High school football: GSWA football Poll Hits for Aug. 28

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerAugust 28, 2013 

There wasn’t a ton of action across the state last week outside of the Corky Kell Kickoff Classic and a handful of interstate games, including one that I don’t think any of us really saw coming:

Booker T. Washington (Fla.) 55, Norcross 0.

Wow. That’s the same Norcross that was a unanimous No. 1 in Class AAAAAA in the preseason poll released last week.

Now, there were contributing factors here—namely players like Chad Thomas (senior five-star recruit headed to Miami) and Treon Harris (senior four-star recruit headed to Florida State), among others.

I don’t think we were so surprised about who won the game when you consider the talent on Booker T. Washington, but 55-0? I sure didn’t see that coming. Voters knocked Norcross from their perch accordingly. More on that later.

Camden County also picked up a disappointing loss in its opener, losing 34-14 to North Gwinnett in the Georgia Dome. It was the first game under new head coach Welton Coffey. North Gwinnett enjoyed the spoils of its victory this week, rising near the top of the poll.

Outside of Class AAAAAA, most of the polls were fairly ho-hum, including AAAA, in which nearly all of my votes remained the same this week. There will be more action as games get started in earnest this week.

A note for the polls: This week’s consisted of 17 voters, four more than a week ago. There were a couple of changes that came as a result of the new voters, like Burke County jumping Carrollton for the No. 2 spot in Class AAAA, for example.

As always, chime in the comments or on Twitter @leprepsports

Class AAAAAA

1. Colquitt County (13) 1-0 165 2

2. North Gwinnet (3) 1-0 155 3

3. McEachern (1) 1-0 119 6

4. Lovejoy 0-0 116 4

5. Lowndes 0-0 102 5

6. North Cobb 0-0 76 8

7. Norcross 0-1 68 1

8. Peachtree Ridge 1-0 50 10

9. Mill Creek 0-0 31 10

10. Walton 0-1 18 9

Others receiving votes: Lassiter 13, Hillgrove 7, Camden County 6, Marietta 4, Milton 2, Grayson 1, Wheeler 1.

How I voted:

1. Colquitt County

2. North Gwinnett

3. Norcross

4. Lovejoy

5. McEachern

6. Lowndes

7. North Cobb

8. Lassiter

9. Camden County

10. Peachtree Ridge

Thoughts…

I think we’re set on the top two teams in the state right now: Colquitt County shut down Grayson, which began last season at No. 1 and this season at No. 11, and North Gwinnett had the big win over Camden County. We’ll get a good look at just how good the former is when it takes on Hoover this week. Here’s where I differ with the majority of voters, it appears. Call me generous, but I kept Norcross at No. 3 (okay, very generous) and Camden County in the top 10 at No. 9. The consensus had Norcross down at No. 7 and Camden out of the top 10 altogether with just six points.

There is probably more cause to drop Norcross for its loss than Camden County, which at least showed a pulse against a very good North Gwinnett team. That said, Norcross’s loss came against a team outside the state, has no impact on its future playoff standing whatsoever, and I think a gut reaction on how good this team is probably isn’t warranted. We’ll see in the coming weeks what a talented team that is.

Class AAAAA

1. Gainesville (16) 0-0 169 1

2. Northside-W.R. 0-0 145 2

3. Tucker 1-0 125 3

4. Stephenson 0-0 120 3

5. Thomas County Central (1) 1-0 107 5

6. Kell 1-0 84 6

7. M.L. King 0-0 64 7

8. Ware County 0-0 61 8

9. Flowery Branch 0-0 36 9

10. Warner Robins 0-0 12 NR

Others receiving votes: East Paulding 4, Whitewater 4, Harris County 3, Allatoona 1.

How I voted

1. Gainesville

2. Stephenson

3. Tucker

4. Ware County

5. M.L. King

6. Northside W.R.

7. Kell

8. Thomas County Central

9. Harris County

10. Flowery Branch

Thoughts…

My speech about Gainesville seems to have caught on with a few people this week. Probably not, but there were at least two voters who switched their votes and put the defending champs at the top of the heap. A wise decision, in my opinion, when you consider that team’s offensive firepower.

An interesting addition this week as we find Thomas County Central with a first-place vote. Not crazy, I don’t think. It is obviously a very talented team. I just don’t think we’ve really been shown that it has the capability of being the No. 1 team yet. Perhaps it will with time, but for now that was a bit of a surprise.

Class AAAA

1. Sandy Creek (17) 0-0 170 1

2. Burke County 0-0 143 3

3. Carrollton 0-0 142 2

4. Marist 0-0 117 4

5. Cairo 0-0 100 5

6. Stockbridge 0-0 75 6

7. Griffin 0-0 64 7

8. Monroe Area 0-0 51 8

9. Statesboro 0-0 31 9

10. Ridgeland 0-0 26 10

Others receiving votes: Westside-Macon 9, Monroe-Albany 5, Baldwin 1, Riverdale 1.

How I voted:

1. Sandy Creek

2. Carrollton

3. Burke County

4. Marist

5. Stockbridge

6. Monroe Area

7. Ridgeland

8. Cairo

9. Griffin

10. Monroe

Thoughts…

It’s too early to say if this classification will be fairly static throughout the season, but on the surface it looks like there are a pretty clear-cut crop of top teams. The top three or four are agreed upon by everyone it would appear, and that’s no surprise. Sandy Creek has been one of the state’s best programs for a long time, and it looks poised to continue that run with a very talented crop of players. As mentioned before, Carrollton and Burke County swapped due to the addition of four voters to the poll. My vote, however, remained the same. I think Carrollton is the next team up. In all honesty, though, I think Sandy Creek is lapping the field to begin the season.

Class AAA

1. Buford (17) 0-0 170 1

2. St. Pius X 0-0 141 2

3. Cartersville 0-0 126 3

4. Peach County 0-0 119 4

5. Carver-Columbus 0-0 105 5

6. Washington County 0-0 71 8

7. North Hall 0-0 67 7

8. Thomson 0-0 55 6

9. Blessed Trinity 1-0 42 9

10. North Oconee 0-0 19 10

Others receiving votes: Callaway 12, Jefferson County 6, Appling County 1, Ringgold 1.

How I voted:

1. Buford

2. St. Pius X

3. Carver-Columbus

4. Cartersville

5. Peach County

6. Washington County

7. Blessed Trinity

8. Thomson

9. North Hall

10. Callaway

Thoughts…

Ah, a little controversy for the local contingent. I heard my first and likely not my last, comment from a Carver supporter about how Peach County is ranked ahead of the Tigers. How could a team that got run off the field by North Hall in the second round of the state playoffs, lost to Carver head-to-head and lost arguably its best player still be ranked ahead of talented Carver?

To those who share his sentiments: I am asking the same question. To me, Carver should be the favorite in the region to begin the season. I think the fact that a lot of people seem to think that position goes to Peach County speaks to the level of respect people around the state had for the program former coach Dell McGee had built. I think they’ll find in time that the program is in good hands with replacement Joe Kegler and is as talented as it ever was.

Class AA

1. Calhoun (16) 0-0 169 1

2. GAC 1-0 144 2

3. Lamar County (1) 0-0 128 3

4. Brooks County 1-0 124 4

5. Jefferson 0-0 105 5

6. Lovett 1-0 79 7

7. Cook 0-0 57 8

8. Vidalia 1-0 51 9

9. Washington-Wilkes 0-0 30 10

10. Fitzgerald 0-1 28 6

Others receiving votes: Benedictine 11, Westminster 5, Early County 2, Bleckley County 1, Heard County 1.

How I voted:

1. Calhoun

2. Greater Atlanta Christian

3. Lamar County

4. Brooks County

5. Lovett

6. Jefferson

7. Vidalia

8. Cook

9. Washington-Wilkes

10. Fitzgerald

Thoughts…

A handful of games were played in the Class AA top 10, and there were a couple of losses to take note of. First, Fitzgerald fell to Jefferson County, 28-14, and consequently dropped four spots to No. 10. Westminster was shut out by Blessed Trinity and Heard County went down in a big way, 34-0 to Callaway.

I’ll address Heard County, because I made a scene about expecting a lot out of them and thinking they were ranked too low last week. First, they weren’t ranked to low. I’ll go ahead and say that, because, while Callaway is a very good Class AAA team, getting beat 34-0 shouldn’t be excusable for a team with designs on a deep playoff run. With that said, my opinion of Heard County’s potential hasn’t changed much. I think it is still a very talented team that will enter its region slate the favorites for the top seed. It just has to get that ugly goose egg from last Friday out of its mind.

Class A

1. Eagle's Landing Christian (16) 0-0 169 1

2. Prince Avenue Christian (1) 1-0 143 2

3. Lincoln County 1-0 132 3

4. George Walton 0-0 112 4

5. Wilcox County 0-0 97 6

6. Dooly County 0-0 58 8

7. Wilkinson County 0-0 52 9

8. Emanuel County Institute 0-1 43 5

9. Savannah Christian 0-0-1 35 7

10. Irwin County 0-0 30 10

Others receiving votes: Landmark Christian 21, Athens Academy 13, Darlington 7, Aquinas 5, Brookstone 5, Clinch County 4, Seminole County 3, Johnson County 2, Walker School 2, Charlton County 1, First Presbyterian Day 1.

How I voted:

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian

2. Prince Avenue Christian

3. Lincoln County

4. Emanuel County Institute

5. Dooly County

6. Wilcox County

7. George Walton Academy

8. Athens Academy

9. Wilkinson County

10. Savannah Christian

Thoughts…

The biggest development in the second week of the poll for Class A is that Prince Avenue Christian gained a first-place vote. Now, I can’t go be sure because I can’t track down all of last season’s rankings, but I think that will make the first first-place vote Prince Avenue Christian has gotten. (It is possible it got one in 2011 during a 13-1 season that began with 13 straight wins.) It’s worth taking notice of for the simple fact that Eagle’s Landing Christian has had such a stranglehold on the classification since the beginning of last season.

Eagle’s Landing’s only loss last year came in season-opening 24-19 loss to Class AAA’s Washington County, a top-10 team at that level. The team actually had a game this past week, again versus Washington County, but it was called due to weather with the teams tied 6-6. Eagle’s Landing certainly appears to me as the best team in the state, but don’t sleep on Prince Avenue Christian. I don’t think there is anything fluky about what it has done in the early stages of its program, and it certainly could surprise us.

Who do you think should be ranked? Where did I mess 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.

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