For the first time in the program’s history, Mount Paran found itself listed in the top 10 of the Georgia Sports Writers Association’s Class A rankings, slipping in at No. 10 on Tuesday.
The top team among others receiving votes last week, the Eagles (3-1) were boosted by then-No. 8 George Walton and then-No. 10 Lincoln County both falling out of the poll. George Walton lost last week, while Lincoln County only won by a point against lightly regarded First Presbyterian.
Defending private-school state champion Eagle’s Landing Christian received all 15 first-place votes and remained No. 1, followed by Landmark Christian — the one team to beat Mount Paran this season — and Aquinas.
Mount Paran can make up more ground Friday when it hosts Region 6A rival King’s Ridge Christian in its first subregion game of the season.
The ranking is a milestone moment for Mount Paran, which started its football program in 2008. Coach Mitch Jordan appreciated the respect from the voters, but he understands that the games are won on the field, not in the rankings.
“That’s great for the program and for the kids and for the community,” Jordan said, “but there’s still so much football to play. Anything can happen with injuries and turnovers. We have good competition the rest of the way.
“Again, it’s still exciting. I feel like we had a talented team last year. The ball didn’t bounce our way. At our level, a couple of key injuries here and there can change the dynamic of your season.”
Dynamic is certainly what Mount Paran has been. The Eagles have looked good in wins over Our Lady of Mercy, Brookstone and Trion. Even their one loss was a one-possession game, 14-7 at Landmark Christian.
“It’s come down to the kids,” Jordan said. “They’re playing hard for each other and working hard at their expectation level. Each year is different. The ball has bounced their way. They worked extremely hard in the offseason, and we have more speed than we did last year, which makes you a better program.”
Mount Paran joined several other Cobb County teams among the state rankings.
Kell (5-0) remained fourth in Class AAAAA following its 35-0 win over North Springs last week.
No. 8 a week ago, Allatoona (4-1) dropped out of the Class AAAAA poll after losing 48-45 to South Paulding in overtime. Meanwhile, the undefeated South Paulding team led by former South Cobb coach Ed Koester made its debut in the GSWA poll at No. 10.
Northside-Warner Robins is first in Class AAAAA, followed by Tucker and Stephenson.
McEachern (5-0) remained in second in Class AAAAAA behind fellow unbeaten North Gwinnett, which received all 15 first-place votes. The Indians topped Kennesaw Mountain 41-7 last Friday.
Despite its 63-28 win over Campbell, Hillgrove (4-0) fell one spot, from sixth to seventh. The Hawks were leapfrogged by Camden County, which beat fellow south Georgia power Valdosta last week.
North Cobb (3-1) re-entered the rankings at No. 10 after beating Harrison 46-14. The Warriors last made the poll at No. 4 after their first game of the season, but dropped out after their Week 3 loss to Walton.