Class A: New Divided Top 5s lists … with a private school shocker!

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

It’s time for the Week 10 version of our Divided Public-Private Top 5s lists, with a bit of a surprise ending.  Let us know if we’re on target or in need of a Georgia High School Football 101 class.

And don’t forget to check back on Thursday for our games of the weekend and projected first round playoff matchups, based on the updated Power Rankings.

PUBLIC

1. Lincoln County (6-1, 3-0 in Region 7; Ranked No. 5 overall). Mike McIntire led the Red Devils to a 57-7 pasting of Georgia Military College (4-3), as he scored four touchdowns and ran for 175 yards on just 12 carries. Lincoln will try to avoid an upset next week at Twiggs County (2-5) before the showdown for the Region 7 championship against No. 9 Wilkinson County, Nov. 2, in Lincolnton.

2. Emanuel County Institute (6-1, 2-0 in Region 3-Division B; No. 2 overall). The Bulldogs were off last week and should be well rested for Friday’s battle for the sub region title against Johnson County (6-1, 2-0), in Wrightsville.

3. Wilcox County (5-2, 3-1 in Region 2; No. 7 overall). The Patriots won their third straight last week, 33-7 over Clinch County (3-4), as quarterback Makail Grace accounted for nearly 400 yards of offense – 288 passing and 95 rushing. A quirk in the schedule sends Wilcox to AAA Swainsboro (3-4) on Friday for a tough, late season non-region game, before the Patriots visit No. 8 Irwin County (5-2), Nov. 2, on Senior Night in Ocilla.

4. Irwin County (5-2, 3-0 in Region 2; No. 8 overall). Irwin downed Lanier County 37-19 last week for its fourth consecutive win, as James Curtis ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Now Irwin will try to hang on to the top spot in Region 2 as it faces a brutal three-game stretch to close out the season, starting Friday at Turner County (5-2). The following week Wilcox comes to Ocilla, before Irwin closes out the regular season at Charlton County (4-3).

5. Wilkinson County (5-2, 4-0 in Region 7; No. 9 overall). Wilkinson appears to be getting hot at the right time. The Warriors won their fourth straight last week, 42-14 over Aquinas (5-2), which had been ranked No. 6 at the time. Quarterback David Whipple ran for 95 yards and threw for over 200, while running back Shiquez Underwood ran for 165 yards and four touchdowns. Wilkinson travels to Macon on Friday to face First Presbyterian Day (5-2), before the faceoff for the region title at Lincoln on Nov. 2.

TRENDING (In alphabetical order): Charlton County (4-3, 2-2 in Region 2) has alternated wins and losses all season, but will try to break that trend on Friday in front of the home crowd with a victory against Clinch (3-4) in Folkston … Claxton (5-2, 2-1 in Region 3-Division A) will look to stay in the hunt for the Region 3-Division A title when it hosts Calvary Day, ranked No. 10, on Thursday … Wrightsville will be jumping on Friday night as Johnson County (6-1, 2-0 in Region 3-Division B) will host No. 2 ECI for the sub region title … Marion County (6-1, 4-0) will try to take another huge step toward winning its third consecutive Region 4 championship, when the Eagles host Brookstone (5-2, 3-1) on Friday … Miller County (7-1, 4-0 in Region 1), winners of six straight, will look to stay on track to claim its first region title since 2008, when the Pirates host winless Stewart County on Friday.

PRIVATE

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (6-1, 3-0 in Region 5; No. 1 overall). The Chargers flexed their muscles last week, dominating an Our Lady of Mercy team (4-4, 1-3 in Region 5) that had lost three games by a total of just 12 points. Keyante Green led the way with 176 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just 10 carries, and sophomore safety Davis Reynolds had two interception returns for touchdowns of 40 and 70 yards. ELCA will host Strong Rock (3-4, 0-3 in Region 5) on Friday.

2. Athens Academy (7-0, 4-0 in Region 8; No. 3 overall). The Spartan’s defensive unit, as it has done all season, held an opponent to single digits, as Athens Academy throttled Commerce 45-7 last week. Senior quarterback Austin Schulte completed 8 of 10 passes for 129 yards. Athens Academy will host George Walton Academy (5-2, 2-1 in Region 8), which lost to Pinecrest Academy (4-2, 3-1 in Region 8  ) last week, 29-10, in one of the biggest upsets of this season.

3. Prince Avenue Christian (7-1, 3-1 in Region 8; No. 4 overall). The Wolverines blasted Hebron Christian Academy (1-6, 0-5 in Region 8  )  48-7 last week, behind two pick-sixes from linebackers Titus Campbell and Christian Payne. PAC will take a week off before ending the season with two tough road games:  a trip to Cumming to face upstart Pinecrest Academy ( 4-2, 3-1 in Region 8  ) on Nov. 2, followed by the season finale in Monroe against George Walton Academy (5-2, 2-1 in Region 8  ) on Nov. 9.

4. Savannah Christian (5-2, 3-0 in Region 3-Division A; No. 6 overall). The Raiders have quietly won five in a row after drilling winless Portal (0-7, 0-3) 35-0 last week. Savannah Christian scored all of its points in the first half before calling off the dogs in the second. The Raiders will look to take another step toward winning their second consecutive sub region crown when they host Jenkins County (4-3, 2-1 in Region 3-Division A) on Friday.

5. Calvary Day (6-1, 2-1 in Region 3-Division A; No. 10 overall). The Cavaliers blitzed Jenkins County, which had won four straight, 48-12 last week. Calvary Day will try to hold on to second place in the sub region on Friday when it travels to Claxton (5-2, 2-1).

TRENDING (In alphabetical order): Aquinas (5-2, 2-2 in Region 7) fell out of the AJC Top 10 after losing its second consecutive game last week, 42-14, to No. 9 Wilkinson County. It was the Irish’s second loss in a row to a public school, after their 20-13 loss to No. 5 Lincoln County on Oct. 11. Aquinas will try to rebound at home on Friday when Warren County (1-6, 1-4 in Region 7) visits the Big A … Brookstone (5-2, 3-1 in Region 4) will try to force a three-way tie for first place in Region 4 on Friday when it visits Marion County (7-1, 4-0) in Buena Vista … Darlington (5-2, 3-0 in Region 6-Division A) emphatically took control of the sub region with a 31-0 win over Gordon Lee (5-2, 2-1) last week. The Tigers will try to avoid an upset in Carrollton on Friday when they face a much-improved team from Mt. Zion, which has won three straight … Holy Innocents (5-3, 3-1 in Region 5) win its third straight last week, 28-3 over Strong Rock (3-4, 0-3 in Region 5), and will host Pace Academy (2-5, 1-2 in Region 5) on Saturday … Landmark Christian Academy (6-2, 4-0 in Region 5) has won five in a row after last week’s 38-14 win over Pace Academy, behind 219 yards rushing and three touchdowns by junior Jeremiah Kirkland. The War Eagles are off this week before they host Holy Innocents Nov. 2 in downtown Fairburn …

And now, in an unprecedented executive decision by the suits at Class A Blog headquarters, a sixth team has been added to the “Trending” list of private schools: Walker (7-0, 4-0 in Region 6-Division A). Though the combined record of the Wolverines’ foes this season is a dismal 16-33, they have fashioned one of the state’s most dramatic turnarounds under first-year head coach John East. Walker, just 13-37 over the past five years, has already clinched its first winning season since finishing 6-4 in 2006, and will most likely make its first post season appearance since it finished 6-5 in 2005 and lost in the first round of the Class AA playoffs to eventual state runner up Calhoun (41-7). The Wolverines are led by 14 seniors, including Evan Kasian, an all-state candidate at running back. Walker will host Cobb County rival Whitefield Academy (5-2, 4-0 in Region 6-Division A) in Marietta on Friday, in a game that will go a long way toward determining the sub region champion.

22 comments Add your comment

formerviling

October 23rd, 2012
12:09 pm

Where is Whitefield in the shake up of the privates?

S. Thomas Coleman

October 23rd, 2012
1:18 pm

@formerviling: Sorry, but Whitefield is still a victim of a weak schedule. We decided to put Walker on the trending list because they are one of just two teams still undefeated in Class A — Athens Academy, which has played a MUCH tougher schedule, being the other.

So we’ll see what Whitefield does against Walker this week. Perhaps the ‘Pack can crack the list next week.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

bucket

October 23rd, 2012
1:38 pm

Prince actually has an open date this weekend and will play Pinecrest the following week and then end the season at George Walton.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 23rd, 2012
1:54 pm

@bucket: Thanks for the correction!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

bucket

October 23rd, 2012
2:48 pm

No worries. Thanks for the respect for Prince that you have shown this year. I am still not sure where Prince will end up because the game against George Walton at the end will be huge and after last week it is obvious that Pinecrest cannot be overlooked either!

Josh S.

October 23rd, 2012
4:10 pm

If you could please keep Miller County out of any “top-anything” list for the remainder of the season I would appreciate it. The underdog roll suits us just fine, lol.

Swamp Lizard

October 23rd, 2012
10:41 pm

VERY IMPRESSIVE … Athens Academy hasn’t given up more than 7 points in any game this year … & they are the #1 team in the GHSA power rankings.

Walker Fan

October 24th, 2012
9:27 am

@ S Thomas Coleman…that was painful. Your clear distaste for putting Walker in the trending list is certainly evident. OK, we all get it, you think their schedule is weak…WE GET IT…and someone apparently forced you to add them this week. I hate to continue to make this point though, if you are willing at all to place any stock in the concept of the Transitive Property as it relates to football games, when making links across regions, the top half of Region 6 (A and B) is much closer than you are willing to admit to the rest of the states good A teams (this excludes the beast that is ELCA).

For example…we know you love Athens Academy and their inpossibly difficult schedule so lets take a closer look:
1) AA beats Pinecrest 27-7, Pinecrest gets pounded by Kings Ridge 45-7, Kings Ridge is near the bottom of Region 6B (the weakest of them all we are told)…Walker holds KR to 72 yards total.
2) AA beats OLM 10-7 (another fav of yours), OLM beats a very mediocre PACE 33-21, who themselves got whipped by Kings Ridge 48-20…again KR near the bottom

These kinds of links can be drawn from virtually all of the top teams in Class A (except ELCA). I understand Region 6 (both A and B) is weak but I think a disporportionate amount of punishment is being laid on region 6 due to some effectively startup teams at the bottom of those regions. The upper half rgion 6 in both A and B is right there with the rest of the top 10-15 teams in the state in Class A private. In looking below cumulative records, there are way too many data points that indicate these teams are much closer than you think.

One more example…another team you love, Holy Innocents…they get crushed by GWA and GWA got whipped by Pinecrest

Walker Fan

October 24th, 2012
9:58 am

@S. Thomas Coleman: Prince Avenue is 7 and 1. Their 7 wins are against a group of teams that have 18 wins and 33 losses yet Prince Avenue is ranked 3rd in the state because of their challenging schedule. Walkers 7 wins are against teams that are a combined 16 and 33…pretty darn similar. If Walker now had an 8th game under their belt right now which was a loss to Athens Academy by a touchdown (just like PAC) would you think Walker roughly the 4th best team in the state? Their records are much, much more comparable than you think. The point of this is not to say Walker is 4th best or as good, it is just to point out that the concept of cumulatives wins and losses for opponents can be enormously misleading.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 24th, 2012
1:14 pm

@Walker Fan: I’ll let you in on a very poorly-kept secret … the staff at Class A Blog headquarters consists of one person — me. And so it was ME who forced ME to add Walker, for the reason that I noted (undefeated at this late juncture in the season is nothing to belittle).

That said, while I agree that using the Transitive Property in sports can be tricky, it’s all we have to utilize until teams play each other. And while I admit that Prince Avenue has fattened up on some weak teams as well, let’s look at the lone win each of you has over an opponent with a winning record:

PAC beat Savannah Christian (5-2), 28-12, in a game that I’m told was closer than the score indicates. Also PAC lost in the final minutes to No. 1 and undefeated Athens Academy.

Walker’s quality win is over Mt. Pisgah (4-3), 35-6, a team that is clearly not on the level of either Savannah Christian nor Athens Academy. As for your mention of Our Lady of Mercy (which fell out of the “Trending” list this week), they beat Pisgah 42-14 in a game that was 35-7 at halftime. OLM’s JV played the majority of the second half.

Bottom line: Walker is definitely to be respected and I believe can stay on the field with many of the top 10-type private schools (except for ELCA). But staying on the field with them and beating them, and deserving to be ranked above them, is another story.

Good luck against Whitefield Friday, and thanks again for reading and posting!

PS — OLM destoyed Whitefield last season, 45-0 at Whitefield, and pounded them in a pre-season controlled scrimmage this year. The varsity units had the ball for 12 minutes each (about 25-30 plays). OLM scored 4 TD’s, Whitefield crossed the 50-yard line once (all drives started on the 20) and didn’t score.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

moto

October 24th, 2012
1:23 pm

Speaking of OLM, their best player just committed to Indiana:

Rashard Fant (Fairburn, Ga./Our Lady of Mercy) is hoping to help put a program on the map, just as he has helped his high school emerge as a playoff contender this fall.

The ESPN 150 athlete made the call last night, committing to the Hoosiers.

“I called coach [Brandon] Shelby, he was ecstatic,” Fant said. “It feels great to be 100-percent committed to Indiana. Now I can enjoy the rest of my time in high school and focus on getting ready for college. It felt great knowing I could then tell my parents I am going to have my education paid for, while also doing what I love at the college level. It is something not everyone gets, so I am just blessed and thankful for the opportunity.”

S. Thomas Coleman

October 24th, 2012
3:08 pm

@moto: Yes, Rashard’s a great kid. Great family, too. Congrats to him and to the Fant family! He’s OLM’s first ever BCS conference committ. OL/DL Matt Frank is probably next.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

moto

October 24th, 2012
4:05 pm

I saw Rashard Fant run a kickoff back for a touchdown against Pace. He was so smooth and fast he looked like he could do it on every kick if he wanted to. Of course Pace tried not to kick it to him after that!

S. Thomas Coleman

October 24th, 2012
10:38 pm

@moto: Yes, Rashard is a very gifted athlete. Actually, if he was about 5 inches taller, you wouldn’t see him on the football field. He would be strictly a basketball player, which is the other sport he loves and has offers from a couple of small D-1 programs and a couple of D-2’s. He’ll have a great time going to basketball games during the winter and spring at IU!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Augustafballer

October 25th, 2012
4:32 am

Aquinas is now no longer a contender. During the first half of the Wilco game, Brendan Douglas hand was stepped on and a couple of bones were broken (he still played the whole game). He had surgery and is in a cast from hand to elbow. They will be without their two Division 1 talents, as #1 Garnett is out with a knee. They account for about 90% of the offense and much of the defense. Douglas will be cleared to play before the season ends, but wont be the same player. Aquinas could still win their next two games against weak competition, but most likely won’t be the factor they could have been. Look for them to be a big contender in basketball this year.

Swamp Lizard

October 25th, 2012
7:45 am

@Ausgtafballer … I’m sorry to hear about the bad luck, I know it hurts. All of us want our teams coming into the playoffs healthy …. wish the players & coaches well the rest of the way & a speedy recovery for Douglas.

Swamp Lizard

October 25th, 2012
7:54 am

@ OLM Fans …. Congrats to Rashard Fant …. win these last two games and make that playoff run!

Swamp Lizard

October 25th, 2012
7:59 am

@ Friends & Foes …. Big games on tap this weekend !! I’ll check in with y’all on Sunday night …. headed to Jacksonville this morning, preparing for the Florida / Georgia game! ;) Good luck to all your teams and wish players & coaches the best.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 25th, 2012
8:53 am

@Augustafballer: That is awful news! Thanks so much for the update. If you have a way of getting in touch with Coach LaZotte and/or with Brendan, please ask them to contact me. I’ve left a couple of messages for Coach LaZotte but haven’t heard back.

Thanks for reading and posting, and for being one of the loyal Class A Blog supporters!!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

October 25th, 2012
8:55 am

@ Swamp: Drive carefully! I hear the hurricane in the Caribbean could impact the weather in Florida.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

jocotrojan

October 25th, 2012
9:04 pm

@walker fan…. they hatin on us too because our schedule is weak… just do yalls thing and take a deaf ear to all this nonsense!!!

athens

October 29th, 2012
4:13 pm

Just looked at the power rankings formulas on GAPREP. Athens Christian got 11.25 points for beating Hebron….then they got 12.75 points for getting destroyed by North Oconee 44-0!! Athens Christian is 4-4 and still may make it to the state tournament based on this wacky formula. Are you telling me that a team can actually be rewarded more for getting demolished than for winning???? This is the dumbest thing Ive ever heard of in my life!