whitefield at mpc 02.jpg Ayden Duncanson Eric Little

Whitefield quarterback Ayden Duncanson hands the ball off to Eric Little in its Oct. 11 game against Mount Paran.

With only two weeks left in the prep football regular season, the playoffs are in range for local programs ready to make postseason runs.

Whitefield and Fellowship meet Nov. 1 for first place in the Region 6A (B) standings. The WolfPack increased its winning streak to five games and stayed undefeated in region play with a 37-17 road win against Mount Paran Oct. 11. Whitefield quarterback Ayden Duncanson finished the night with 220 passing yards and 165 rushing yards.

Fellowship also kept its perfect record in region play intact with a 49-0 win at King’s Ridge Oct. 18. The Paladins rushed for 246 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the victory. Murphy Reeves ran for three TDs and Eli Hildebrandt threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Jayven Hall.

The Region 5AAA standings sees three local programs jockeying for positioning.

Lovett made a statement with its 21-14 win at Pace Oct 18. Blaine McAllister’s one-yard touchdown run for the Lions late in the second quarter tied the score at 7-7 heading into halftime. Lovett took a 14-7 lead on its first possession of the third quarter on Henry Beery’s touchdown run of 55 yards. The Knights tied the score at 14-14 late in the quarter on Jordan Sloan’s 52-yard TD run. McAllister connected with Charlie Hoke on a 63-yard touchdown pass with 8:05 left in the fourth quarter to secure the victory for Lovett.

McAllister finished the night with 146 total yards and two touchdowns. Beery had a team-high 72 rushing yards, while Stevie Bracey posted a game-high 11 tackles for Lovett’s defense. Lawrence Jordan had a game-high 74 rushing yards for Pace in the loss.

“It was a really good game,” Lions coach Mike Muschamp said. “Both teams played well, I thought. It’s always a physical game when we play Pace, and Friday night was another one of those 48-minute physical struggles. I was proud of the way our kids responded to the adversity we faced early in the game. Pace was playing really well, and we had to find a way to start making some plays. We had a nice drive during the second quarter. Then we hit some big plays in the second half that put us over the top for the win.”

Next up for Lovett is a region road trip to Redan. The Lions have won all three previous meetings in the series including a 41-6 victory in 2018.

Pace hosts Towers in region play. The Knights have also posted a perfect 3-0 record against Towers in the history of the two programs, including a 67-14 win in 2018.

Marist stayed undefeated through its first eight games with a 37-14 win at Denmark in Region 7AAAA play Oct. 18. Connor Cigelske had 256 total yards and a rushing touchdown for the War Eagles in the victory. Lincoln Parker rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns as well fro Marist. Tyler Hare returned a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown in the win.

Next up for Marist is a region home contest against defending Class 4A state champion Blessed Trinity. The War Eagles dropped the 2018 contest to the Titans 10-7 and trail the lifetime series 3-1.

Woodward kept its perfect record intact through seven contests for the first time since 2015 with a 49-0 home win over Region 4AAAA foe Hampton Oct. 18. Mike Wright threw for 149 yards and had four touchdowns, two passing and two rushing, in the victory. Teammate Damari Alston rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Ambe Caldwell and Ozzie Hoffler each posted eight tackles for the War Eagles defense, which held Hampton to only 51 yards of total offense.

Woodward hosts North Clayton in region play. The War Eagles lead the lifetime series 6-1 and won the 2018 game 48-12.

Riverwood improved to 7-0 on the season with a 21-6 home win over Carver (Atlanta) Oct. 26. Avery Smith threw for a game-high 234 yards and two touchdowns for the Raiders. Austin Simmons had a game-high 183 receiving yards and a touchdown, while teammate Jonathan Brown caught a 12-yard TD pass in the victory. Tyler Rowe rushed for a game-high 63 yards and a touchdown for Riverwood. The Raiders' defense was led by Kaleb Patton, who had a game-high 12 tackles, and Brown who posted five sacks.

Riverwood has started a season undefeated through its first seven games for the first time in program history. It's also the first seven-game winning streak in history for the Raiders, surpassing a six-game mark in 1984. Riverwood hosts Grady in its next contest. The Raiders won the 2018 game 35-0.

Holy Innocents’ visits Landmark Christian looking to stay atop the Region 5A standings. The Golden Bears stayed undefeated through their first seven games for the first time in program history with a 40-0 win at Strong Rock Christian Oct. 11. Michael Cox rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns, while teammate Matt Davis had a touchdown pass. Holy Innocents’ outgained the Patriots 423-84 in total yards. The Golden Bears won the 2018 contest over Landmark 56-6.

Staying in the same region, Wesleyan hosts Strong Rock.

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. 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, while 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.

Wesleyan has won all three previous meetings against Strong Rock, including a 52-13 victory in 2018. Mount Vernon hosts region foe and defending Class A Private state champion Eagle’s Landing Christian. The Mustangs have dropped all seven previous meetings to the Chargers, including a 42-21 loss in 2018.

North Atlanta hosts Centennial in a Region 7AAAAAA contest. The Warriors look to rebound from their 23-14 home loss to Pope Oct. 18. North Atlanta was defeated by Centennial 70-42 in 2018.

Westminster visits Stone Mountain in Region 5AAA action. The Wildcats fell at region foe and defending Class 3A state champion Cedar Grove 21-0 Oct. 18. Westminster has won all three previous meetings against Redan, including a 46-0 victory in 2018.

North Springs visits Banneker in its Region 6AAAAA game. The Spartans fell to Grady 40-0 Oct. 18. North Springs lost to Banneker 25-7 in the 2018 contest.

Volleyball playoffs

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state volleyball championships reached the quarterfinals after second-round action took place Oct. 22.

The Class A/AA playoffs include Holy Innocents’, which is the top seed from Area 1A. The Golden Bears won their second-round home match against Wesleyan 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-23). Ellen Goetz had team-high 43 assists, while Paige Collins posted a double-double with a team-high 24 digs and 14 kills. Renee Davis had a team-high 15 kills, and Mary Anna Wearing and Caroline Harper had 18 and 10 digs, respectively.

“It was a great win and actually this is the first time this season we have had the entire team healthy,” Golden Bears coach Taylor Noland said. “All seven of our juniors play and if we are missing any of them we are off. Coming together in post season play is key to success, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Holy Innocents’ hosted Eagle’s Landing Christian in the quarters.

Atlanta International School also punched its ticket to the quarterfinals following a 3-2 win at Fellowship in the second round. The Eagles visited Mount Paran in their next contest.

Westminster is in the Class 3A quarters after a 3-0 home win over Morgan County in the second round. Mary Emily Morgan had a team-high 20 kills and 18 digs for a double-double, and teammate Ashley Vincent posted 13 kills for the Wildcats in the win. Betsy Moore had 13 digs to reach 1,000 for her career, and Chloe Emch dished out 39 assists for Westminster.

“As a whole, the team continues to become more unified and is working well as a cohesive unit,” Wildcats coach Catherine Monroe said. “They are diversifying their offense, which keeps teams guessing and on their toes. Our defense is solid.”

Westminster, the top seed from Area 4AAA, hosted Calhoun in the quarterfinals.

Defending Class 3A state champion Pace defeated Ringgold 3-0 (25-13, 25-10, 25-20) in the second round.

“I would say we have had several players step up since our starting setter, Kalissa Greene, has been out with a patella injury,” Knights coach Anna Bush said. “Dominique Turner was forced into the setting role and embraced the challenge. Morgan Neill was moved to libero, and she has flourished in this role and has played her best volleyball so far this year.

"Megan Hardesty and Elliott Mathis have switched offensive positions and it has paid off. Lastly, Sasha Ratliff has an expanded role and is showing she is more than capable in the backcourt. The good news is Kalissa is now back in the lineup. If our team can take all we have learned in the last three weeks and play together and execute, that is all I can ask of them.”

Pace hosted Cherokee Bluff in the quarterfinals.

Riverwood is in the Class 5A quarters after a 3-0 (25-15, 25-14. 25-18) home win over Union Grove in the second round. Kaylah Jackson had a team-high 15 kills and 10 digs for a double-double. Nicole Brooks posted a team-high 32 assists and Ty Thompson had 10 kills for the Raiders.

"Our postseason success can be attributed to a couple of factors,” Riverwood coach Nikia Bynum-Isler said. “One I would say (is) team cohesiveness. The girls work well together and are able to communicate with one another on a positive level. They have accepted their individual roles on the team and focus on doing their part. The second contributing factor to our success is their dedication and determination to improve with every match. They want to be successful on the court and they put in the time in practice and outside of practice.”

The Raiders are the top seed from Region 6AAAAA and hosted McIntosh in the quarterfinals.

The Class 4A playoffs saw Woodward defeat Northwest Whitfield 3-1 and St. Pius X earn a 3-0 victory over Druid Hills in the second round. The War Eagles hosted Sandy Creek and the Golden Lions welcomed in Northside (Columbus) in the quarters.

The quarterfinal matches took place Oct. 26, and results weren’t available at the Neighbor's deadline.

Softball tourney

In the state fast-pitch softball playoffs, three local teams remained after advancing to the quarterfinals, which began Oct. 24 at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus. Results were not available at the Neighbor's deadline. 

Wesleyan, the defending Class A Private state champion, advanced to the quarterfinals following a 2-0 sweep of Trinity Christian Oct. 16. The Wolves, who are the top overall seed in the bracket, won the first game 12-0 and the second one 16-0.

Lovett is also in the quarterfinals for Class 3A. The Lions, who are the top seed from Region 5AAA, opened the playoffs with a 2-0 (9-1, 6-4) sweep of Greater Atlanta Christian Oct. 9. Lovett followed it up with another sweep, this time to Islands by the scores of 6-0 and 12-3.

Rounding out the local programs in the quarters is Marist. The War Eagles entered the Class 4A playoffs as the top seed from Region 7AAAA and swept their first-round opponent, Chapel Hill, 2-0 (10-2, 11-2) Oct. 8. Marist also won its second-round series 2-0 against Cairo, earning a 2-1 victory in the first contest and a 4-0 win in the second game.

Game of the Week

Game: Whitefield at Fellowship

Date: Nov. 1

Last meeting: Fellowship 44, Whitefield 42 (Oct. 26, 2019)

All-time series: Whitefield leads 7-4

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