By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Heading into Week 3 (which is the second game for most teams) here’s our Top Fives, public and private, along with a quick look at top-ranked Lincoln County and “My Take” on why Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson needs get down to South Georgia on the double.
Not a whole lot of movement in our Top Fives this week, but more teams moved onto our “Trending” list. Feel free to let us know if we’re spot on, way off, or somewhere in between:
1. Lincoln County (1-0 … No. 1 overall … beat McCormick, S.C. for the 20th consecutive time last week, 24-0 … hosts Washington-Wilkes, which moved up to Class AA, on Friday);
2. Wilcox County (1-0 … No. 2 overall … beat Wilkinson County, 41-38, in a thriller in Rochelle last week … hosts a tough Monroe team from Class AAAA on Friday);
3. Wilkinson County (0-1 … No. 4 overall … lost in the final minutes to Wilcox last week … hosts Landmark Christian on Friday);
4. Charlton County (1-0 … No. 5 overall … beat AAA Brantley County last week, 20-0 … hosts AAAAA Ware County on Friday);
5. Emanuel County Institute (1-0 … No. 8 overall … off last week … travels to Washington County, 2-0, No. 8 in AAA on Friday).
Commerce (1-0 … unranked … beat AA Jefferson last week, 22-7 … at AAA East Jackson on Friday);
Clinch County (1-1 … unranked … beat Mitchell County 36-20 last week … at No. 3 Eagle’s Landing Christian on Friday);
Greenville (1-0 … unranked … beat AAAA Albany, 20-18, last week … at AA Manchester on Friday);
Miller County (1-0 … unranked … beat Schley County, 32-26 in OT last week … hosts AA Early County on Friday).
1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (1-0 … No. 3 overall … beat Briarwood Christian of Birmingham last week, 32-7, one of the top teams in Alabama’s second largest classification … hosts Clinch on Friday);
2. Aquinas (1-0 … No. 6 overall … off last week … at George Walton Academy on Friday);
3. Calvary Day (2-0 … No. 7 overall … beat AA Bryan County 28-17 last week … at Montgomery County on Friday);
4. Landmark Christian (1-1 … No. 9 overall … beat Athens Christian 31-7 last week … at No. 4 Wilkinson County on Friday);
5. Savannah Christian (0-1 … No. 10 overall … off last week, at Prince Avenue Christian on Friday).
TRENDING: Athens Academy (1-0 … unranked … off last week, hosts Pace Academy on Friday);
George Walton Academy (1-0 … unranked … beat First Presbyterian Day 41-38 last week … hosts No. 6 Aquinas on Friday);
FPD (0-1 … unranked … lost to George Walton 41-38 last week … hosts AAA Pike County on Friday);
Holy Innocents (2-0 … unranked … beat AA Wesleyan 10-9 last week after trailing 9-0 … at AAAAA Riverwood on Friday);
Prince Avenue Christian (2-0 … unranked … beat St. Francis 48-20 last week, hosts Savannah Christian on Friday).
Campbell “sandbagging” again?
At the beginning of last season, Lincoln County head coach Larry Campbell downplayed how good he thought his club would be based on the fact that he didn’t have an established quarterback. Denzel Gunby (now at Savannah State) won the job and led the Red Devils to a 12-1 season, before they fell to eventual state champ Savannah Christian, 22-14, in the quarterfinals.
Campbell could be at it again. Prior to last week’s win over McCormick, S.C. (24-0), Campbell said of his team, currently ranked No. 1, “Rankings don’t mean anything. Most of the people making those rankings have never seen us play anyway.”
Campbell said he will be breaking in another new quarterback this season, Ben Turner, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. But the junior appears to be ready, completing 18-of-25 passes for 247 yards and two TDs in last week’s opener. And even though the Lincoln defense lost four starters off of last year’s team, this year’s version held McCormick to just 65 yards of total offense and just three first downs.
My Take: Tech’s Johnson should visit Wilcox County, see Makail Grace
From time to time this season, I’ll ask that you indulge me a few moments to impart a sentence or two of thought provoking commentary … or perhaps mindless drivel. So here’s the first installment of “My Take”.
My Take is that Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson should gas up “The Wreck” and head down to Wilcox County to sell his program on Patriot quarterback Makail Grace (6-3, 180), and possibly receiver Jonathan Howard (6-4, 180).
Currently, according to Wilcox head coach Mark Ledford, the recruiting talk is beginning to heat up around, Grace, who is also an all-state caliber safety and guard on the basketball team. Louisville, Ledford said, “really likes” both Grace and Howard.
Judging by Tech’s inability to throw the ball effectively when it needs to (nice effort, but no cigar Monday at Virginia Tech), I think Johnson should consider beating Louisville’s Charlie Strong to the punch and extend an offer to Grace and Howard.
In his first year at quarterback as a junior last season, Grace threw for over 2,700 yards, 35 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Howard, also a defensive back, hauled in 38 passes for 837 yards and eight touchdowns (he returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns as well).
In last week’s win over No. 4 Wilkinson County, Grace threw for 407 yards on 19-of-27 passing, with four touchdowns and ran for 75 yards on 18 carries, including the game-winning touchdown in the final minute.
Now, I’m sure the Tech recruiting brain trust has several competent quarterbacks on its big board. But if Grace is not on it, he should be. And if he is, a scholarship offer should be forthcoming. At least give the kid a chance to say he doesn’t want to run the triple option.
That’s “My Take.” What say you?