Class A Blog: Aquinas exorcises Red Devils; Region 6 showing strength; St. Anne-Pacelli’s streak ends, Marion County’s continues; What’s wrong with Savannah Christian?

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here’s what we learned Friday night in Week 7 of the season:

The wheels have come off of the wagon at Savannah Christian. Once again the biggest shocker of the night involves Savannah Christian, and again the news is not good. The Raiders (2-3-1, 0-2) dropped their third straight game, this one in humiliating fashion, 37-0, at rival Calvary Day (4-2, 2-0). Savannah Christian, the 2011 state champion, is known for having a stingy, physical defense, and showed flashes of it earlier this season when the Raiders stymied Prince Avenue Christian’s vaunted wing-T attack in a 17-9 win over the Wolverines – their only loss this season. But that was a month ago. Friday, the Cavaliers scored all 37 points in the first half, taking advantage of three turnovers by the Raiders, who mustered just 20 yards of offense all night, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Aquinas ends 41-year skid vs. Lincoln County with authority. No. 2 Aquinas had lost 32 straight games in its series with Lincoln County, with the last victory coming in 1972, 45-0. Friday night the Irish ended the losing streak with another blowout, 42-14 over the Red Devils. Aquinas (6-0, 3-0) jumped on top 20-14 late in the second quarter, and stayed unbeaten with 21-unanswered points in the second half in Lincolnton.

Prince Avenue and Commerce both make statements. No. 7 Prince Avenue Christian moved to 6-1, 3-0 in rugged Region 8, with a 28-14 win at Commerce (4-3, 2-1). The Wolverines, last year’s private school runners-up, used big plays by standout junior RB Zantravious Shields – who scored touchdowns on an 85-yard punt return, an 85-yard kickoff return and a 71-yard run from scrimmage – to re-establish themselves as state title contenders. Commerce showed that it will be a tough out once the public school playoffs begin.

St. Anne-Pacelli’s streak ends, Marion County’s continues. Marion County (6-0, 3-0) prevailed in a battle of unbeaten teams at the top of Region 4, with a 28-14 win at home over the Vikings, who entered the game 5-0 for the first time since 2007. Lorenzo Smothers did most of the damage for the Eagles with a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the third quarter and a 53-yard run early in the fourth to put Marion County up 21-7, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Clinch County, Charlton County getting back to normal. Last season was a nightmare for Clinch County. The Panthers went 4-6, their worst record since 1985, and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1994. But things are getting back to normal in Homerville. Clinch County (3-3, 2-0) went on the road and outlasted previously unbeaten No. 5 Irwin County (4-1-1, 1-1) 30-24, Friday night. The Panthers sit atop Region 2 with Charlton County (5-2, 3-0), another proud program getting back on track after a rough 2012 season. Charlton County won its third straight Friday, 38-8 over Lanier County (1-2, 2-5).

Top teams in Region 6 keep winning. The top three teams in subdivided Region 6, Darlington in Division A, and Mt. Pisgah Christian and Mt. Paran Christian in Division B, have a combined overall record of 16-2 and 6-0 in the region after all three won Friday night. Darlington (5-1, 2-0) had to battle back and score in the game’s final minutes to defeat upstart Christian Heritage (5-2, 2-1) of Dalton, 18-14. Mt. Pisgah (6-0, 2-0) held off King’s Ridge Christian (1-2, 2-4), 14-7, and Mt. Paran (5-1, 2-0) fell behind 9-0 but scored 28 unanswered points to defeat Whitefield Academy (2-4, 0-3), 28-17.

13 comments Add your comment

Single A Fan

October 12th, 2013
6:26 am

Looks like its shaping up to be a great post season coming up. Calvary is playing well along with Aquinus thats on a roll with a huge win in Lincolnton! Darlington looks strong too. Last years runner up Prince Ave looks very strong with that speedy running back. What about OLM! At 2-4 could they make the post season if they win the rest of their games? They would have to beat ELCA first. Its the greatest test for their program. Landmark’s gotta play Pace, HIES, and ELCA to finish their season undefeated…a tall order! ELCA’s got OLM, Pace, and Landmark all worthy opponents away from home. If OLM can somehow muster wins against ELCA and Darlington then it is really on. What great opportunities for all of these teams. Who will be the last two standing week 14??? Go single A!


October 12th, 2013
7:37 am

Was at the Aquinas / Lincoln game last night. Incredible atmosphere. Aquinas has the best student body in the state! Those kids were raucous the entire game and got there about an hour before kick off. Ran into a Lincoln fan at gas station an hour after game and he said, I’ve never seen students party in our stadium like that before. Ruben Garnett is a beast, he had a phenomenal game!


October 12th, 2013
11:01 am

Aquinas Junior RB Ruben Garnett put in a Class A player of the year performance last night at Lincoln County. Per the Augusta Chronicle, he had 284 yds rushing (the TV broadcast said 298 yds rushing), 4 receptions for 47 yds, 4 TDs, and 1 interception. He doesn’t have the big gaudy stats this year because he sat out at least the 2nd half of 3 blowout games. Lincoln County coach Larry Campbell was quoted in the Chronicle that Garnett is the best player in the area hands down, all classifications.

Tiger Patpaw

October 12th, 2013
6:37 pm

GHSA Class A football is alive and well, including Region 6.

Dalton’s Christian Heritage competed with running game grit, aggressive defense and sideline passing precision.

At the half and into the 4th quarter it looked like the Lions had the measure of Darlington, especially after a missed field goal that would have tied the score at 14.

But the Tigers snatched triumph from the jaws of defeat with a similarly gritty version of defense and character when a well defensed sweep right with 38 seconds left, produced the winning touchdown.

After a 33 yard pass completion from Senior Logan Rice to Senior Jeremiah McClure and two bruising runs by Senior Chas Williams to the 7 yard line, Junior Trey Edge stepped through two blocked defenders at the 6 yard line and dove to the end zone on 3rd and goal for the game winning score.

Puzzled Prince

October 13th, 2013
6:32 pm

I believe one of the long returns for touchdown for Prince Avenue was scored by Kevon Hudson, instead of both by Zantravious Shields. It was a very close game without those two plays on special teams.

In addition, I would like to congratulate Commerce on providing an excellent environment for High School Football.


October 13th, 2013
7:43 pm

@ Puzzled – you are correct on the kickoff return. The stadium announcer gave credit to #8 Shields and not #9 Hudson, but it was Hudson on the kickoff return and Shields on the punt return. You are correct that w/o those 2 plays that game would have been really tight.


October 13th, 2013
7:45 pm

@ STC – I am confused about the SCPS outcomes as well because they had a really good defense when they faced Prince earlier in the season. Granted Prince played that game w/o 3 starters, but SCPS was in the Prince backfield all night. I’m sure Coach Chumley will right the ship down there.


October 13th, 2013
8:17 pm

@bucket, at the time PACS played SCPS, they had not faced any significant resistance to their offensive scheme. Maybe it took a wake-up call in Savannah for the new Coach to see that giving the ball to #8 every 2 or 3 plays is not going to work against a well-prepared D? PACS appears to be much improved since then-they have a very good chance to make it to the semifinals or the Dome, imo.


October 14th, 2013
8:56 am

@ nourstuff – I am positive that your comment is spot on as it relates to that game being the first significant test for Prince. However, that still doesn’t explain Friday’s results for SCPS and them giving up 37 points in the 1st half and only having 20 yards of offense.

As far as Prince’s chances moving forward I agree that they could be one of several teams fighting for a spot in the Dome. The next few weeks will reveal if I am correct, but I still think ELCA is head and shoulders above everyone else on the private side.

Swamp Lizard

October 14th, 2013
9:28 am

Class A

1. (1) Eagle’s Landing Christian (5-0)

2. (2) Aquinas (6-0)

3. (3) Seminole County (6-0)

4. (4) Landmark Christian (7-0)

5. (6) Johnson County (6-0)

6. (7) Prince Avenue Christian (6-1)

7. (8) Marion County (6-0)

8. (10) Emanuel County Institute (5-2)

9. (NR) Mount Paran Christian (5-1)

10. (NR) Clinch County (3-3)

S. Thomas Coleman

October 14th, 2013
3:00 pm


Thanks for the correction. The post has been updated.

And I have no doubt that Coach Chumley will get things fixed with the defense.



October 16th, 2013
7:30 pm

I saw that Pace @ Landmark was voted Game of the week on 11Alive. Landmark has been rolling and it is homecoming too. Pace had 2 tough losses but bounced back and obviously is dangerous. Landmark a big, physical, disciplined team vs a scrappy, explosive, exciting team in Pace. What do yall think about this one?


October 18th, 2013
7:33 am

I saw that Pace @ Landmark was voted Game of the week on 11Alive. Landmark has been rolling and it is homecoming too. Pace had 2 tough losses but bounced back and obviously is dangerous. Landmark a big, physical, disciplined team vs a scrappy, explosive, exciting team in Pace. What do yall think about this one?