir, one to Luke Jannetta. A 72-yard drive was capped by Harber's touchdown run.

If you are looking for a measuring stick to see where Westminster stands, it will come next week against No. 2 Cedar Grove. That game could show just how big the talent gap is between No. 5 and No. 2 in the class.

-- In Region 7, No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian gained control of the region with a 23-20 victory against No. 10 Dawson County. GAC, the defending region champion, has won the region title each year since its move up from Class AA. The Spartans trailed early before scoring 23 unanswered points to take control of the game.

Tyler Bride’s 38-yard touchdown run gave GAC a 23-7 lead with 8:45 left, forcing Dawson to answer. It did, but time ran on on 10th-ranked Tigers. Dawson mounted 92-yard drive that ended with Dakohta Sonnichsen’s 8-yard touchdown run with 4:32 remaining to pull the Tigers to within 10 points, 23-13.

Dawson County recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Spartans defense held the Tigers to an attempted field goal that was missed. GAC fumbled on the first play following the missed field goal, and Dawson scored a touchdown with 1:10 left to get within three points. That was the final margin.

Both teams probably won't make much of a move in the rankings.

-- In Region 8, No. 8 Jefferson relied on a 28-0 output in the second half to beat Hart County 35-7 and remain unbeaten. Paxton Corkery scored on a 6-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but Hart County’s Luke Lee answered with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Crew Phillips to even the halftime score at 7. Donsha Gaither scored on runs of 11 and 4 yards to put Jefferson ahead 21-7 entering the fourth quarter. Carter Stephenson passed to Zac Corbin for a 22-yard touchdown with 1:44 left, and Jacob Thompson added insurance on a 25-yard touchdown run.

Here's how the Class AAA top-10 fared:

1. (1 last week) Calhoun (6-0, 4-0) – Defeated Adairsville (3-4, 2-3) 61-0 Region 6 game

2. (2) Cedar Grove (6-1, 3-0) – Shut out Towers (0-7, 0-3) 82-0 in a Region 5 game.

3. (3) Monroe Area (7-0, 3-0) – Beat Jackson County (2-5, 0-3) 63-0 in a Region 8 game.

4. (4) Peach County (4-2, 2-0) – Off this week, will play host to Rutland on Oct. 12.

5. (5) Westminster (4-2, 2-0) – Beat No. 9 Pace Academy (4-3, 2-1) 28-16 in a Region 5 game.

6. (6) Greater Atlanta Christian (5-2, 3-0) – Outlasted No. 10 Dawson County (6-1, 2-1) 23-20 in a Region 7 game.

7. (7) Benedictine (5-1, 4-0) -- Defeated Windsor Forest (2-3, 1-2) 37-12 in a Region 3 game.

8. (8) Jefferson (5-1, 2-0) – Beat Hart County (2-3, 1-0) 35-7 in a Region 8 game.

9. (9) Pace Academy (4-3, 2-1) – Lost to No. 5 Westminster (4-2, 2-0) 28-16 in a Region 5 game.

10. (10) Dawson County (6-0, 2-0) – Lost to No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian (5-2, 3-0) in a Region 7 game.

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