From Staff Reports
As the 2008 season approaches the midway point this week, the elite football squads in the Southern Crescent have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the crowd.
With teams playing regional games the rest of the way, each contest will have a playoff-type atmosphere as clubs jockey for positioning in the standings.
In the classroom, those who apply themselves receive high marks for academic excellence. This same standard carries over to the gridiron as the area's studious teams have earned high midterm grades for their work throughout the first half of the season.
Honor Roll: Union Grove (4-0), North Clayton (4-1), Henry County (3-1), Eagle's Landing Christian Academy (3-1) and Woodland (3-2) find itself on the honor roll with an 'A' for its outstanding performance. All four clubs have a combined record of 17-5 and rank no less than in second place in their respective regions.
Merit Roll: Luella (3-1), Riverdale (3-2), Mt. Zion (3-2), Jonesboro (2-2), Dutchtown (2-2) and Eagle's Landing (2-2) are among the second tier schools in the Southern Crescent. Luella took the field against ML King last week undefeated, but got down big early and never recovered as it fell 28-7. Although Luella is 3-1, its wins have come against Meadowcreek, Ola and Fayette County, who have a combined record of 2-12.
Riverdale rebounded from a tough loss versus Chapel Hill two weeks ago to blank Morrow 34-0 Friday night at Tara Stadium. The Raiders are two-way tie for second place in Region 4-AAAAA.
Mt. Zion was unable to follow up from its impressive win against Griffin the previous week as it lost to North Clayton 23-0 Saturday night at Tara Stadium. The Bulldogs have already matched their win total from 2007 and hope to bounce back strong at Stockbridge this Friday in a Clayton/Henry crossover game.
The Jonesboro Cardinals fell 34-19 to Alcovy Friday night, dropping them to the .500 mark on the season. Jonesboro has been inconsistent all season, winning and looking good one week, just to turnaround and lose the next time out on the field.
Needs to improve: Lovejoy (2-3), Forest Park (1-3), Ola (1-4), Stockbridge (1-4), Mundy's Mill (0-5) and Morrow (0-5).
Woodland football team growing up fast: Somebody forgot to tell the Woodland High School Wolf Pack they are only in their second year of play and their first ever against a region and varsity schedule.
The past few weeks, head coach Scott Schmidt's club is playing more like a group of seasoned veterans.
It showed Friday night as they rolled to their third win in a row - a 34-18 victory against Rutland.
The victory moved the Wolf Pack to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in Region 4-AAA action.
Quarterback Brett Vance was 10-of-14 for 104 yards and two touchdowns en route to the win.
Trey Buttler turned into Vance's favorite wide receiver, caching seven passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
Kevin Wynn stepped in for running back Josh Tookes who rested his bruised knee. Wynn finished with 105 yards on 25 carries.
The Wolf Pack face a tough Region 4-AAA test Friday when they travel to Forsyth for a game against Mary Persons, who might be a little bit angry next after falling to Jackson.
Finding their way: The Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles football team is on a two-game winning streak and are showing signs of catching on to new head coach Joe Teknipp's game plan.
Friday night, the Golden Eagles won for the second week in a row, defeating Maynard Jackson High School with a 12-0 decision. Maynard Jackson, which is the old Southside High School as dropped two games in a row against teams from Henry County. Two weeks ago, the squad also lost to Woodland.
Eagle's Landing's Justin Williams threw a 15-yard pass to Michael Lee for the only touchdown of the game.
Justin Brantley booted a 37-yard field goal and Edozie Areh recorded a safety to round the scoring.
With the win, Eagle's Landing moved to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in Region 4-AAA play.
The Golden Eagles have already won more game this year than in 2006 when they upset Henry County for the only victory of the year.
In on the act: Friday night's game against Alcovy didn't go the way Jonesboro head coach Clint Satterfield planned, but Cardinal quarterback Cliff Crews did his part to keep his team in the game.
Crews threw for a TD and ran for two others as part of the Jonesboro's scoring attack, but it wasn't enough as the Cardinals to Alcovy in the Region 4-AAAA game.
Log jam: With five weeks left in the regular season, Region 4-AAAAA is starting to get interesting. Seven of the 10 teams are still in the running for one of the four playoff spots. Newnan and East Coweta are tied at the top of the standings with 4-0 league records. Chapel Hill and Riverdale each are 3-1 in the region, and Westlake, Creekside and Lovejoy are in the running with 2-2 records in Region 4-AAAAA.
Henry County wins with defense: The Henry County Warhawks, ranked 10th in the Class AA AP football poll, has the capability of scoring, and scoring big. Friday night they proved they can also get it down on with their defense as it opened Region 4-AA play with a 13-0 decision against Central Macon.
"Our defense played extremely well," Rozier said after the victory. "Everyone kept their focus. That's hard coming off an off week and everyone getting excited about Homecoming. We had guys playing injured."
Wolverines mean business: Things were kind of rough last year for the Union Grove Wolverines under Bill Hobbs, who only stayed one year, guiding the club to a 3-7 record.
Head coach Steve Collins has changed the mindset of the program, guiding them to a 4-0 start, including Friday nights victory in the Region 2-AAAAA opener against Redan.