Grayson, Warner Robins play like No. 1 teams


Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz


Grayson and Warner Robins, preseason No. 1 teams that dropped in the rankings after losses or sluggish play earlier this month, made arguments for reconsideration Friday night in the ninth week of Georgia’s high school football regular season.

Grayson, playing on ESPN2, defeated Parkview 47-7, dealing the Panthers their second loss this season and most lopsided setback since 1984.

Many tuned in to watch quarterback Jake Garcia, a transfer from California via Valdosta. Declared eligible Monday, the Southern Cal commit played sparingly off the bench but threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Marcellis Turner in the first half.

Grayson (7-0, 2-0 in Region 4) is ranked in the top 10 of three national polls, including No. 4 in USA Today, though had fallen behind Lowndes in the Georgia’s 7A rankings. Lowndes, shut down the past two weeks because of COVID-19 infection on its team, trailed in the second half Friday to unranked Tift County but pulled out a 17-13 victory.

The rest of Class 7A was found to be even more surprising.

Unranked Newton beat No. 4 Brookwood 28-16, breaking a three-game losing streak. It was only the fourth time in history that Newton (3-3, 1-1 in Region 4) has beaten a top-five team. Coincidentally, one of the other times involved Brookwood as Newton beat the Broncos in a 1994 game when Brookwood was 7-0 and ranked No. 3. This time, Brookwood was 6-0 and ranked its highest since 2011.

Collins Hill, also unranked, beat No. 9 North Gwinnett 42-21, ending the Bulldogs' 21-game winning streak in region games. Collins Hill is now 6-2 overall, 2-0 in Region 8. North Gwinnett fell to 5-3, 1-1.

In Class 5A, third-ranked Warner Robins beat Ware County 22-19 at home after Ahmad Walker, an all-state linebacker and short-yardage back, scored on a 2-yard run in the final three minutes for the game-winner. Ware County was bidding to become the third team in history to beat six ranked opponents in one regular season.

Warner Robins, the preseason No. 1 team, has lost only to No. 1 Lee County of Class 6A two weeks ago, although the Demons also lost on field field in their opener to Valdosta, but that was overturned when Garcia played and later was ruled ineligible at his first Georgia destination.

Class 5A would’ve been even more entertaining Friday except that the game between No. 2 Blessed Trinity and No. 4 Cartersville was canceled earlier in the week because of COVID-19 infection in Cartersville’s program. It’s uncertain if the Region 7-5A game will be made up.

Only a few other top-10 teams were beaten Friday.

Jones County beat No. 7 Ola in a Region 4-5A game. Jones County has won four straight after an 0-3 start. Ola entered 6-0 and was ranked this season for the first time in its history.

No. 6 Greater Atlanta Christian (6-1, 3-1) beat No. 9 Sandy Creek (2-3, 1-1) 21-12 in a Region 5-3A game. Unranked Jeff Davis (6-1, 2-1) beat No. 7 Toombs County (5-2, 1-1) 35-13 in Region 2-2A. Jeff Davis had lost to Toombs 31-0 last season.