AAAAAA teams take some lumps in opening-week play

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

(Branden Camp / Special to AJC)

Nineteen of the 58 teams in Class AAAAAA will hit the field for the first time this weekend, kicking off their seasons against non-region and, in most cases, out-of-classification competition.

The other 39 teams got under way last week, with mixed results. Eight schools played other Class AAAAAA teams. Ten teams played against Class AAAAAAA schools and went 5-5. Twenty more played lower-classification teams and went 10-10. And then there was Lakeside-Evans, which lost to North Augusta of South Carolina 37-0.

That gave Class AAAAAA a 15-16 record outside of the classification.

The biggest games involving AAAAAA schools this week include No. 2 Harrison at Rome, No. 4 Dalton at Calhoun, and No. 5 Mays against Stockbridge on Saturday at Lakewood Stadium. Georgia High School Football Daily wrote preview capsules of those games, which can be found by clicking here.

But there are other good games on the schedule, as well. Here’s a look at some of the best of the rest involving Class AAAAAA teams in Week 2 (all games are Friday unless noted).

*Alexander at Allatoona: These two teams played a couple of wild games when they were in Region 5-AAAAA together in 2014 and 2015. Allatoona got the better of Alexander then, but the Cougars turned the tables last year with a 21-13 victory in a non-region game. Both teams made the playoffs in 2016 (Allatoona as a No. 3 seed, Alexander as a No. 2) and are likely to do so again this year.

*Dacula at Central Gwinnett: Dacula won last year’s matchup 34-13, but both teams struggled early in the year. Dacula was 1-4 before winning five consecutive region games to capture the 8-AAAAAA title. Central Gwinnett started 1-3 but went 3-3 in region play to earn the No. 4 seed from 7-AAAAAAA. The Black Knights opened this 2017 season with a 28-24 win over South Gwinnett.

*Hughes at Westlake (Saturday): Hughes took a 4-3 lead in this intense south Fulton County rivalry last year in an unusual fashion. The Panthers led 10-9 in the third quarter when a fight broke out in the stands. As the stadium was being cleared, lightning strikes led to the suspension of the game. Because the teams weren’t in the same region, the game was not completed and Hughes got the victory.

*South Gwinnett at Lanier: Lanier’s 24-game winning streak in regular-season games ended last season when the Longhorns lost to South Gwinnett 17-0, the first time Lanier had been shut out in the seven-year history of the program. Lanier lost again in the next game, 38-7 against Northside-Warner Robins, but won six of the final seven in the regular season to claim second place in Region 8.

*Woodland-Stockbridge at Valdosta: Defending state champion Valdosta looks to bounce back after losing to Lowndes 45-0, the most-lopsided game in the history of the rivalry. The Wildcats finished with just 65 yards of total offense. Woodland won a school-record 10 games last season and reached the AAAAA quarterfinals but lost to Valdosta 51-12 in the teams’ second game of the year.

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