High school football: Week 5 AP Poll hits and misses

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerSeptember 26, 2012 

There’s that point in the middle of every season where things become a little stagnant.

It’s usually that week just before region play gets going, where teams are playing softer out-of-region opponents as a final tune-up for the real season.

That’s about where we are right now. As I filled out my ballot this week, I noticed how little change there was on it from last week. Only a handful of teams in the top 10 lost, and none really had signature wins for me to jump one team over another.

The real season begins on Friday, however, so buckle up.

Here's a look at the full rankings, how I voted and where I think voters went astray. As always, chime in in the comments or on Twitter @leprepsports

Also, be sure to join me online at 4 p.m. on Friday for the prep sports chat. We will talk about high school football, high school softball, badminton or water polo. Whatever is on your mind, we can discuss it.

Class AAAAAA

1. Camden County (11) 4-0 119 1

2. Lassiter (1) 4-0 104 2

3. Norcross 4-0 93 3

4. Lowndes 4-0 87 4

5. West Forsyth 4-0 54 6

T-6. Colquitt County 3-1 53 5

T-6. North Cobb 4-0 53 7

8. Grayson 3-1 32 8

9. North Gwinnett 3-1 27 9

10. Parkview 3-1 19 10

Others receiving votes: Lovejoy 14, South Cobb 2, Johns Creek 2, Walton 1.

How I voted:

1. Camden County

2. Norcross

3. Lassiter

4. Lowndes

5. Colquitt County

6. West Forsyth

7. Parkview

8. North Cobb

9. Grayson

10. Lovejoy

Overvalued…

Not a lot changed this week. In fact, my ballot was exactly the same as a week ago. So how do we figure out which teams fit in these categories this week? We don’t. I have no idea. All of these teams are very good, and picking one that is ranked too high is difficult. If you twist my arm this week, I’ll say West Forsyth. It’s such a good team, but it’s also relatively new to the state title discussion. I don’t know that it’s on the level of the rest of the top five teams.

Undervalued…

It had to be said at some point. Sure, Grayson lost to Parkview; sure it doesn’t carry a spotless record anymore. But does anyone believe this is the No. 8 team in Class 6A? I don’t. This team will be right there in the mix for the state title when playoff time rolls around.

Just right…

The top four teams are a step ahead of the others at this point, with the exception of Grayson. I think they’re in the right order.

Class AAAAA

1. Tucker (8) 4-0 116 1

2. Northside-Warner Robins (4) 3-0 112 2

3. MLK, Jr. 4-0 89 3

4. Stephenson 3-0 79 4

5. East Paulding 4-0 75 5

6. Thomas County Central 4-1 54 6

7. Allatoona 4-0 43 7

8. Gainesville 3-1 37 8

9. Kell 3-1 22 9

10. Warner Robins 2-1 17 10

Others receiving votes: Heritage-Conyers 13, Bainbridge 2, Lee County 2.

How I voted

1. Tucker

2. Northside-Warner Robins

3. East Paulding

4. MLK, Jr.

5. Stephenson

6. Allatoona

7. Gainesville

8. Thomas County Central

9. Kell

10. Warner Robins

Overvalued…

Well, this is boring. I’ve gone through the two highest classifications, and my ballot’s are the exact same as last week’s in both. Again, as stated last week, I just don’t see an overvalued team. We’re at a point in the season where there is a clear division between the great, the very good and the good.

Undervalued…

East Paulding, and I’m going to stress it a little more this week than last. I don’t care what team you are playing, three straight shutouts is an accomplishment. That’s what East Paulding has done at this point after beating New Manchester 47-0. In its last three games, it is outscoring opponents 148-0. Find me another team with that stat on its resume.

Just right…

I’ll still say Tucker and Northside-Warner Robins for now, although I’m getting closer to flipping them. The more I think about it, and the more statistics I see compiled, the more I think the latter is the No. 1 team in the state. Maybe the best in any classification. For now, though, they’re in the right positions.

Class AAAA

1. Sandy Creek (12) 3-0 120 1

2. Griffin 4-0 100 3

T-3. Marist 3-1 87 4

T-3. Burke County 3-1 87 6

5. Stephens County 4-0 86 5

6. Statesboro 3-1 47 2

T-7. Carrollton 1-2 35 7

T-7. Jonesboro 3-1 35 T-8

T-9. Washington 4-0 17 NR

T-9. Monroe Area 4-0 17 NR

Others receiving votes: Westside-Macon 16, Chamblee 7, Ridgeland 2, Cairo 1, Grady 1.

How I voted:

1. Sandy Creek

2. Stephens County

3. Marist

4. Burke County

5. Griffin

6. Statesboro

7. Carrollton

8. Westside-Macon

9. Jonesboro

10. Washington

Overvalued…

I said last week we’d know for sure where Statesboro stood after its game with Burke County. Now we know. It was potentially overvalued last week; now it’s in an accurate spot. This week, by my ballot, it’s Griffin, but I can’t call it overvalued either. The thing you’ll noticed about the top 10 in this classification is how many ties there are. There are a lot of teams very close in ability right now, so it’s tough to single out any one team.

Undervalued…

I can’t say for sure, but I’d be willing to bet I’m the only voter with Stephens County as high as No. 2. The fact is it hasn’t played an incredibly difficult schedule. But the team has some solid players, particularly running back Chaz Thornton who is undersized by very quick.

Just right…

Sandy Creek. It is the only unanimous No. 1 in the state, and there’s a reason. It has the biggest gap between itself and the rest of its classification of any team in the state. If this team isn’t playing for a state championship, I’ll be somewhat surprised.

Class AAA

1. Peach County (11) 4-0 119 1

2. Thomson (1) 4-0 107 2

3. Washington County 4-0 98 3

4. Buford 2-1 81 6

5. St. Pius X 3-1 73 5

6. Carver-Columbus 3-1 53 7

7. Cartersville 4-0 46 8

8. Appling County 3-0-1 27 9

9. Morgan County 4-0 25 10

10. Blessed Trinity 3-1 10 NR

Others receiving votes: Gordon Central 6, Woodward Academy 6, Swainsboro 4, Dodge County 3, North Oconee 2.

How I voted:

1. Peach County

2. Thomson

3. Washington County

4. Buford

5. St. Pius X

6. Carver-Columbus

7. Appling County

8. Cartersville

9. Swainsboro

10. Morgan County

Overvalued…

I’ll make this an overvalued off of my own ballot. I have Swainsboro at No. 9, and I won’t step away from that. I will qualify it, however, by mentioning that it is 3-1 with a lighter schedule than some others. Things are about to get a lot tougher with games against Statesboro, Thomson and Washington County in its next three. We’ll really find out how good this team is in that stretch.

Undervalued…

Like last week, the ballots are very much in agreement. I don’t know that there is an undervalued team, but perennial powers like Buford and Carver, which haven’t shown their best football yet, could hit their strides down the stretch.

Just right…

Peach County is almost just right. It’s one vote short of just right. It’s certainly not on the level of a Sandy Creek in its own classification. The field is closer to it than in Class 4A. However, it is a defending state champion with a spotless record and no indication it isn’t every bit as good as it was a year ago.

Class AA

1. Calhoun (11) 4-0 119 1

2. Brooks County (1) 4-0 108 2

3. Cook 4-0 94 3

4. Vidalia 4-0 74 4

5. Fitzgerald 3-1 65 6

6. Lamar County 2-0-1 51 7

7. Washington-Wilkes 4-0 50 8

8. Bowdon 4-0 35 9

9. Early County 3-1 19 NR

T-10. Greater Atlanta Christian 4-1 18 10

T-10. Lovett 2-2 18 5

Others receiving votes: Bacon County 3, Heard County 2, Northeast-Macon 2, Benedictine Military 1, Bleckley County 1.

How I voted:

1. Calhoun

2. Brooks County

3. Cook

4. Lamar County

5. Vidalia

6. Fitzgerald

7. Bowdon

8. Greater Atlanta Christian

9. Washington-Wilkes

10. Lovett

Overvalued…

I think Early County was as much helped by its 14-12 loss to Bainbridge a couple weeks ago as it was by its win over Calhoun County this week. Losing by two to a team with votes in Class 5A is nothing to sneeze at. Allow me to get a little sniffly, though. One, five, three, four—those are Early County’s win totals over each of the last four seasons. Now, I know things change year-to-year, but I just can’t say that I think it is a top 10 team over some of these others.

Undervalued…

Again, the resume isn’t totally there for Lamar County, but I have it ranked higher than the rest of the pack. We’ll find out where it stands in the next two weeks as it faces a couple of talented teams. (Yes, this is what I wrote last week. But things haven’t changed. Sue me.)

Just right…

Calhoun stretched its winning streak to 20 and has nearly as much control over its classification as Sandy Creek does in 4A. It’s hard to imagine that Calhoun could make yet another run to the state title game, but it’s even harder to imagine that it won’t.

Class A

1. Eagle's Landing Christian (8) 3-1 114 1

2. Prince Avenue Christian 4-0 102 T-2

3. Calvary Day (4) 4-0 93 T-2

4. Aquinas 3-0 83 5

5. Wilcox County 2-1 79 4

6. Lincoln County 2-1 60 7

7. Commerce 4-0 40 8

8. Emanuel County Institute 3-1 33 NR

9. George Walton 3-1 24 NR

10. Johnson County 4-0 10 NR

Others receiving votes: Athens Academy 7, Walker 4, Wilkinson County 2, Charlton County 2, Miller County 2, Savannah Christian Prep. 2, Brookstone 1, Whitefield Academy 1, Trion 1.

How I voted:

1. Calvary Day

2. Prince Avenue Christian

3. Eagle's Landing Christian

4. Aquinas

5. Lincoln County

6. Wilcox County

7. Commerce

8. George Walton

9. Emanuel County Institute

10. Brookstone

Overvalued…

I stand by my statement last week. Sooner or later, we have to start putting emphasis in the wins that Calvary Day and Prince Avenue Christian are putting together. Eagle’s Landing Christian is great, but I don’t think you put it No. 1 right now.

Undervalued…

You know, it lost its game against Wesleyan, but I’m going to say Brookstone again for the simple fact that I am the only voter to put it in my top 10. A loss on a last-second field goal against Wesleyan isn’t enough to change my mind about where it belongs.

Just right…

I’m sticking with Prince Avenue. It has won 17 of its last 18 games, and looks poised for a run in the state playoffs.

Who do you think should be ranked? Where did I screw up? Any other teams in the area that deserve more attention? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @leprepsports, and come back each week to see the new polls.

Also, don’t forget to join me online at 4 p.m. on Friday for the prep sports chat. We will talk about high school football, high school softball, badminton or water polo. Whatever is on your mind, we can discuss it.

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