Class A: New Divided Public, Private Top 5 lists have Lincoln, ELCA as No. 1’s

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here are our Divided Public and Private Top 5 Lists, as we head into Week 9. Once again, it deviates a bit from the AJC Top 10 in that we here at Divided Top 5 headquarters have Lincoln County, ranked No. 5 overall by the AJC, in the top spot on the Public School side ahead of Emanuel County Institute, ranked No. 2 overall.

Thursday, we will examine how the first-round playoff matchups would look like, were the post season to start this weekend. But for now, time for the Divided Top 5s.

PUBLIC

1. Lincoln County (5-1, 2-0 in Region 7; No. 5 overall). Once again, the Red Devils are in the thick of the conversation when it comes to region and state title contenders. Lincoln knocked off previously unbeaten Aquinas 20-13, at the Big A in Augusta last Thursday. The Irish led 10-0 at halftime, but Lincoln turned two Aquinas turnovers (an interception and a fumble) into 13 points, and won the game on Zireycus Letman’s 14-yard touchdown reception from Ben Turner with :49 seconds left in regulation. Lincoln will host Georgia Military College (4-2, 2-1) in Lincolnton on Friday.

2. Emanuel County Institute (6-1, 2-0 in Region 3-Division B; No. 2 overall). The Bulldogs mauled Treutlen 50-6 on the strength of nearly 400 yards rushing. Greg Purcell led the way with 170 yards on 12 carries. ECI will take a week off before they travel to Wrightsville to face Johnson County (5-1, 1-0) in what could be the game that decides the Region 3-Division B title.

3. Wilcox County (4-2, 2-1 in Region 2; No. 9 overall). The Patriots continued their domination of Turner County, blasting the Rebels 38-0 in Rochelle. All state quarterback Makail Grace completed 24 of 32 passes for 340 yards. His favorite target, Johnathan Howard, hauled in seven balls for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Wilcox will travel south to Homerville on Friday to face Clinch County (3-3, 1-1).

4. Irwin County (4-2, 2-0 in Region 2; No. 10 overall). Hello, Ocilla! The Chiefs are still the only unbeaten team in Region 2 after their 26-15 win at Clinch, ending the Panthers’ 15-game home winning streak in what has been Clinch’s worst regular season since it finished 6-4 in 2005. Irwin is ranked in the top 10 for the first time since 2006. Irwin will host Lanier County (2-5, 0-3) on Friday before facing the region’s “Big 3” – Turner County, Wilcox County and Charlton County – to close out the regular season.

5. Miller County (6-1, 3-0 in Region 1A; unranked). Even though they play in one of the weakest regions in Class A, Miller County might be the best team no one talks about. The Pirates should get their sixth consecutive win on Friday at home against Terrell County (3-3, 1-1).

TRENDING (In alphabetical order): Dooly County (5-1, 3-0 in Region 4) will try to keep rolling toward its first region title since 1999, while preventing Marion from winning a third consecutive Region 4 crown when the Bobcats host the Eagles on Friday … Jenkins County (4-2, 2-0 in Region 3-Division A) has won four in a row, but must face Calvary Day (5-1, 1-1) in Savannah on Friday … Johnson County (5-1, 1-0 in Region 3-Division B) heads to Soperton Friday to take on Treutlen (3-3, 1-1) before No. 2 ECI comes to Wrightsville on Oct. 26 … Marion County (5-1, 3-0 in Region 4) heads to Vienna on Friday to face Dooly County in a game that will more than likely decide the Region 4 title … Wilkinson County (4-2, 3-0 in Region 7) faces the first leg of a brutal three-game stretch on Friday when the Warriors host No. 6 Aquinas (5-1, 2-1).

PRIVATE

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (5-1, 2-0 in Region 5; No. 1 overall). The Chargers dominated Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 62-0, as junior quarterback Dalton Etheridge completed all four of his passes for 58 yards, with three of the throws going for touchdowns to DJ Curl, Jevius Terry and David Carrandi. ELCA travels to Fayetteville on Friday to take on Our Lady of Mercy (4-3, 1-2), whose three losses are by a combined 12 points.

2. Athens Academy (6-0, 3-0 in Region 8; No. 3 overall). The Spartans downed Pinecrest Academy 27-7 behind 116 yards rushing and three touchdowns by Taylor Allen. On Friday, Athens Academy will host Commerce (4-3, 0-3), which is desperate to stop a three-game slide in which the Tigers have been outscored 75-28.

3. Prince Avenue Christian (6-1, 2-1 in Region 8; No. 4 overall). PAC blanked Commerce 30-0 as Bryce Huff and Carl Mattox combined for 280 yards rushing. The Wolverines will host Hebron Christian Academy (1-5, 0-4) on Friday.

4. Aquinas (5-1, 1-1 in Region 7; No. 6 overall). The Irish outgained Lincoln County 268-138, held the Red Devils to just six first downs, and Brendan Douglas rushed for 153 yards, but it wasn’t enough to keep them unbeaten. Aquinas will be in a surly mood when it takes on another public school region foe, Wilkinson County (4-2, 3-0), in Irwinton on Friday.

5. Savannah Christian (4-2, 2-0 in Region 3-Division A; No. 7 overall). The defending state champs served notice that they will be reckoned with this season by gutting out a 21-20 win over city rival Calvary Day. Jalen Myrick, who has committed to Minnesota, scored on an 18-yard pass from Chase Marini on fourth-and-8 with 3:15 left in regulation to tie the game, and Logan Tovar’s PAT provided the margin of victory. The Raiders host Portal (0-6, 0-2) on Friday.

TRENDING (In alphabetical order): Calvary Day (5-1, 1-1 in Region 3-Division A) will look to shake off the narrow loss to Savannah Christian when it hosts Jenkins County on Friday (4-2, 2-0) … George Walton Academy (5-1, 2-0; No. 8 overall) heads to Cumming to face Pinecrest Academy (3-2, 2-1) on Friday before a visit to Athens and a battle with No. 3 Athens Academy on Oct. 26 … Holy Innocents (4-3, 2-1 in Region 5) stopped a three-game skid by holding off Our Lady of Mercy (4-3, 1-2) and will visit Locust Grove and Strong Rock Christian (3-3, 0-2) on Friday … Landmark Christian (5-2, 3-0) won its fourth in a row, 49-0, over Strong Rock last week and will face Pace Academy (2-4, 1-1) in Atlanta on Friday … Our Lady of Mercy (4-3, 1-2), dropped another tight one at Holy Innocents last week (23-17) and now hosts No. 1 ELCA on Friday.

25 comments Add your comment

TCDAWG25

October 16th, 2012
3:06 pm

GO DAWGS one step closer to another Region 3 championship.

TruthSeeker

October 16th, 2012
4:21 pm

Guess the public/private divide is the only way Campbell can win again.

Remember kids: if you can’t win, don’t try harder; instead, change the rules.

John

October 16th, 2012
4:57 pm

Interesting that Darlington is nowhere to be found on the Private School Top 5 or trending list but is ranked second behind Athens Academy on the GHSA official power rankings that will determine who makes the Class A playoffs.

GAHSFBFan24

October 16th, 2012
5:50 pm

John, I agree. No one should overlook Darlington. I think they are a top 3 or 4 team in the privates (if not better). The teams that have separated themselves from the pack are ELCA, GWA, Aquinas and Darlington. AA, PACS and GWA may just beat each other up but I think GWA has the most talent of the 3. Darlington losses were to very good teams and they will not lose another game.

Swamp Lizard

October 16th, 2012
7:07 pm

@ TCDAWG25 … I’m here man. I guess STC even agrees with me on Lincoln Co being a little better … I did say a little better! All kidding aside, I do wish y’all the best. Maybe I’ll come up with my Top 10 and y’all can beat me up.

Swamp Lizard

October 16th, 2012
7:17 pm

DARLINGTON – I think we all know Darligton is good, the question is, just how good are they? Same goes for fellow Region 6 foes …. Gordon Lee & Walker.

Indian

October 16th, 2012
8:00 pm

TCDAWG25

October 16th, 2012
8:37 pm

@ Swamp Lizard I just love talking about football. And I think an ECI vs Lincoln Co. would be the game of the year especially for a state championship. But I also think ECI’s depth at quarterback and running back and a veteran offensive and defensive line makes the difference and will make the difference in the playoffs.

Swamp Lizard

October 16th, 2012
9:09 pm

@ STC …. STC you know I appreciate work, but I was looking at the Maxwell Ratings right now & I’d have to say … as of right now, I’d have to agree with the Top 5, in order of Public & Private with the rankings. Here they are ….

PUBLIC
1 – Lincoln Co
2 – Wilcox Co
3 – ECI
4 – Wilkinson Co
5 – Dooly Co

PRIVATE
1 – ELCA
2 – Aquinas
3 – Sav Christian
4 – George Walton
5 – Prince Ave

I guess for the body of work each team has done so far, it’s pretty close in my opinion. What do you think? ….. FANS?

Swamp Lizard

October 16th, 2012
9:23 pm

STC …. I’m looking forward to the FANTASY PLAYOFF matchups coming this Thursday … maybe that will get the “buzz” going on the Class A blog. I know you get tired of replying back to me! Hope you get to cover the ELCA / OLM game this Friday night.

Swamp Lizard

October 16th, 2012
9:37 pm

@ TCDAWG25 … I’ll give you this, you do know them ( ECI ) better than I do. You mentioned one thing that will take them very deep in the playoffs if it’s true … if they are deep and strong on the O-line & D-line they will make a STRONG run in the playoffs.
I agree with you 100% on just talking football. I would never want to say anything negative about these young men or coaches that are working hard for the right reasons. We all have opinions and I do feel bad if some take my opinion the wrong way. I’ve enjoyed talking & cutting up with you … I can tell your a good man.

Jim

October 16th, 2012
10:27 pm

Although Darlington’s losses look OK as their opponents were strong, some of their wins (e.g. 33-17 over King’s Ridge) look quite weak. Darlington may run the table, but they could very easily lose to Walker or Gordon Lee. These teams are much, much closer than you think.

moto

October 16th, 2012
11:15 pm

Region champions get the top seeds, regardless of their point totals. It’s going to be interesting if a few high seed region champions have significantly lower point totals than some teams seeded lower. Can’t wait to see the final points and seedings, and see who has to play whom at whose home field. There may be a scramble next year in scheduling, with some teams trying to drop opponents in order to pick up games with higher classification teams so as to maximize points. But looking at the top sixteen private schools in the official points, I think it’s likely that at least 15 of the 16 will be there at the end. So maybe the system works, with the possible exception of how the 16 are seeded.

I don’t know enough about the public schools to have an opinion. I do note that there seems to be a little more parity this year, as every team has been been beaten at least once. Will the usual suspects rise to the occasion when all is said and done? Looking at Lincoln, Wilcox, and ECI, that may be the case.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 17th, 2012
1:05 am

@Truth: Ouch! You’re a little hard on Coach Campbell, don’t you think?

I’ll try to check in with the coach this week and get his thoughts on the season thus far.

Thanks for reading and for posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

October 17th, 2012
1:07 am

@John: Darlington is one of the perennial contenders in Class A but in all honesty this year they play in the weakest region, by far, in the classification. The same goes for Gordon Lee and Walker. But, that’s why they play the games. So, we’ll see.

Thanks for reading and posting.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

October 17th, 2012
1:12 am

@GAHSFBFan24: I agree that ELCA, GWA, Aquinas, AA and PAC , are probably the cream of Class A. I think Darlington can compete with anyone, but there are several teams that have faced tougher competition this season that I think are better. I know Darlington, Gordon Lee and Walker can only beat the teams on their schedules, but it is what it is: Region 6 — both sides — is the weakest region in Class A.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

John

October 17th, 2012
8:53 am

There is no question that Region 6-A is the weakest region in the state in football wih Region 7-AA (with the exception of Calhoun) only slightly better. I was merely noting the discrepancy between the GHSA power ratings and the other rankings.

ELCATRAZ

October 17th, 2012
2:33 pm

@ Swamp – Mine is a little different.

PUBLIC
1 – Lincoln Co
2-ECI
3 – Wilcox Co
4 – Wilkinson Co
5 – Dooly Co

PRIVATE
1 – ELCA
2 – Athens Academy
3 – GWA
4 – Sav Christian
5 – Aquinas

Swamp Lizard

October 17th, 2012
6:41 pm

@ moto … I agree with you that we will have a region winner ( Region 6 ) seeded 3 or 4 that will not have nearly the points as teams behind them … maybe as many as 4 or more. I’m looking forward to seeing what STC has for us tomorrow ( Thursday ) as far as a projected playoff field and how he think the seeds will look ( matchups ) …. if nothing else it will give us something to talk about as far as possible matchups.

Swamp Lizard

October 17th, 2012
6:43 pm

…. that Region 6 winner would be seeded #4 …. not 3 or 4.

Swamp Lizard

October 17th, 2012
6:44 pm

Region 6 winner would be the #4 seed

Swamp Lizard

October 17th, 2012
6:50 pm

@ STC …. moto brought up a good point for an article. Maybe when you talk to the coaches across the state, you could ask how they think they need to make future schedules ….. by playing other Class A state powers or by trying to play up in classification to accumilate points.

Thanks !!

Swamp Lizard

October 17th, 2012
6:52 pm

@ ELCATRAZ …. Glad to see ya on the board !!

S. Thomas Coleman

October 17th, 2012
9:36 pm

@Swamp: We’ll have an article in the paper and on ajc.com next week on how the new playoff formats in Class A are working in all of the fall sports.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Swamp Lizard

October 18th, 2012
6:11 am

STC … great read on the playoff formats !! Paints a pretty picture of “possible” matchups and stirs the pot a little. You brought up a good point and answered our question about scheduling in the future ….. it does look like it pays off to schedule higher class teams and try to pull a win out ( Ex. Holy Innocents ). Thank ya !!