Class 2A blog: In brief — Fitzgerald, Bleckley County beat rivals for 1st time in decades

The first week of the season actually happened! They were wearing pads and tackling, there were referees, fans, bands — even some concession stands were open! It was almost as if the world was normal, except for the face coverings, reduced stadium capacity, social distancing and being exiled to the furthest corners of the world if you sneezed or coughed.

In Class 2A, a lot happened in Week 1, as you can see by the latest AJC poll. A summary: seven of the 10 ranked teams moved spots, with two dropping out. Three of the preseason ranked teams lost, and three didn’t play. Here are the new rankings, with last week’s ranking and current record in parenthesis:

1. (1) Rabun County (1-0)

2. (2) Callaway (0-0)

3. (4) Fitzgerald (1-0)

4. (5) Pace Academy (1-0)

5. (6) Lovett (0-0)

6. (3) Thomasville (0-1)

7. (7) Washington County (0-0)

8. (9) Bleckley County (1-0)

9. (NR) Bremen (1-0)

10. (NR) Heard County (1-0)

Out: No. 8 Swainsboro, No. 10 Jefferson County

For a breakdown of how all ranked teams fared, see the GHSF Daily newsletter here.

The No. 6 Thomasville Bulldogs only dropped three spots in the polls because their loss was a quality one to a familiar foe in the Brooks County Trojans. The Trojans, who won 20-14 with a late score, are former Region 1-2A rivals of the Bulldogs, but are now a 1A Public team after reclassification. They are the No. 2 team in 1A Public.

I’m not sure what happened with the Swainsboro Tigers, who came into the season ranked No. 8. Their former 2-2A rivals, then-unranked Metter of 1A Public, shut them out 28-0. It’s the first time Metter has beaten them since 1955. They may have been missing key players due to the pandemic or other reasons, or maybe they had reduced practices but that’s just speculation. There’s are no reports on the state of the Tigers that I could find aside from a WSAV profile from Sept. 3, which appears to present a normal, healthy team.

The Jefferson County Warriors fell out from No. 10 after a 21-14 loss to 3A’s unranked Thomson. The Warriors will likely find themselves back in the rankings if last year is an indication. Playing in an incredibly weak Region 4, they opened 2019 with two ranked opponents in Swainsboro and Washington County and lost to both of them. Then they didn’t lose until the second round of the playoffs, where they were barely edged, 12-8, by Douglass. Thomson’s win Friday earned it a spot in the 3A rankings at No. 10. Next week the Warriors play Swainsboro. That will be an interesting game. If the Warriors can beat Swainsboro, it’s very possible the Warriors don’t lose another regular season game.

Notable wins include the No. 3 Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane, which beat Cairo for the first time since 1980 with a 21-17 win. No. 8 Bleckley County beat West Laurens for the first time since 1997, breaking a six-game losing streak in the series.

The No. 4 Pace Academy Knights beat 1A Private’s No. 6 Holy Innocents’ despite missing their 4-star quarterback M.J. Morris. It’s unclear why he didn’t play. He was filmed practicing just two days before the game.

Lastly, the Rabun County Wildcats showed why they’re ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history with a 35-0 shutout of Ridgeland.

In brief:

  • Attention 2A schools: Marist is looking for an opponent for this Friday. As of now, they have nine games scheduled.
  • Pace Academy class of 2016 kicker Samuel Sloman won the starting job for the Rams, who drafted him in the seventh round of this year’s draft.
  • The South Atlanta Hornets lost their opener on the road to No. 10 Heard County and, while they would have preferred a win, that’s not what matters most.
  • Callaway coach Pete Wiggins was recently a guest on the West Georgia Football Podcast.
  • Fitzgerald announced its players of the game following its big win over Cairo. They are senior receiver Chance Gamble, senior quarterback/cornerback Rashad Davis, senior Rajon Dees and junior linebacker EJ Lightsey. Perhaps the team gleaned inspiration from the city mayor.
  • Fannin County quarterback Luke Holloway was the Rebels’ offensive player of the week after guiding them to a 24-20 win over Union County. Cason Owensby earned defensive player of the week for his game-clinching interception. Here’s the team celebrating at the end of the game.
  • Lamar County’s CJ Allen’s 8.5 tackles, including one for a loss, earned him team defensive player of the week honors following their 43-13 pummeling of 3A’s Pike County. Donavan Sanford, with three catches for 66 yards and two scores, was offensive player of the week.
  • Just a reminder that this Friday, arguably the most relevant game of the regular season involving a 2A team will be played when Rabun County and Prince Avenue face off on national television.
  • Bleckley County’s players of the week are Amarius Mims, Willie Harris, James Fordham and Deacon Duffey. Here’s a writeup from The Bleckley Progress.
  • When Amarius Mims and Willie Harris aren’t painting the field by laying opposition on its backs, they’re painting the lines on the field.
  • Speaking of Amarius Mims, the 5-star tackle who is one of the best players in the country regardless of position, he should be allowed to play for the Falcons this season.
  • Here are stats from Chattooga’s opener against 3A’s Adairsville. Chattooga lost 35-28.
  • Vidalia class of ’19 linebacker Lakia Henry is ready to take the field for Ole Miss.
  • Coosa class of ’16 tackle Peyton Reeder was paving lanes for Army rushers this weekend.
  • It’s good to see pregame meals still being served, like the one at Dodge County and Toombs County.
  • Toombs County was ready for Dodge County and won 26-20.
  • WMAZ has highlights of Bleckley County’s win and Monticello’s loss.
  • WTXL has highlights of the Thomasville (2:40 mark) and Early County (3:55) games.
  • Looks good to me. It’s a shame Vidalia’s opener was canceled.
  • WJBF has highlights of Jefferson County’s loss to Thomson.
  • Westside won its opener 45-7 over Greene County.
  • Many from around 2A (including Early County, Jeff Davis, Callaway, Bleckley County, Vidalia) paid respect to Tommy Palmer, who passed away last week. GHSF Daily also tweeted a tribute.
  • The Jeff Davis Yellow Jackets impressed with a 24-14 win over Lincoln County, which, coaching for the first year on its sideline had the Jackets’ former 2A rival Lee Chomskis, who left Vidalia after 13 seasons.
  • Here’s a preseason profile from WCTV of Brooks County’s new defense.
  • WMGT previewed Bleckley County’s opener against West Laurens.
  • Fannin County coach Chad Cheatham was recently a guest of the Friday Night Press Box Podcast.
  • AllOnGeorgia profiled Chattooga’s LaShaun Lester.
  • On Saturday, B.E.S.T. Academy will open its playing North Clayton as part of the Great Atlanta Bash at Center Parc Stadium, formerly known as Georgia State Stadium, formerly known as Turner Field.
  • Richmond County School System, of which Region 4-2A schools Butler, Glenn Hills, Laney, Josey and Westside are members, is mandating for the football season that stadium attendance be reduced to 15-percent capacity. Further, no concessions will be available and coolers and tailgating are banned.
  • With Westside facing stadium restrictions, it’s a good thing they’re receiving aid from the Falcons.
  • GHSF Daily top performers from 2A are: Dade County quarterback MaKinley Everett (27-of-38 passing for 299 yards and three touchdowns, 74 rushing yards and a touchdown); Fannin County quarterback Luke Holloway (20-of-30 passing for 267 yards and two touchdowns, 84 rushing yards and a touchdown); Jeff Davis running back Aahiyus Allen (147 yards, 213 all-purpose yards); Toombs County running back Brannon Usher (163 rushing yards, one touchdown on 29 carries). Toombs County earned “lines of distinction” with Will Watts, Brock Nobles, Miles Thompson, Joseph Conner, Koby Scott and Adam Patrick helping to produce 323 yards rushing.

Follow the AJC’s Class 2A coverage on Twitter.

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