Lakeside is No. 10 in the most recent Class AAAA Associated Press top-10 poll, believed to be the first time the school has ever been ranked. Informed of this fact, coach Jody Grooms laughed.
"That's incredible," he said. "I didn't think a lot of the (voters) knew where Lakeside was. ... It's just a testament to our kids, staff, community and faculty. They've worked very hard and are deserving of any honor they get."
Former Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Todd Holcomb, who launched the influential Georgia High School Football Daily newsletter this past spring, confirmed in an e-mail Lakeside has never been ranked in the AJC 's statewide top-10, which dates back to 1952. Lakeside started playing football in 1988.
The Panthers' schedule the next two weeks is their toughest of the season: at Hephzibah, and at Richmond Academy. Both teams are undefeated in the region, as are the Panthers.
"We lose these next two, and they'll forget about us," Grooms said. "You're only as good as your last game."
REBELS IMPRESS: Grooms called Hephzibah a "more complete team than last year."
Last year's Rebels team played host to the first home playoff game in school history. Armed with an improved kicking game, Hephzibah is off to a 3-1 start. The Rebels, idle last week, have had an extra week to prepare for Lakeside. Lakeside won by two points last season.
"There's no reason for us to think it's going to be any different this year," Grooms said.
THIS AND THAT: Richmond Academy travels to Harlem this week for a rare road game; the Musketeers will play at home eight times this season. ... Wins over Butler and Josey have helped Cross Creek match its win total from a season ago. But Butler and Josey were also the only teams it defeated last year. ... Westside and Josey, which meet Friday, have played every year the two schools have been in existence, save 2000-01. Westside leads the series 24-14.