Prep Zone: High School Sports blog 

AJC updates from the world of high school sports in metro Atlanta and Georgia

AA recap: Playoff pictures clearing with wins by Vidalia, Fitzgerald, Rabun County

  • 1:20 am Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

The game lived up to its billing and Vidalia lived up to its ranking. The No. 2 Indians held off No. 4 Benedictine and took over sole possession of first place in Region 2-AA with a 35-28 win.

Vidalia (7-0, 4-0) entered on a four-game shutout streak and its opportunistic defense played more than a passing role Friday night. The Indians forced three turnovers against one of the state’s most prolific offenses, including two in the second half that helped seal the win.

The first set up one of Devin Johnson’s three touchdowns and put Vidalia ahead, 28-21, late in the third [More]

Two top-10 games highlight AA schedule … First-place teams to meet in Regions 2, 3 and 8

  • 9:00 am Thursday, October 16th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

Here’s a look at some of the top games in AA this week, and what a week it’s shaping up to be …

No. 2 Vidalia (6-0, 3-0) at No. 4 Benedictine (5-1, 3-0)

First place in Region 2-AA is at stake in Class AA’s first game pitting two top-five opponents since Week 1. Benedictine was also involved in that one, a 24-21 loss to top-ranked Greater Atlanta that came down to the waning moments of the fourth quarter. Friday’s date with the Indians could be similarly competitive as the teams appear evenly matched on paper.

Both teams rank in AA’s top three [More]

AA’s top offenses nearly unscathed this season

  • 2:11 pm Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

A couple of weeks ago we looked at the top defenses in the state, pointing out that while teams are scoring more than ever, defenses still tend to make a big difference when the best teams get together.

Everybody’s heard that defense wins championships, but what about the first half of the adage: Offense wins games. There’s no strenuous statistical testing needed to verify that. Just glance at the records of top five scoring offenses in AA this year: a combined 32-1. And that one loss came when only when the No. 4 scoring offense (Greater Atlanta Christian) defeated [More]

AA recap: For first time this season, Top 10 holds serve

  • 2:30 am Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

For the first time this season, the top 10 teams in AA went undefeated on Friday night. It wasn’t the most challenging schedule, with only two top-10 teams going against opponents with winning records, and there were a couple of close calls. Notably, No. 6 Lamar County scraped past Bleckley County 21-19 in the Region 4-AA opener for both teams. The Trojans needed a pair of interception returns for touchdowns to escape with the win. Some highlights here.

Big day for Abernathy

Hours after announcing his commitment to the University of Tennessee — likely to play defensive back — Greater [More]

AA’s top games of the week

  • 8:08 am Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

Their identical 4-1 records and 2-0 marks in Region 2 suggest Friday’s game between No. 4 Benedictine and Jeff Davis will be evenly matched. History, however, says Benedictine is a heavy favorite.

The Cadets have won all four previous meetings between the schools by an average score of 41-2, and the Yellow Jackets haven’t scored against Benedictine since the first game of the series in 2008.

Nonetheless, Jeff Davis is off to its best start since 2007 and has taken significant steps toward breaking a 12-year postseason drought, thanks to a defense that’s yielding only eight points per game, good for third-best [More]

AA blog: Way too early look at the playoff picture

  • 6:00 am Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

In case you haven’t peeked ahead at this week’s schedule yet, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Not much intrigue.

That’s not to say upsets can’t happen or that there aren’t meaningful games, but No. 4 Benedictine (at Jeff Davis) and No. 7 Thomasville (vs. Pelham) are the only top-10 teams facing opponents with winning records.

So, this seemed like a good time to look beyond this Friday at each region’s matchups in the playoffs. With full expectations that more than a couple will be wrong, let’s go ahead and make some predictions based on what we’ve seen so far.

First-round matchups this year [More]

AA roundup: Thomasville tops No. 2 Fitzgerald; top-10 battle in 7-AA lives up to hype

  • 9:03 am Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

Seven weeks into the season, the Class AA top 10 is about to get its fourth No. 2 team after Thomasville knocked off second-ranked Fitzgerald, 22-19, on Friday.

Thomasville started 0-3, playing one of the toughest schedules of any AA team in the state. Now two weeks into Region 1-AA play and riding a three-game winning streak, that slow start is fading into memory.

The Bulldogs (3-3, 2-0) trailed 19-15 at halftime, yielding 226 yards to Fitzgerald in the first half, according to the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. But the Purple Hurricanes didn’t score again, and Thomasville scored the game-winner on a [More]

Region 7 showdown tops on Friday’s AA slate

  • 10:11 am Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 by Brent Holloway

Here’s a look at this week’s top games in Class AA. …

No. 8 Darlington at No. 10 Model

Region 7-AA supremacy is up for grabs Friday night in Rome as a pair of unlikely top-10 teams do battle. Darlington (4-1, 1-0) was a perennial playoff team in Class A and has quickly asserted itself a contender for a region title in its first season in AA. Meanwhile Model (5-0, 1-0) is ranked for the first time since 1980 after shutting out Dade County last week, 24-0.

The Blue Devils’ defense has been complemented by a strong ground game. Nakyle Watkins has rushed [More]

Breaking down AA defenses: Vidalia riding 3-game shutout streak

  • 10:19 am Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

We live in the age of offense. For more reasons than we can get into in this space, teams at all levels of football are scoring more than they ever have before. This is not news.

What, then, of the old adage ingrained in every football fan over the age of 25?

Defense wins championships.

Whether or not that’s still true on a large scale is a subject open to debate and just begging for some sleeves-rolled-up, heavy-duty statistical analysis. Again, this isn’t really the place for that, but on an anecdotal level, we can see defense definitely still matters, especially in big [More]

GAC stays unbeaten … Screven scores crucial win … Big game on deck in 1-AA

  • 5:00 am Saturday, September 27th, 2014 by Brent Holloway

It was circled on the calendar before the season even began. It seems destined to happen. No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian and No. 4 Lovett for the 6-AA title on Oct. 31.

GAC dropped No. 9 B.E.S.T. Academy, 58-28, on Friday, a week after Lovett edged the Eagles 42-28. Though Wesleyan is riding a three-game winning streak after its 23-17 overtime win over Pace Academy on Friday, both Lovett and GAC have passed the most difficult phases of their regular-season schedule at this point, and both will be expected to win the rest of their games. If they do, we could [More]