GAC, Cedar Grove, Peach Co. and Calhoun continue their rise to the top in AAA

With Week 2 of the high school football season in the books, the best programs in Class AAA continue to make a case for supremacy. The rankings might face a bit of a shakeup after losses by a few of the teams, but for the second consecutive season, the top programs seem to be back in form. Here’s how things developed Friday:

— No. 1 Peach County (1-0) defeated Class AAAAAA Houston County 44-14 at Freedom Field in Warner Robins. The Trojans took little time to pull ahead, and with :57 left in the first half, Peach’s Kearis Jackson (Georgia commitment) returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown to give Peach a 30-7 lead at the half.

In typical fashion, Peach coach Chad Campbell was not impressed with his team, and double-digit penalties added to his frustrations.

“God almighty,” he told the AJC’s Mike Lough. “It was kinda bad. Not a lot of good. We acted like we were in a fog. We gave up too, too, too many penalty yards. They’ve got to take practice a little more seriously. Our mind is not where it needs to be.”

The Trojans face Warner Robins Friday.

— No. 2 Greater Atlanta Christian (2-0) defeated No. 6 Westminster 41-7 at the Spartan Sports Complex in Norcross. It marks the second loss in a row for the Wildcats after falling to Class AAAA No. 2 Blessed Trinity last week. The Spartans relied on a stifling defense, which held Westminster to 218 total yards of offense.

“That was just a complete game by our defense,” Hardy told the AJC’s David Mitchell. “The defense is our story tonight.”

The Spartans took advantage in the second half, adding touchdowns by Kyler McMichael on a 4-yard run, Alex Boglin on an 11-yard run, Jonathan Moore on a 37-yard pass from Jackson Hardy and Zach Dixon on a 60-yard interception return. GAC hosts Valor Christian (Colo.) Friday. Westminster travels to Woodward.

— No. 3 Cedar Grove (2-0) came away with a 37-7 victory against Southwest DeKalb. The defending Class AAA state champions went ahead first on 16-yard touchdown by Darrell Neal. The Saints added another touchdown at 4:32 left in the half on a 5-yard run by Xavier Dennis. With just a minute before halftime, Jadon Haselwood scored on a 16-yard pass from Dennis. Israel Spivey’s 55-yard run set up a 4-yard Dennis rushing touchdown in the third quarter. In the fourth, Dennis found Haselwood again to put the game out of reach.

The Saints, who are off next week, face Columbia on Sept. 8

— No. 4 Calhoun had little trouble in its North Georgia rivalry game against Dalton. The Yellow Jackets set the tone early on a 21-yard pass from Gavin Gray to Brannon Spector. Elmer Gutierrez kicked a 28-yard field goal to take a 10- lead at half. In the third, Gray found Davis Allen on a 57-yard pass, which set up a 1-yard run by Zack Fuller. Luke Moseley tacked on the final score on an 8-yard reception from Gray.

Calhoun faces Class AAAA Cartersville next week.

— No. 5 Crisp County defeated Americus-Sumter 20-12 to move to 2-0. The Cougars have faced Americus-Sumter 10 times since 2006, only missing 2014 and 2015, and hold a 7-3 lead in the series.

The Cougars face Turner County Friday.

— No. 7 Liberty County (0-1) might slide down the rankings after falling 22-7 to Bradwell Institute. The Panthers, who graduated the dynamic Richard LeCounte (UGA) last season, had not lost to Bradwell since Aug. 20, 2004, a five-game winning streak. Last season, Liberty defeated Bradwell 53-13.

The Panthers face Statesboro Friday.

— No. 8 Pace Academy (0-1) fell to West Forsyth 21-14 in a game that coach Chris Slade said got away.

“They said last year they let us off the hook,” Slade told the AJC’s Seth Coleman. “This year, we let them off the hook.”

Pace won last season’s inaugural meeting between the teams, 20-10, in a game that was shortened by weather.

Slade had interesting thoughts on the possibility of a future game.

“Listen, I don’t care about them being AAAAAAA and us being AAA or whatever,” Slade said. “We expected to win this game, and we should have won this game. I bet they won’t schedule us again next year.”

Pace faces Class AAAA No. 3 Thomson Friday.

— No. 9 Lovett (0-2) fell to Class AAAA No. 7 Marist 31-14 after winning 29-28 in double-overtime last season. The two programs have played every season since 2012, with Marist holding a 4-2 margin.

Lovett faces B.E.S.T. Academy Friday.

— No. 10 Dawson County (1-0) handled Forsyth Central 9-0 in its opener. The Tigers face Chattooga on Friday.


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