Lions are the story of the year; Central-Carrollton rolling

Sonny Kennedy

-I have picked against Lovett all four weeks so far, and for good reason. The Lions were going up against progressively better competition from higher classifications each week, but kept on winning. Coach Mike Muschamp’s bunch has beaten Blessed Trinity, Woodward Academy, Class AAAA No. 7 Marist, and most recently, Class AAA No. 2 St. Pius X (although the Lions dropped to No. 7 in this week’s poll).


We ranked Lovett’s schedule No. 1 in AA due to its toughness. But the Lions have made minced meat of it thus far going into a long road trip at Fort Payne (Ala.) this Friday. After that, Lovett hosts Class AAA No. 4 Washington County. No rest for the weary.


-Coach Mark Fleetwood and Peachtree Ridge have been another big surprise thus far in the 2013 season. The Lions overcame Mill Creek in a major Region 7 clash between ranked teams Friday as the Ridge pulled out a dramatic 31-30 victory. QB Chance Thrasher and RB Jordan Ellis, a Virginia commitment, give the Lions the ability to move the ball on anybody while LB Dru Moody and DB Nick Glass lead a talented Lions defense.


Still, games against Collins Hill, Norcross and North Gwinnett loom for Fleetwood’s team. Such is life in Region 7-AAAAAA.


-Valdosta continued to impress by easily dispatching Newton, which was fresh off a major upset of Lowndes last week. The Wildcats, now ranked No. 5, exploded for a 31-0 half-time lead and cruised from there.


Now 4-0, Valdosta looked flawless in its final non-region tuneup. Next week, it gets tougher as Region 1 play begins when the Cats travel to 3-1 Camden County, which was off this past weekend.


-Milton improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1999 with yet another dominant performance, this time over ancient rival Roswell 33-3. The Eagles have four solid running backs who can tote the rock, including Tennessee-commitment Treyvon Paulk, Micco Brisker, Chris Turner and Chad Toliver. Paulk left the game with a sprained knee, but should return within two weeks according to Adam Krohn’s recap for the AJC.


The Eagles have scored at least 31 points in each game and look like Walton’s chief competition in Region 5.


-Lovejoy escaped with a dramatic 39-35 win over East Coweta Friday night in a game we had on upset alert. The No. 10 Wildcats trailed 35-21 in the third quarter only to rally and score 19 consecutive points to close out the game. Lovejoy lost several key components off its state finalist squad of 2012, but QB Quintarius Neely and RB Jeremiah Kirkland form a formidable duo in the Wildcats’ backfield. Each player scored three times for the Wildcats Friday night.


-Lincoln County, at 1-2, has its worst record after three games since the Red Devils were 0-3 to start the 2005 season. Coach Larry Campbell’s group lost 39-35 to Ninety-Six (S.C.) Friday, its second straight loss after losing to Washington-Wilkes Sept. 6. The Devils begin region play next week against First Presbyterian, which is no push-over.


-What a start by Benedictine, which is now 4-0 after dominating previously-ranked Vidalia 28-0 Friday. The Cadets have moved up to No. 8 and look like a darkhorse state championship contender in AA, a classification that has no clear-cut favorite at this time.


Danny Britt’s team may have just won its toughest test of the regular season and if it gets past Bryan County on Oct. 4, should roll to a 10-0 finish. The Cadets have given up just 14 points all season.


-Look at Central-Carrollton. The Lions, who are regularly overshadowed by Carroll County-neighbor Carrollton, are off to their best start (4-1) since 2005. Rico Zackery has had tremendous success in his first season at Central and his team will begin region play next week against B.E.S.T. Academy.


If Central gets past B.E.S.T., an Oct. 11 showdown with Callaway looks to be the Region 4-AAA championship for all intents and purposes. The Lions should make the playoffs for the second year in a row, the first time they have made the postseason in back-to-back years since 2000-2001.


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