Lovett will have some new local rivalry games to look forward to as Holy Innocents’ and Pace move up from Class A to play in Region 6AA.
Westminster will no longer share a region with Lovett after moving up to AAA, but the two archrivals will continue their annual Battle of Buckhead this fall and the Wildcats’ rivalry with Blessed Trinity will become even more intense as region rivals in 4AAA.
With some new rivalries created and old ones renewed, here are some of the games to look out for in 2014:
o Pace at Lovett, Aug. 22: This will be the first meeting on the gridiron between the two Buckhead private schools as Pace moves up from Class A to join the Lions in Region 6AA.
It will also be a big test for the Knights right off the bat as they make their debut as a AA team, facing the defending champions in that classification.
o Holy Innocents’ at Riverwood, Aug. 29: Week two will bring a renewal of the rivalry between the Sandy Springs schools.
Riverwood will go for its third win in a row over Holy Innocents’, with the Raiders claiming last year’s edition 35-21. As usual, the game is sort of a David vs. Goliath battle, with the AA Golden Bears facing the AAAAA Raiders.
o Lovett at Westminster, Aug. 29: With both teams now playing in separate regions and classifications, the stakes aren’t quite as high for this year’s edition of The Battle of Buckhead.
While there are no region and state playoff implications involved, the 27th meeting between the two archrivals should be as intense as ever as the Wildcats look to end their two-game losing streak against the defending AA state champions and avenge last year’s 20-0 loss.
o North Atlanta at Riverwood, Sept. 19: The rivalry between the two local public schools resumes after a three-year absence as North Atlanta joins Riverwood in Region 7AAAAA.
It will be a measuring stick for a rebuilding North Atlanta program trying to bounce back from an 0-10 season in 2013 as it faces a Riverwood squad that is fresh off of its first state playoff season since 2001.
o Pace at Holy Innocents’ (at Riverwood), Sept. 20: This should be a crucial Region 6AA game for the local rivals in their first season in AA.
A win would give a boost for either team in their quest for a state playoff berth from 6AA. Holy Innocents’ is aiming for its first state playoff berth in AA after advancing to the postseason the previous six consecutive years in Class A, and Pace goes for its second playoff spot overall and first since 2010.
o Riverwood at North Springs, Oct. 10: Riverwood has had the advantage with four straight wins, but North Springs will try to close the gap in the rivalry between the Sandy Springs public schools on even ground with a win.
The game will give North Springs a sense of how far it has progressed as it continues its rebuilding program under second-year coach Steve Horton.
o Holy Innocents’ at Lovett, Oct. 17: This should be a game with strong postseason implications, especially for Holy Innocents’, which is attempting to advance to the state playoffs in its first season in AA.
The game will be a battle between a Lovett team that is the defending AA state champion and a Holy Innocents’ squad that was a Class A state quarterfinalist a year ago. It will be the third meeting between the two teams and the first since 2007, with Lovett winning both previous meetings.
o Westminster at Blessed Trinity, Oct. 17: State playoff implications most likely will be on the line for Westminster as it goes on the road to face AAA powerhouse Blessed Trinity in a crucial Region 4AAA battle.
The Wildcats will also try to snap their three-game losing streak against the Titans, a AAA quarterfinalist a year ago.
o Greater Atlanta Christian at Lovett, Oct. 31: The Region 6AA championship has come down to the game between these two teams the last two years, and this year’s battle should prove to be no exception.
Lovett beat GAC to clinch the 6AA title in both 2012 and 2013. The Lions eked out a close-fought 17-14 decision a year ago.