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Mays, Douglas County the big winners in Region 5 openers

Mays and Douglas County came up the biggest winners during the first weekend of region play in 5-AAAAAA.

Fifth-ranked Mays, the defending region champion, beat No. 6 Hughes 32-20 in a matchup of the league’s two top-rated teams. Mays scored 20 consecutive points after Hughes had taken a 14-12 lead in the third quarter. It was the Raiders’ third consecutive victory over their Fulton County rivals and their 16th straight win in games that count in region or subregion standings.

Hughes bounced back from its 47-28 loss to Mays last year by winning five of its last seven region games. The Panthers finished as the No. 4 seed but beat Region 7 champion Johns Creek in the first round of the playoffs.

Douglas County went 6-4 last season, its best record since 2007, but finished in fifth place in the region and failed to reach the postseason because it lost to the league’s four playoff teams. The Tigers have one under their belt now, avenging a 14-13 loss to Northgate with a 21-0 victory on Friday. Northgate was the third-place team in 2016.

Douglas County plays South Paulding next weekend before getting another shot at revenge when it travels to Hughes on Sept. 22. Northgate plays at Creekside next week.

New Manchester’s 23-0 victory over Creekside was noteworthy, as well. New Manchester did not win a game last year (region or otherwise) until the final week of the season, when it beat winless Tri-Cities 42-21. Creekside beat the Jaguars 35-0 in 2016 but is off to an 0-3 start this year. We should learn more about New Manchester in the next four weeks when it takes on Mays, Alexander, Douglas County and Northgate.

The other team at 1-0 in the region is Alexander, which beat South Paulding 48-12. Alexander finished third in the region last year. South Paulding has won just two of 14 games since a first-round playoff victory over Loganville during a 9-3 season in 2015.

Here’s a recap of some of the other big stories in Class AAAAAA from Week 4:

*Region 7 begins play: North Atlanta is the only remaining undefeated team (overall) in 7-AAAAAA after beating Dunwoody 14-0 in the teams’ region opener. North Atlanta, which was 1-9 last year, is 3-0 for the first time since 2010. Other teams off to a 1-0 start in the region are Alpharetta (34-31 overall Centennial), Chattahoochee (21-13 over Cambridge) and Johns Creek (21-13 over Pope).

*Still undefeated: There are only 10 unbeaten teams left in AAAAAA. Lee County (4-0), Bradwell Institute (3-0), Greenbrier (3-0), Heritage-Conyers (3-0), Douglas County (3-0) and North Atlanta (3-0) won their games. Coffee (3-0), River Ridge (3-0) and Winder-Barrow (3-0) were off, and Richmond Hill’s (2-0) game was canceled. Dunwoody, Hughes and Creekview suffered their first losses.

*Can’t outscore ‘em: Habersham Central is averaging 46 points per game but has just a 1-2 record to show for it. This week, it was a 46-45 overtime loss to Franklin County. The Raiders had 515 yards of offense but came up short in a game against a team that had not scored a point in its first two games. Habersham Central beat East Hall 72-55 in the opener before losing 24-21 to White County.

*Region 4 up next: The heart of region play begins in 4-AAAAAA next weekend, and the big matchup between Stephenson and Lovejoy will feature two teams coming in from opposite directions. Stephenson is riding high after picking up its first victory of the year, 31-18 against Southwest DeKalb. Lovejoy suffered its second consecutive loss, falling to previously winless Spalding 42-41.

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