There is only one way to describe how big Class AAA's top 10 teams played Friday night: They showed up, and they showed off.
Top-10 teams that didn’t play another ranked team outscored the competition 292-35. In games between two ranked teams, the higher-ranked teams won.
Here were some of the highlights:
-- In the historical rematch in Region 8 between No. 3 Monroe Area and No. 8 Jefferson, Monroe Area quarterback Chandler Byron lived up to his reputation and led his team to a 35-21 victory. Byron rushed for three touchdowns and completed a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Okwudili in the first half to put the Purple Hurricanes ahead 28-7. Jefferson’s Paxton Corkery capped off a 16-play Jefferson drive with a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 28-14, but Byron scored his fourth rushing touchdown two minutes later to put Monroe Area ahead 35-14. Jefferson’s Carter Stephenson connected with Garmon Randolph from 17 yards out for the Dragons’ first score, and his 1-yard touchdown with 6:01 left provided the game’s final points. The victory improves Monroe Area to 9-0 and clinches the Region 8-AAA title. The teams had not played each other since XXXX.
-- Top-ranked and defending-champion Calhoun moved closer to another 6-AAA title after beating Coahulla Creek 56-13. Calhoun took a 21-0 lead against Coahulla Creek after the first quarter. Zack Fuller started the scoring early on a 4-yard touchdown run and added a 2-yard touchdown run with five minutes left in the first. Quarterback Gavin Gray led the next drive, connecting to Luke Moseley for a long gain before finding Bralin Barton on a 16-yard pass to give Calhoun a 21-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets added three more touchdowns to push the lead to 42-0 at the half, scoring all three of their touchdowns in the final two minutes of the second quarter — a diving score from Gray, a pass to Clemson-commitment Brannon Spector and a 14-yard pass from Gray to Fuller. Jake Morrow passed to Julian Ipac in the third quarter, and Dawson Mashburn’s short run with 8 minutes left in the game provided insurance.
-- No. 4 Peach County had little trouble beating Central-Macon 50-8 at home. The Trojans took a 14-0 lead after the first quarter before extending the lead to 22-0 at the half. Two third-quarter touchdowns extended the lead to 36-8 entering the fourth quarter. Kapien Everett (12-yard run, 12-yard run, 5-yard run), Noah Whittington (11-yard run), Justin Harris (47-yard punt return) and Alex Henton (26-yard pass from Jaydon Gibson) all scored touchdowns to lead Peach County. Peach County had 404 yards of offense.
-- Six different players scored touchdowns in Greater Atlanta Christian’s 45-7 romp against Cherokee Bluff. The victory clinched the Region 7-AAA title for the Spartans. GAC led 28-0 after one quarter and 42-0 at halftime before the Bears scored in the third with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Connor Boyd to Justin Murphy. Montae Bailey, Jake Hicks, Brooks Miller, Tyler Bride, Ty James, and Jeffrey Blake scored for GAC. Hicks caught a 27-yard scoring pass from Josh Rose, while Miller had a 3-yard touchdown reception from Jackson Hardy.
-- Westminster forced two turnovers in the opening quarter and led 18-0 after the first 12 minutes of play to defeat Redan 46-0. The Wildcats led 32-0 at halftime and 39-0 going into the fourth quarter, eventually preserving the shutout by stopping the Raiders at the half-yard line as time expired. Parks Harber threw three touchdown passes, with two going to Luke Jannetta and the other from 27 yards away to John O. Izlar. Paul Weathington contributed a 13-yard rushing touchdown, and Will Hallmark returned a punt for a touchdown.
Here's how the top 10 fared:
1. (1) Calhoun (8-0, 5-0) – Beat Coahulla Creek (1-7, 1-5) in a Region 6 game, 56-13.
2. (2) Cedar Grove (8-1, 5-0) – Defeated No. 10 Pace Academy (5-4, 3-2) in a Region 5 game, 40-13.
3. (3) Monroe Area (9-0, 5-0) – Beat No. 8 Jefferson (8-1, 4-0) in a Region 8 game, 35-21.
4. (4) Peach County (6-2, 4-0) – Beat Central-Macon (2-7, 1-4) in a Region 4 game, 50-8.
5. (5) Westminster (Atlanta) (5-3, 3-1) – Defeated Redan (0-3, 0-7) in a Region 5 game, 46-0.
6. (6) Greater Atlanta Christian (7-2, 5-0) – Beat Cherokee Bluff (0-5, 0-9) in a Region 7 game, 45-7.
7. (7) Benedictine (7-1, 6-0) – Victorious against Southeast Bulloch (7-1, 5-1) in a Region 3 game, 42-0.
8. (8) Jefferson (7-2, 4-1) – Lost to No. 3 Monroe Area in a Region 8 game, 35-21.
9. (9) Dawson County (7-1, 3-1) – Beat Fannin County (3-5, 2-2) in a Region 7 game, 53-7.
10. (10) Pace Academy (5-4, 3-2) – Lost to No. 2 Cedar Grove in a Region 5 game, 40-13.
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