The two Powder Springs rivals, their campuses separated by only 3 miles, were both ranked in the top six of Class AAAAAA in the Georgia Sports Writers Association poll released Tuesday.
McEachern (4-0, 2-0) maintained its place at No. 2 for the fourth straight week, while Hillgrove (3-0, 1-0) jumped one place to No. 6 despite being idle last week.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it, but we want to continually progress and get better,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “We have some big games coming up.”
Hockman’s Indians will host Kennesaw Mountain on Friday before traveling to Campbell the following week. Then, McEachern will close out with South Cobb, North Cobb, Harrison and Hillgrove — all of whom are .500 or better overall, with winning records in region play.
This season, McEachern has succeeded behind quarterback Ty Clemons, running back Taj Griffin and receiver T.J. Rahming.
The Indians made a statement last Friday, beating region rival Marietta 43-30. Clemons rushed for 140 yards and threw for 216 more with three touchdown passes, all going to Rahming, before leaving the game with an injury.
“We have good players, and that helps,” Hockman said.
Hillgrove, which didn’t play last week after opening region play with a 21-14 win over Marietta two weeks ago, will host Campbell this week. Before last week’s games, quarterback Elijah Ironside was third in the county with 518 passing yards and tied for the county lead with eight touchdown passes.
In Class AAAAA, Kell and Allatoona both maintained the same rankings, at fourth and eighth, respectively. Kell (4-0) is off to another strong start after winning Region 7AAAAA a year ago, while Allatoona is 4-0) after posting shutouts in three of its four games with Region 5AAAAA opponents.
Mount Paran (3-1) was on the verge of cracking the top 10 in Class A after beating Trion 31-12.
Despite the close call in the GSWA poll, the Eagles can take solace in the fact that they are ranked second in the power ratings for the Class A private schools — only trailing the Landmark Christian team that beat them Sept. 13. The power ratings determine the seeding for the 16-team state playoff bracket at the end of the season.
Whitefield Academy is 15th, with Walker 19th.