From Staff Reports
It will be a short week for four Southern Crescent football teams thanks to playing their games on Thursday.
At Tara Stadium, the Dutchtown Bulldogs come across the county line to face Forest Park, which is in need of a victory after losing six straight.
Dutchtown comes into the game havng lost two of its last three games, including last week's 24-0 homecoming contest at home to Mt. Zion.
The Bulldogs started the season with four wins in a row, but have only won once since then, defeating Ola 33-28.
Forest Park opened the season with an 8-0 victory over Mundy's Mill, but have had trouble getting its offense on track since then, scoring just 18 points in the last six games.
Also on Thursday, Mundy's Mill will take on Riverdale at Twelve Oaks. Both teams have struggled this season, with each squads' only victory coming against Morrow.
Mundy's Mill was off last week, but lost to Chapel Hill, 28-14, in its last game.
Riverdale fell to Pebblebrook 37-15 last week.
North Clayton tries to get back on track: The North Clayton Eagles (6-1) return to the field after an open date last week. The Eagles' first objective will be starting a new winning streak.
Two weeks ago, North Clayton lost for the first time this season when it dropped a game to No. 1 ranked Griffin, 26-14.
The Eagles will try and get things back on track when they play at Stockbridge in a Region 4-AAAA game.
The Eagles come into the game with a 6-1 overall record and a 4-1 mark in Regon 4-AAAA play.
Like North Clayton, Stockbridge also lost to Griffin. The Tigers' only victory this year came against Forest Park in a 26-0 decision.
The Cardinals' turn: This week, it will be Joneboro's turn to face Griffin. The Cardinals will attempt to tame the No.1-ranked Bears in a 7:30 p.m. Tara Stadium battle on Friday.
Jonesboro comes into the Region 4-AAAA contest with a 2-5 record overall record and a 1-4 mark in Region 4-AAAA.
Griffin has outscored its opponent 268-38.
Bigger than 7-0: Union Grove has started 7-0 in both seasons of coach Steven Collins' tenure so far, an achievement not lost on the Wolverines coach.
"We're blessed," Collins said after Union Grove's 23-19 victory over Luella last Friday.
But Collins and his players also have a measure of perspective, knowing the toughest part of their schedule approaches.
Union Grove has gone 7-0 against teams with a combined 14-37 record. Its only win against a team with a winning record was a 31-0 victory over Henry County back on September 11.
Now comes No. 8 Stephenson (7-0), Newton (4-3) and No. 6 M.L. King (6-1). Last season, the Wolverines lost to both Stephenson and M.L. King to finish third in Region 2-AAAAA, costing them an opening round playoff game at home.
So while being 7-0 again is nice, Union Grove understands the bigger picture.
"It feels good (being 7-0)," Union Grove linebacker Hampton Mizell said, "but we're ready for Stephenson. We're not looking at 7-0. We're looking at a region championship."
- Brian Paglia
First things first: Luella had accumulated over 150 yards of offense in the first half last Friday at Union Grove. The Lions led 19-16 at halftime, belying its 2-4 record. A team looking for a break seemed on the brink of pulling a significant upset.
Then Luella (2-5) couldn't get a first down. Well, the Lions got five in the first half. But four of those came on its final drive late in the fourth quarter.
By then Union Grove's defense had adjusted and scored a go-ahead touchdown to take a 23-19 lead.
"Defensively, they gave us problems moving the ball and picking up first downs," Luella coach Paul Burgdorf said. "If we're able to pick up a few more first downs, maybe we're able to make it a little bit different story."
The loss left Luella confounded after the game, particularly because of its poor second-half performance in which the Lions gained just 46 yards.
"This one's a tough one to swallow," Burgdorf said after the game. "Period. I don't know. I'm kind of at a loss."
- Brian Paglia