The Winnersville Classic turned out to be another classic game between Lowndes and Valdosta. North Gwinnett is now the leader of Region 7-AAAA. And there are now only two teams in AAAAA that have a perfect record. Here are the top five Georgia High School Sports stories for the week.
5. Lowndes strikes again.
The Winnersville Classic between Lowndes and Valdosta was a game that featured a lot of talent of both sides of the ball. In fact, Valdosta was coming into the game with a lot of momentum after traveling to DeKalb County last week to defeat ML King at Hallford Stadium. The Wildcats had the lead going in the fourth quarter, but Lowndes scored 17 points within three minutes to win their eighth straight game against Valdosta by a score of 24-17.
Valdosta quarterback Ryan Whilden threw for 295 yards, but was picked off three times, twice in the fourth quarter. Lowndes defense only gave up six yards rushing despite giving up so many yards in the air. Lowndes WR/CB Kenneth Durden finished the night with one interception and racked up 109 receiving yards and one TD. Lowndes now is in first place in Region 1-AAAAA while Valdosta is tied for second. But don’t worry because four teams from each region make the playoff and Region 1 only has five teams. I think both teams don’t have to worry about reaching the playoffs.
4. North Gwinnett rules the county.
Well, they actually rule Region 7-AAAAA as they took out undefeated Norcross 38-0. It was total domination for the Bulldogs as the limited Norcross to 75 total yards on offense and they were leading 28-0 by halftime. The Bulldogs put up 382 yards of total offense including 52 yards rushing, 81 yards passing and 20 yards receiving from Auburn commit C.J. Uzomah.
This was the first time since 2003 that Norcross has been shut out in a game. They will have to bounce back quickly because they have another region contest Friday night when they take on Peachtree Ridge. North will remain undefeated and No. 2 in the Georgia High School Football Daily Rankings in Class AAAAA. This team is as good as advertised and they should make a deep run in the playoffs.
3. Only two remain
With North Gwinnett defeating Norcross and Stephenson sliding past Newton, they are the only two schools in AAAAA that are undefeated. What does this mean? Nothing really when you think about it, but it could mean the race to the Georgia Dome for AAAAA could be wide open. Camden County is the defending champions, but they are younger and not as experienced as they were last season and in 2008 when they won the titles. Lowndes is another team that could win the title, but don’t have the swagger they did in the past. Both North and Stephenson have talent all over the field, but the question is can they get over the hump and make it to the Dome? All I can say is, it’s going to be a compelling eight weeks of football.
2. Charlton goes down.
One of the better games in the state last week had to be when Charlton County traveled to Rochelle to take on Wilcox County in a battle for Region 2-A. Many thought Charlton was going to roll past Wilcox. But it was the other way around as Wilcox to care of Charlton by a score of 32-12. Wilcox QB Nick Marshall threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns while his counterpart, Chris Milton threw for 127 yards and two interceptions. Both teams are 5-1 for the year, but Clinch County now holds the top spot in Region 2-A, because they are undefeated at 6-0. However, if a three teams are able to keep winning for the next month until Charlton takes on Clinch in the season finale and Charlton defeats Clinch, things would get interesting because it would a three-way tie for the Region championship.
1. Looking to bounce back
One game to watch for this weekend has to be when Peachtree Ridge takes on Norcross in a Region 7-AAAAA contest. The Ridge is coming off a shocking 14-10 loss to Collins Hill while Norcross will look to get back on track after a 38-0 loss to North Gwinnett. Both teams can run the ball effectively and both can play great defense. The winner will keep pace with North Gwinnett for the region lead while to loser will still be in the playoff picture, but the region title will be out of reach. If you want to see the game but can’t make it to Norcross, you can watch the game by going to gpb.org/sports and watch the game live or can watch it on demand.