After two weeks of competition for high school football, some of the smack talk around the local water coolers are beginning to be resolved. With 2 weeks left before the start of region play, some questions remain to be answered.
Who are the teams that have started to separate themselves from the rest as we near the start of region play and who are the teams that have work to do before region play begins?
At Toccoa’s Indian Reservation, Stephens County hosted Hart County in a matchup of winners from week one of this season. Hart County used a strong running game and opportunistic passing to defeat Stephens County 26 to 13. This is the first time since 2009, that the Bulldogs have wins over both Stephens County and Elbert County in the same season.
The Bulldog ground game was led by junior Malechi Thomas and sophomore J’len Lackey. Thomas and Lackey combined for more than 230 yards on 40 carries with 3 touchdowns. Harts defense held the Indians to 199 yards for the game. Hart County will play host to traditional power Commerce next Friday, while Stephens will take on Athens Academy in Athens.
Congratulations to Elbert County, Madison County and neighboring Banks County as all three schools earned the first wins for the 2019 season. The Blue Devils defeated Washington Wilkes 28 to 14 to give first year coach Brad Waggoner his first win at Elbert. Over at Homer, the Leopards of Banks County defeated Franklin County 15-7, while at Mt. Airy, Colby Smith’s score with less than 6 minutes left in the game gave Madison County a 26 to 20 win over Habersham Central.
Morgan County and Monroe Area continued their fast start, as they joined Hart County at 2-0 for the young season. At Greensboro, Morgan County defeated Greene County by the score of 28 to 15, while Monroe Area outlasted Loganville 17 to 14 in a county rivalry that goes back fifty years.
The game of the night in northeast Georgia took place over at Winder, where the Jaguars of Cedar Shoals moved their record to 2-0, thanks to a four overtime win over Winder Barrow by the score of 49 to 43. Cedar Shoals Jerdavian Colbert’s 15 yard run in the fourth overtime gave Cedar the win.
In action across the river in South Carolina, TL Hanna defeated Emerald from Greenwood SC by the score of 40 to 7, while Westside of Anderson lost to Boiling Springs by the score of 24 to 10. Other results from South Carolina include Blacksburg defeating Crescent by the score of 39 to 14, Pendleton defeated Pickens 22 to 0, Chapman 70 Seneca 14, Daniel 51 Easley 6 and Walhalla 62 West Oak 0.
Looking ahead to week three, the big game in the area pits the Commerce Tigers (2-0) and Hart County (2-0). The game matches the traditional option based offense of Commerce, who comes into the game with wins over West Hall (48-17) and Athens Christian (49-7). Commerce is ranked number 10 in the state in class A according to the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. Hart comes in with wins over Elbert (39-7) and Stephens (26-13), and entered the polls this week, ranked #7 in Class AAA by the Atlanta Journal & Constitution.
In Hart County’s win over Stephens, the Bulldogs had two runners to eclipse the 100 yard barrier, while they are completing almost 68% of their passing attempts for the year.
Stephens and Elbert look to continue to improve on their 1-1 season records with games against two teams from the Athens area on Friday. Elbert County plays host to North Oconee, who is 2-0 and ranked # 9 in Georgia Class AAAA football. That game will be at the Granite Bowl in Elberton. Stephens County looks to get back on the winning trail when they visit Athens Academy. Athens Academy is ranked in the top 5 in Georgia Class A.
Following a two games away from home, the Madison County Red Raiders look to gather their second win on the 2019 season, when they play host to Apalachee High School. This is the first of three straight home games for the Raiders, as they play host to Hart County and East Jackson over the next two weeks.
In other games involving 8-AAA, unbeaten Monroe Area and Morgan County go on the road this weekend looking to move to 3-0 in the season. Monroe Area faces Pace Academy from Atlanta in a rematch of a first round playoff game from last season, while Morgan County visits Walnut Grove. Jackson County looks for their second win on the year when they play Lumpkin County, while East Jackson looks to move to 2-0 when they entertain Oglethorpe on Friday.
The Jefferson Dragons return to action when they host West Hall, while Franklin County has the week off. The Lions open their home schedule next Friday against Habersham Central.
In South Carolina this weekend, Westside takes on Greer while TL Hanna welcomes The International School of Broward to Anderson. West Oak High School takes on Christ Church from Greenville, Crescent travels to Ninety Six, Pendleton plays host to Palmetto, and Seneca visits Daniel.