Previously No. 6, Mount Paran won 31-14 over then-No. 4 Eagle’s Landing Christian in Saturday’s Battleground Kickoff Classic in Columbus. Based on how well the Eagles performed in all three phases of the game, they may continue to climb as the season progresses.
“It’s a great honor to be there, but again, after Week 1, I’m still not sure,” Mount Paran coach Mitch Jordan said. “We have a good team, but we still have a long way to go. It’s the highest ranking we’ve ever had, but it’s still early.”
Offensively, Mount Paran’s Dorian Walker took charge Saturday, with 217 yards of total offense and a pair of touchdowns. Taylor Trammell ran for 79 yards and a touchdown, while Emoni Williams found the end zone on a 66-yard catch.
Mount Paran’s defense set the tone in the first half, holding Eagle’s Lading Christian to 35 yards and just one first down.
While Mount Paran thrived in its first game, McEachern’s season isn’t quite going as planned.
The Indians fell from No. 1 to No. 5 in Class AAAAAA, after a grueling 52-49 loss to North Gwinnett in the finale of the Corky Kell Classic at Walter Cantrell Stadium.
McEachern had the win in sight before North Gwinnett scored the go-ahead touchdown with 9 seconds left.
The game wasn’t the only thing McEachern lost.
The Indians’ Oregon-bound running back Taj Griffin, one of the nation’s top-ranked all-purpose backs, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the game and will miss the remainder of the season.
Leading up to the injury, Griffin had rushed for 138 yards, with three first-quarter touchdowns.
McEachern’s non-region schedule won’t get easier. Games at Buford and Lovejoy, with a home game against Peachtree Ridge sandwiched in between, await before Region 4AAAAAA play gets underway Oct. 3 against Marietta at home.
Kell moved up a spot to No. 5 in Class AAAAA after using its defense and special teams to beat Carrollton 20-7 in Saturday’s opening game of the Corky Kell Classic. The Longhorns, coming off a berth in the state semifinals last season, built a 17-0 first-half lead after their defense held the Trojans to 45 yards in the first half.
Early in the game, Julien Chang’s 54-yard punt pinned Carrollton on its own 1-yard line, leading to a lost fumble that linebacker Bryson Armstrong recovered in the end zone for Kell’s first touchdown of the season.
Allatoona is up a spot to No. 8 beating Region 5AAAAA rival East Paulding 27-21 on Friday. The Buccaneers were mistake-prone against the Raiders, but they dominated the clock in the second half after trailing by a touchdown.
Running back Josh Bettistea didn’t play Friday night for undisclosed reasons, and his status this week remains unclear for Allatoona’s upcoming game with Villa Rica, but Russell Halimon performed well in Bettistea’s place, rushed for 211 yards on 39 carries.