Georgia high school football got its pride hurt a year ago when its defending Class AAAAAA champion, Norcross, was beaten 55-0 on national TV by Booker T. Washington, a Miami team that would claim several mythical national titles.
Give credit to Norcross for picking up the pieces and winning AAAAAA again last year, but give Colquitt County – the current No. 1 team in AAAAAA – a hand also for the statement it made nationally on Friday night in Moultrie, where the Packers dominated two-time Alabama Class 6A champion Hoover 35-14.
Sihiem King, the preseason all-state running back, rushed for 169 yards and scored three touchdowns, according to reports in the Moultrie Observer. Colquitt allowed only 147 yards in total offense to Hoover.
Hoover entered the season on a 30-game winning streak and was a consensus preseason Top 10 team nationally. A 24-17 loss last week to another nationally ranked team, Miami Central, didn’t hurt Hoover’s reputation much. A year ago, Hoover beat Colquitt 24-10.
The victory must be especially satisfying to Colquitt County coach Rush Propst. He was Hoover’s coach from 1999 to 2007 and won five state titles there. He resigned on his own, but it was clear he’d worn out his welcome with many in the school system there. Propst became nationally known because of MTV’s reality TV show “Two-a-Days,’’ a behind-the-scenes look at Hoover.
Five more results worth noting in AAAAAA on Friday –
*Lowndes contributed to a night of Georgia pride also, beating Plant, a state-ranked team in Florida, 20-14. Except for one long pass play early, Plant could hardly move the ball on the Vikings. Plant is best known in Georgia as the alma mater of former UGA quarterback Aaron Murray. The school has won four state titles since 2006. The Lowndes-Plant game was part of a double-header at Lowndes' Martin Stadium. Ware County beat Manatee 23-7 in the opener. That broke Manatee's 29-game winning streak in regular-season games.
*North Gwinnett was the consensus No. 1 team in AAAAAA out of six Georgia polls last week (No. 2 in the AJC rankings), but the recognition was short-lived. North Cobb beat the Bulldogs 36-29 on the road Friday. Consider that North Cobb had lost its opener to Northside-Warner Robins in a game that wasn’t as close as the 38-20 final. North Gwinnett had beaten previous No. 1 McEachern 52-49. Didn’t matter. Tyler Queen, a preseason all-state QB, had three TD passes and scored two touchdowns for North Cobb, which had 470 yards in total offense.
*Peachtree Ridge was the forgotten team in Region 7. Rated below North Gwinnett, Norcross and Mill Creek in preseason, the Lions beat 10th-ranked Archer 14-10 on Friday. Big nights were had by QB Chance Thrasher (21-of-38, 247 yards); RB Na’Ceem Antenor (129 yards rushing) and WR DeAngelo Gibbs (144 yards receiving). Archer's 0-2 start (including a loss to Sandy Creek) represents a three-game losing streak to a team that started 11-0 last season and returned so many starters that it got several national rankings and one preseason No. 1 ranking in Georgia.
*Grayson is back. The 39-0 victory over Gainesville doesn’t mean Grayson is ready for another state title. (The Rams won in 2011.) But the 4-6 season of 2013 is distantly in the mirror.
*It took until nearly the state finals until everyone took Creekside seriously as a state contender. Creekside went 15-0 and own its first championship in 2013. Now, the same might be said of seventh-ranked Hughes, another south Fulton County school. Hughes defeated Creekside 21-20 on Friday. Hughes led 21-0 and held on. Creekside hasn’t been held to below 27 points in 15 games – or the last time these teams played. Creekside beat Hughes 16-14 in the opener a year ago.