The region games were all decided by 32 points or more, with two ending with running clocks. It hints that the region either has top-10-caliber programs, or teams that are in rebuilding or transition modes.
McEachern defeated Kennesaw Mountain 41-7 on the road, while North Cobb also prevailed away from home with a 46-14 rout of Harrison. Hillgrove came back from its bye week to handle Campbell 63-28 in Powder Springs, and Marietta got its first region victory against Pebblebrook, winning 38-6 at Northcutt Stadium.
Based on the early-season results, McEachern (5-0, 3-0), Hillgrove (4-0, 2-0) and North Cobb (3-1, 2-0) appear to be the favorites to finish in the top three. All three teams, along with Marietta (3-2, 1-2), have been state-ranked this season, with McEachern currently ranked No. 2 and Hillgrove No. 6.
The fourth playoff berth could be up for grabs.
North Cobb cornerback Latrell Gibbs ignited the Warriors’ win against Harrison. Assigned to cover Harrison’s receiver Drevon Jones, he came away with four interceptions — two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Torrance McGee added two receiving touchdowns, while J’Vonte Herrod ran for 141 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a great game in all three phases,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “We still have to get better. We still made mistakes and we have to continue to get better.”
Quarterback Ty Clemons accumulated 148 total yards in McEachern’s win over Kennesaw Mountain, with 77 rushing and 71 passing. Clemons’ night included two touchdown passes and a rushing score from 75 yards out. He also led the Indians on five straight touchdown drives before Kennesaw Mountain could answer.
Thus far, McEachern’s wins have come by an average margin of 25.6 points per game.
Hillgrove quarterback Elijah Ironside had a career night against Campbell, throwing for 395 yards and seven touchdowns. His tally of touchdown passes was one short of the Cobb County record set by Lassiter’s Hutson Mason in 2009.
Marietta’s defense held Pebblebrook to 141 total yards, with Devon Henderson returning an interception for a touchdown.
Like McEachern, North Cobb and Hillgrove, South Cobb (2-2, 2-0) is also perfect in the region after back-to-back wins over Kennesaw Mountain and Campbell. The Eagles, who did not play Friday night, will be tested over the next two weeks when they go on the road to face North Cobb and McEachern.
At least the Eagles had last week to rest and recuperate before having to prepare for their difficult stretch.
“It was good to have a bye week before North Cobb,” South Cobb coach Michael Youngblood said. “We went to have a look at them (against Harrison) and they’re very gifted. They are just a very good football team and you have to find a way to keep that offense off the field.
“I kept preaching to the kids that we can’t make mistakes when we go over there.”
Harrison (3-2, 2-1) also had an undefeated record in 4AAAAAA before falling to North Cobb. After beating Campbell and Pebblebrook to open region play, the Hoyas will try to rebound at Kennesaw Mountain this week.
Unlike South Cobb and Harrison, Marietta (3-2, 1-2) was winless in its first two region games before beating Pebblebrook. Still, the Blue Devils still have a shot at returning to the playoffs.
Marietta has proved it can compete in 4AAAAAA, with its two region losses coming by a combined 21 points. The Blue Devils also had a lopsided non-region win over Newnan to begin the season.
Marietta has a bye this week, but it can quickly get back into the hunt when it hosts Kennesaw Mountain on Oct. 11 and travels to Campbell on Oct. 18.
Kennesaw Mountain (1-3, 0-3), Campbell (2-3, 0-3) and Pebblebrook (2-3, 0-3) are still looking for their first region wins, and it won’t get any easier for Campbell and Pebblebrook.
The Spartans will welcome McEachern this Friday, while Pebblebrook is hosting Hillgrove.