Class A Blog: New Divided Top 5; Power Rankings; Coachspeak with Mt. Pisgah’s Mike Forester

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here’s the AJC.com Class A Blog Divided Top 5 after Week 7 of the season (overall AJC/Georgia High School Football Daily ranking in parenthesis). As everyone has played at least five games, here is the link to the GHSA/MaxPreps Power Ranking site: http://www.ghsa.net/2013-ghsa-power-ratings-class-a-football. We provide a list of the top 16 teams, public and private, below as well.

This week’s “Coackspeak” features Mt. Pisgah Christian’s Mike Forester, whose Patriots are 5-0.

PUBLIC

1. Seminole County (3) (5-0, 1-0). Seminole County stayed unblemished this season with a 48-8 win over Terrell County (1-1, 3-3) in its Region 1 opener on Friday. Seminole County will visit winless Stewart County (0-5 0-2) in Lumpkin on Friday.

2. Irwin County (5) (4-0-1, 1-0). Irwin County won its Region 2 opener last week, 49-19 over Telfair County (3-3, 0-2). Irwin will face a big test on Friday when Clinch County (2-3, 1-0) visits Ocilla.

3. Johnson County (6) (5-0). The Trojans took last week off and will kick off their Region 3-Division B schedule Friday against Montgomery County (1-5, 0-1) in Wrightsville.

4. Marion County (8) (5-0, 2-0). The Eagles knocked off winless Schley County last week, 21-6. Undefeated St. Anne-Pacelli (5-0, 2-0) comes to Buena Vista on Friday for one of the top games of the weekend.

5. Emanuel County Institute (10) (4-2, 1-0). ECI dominated Wheeler County (1-4, 0-1) 69-27 last week. The Bulldogs will travel to Soperton on Friday to take on Treutlen (3-2, 2-0) for the early lead in Region 3-Division B.

Another half dozen to watch: Charlton County (4-2, 2-0), Clinch County (2-3, 1-0), Commerce (4-2, 2-0), Dooly County (3-2, 2-0), No. 9 Lincoln County (3-1, 2-0), Mitchell County (3-3, 2-0)

POWER RANKINGS (Top 16 only)

1. Seminole County

2. Irwin County

3. Charlton County

4. Marion County

5. Johnson County

6. Commerce

7. Dooly County

8. Clinch County

9. Emanuel County Institute

9. Hancock Central

11. Gordon Lee

11. Trion

13. Hawkinsville

14. Claxton

15. Turner County

16. Lincoln County

PRIVATE

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (1) (4-0, 1-0). The Chargers too the week off and resume their Region 5 schedule Friday at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian (1-5, 0-2).

2. Aquinas (2) (5-0, 1-0). The Irish blanked Hancock Central (3-2, 1-1) 24-0 last week. In perhaps the top game of the weekend, Aquinas will travel to Lincolnton to take on No. 9 Lincoln County (3-1, 2-0).

3. Prince Avenue Christian (7) (5-1, 2-0). The Wolverines dominated Athens Academy (3-2, 1-1) 41-7 last week. PAC will vusit Commerce (4-2, 2-0) on Friday in an early battle for first place in Region 8.

4. Landmark Christian (4) (6-0, 2-0). The War Eagles rallied to knock off Our Lady of Mercy (1-4, 1-1) 17-13 last week. Landmark will travel down to Locust Grove to face Strong Rock (2-3, 0-1) on Friday.

5. Mt. Paran Christian (NR) (4-1, 1-0). The Eagles  dominated King’s Ridge (2-3, 1-1) last week and will continue Region 6-Division B play this week in Mableton at Whitefield Academy (2-3, 0-2).

Another half dozen to watch: Christian Heritage (5-1, 2-0), Darlington (4-1, 1-0), George Walton Academy (4-2, 1-1), Mt. Pisgah Christian (5-0, 1-0), St. Anne-Pacelli (5-0, 1-0), Savannah Christian (2-2-1, 0-1).

POWER RANKINGS (Top 16 only)

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy

2. Darlington

3. Landmark Christian

4. Mt. Pisgah

5. Aquinas

6. Christian Heritage

7. Mt. Paran

8. Calvary Day

9. Savannah Christian

10. Fellowship Christian

11. St. Anne-Pacelli

12. Whitefield Academy

13. George Walton Academy

14. Prince Avenue Christian

15. Pace Academy

16. Holy Innocents

Coachspeak: Mt. Pisgah’s Mike Forester

The seeds of Mt. Pisgah’s 5-0 start to this season were planted at the end of last season when they snuck into the private school playoffs with the No. 16 seed, and then traveled to Athens and gave No. 1-seeded Athens Academy all it could handle, before succumbing 17-13.

“That gave our kids a taste of what it feels like to play in the big time and it motivated them over the summer,” says Mt. Pisgah head coach Mike Forester, in his first season as head coach after serving as the Patriot’s defense coordinator. “It created a hunger in our kids. That game is a big reason for where we are today.”

Mt. Pisgah is 5-0 for the first time since the Alpharetta-based school joined the Georgia High School Association in 2006. The Patriots have done it in a variety of ways, the mark of a good team. They’ve blasted lesser opponents like Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, 48-14 in the season opener, and found a way to win games in crunch time, as they did when the climbed out of a 16-0 halftime hole and beat Our Lady of Mercy, 17-16 on a 21-yard field goal by Chase Clark with no time left on the clock.

Last week, the Patriots dominated defending Region 6 champion Walker 47-0. Last season, Mt. Pisgah lost to the Wolverines 35-6.

Along with the boost of confidence that came with the near-win in the playoffs, Forester said his coaching staff has played a key role in the team’s success, namely his coordinators Benny Crane and Caleb Perry.

“A lot of the credit has to go to those guys,” Forester said. “Coach Crane has come in a done a great job of simplifying things for our kids defensively and getting them prepared to play every week.

“Coach Perry came in last year and brought this offense and the kids have taken to it,” Forester said of the shotgun spread the Patriots employ. “Our kids are familiar with it and things are clicking for them.”

Pulling the trigger on offense is junior quarterback Aaron Winchester (6-foot-3, 175), who Forester said had his best game of the season last week against Walker when he completed 10 of 13 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

“He really worked hard over the summer, put on about 15 pounds,” Forester said. “He’s really comfortable with our offense. He knows where everyone is supposed to be. He’s not that vocal leader. He’s more of the kind who will go out and show you with his play that you better follow his lead.

Defensively, the Patriots are giving up less than 10 points per game. Leading the charge are DL Shinggi Chigwere (6-2, 260) and LB Nick Piccapietra (6-0, 205), both juniors, and senior FS Jacob Delk (6-2, 180).

Forester said his team needs to continue to strive for perfect execution on offense, while continuing to fine tune techniques on defense. What possibly lies ahead is a showdown with Mt. Paran Christian on Oct. 25 in Kennesaw, and a possible region championship game, most likely against Darlington.

But Forester said he and his staff are stressing the one-game-at-a-time philosophy.

“That’s our mindset as a coaching staff and the kids have been buying into it,” Forester said. “They want to come out, work hard in practice , compete and do well each week.”

What say you, Class A Blog heads? Until Thursday …

15 comments Add your comment

Class a fan

October 8th, 2013
5:37 pm

I read, I don’t comment, but I love to read swamp lizard’s opinions on things… Quite amusing… Haha

dillpickle

October 8th, 2013
5:58 pm

Mount Paran wasn’t off last week. They beat Kings Ridge 45-3.

nourstuff

October 8th, 2013
6:06 pm

PAC/Commerce game is to be played at Commerce (not Bogart), according to GAVSV.

Steve

October 8th, 2013
6:23 pm

Irwin score was 49-19, the Indians had four touchdowns called back because of penalties or it would have been worse.

S. Thomas Coleman

October 8th, 2013
7:30 pm

Class A Fan:

Do a smell a little sarcasm there? I think Swamp’s comments are always well thought out. Very passionate about Class A.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

October 8th, 2013
7:31 pm

Dillpickle:

Thanks for the correction. The blog has been updated.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

October 8th, 2013
7:33 pm

Nourstuf:

The game is listed as being at PAC on GA Prepcountry, but in Commerce everywhere else I checked, so I made the correction. Thanks!

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

October 8th, 2013
7:34 pm

Steve:

The blog has been corrected. Thanks!

STC

JSP

October 8th, 2013
10:22 pm

STC, how do region crossover games work? A couple years ago when it was about where you finished in your region, it was 1V1, 2V3, and 2V3 to determine the 4 playoff spots, with the winner of the 1V1 game representing the number 1 spot for the region. Last year confused me. Especially because Walker and Darlington didn’t play to determine who won Region 6. Is it because they don’t want the two top dogs knocking their overall ranking back? How do they determine who plays who?

S. Thomas Coleman

October 9th, 2013
12:15 am

JSP:

It’s totally up to the coaches in each region how they determine their champions and playoff teams. I’m not sure what arrangements the coaches in Regions 3 and 6 have made. I’ll try to find out.

STC

Swamp Lizard

October 9th, 2013
11:30 am

Region by Region big game of the week ( being I have a fan club now …. Class A Fan )

Region1 ….. Seminole Co ….. can you say 10-0? Only question here is can they hold the #1 power ranking with weak region schedule.
Region 2 …. Clinch Co at Irwin Co ….. I think Clinch is really good and we could see an upset here.
Region 3 ….. ( 3A ) Sav Christian at Calvary Day …. is Sav Christian a real player this year? ( 3B ) ECI at Treutlen …. I’m on the TCDAWG25 bandwagon …. I think ECI is strong!
Region 4 ….. Marion at St Anne-Pacelli …. both are 5-0 and this could decide who the champ is.
Region 5 ….. Our Lady of Mercy at Holy Innocents ….. can OLM win a big game? Never seen a good team so snake bitten …. they really need this game!
Region 6 …. ( 6A ) Darlinton at Christian Heritage …. this game could decide 6A side
Region 7 …. THE GAME …. Aquinas at Lincoln Co …. we know both are good, but just how good? After Friday night we’ll know.
Region 8 ….. Commerce at Prince Ave ….. is Commerce back? Should be a great game.

LanFan

October 9th, 2013
3:58 pm

So what do you get with your Swamp Fan Club membership package.

Tiger Patpaw

October 9th, 2013
4:58 pm

LanFan

I’ll admit to my speculative membership to the “SFC”. For an aged GHSA Class A rookie like me, perhaps the package includes historical perspective. LanFan, I’m looking for all inputs, including yours, that help me determine where my team stands state-wide. Thanks.

Tiger Patpaw

October 9th, 2013
7:36 pm

STC

Last year Mt. Pisgah, ranked 15th (10.59) in the Power Rankings travelled to Rome to play Darlington, ranked 7th (13.03). This was a 3 vs 2 match-up. If I recall correctly, the “play-in” games were determined by sub-region standings. 1 vs 4, 2 vs 3 and the others. The region championship was determined by the final power ranking, not on the field.

I’d like a true region championship game, but I guess there’s too much at stake in two weeks.

http://www.scoreatl.com/scoreboard/?category_id=7&week_id=1345&classification=region%7C38&week_id=1345&sort=home&search=&filter_states=

LanFan

October 10th, 2013
9:15 am

I was just wonding if there where patches and T-shirts. Or atleast a poster.