By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Remember last week when it looked like all the parity was on the private school side? That theory went out the window in the quarterfinal round as all four games were won by at least two touchdowns, and both previously undefeated teams were thumped soundly.
On the public school side, two of the games were decided by 14 points or more.
And it looks like Regions 5 and 8 have lived up to their billing as the two best in Class A. Region 5 teams, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy and Landmark Christian, went 2-0 on Friday while Region 8 teams – Athens Academy, George Walton Academy and Prince Avenue Christian – were 2-1. Here’s a look at the region records after two rounds:
Region 1: 1-2
Region 2: 2-3
Region 3: 3-2
Region 4: 3-3
Region 5: 4-2
Region 6: 2-5
Region 7: 4-4
Region 8: 5-3
Undefeated no more
The dream seasons ended for No. 1 Athens Academy and No. 3 Walker. In Athens, No. 9 Prince Avenue Christian (10-2) avenged a regular season loss to the Spartans (11-1) by turning up the defensive intensity in a 24-7 win. The Wolverine defense held Athens Academy to just 24 yards rushing and forced three turnovers in a game PAC dominated from the outset. The Wolverines will host Landmark Christian in next week’s private school semi finals.
In Marietta, Walker (11-1) was drilled by No. 11 George Walton Academy (9-3), 37-7, as Stanley “Boom” Williams ran for 225 yards on 18 carries, including touchdown runs of 60 and 65 yards. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs held Walker’s Evan Kasian, the leading rusher in Class A, to 99 yards on 17 carries, with most of it coming later in the game against GWA reserves. In the first half, Kasian had 21 yards on 10 carries. Still, the senior made a strong case for being named Class A Offensive Player of the Year by finishing the season with 2, 081 yards, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. GWA will travel to McDonough to face No. 2 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in next week’s private semi finals.
ELCA still rolling
They say you have to beat the man to be the man. No. 2 ELCA (11-1) trounced the man on Friday. The Chargers knocked off defending Class A champion No. 7 Savannah Christian 42-7. Junior quarterback Dalton Etheridge led the way with 251 yards of total offense, which included completing 15-of-20 passes for 177 yards and two touchdown passes — one to Davis Carrandi and one to DJ Curl.
Defensively, ELCA held the Raiders (8-4) to less than 100 yards, as the Chargers forced two turnovers including an interception by Curl.
What is even scarier is that ELCA was without All State linebacker/running back and Purdue commit Keyante Green, who sat most of the game due to a leg injury he suffered in last week’s win over Our Lady of Mercy. Filling the void with stellar play was running back Lane Timpson (56 yards on nine carries and a touchdown) and linebacker Alex Jerreat. The Chargers will host George Walton Academy in next week’s semi finals.
Grace, Howard propel Wilcox
Simply put, Wilcox County (10-2) quarterback Mikail Grace and receiver Johnathan Howard are the best 1-2 tandem in Georgia high school football. Period. End of story.
Grace completed 27-of-33 passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns, and still found time to run for 129 yards and a score, while Howard caught 12 passes for 140 yards as the Patriots downed No. 7 Marion County (9-3), 39-21. Wilcox led 14-0 early and 26-7 by halftime. It was win No. 100 for Wilcox head coach Mark Ledford. The Patriots will host No. 3 Emanuel County Institute in next week’s public semi finals.
Landmark won’t go away
Last season, No. 12 Landmark (9-3) won five consecutive road games to advance to the Class A final. This season the War Eagles earned a home game in the second round and made the most of it, pulling away from No. 13 First Presbyterian Day (7-5), 38-24.
Junior running back Jeremiah Kirkland did most of the damage, rushing for 214 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns. Kirkland gained 142 yards in the second half as he helped Landmark increase a 14-7 halftime lead to 38-17 at the end of the third quarter. Landmark will get back on the road next week to Bogart, to face Prince Avenue Christian in the semi finals.
Lincoln still alive and well
While the top seeded private school went down, No. 1 on the public side, Lincoln County, remains in the hunt for a title.
The Red Devils (11-1) edged Region 7 foe No. 9 Wilkinson County (8-4), 28-22, to advance to the public school semi finals. With the score tied at 14, Lincoln’s Jamar Norman returned a punt 37 yards for a touchdown to give the Red Devils a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Lincoln offensive line, which paved the way for more than 300 yards of offense, took over in the game’s final 5 minutes, helping running back Mike McIntire, who finished with 139 yards rushing and two touchdowns, run out to clock and keep Warrior senior quarterback David Whipple and his offense off of the field. Whipple finished with 237 yards passing. Lincoln will host No. 5 Dooly County in next week’s semi finals.
ECI feels good
Emanuel County Institute running back James Brown scored on an 80-yard touchdown in the third quarter to help the No. 3 Bulldogs (11-1) pull away from No. 11 Trion (9-3), 27-10. Brown finished with 179 yards rushing. ECI will travel to Rochelle to face Wilcox in one public semi final.
Dooly moves on
AJ Smith helped No. 5 Dooly County (10-2) erase a two-touchdown deficit and advance to the semi finals with a 34-28 win over No. 4 Seminole County (9-3). Smith finished with 255 yards passing and four touchdowns, including a 24-yarder to Kris Lundy early in fourth quarter to provide the margin of victory for the Bobcats, who will now travel to Lincolnton to face Lincoln County in the semi finals.