GHSF Daily’s Chip Saye ranks the most surprising and notable games of the weekend:
1. Troup 28, Sandy Creek 20: Troup, which went 1-9 in 2015, proved its hot start was not a fluke when it knocked off a Sandy Creek team that was ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA and came in as a 26-point favorite, according to the computer Maxwell Ratings. Troup (5-1, 2-0) emerged as the top challenger to No. 1 Cartersville for the Region 5-AAAA title.
2. Starr’s Mill 52, Griffin 49: Starr’s Mill went 1-3 in non-region play, but the Panthers (3-3, 2-0) are tied with Riverdale for first place in 3-AAAAA after beating the team that was ranked No. 5 in the class last week. Starr’s Mill, a 17-point underdog, was 10-2 and reached the second round of the playoffs last year but opened 2016 with a difficult schedule.
3. Wheeler County 28, Johnson County 14: Wheeler County, which came in as a 19-point underdog, established itself as the top challenger to Emanuel County Institute in subregion B of Region 3-A. Wheeler County, 3-7 in 2015, is 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the subregion. It was Johnson County’s first subregion loss to a team other than ECI since 2004.
4. Pike County 30, Central (Macon) 20: At 5-0, Central appeared to be the Cinderella team of Region 4-AAA. Now that title falls to Pike County, which came in as a 10-point underdog. Pike County, which improved to 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the region, went 2-8 and 1-9 the past two seasons and has finished with a winning record just once since 2008.
5. Pepperell 28, Model 14: Pepperell was a 15-point underdog when it knocked off the team favored to win the title in Region 7-AA. Now Pepperell (4-1, 3-0) and Rockmart (5-1, 3-0) are the region’s teams to beat. Pepperell has won 20 of the past 22 meetings with Model and leads the series 31-20-3. The Dragons haven’t won a region title since 2006.
Also of note: Banneker, which entered the season with a 21-game losing streak, improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in Region 6-AAAAA with a 49-15 victory over Lithia Springs. Banneker is tied for first place in the region with seventh-ranked Grady. … Bradwell Institute (2-2-1) has a .500 record at the season’s midpoint for the first time since 2009 after a 31-7 victory over a Lakeside (Evans) team that came in as a 15-point favorite. The Tigers begin region play this week against Brunswick. … Cambridge created a three-way tie for first place in 7-AAAAAA when it handed Johns Creek its first region loss, 22-19. Cambridge, seeking its first region title in the program’s five seasons, is tied for the top spot with Johns Creek and Centennial. … Cedartown, which had a record of 5-17 the past two seasons, improved to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in 5-AAAA with a 27-17 victory over six-point favorite LaGrange. It was Cedartown’s first victory in six meetings against LaGrange since 1946. … Mount Zion (Carroll) beat Darlington 25-17 in triple overtime to emerge as the highest-ranked team from a region (6-A) that has had eight teams in the Class A top 10s at some point this season. The Eagles, No. 5 in Class A public, were 15-point underdogs.
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