GHSF Daily’s Chip Saye ranks the most surprising and notable results of Week 9:
1. Houston County 27, Warner Robins 23: Warner Robins’ hopes of being undefeated going into its showdown with rival Northside on Nov. 1 were dashed. Houston County’s playoff hopes got a big boost by beating the Demons for just the third time in the 16-game history of the series. The Warner Robins-Northside winner is still likely to win the 2-AAAAA title.
2. Cherokee 28, Etowah 21: Etowah was 6-0 after a 24-15 victory against previously ranked Milton two weeks ago and had climbed to No. 8 in the Class AAAAAA rankings, but the loss knocked the Eagles into a tie with Walton and Lassiter for first place in 5-AAAAAA. Cherokee (4-3) can make its first playoff trip since 2007 with victories in its final three games.
3. Starr’s Mill 42, McIntosh 27: McIntosh was denied in its first attempt to win seven games for the first time in school history as Starr’s Mill rallied from an early 20-0 deficit in the Region 4-AAAAA Division B game. Starr’s Mill (3-4) has won 11 of 12 games in the series. McIntosh meets eighth-ranked Creekside this week and still has a shot at the subregion title.
4. Sandy Creek 52, Alexander 42: Alexander wasn’t able to pull off the upset, but the Cougars gave top-ranked Sandy Creek quite a scare, leading 42-38 in the fourth quarter. The computer Maxwell Ratings had projected Sandy Creek as a 28-point favorite. Sandy Creek is 8-0 all-time in the series, winning the first seven games by an average of 27.5 points.
5. White County 21, North Hall 7: White County picked up the biggest victory in Bill Ballard’s three-year tenure as coach and moved into a three-way tie with North Hall and West Hall for second place in Region 7-AAA behind Buford. Defending region champion North Hall was 18-1 in the previous 19 meetings with White County, including a 42-7 victory last year.
6. North Cobb 28, McEachern 26: North Cobb, which started the season ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAAA but fell out of the top 10 after an early loss to Walton, beat an undefeated top 10 team for the second consecutive week. North Cobb upset sixth-ranked Hillgrove the week before and is now well-positioned to win its first region championship since 2007.
7. Rome 35, East Paulding 27: Defending 5-AAAAA champion East Paulding’s playoff hopes are fading a bit after a loss to Rome dropped the Raiders into fourth place in the region. East Paulding has games remaining with first-place teams South Paulding and Allatoona and probably needs to win both to reach the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.
8. Elbert County 28, North Oconee 23: North Oconee beat Elbert County in close games the past two seasons in winning region championships, but Elbert County turned the tables and set up a huge matchup with fifth-ranked Hart County this week in a game that could decide the 8-AAA title. Elbert County moved into the rankings at No. 9.
9. Portal 10, Savannah Christian 7: Savannah Christian’s tailspin continues as the Raiders fell to 2-4-1 with their fourth consecutive loss, this one coming against a Portal team it had beaten in all five previous meetings by a combined score of 157-13. Savannah Christian hasn’t lost four games in a regular season since 2005. Portal also is 2-4-1.
10. Groves 33, Windsor Forest 6: Groves, which averaged 4.8 points per game during its 0-6 start, broke a 17-game losing streak with its first victory since 2011. Windsor Forest reached the playoffs in the highest class in 2011 but is just 1-16 since, including 0-7 this year. The Knights’ only victory since 2011 was their 22-0 win against Groves last season.
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