Poll Talk: Mount Paran, Etowah join rankings; Lincoln County out for first time since 2005

Mount Paran Christian is ranked for the first time in its history, and Etowah, the only unbeaten but unranked team in Class AAAAAA last week, also made it into the Top 10 of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution high school football rankings.

Mount Paran, which began varsity football in 2008, is 5-1. The Eagles’ loss was against fourth-ranked Landmark Christian. The Eagles are No. 9 in Class A.

Another Class A team, Lincoln County, is out for the first time since 2005, which ironically is the last season that Lincoln won a state championship.  That had been the longest active streak of weeks in the AJC rankings.

Lincoln County lost to Aquinas, an Augusta private school, 42-14. Aquinas, ranked No. 2, had lost 32 straight games to Lincoln County.

In the highest class, Etowah is ranked for the first time since 2010. The Eagles were off last week but defeated previously unbeaten Milton the week before and are 6-0 and leading Region 5.

Two No. 1-ranked teams survived with amazing comebacks.

North Gwinnett, ranked No. 1 in AAAAAA, trailed Mill Creek 47-26 with less than five minutes remaining but scored the final 24 points in 80 seconds. The winning touchdown came with 3:19  left.

In AAAAA, Tucker defeated No. 2 Stephenson 31-28. Both teams had touchdown passes in the final minute, but Tucker’s came with 9 seconds remaining for the win.

Other new teams to the rankings are Peachtree Ridge (AAAAAA), Cedar Grove and Callaway (AAA), Bowdon and Vidalia (AA) and Clinch County (A).  Out are Valdosta and Hillgrove (AAAAAA), Jefferson County and Blessed Trinity (AAA), Fitzgerald and Macon County (AA) and Irwin County (A).

Class AAAAAA

1. (1) North Gwinnett (6-0)

2. (2) McEachern (7-0)

3. (3) Colquitt County (5-1)

4. (4) Lovejoy (6-1)

5. (5) Camden County (6-1)

6. (7) Archer (7-0)

7. (8) Norcross (5-2)

8. (NR) Etowah (6-0)

9. (9) Collins Hill (5-1)

10. (NR) Peachtree Ridge (6-1)

Class AAAAA

1. (1) Tucker (6-0)

2. (3) Northside-Warner Robins (6-0)

3. (4) Kell (7-0)

4. (2) Stephenson (5-1)

5. (5) Gainesville (6-1)

6. (6) Thomas County Central (6-1)

7. (7) Warner Robins (6-0)

8. (8) Creekside (6-0)

9. (9) Ware County (5-1)

10. (10) Lee County (6-0)

Class AAAA

1. (1) Sandy Creek (5-0-1)

2. (2) Carrollton (6-0)

3. (3) Griffin (5-0)

4. (4) Monroe Area (6-0)

5. (5) Statesboro (7-0)

6. (6) Mary Persons (6-0)

7. (7) Cedartown (7-0)

8. (8) Marist (4-2)

9. (9) Burke County (4-2)

10. (10) Wayne County (5-1)

Class AAA

1. (1) Buford (6-0)

2. (2) Cartersville (6-0)

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

4. (4) North Hall (6-0)

5. (5) Carver-Columbus (5-1)

6. (7) Hart County (6-0)

7. (8) St. Pius (5-1)

8. (9) North Oconee (5-1)

9. (NR) Cedar Grove (5-1)

10. (NR) Callaway (5-1)

Class AA

1. (1) Lamar County (6-0)

2. (2) Lovett (5-1)

3. (3) Greater Atlanta Christian (7-0)

4. (4) Washington-Wilkes (7-0)

5. (5) Calhoun (5-1)

6. (6) Benedictine (7-0)

7. (8) Brooks County (6-1)

8. (7) Jefferson (4-2)

9. (NR) Bowdon (7-0)

10. (NR) Vidalia (5-1)

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)

97 comments Add your comment

grady baby

October 13th, 2013
8:52 am

why isnt Grady ranked?

That Dude Says...

October 13th, 2013
9:48 am

@Grady baby… That’s easy. The only team that Grady’s played with a winning record Grady lost to them. The teams Grady have beat so far have a combined record of 5-20.

Sportsnut

October 13th, 2013
10:18 am

Welcome and congratulations to Etowah.

Reeze

October 13th, 2013
11:19 am

I don’t feel that the Jags should fall behind NSWR and Kell in the rankings……Northside hasn’t really played anyone to justify jumping the Jags……..Kell has played a much tougher schedule than Northside thus far , this one carries a little more weight…….But still the Jags should have held the #2 spot……..The game with Tucker was close , seems either team could have won…….The Jags lost with a few ticks left on the clock , a loss by a TD or two , or a commanding Tucker win I would agree……..In a month it won’t matter anyways.

Camden 2013

October 13th, 2013
11:21 am

Etowah is a second tier team and will lose in the first round of the playoffs. Wouldn’t even make top 5 in Region 1.
North Gwinnett is showing some signs of defensive weakness.Watch out, if a team gets a 21 point lead like that on them again, they will slam the door and NG will be beaten.
Still not sold on the Cats. They continue to show some signs, but not enough to sell me. They play sloppy their next game, the upstart Pirates will get um. Step it up CATS!

NGHS 09

October 13th, 2013
11:52 am

@ Camden 2013… Don’t confuse weakness with missed assignments against arguably the best read option/ spread team in the state. If you didn’t watch the entire game then I guess that’s why a lot of yal on here keep using the word “weakness” frequently when referring to NG LOL. Gotta get to the playoffs first and then we’ll all find out who has weaknesses.

Sportsnut

October 13th, 2013
11:58 am

@ Camden 2013 == When are you guy’s in region 1 going to stop acting like no one else in the state knows how to play football? I say you guy’s because no matter what team it is, there is always a poster from region 1 saying they could not compete in your region. Also, it is not like region 1 has not bit the dust in the 1st. round. Region 1 has six(6) first round exits in the last 4 years. You also have 5 (5) second round exits.

I have respect for all the teams in the region but they are not what you want them to be. Sure they beat up on each other but so does other regions. People say it is a fight every night once region play starts in region 1. That is the case everywhere. There are regions where every game is a region game. That, no matter how many good teams, is far tougher than the 6 games you play against one another.

Until you guy’s get a healthy respect for others, you will continue to struggle with the rest of the state. Times change. The landscape changes. You are not what you once were. Being from Camden and just recently joining the region, I allow them some slack because they have not been part of the “They couldn’t compete in Region 1″ battle cry that is their usual.

Etowah earned what they have just like Camden. We will see how region 1 fares with region 3. According to region 1 fans, region 3 should get swept. Not just swept but blown away. After all, they “wouldn’t even make the top 5″.

Sportsnut

October 13th, 2013
12:06 pm

@NGHS09 == I agree with everything you said. Especially the part about getting there. The other is correct to a lesser degree. I would not use the word weakness. I would simply say the way to beat them. It is a mindset. I don’t look at it in the physical sense. I know how to beat them but I will not refer to it as a weakness. It is not that by definition if it has been done before and they won with it.

Kind of like saying no one can beat us. Or, they could not play with us. Maybe, they could not make the top 5 in our region.

It’s a mind thing.

JAB

October 13th, 2013
12:11 pm

This Ranking doesn’t make any sense to me! Todd please explain how you guys come up with Stephenson dropping to #4. Tucker beats Stephenson on a “Hail Mary”, with 23 seconds left, and clealry Srephenson out played them and stopped their high powered defense. According to your rankings Tucker was supposed to beat Stephenson, and it wasn’t a blowout?????????

JAB

October 13th, 2013
12:14 pm

@ Reeze, I’m shaking my head on this one, So if it would have gone the other way around, which it could of with a bad coaching call to squib kick the ball, would AJC have dropped Tucker out of the Rankings?????? ;(

Sportsnut

October 13th, 2013
12:16 pm

@ Jab == I know you asked Todd but I have to remind you that in 11′, we played Tucker in the Dome for the Title and was 3rd in the final poll because they said NSWR was better than us.

Think about it !

Sportsnut

October 13th, 2013
12:18 pm

That was the year the AJC predicted an all Warner Robins Final, NSWR vs Warner Robins, and Lovejoy and Tucker spoiled their dream.

JAB

October 13th, 2013
12:19 pm

That’s okay JAGS, keep your heads up! In 2008 Tucker looses to Marist 38 – 0 and still comes back and beat them in the state championship game, Gainesville looses 2 games last year and wins the State Championship!!

GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS AND REGION 6AAAAA, THE SEC OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL & #1 IN THE STATE…

THE SERIES IS TIED 1 -1

JAB

October 13th, 2013
12:23 pm

In class AA, AJC has Lovett ranked #2 with a 5 – 1 record and they haven’t lost to the #1 ranked team on a thriller, Sorry but I’m still cratching my head…

GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS AND REGION 6AAAAA, THE SEC OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL & #1 IN THE STATE…

THE SERIES IS TIED STEPHENSON/TUCKER 1 -1

WolfPack Nation

October 13th, 2013
12:31 pm

@Jab, reason behind Stephenson dropping is because they have a L. Kell and NSWR are undefeated, Stephenson cannot be ranked higher because of not being undefeated. They are still top 5 so whats the problem? Rankings are just for show in my opinion. They mean nothing come playoff time.

Hey Todd

October 13th, 2013
12:52 pm

5-1 North Cobb beats a top 10 team on the road and they can’t get ranked?

keith walker

October 13th, 2013
1:03 pm

This is to Jab and all Stephenson supporters. That was a game for theages last Friday.
You have nothing to be disappointed but I hope someday you all will give Tucker some credit

Reeze

October 13th, 2013
1:07 pm

If Mays and MLK were to get with the program and play some serious ball , both could really shake things up in Region 6 5A.

Reeze

October 13th, 2013
1:37 pm

@JAB……….There’s not a right or wrong with the AJC’s rankings it’s all opinionated…….it will all play out , don’t sweat it.

itsonlywrite

October 13th, 2013
2:05 pm

@JAB… I wouldn’t get worked up over the rankings man because I still feel like my team should still be in the top 3 b/c we lost to a team that could be easily considered as one of the top 5 teams in the state. But hey, it is what it is. We’ll see how it plays out come playoff time.

#ELEPHANTNATION

Tiger4Life

October 13th, 2013
3:22 pm

@JAB

What game did you see. Tucker forced 6 turnovers. 8 if you count the two blown calls. And if they don’t miss the first one SHS wldnt have scored in the first half. You count the second blown call we have the ball inside Stephensons 20 yard line.
On one drive Stephenson gets aided down the field with 45 yards of bogus personal foul penalties. You guys scored on a hailmarry also.
You can’t be serious think the Jags where the better team.

And we all know Gartell isn’t the best, but he gets kids in college for free. So don’t complain about him now. That’s your guy, have his back or get on the sideline and help out.

WE ARE TUCKER
Run With Us or Run From Us

Tiger4Life

October 13th, 2013
3:27 pm

@JAB

Also how do you explain the great defense that didn’t force not 1 turnover??
Our offense did what they were suppose to do. Not give the Jags a short field. And they did just that, our special teams have the short field a couple times and it cost us. But in the end YOUR defense choked and gave the game away. Even with the clock operator working for you guys, not running the clock giving you two extra plays our guys stood up and made plays.

WE ARE TUCKER
Run With Us or Run From Us

Swamp Lizard

October 13th, 2013
4:12 pm

@ TODD …. not to say I told you so, but I was right about Lincoln Co …. next will be Johnson Co ….. yes, they are 6-0 and ranked #5, but they are very overrated …. their six wins come at the hand of a combined 7-27 record …. even the 14-7 over Sav Christian isn’t impressive now. Are you going to drop them from the Top 10 when ECI gets done with them? I will say that was a good call on Clinch Co at #10 …. they are the best 3-3 football team in Class A! ….. again, I do appreciate your coverage of high school football here in Georgia.

THE TRUTH

October 13th, 2013
4:20 pm

North Cobb has a very bad loss and shouldnt be ranked! If they win this coming Friday they would most likely enter the rankings but lossing to a bad Walton team looks really bad on the resume!

HSFB Follower

October 13th, 2013
5:06 pm

Ranking right on point. @JAB you have ot be kidding me the Stephenson coaching in the final 3 minutes was awful. Fallin’ to No.4 isn’t bad at all. If Tucker wins on a Hail Mary then Stephenson wins on a Hail Mary if the kickoff is decent . Top 5 in 6A still in tact and it should be that way for a while. North Gwinnett showing tough resolve winning football games at all cost.

Suwanee 0wns

October 13th, 2013
5:11 pm

Aw. C’mon Man. Stephenson probably has the best band in the State. That ought to be good for something.

Langston Hughes. You heard it here first.

Thank you, Mr. Holcomb. I know you give serious consideration to these weekly rankings..

@ THE TRUTH

October 13th, 2013
5:36 pm

A bad Walton team? Amazing how a 4-3 team is a bad team. I guess Norcross losing by 50 was a good loss?

TuckerD

October 13th, 2013
5:50 pm

JAB you just have to Deal with it and Get ready Miller Grove

TuckerD

October 13th, 2013
5:57 pm

itsonlywrite-better hope you beat clark central and flowery branch, GVille has not won the region yet.

Son Of Waco

October 13th, 2013
6:02 pm

Hope we meet Carterville or Buford in the playoffs I need them games.. Even NTH will do… Knew no matter how many ranked teams we beat we wouldn’t move up to the #2 spot but its OK…

KELL

October 13th, 2013
6:09 pm

Hey JAB we got a nod over yah hope we see you in the playoffs. Oh by the way, I heard you guys played a good game just couldn’t pull it off in the end.

BcS2010

October 13th, 2013
6:18 pm

@ Tiger4Life…. Great post that was dead accurate tucker won and the refs tried there best to give Stephenson the Game

JAB

October 13th, 2013
6:46 pm

Wait a minute you guys, I’m not worked up or upset but it just doesn’t seem accurate to dropped a 2nd ranked team 2 spots when they loose to the top ranked team by 3 points @ the fact that they lost on a Hail Mary pass. @ Tiger4Life, Stephenson shut your running game down, you didn’t have a rushing Td, special teams and turnover by Stephenson in the 4th qtr. was a bad handoff, the RB didn’t take the handoff, you know as well as everybody else in the stadium how hard Stephenson was hitting and totally shut your running game down!! You won the game on a bad coaching decision & a Hail Mary, My JAGS are focus on Miller Grove, But I just hope we meet again before Stephenson makes it to the dome.

At this point, it doesn’t matter with my JAGS, because they are ready to play against anybody home or away!
BELOW WILL BE APART OF MY POST THE REST OF THE WAY UNTIL STEPHENSON MAKES IT TO THE DOME!!

STEPHENSON JAGS HOLD YOUR HEAD UP! TUCKER LOST TO MARIST 38 – 0 AND BEAT THEM FOR THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP! GAINESVILLE LOST 2 GAMES LAST YEAR AND WON THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP…

AJC HEADLINES IN DECEMBER 14 – 1 STEPHENSON JAGUARS WINS IT’S 1ST STATE CHAMPIONSHIP*****

GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS AND REGION 6AAAAA, THE SEC OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL & #1 IN THE STATE…

THE SERIES IS TIED STEPHENSON/TUCKER 1 -1

montanto

October 13th, 2013
6:57 pm

Careful pointing fingers at Northside might be the best offense in the state. 6-2 228 pound Willie Man Man Jordan is best back Northside has had in hell maybe ever. Glenn Smith the other back Has 800 yards averaging 10 a carry huge O line.

TuckerD

October 13th, 2013
6:59 pm

JAB-I know you trying to motivate the jags with the little saying about the lost we had to Marist and what Gainesville did last year but the reality is Stephenson’s has different coaching styles than Tucker and Gainesvillle and that will make the difference in the playoffs. If you have such a problem with the kicking call that the coaches decided to do then you need to go and confont them about it. That’s your community you should have a stake the football program with all the support you give.

itsonlywrite

October 13th, 2013
7:04 pm

@Suwanee 0wns .. that was cold… lol

@TuckerD … lol thats true. I think we will be ok though. We got Clarke Central next week so we’ll see.

#ELEPHANTNATION

JAB

October 13th, 2013
7:07 pm

@ TuckerDAD, Stephenson has a great kicking game, you saw that as he usually always kick the ball into the endzone, he have kicked several field goals, as well as a 40 + yarder. For the life on me, I can’t understand why coach Gartrell elected to squib kick the ball especially the way the JAGS had been playing defense…

With this, I’m shutting the book on Tucker and opening up a new chapter for Miller Grove****

Hickory Dickory Doc
Miller Grove is next up to face the Roc
your coaches practice you hard & well
but when you met Stephenson down you fell
Hickory Dickory Doc…

GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS AND REGION 6AAAAA, THE SEC OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL & #1 IN THE STATE…

itsonlywrite

October 13th, 2013
7:08 pm

the squib kick at the end was a good call by Stephenson. It just wasnt executed properly and/or the Tucker player made a good play on the ball when it came his way. Its just one of those things you wish you could have back. But it wasn’t a bad call though. If the coach would have called for the kicker to kick it out of bounds and Tucker still won, ppl would have had a problem with that. Stephenson just should have played better defense on the hail mary.

#ELEPHANTNATION

JAB

October 13th, 2013
7:25 pm

@ itsonlywrite, not that was not a good call, don’t know how much you have followed Stephenson this year, but they a monster kicker; i have been following Stephenson since they open in 1996 and have never seen a kicker like the one they have. The guy is a monster of a kicker, he could have kicked it long, It was only 23 seconds left on the clock and the way Stephenson defense had been playing all night, why not kick it long or long and out of bounds & let your defense play ball***

Anyway! I’m trying to move on, actually I’m pulling for Tucker to keep on winning especially when playoff time begins because, I’m confident that my JAGS will take that short trip down I-20 west in December, to play against ? in the Georgia Dome;)

Hickory Dickory Doc
Miller Grove is next up to face the Roc
your coaches practice you hard & well
but when you met Stephenson down you fell
Hickory Dickory Doc…

GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS AND REGION 6AAAAA, THE SEC OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL & #1 IN THE STATE…

JAB

October 13th, 2013
7:27 pm

@ itsonlywrite, sp. it should be “NO! that was not a good call”

itsonlywrite

October 13th, 2013
7:30 pm

@JAB … good point… idk then… if thats the case though, he should have been kicking it out of the end zone all night. But aint no telling though. Oh well… lol

#ELEPHANTNATION

stdno2man

October 13th, 2013
7:32 pm

Jab – while I agree Stephenson could have just as easily won the game and that in my mind they are at least the second best team in the state I think the rankings are fair. I think only dropping to #4 shows the respect Todd has for you all.

itsonlywrite – I can only say I would have kicked it deep. I think the two game changing calls were having the quarterback pass late in the fourth quarter deep in his end of the field and the squib kick. From the very beginning our defensive backs showed they could play Stephenson’s receivers. Even on the last TD pass our defensive back was right there. Conversely Dallas was starting to slightly wear us down. With a lead late in the fourth quarter I’d probably run, punt and play defense. As for the squib kick you could just as easily kick it out of bounds and give it to us on our own 35. In fact the kicker had done this the last two times even while not trying. Please let me say I’m not being critical of the Stephenson’s coaching because that would be unfair. That would be like not recognizing they had their boys ready to play and that because of their coaching they were in position to win it to start with. There is no shame for either team in what happened Friday. I’m hoping we can parlay that in to extra motivation to win another state championship.

That said both teams are great and each has to continue to work and get better.

stdno2man

October 13th, 2013
7:37 pm

JAB – I forgot to add in my opinion the best kicker to come out of Stephenson is the Cylar kid who went to AL A&M. I forget the year but he was the son of the Stephenson PTA president at the time.

Old Bear

October 13th, 2013
7:51 pm

I’m not sure where all this “our region is the best” talk came from. I guess it’s a trickle-down from the SEC braggadocio in the NCAA. Regardless, it has no bearing on the strength of ONE team. For years, Camden County was the only team in their region that had the bona fides when it came to the playoffs and it didn’t keep them from dominating the entire state. During Warner Robins’ temporary hibernation NSWR was the only team in their region that was truly competitive statewide. Several other teams have been the sole bell cow for their regions in years past, and perennially went deep into the playoffs. The idea that a region loaded with “quality” teams will produce the best team in the state just doesn’t hold true. As Sportsnut pointed out, when the AJC (and other polls) believed that the 2011 final would be an all-Warner Robins affair it turned out that neither WR team was in the title game.

Bottom line – teams should be judged for their their performance as a team and not on the basis of their region’s supposed strength. I realize the tendency to do otherwise is natural, but history should have shown by now that using that mindset is a crapshoot. It also produces a certain fallacious (and prejudicial) logic – those who compile the rankings use the argument that certain teams “deserve” a ranking because they have traditionally always been ranked. This, too, is something that college polls are just as guilty of engaging in. Thankfully, high schools have a corrective process in place because of the playoffs. Still, fans of certain high schools would (rightfully) like to see their teams rewarded for their accomplishments over the course of a season, something that is made more difficult by the reluctance of pollsters to “punish” certain mainstays in the rankings after a loss because the perception is that their defeat came at the hands of a stronger team simply because of their regional affiliation.

JAB

October 13th, 2013
8:05 pm

@ stdno2man, I remember him, he was good but I still can argue that point, to me it’s a matter of opinion. All Stephenson player to me are just tough athlete’s (smile) ;)

warhawk

October 13th, 2013
8:20 pm

4 teams from the same Region……so you could say Region 7-AAAAAA….is the toughest in the State

Class A

October 13th, 2013
9:51 pm

Mt. Paran may not even win their region. They are a one dimensional team —running. They have very good players in the backfield. If their opponent can stop their running attach, they will win the game. In Mt. Paran’s last game they completed one pass for 4 yards!!!

THEHILLISREAL

October 13th, 2013
10:43 pm

@Hey Todd Hillgrove not top10 team….. very nice WR and solid LB, the team is so slow and deliberate. I would be surprise if they make out of 1st round.

heisenberg

October 13th, 2013
11:13 pm

@thehillisreal hillgrove was 6th and undefeated when north cobb beat them last week on the road…

57Cat

October 13th, 2013
11:32 pm

@Old Bear at 7:51pm – Well reasoned post. I would add that team strength should be measured on the basis of performance THIS year, not previous years. Comparative Region strengths should be based on performances this year and on the basis of common teams played between the regions being compared. Statistics regarding who went out first, second, etc. last year or the last three years in the playoffs mean nothing about current team/region strength. That’s my very humble opinion.