Class A Blog: Dispatches from Week 4

Here are some highlights from Week 4.

ELCA stays No. 1

Private No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian remains that way even though they are now on a two-game losing streak for the first time since 2015. The Chargers slipped to 2-2 after a 34-14 loss to Class AAA No. 2 Crisp County on Friday. ELCA led 14-12 into the fourth quarter ended up trailing 28-14 in a span of less than three minutes.

On fourth-and-12 from their own 30-yard line, with 4:29 left in regulation, the Cougars attempted a fake punt. Punter Jackson Napier lofted a pass along the far hash mark intended for J’Kobe Harris. An ELCA defender delivered a hard, clean hit to Harris' back, and jarred the ball loose. But JJ Deriso was there to grab the deflection and he raced down to the ELCA 3-yard line before being dragged down by Kaleb Anthony.

On the next play from scrimmage, Christopher Paul Jr. barreled into the end zone and his two-point conversion run gave Crisp a 20-14 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the Chargers' returner muffed a pooch kick and the Cougars recovered at the ELCA 28-yard line. It was the fourth turnover of the night committed by the Chargers.

On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback AJ Brown followed his guard off tackle to the right, bounced outside and sprinted into the end zone from 25 yards out. His two-point conversion run made it 28-14 with a little over three minutes remaining.

ELCA head coach Jonathan Gess told his team that this is God’s way of humbling them.

“We’re not humble enough yet,” Gess said after the game. “This team needs to fight for its own success. This team is not ready to win a game like that yet. But we’ll be fine. We’ve been here before, back in 2015.”

That year, the Chargers fell to 1-2 after back-to-back losses to ranked opponents from larger classifications – Class 5A Stockbridge (28-21) and Class 2A Greater Atlanta Christian (33-3). ELCA went on to win 11 of its next 12 games, culminating in a dominant playoff run and the start of the program’s five consecutive state titles.

North Cobb Christian sends another message

It is time to stop referring to North Cobb Christian as a program on the rise. The fact is, the Eagles are here. They proved it once again Friday night with a 34-0 beat down of Calvary Day (2-2). NCC held the Cavaliers to just 78 yards of total offense, while racking up more than 300 yards rushing.

Caleb Cannon led the Eagles (4-0) with 155 yards on 19 carries, Briyar Powers had 78 yards and a touchdown, and Isaiah Williams had 54 yards and a touchdown on five carries, and QB Luke Brock added 30 yards and a score. Sophomore LB Jacob Cruz and senior DL Gage McDonald led the way on defense. The game was called with just under four minutes remaining due to bad weather in the area.

The win moved NCC up to No. 6 in the private poll.

John Milledge strikes a big blow for the GISA

Last week, Savannah Christian trampled over 2019 Georgia Independent Schools Association Class AAA runner-up Valwood, 54-14. On Friday, the 2019 GISA champions, John Milledge Academy exacted some revenge for the league as the Trojans dominated the Raiders (3-1), 52-13.

JMA (2-0) held senior QB Spencer Robicheaux well in check. After torching Valwood the previous week (17 of 21 passing for 351 yards and five touchdowns, while also running for 61 yards and another touchdown), Robicheaux finished 4-of-19 for 94 yards, 74 of which came on a touchdown pass to George Futch, that was initially tipped by a Trojan defender. Futch also had a 101-yard interception return for a touchdown for the Raiders' other score.

JMA jumped out to a 28-0 lead before Futch’s interception return got Savannah Christian on the board midway through the second quarter.

Darlington nearly pulls the upset

Class 2A No. 6 Heard County (4-0) needed a clutch fourth down conversion late to escape an upset bid by the Tigers (2-1), ranked No. 10 in the private poll.

Darlington actually led 13-7 early in the second quarter, but the Braves took the lead for good, scoring three touchdowns in the final two minutes of the second quarter to take a 28-13 lead at the half. In the fourth quarter, Heard County took a 35-23 lead but the Tigers made it 35-30 on a throwback pass to QB Patrick Shelley. Darlington was poised to get the ball back and go for the winning touchdown with just under two minutes left in regulation, but Heard County QB Maurice Fench hit Chief Borders over the middle to convert a fourth-and-seven, and the Braves ran out the clock from there.