Lowndes (Valdosta) fans were heard snickering two weeks ago when their crosstown rival, Valdosta, survived a 64-62 overtime shootout against Brunswick, a smaller school. Where’s the defense, they asked.
Last week, Valdosta fans got their retort when Lowndes played a similar school from the same region in southeast Georgia in Ware County (Waycross). Lowndes grunted out a 3-0 victory.
Where's the offense? Lowndes won on 46-yard field goal by Jed Solomon that hit the cross bar and bounced over.
"That was an old-timey game," Ware County coach Ed Dudley told the Valdosta Daily Times. "We went in thinking if we could get it to the fourth quarter, we might stand a chance. We just couldn't score."
Lowndes and Valdosta will settle things Oct. 8. If both win this week, it will be the first time these schools have both been ranked while playing each other since 2005.
MORE GREAT GAMES
The Lowndes-Ware County game was one of several intriguing games last week. Here are five more:
- Newton (Covington) ended Newnan's 26-game winning streak in region games with a 35-32 overtime victoroy. Akeem Hunt, who some believe is Georgia's best running back east of Isaiah Crowell of Carver Columbus, rushed for 133 yards and returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Newton (4-0) is ranked this year for the first time since 1995.
- Buford, Georgia's defending champion in Class AA, avenged its only 2009 loss with a 37-14 victory over Lovett. Seon Jones rushed for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Lovett sat out three starting linebackers because of a strict policy on concussions.
- In a Region 3-AA game between unbeaten teams, Swainsboro came from 24-7 down and beat Jefferson County (Louisville) 38-37 in overtime. Swainsboro's first-year coach, David Johnson, chose to go for a 2-point conversion in overtime, and Dewan Somerville – who had only one other carry in the game – scored on a sweep for the win. Swainsboro also beat county rival Emanual County Institute after Johnson spurned a point after and attempted a 2-point conversion in overtime.
- In Region 3-A, Johnson County (Wrightsville) beat Emanuel County Institute (Twin City) in a game between ranked Class A teams. Zack Walker had 11 receptions for 203 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime.
- In the biggest upset of the week, Prince Avenue Christian (Athens) beat Athens Academy 28-7 behind 278 rushing yards and four touchdowns from William McNeely. Prince Avenue Christian is a private school that started varsity football in 2005. Athens Academy, a winner of five region titles in the past 10 years, had never lost to any local private schools.
Here are some of the top games in Georgia this week:
- Camden County (Kingsland) (4-0) at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (3-0): Camden County has called off school on Friday so that its students and staff can make the drive down to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for this game that could give Camden a shot to contend for national championships.
- Pope (Marietta) (4-0) at Kell (Marietta) (5-0): Kell has beaten five straight undefeated teams, and Pope would be the sixth. All five of Kell's opponents are undefeated (19-0) when not playing Kell this season. This is a big game in Region 5-AAAA. Both have preseason Super 11 players: RB/DB Brian Randolph of Kell (committed to Tennessee) and G Thomas O'Reilly of Pope (committed to Auburn).
- East Coweta (Sharpsburg) (4-0) at Newton (Covington) (4-0): Newton fired its coach, Nick Collins, just before the season and promoted Cortez Allen to replace him. The team has persevered. This is a key game in Region 2-AAAAA.
- Valdosta (5-0) at King (Lithonia) (3-1): M.L. King has scored more than 40 points in all four of its games this year, including a 44-41 loss to South Gwinnett. Valdosta's new coach is Rance Gillespie, the former offensive coordinator at Georgia Southern who also has won a couple of state titles at Peach County. He has brought the spread offense to Valdosta, which will suit up two big-time recruits in tight end Jay Rome and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
- Brookwood (Snellville) (4-1) at South Gwinnett (Snellville) (4-1): This is the battle of Snellville and a pivotal game in Region 8-AAAAA. Brookwood leads the all-time series 22-4, but South Gwinnett, led by quarterback Kent Rollins, won 17-14 last year and is the higher-ranked team in most polls.
- Eastside (Covington) (4-1) at Sandy Creek (Tyrone) (4-0): Sandy Creek won the Class AAAA title in 2009 and dropped down to AAA this year. Both these teams are ranked in AAA.
- Fitzgerald (4-1) at Cook (Adel) (4-0): Two state-ranked teams from Region 1-AA go at it. Fitzgerald has beaten Cook four straight times, but Cook is ranked higher this season and is led by Alabama-committed linebacker Shannon Brown.