Class A: Public and private Top 5s heading into Week 6, but no Johnson County

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

It’s “Top 5s Tuesday” (catchy, no? Well, maybe not.). Time for us to look at our top five public and private teams as we head into Week 6.

This week we start with a bit of an explanation/disclaimer. Here at Class A Blog headquarters, we have been using the “AJC Top 10” as a basis for our divided “Top 5s.” However, this week, we plan to deviate from that in the case of Johnson County (4-0), ranked No. 10. That puts them as the fifth highest ranked public school on the AJC Top 10, which would make them the No. 5 public school in our Top 5s.

But, with all due respect to Herschel Walker, head coach Don Norton and the fine folks down in Wrightsville – where years ago a resident once told me “Son, this is God’s country.” – the Trojans don’t belong in the Top 10 or our Top 5. Though they are undefeated, their opponents’ combined record is 3-9 this season. So for that reason, we will list them among the “Trending” public school teams, which is a list of five good teams not in the Top 5.

And we have applied the same reasoning for keeping another undefeated team, Georgia Military (3-0), completely off of the private school list. No Top 5 and no “Trending” mention of the Bulldogs, based on the fact that the combined record of their opponents is 1-10.

Here are our Top 5s (and “Trending” teams) on the eve of Week 6:

PUBLIC

1. Wilcox County (2-1, No. 4 overall). The Patriots were off last week. They will ride south to Folkston on Friday for the Region 2 opener against Charlton County (2-2), in one of the best games on Friday’s slate, regardless of classification.

2. Lincoln County (2-1, No. 6 overall). The Red Devils were off last week. Head coach Larry Campbell will go after career win number 461 Friday in Macon when Lincoln takes on First Presbyterian Day (2-1) in one of the best non-region Public vs. Private matchups of the season.

3. Emanuel County Institute (3-1, No. 7 overall). The Bulldogs got past a scrappy and improving Claxton team last week, 14-7. ECI should have an easier time on Friday when winless Portal (0-3) comes to Twin City for the Bulldogs’ third consecutive crossover game in subdivided Region 3.

4. Commerce (4-0, No. 9 overall). The Tigers jumped into the AJC Top 10 on the strength of a dramatic comeback win last week over an improving Class AA Rabun County team, 18-17. Commerce trailed 17-6 heading into the fourth quarter. Commerc e will travel south to Monroe on Friday to meet George Walton Academy (3-1, No. 8 overall) in a game that will go a long way toward determining the Region 8 champion.

5. Charlton County (2-2, unranked). The Indians were spanked on Friday by the No. 5 team in Class AA, Fitzgerald, 37-0. Not a lot of shame in that, even though Charlton did turn the ball over four times. Head coach Rich McWhorter , who is 239-52-2 in 23 seasons leading the Indians, will get that fixed when No. 4 Wilcox comes calling on Friday. The winner will have the inside track on the Region 2 championship and the guaranteed playoff spot that comes with it.

Trending (in alphabetical order): Irwin County (2-2) has to be shown some love after knocking off Wilkinson County … Johnson County (4-0) will get a better test of how good it is Friday when the Trojans host Savannah Christian (1-2), which is rebuilding after last season’s state title run … Marion County (2-1), which was held to less than 150 yards of offense in a 20-7 loss at Miller County last week, will try to get back on track Friday at Greenville (2-1) in the Region 4 opener for both teams … Miller County (3-1), after stunning Marion last week, will try not to stumble in its Region 1 opener at Mitchell County (1-3) on Friday … Wilkinson County (1-2) will travel to Milledgeville to face undefeated Georgia Military on Friday.

PRIVATE

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (3-1, No. 1 overall). The Chargers were off last week and will travel north to Sandy Springs for their Region 5 opener at Holy Innocents (2-2) on Saturday. ELCA will welcome back three of their best senior players – DB/WR DJ Curl, LB/RB Keyonte Green and DL/TE Isaac Rochelle – who missed the last two games nursing injuries.

2. Prince Avenue Christian (4-0, No. 2 overall). The Wolverines dominated Glascock County last week, 48-7, as Bryce Huff ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries. They will face Athens Christian (1-3) in their Region 8 opener on Friday.

3. Aquinas (3-0, No. 3 overall). The Irish blanked AA Josey, 42-0, last week, holding the Eagles to just 40 yards rushing. Brendan Douglas continued his Class A Player of the Year campaign, rumbling for 188 yards on 12 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run. Aquinas will host Twiggs County (1-2) on Friday, in the Region 7 opener for both teams.

4. Calvary Day (4-0, No. 5 overall). The Cavaliers pulled away in the second half and beat Treutlen (1-2) 27-19 last week in a Region 3 crossover game. Calvary Day will be off this week before facing Savannah Country Day (1-2) in both teams’ sub-region opener on Oct. 5.

5. George Walton Academy (3-1, No. 8 overall). The Bulldogs dispatched Warren County last week, 37-0, on the strength of three touchdown passes by Hunter Rice. The hope to have junior running back Stanley Williams, who has committed to Georgia, back in the lineup for Friday’s important Region 8 battle with Commerce. Williams sat out the second half of the win over Warren County due to an ankle injury.

Trending:   Athens Academy (3-0) – which escaped with a 10-7 homecoming win over Our Lady of Mercy (3-1) last week, when Eric Williams scored on a 74-yard touchdown catch and run with less than five minutes left in regulation – will travel south to Gainesville on Friday to face Lakeview Academy (2-1, 1-1 in Region 8), in the Region 8 opener for the Spartans … Brookstone (2-1) battled back from a 14-0 fourth quarter deficit to tie AA Wesleyan at 14 last week, but lost on a 49-yard field goal as time expired. The Cougars don’t have time to sulk, as Dooly County (2-1) comes to Columbus for the Region 4 opener for both teams … First Presbyterian Day (2-1) scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to edge Pace Academy (1-3), 24-20, last week, and will host Lincoln County, No. 6 overall, on Friday … Landmark (2-2) was off last week and will host Mt. Vernon Presbyterian (2-2) in the Region 5 opener for both teams on Friday … Our Lady of Mercy (3-1) led 7-3 at Athens Academy late in the fourth quarter, after a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown by sophomore linebacker Jordan Thomas, before the Spartans scored late. Mercy will try to get back on the winning track when they face Pace (1-3) in the Region 5 opener for both.

18 comments Add your comment

white

September 25th, 2012
11:51 am

This is a bunch of crap, just stop recruiting and there is no need for 2 divisions.

moto

September 25th, 2012
12:54 pm

Yep, transfers to public schools outnumber transfers to private schools by 10 to 1. That’s unfair to private schools.

Keep up the good work, S. Thomas. Your well-written and sound analysis is appreciated.

observer

September 25th, 2012
1:15 pm

At this point, you could put ELCA in private or public, in A or AA, it would not really matter. They will continue to coast, especially with three of their best players back. Play the rest of the games, it will be a fun ride to the dome to watch who they beat.

joco trojan

September 25th, 2012
3:11 pm

WOW THIS JUST MOTIVATED OUR TEAM!!!

“the Trojans don’t belong in the Top 10 or our Top 5.”

WOW… KEEP ON HATING

TCDOG25

September 25th, 2012
6:55 pm

joco trojan don’t worry the trojans get ECI soon and then we will see if the trojans are for real.

S. Thomas Coleman

September 25th, 2012
9:15 pm

@white: Private schools have to recruit students. Whether they recruit them for the sole purpose of playing sports is another question/issue.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

September 25th, 2012
9:16 pm

@moto: Thanks for the love, and thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

September 25th, 2012
9:26 pm

@observer: That’s very presumptuous, arrogant, pompous of you … but you might be right.

When they are at full strength, which they will be starting this week, the Chargers are probably the best team in Class A — public or private. And I’m not sure if there’s anyone in Class AA that could beat them. Even in AAA, ELCA would be among the best teams in that classification.

Here’s an interesting question to ponder: If ELCA cruises basically unchallenged to a state title this season, which is entirely possible, would Coach Queen (AD) and Coach Gess (football coach) consider petitioning the GHSA to play up in AA next season, where they could compete against public and private schools? I know Coach Gess wishes Class A hadn’t been split. He has developed a great relationship with Coach Dickerson down at Clinch County.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

September 25th, 2012
9:45 pm

@joco: Sorry but fact is fact. Truth is truth. Johnson County has TONS of tradition and you guys have made the playoffs for the past seven consecutive seasons. BUT, this is this season. And this season, you guys haven’t proven to be worthy of a Top 10 ranking. Here’s proof positive of that fact:

As was pointed out in the original blog, the record of the four opponents the Trojans have beaten is a combined 3-9 (Jenkins County, 1-2; Twiggs County, 1-2; Portal, 0-3; and Savannah Country Day, 1-2).

Can you guess what the combined record is of the teams your opponents have beaten? It’s 0-10!! Yes, the teams you have beaten have their only wins against teams that are winless: Both Jenkins and SCD beat Wheeler County (0-3), while Twiggs beat Crawford County (0-4).

So, unfortunately, there’s now way you can legitimize ranking Johnson County at this point, although I hear Bull Darrisaw (AWESOME football name) is really good. We’ll see how you guys fare against Savannah Christian and ECI.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

September 25th, 2012
9:57 pm

@TCDOG25: That’s true. Savannah Christian will be a good test on Friday, and ECI on Oct. 26.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

injurylaw

September 26th, 2012
9:45 am

Its going to be interesting to see how ELCA does against Holy Innocents. GWA beat them 45-14 two fridays ago. But GWA played backups the entire fourth quarter and it looked as if they couldve scored 70 if they had wanted. Its true GWA lost to Aquinas in overtime after Aquinas returned a late kickoff to force overtime. But GWA was without their stud qb hunter rice. The sophomore backup had trouble even taking the snap from center and only completed one pass to an Aquinas player. So I guess I have two points. First, lets dont crown ELCA just yet. Second, GWA is probably screwed if starting qb is out!

Swamp Lizard

September 26th, 2012
10:57 am

@ INJURYLAW … I’m planning on going to the ELCA / Holy Innocents game Saturday night …. I think HI is a very soild team ( maybe even a playoff team ) and will test ELCA …. for a little while. If I recall, I thought GW was trailing Holy Innocents 14-7 before they ( GW ) turned it on. I’ll be at George Walton this Friday night to see them play Commerce …. should be a great game.

Swamp Lizard

September 26th, 2012
11:16 am

@ STC ….. Thanks for keeping us Class A fans up to speed, enjoy & apprciate what you do. Now on to your reply to OBSERVER about ELCA ….
I’ve seen ELCA play a lot this year and over the last few years, they are “tough”! I do think they’re the best team in Class A hands down, BUT you still have to play the games. They could go down ( lose ) at anytime, even this weekend ( Holy Innocents ). They have some games ahead of them that they have to play …. Holy Innocents, Our Lady of Mercy, & Landmark ( more of them later ). I could be wrong, but at least two of them, maybe all three are playoffs teams in my opinion. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I can see ELCA as the GRAYSON of Class A ….. & they ( Grayson ) went down. As far as ELCA wanting to move up to AA, that would be very interesting, but I don’t see why they ( AD & Coach ) would want to do that. I still think they would be a favorite ( top 3 ) to win the AA championship this year.

injurylaw

September 26th, 2012
1:28 pm

Dont misunderstand me. ELCA is undoubtedly the team to beat in A football. Give the devil his due. But the comment that they will continue to coast and we will simply see who they beat in the dome might underestimate some other teams out there. And I agree they seem better than any AA team out there. I dont however see HI having much chance. They were briefly up on GWA in the first half but by beginning of fourth quarter GWA pulled starters and it couldve been a lot uglier than it was. I expect similar from ELCA.

injurylaw

September 26th, 2012
1:40 pm

Dont get me wrong. ELCA is the team to beat in A football and would be also if they were in AA I believe. I was simply responding to observer saying ELCA will continue to coast and it will be a fun ride to the dome to see who they beat. GWA is just one example of a tough team ELCA will have to face and there are others. Arrogant fans arent unique to ELCA thats for sure.

injurylaw

September 26th, 2012
1:49 pm

GWA is going to have their hands full with an undefeated commerce team thats been beating up on higher division opponents as well.

Swamp Lizard

September 27th, 2012
7:40 am

@ injurylaw ….. I agree 100% with you ( see my reply to STC above ). I think ELCA or anyteam can lose any Friday night ( Grayson as example ). I’m planning on going out to Monroe Friday night to watch the GW / Commerce game …. this is just my take, but I really think GW has a very good team, I think they will handle Commerce …. I see a 35-21 kind of score.

injurylaw

September 27th, 2012
9:39 am

I think Commerce is one of the top A teams in the state and that it will be a close game. They say Commerce has a tough defense. But can they hold GWA to under 35 like you said. Will give us a better read on both teams. GWA is now at full strength with hardly any injuries.