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If its scrimmage was any indication of how exciting this year's Greater Atlanta Christian (GAC) season is going to be, then Spartan fans are in store for a fun season.

As it prepares to open its season Friday night against Benedictine, GAC is coming off a 42-34 victory against Woodward Academy and a preseason that made the Atlanta-Journal Constitution conclude the Spartans are the No. 1 team in AA.

Head coach Tim Hardy was encouraged by his team's performance on both sides of the ball while coming out of the game injury-free.

"The thing I was proud of was I thought we executed all the way down the field," Hardy said.

Hardy is going into his third season with the Spartans with two 10-win seasons and two-consecutive playoff appearances behind him.

Despite last season being cut short in the second-round of the playoffs by a 1-point loss to Calhoun, the AJC has ranked GAC the best team in AA.

Hardy said he's pleased with the ranking, but it's meaningless until November.

"We're no way where near where we need to be right now," Hardy said adding there's no extra pressure because of the ranking.

History states otherwise, however, as only a handful of teams who received a No. 1 preseason ranking while never winning a state title actually accomplished the tricky task in Georgia's long high school football past.

Hardy still believes the ranking is a positive and said it's always good to have people talking about your program.

GAC returns senior running back, defensive back and kick returner Micah Abernathy, a staple for the Spartans offense.

Abernathy is rated among one of the top returning rushers in Georgia, and there's no question as to why as the 6-1, 187-pound senior had 20 touchdowns in 154 carries last season and more than 1,600 rushing yards.

"Micah is an explosive player on the offensive side of the ball and takes it the distance on any given play," Hardy said.

Another Spartan with numerous college offers is linebacker Tyler Cooksey, but unlike Abernathy who is undecided, Cooksey has committed to Georgia Tech.

These two anchors on both sides of the ball could be just what the Spartans need to secure the program's fifth region and inch closer to winning the program's first state title.

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