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Friday Night Lights: Athens Academy Hopes to Stay No. 1 in 8-A

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In the GHSA 8-A, the #1 in the region Athens Academy Spartans welcome the skidding Commerce Tigers. Once upon a time and not so long ago, the Tigers were ranked #10 in the state, but have taken a nosedive out of the rankings ever since. They were  4-0 but hadn't faced an 8-A opponent until being dismantled by George Walton Academy three weeks ago. Since then they have played only 8-A opponents and haven't won a single game. The Spartans, by contrast, are 6-0, 0-4 in region after beating Pinecrest last week by a score of 27-7. Commerce was blanked by Prince Ave last week, 30-0. Next week, Athens Academy faces George Walton Academy's Bulldogs.

Prince Avenue Christian School's Wolverines host Hebron Academy tonight. PACS has had a playoff-worthy season thus far and was back happy to be back in the "W" column last week after loosing to the Spartans in an epic defensive battle to Athens Academy the week prior. Hebron has had a tough go of it in 8-A this year. Their only win has come from the only non-region opponent. After a 14-41 walloping by Athens Christian Academy last week, they stand qt 1-5, 0-4. Next week PACS has a bye and will play Pinecrest on Nov 2, Hebron and Commerce face each other next week.

The George Walton Academy Bulldogs travel to Pinecrest this week. The Bulldogs boast a strong 5-1 overall record, and are 2-0 for against 8-A opponents. They have been dominant of late, besting Hebron last week, 52-10. Pinecrest lost to Athens Academy's Spartans last week, and have a 3-2, 1-1 record on the year. Next week, George Walton faces that undefeated Spartan team in what is sure to be another 8-A classic.

Athens Christian Academy has a bye this week. They will meet Pinecrest at home on Nov 2 with a 3-4 / 2-1 record. The Social Circle Redskins hope to end a two-year losing streak against the team who, ironically, ended their own two-season losing steak last year by defeating Social Circle. In any event, Somebody's losing streak ends tonight in the game between the Redskins and the Riverside Academy Eagles. Both teams are 0-6 on the season. These teams fates seem almost intertwined...Riverside's was victory was that streak-ender against the Skins a year ago. The Redskins have only one game since beating Riverside two years ago. Last week was no exception for Social Circle as they lost to Oglethorpe County 21-29. The Eagles lost to Union County, 41-13.  Next week the 'Skins head to Jefferson.

The Undefeated Loganville Christian Academy's Lions face their second divisional opponent of the season tonight, in the Young Americans Christian Academy (Conyers) Eagles. Both are members of the Christian Schools of Ga/N Alabama independent region. The Lions are 6-0 after smashing Dominion Academy last week, 43-12. YACS is 1-5 after a Flint River Academy 42-0 routing last week. Next week, the Lions face cross-town rivals Covenant Christian Academy (Loganville) in the final game of their season.

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In 8-AAA action, the Oconee County Warriors face the Franklin County Lions. By the numbers, the game is a dead-even matchup, as both teams have identical records of 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the region. Both teams took losses from regional opponents last week as well. For Franklin County it was by 13-28 to the Regional leaders the North Oconee Titans; the Warriors took a 19-58 lump on the chin from Hart County. Next week, the Warriors will face the Jackson County Panthers.

The 8-AAA leaders, the North Oconee Titans, head northeast to Elbert County to face the Blue Devils. The Titans used last week's win over Franklin County to improve to 1-5 / 3-0. Elbert County has an overall record of 4-2 but is also 3-0 in the region going into tonight's game after beating the slumping Morgan County Bulldogs by a touchdown last week. Next week the Titans will square off against East Jackson High School.

It's an 8-AAAAA catfight in Athens tonight as the Cedar Shoals Jaguars welcome Apalachee Wildcats. The Wildcats (2-4, 1-3) squeaked out a win last week against Loganville.  The Jags (3-3, 1-2)were on a bye last week but took a trampling by the stampeding Gainseville Red Elephants the week before. Next week, the 'chee head home to welcome the Salem Seminoles while Cedar Shoals heads to Winder-Barrow to face the Bulldoggs.

More 8-AAAAA action tonight in Gainesville as the 3-3, 3-1 Clarke Central Gladiators face the #13 state-ranked Red Elephants. 6-1 Gainesville has been dominant in the region this year, defeating 8-5A opponents in all four regional games thus far by an average margin of +20. Last week, The Gladiators swallowed a tough loss against a tough opponent, 20-23 to the Heritage Patriots. The Red Elephants crushed Salem 49-6. Next week Clarke Central heads home to face an equally tough Flowery Branch team; Gainseville has a bye before facing the Loganville Red Devils on Nov 2.

Ominious skies on the horizon in Walnut Grove tonight, as the Warriors batten down the wigwam in preparation for the arrival of the Monroe Area Purple Hurricanes. The undefeated 'Canes blow into town tonight tied for 1st in the GHSA Region 8-AAAA standings. Last week, they defeated the Stephens County Indians in their closest game of the season, 21-17. The Canes are 6-0 for the season and 3-0 in the region. The 1-5 Warriors have yet to win a regional game in three attempts, including last week's 0-51 route at the hands of the Chestatee War Eagles. Next week, the tribe heads to Covington to face Eastside High, while Monroe Area faces Madison County at home.

Playoff bids are not exactly on the line in Loganville tonight, but team pride is as the the Red Devils try to eke out a win over the hapless Winder-Barrow Bulldoggs. The Devils haven't won a game since defeating Walnut Grove in their home opener in early September, and have had zero success in the 8-AAAAA region (1-5, 0-4).  They hope to change that luck tonight against the 0-6/0-4 Bulldoggs, who despite having an extra "g" in their mascot's name haven't won a game since October of 2009. Ouch. Last week, Loganville lost to Apalachee in a tight game while Winder-Barrow lost to Flowery Branch in a not-so-tight game. Next week both teams keep it in-the region, Winder-Barrow heading home to scrap with Cedar Shoals; Loganville heads to Conyers to meet the Heritage Patriots.

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