By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Here’s a quick snapshot of what went down in Week 7; some nuggets to chew on and debate over the weekend. And look for some movement in the AJC Top 10 and our Divided Top 5s. Here we go:
Upset of the year: It’s time to hide the sharp objects up in Commerce. In what has to be the biggest upset and “how the heck did THAT happen” moments in recent memory in Class A, Athens Christian beat Commerce 19-14. In Commerce.
According to the Athens Banner-Herald, Levi Cummings caught a 25-yard pass from Brett Branton with 38 seconds remaining to give the Eagles their biggest win in say … forever!
To put things in a bit more perspective, Commerce is a proud program, traditionally one of the state’s best. The Tigers have been playing football since 1909, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. They have won 17 region titles and two state championships. By contrast, in 35 years of football, the Eagles have yet to win a state title or a region title. Since joining the Georgia High School Association in 2000, they have not advanced to the post season.
Commerce was the top ranked team in the Class A Public School Power Rankings going into this weekend. Athens Christian was No. 17 on the private school side.
Perhaps Commerce was still in a daze from a tough loss last week at George Walton Academy (26-14). But the Tigers better wake up. They host what will be a surly bunch of Wolverines from Prince Avenue Christian next week. The reason PAC will be angry is ….
The Spartans are the kings of Athens. Athens Academy (No. 8 in the AJC Top 10 and “Trending” in the Divided Top 5) went over to Bogart and handed PAC (No. 2 in both rankings) its first loss at home since 2009, beating the Wolverines 14-7. Spartan senior quarterback Austin Schulte led the way with 207 yards passing, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lawson midway through the fourth quarter for the win.
Athens Academy moves to 5-0, 1-0 in Region 8 – which is proving to be the toughest region in Class A this season – while PAC drops to 5-1, 1-1 in the Region.
Party time in Ashburn. Turner County seized early control of Region 2 by blitzing Charlton County 38-6 Friday night in Ashburn. The Rebels move to 5-1, 2-1 in league play while the Indians dropped to 3-3, 1-1. Turner will look to take another step toward the region title next week when it travels to Wilcox County (3-2, 1-1).
Landmark still alive in Region 5. The defending Class A runners-up held off Our Lady of Mercy, 30-27, in overtime at Mercy on Friday.
All-region WR/DB Joshua Nobles – who had been locked down most of the night by Mercy corners Christian Coleman, a junior, and senior Rashard Fant (No. 148 on ESPN’s Top 150, No. 22 in Rival’s Top 50) – got loose against zone coverage for a 20-yard reception with less than two minutes left in regulation. That put the War Eagles in field goal range to tie the game at 24 and send it into overtime. Then in the extra period, after Mercy sophomore Jamison Best put the Bobcats up 27-24 with a field goal, Nobles took a reverse down to the 1-yard line on first down and quarterback Stockton McGuire scored from there on the next play.
Mercy fell to 4-2, 1-1 in Region 5, while Landmark won its third consecutive game to move to 4-2, 2-0. Both have yet to face Goliath, a.k.a., No. 1 Eagles Landing Christian Academy.
Down goes Pacelli. And then there were four … unbeaten teams that is. The Vikings were 4-0 heading into Friday’s game against Columbus rival Brookstone. The problem is that the combined record of Pacelli’s opponents is 2-20.
Brookstone, behind five touchdowns from Madison McCluskey, won the traditional “Battle for the Broccelli Jug,” 41-14. And things don’t get any easier for Pacelli when Marion County (4-1, 2-0) visits Columbus next week.
The four remaining unbeaten teams in Class A are Aquinas, Athens Academy, Calvary Day and …
What about Walker? The Wolverines dominated Mt. Pisgah, 35-6, on Friday to move to 5-0, 2-0 in Division B of Region 6. But they have the same issue as Pacelli. Walker plays in perhaps the least competitive subregion in any classification in the state. The combined record of their opponents thus far is 8-18.
Walker will probably go into the Region 6 Play-In game on Nov. 9 at 9-0. The combined record of their next four opponents is just 8-12. The Wolverines sit at No. 15 in the Class A Private School Power Rankings and have a good shot at making the playoffs.
Bottom line: Walker’s not ready to crack our Top 5 or Trending list just yet.
Thanks for reading. Now, what say you?