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?Cats claw way into top five

From staff and wire reports

The Lovejoy Wildcats have cracked the top five in this week's Associated Press high school football poll.

The Wildcats are ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAA after spending two straight weeks at No. 6.

Lovejoy (5-0) beat Starr's Mill 47-28 Friday and plays at Carver-Columbus in a rare Thursday night game.

"We're still rolling right along but we have the meat of our schedule coming up," Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said.

Lovejoy's offense has been in high gear during the first half of the season, averaging 37 points per game. The defense has recorded one shutout and is allowing a little more than 12 points per game.

Lovejoy is the only Clayton or Henry County team ranked this week, even though Mt. Zion and Riverdale both received votes in Class AAAAA.

In other AP football poll news:

Although the top six teams retained their previous week's ranking, Class AAAA welcomed three new teams while saying goodbye to two in the Associated Press high school football poll this week.

Sandy Creek (5-0) debuts at No. 9 after a 46-13 win over Lithia Springs on Friday. Coming in tied at No. 10 with Rome, Cedar Shoals (4-0) received enough votes to enter the poll after both Douglas County and Pebblebrook exited with region losses to unranked teams last week.

Rome (4-1) re-entered the poll after a four-week absence with a 14-6 win over Southeast Whitfield.

No. 1 Thomas County Central (4-0) received 10 first-place votes and No. 2 Marist (5-0) received five.

Class AA qualified as the runner-up in significant shifts with a few notable changes. Greater Atlanta Christian (3-2) exited the poll for the first time in more than two years after being shutout 30-0 by No. 1 Buford. Calhoun fell four positions to No. 8 after losing to Class A No. 6 Trion 37-30. Charlton County (2-2) slipped two slots to No. 7 after losing to Valdosta 38-14. No. 2 Americus (6-0) and No. 3 Early County (5-0) continue to round out the top three.

Class AAAAA saw only a change at No. 10 with Newnan (6-0) entering the poll for the first time and Douglass out after a 12-6 loss to Tri-Cities. Brookwood, Camden County and Parkview remain the top three teams.

Class AAA rankings also remain unchanged with the exception North Hall (4-0) making its debut at No. 10 after Hart County made room losing to Class AAAAA Newnan 13-0. No. 1 Screven County (5-0) received 15 of the 16 first place votes while No. 2 Gainesville (4-0) received one.

The top five teams continue in those rolls in Class A with No. 9 Commerce (2-2) and No. 10 Calvary Baptist (4-0) entering the ranks for the first time this season. Temple and Emanuel County Institute bowed out after losses last week.

No. 1 Lincoln County (5-0) received 12 first place votes, No. 2 Hawkinsville (5-0) got two and Metter (4-0) continues to hold down the No. 3 position.