092519_MNS_GOTW_ JC_French J.C. French

Wesleyan quarterback J.C. French attempts a pass during a 2018 game.

The prep football season has reached the halfway mark with region play controlling much of the action for local programs. Wesleyan’s Region 5A game against Holy Innocents’ highlights the contests Sept. 27.

Wesleyan stayed undefeated through its first three games with a 24-14 win at Prince Avenue Christian Sept. 6. After trailing 14-0 at halftime, the Wolves bounced back with 24 unanswered points in the second half to secure the victory.

Quarterback J.C. French had three second-half touchdown passes, one each to J.D. Chipman, Micah Smith and Andrew Van Wie, in the win. Griffin Caldwell rushed for 102 yards and Javy Martinez hit a 41-yard field goal for Wesleyan as well. The Wolves’ defense forced three turnovers in the second half.

“It was a tale of two halves,” Wolves coach Franklin Pridgen said. “After a couple of reminders and adjustments, we took the opening possession of the third quarter and scored, cutting the lead in half. What an incredible team win for the Wolves.”

Holy Innocents’ also improved its record to 3-0 with a 31-0 shutout of Rutland Sept. 13. The scoring for the Golden Bears started with a 31-yard touchdown run by Michael Cox and an 11-yard TD run by Matt Davis in the first quarter for the 14-0 lead. Hunter Hawk’s touchdown run in the second quarter increased the team’s lead to 21-0. The second-half scores by the Golden Bears were on another TD run by Hawk and Peter Wandkte’s 32-yard field goal.

Defensive highlights for Holy Innocents’ included an interception by Ronny Williams and fumble recoveries by Griffin McKinnis and Joey Holliday. Holy Innocents’ defense forced three turnovers while not turning it over on offense. The win was the Golden Bears’ second shutout of the season after a 28-0 victory over Mount Pisgah Christian Aug. 24.

“Once again we played a pretty clean game,” Golden Bears coach Todd Winter said. “ On offense we did an excellent job up front. The players have really bought into our motto, which is simply ‘Work Wins.’ They have invested the time and each year made a positive stride forward.”

Staying in the same region, Mount Vernon hosts Landmark Christian. The Mustangs defeated First Presbyterian 30-7 at home Sept. 6. Blake Kytle threw for a game-high 292 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Andrew Douglas had a game-high 153 yards receiving yards and two touchdowns on offense and also had a 65-yard interception return for a TD on defense. Mount Vernon defeated Landmark Christian 55-0 in 2018.

Lovett hosts defending Class 3A state champion Cedar Grove in its Region 5AAA opener Sept. 27.

The Lions earned a 29-27 home win over Mary Persons Sept. 15 to improve to 3-1 on the season. The contest was originally scheduled for Sept. 14 but was delayed due to inclement weather, which hampered many contests around the state that evening.

Lovett quarterback Blaine McAllister had 276 total yards and three touchdown passes. His six-yard touchdown run with 8:19 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner. Henry Beery, Logan Givens and Andrew Pinkston each had TD receptions for Lovett. Defensively, Aiden Camillo had seven tackles and an interception for the Lions while teammate Mike Valls also posted seven stops.

“I was really proud of the way our team handled the weather issue that came up during the Mary Persons game,” Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. “They found a way to keep their focus and drive throughout the 24-hour ordeal. I thought we executed well in all three phases of the game. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but I think we are making progress toward where we want to be.”

The Lions were able to have an off week before facing Cedar Grove.

“The open week is all about us,” Muschamp said. “We don’t do a lot of prep work for our next opponent. Most of our focus is on us getting better doing the little things that will help us down the road, blocking, tackling, throwing, catching, kicking, etc. The open week also gives a chance to get our legs back under us a little in regards to academics. The end of the first grading period is coming up, so we want to make sure everybody is in good standing academically as we head into region play.”

Lovett dropped its contest to Cedar Grove 45-0 in 2018 but still leads the lifetime series 6-5.

Westminster hosts Towers in its Region 5AAA opener Sept. 27. The Wildcats look to rebound from their 14-0 road loss to Marist Sept. 13 in their final non-region regular-season game. The contest was stopped at halftime due to inclement weather. Westminster leads the lifetime series over Towers 10-2 and won the 2018 game 35-14.

Marist hosts White County in its Region 7AAAA opener Sept. 27. Connor Cigelske rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown in the War Eagles’ win over Westminster. Marist has won all three previous meetings against White County including a 41-6 victory in 2018.

St. Pius X shutout Decatur 21-0 Sept. 13. Nick Joiner threw two touchdown passes to Cameron Wingo in the victory. Mason Benefield had a game-high 71 rushing yards and a touchdown for Golden Lions. Jadon Rogers blocked a Decatur field goal attempt to preserve the shutout.

“The key factors were that our players played with great passion and eliminating the mistakes that have plagued us the past couple of weeks,” St. Pius X coach Paul Standard said. “We were able to control the ball on offense and able to hit some play action passes where we had players wide open for two touchdowns. The defense played well against a very athletic offense, preventing Decatur from hitting a big play as they have done in their first two games.”

Next up for the Golden Lions is a home contest against Loganville Sept. 27. St. Pius X won the 2018 game 45-21.

Pace opens the Region 5AAA portion of its schedule with a visit to Redan Sept. 27. Pace has won all three previous meetings against Redan, including a 35-14 victory in 2018.

The Knights’ Sept. 13 contest against Charlotte Christian (North Carolina) was cancelled in the first quarter due to the inclement weather. Pace did earn a 25-0 win against Monroe Area Sept. 6, led by Evan Smith-Rooks, who threw for 240 yards. Jayden Thomas had 262 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing. Defensively, Justin Johnson had a team-high seven tackles and Morgan Payne posted six in the victory.

North Atlanta visits Cambridge in a Region 7AAAAAA contest Sept. 27. The Warriors defeated Cambridge 23-14 in 2018 for the first time in five tries.

North Atlanta suffered its first loss of the season with a 42-13 region defeat at Johns Creek Sept. 16. Wiley Hartley threw for a game-high 239 yards and two touchdowns, and T.K. Mack had a game-high 101 rushing yards for North Atlanta in the loss. Tre’ Mason and Chris Wright each had a TD catch for the Warriors.

North Springs visits Carver (Atlanta) in a Region 6AAAAA contest Sept. 27. The Spartans dropped their last game to the Panthers 39-34 in 2018. North Springs fell at Denmark 63-0 in its region opener Sept. 6.

Staying in the same region, Riverwood hosts Lithia Springs Sept. 27. The Raiders have won all three previous meetings against the Lions, including a 54-8 victory in 2018.

Riverwood stayed undefeated through its first three games with their 14-6 home victory against Kennesaw Mountain Sept. 6. Quinterio Lawson rushed for a team-high 111 yards and Burke Cigelske threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Logan for the Raiders. Tyson Young had a team-high 12 tackles, while teammates Jamel Johnson, Kyle Kennard and Khalil Anderson each had an interception for Riverwood.

Whitefield visits St. Francis in Region 6A play Sept. 27. The WolfPack defeated St. Francis in 2018 34-6. Whitefield earned a 40-6 region home win over Mount Pisgah Christian Sept. 16.

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