Class 2A blog: In brief — Toombs County, Early County ranked for 1st time in decades

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Before I jump into this week’s “In brief”, I’d like to quickly plug my new podcast, “Class 2A Blogcast”. I will be releasing a new episode in the coming days and this week’s topic will be about what goes into ranking players by the recruiting services. For example, why does Rivals.com have Prince Avenue Christian’s Brock Vandagriff rated as a 5-star, but Rabun County’s Gunner Stockton as a 4-star? As a former analyst for one of the major recruiting services, I sat in on rankings meetings and I will provide unique insights on what factors play a role — including a true story you won’t believe.

Listen and subscribe to the Class 2A Blogcast on Apple and Spotify, among other platforms.

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In the latest rankings, there were no changes to the top 6 and that was no surprise. Top-ranked Rabun County performed well under the scrutiny of playing before a nationally televised audience, hanging on to beat Class 1A Private’s No. 3 Prince Avenue Christian, and all teams save Lovett won, though the Lions barely lost on the road to 3A’s No. 6 GAC in their season opener.

For a recap of Friday night in 2A, go here.

It’s worth noting that, coming in at No. 7, is the Toombs County Bulldogs. It’s the first time they’ve been ranked since 2001, when they also reached as high as No. 7 with Mark Stroud as coach. Their spot in the polls has been a long time coming. After the Bulldogs finished 2-8 in 2015 for the second year in a row, Richie Marsh came in and immediately turned the program around. In his first season in 2016, the Bulldogs finished 6-5 for their first winning season since 2012. In 2017, they finished 10-2 and won their first playoff game since 2008. They’ve reached the playoffs every season under Marsh and are aiming for a fifth consecutive trip, along with their first region championship since 2000, when they won 3-2A. Their current streak of four consecutive postseason appearances is the program’s longest since 1994-2003 — all under Stroud.

Rounding out the rankings are Bremen at No. 8, Early County at No. 9 and Bleckley County at No. 10.

As was reported yesterday, Early County will have to postpone its season until October due to its contact with Pelham — the Bobcats beat 1A Public’s then-No. 4 Pelham 35-21 on Friday — after a positive case within the Pelham program. That’s a shame since the Bobcats just earned their spot in the rankings for the first time since 1980, when they reached No. 8 under Jack Johnson. It’s unclear how being sidelined will affect the Bobcats' ranking. They’re currently 2-0, with their first Region 1 game scheduled for Oct. 16 at Thomasvile. They’re planning to resume play Oct. 2 against AAAA’s Westover.

Here’s a full look at the rankings, with last week’s ranking and current record in parenthesis:

1. (1) Rabun County (2-0)

2. (2) Callaway (1-0)

3. (3) Fitzgerald (2-0)

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

5. (5) Lovett (0-1)

6. (6) Thomasville (1-1)

7. (NR) Toombs County (2-0)

8. (9) Bremen (2-0)

9. (NR) Early County (2-0)

10. (8) Bleckley County (1-1)

Out: No. 7 Washington County, No. 10 Heard County

For a breakdown of how all ranked teams fared, go here.

In brief:

  • Class of ’20 Chattooga standout Luis Medina is currently listed No. 1 on the depth chart at nose tackle for Troy University as a true freshman.
  • The Seabrough twins — Fredrick and Cedric — are wreaking havoc on opponents for Swainsboro.
  • The Thomasville Bulldogs announced their players of the game for Week 2, when they beat 4A’s Thomas County Central 34-7. They are Jackson Hodge (overall), Malik Harper (offense), Dimitrius Myrick (defense) and Austin Chastain (special teams).
  • WCTV has highlights of Thomasville’s win (2:34 mark).
  • Chattooga quarterback Cash Allen is 29-of-43 for 393 yards and four touchdowns through two games. The Indians are 1-1 in coach Shawn Peek’s first season.
  • The Putnam County War Eagles beat Morgan County in their season opener by a score of 5-2 despite being 19-point underdogs. Projections aside, it’s the score that stands out more than anything. GHSF Daily notes that it’s just the 16th time since 1912 that a GHSA team has scored five points in a game and won. Here’s video of the game-winning field goal.
  • Longtime Hillgrove coach Phillip Ironside, who built that program from scratch into an immediate playoff contender, appears to already be turning things around at Worth County with a 34-30 win over 1A Public’s No. 8 Mitchell County. Rams quarterback Jordan Curry had four first-half touchdowns — three rushing and one passing — on 15 carries for 87 yards and 117 passing yards. The Rams (1-1) went 2-8 last season.
  • WJBF has highlights of the Swainsboro-Washington County game, along with the games of Glenn Hills and Westside.
  • Early County isn’t the only 2A school Pelham’s COVID-19 case will affect. Cook’s game this Friday against Pelham has been canceled as well. If Cook can’t find a replacement, it will have taken two weeks off after last week’s bye.
  • Hey Cook, Piedmont (Ala.) is just 4.5 hours up the road from you!
  • The Model Blue Devils earned their first win of the season, 21-20, over 3A’s LaFayette thanks to a Richmond Sims punt return for a touchdown. It was their first win over LaFayette since 2005, though they’ve met just twice (2018, 2019) since then. Jeff Gable has the writeup for the Rome News-Tribune.
  • The Dodge County Indians have produced a highlight reel of “The Dodge County Brothers”, featuring Dylan Worthen, Demron Gordon and Daylon Gordon. The Indians (1-1) beat 2A defending champion Dublin, 33-20. Dublin, now in 1A Public, was ranked No. 3 at the time.
  • Elbert County beat Whitefield Academy, 14-7, to give first-year coach Shannon Jarvis his first win for the Blue Devils.
  • Here’s The Bleckley Progress' writeup of Bleckley County’s tough loss to Wilcox County. The game can be watched in its entirety here.
  • Check out Bacon County’s Jimarion Guyton score on a 71-yard touchdown run. The Red Raiders would go on to beat Long County 33-7 to improve to 1-1. Trent Music also got the announcers excited with a big hit.
  • WRBL has highlights of Callaway’s season-opening win and more. The Atlanta Voice and WLTZ also have highlights. The play of the game was likely Osiris Rivas' 95-yard kickoff return that almost wasn’t, as the ball nearly bounced out of bounds before Rivas recovered it.
  • Here are all the scoring plays from Toombs County’s 37-14 win over 3A’s Tattnall County.
  • Here’s further breakdown from Blitz of Rabun County’s big win.
  • Fannin County’s game last Friday against Gilmer County was canceled. The Rebels (1-0) are also scheduled to have this week off. They have, however, announced the addition of Copper Basin to their schedule for Oct. 23 — originally another bye for the Rebels.
  • The Jeff Davis Yellow Jackets are looking to make the playoffs after just missing out last season. They’re 2-0 after beating Atkinson County, 50-20.
  • The Coosa Eagles are 1-0 after winning a marathon game against 1A Public’s Trion, 51-45 in overtime. Here’s video of the game-winning touchdown. Noah Syverson has the game story for the Rome News-Tribune. It’s the first time the Eagles have won their season opener since 2017, which is the last time they had a winning season (7-4).
  • Tyler Heath of Toombs County has a redemption story.
  • The Vidalia Indians returned to the field recently in preparation for their delayed opener on Sept. 18 against Emanuel County Institute.
  • When Jefferson County canceled its game against Swainsboro last week, the Tigers and Washington County worked out an impromptu game for Sept. 11. The Tigers won and, in the process, booted the Golden Hawks from the rankings. The two teams will play again Sept. 25.
  • And to think, there were people — including experts in the medical field — who wanted to take high school football from us. Feel sorry for those states whose leaders decided to rob their communities of this great staple in American culture.
  • GHSF Daily’s top performers from 2A are Bremen running back Tay Banks (175 rushing yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half); Callaway linebacker Austin Thomas (team-leading 11 tackles, three for losses); Chattooga quarterback-punter Cash Allen (13-of-20 passing for 151 yards, averaged 43.4 yards on five punts and putting three inside the 20-yard line); Jeff Davis RB Austin Wood (164 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in the first half); Putnam County DB Zaccheus Mitchell (four interceptions); Rabun County QB Gunner Stockton (19-of-30 passing for 187 yards and two touchdowns, 189 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries). B.E.S.T. Academy and Bremen earned lines of distinction honors.

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