By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
It’s time for the inaugural edition of the AJC.com Class A Blog Divided Top 5. The overall AJC/Georgia High School Football Daily ranking is in parenthesis.
1. Lincoln County (3). Head coach Larry Campbell would disagree, but … After shellacking McCormick of South Carolina in Week 1 (41-0), the Red Devils (1-0) took last week off. Friday they’ll get a huge test at Washington-Wilkes (1-0), No. 9 in Class AA, in the 76th edition of the Highway 378 War. The Tigers won last year’s game 21-6.
2. Wilcox County (5). The post Mikail Grace-Jonathan Howard era got off to a good start for the Patriots (1-0), who defeated rival Wilkinson County, 41-32. Quan Tisdol, who was Howard’s understudy at receiver last season, caught four touchdown passes. Antwan Benjamin, Grace’s replacement at quarterback, was 6-of-12 passing for 176 yards, with the four touchdown passes to Tisdol, and a 22-yard touchdown run. Wilcox will travel to Monroe (0-1) to face the AAAA Tornadoes on Friday.
3. Seminole County (8). The Indians (1-0) defeated Early County 14-13 after trailing 13-0 early in the fourth quarter. Javonta Smith scored on 3-yard run and Danny Rambo caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Alex Fudge. Early County had been ranked No. 9 in AA. Seminole will travel to Ashburn Friday to face Turner County (0-1).
4. Wilkinson County (10). The Warriors out gained Wilcox County 303-242, but turned the ball over three times. Shaq Underwood ran for 142 yards on 17 carries. Wilkinson (0-1) travels to Fairburn on Friday to face Landmark Christian (2-0).
5. Marion County (NR). The Eagles looked strong in a 35-0 drubbing of Terrell County. Johnny Royal ran for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Dustin Eckert threw three touchdown passes. Linebacker Brandon Green led the defensive charge with five tackles in the first half, and Corey Johnson had an interception. Marion County (1-0) will host AA Kendrick (1-0) on Friday in Buena Vista.
Another half dozen to watch: Charlton County (1-0), Clinch County (1-1), Dooly County (0-1), Emanuel County Institute (0-1), Johnson County (1-0), Miller County (1-0).
1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (1). The Chargers (1-0) rode the legs and arm of senior quarterback Dalton Etheridge in a 27-7 win over Alabama private school power Briarwood Christian of Birmingham last Friday. Etheridge ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns, and passed for 75 yards. Lane Timpson ran for 105 yards and Nick Dawson had two sacks. ELCA will travel to Homerville on Friday to face Clinch County (1-1).
2. George Walton Academy (4). The Bulldogs made a major statement last Friday downing First Presbyterian Day School 36-10 in Macon. Preseason all-state RB Stanley Williams had 232 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 22 carries to lead the way. G-Dub will travel to Augusta for a big match up with Aquinas (1-0).
3. Prince Avenue Christian (2). The Wolverines rolled to a 44-20 win over AA Hapeville Charter (0-1) last Friday behind a 158-yard, four-touchdown effort from running back Zantravious Shields. PAC (2-0) will visit Savannah Christian (0-0-1) for a huge early season game on Friday.
4. Aquinas (7). The Irish (1-0) were off last week after drubbing AA East Laurens in Week 1, 52-14. They will get their first test of the post-Brendan Douglas/Matt LaZotte era on Friday when George Walton (1-0) visits Augusta.
5. Landmark Christian (NR). The War Eagles went down 7-0 early at Athens Christian but responded with 26-unanswered points to win going away, 26-7. Landmark (2-0) rushed for 293 yards, 120 by senior RB Darius Smith. Sophomore QB Stockton McGuire and senior RB/DB Nolan Bryant had touchdown runs, while McGuire hit junior WR Sam Dobbs for a touchdown. Freshman DB Lofton Tidwell had a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown, while fellow freshman DB DJ Brown added an interception. Landmark will host Wilkinson County (0-1) on Friday in a big public-private match up.
Another half dozen to watch: Athens Academy (1-0), Brookstone (1-0), Holy Innocents’ (2-0), Mt. Paran (1-0), Pace Academy (1-0), Savannah Christian (0-0-1).
Coachspeak: Seminole County’s Alan Ingram
Lincoln County head coach Larry Campbell has insisted since this spring that Seminole County is the public school team to beat this season. Well, the Indian’s coach begs to differ.
“I wish Larry knew what he was talking about,’’ Ingram told Todd Holcomb of the Georgia High School Football Daily on Sunday. ‘’Larry could’ve been right [several months ago], but I haven’t talked with him in a while.’’
What Ingram will tell Campbell is that all the players that Ingram thought he had coming back aren’t back. Thomas Aiken, who averaged more than 100 yards rushing per game last season as a freshman, is not on the team this season. Seminole also lost two two-way starters to ACL tears in the off-season. Ingram said a couple of other players opted to focus on basketball only this year.
‘’When it comes down to offense, we should’ve had eight or nine back, but we’ve only got four,’’ Ingram said. “On defense, it’s the same thing. We do have several who have quite a bit of experience, but nothing like Larry thinks.’’
Now it’s your turn. What say you, Class A heads? Until Thursday …