Class A Blog: Athens Christian pulls upset of the year, Athens Academy rules in Athens, Turner dominates Charlton among hot topics in Class A

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?

24 comments Add your comment

Rebel Fan

October 6th, 2012
2:36 pm

Mr. Coleman

Turner County is actually 5-1 overall, including 2-0 in region play. Thanks for giving us some more attention. As you mentioned, we have another big one next week in Rochelle. If we win, we assume control of the region. If not, it’s WIDE open!

S. Thomas Coleman

October 6th, 2012
4:13 pm

@Rebel: Thanks for the correction, and good luck to the Rebs in Rochelle next week.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

Swamp Lizard

October 6th, 2012
6:05 pm

Athens Christian over Commerce – SHOCKER !! Commerce looked “tough” against GW

Athens Academy over Prince Ave – BIG WIN !! Looks like two teams that will right there til the end.

Turner Co over Charlton Co – PLAYER !! Turner Co looks to be a team to beat in Region 2

Landmark over Our Lady of Mercy – GREAT GAME !! Two playoff teams, very solid playoff teams.

Walker – UNDEFEATED … congrats, but I agree with STC on this one, is Region 6 ( A or B ) deserving of a playoff spot? …. I’m sorry Gordon Lee … Step out and schedule some teams with credibility if you want respect.

Go Wolverines

October 6th, 2012
7:50 pm

STC, thank you for finally giving Walker some press. As far as the schedule goes, Walker can only win the next game. It is what it is. They can’t change their schedule now. However, Walker still has a gauntlet to play, as they must travel to a tough King’s Ridge team in two weeks and at an extremely underrated Mt. Paran to end the regular season. Nonetheless, I still think Walker will win Region 6 and maybe then they will at least make your esteemed “trending” list.

Swamp Lizard

October 7th, 2012
1:56 pm

The NEW Top 10
1 – ELCA ( 4-1 )
2 – Aquinas ( 5-0 )
3 – Calvary Day ( 5-0 )
4 – ECI ( 5-1 )
5 – George Walton ( 5-1 )
6 – Athens Academy ( 5-0 )
7 – Lincoln Co ( 4-1 )
8 – PAC ( 5-1 )
9 – Sav Christian ( 3-2 )
10 – Clinch Co

STC … what is Todd thinking dropping Lincoln Co 2 spots ( from #5 to # 7 ) after a 49-6 win? And I would think Athens Academy’s win over PAC ( # 2 last week ) would carry more weight ( higher ranking ) than just moving them up 2 spots ( from # 8 to # 6 ). I love Clinch Co ( grew up a big fan of the Panthers ) but # 10? …. you could have went with Landmark or even Turner Co at # 10.

I could be wrong, but I think # 7 Lincoln Co will beat # 2 Aquinas this Thursday night ( we’ll see ). I will admit, if you had to come up with a Top 10 on the Public side it would be very hard ( I can’t do it ) … after Lincoln Co, ECI maybe Turner Co it would be just guessing after that in my opinion. Todd, I guess I will have to agree with you …. Class A is being dominated by the Private schools …. they just look like the better teams right now.


October 7th, 2012
8:37 pm

Clinch County #10? Please explain this. I believe several more teams are more worthy at this point in the season.

bilbo baggins

October 7th, 2012
9:39 pm

Party Time in Ashburn? What’s that all about? Get some new writers. And Clinch in the top 10? Get off your tails and check out the entire state, instead of using statistical data/historical data to choose a top ten. smh….

S. Thomas Coleman

October 7th, 2012
10:28 pm

@Go Wolverines: You’re right about the schedule. You can only beat who you play. Still Region 6 is easily the weakest of all the Class A regions this season. Because of the point system Region 6 might not get that many teams into the post season. Good luck to Walker in getting one of those spots. It would be great to see Kasian in the playoffs.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

October 7th, 2012
10:55 pm

@Swamp: You’d have to ask Todd what he’s thinking. He doesn’t really know a lot about the Class A teams because he has to spend so much time on the other classifications. So cut him a little slack.

But I would hold off on counting out teams like Wilcox and maybe even Claxton, which played ECI pretty close a couple of weeks ago. And I’m not sure how good Calvary Day is. We’ll know more Friday night.

Thanks for reading and posting, Swamp!

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

October 7th, 2012
11:07 pm

@bilbo: “Party Time in Ashburn” is another way of saying the folks in that town must be excited after their big win over Charlton County.

Turner is probably more deserving of being in the top 10 than Clinch.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

Swamp Lizard

October 8th, 2012
6:04 am

STC ….. I’m not a “Yes Man” by any means, but I’ll give you a lot of credit, I do think you cover Class A football very well and I respect your opinions. You are always going to have fans that disagree, keep up the good work! Oh Yea ….. the game Friday night ( OLM / Landmark ) …… # 3 is a “gamer” !! I was very impressed, you should be very proud !!

Class A Fan

October 8th, 2012
8:09 am

I was at the Commerce game, and yes, it was definitely a huge upset. With that said, everyone needs to understand that the Athens area private schools are only going to get stronger and stronger if they are able to consistently pull in new athletes year after year from Clarke, Oconee, Franklin, Madison and other local counties. Several of their starters Friday night were members of other local teams last year…..

Class A Fan

October 8th, 2012
11:07 am

Given Private and Public schools are playing separate state championships, it is time to discontinue the blending of the rankings. We need two separate top 10’s, one for Public A and one for Private A. If we are going to blend these groups for rankings, why not blend 6A and 5A, or why not all classifications. It just does not make sense anymore. The arguement that they still play eachother does not hold water as teams play across size classifications all of the time and we do not blend their rankings. Please take the lead on separating the two classifications in the rankings. Thanks!


October 8th, 2012
11:57 am

ClassAFan, with all due respect, the entire point to the rankings is to recognize the 10 best single A teams in the state, period. Do you really want to put up another ranking just so a team that is (potentially) the 30th best single A team in Georgia can be listed at number 10 somewhere? Maxpreps won’t do it, the AP won’t do it, Calpreps won’t do, so I don’t think it’s fitting that the AJC do it just because they are local.

City of Ashburn

October 8th, 2012
12:30 pm

I don’t know what it is but the voters aren’t showing Turner co. Any love!!!! The kids in Ashburn are on a role and their not being recognized by the AJC writers. Get a life, Come on man!!!!!

Todd Holcomb

October 8th, 2012
1:05 pm

”STC … what is Todd thinking dropping Lincoln Co 2 spots ( from #5 to # 7 ) after a 49-6 win?”

Last week, Lincoln’s only loss was to a ranked Class AA team in Washington-Wilkes. Now, W-W is an unranked team that lost 31-0 to Jefferson, which lost to Commerce, which lost to Athens Christian.

”Turner is probably more deserving of being in the top 10 than Clinch.”

Clinch beat Seminole
Seminole beat Turner

It’s nice to blow out Charlton, and maybe Turner would win head-to-head, but the bottom line is that Turner lost to a team that Clinch beat. Nothing else contradicts that fact. Clinch lost to teams you’d expect the No. 10 team in Class A to lose to. Turner has lost to an unranked team.


October 8th, 2012
1:49 pm

Games are getting better and more interesting. It seems with the rankings of public vs. private and the separation of playoffs and champions, the remedy public schools are after is for the Single A private schools to go back to GISA. Well the ones that left and the reason they did was to play with larger schools, better competition, less travel time, etc. Now that these schools are dominating the public forum they way they did private, it creates more discussion. Also, because I not know the answer to this, are all competitive sports in single A going to have two champions such as basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, golf, etc. If so, it make sense, if not, why just in a certain sport?

Swamp Lizard

October 8th, 2012
8:33 pm

@ Todd Holcolmb … Todd thanks for checking in on us Class A fans and giving us your take on your #10 ranking ( Clinch Co ). You do have a valid point for your ranking. No matter what the rankings are, “we” are going to question something. This is just my take, but Landmark is pretty good … Turner Co is pretty good … if they beat Wilcox Co … I’d have to say better than #10. By the time Landmark gets to ELCA ( Nov 9th ), they should be ranked in the Top 10. Thanks again for checking in on us Class A fans … don’t be a stranger.

Swamp Lizard

October 8th, 2012
8:39 pm

I don’t know or explain how Turner Co lost to Seminole Co …. can I get a take from the fans that were at that game?


October 8th, 2012
9:48 pm

@City of Ashburn, what about the kids in Rebecca and Sycamore don’t forget them.

Really Tired

October 8th, 2012
11:09 pm

I was at the Pisgah/Walker game last Friday. Walker has a good team, but I believe that they will have trouble if they go up against one of the big boys in a tougher region. As for the game, the score is not indication of what the actual game was like. It was only 16-6 going into the fourth quarter although Walker did score on the very next play. Walker actually only had a little over 200 yards of total offense. Pisgah had 4 turnovers, a lot of penalties, and poor field position throughout the game. Walker’s defense was pretty dominant, but their offense is predictable. They don’t throw much and when they do, it isn’t pretty and then they give it to Kasian who has great wheels, but once they go up against a team that is larger than theirs, he’ll must likely be contained. Still, it’s nice to see them having a good season. Nothing, but the best of luck to them.

Sam Roney

October 9th, 2012
12:50 pm

Lincoln County will taste their second defeat this Thursday night at Aquinas, which should be #1 now.
ELCA may be a good team, but not #1. George Walton Academy should be #2 after beating Commerce. Walton’s only loss was to Aquinas in OT 28-21.

Tom Jones

October 9th, 2012
2:29 pm

I believe Brookstone is very underrated. Does anyone? they lost 17-14 at Wesleyan on a nfl like 49 yard field goal. Wesleyan also averages about 250 pass yards a game and brookstone held them to 70. Bstone lost 7-3 to dooly after getting within doolys 10 yard line 3 times and twice inside doolys 20 yard line. The most they’ve been scored on is 14 points. Im not saying they are better than GeorgeWA or Prince A or Eagles or Alquines, but still. I think they are being overlooked just a little because of that 3-2 record

Coug nation

October 9th, 2012
7:08 pm

can region 4a and dooly and brookstone get any love…. come on