Northside moves into top spot in GHSA Class AAAAA football poll

Telegraph StaffOctober 17, 2012 

After weeks of battling Tucker for the top spot in Class AAAAA, Northside finally grabbed No. 1 by itself for the first time this season.

The Eagles received all 10 first-place votes to move to No. 1 in the AP Georgia high school football poll, which was released Tuesday. The Eagles benefitted from Stephenson’s win over Tucker to claim the top spot. Stephenson jumped from fourth to second, while Tucker fell to No. 5.

Warner Robins fell one spot to No. 10.

Peach County remained No. 1 in Class AAA, but Thomson received one first-place vote to prevent the Trojans from receiving unanimous support. Washington County was No. 3.

Westside moved into the top 10 for the first time when it entered at No. 10 in Class AAAA. The Seminoles will have to fight to stayed ranked when they travel to Milledgeville on Friday to take on Baldwin.

Calhoun earned unanimous support in Class AA following Brooks County’s narrow win over Fitzgerald, which fell only one spot to No. 5. Vidalia remained at No. 3, while Lamar County moved up one spot to No. 4. Bleckley County was the highest vote-getter of any unranked team, and the Royals will have their chance to jump into the top 10 when they play at Lamar County on Oct. 26.

Special teams cost Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald won’t soon forget its second loss of the season, when the Purple Hurricane did everything except win the game.

The offense moved the ball, the defense stayed off the field, and Fitzgerald kicked well and the cover teams performed.

Well, for the most part.

“We felt we were good enough to win the game,” head coach Jason Strickland said. “But we didn’t execute well enough to win it.”

A kickoff return for a touchdown revived Brooks County, and a punt return won the memorable 27-24 game for the Trojans in a huge Region 1-AA showdown between Nos. 2 and 4 last week.

Brooks County improved to 7-0 and 2-1, while Fitzgerald, which visits Berrien this week, fell to 5-2 and 2-1.

Most are talking about Deric Herring’s 68-yard punt return that was the game-winner for the hosts with less than 20 seconds left, but his kickoff return of nearly 90 yards after Fitzgerald had taken a 10-point lead was at least as big.

Two coverage mistakes, two touchdowns, and a three-point loss.

“We did everything according to game plan,” Strickland said. “It was one of those deals where we woke up Saturday morning still trying to figure out what the heck happened.”

GISA update

In GISA Region 1-AAA, Westfield, Deerfield-Windsor and Pinewood all have opened with wins in region play. This week’s games feature Westfield at Deerfield. The Hornets have lost seven straight to the Knights.

In Region 2-AAA, Tattnall Square, Stratford and Heritage opened with wins in region play. Stratford plays Friday at Heritage, while Tattnall hosts Trinity Christian-Sharpsburg and Mount de Sales hosts Westminster.

Trinity Christian-Dublin leads Region 2-AA with a 2-0 mark and hosts Bethesda Day, which is 0-2, on Friday. Brentwood, which is 4-3 overall, is 0-1 in the region. In Region 4-AA, Piedmont is 2-5 overall and opens region play Friday when it hosts Dominion Christian.

In Region 1-A, John Hancock is 0-8 and 0-3. In Region 2-A, Crisp Academy is 4-2 and 1-0, while Robert Toombs is 3-4 and 1-0 and Fullington is 3-3 and 0-1.

Turnaround

Toombs County is sitting in much better position than it was this time last year.

Right now, the Bulldogs are 4-2 overall and 3-2 in GHSA Region 2-AA play, tied in the loss column for the final playoff berth from that region. That’s a dramatic swing from last year, when Toombs County lost its first eight games before finishing 2-8.

Friday’s game at Long County will be a key test. Long County is at 2-3 in region play and 3-3 overall, making this contest a must-win for the host Blue Tide with four games remaining on their schedule. A win by Toombs County, meanwhile, will keep the Bulldogs in the running for a playoff spot heading into the most difficult portion of the team’s schedule, a home game against 10th-ranked Benedictine on Oct. 26 and a road trip to unbeaten and third-ranked Vidalia on Nov. 2.

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