The fourth-ranked Lovett Lions got all they wanted from No. 7 B.E.S.T. Academy on Friday night, ultimately prevailing 42-28. The win positions the Lions well in Region 6-AA, and the season finale against No.1 Greater Atlanta Christian could prove to be the de facto region championship game as expected by many prior to the season.
It was the fourth straight game against a ranked opponent for the defending state champion Lions (3-2), and their battle-hardened toughness showed. B.E.S.T. (2-2) got 239 yards on 21 carries from dynamic back Deshawn Waller, but four turnovers proved to be the Eagles' undoing. The final turnover set up a Lovett touchdown and finally gave the Lions some breathing room with a 35-20 lead.
It was the second consecutive week an opposing back has rushed for more than 200 yards against Lovett (Woodward Academy's Elijah Holyfield rushed for 260 on 39 carries last week), but the Lions have found a way to win each time.
B.E.S.T. now readies itself to host GAC next week in another pivotal 6-AA matchup. It will be interesting to see how he fares against AA's top team, but Waller has proven he's going to put stress on every opposing defense he comes across this year. Unofficially, he's nearing 800 rushing yards through four games, and he threw for over 200 last week when pressed into QB duty.
Morgan's the man
No. 2 Fitzgerald (4-0) got pushed to the brink Friday night by Macon County (2-2), but a timely turnover and a whole lot of Gerald Morgan was enough to lift the Purple Hurricanes to a 41-34 win.
Fitzgerald was trailing in the third quarter until Daniel Rivera picked up a fumble and returned it 100 yards to tie the game 27-27. Morgan, who finished with 32 carries for 222 yards, then scored two of his five touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help the Purple Hurricanes hold on. Unofficially, Morgan is now at 674 rushing yards on the season with 10 touchdowns.
His big game overshadowed a huge night for Macon County's Devontae Hudson. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior who is listed at running back on the roster caught six passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns in the loss.
Spread the love
Vidalia quarterback/preseason All-State athlete Jordan Black has gotten most of the attention for the third-ranked Indians this season, and for good reason. He's had a hand in 11 touchdowns, and is the focal point for an offense that's averaging more than 39 points per game.
But the Indians (4-0, 1-0 Region 2-AA) proved again Friday night they're more than capable of distributing the ball widely, as 14 different players registered carries in a 43-0 win over McIntosh County Academy. Black was the leader, carrying four times for 65 yards and two touchdowns, and adding punt return for a score. No Indian carried more than six times, as the group combined for 285 yards on 43 carries.
Other news, notes
- Bleckley County knocked off No. 10 Dublin for the first time in the 11-game series history Friday night. More importantly, the 28-21 win was the first of the season for the Royals, who have a final nonregion tune-up against Berrien next week. After that, it's on to 4-AA, starting with presumed favorites Lamar County on Oct. 10 and Macon County on Oct. 17.
- Playing its first full game without two-way standout Duranta Dunson on Friday, Heard County fell to Cedartown, 45-21. The Braves (1-3) don't open region play until Oct. 3, but if you believe in comparing scores, Friday's result might be a cause for concern, as Cedartown was coming off a 55-20 loss to Bowdon, Heard County's Region 5 foe. Dunson, an All-State running back and a 100-plus tackle safety, broke his collarbone last week and is reportedly out at least six weeks.
- Thomasville got its first win of the season on Friday, edging AAAA Baldwin, 19-18. The Bulldogs faced an unforgiving nonregion slate, but the win over a quality opponent is an indication that they'll be a factor in what's shaping up to look like a deep pool of playoff contenders in Region 1. Thomasville opens region play at Seminole County (2-1) next week.
- Darlington got the better of Bowdon, 24-19, in a battle of teams on the outskirts of the top 10.
- Washington-Wilkes def. Thomson 21-18; a quality win for the Tigers, who fell from No. 2 to out of the top 10 after last week's loss to Jefferson County. Of note: Thomson is responsible for Jefferson County's only loss of the season. Washington-Wilkes overcame an 18-7 deficit in the second half and benefited from three failed PATs for Thomson.
How the top 10 fared:
1. GAC def. Hapeville Charter, 41-0
2. Fitzgerald def. Macon County, 41-34
3. Vidalia def. McIntosh County Academy, 43-0
4. Lovett def. No. 7 B.E.S.T., 42-28
5. Benedictine def. Bacon County, 47-0
6. Brooks County def. Perry, 22-3
7. B.E.S.T. lost to No. 4 Lovett, 42-28
8. Jefferson County def. Glenn Hills, 53-10
9. Lamar County def. Ola, 41-27
10. Dublin lost to Bleckley County, 28-21