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Thoughts on first week of prep football

By Anthony Rhoads

It was a pretty good first week of the football season in the Southern Crescent.

Things started out Thursday when Mt. Zion beat Lovejoy 20-15 at Tara Stadium.

It has to be considered an upset because Lovejoy came into the game ranked ninth in Class AAAAA in the Associated Press pre-season high school football poll.

But I really wasn't surprised Mt. Zion won the game. Mt. Zion had the perfect game plan n run the ball and control the clock. That's the way to beat a team like Lovejoy. As Jackie Green said before the game ?they can't score if they don't have the ball.'

I was talking to a fan Saturday at the Morrow/Forest Park game at Twelve Oaks and he said ?folks on the southside don't see it as an upset.'

Mt. Zion is a darn good football team and I think they will definitely make the playoffs.

Lovejoy also has a pretty good team this year. If Lovejoy can get its offense on track, they'll have a pretty solid season but it's going to be tough competing in Region 4-AAAAA with Newnan, East Coweta and Starr's Mill and you can't overlook Mundy's Mill, Union Grove and Fayette County.

Here are some other thoughts on the first week of the football season:

n Kudos to Fairbanks and McDonald: Stockbridge's Danny Fairbanks and Union Grove's Mike McDonald picked up their first victories as head coaches Friday night.

It was a long time coming for Fairbanks as his team went 0-10 last season in his first year at the helm.

Hopefully, the Tigers can build on their first victory and can get a few more wins this season.

McDonald is in his first season as a head coach and he was able to make school history Friday night. It was the first time the Union Grove football team won a season opener.

n Welcome to the Georgia High School Association: Eagle's Landing Christian Academy silenced some doubters Friday night with a 28-0 victory over Athens Christian School in its first game in the GHSA.

I don't think there is any doubt that ELCA is a good small-school football team but I think a lot of folks didn't know how the Chargers would compete against a GHSA team.

I even predicted they would lose against Athens Christian because the GHSA is a step up from the Georgia Independent School Association.

There are some good GISA teams out there like George Walton, Mt. de Sales, John Milledge and Tattnall Square but overall, the GHSA is a much stronger association.

n Painful: Not to sound mean, but Saturday's Forest Park/Morrow game was downright painful.

Morrow made some big plays early and Forest Park scored one touchdown on a big play but other than that, the game was not fun to watch.

Morrow came out with a 12-6 victory but the game was plagued by a plethora of penalties and fumbles.

n Tigers roar: Before the season started, I knew Mundy's Mill was going to be a decent football team. I don't think they will have a winning season this year because they are playing in the tough Region 4-AAAAA but they have the foundation to have a solid program and they have probably one of the best running backs in the area with Erroll Wynn.

Mundy's Mill made a big statement Friday with a 13-13 tie against Jonesboro. You always want to win but Mundy's Mill has to feel pretty good about that showing.

n Eagles flying high: Riverdale has been getting the best of North Clayton for the last several years but North Clayton can claim the bragging rights in the intense rivalry this season. The Eagles beat their county rivals to start the 2004 season Friday night; it was the first time North Clayton has beaten Riverdale since 1999.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com .