Class 6A blog: Top 10 hit with an upset, three cancellations

Buford running back Gabe Ervin Jr. (22) gains yardage against the North Cobb defense during Friday's game. (Daniel Varnado/Special to the AJC)
Buford running back Gabe Ervin Jr. (22) gains yardage against the North Cobb defense during Friday's game. (Daniel Varnado/Special to the AJC)

Credit: Daniel Varnado

Credit: Daniel Varnado

The second Friday night of the high school football season was a hectic one for the Class 6A top 10 as cancellations and upsets ruled the day.

Three of the top-10 teams had their games canceled at the last minute, three were already scheduled to be off, and two suffered their first losses. That left No. 2 Lee County and No. 10 Douglas County as the only winners. Lee County beat Jackson-Atlanta, and Douglas County beat Stockbridge 37-13.

Third-ranked Buford, the 2019 Class 5A champion playing its first game as a member of 6A, lost at Class 7A North Cobb 28-14. Buford trailed 21-7 early in the fourth quarter and closed the gap to 21-14 with six minutes remaining, but a 46-yard interception for a touchdown by North Cobb’s Nasir Howell with 4:17 left closed the door on the Wolves. Buford was projected as an 11-point favorite by the computer Maxwell Ratings.

No. 4 Richmond Hill, riding high after a 28-11 victory over then-No. 6 Camden County of Class 7A, lost to Ware County 36-29. Ware, ranked No. 5 in 5A, was a 3-point favorite.

No. 1 Valdosta’s game against Tift County was called off on Friday. Tift County Schools cited a number of positive COVID-19 cases on the football team, and coach Ashley Anders had been hospitalized this week with the virus and pneumonia.

No. 8 Allatoona’s game against Denmark also was called off Friday, with Denmark citing “COVID exposure quarantines and injuries.” No. 9 Carrollton canceled its game against Newnan because of possible exposures on the Carrollton team.

A fourth prominent Class 6A program, Kell, had its game canceled when Hillgrove reported a positive case within the football program on Thursday. It would have been the first-ever meeting between the two Cobb County schools.

- Elsewhere in Class 6A, Northside-Warner Robins picked up a good win when it beat Class 3A No. 3 Peach County 14-7. The victory ended Northside’s six-game losing streak dating to September of last season and avenged a 21-13 loss to the Trojans in 2019. It also was the first victory for Chad Alligood as Northside’s head coach.

- Region 5 had another good weekend, winning five of its six games to improve to 11-3 for the season. East Paulding beat Class 7A Campbell 34-17 to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2015. The Raiders have won six consecutive games since starting the season 0-6 in 2019. Alexander, Douglas County, Paulding County and Dalton had victories against lower classification teams, and Rome and Carrollton had the night off. Most teams have one game scheduled over the next two weeks before region play begins on Oct. 2.

- On the other hand, Region 6 continues to struggle after the loss of Harrison, Dalton and the Cherokee County schools in the reclassification process. The region went 0-7 this week, with Kennesaw Mountain, Osborne, Pope, South Cobb, Lassiter, Sprayberry and Wheeler all coming up short. Only Kennesaw Mountain’s 27-22 loss to Class 7A Discovery was decided by fewer than 14 points. The region is 1-11 overall, the only victory coming last week when Allatoona beat Harrison in a rematch of the 2019 6A title game.

- Evans, which has dominated Region 3 over the past four seasons, appears to still be the top team in the league. The Knights beat up on a 3A team for the second consecutive week. This time it was Hephzibah by a 38-13 score, and the Knights have now outscored their opponents 96-13. Evans went 17-3 in region play over the past four seasons and earned titles in 2017 and 2019. The league’s other three teams are a combined 0-5 after Alcovy lost to Newton 27-0 and Grovetown lost to Thomson 24-14.

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