With most of the classification playing non-region contests this week, the Griffin-Jonesboro clash Friday night in Griffin has marquee flavor.
That wasn’t always the case in this series, which Griffin leads 37-2, and Griffin hasn’t lost to the Cardinals since 1981. This year, though, tThe Bears, ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA, face what could be their most difficult test of the regular season in the No. 9-ranked Cardinals.
“Their athletes are better than ours,” said Griffin coach Steve Devoursney, who has led Griffin to a 5-0 record against Jonesboro. “They do a good job with them and they put a lot of pressure on you.”
The winner keeps pace with Riverdale, which opened sub-region play with a win over North Clayton last week.
Jonesboro and Griffin agreed to play this week, Devoursney said, rather than have an open week and play later in the season. That mutual decision hastened a rematch from one of last year’s most entertaining games. Griffin scored twice in the final three minutes to take a 47-43 win. The Bears capitalized on a penalty in the final minute that wiped out a Jonesboro punt that rolled dead inside the Griffin 10. A bad snap on the repunt resulted in Griffin getting the ball on the Jonesboro 20.
“It was a gift,” Devoursney said. “They should have beaten us, but we got lucky.”
Jonesboro, keyed by skilled players Patrick Petty and Cameron Sutton has scored 67 points in two games and needed a big second half to beat Westover on the road last week.
The Bears (2-0) have scored 77 points in their two games in large part because of quarterback Jaquez Parks, a dual threat who passed for 240 yards last week.
Gilmer is 2-0 and has outscored its opponents 76-6. The Bobcats, who have yet to open sub-region play in 7-AAAA, haven’t started 3-0 on the field since 2001, though they benefitted from a forfeit win over Dalton last year in a game Dalton won 35-7 when it was played. Next up for Gilmer is Southeast Whitfield, which has struggled in pair of losses.
Sandy Creek stiffens: Perhaps overlooked in Sandy Creek’s 38-7 win over Newnan last week was the job the Patriots’ defense did. It wasn’t just that the Creek held the Cougars to 135 total yards; equally impressive was that three times when Newnan moved into Sandy Creek territory, the Patriots forced a negative play.
Round numbers in Region 8: The start of region play is still a couple weeks away, but the non-region portion of the Stephens County, Monroe Area and Eastside are all 2-0, and all three figure to be in the hunt for the region’s top spot. Monroe Area has outscored its two opponents 108-21