For the third consecutive weekend, two of the top four teams in the classification suffered losses. This time the victims were top-ranked Tucker and No. 3 Harrison, which both lost to top-10 teams from the highest classification.
Tucker led No. 2 Colquitt County 14-7 at halftime, but the Packers scored the first 28 points of the second half to take control with a 35-14 lead. Josh Vann scored on a 21-yard reception late in the fourth quarter to close the gap.
Tucker won 21-20 last year, when Colquitt County started the season 0-4 before bouncing back with victories in its next eight games.
Harrison lost to sixth-ranked North Cobb 45-42. It was the second consecutive loss for the Hoyas, who fell 33-21 to Class AAAAA Rome the previous weekend. Harrison quarterback Justin Fields ran for 205 yards and four touchdowns, but two fumbles early in the third quarter help North Cobb turn a 21-20 halftime lead into a 35-20 advantage. Harrison was never able to climb all the way back into it.
Tucker and Harrison weren’t the only top-10 teams to lose in Week 3.
No. 6 Northgate lost 16-13 to Starr’s Mill, the No. 9 team in Class AAAAA. Northgate had won five of the previous six meetings in the series, including 34-17 last year.
No. 9 Valdosta, the defending state champion, lost at home to Wayne County 23-13 in a game that was moved up to Thursday because of the weather forecast for south Georgia. The Wildcats still had to struggle through rain, plus a brief power outage at the stadium, and fell to 1-2.
No. 7 Lovejoy plays Stockbridge (No. 3 in AAAAA) Saturday night, and a loss would mean half the top 10 fell on the same weekend.
*Still perfect: Only one Class AAAAAA team (Dalton) made it through the regular season undefeated last season, and the numbers are quickly dwindling this year. After just three weeks of the season, only 13 AAAAAA teams have not suffered a loss. Four teams (Coffee, Lee County, River Ridge and Winder-Barrow) are 3-0, and Lovejoy can get there with a win Saturday. The other eight are 2-0. They are Bradwell Institute, Creekview, Douglas County, Dunwoody, Greenbrier, Heritage-Conyers, Hughes and Richmond Hill.
*Now the games count: Region play begins in 5-AAAAAA next weekend, and the league is shaping up to be just as competitive as it was last season, when it was as deep with talented teams as almost any in the state. Seven of the nine teams are .500 or better this year. The headliner for the opening weekend will be the matchup between the league’s two ranked teams, No. 5 Mays at No. 9 Hughes. Mays, Alexander, Northgate and Hughes made the playoffs last year. Fifth-place Douglas County went 6-4 overall but just missed out.
*Encouraging news: It’s not fair to compare scores, but Winder-Barrow had to see Clarke Central’s 42-14 victory over Gainesville as a good sign. That’s the same Clarke Central that lost to Winder-Barrow 35-28 in the season opener. Last year, Gainesville beat Winder-Barrow 30-16, a loss that essentially relegated the Bulldoggs to a fourth-place finish in Region 8-AAAAAA. Winder-Barrow is 5-27-1 all-time against the Red Elephants, with all of the victories and the tie coming in a six-year stretch from 1988 to 1993.