Two of the top teams in the state did battle last Friday as Lowndes traveled down the street to take on Valdosta in the Winnersville Classic. The Wildcats looked to break their seven-game losing streak against the Vikings and actually had a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter. But Lowndes took advantage of some late turnovers committed by the Wildcats and went on to win 24-17. The Viking defense gave up only six yards rushing and forced Valdosta QB Ryan Whilden to throw three interceptions. Both teams are now 6-1, but Lowndes is first place in Region 1-AAAAA due to their undefeated region record.
Peachtree Ridge looked to keep their winning streak alive when they faced Collins Hill last Friday. But the Eagles’ defense took it to the Lions’ offense and came away with the 14-10 win. Collins Hill forced Peachtree Ridge to commit three turnovers and quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns. The Ridge will look to get back on track when they take on Norcross in the GPB game of the week on www.gpb.org/sports. Both teams are 5-1 and looking to keep pace with North Gwinnett for the Region 7-5A title.
And speaking of North Gwinnett, the Bulldogs and Stephenson are the only teams in Class 5A that are undefeated. Does this mean they are the two best teams in the state? Only time will tell because they have some tough games on their slate and will have to play their best football down the stretch. If they do finish their seasons with prefect records, they will have to go through the playoffs where anything can happen. North Gwinnett will look to go 7-0 Friday night when they take on Mountain View. Stephenson will also try to become 7-0 when they travel to Langston Hughes.
VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS …
While football is past the halfway point of the season, softball and volleyball have begun their respective state playoff tournaments. While results weren’t available at press time, there are metro Atlanta teams to watch for in both sports as they try to either defend their title, or make a name for themselves and be a surprise team a make a run in the playoffs.
Cobb County is a hotspot for volleyball as Pope and Walton look to win titles in their respective classes. Walton is the top-ranked team in Class 5A and come into the tournament as a No. 1 seed. Chloe Cook looks to build on the momentum had in the Area 1 Championship whens she tallied 11 kills against Woodstock. Walton also consists of two solid juniors in Katherine Plessy and Kelly Murphy, who each added six and seven skills respectively against Woodstock.
Pope moved down to 4A this season and, just like they did in 5A, the Greyhounds dominated the competition, losing only one match which was against, oddly enough, Walton. They are led by Mary Hannah Arrington and Mary Hoey and if they are both on their game, they usually win a lot of matches. Teams that Pope needs to watch for are Chattahoochee, Marist and Whitewater. But if the Lady Greyhounds continue to play at high level, it will be a compelling 4A tournament.
SOFTBALL SCENARIOS …
Over in softball, it looks like Collins Hill is poised to win another 5A state championship. They recently won the Region 7-5A Tournament and come into the state tournament with a 25-2-1 record. Kayla Floor comes into the tournament as one of the best pitchers in the state with a six- strikeout performance in the region championship against North Gwinnett. They took on Etowah in the first round of the state tournament which stated Wednesday. Head coach Billy Dooley thinks his team has a shot of winning the title again this season.
“I feel good about our team and would pick them over anyone but at this point of the year,” Dooley said to the Gwinnett Daily Post right after the win against North Gwinnett. “We’ve just got to keep doing what we do.”
Marist won the 4A title last year and look to make another run at the title this year as well. They did lose a few important players in due to graduation such as Lori Spingola, who won Gatorade Georgia Softball Player of the Year last season. but the Lady War Eagles won their region once again and come into the tournament with a lot of postseason experience. If they do go on to win the first round of the tournament as well as the second round, they will likely face Madison County who is considered by some as the best team in the state.