Class A: Among the five things we learned on Friday, ELCA has challengers

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Five things we learned in Class A in Week 6 …

ELCA has some challengers. Before me or anyone else crowns Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy as the private school champions this season, it would be wise to let the games play out.

No. 2 Prince Avenue Christian (5-0, 1-0 in Region 8 ) has been dominant, outscoring its opponents this season by an average score of 42-9. The Wolverines have been held under 40 points just once this season (28-12 win over Savannah Christian in Week 3). Friday, PAC blanked Athens Christian (1-4, 0-1 in Region 8 ), 40-0, behind 216 yards rushing and three touchdowns from Carl Mattox.

Also, No. 3 Aquinas continues to be impressive behind the efforts of senior running back/linebacker Brendan Douglass. The Irish (4-0) throttled Twiggs County 50-0 on Friday as Douglass added another performance to his Player of the Year resume with 305 yards of total offense (245 rushing on 12 carries, 60 receiving on 2 catches) and six touchdowns (5 rushing, 1 receiving).

And No. 8 George Walton Academy (4-1, 1-0 in Region 8 ) – the only team to challenge Aquinas so far this season, losing 28-21 in overtime to the Irish in Week 2 – notched its biggest win since joining the Georgia High School Association, downing No. 9 Commerce, 26-14, on Friday. The Bulldogs showed they are more than just the Stanley “Boom” Williams show, as Nick Waters ran eight times for 95 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Hunter Rice rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Jarvis added 38 yards and a touchdown on 6 rushes. Williams added 89 yards on 17 carries.

Now who’s 2-2? Charlton County head coach Rich McWhorter had been taking a bit of heat from the locals about his proud Indians starting this season 2-2, which is downright blasphemous down in Folkston. But Charlton County showed why it is Charlton County on Friday, knocking off No. 4 Wilcox County, 32-26, in Folkston. The win gives the Indians (3-2, 1-0 in Region 2) a leg up on the Patriots, who fell to 2-2 overall, 0-1 in Region. 2.

Campbell was sandbagging, again. Last season Lincoln County’s venerable head coach Larry Campbell told us he didn’t think his club would be very good because of uncertainty at the quarterback position. Denzel Gunby stepped up and led the Red Devils to a 10-3 record and the state quarterfinals, where they gave eventual state champion Savannah Christian its best challenge of the post season.

Campbell said the same thing last month about this year’s team, lamenting how many starters Lincoln lost to graduation and an unproven quarterback.

Uh, yeah, right coach. Lincoln (3-1, 1-0 in Region 7) spotted a solid First Presbyterian Day (2-2, 0-1) team 14 points before scoring the next 42 unanswered, en route to a 49-27 win on the road in Macon on Friday. Red Devil quarterback Ben Turner was stellar. He completed 14-of-15 passes for 217 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Rest assured, Campbell, who picked up career win number 462 on Friday, and Lincoln will be in the thick of the Class A public school title chase.

Dooly and Marion County bounced back. After making brief appearances in the Top 10 before suffering tough losses, both Dooly County and Marion County came back and started their Region 4 schedules properly, picking up key wins on Friday.

Dooly (3-1, 1-0), which loss to No. 4 Wilcox 28-14, on Sept. 21, held off Brookstone (2-2, 0-1), 7-3, as AJ Smith hit Tyrone Anderson with a 27-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-four, midway through the third quarter, according to the Columbus Ledger Enquirer. Meanwhile, Marion (3-1, 1-0), which was thumped by Miller County 20-7 last week, defeated Greenville (2-2, 0-1) 28-21 on Friday.

Johnson County was not quite ready to be ranked. The Trogans cracked the rankings at No. 10, and were 3-0. But the combined record of their opponents was 3-9. Savannah Christian provided a big step up in the level of competition on Friday and it showed.

Johnson County led 14-7 after one quarter, and then proceeded to give up 35 unanswered points as the Raiders blitzed the Trojans 42-14 in Wrightsville. We hate to say we told you so, but …

15 comments Add your comment

Egbert

September 29th, 2012
8:26 am

GWA showed a lot of heart coming back against a good Commerce team last night, first taking the lead with less than 5 minutes left in the game. There is definitely much more to this team than Boom; the program has been very good starting with its last few years in GISA. Looking forward to the Prince Avenue game already. Wish we didnt have to wait until November 9 to see it.

Swamp Lizard

September 29th, 2012
9:19 am

STC … I was at the George Walton / Commerce game last night. It’s why us fans love Class A football …. small town feel, the pride and both teams really getting after it. Commerce played their hearts out all night …. even leading 14-13 late in the 3rd qtr, but George Walton O-line & D-line was just too much in the 4th. Two really good teams … Both are playoff teams! Wish both the best the rest of the way.

Todd Holcomb

September 29th, 2012
12:23 pm

Looks like seven of the top eight teams in Class A rankings next week could be private schools. …

Doesn’t seem like a good year for the publics. Lincoln loses to arch-rival W-W. Wilcox and Wilkinson have two losses, as does Charlton.

Is there a public school in Class A that would’ve had a shot this season if publics and privates were playing together? Too early to say, but the mid-season report is not great, imo.

S. Thomas Coleman

September 29th, 2012
2:20 pm

@Egbert: That one should be a good one! But they both have to face Athens Academy before they get to each other at the end of the season and PAC has to face Commerce as well. Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

September 29th, 2012
2:21 pm

@Swamp: Thanks as always for the love!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

September 29th, 2012
2:29 pm

@Todd: Sorry, but I beg to differ.

Lincoln’s loss to WW has no shame in it. No one’s beaten WW yet and they have been murdering people. WW is one of the top AA programs, too.
Wilkinson might be a little suspect, but Wilcox’s losses are to AAAA Monroe, which is pretty dang good and to Charlton. Charlton’s losses were to AA Fitzgerald and to AAAAA Ware, both of which could challenge for their respective titles.

Add it all up and to say that an A public wouldn’t have had a shot at the title this year just isn’t true. Besides, you gotta win back some credibility first after ranking Johnson County last week! :)

Thanks for jumping in with us Class A’ers!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Swamp Lizard

September 30th, 2012
6:26 am

From Saturday night …………. ELCA 42 Holy Innocents 3

Swamp Lizard

September 30th, 2012
6:41 am

@ Todd Holcomb …. the rankings very well might have more Private teams than Public right now, but I don’t think the rankings will show the best teams in Class A from 1 to 10. I just think they’re some Public teams out there with 1 or even2 losses that are better than some Private teams with 1 or 2 losses. Rankings are fun, but really mean little right now …. schedule plays so much into it early …. after about 7 games the Top 10 will take shape to being “true”.

Swamp Lizard

September 30th, 2012
6:52 am

STC …. I agree with you 100% on Charlton, Wilcox, & Lincoln …. a loss or even two look really bad right now as far as the rankings go, but those teams will be playoff ready and I’d bet those three will be fighting for all the marbles.

Todd …. I too appreciate you jumping in with us Class A fans. Thanks for all the coverage !!

TCDOG25

September 30th, 2012
1:16 pm

ECI bulldogs just stayin under the radar with only one loss to WACO.

Swamp Lizard

September 30th, 2012
7:49 pm

@ TCDOG25 …. ECI should cruise til the region play in game ( Calvary Day or Sav Christian ). I don’t think Johnson Co will give them much of a fight and don’t see any others on the schedule that will beat them.

joco trojan

October 1st, 2012
11:17 am

We hate to say we told you so, but … SCPS was the defending state champions. One play determined the play of that game. If Rob would of scored instead of fumbled, JOCO WOULD OF WON!!! Rob kept on hustling and unfortunely, the ball left his hand before it crossed the plane. It took the breath out of our team, sadly. WE PERSONALLY INVITE YOU TO WRIGHTSVILLE ON OCTOBER 26 WHEN WE TAKE ON ECI MR. COLEMAN. SEE IF WE ARE A GOOD TEAM THEN!!
Also, 1 vs. 1 plays each other in the cross-over game. If we beat ECI and they beat Calvary, we will have a REMATCH!!! And @Swamp Lizard… thanks for your opinion :)

joco trojan

October 1st, 2012
11:19 am

Johnson County was not quite ready to be ranked. The Trogans cracked the rankings at No. 10, and were 3-0. But the combined record of their opponents was 3-9.

We are the TROJANS not TROGANS and we were 4-0 before we lost. Get your facts straight Mr. Coleman….

joco trojan

October 1st, 2012
11:20 am

I re-read your article. We’re the TROJANS nor TROGANS and we were 4-0 before we lost. not 3-0…. get your facts straight

Swamp Lizard

October 2nd, 2012
6:39 am

@ JoCo Trojan ….. I too have close ties / feelings to a certain team …. My intentions are not bash you, Johnson Co, or the players in any way. I have a son that works hard and puts in a tremdous amount of time in for those Friday Night Lights. I do wish y’all the very best this year.
With that said, observations and opinions on who we ( STC, myself, or you ) …. think might be in the Top 10, good or bad, etc … shouldn’t let it get to “us” … yes, I’m just as guilty too.