The prep football season finds itself fully entrenched in region play as it's already pushed through the halfway point of the 2019 campaign.
The highlighted matchup for Oct. 11 pits two squads in Region 5AAA separated by less than three miles as Westminster hosts Pace.
The Wildcats opened region play with a 51-6 home victory against Towers Sept. 27. Will Hallmark had 184 total yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and one passing, in the win. His main target was Holden States, who had 91 receiving yards including a 61-yard TD catch. Max Fritz and Kiran Gadde recovered fumbles for the Wildcats’ defense.
“This was the ultimate team win,” Westminster assistant coach Joe Sturniolo said. “It was a great way to start region play, and is a testament to the hard work and learning suffered during the toughest non-region schedule in Class 3A.”
Pace was also successful in its region opener Sept. 27 with a 40-14 victory at Redan. Evan Smith-Rooks threw two touchdown passes for the Knights in the win.
Staying in the region, Lovett hosts Stone Mountain. The Lions look to rebound from their 41-17 home loss to Class 3A defending state champion Cedar Grove in their region opener. Blaine McAllister’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Collin Goldberg midway through the third quarter cut the Lions’ deficit to 21-17, but they didn’t score the rest of the contest.
McAllister threw for a game-high 160 yards and teammate Anderson Beavor had a game-high 7.5 tackles on defense. Lovett leads the lifetime series over Stone Mountain 7-2 including a 43-14 win in the 2018 contest.
Holy Innocents’ stayed undefeated through its first five games of a season for the first time in program history with a 31-0 road win against Wesleyan in Region 5A play Sept. 27. Michael Cox had 173 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries.
The Golden Bears finished the night with 324 rushing yards and didn’t attempt a pass on offense. Defensively Hunter Hawk had 11 tackles, while Sam Aiken and Landon Kardian each intercepted a pass.
Holy Innocents’, which has already matched its 2018 win total of five, returns to action at region foe Strong Rock Christian. The Golden Bears won the 2018 contest by the score of 59-48 and lead the lifetime series 4-1.
Mount Vernon earned its first region win Sept. 27 with its 51-0 home triumph over Landmark Christian. Blake Kytle threw for a game-high 376 yards and five touchdowns. Andrew Douglas had a game-high 182 receiving yards and three touchdowns on five receptions, while teammate Jonathan Hammond had a TD reception as well in the victory. Skyler Early and Parker Carman each had a rushing touchdown for the Mustangs.
Next up for Mount Vernon is a home game against Wesleyan. The Wolves have won all three previous meetings, including the 2018 contest 34-19.
Marist also stayed perfect through five games with its 35-20 home victory over White County in its Region 7AAAA opener Sept. 27. The War Eagles jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first quarter on touchdown runs by James Wise and Connor Cigelske. Lincoln Parker’s school-record 98-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for Marist was also a highlight.
The War Eagles visit West Hall in another region contest. Marist has won all three previous meetings, including a 51-14 victory in 2018.
St. Pius X concluded non-region regular-season play with a 23-6 home win over Loganville Sept. 27. The Golden Lions rushed for 255 yards, led by Shug Bentley, who had 78 of those yards and two touchdowns. Cam Wingo had a two-yard TD run and Ryan Kirschner kicked a 30-yard field goal as well for St. Pius X.
“Our defense played shutout football until we played our reserves in the fourth quarter,” Golden Lions coach Paul Standard said. “We played great run defense and contained their passing offense. Our offensive line had a great night and controlled the clock. We did miss some scoring opportunities early, but our players continued to work and we opened up the game in the second half. We are getting better each week.”
St. Pius X hosts Oconee County in Region 8AAAA play. The Golden Lions have won four of five contests against the Warriors, including the 2018 game 28-14.
North Atlanta picked up its first Region 7AAAAAA victory of the season with a 16-14 road win against Cambridge Sept. 27. Wiley Hartley had two rushing touchdowns, while T.K. Mack ran for a team-high 188 yards in the victory. Sterling Fleury had a team-high eight tackles for the North Atlanta defense.
The Warriors will continue region play at Alpharetta. North Atlanta looks for its first triumph against the Raiders in four tries. The 2018 contest was a 17-15 win for Alpharetta.
Whitefield stayed perfect in Region 6A play with its 20-17 win at St. Francis Sept. 27. The WolfPack visit Mount Paran in its next contest looking to snap its six-game losing streak in the series, which includes a 21-7 defeat in 2018.
Woodward visits Eastside in Region 4AAAA play in its next contest. The War Eagles defeated McDonough 47-7 in their region opener Sept. 20. Woodward fell to Eastside 38-31 in 2018.
Riverwood stayed undefeated through its first five games with a 48-20 home win over Lithia Springs in Region 6AAAAA play Sept. 27. Avery Smith had three passing touchdowns, one each to Austin Simmons, Korbin Lane and Quinterio Lawson, in the victory.
Elijah Kirby, Donovan Logan and Simmons each had a rushing touchdown for Riverwood. Kaleb Patton had a team-high 10 tackles and Zach Celkelge intercepted two passes and forced a fumble for the Raiders’ defense.
“Important region win for the team,” Riverwood coach Robert Edwards said. “They played hard and take pride in playing in front of our home crowd. This was a collective team effort, and I am proud of the way the team responded in the second half.”
The Raiders have an off week before hosting Carver (Atlanta) Oct. 18.
North Springs dropped its contest at Carver (Atlanta) 58-0 in region play Sept. 27. The Spartans are also off this week and visit Grady in another region contest Oct. 18.
Lovett wins state
Lovett’s A team won the Georgia High School Water Polo Association’s Division 2 crown Sept. 28 and 29 at the Cumming Aquatic Center in Forsyth County. The Lions capped an undefeated season by beating the Wildcats 7-3.
In the Division 2 tourney, which is co-ed, Lovett defeated St. Pius X’s B team in the first round and Wesleyan in the semifinals.
In the losers’ bracket, St. Pius lost to Collins Hill’s B team. Wesleyan, which beat Collins Hill in the winners’ bracket first round, lost to Norcross in the losers’ bracket semifinals.
In the Division 3 tournament, APS’s C team advanced to the semifinals before bowing out. In the second round, Pace’s B team fell to Chamblee’s B squad, Lovett’s B team lost to Lakeside’s C squad and APS beat Forsyth’s C team. APS then lost to Lakeside’s C squad.
In the losers’ bracket, Pace beat Wildcats’ D team before falling to APS, Lovett beat Collins Hill before falling to Forsyth and APS lost to Chamblee’s B squad.
Pace, North Springs, APS and St. Pius X will compete in the Division 1 boys’ tournament Oct. 5 and 6. APS’s A squad will battle in the girls’ tournament Oct. 5 and 6. Results of those matches were not available at the Neighbor’s deadline.
Game of the Week
Game: Westminster Wildcats vs. Pace Knights
Date: Oct. 11
Last meeting: Westminster 28, Pace Academy 16 (Oct. 5, 2018)
All-time series: Westminster leads 3-0