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GAC faces tough test from Thomson

File Photo GAC quarterback Rafe Chapple looks to throw the ball during the game against Stone Mountain earlier this season.

File Photo GAC quarterback Rafe Chapple looks to throw the ball during the game against Stone Mountain earlier this season.

THOMSON AT GAC

THOMSON BULLDOGS (3-AAA)

Coach: Milan Turner

Record: 5-0

Last week: Beat Westminster 20-10

GAC SPARTANS (6-AA)

Coach: Tim Hardy

Record: 4-1

Last week: Had a bye

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: First meeting

Directions to Greater Atlanta Christian School: From I-85, go east on Indian Trail Road and school is on the right.

First-year Greater Atlanta Christian coach Tim Hardy knew his team would have its hands full when he scheduled a game with Thomson this past offseason.

After all, the Bulldogs have a long winning tradition that includes five state championships, and have won nine games or more in nine of the last 11 seasons.

But even Hardy probably couldn't have envisioned just how big the challenge the Spartans face when Thomson comes to GAC tonight for a 7:30 kickoff.

"They're having a great year," Hardy said of tonight's opponent.

Indeed, the Bulldogs (5-0 and No. 2 state-ranked in Class AAA) have probably exceeded even their own high expectations by rolling up an undefeated record that includes wins over three teams ranked in their respective classifications in the preseason, including defending Class AAA state champion Burke County.

But as Hardy points out, the Spartans haven't exactly played an easy schedule either, something that was by design when he looked to fill a schedule that included just four Region 6-AA games.

And he is looking forward to see just how his team stacks up with the region schedule set to begin next week.

"This is the perfect time in the season for this kind of a game," Hardy said. "We had a week off last week. It's a great time to see if we can take our game to the next level.

"I can't speak for the other teams (in Region 6-AA), but I know we've gotten better (because of the tough pre-region schedule). Each one of these games has helped us, and (Thomson) will be the best team we've played to date."

So far, the Spartans (4-1, No. 8 in Class AA) have stacked up quite well behind an offense that has been very balanced behind the running of Kyle Scales (101 car., 571 yds., 10 TDs) and a passing game highlighted by QB Rafe Chapple and Peter Whiteneck and Chris Williams.

But Thomson also has plenty of weapons, not the least of which is running back Chris Jordan, who is among the top five rushers in the state with 995 yards already this season, as well as Georgia-bound tight end Jordan Davis, defensive end Bernard Dawson and cornerback Torrie Battle.

"In any game at any level, you've got to be able to run the ball and stop the run," Hardy said. "(Jordan) is fantastic. He's a difference maker, and containing him is a big concern for us.

"They're solid all over the place, and they get a lot of guys to the ball (defensively). So, we just need to execute well."