With only three weeks left in the prep football regular season, local programs are pushing for region championships and playoff positioning as action resumes Oct. 25.
Riverwood finds itself in this position with an undefeated mark through its first six games. The Raiders are in the top half of the Region 6AAAAA standings following their 21-16 road win against Decatur Oct. 4. Quinterio Lawson rushed for a team-high 133 yards and two touchdowns in the victory. Austin Simmons caught eight passes for 100 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders. Tyson Young and Kaleb Patton each had nine tackles for Riverwood.
“The key to the game against Decatur was the defense,” Riverwood coach Robert Edwards said. “They played their best game to date and have adopted the motto ‘if they don’t score they don’t win.’”
North Springs looks to keep its playoff hopes alive with a home victory over its local rival that is less than seven miles away. The Spartans lost at home to region foe Jackson (Atlanta) 41-20 Oct. 4 despite three touchdown passes from Santino Gaudreau.
The jockeying for positioning in the Region 5AAA standings between Westminster, Lovett and Pace has also taken shape.
The Wildcats picked up a crucial 36-21 home win over the Knights Oct. 11. Westminster trailed 14-3 early in the contest and carried a 21-17 deficit into halftime before outscoring Pace 19-0 in the second half. Wildcats’ quarterback Will Hallmark had 241 total yards and three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing, in the victory. Alex Bacchetta hit all five of his field goal attempts which is a Westminster record for a single contest.
Justin Johnson had two touchdown runs, and Evan Smith-Rooks threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Mbiti Williams for Pace in the loss.
“We are really proud of how Hallmark, and the entire offense stepped up when Paul (Weathington) went down in the first quarter,” Westminster assistant coach Joe Sturniolo said. “We let Pace control the first half of the game, but the second half was the kind of comeback we wanted to see. And Bacchettas’s five field goals were a great way to show the return of our special teams to be a dominant part of our game.”
Next up for the Wildcats will be a region home match against Redan. Westminster has won all three previous meetings against the Raiders, including a 46-0 victory in 2018.
Pace visits defending Class 3A state champion Cedar Grove in a region tilt. The Knights have dropped all three previous meetings to the Saints, including a 40-13 loss in 2018.
Lovett also kept itself in the top half of the standings with its 46-32 home win over Stone Mountain Oct. 11. The Lions jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and controlled the rest of the contest. Henry Beery had a big night with a game-high 124 rushing yards, a team-high 75 receiving yards, a 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 35-yard field goal for Lovett. Blaine McAllister threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns, one each to Logan Givens, Mike Valls and Charlie Hoke, in the victory. Defensively, Stevie Bracey had a team-high seven tackles and Alex Camillo and Baird Daniel each had interceptions for the Lions.
“I was pleased with the way we came out and executed in the first half of the game,” Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. “I thought our kids were pretty dialed in and played really well. I was extremely disappointed with the way we played the second half. Some of that had to do with Stone Mountain and the way their team played. However, we didn't come close to the level we played at in the first half. This is something we need to get corrected immediately.”
The Lions are off this week before visiting Redan Nov. 1.
Holy Innocents’ stayed undefeated on the season and atop the Region 5A standings with a 40-0 win at Strong Rock Oct. 11. Michael Cox rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns while teammate Matt Davis had a touchdown pass. The Golden Bears outgained the Patriots 423-84 in total yards.
“We played well early in all phases,” Holy Innocents’ coach Todd Winter said.
The Golden Bears have opened a season 7-0 for the first time in program history. Holy Innocents’ hosts region foe Trinity Christian of Sharpsburg in its next contest. The Golden Bears dropped the lone previous meeting of the two teams 17-14 in 2018.
Staying in the same region, Wesleyan visits Landmark Christian looking to earn its sixth win of the season. The Wolves emerged with a 52-30 road win against Mount Vernon Oct. 11. J.C. French had 288 total yards and five touchdowns, three rushing and two passing, for Wesleyan in the victory. French’s two TD passes to Micah Smith and a 73-yard touchdown run by J.D. Chipman paced the Wolves to a 35-10 halftime lead.
Smith finished the night with a team-high 149 receiving yards, and Chipman had a game-high 132 rushing yards. Trent Bartlett had two interceptions for the Wolves. Blake Kytle threw for a game-high 400 yards and three touchdowns for the Mustangs. Andrew Douglas had a game-high 15 receptions for 200 yards in the loss for Mount Vernon.
“We got off to a fast start,” Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen said. “Our offense continued to play well all day and our defense made enough stops in crucial situations to help us win.”
The Wolves and Landmark have split their previous six meetings, with Wesleyan winning the 2018 contest 38-0.
Marist stayed undefeated through its first seven games with a 45-7 win at West Hall in Region 7AAAA action Oct. 11. The War Eagles outgained the Spartans 368-172 in total yardage. Connor Cigelske threw two touchdown passes, one each to Justin Hartwell and Derek McDonald, and Lincoln Parker had two TD runs for Marist in the victory.
“Our win over West Hall was a total team effort, and we played extremely well in the three phases of the game,” War Eagles coach Alan Chadwick said.
Marist visits Flowery Branch in its next contest. The War Eagles won their lone previous meeting against the Falcons 20-0 in 2018.
Woodward also kept its perfect record intact through its first six games with a 49-7 victory Oct. 11 over Eastside in Region 4AAAA play. Mike Wright threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns in the win. Ambe Caldwell had 123 receiving yards on offense, and Aaron Washinton grabbed an interception for the War Eagles on defense. Next up for Woodward will be a region game at Salem. The War Eagles dropped the 2018 contest 22-14.
Whitefield improved to 6-1 on the season with its 37-17 win at Mount Paran in Region 6A play Oct. 11. The WolfPack hosts Walker and holds a 10-9 lifetime series lead. Whitefield won the 2018 game between the two teams 20-13.
North Atlanta looks to improve its position in the Region 7AAAAAA standings when it hosts Pope. The Warriors dropped its contest at Alpharetta 28-0 Oct. 11. North Atlanta has lost its previous three meetings to the Greyhounds, including a 26-7 defeat in 2018.
St. Pius X also looks to get back to winning ways when it hosts Madison County in Region 8AAAA action. The Golden Lions lost their region opener to Oconee County 21-7 Oct. 11. Mason Benefield’s nine-yard touchdown run proved to be the lone score for St. Pius X. The Golden Lions have won all three previous meetings against Madison County, which includes a 52-28 victory in 2018.
Game of the Week
Game: North Springs Spartans at Riverwood Raiders
Date: Oct. 25
Last meeting: Riverwood 56, North Springs 7 (Oct. 19, 2018)
All-time series: North Springs leads 23-15-1