Class 5A blog: Creekside has look of state contender ... Week 1 highlights

The big takeaway from the first weekend of the football came was provided by Creekside. The Seminoles, who have won a region title in two of the last three years, appear to have the makings of a state contender.

The Seminoles made the long trip to Grayson and found a way to beat the reigning Class 7A champions. They did it with some excellent defense, a never-quit spirit and an offensive line that has great size for a Class 5A school. There was celebration after the 19-14 win, but it wasn’t over the top. The Seminoles didn’t act like it was an upset.

“It feels good,” quarterback Nyqua Lett said. “We knew we were going to win from the beginning. We knew we were going to have some ups and downs, but it felt good to get that win.” Lett threw the go-ahead touchdown pass with 1:42 remaining.

Coach Maurice Dixon said, “We’ve got a good quarterback. We’re trying to open it up. We don’t always try to throw the ball, we just keep working on it.”

Starr’s Mill’s new O-line passes the test: When you run a spread option attack like Starr’s Mill, the importance of the offensive line cannot be overemphasized. There’s a lot of precision involved to make the running game work. The Panthers rolled out a new group on Saturday and they passed the test, helping the team rush for 376 yards in a 28-14 win over Newnan. Brandon Mathis had 165 yards and two touchdowns, one of them an 87-yarder.

“We’re still not real sharp,” Starr’s Mill coach Chad Phillips said. “All those running plays have a lot of block rules – a lot of ifs, ands and buts – and were just not that sharp. We were doing the right things a lot of time, but our technique was so bad they were blocking things up. But it was a pretty good start for a new offensive line. It was pretty nice.”

Defending state champs make a statement: After a slopping start, Warner Robins routed Valdosta 48-20 to avenge last year’s loss. The Demons got 128 yards from Malcolm Brown, who ran for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass. Christon Lane made his debut at quarterback and generated 459 yards of total offense and Jafredrick Perry scored two touchdowns, including a 40-yard run.

“Our guys stepped in and played big,” Warner Robins coach Marquis Westbrook told the Central Georgia Sports Report. “We established the ground game, Christon did a good job dividing the ball up between the receivers, and our defense stood the test.”

Ware County comes up big on the road: The No. 3 Gators went to Adel, played their starters for 2 ½ quarters and won 52-7. Thomas Castellanos threw two touchdown passes – one to Dae’jeaun Dennis and Jarvis Hayes – and ran for another. Cartevious Norton looked strong on two long touchdown runs. Dennis added a 10-yard run and Garrick Griffin scored on a 37-yard run. Henry Bates kicked a 32-yard field goal.

No. 5 Cartersville shakes off its inexperience: The Hurricanes graduated much of last year’s team that reached the state title game, but got a nice 55-0 win over Morrow in the season opener. Quarterbacks Jake Parker (7 for 12, 100 yards) and Paul Gamble (3 for 6, 45 yards passing, 31 yards rushing both played well in their debut.

Cartersville didn’t need to air it out much against the outmanned Mustangs. The Canes scored seven running touchdowns, with Malachi Jeffries (88 yards, three touchdowns) leading the way.

No. 7 Jones County, No. 8 St. Pius lose openers: Jones County fell to Northeast Macon 33-28 on a touchdown drive with three minutes left. St. Pius was beaten 21-14 by a good Flowery Branch team to ruin the debut of Golden Lions coach Chad Garrison.

The Fayette-Coweta Kickoff Classic was a big success: Each of the three games in the first annual event drew big crowds, starting with the 2 p.m. game, where East Coweta packed the visitor’s stands in the midday sun. The event could easily grow and become a Southside version of the Corky Kell Kickoff Classic.

“I got here at 8:30 and we had hundreds of youth kids out here playing their jamboree and up there on the practice field,” Phillips said. “East Coweta came in at 12:30 and filled up that whole side. … I just think we’ll take this event and make it a big event in the state.”

Fayette County teams won two of the three matches: Sandy Creek beat Northgate 24-3 and Starr’s Mill beat Newnan 28-14. Coweta’s win came in the opener when the Indians defeated Whitewater 41-24.