By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Time for the new Divided Top 5s, heading into Week 8. The temperature is getting cooler while the races for region titles and Power Ranking spots are heating up. Here we go:
1. Emanuel County Institute (5-1, 1-0 in Region 3-Division B; No. 4 overall). ECI trounced Wheeler County (0-5, 0-1) 68-7 last week, churning out 414 yards rushing. The Bulldogs should get a little tougher test Friday when Treutlen (3-2, 1-0) comes to Twin City.
2. Lincoln County (4-1, 1-0 in Region 7; No. 7 overall). The Red Devils beat Warren County (1-4, 1-2) 49-6 last week, in a match-up of two of the best nicknames in Georgia. Mike McIntire ran for 126 yards and a touchdown while the Lincoln defense yielded just 47 yards. Lincoln will travel to Augusta to take on No. 2 Aquinas (5-0, 2-0) in a game that will most likely decide the region championship. The Red Devils won 44-22 last season, and according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, Lincoln is 31-2-1 against the Irish and have won 31 straight against them since the tie (6-6) in 1970, and a two consecutive wins by Aquinas in 1971 (13-6) and 1972 (45-0).
3. Clinch County (3-2, 1-0 in Region 2; No. 10 overall). The Panthers were off last week and will welcome Irwin County (3-2, 1-0) to Homerville on Friday, as both teams vie for the region title and a guaranteed spot and first round home game in the public school playoffs.
4. Turner County (5-1, 2-0 in Region 2; unranked). The Rebels blasted the Indians 38-6 in a game that was played with a running clock in the fourth quarter. It was Turner’s first win over Charlton since 1993 (14-6), according to the Tifton Gazette. The Rebels will have their biggest game of the year on Friday when they travel north to Rochelle to face Wilcox County (3-2, 1-1) in another key Region 2 match-up.
5. Miller County (5-1, 2-0 in Region 1; unranked). The Pirates won their fourth in a row last week, blanking Calhoun County 22-0. Miller will head north to Cuthbert on Friday to face Randolph-Clay (3-2, 1-1) as the Pirates attempt to tighten their strangle hold on a weak field in Region 1.
TRENDING (In alphabetical order): Claxton (3-2, 1-1 in Region 3-Division A) will look to rebound from its 24-14 loss last week to surging Savannah Christian when the Tigers travel to winless Portal (0-5, 0-1), which has been outscored this season 12-167 … Dooly County (4-1, 2-0 in Region 4) downed Hawkinsville 24-16 last week and will travel to winless Central-Talbotton (0-5, 0-1) Friday before a showdown at home Oct. 19 against Marion County (4-1, 2-0) … Irwin County (3-2, 1-0 in Region 2) makes its first appearance in our public school rankings and will see how good it is Friday at No. 10 Clinch. The Indians are led by running back Robert Moore, who had 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just six carries in one-and-a-half quarters of football in last week’s 55-21 win over Telfair County (3-3, 0-2), according to the Tifton Gazette … Marion County (4-1, 2-0 in Region 4) will start a big three-game stretch on Friday in Columbus at Pacelli (4-1, 1-1 in Region 4) … Wilcox County (3-2, 1-1 in Region 2) will try to win two games in a row for the first time this season when the Patriots host Turner County (5-1, 2-0).
1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (4-1, 1-0 in Region 5, No. 1 overall). The Chargers were off last week and will host Mt. Vernon Presbyterian (2-4, 0-2 in Region 5) on Friday.
2. Aquinas (5-0, 2-0 in Region 7, No. 2 overall). The Irish struggled a bit in the first half against Hancock Central (3-2, 1-1 in Region 7), leading just 7-0 after two quarters. But Aquinas exploded in the second half behind 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns by Brendan Douglas in a 31-6 win. The Irish will host No. 7 Lincoln County in a Thursday night showdown.
3. Calvary Day (5-0, 1-0 in Region 3-Division A, No. 3 overall). The Cavaliers are 23-5 over the last two-and-a-half seasons but have been overshadowed by city rival No. 9 Savannah Christian, the defending Class A champs. After smashing Savannah Country Day last week, 48-7, Calvary Day will attempt to win the “Savannah Private School Championship” on Friday when it travels across town to face Savannah Christian (3-2, 1-0 in Region 3-Division A, No. 9 overall).
4. Georgia Walton Academy (5-1, 2-0 in Region 8, No. 5 overall). The Bulldogs pounded Hebron Christian Academy 52-10 last week, as Stanley “Boom” Williams ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries. GWA will take this week off before another “tune up” against another young program, Pinecrest Academy (3-1, 2-0), next week, and then a trip to Athens Oct. 26 to face undefeated Athens Academy.
5. Athens Academy (5-0, 2-0 in Region 8, No. 6 overall). The Spartans claimed their biggest win of the season thus far, when they traveled to Bogart and knocked off Prince Avenue Christian, ranked No. 2 at the time, 14-7 on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Austin Schulte to Jordan Lawson midway through the fourth quarter. Athens Academy will head to Cumming on Friday to face Pinecrest Academy.
TRENDING (In alphabetical order): Prince Avenue Christian (5-1, 1-1 in Region 8, No. 8 overall) visits Commerce (4-2, 0-2) on Friday to face a Tiger team that desperately needs a region win … Savannah Christian will have its biggest game of the season on Friday, at home against No. 3 Calvary Day … Landmark Christian (4-2, 2-0 in Region 5) rallied for a huge win at Our Lady of Mercy last week, 30-27 in overtime, and will host Strong Rock Christian (3-2, 0-1 in Region 5) on Friday … Our Lady of Mercy (4-2, 1-1 in Region 5) let one get away last week against Landmark and faces a tough road challenge at Holy Innocents (3-3, 1-1) on Friday in a game the Bears need desperately as well … Brookstone (3-2, 1-1 in Region 4) exposed previously unbeaten Pacelli 41-14 last week in the “Battle for the Broccelli Jug” in Columbus, and will travel south to Hawkinsville (1-4, 1-1 in Region 4) on Friday.
What say you?