By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Here’s what went down Friday night in Week 11.
Holy Innocents’ rallies to topple Landmark. In north Atlanta, Holy Innocents (6-4, 4-2) rallied from deficits of 21-7 and 28-21 with just over five minutes left in regulation to stun previously unbeaten No. 6 Landmark Christian (8-1, 4-1), 29-28. Landmark sophomore QB/K Stockton McGuire’s 52-yard field goal fell just a few feet short as time expired, setting off a midfield celebration for Holy Innocents’ players and fans in what Bears’ head coach Ryan Livezey called one of the best games he’s witnessed as a coach or a fan, according to the school’s website. Holy Innocents’ outscored the War Eagles 22-7 down the stretch. Clay Pfhol’s 2-yard touchdown run and Jackson Miller’s subsequent two-point conversion reception from Luke Wright with a little over a minute left provided the winning advantage for the Bears, who all but clinched a spot in the top 16 of the private school power ratings and a berth in the state playoffs. Holy Innocents’ went into the game holding the No. 15 spot, while Landmark was tied with Darlington at No. 2. Pfohl ended with 135 yards rushing on 13 carries, while Wright ran for 53 yards and completed 10-of-13 passes for 189 yards. Connor Dolan (10), Martin Williams (6) and Rod Davis (5) combined for 21 tackles on the night.
Our Lady of Mercy picks up signature win. In what Our Lady of Mercy head coach Mike Earwood called the biggest win in the program’s history to date, the Bobcats (4-5, 3-2) knocked off No. 10 Darlington (7-2, 4-0), 31-28, in Fayetteville. Mercy built a 28-7 lead on the strength of a 40-yard interception return and 12-yard touchdown reception by senior Delfayeo Matthews, an 80-yard touchdown run by junior Jordan Thomas and a 10-yard run by senior Albert Wilson. Junior QB/K Jameson Vest, who had four touch backs on kickoffs, nailed a 45-yard field goal to give the Bobcats a 31-14 lead midway through the third quarter. Defensively, senior Christian Coleman had an interception in the end zone to thwart a Tiger drive, to go with 10 tackles. Seniors Lynix Branch and Chris Hunt each had two sacks, junior Alex Horlack had eight tackles, and senior Darryl Jackson added a sack. The win all but secures a spot in the top 16 of the Class A private school power ratings and a state playoff berth for Mercy for the second consecutive season, a first for the program. The Bobcats’ strength of schedule is one of the best in the state as the combined record of its opponents this season is 56-24. For Darlington, the loss will most likely keep the Tigers behind Mount Pisgah (9-0, 5-0) in the race for the Region 6 title, which will be decided by the power ratings. Prior to Friday, Mt. Pisgah was No. 1 and Darlington was tied at No. 2 with Landmark Christian.
Favorites roll on. While two of the top 10 fell, the others steamrolled their opponents. No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (9-0, 5-0) blitzed Pace Academy (4-5, 1-4), 40-2, in a game most thought would be closer. ELCA can win its fourth consecutive Region 5 title next week with a win at Landmark. No. 2 Aquinas (9-0, 6-0) shook off a slow start to blank Georgia Military (3-6, 3-4), 31-0, behind 175 yards rushing and two touchdowns by Ruben Garnett. No. 8 Mount Pisgah (9-0, 5-0), thanks in part to Darlington’s loss, essentially won its first Region 6 championship by drilling rival Fellowship Christian 50-21. No. 9 Prince Avenue Christian (8-1, 5-0) sprinted to a 35-0 lead and went on a 42-9 romp over Pinecrest Academy (5-3, 3-2) to win the Region 8 championship for the second time in three seasons.
Region 3 title game set. Unlike Region 6, the Region 3 championship will be decided on the field next week. Calvary Day (7-2, 5-0) and No. 4 Johnson County (9-0, 4-0) will face off next Friday on the home field of the team with the highest power rating, after both won impressively on Friday. Calvary Day blanked Portal 30-0, while JoCo dominated Wheeler County 43-7. Prior to Friday, Calvary Day had a power rating of 12.17, good for No. 7 on the private school side, while Johnson County had a 13.28 rating, No. 4 among public schools.