High school football: Week 12 AP hits and misses

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerNovember 15, 2012 

How good is Region 1-AAAAAA?

Here’s a quick explanation: The No. 4 seed in that region (Colquitt County) took out the No. 1 seed (Camden County, previously the top-ranked team in the state), and my first reaction was, “Yeah, I guess I can see that…”

Was Camden County as good as advertised? Absolutely. But I also so Carver, ranked No. 2 in Class AAA, play at Colquitt County earlier this season and get shut out, 33-0. Think about that.

And the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds? Lowndes (ranked No. 6) and Valdosta (No. 13).

These are some battle-tested teams, and I fully expect to see them have a good showing in the playoffs. The unlucky No. 1 seed that draws upstart Colquitt is McEachern, which is currently ranked No. 9 in the state.

Would any of us be surprised to see the 4-seed pull off the upset in that matchup?

A couple other notable facts as we close the books on the regular season and get started with playoff football (isn’t that great?):

Three of the six teams that topped their respective classes’ rankings to begin the season sit in the same spot 10 games later. Sandy Creek and Calhoun are the only two to run the gauntlet, never falling from their perch, while Eagle’s Landing Christian dropped a game, but spent the majority of the season at No. 1.

With the upsets and the abundance of talented teams in the rankings right now, I can’t express how I excited I am to see how it all plays out in the playoffs.

But, without further ado, here's a look at the full rankings, how I voted and where I think voters went astray. As always, chime in the comments or on Twitter @leprepsports

Class AAAAAA

1. Lassiter (8) 10-0 97 2

2. Norcross (2) 10-0 91 3

3. Grayson 9-1 70 4

4. Camden County 9-1 69 1

5. North Gwinnett 9-1 58 5

6. Lowndes 9-1 52 6

7. Lovejoy 9-1 43 7

8. West Forsyth 9-1 22 8

9. McEachern 8-2 19 9

10. Colquitt County 7-3 14 NR

Others receiving votes: South Gwinnett 8, North Cobb 4, Valdosta 3.

How I voted:

1. Norcross

2. Lassiter

3. Grayson

4. Camden County

5. Lovejoy

6. North Gwinnett

7. Lowndes

8. Colquitt County

9. McEachern

10. West Forsyth

Overvalued…

Is it too much to say Lassiter and Norcross are overvalued? Let me explain: Those teams deserve the Nos. 1 and 2 rankings, and they’re both enormous threats in the playoffs. But I like at the two teams behind them, and I can’t help but think it’s a default 1 and 2. Grayson and Camden County, in my opinion, are the two best teams in Class AAAAAA, regardless of ranking. That’s why they’re ranked 3 and 4—one loss makes it obligatory, but we all know how good they are.

Undervalued…

Pats on the back to this guy for calling Colquitt County last week’s undervalued team. And you know what? That’s the exact team I’m sticking with this week. I only ranked it two spots higher than the field, but I still feel like it isn’t getting enough praise for its big win over Camden County. And let’s not act like that’s a one-time occurrence for this team. Looking back through its schedule, it had consecutive wins over Thomas County Central, Lovejoy and Carver, before losing by three points (THREE POINTS!) to Lowndes. It’s only other two losses came to No. 5 North Gwinnett by two points and Valdosta by two points. That’s a good resume, folks. And if we can find a place for Lovett with four losses and much less impressive wins in Class AA, we can bump Colquitt a little higher here.

Just right…

As I mentioned in the open, I think Camden County fell to the right spot, and it underscores the point that I’ve been making all year. With its loss, Camden dropped to No. 4, ahead of North Gwinnett, because the difference between No. 4 and No. 5 is pretty significant, I think. That was a minor hiccup for Camden County, and it’s still among the state’s elite.

Class AAAAA

1. Northside-Warner Robins (10) 10-0 100 1

2. MLK, Jr. 10-0 89 2

3. East Paulding 10-0 79 3

4. Kell 9-1 72 6

5. Tucker 8-2 55 7

6. Ware County 9-1 47 8

7. Allatoona 9-1 36 T-4

8. Warner Robins 8-2 33 9

9. Flowery Branch 8-2 14 NR

T-10. Stephenson 7-2 10 10

T-10. Thomas County Central 8-2 10 T-4

Others receiving votes: Creekview 4, Whitewater 1.

How I voted

1. Northside-Warner Robins

2. MLK, Jr.

3. East Paulding

4. Kell

5. Tucker

6. Stephenson

7. Flowery Branch

8. Ware County

9. Allatoona

10. Warner Robins

Overvalued…

Another week, another upset (or two) to demonstrate the point that this classification has a lot of solid football teams and only a couple of dominant ones. This week it was Allatoona and Thomas County Central that went down from the top five. What that does, once again, is prevent me from really singling out an overvalued team. Tucker is the only team with two losses in the top five, but there’s a reason for that. It’s a very good football team.

Undervalued…

Maybe we’ve undervalued Flowery Branch for awhile. Its win over Gainesville was a big one, and it’s back in the top 10. I think No. 7 is the right place for Flowery Branch, but I’m still wondering if I’ve underestimated that team all season long because of its two early-season losses. It’s on a roll now, though.

Just right…

As mentioned before, despite the two losses, I think Tucker is in the right spot. It’s the only two-loss team that can count itself among the elite in Class AAAAA. It might not win a state championship, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t playing deep into the playoffs.

Class AAAA

1. Sandy Creek (10) 10-0 100 1

2. Marist 9-1 88 2

3. Burke County 9-1 81 3

4. Stockbridge 9-1 66 5

5. Griffin 9-1 60 6

6. Jonesboro 9-1 46 7

7. Westside-Macon 9-1 42 8

8. Cairo 8-2 23 10

9. Monroe Area 9-1 18 4

10. Ridgeland 9-1 13 NR

Others receiving votes: Carrollton 10, Carver-Atlanta 1, Eastside 1, Statesboro 1.

How I voted:

1. Sandy Creek

2. Marist

3. Burke County

4. Stockbridge

5. Westside-Macon

6. Griffin

7. Jonesboro

8. Monroe Area

9. Carrollton

10. Statesboro

Overvalued…

Not much here. Maybe Cairo. The thing about Cairo is that its losses—only two of them—don’t look bad. It fell to Bainbridge and Thomas County Central early in the year, then won seven consecutive games to close the regular season. Not bad. But there’s just not a lot of impressive wins on its schedule. Does its record make it a top-10 team? Maybe. But I’m not sure that it’s at the same level as some of those other teams. Time will tell. Of course, the same can be said for Westside-Macon, which I consistently rank higher than the rest of the field. So, who really knows?

Undervalued…

I think all of us were pretty hard on Monroe Area for losing to Eastside in the final week of the regular season, its only loss so far. I don’t know a lot about the team this year, but I know it has some very solid athletic talent. Maybe it deserved to drop that far, but let’s not count it out in the playoffs or anything.

Just right…

The top three. That’s where our state champion is going to come from. It’s either Sandy Creek, Marist or Burke County. I know, I know—real bold pick, right? Sandy Creek is the class of the division by far, but I know Burke County is capable, as is Marist.

Class AAA

1. Thomson (10) 10-0 100 1

2. Carver-Columbus 9-1 84 2

3. Buford 7-3 72 3

4. Peach County 9-1 64 T-4

T-5. Cartersville 10-0 63 6

T-5. Washington County 9-1 63 T-4

7. St. Pius X 8-2 31 8

8. North Oconee 9-1 29 7

9. Pierce County 9-1 21 10

10. Callaway 9-1 9 NR

Others receiving votes: Blessed Trinity 7, Appling County 4, Brantley County 2, North Hall 1.

How I voted:

1. Thomson

2. Carver-Columbus

3. Buford

4. Peach County

5. Cartersville

6. Washington County

7. St. Pius X

8. North Oconee

9. Pierce County

10. Appling County

Overvalued…

Is any team really overrated here? We’ve had so much up-and-down movement all season long here, that I don’t think we can say any team doesn’t deserve to be higher or lower. It’s not that they’re all perfectly placed. It’s just that we don’t know. Listen, I didn’t think I’d be giving Carver a great chance at a state title early in the season. Now, it’s ranked No. 2 and on a roll. Thomson has been the most impressive, but Buford is Buford and Peach County is Peach County. Send me an email or comment if you think you’ve got a better pulse of these classification, but I think the playoffs here are going to be fun to watch.

Undervalued…

Obviously, I echo the preceding section. With that said, I can’t help but look at Cartersville and hate that it isn’t getting the attention it deserves as an undefeated team. It’s very difficult to run the table, no matter how hard or easy your schedule is, as many teams have found out here at the end of the year. That team deserves some kudos.

Just right…

I think the top four is perfect. Thomson is without question the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to state title favorites. That team has put together a monster of a season so far. But teams like Carver, Buford and Peach County are always lurking, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see one of those teams win it all.

Class AA

1. Calhoun (10) 10-0 100 1

2. Brooks County 10-0 90 2

3. Vidalia 10-0 77 3

4. Lamar County 9-0-1 67 T-4

5. Fitzgerald 8-2 59 T-4

6. Heard County 10-0 55 6

7. Jefferson 9-1 40 9

8. Washington-Wilkes 9-1 21 10

9. Lovett 6-4 10 NR

10. Greater Atlanta Christian 7-3 9 8

Others receiving votes: Screven County 8, Early County 7, Cook 3, McIntosh County Academy 2, Manchester 2.

How I voted:

1. Calhoun

2. Brooks County

3. Lamar County

4. Vidalia

5. Heard County

6. Jefferson

7. Fitzgerald

8. Washington-Wilkes

9. Early County

10. Cook

Overvalued…

I still don’t like that Fitzgerald is ranked ahead of Heard County. I think Heard has earned a top-five spot. On another note—have we noticed how many teams made it through undefeated in this classification? I just got through saying how difficult it is to do that—and it is—but there are a handful of teams that can claim that distinction here.

Undervalued…

It’s about the third week in a row, but Heard County is the only team I can really land on here. I really think it has earned the right to be in the top five. (It’s top six, so this is really splitting hairs, of course.)

Just right…

As we enter the playoffs, Calhoun should be the heavy favorite to repeat as state champion. As always, it’s a well-coached team with a lot of talent on the roster.

Class A

1. Eagle's Landing Christian (10) 9-1 100 1

2. Athens Academy 10-0 83 2

3. Lincoln County 9-1 81 3

4. Emanuel County Institute 9-1 74 4

5. Calvary Day 9-1 50 7

6. Wilcox County 8-2 48 8

7. Walker 10-0 36 9

8. Wilkinson County 7-3 23 10

9. Prince Avenue Christian 8-2 19 5

10. Irwin County 7-3 15 NR

Others receiving votes: Aquinas 7, Savannah Christian Prep. 6, Brookstone 3, George Walton 3, Seminole County 2.

How I voted:

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian

2. Athens Academy

3. Lincoln County

4. Emanuel County Institute

5. Calvary Day

6. Walker

7. Prince Avenue Christian

8. Brookstone

9. Wilcox County

10. Wilkinson County

Overvalued…

Is Prince Avenue overvalued? I don’t really think so, but I was a little surprised it lost to George Walton last week. George Walton is good, of course, but great teams usually find ways to finish strong. I know it was only three points, but that’s a tough way to enter the playoffs.

Undervalued…

Walker, simply because it is undefeated. I know the strength of schedule isn’t there, but as I stated before, it isn’t easy to run the table.

Just right…

Eagle’s Landing Christian is the favorite in Class A. It’s been at or near the top all season, and every other team will be chasing it in the 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 3:30-5 p.m. on Friday for the prep football chat.

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