By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Here’s a sampling of what went down Friday night:
ELCA defends Georgia championship pride. After defending Class AAAAAA champ Norcross got embarrassed last weekend by Booker T. Washington of Miami and Sandy Creek, last season’s undefeated Class AAAA champs, escaped with a tie Thursday against Plant of Tampa, somebody had to step up and represent Georgia’s finest. Defending Class A private school champion Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy answered the call with a 27-7 win over traditional Alabama private school power Briarwood Christian of Birmingham. The Chargers, ranked No. 1, were led by senior quarterback Dalton Etheridge who ran for three touchdowns and threw for another.
Strong debut for George Walton. One team looking to challenge ELCA for Class A supremacy is George Walton Academy, which fell to the Chargers in the private school semi-finals last season. GWA made an early statement Friday with a 36-10 thumping of First Presbyterian Day School of Macon, which advanced to the state quarterfinals last season. The Bulldogs were paced by Kentucky commit Stanley Williams, who rushed for 232 yards and touchdowns of 63 and 26 yards.
Landmark still rolling. The mark of a good program is when it continues to succeed in spite of change. Last season, coming off of a run to the 2011 state title game, Landmark went 9-4 and advanced to the semi-finals even though longtime head coach Kenny Dallas left. This season, without all-state running back Jeremiah Kirkland (transferred to Lovejoy) the War Eagles are still 2-0, after downing Athens Christian 26-7 behind the running of senior Darius Smith (122 yards rushing, two touchdowns) and passing of sophomore quarterback Stockton McGuire (5-of-7 passing, 71 yards, touchdown run).
Rough start for Dooly County. The 2012 Class A public school runners-up, ranked No. 3, were knocked off by Class AA Macon County 34-18. Dooly won last year’s game 21-20.
Johnson County makes statement. The folks in Wrightsville believe they have a title contending team at Johnson County. The Trojans bolstered that belief with a 40-0 whitewashing of Jenkins County in a game that took place on Thursday. JoCo rolled up 365 yards of offense and held Jenkins County to just 72. The Trogans were paced by quarterback Michael Taylor who racked up 92 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown, and was 12-of-17 passing for 111 yards and two scores. JoCo was headed for the playoffs last season before a 22-18 loss in the season finale to Jenkins County made the Trojans fall just four-hundreths of a point short of the No. 16 spot in the public school power rankings. JoCo had defeated Jenkins County, 14-0, in the season opener last year.
Now it’s your turn. Express your thoughts on what you saw/heard Friday. Until Tuesday …