High school football: GSWA football Poll Hits for Sept. 4

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerSeptember 4, 2013 

The theme for this week, again, is overreaction.

Voters have different philosophies for how they distribute their picks each week. Some look at the quality of a team and its opponents over its record, while others look at wins, losses and, in the case of this week, ties to determine where a team should go.

I think it has to be a combination of both.

Sure, a team may be extremely talented, but we need to see it get Ws in order to continue to rank it highly. Conversely, just because a team loses (or ties) a game doesn’t mean it should be dropped down the rankings.

Perhaps you know what I’m hinting at already.

Sandy Creek, winners of three state championships in the past four years, failed to win a game for just the second time in its past 58 contests last Friday.

That is not a typo.

Since a season-opening loss in 2009, the Patriots are 56-1-1. They lost to Gainesville in the 2011 Class AAA quarterfinals, and on Friday tied Plant (Fla.) High, alma mater of current University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.

Plant is consistently one of the better programs in one of the best states for high school football in the country. It competes at a high level every week and, if placed in Georgia, would also be a state title contender.

A 27-27 tie with a team like that, in my opinion, shouldn’t equate to a drop in ranking. Still, Sandy Creek lost two of its first-place votes. One of those first-place votes went to Carrollton, a team Creek beat 30-7 last season.

Likewise, Colquitt County played a solid game against nationally ranked Hoover (Ala.) before ultimately losing, and it dropped to No. 5 in Class AAAAAA.

Perhaps it’s an overreaction on my part, as well, to get stirred up about it, but failing to win doesn’t always equate to a big dip in ranking, in my opinion.

Class AAAAAA

1. North Gwinnett (16) 2-0 160 2

2. McEachern 2-0 134 3

3. Lovejoy 1-0 110 4

4. Lowndes 1-0 105 5

5. Colquitt County 1-1 95 1

6. North Cobb 1-0 84 6

7. Peachtree Ridge 2-0 57 8

8. Norcross 0-1 55 7

9. Mill Creek 1-0 33 9

10. Hillgrove 2-0 16 NR

Others receiving votes: Marietta 10, Coffee 7, Valdosta 6, Camden County 4, Milton 2, Lassiter 1.

How I voted:

1. North Gwinnett

2. Colquitt County

3. Lovejoy

4. McEachern

5. Norcross

6. Lowndes

7. North Cobb

8. Peachtree Ridge

9. Camden County

10. Hillgrove

Thoughts…

We’re in for an exciting season in Class AAAAAA. So far, we have had three polls: preseason, Week 1 and Week 2. In those three polls, we have had three No. 1s in this classification: Norcross, Colquitt County and North Gwinnett. Of the three, North Gwinnett has looked perhaps the most impressive, scoring blowout wins over Camden County and Grayson. We’ll learn a lot about those teams when Norcross faces North Gwinnett this week.

Outside of the fact that Colquitt County dropped too far to No. 6, I don’t see many issues in Class AAAAAA. I still have Camden County at No. 9, though the majority of voters have dropped it out. Don’t have a problem with either, really, except that Camden County has been a top-10 mainstay for years and one loss to this week’s No. 1 isn’t going to change that for me.

Class AAAAA

1. Gainesville (16) 1-0 160 1

2. Northside-W.R. 1-0 135 2

3. Tucker 1-0 125 3

4. Stephenson 1-0 117 4

5. Kell 1-0 92 6

6. M.L.K. 1-0 83 7

7. Thomas County Central 1-1 58 5

8. Warner Robins 1-0 44 10

9. Allatoona 1-0 28 NR

10. Flowery Branch 0-1 13 9

Others receiving votes: North Paulding 9, Ware County 9, Bainbridge 2, Lee County 2, Union Grove 2, Whitewater 1.

How I voted:

1. Gainesville

2. Stephenson

3. Northside-W.R.

4. Tucker

5. M.L. King

6. Kell

7. Warner Robins

8. Allatoona

9. Thomas County Central

10. Flowery Branch

Thoughts…

A couple of teams to look at: Northside-Warner Robins nearly earned a second-place vote from me, as it has from most people, but I kept it at No. 3. Its win over Flowery Branch is an impressive one. Not the fact that it won, because I think most expected that to be the case. How it won that game is impressive, though. It was a 28-6 game. Holding Branch to six points is no easy task. Northside held it to seven last year as well, the team’s lowest point total of the season.

Class AAAA

1. Sandy Creek (14) 0-0-1 158 1

2. Burke County (1) 0-0 138 2

3. Carrollton (1) 1-0 134 3

4. Marist 1-0 110 4

5. Stockbridge 1-0 88 6

6. Griffin 1-0 81 7

7. Monroe Area 1-0 62 8

8. Statesboro 1-0 38 9

9. Westside-Macon 1-0 27 NR

10. Cairo 0-1 18 5

Others receiving votes: Wayne County 10, Riverdale 9, Mary Persons 5, Cedartown 1, Northwest Whitfield 1.

How I voted:

1. Sandy Creek

2. Carrollton

3. Burke County

4. Marist

5. Stockbridge

6. Monroe Area

7. Griffin

8. Statesboro

9. Cairo

10. Westside-Macon

Thoughts…

Most of my thoughts about Class AAAA have already been discussed. The only other team I’d point out is Statesboro, which I bumped from unranked to No. 8 this week. The team beat Lakeside-Evans by 10, which doesn’t necessarily county as a big win (Lakeside went 5-6 last season). But it is a win over a team that played in the playoffs a year ago. I think it was deserving before this week and had been overlooked. A solid week made me take a little more notice.

Class AAA

1. Buford (15) 1-0 158 1

2. St. Pius X (1) 1-0 133 2

3. Cartersville 1-0 124 3

4. Peach County 1-0 109 4

5. Carver-Columbus 1-0 101 5

6. Washington County 1-0 75 6

7. North Hall 1-0 69 6

8. Thomson 0-0 50 8

9. North Oconee 0-0 20 10

10. Jefferson County 2-0 18 NR

Others receiving votes: Callaway 11, Ringgold 7, Hart County 2, Blessed Trinity 1, Morgan County 1.

How I voted:

1. Buford

2. St. Pius X

3. Carver-Columbus

4. Cartersville

5. Peach County

6. Washington County

7. North Hall

8. Thomson

9. Callaway

10. North Oconee

Thoughts…

A 27-13 win over Westminster was great for St. Pius X. It proved once again it was one of the best teams in the state and that it deserved its ranking. Its No. 2 ranking. I don’t think we can make any assumptions and say that it is suddenly the No. 1 team in Class AAA. Not over Buford, a team that has won state championships in five of the past six years, including one over St. Pius X last season. Until Buford loses, which may come this week against Class AAAAA No. 1 Gainesville, St. Pius X is still a step behind.

Class AA

1. Calhoun (16) 1-0 160 1

2. GAC 2-0 133 2

3. Lamar County 1-0 126 3

4. Brooks County 2-0 117 4

5. Jefferson 1-0 101 5

6. Lovett 2-0 78 6

7. Vidalia 1-0 53 8

8. Cook 1-0 48 7

9. Washington-Wilkes 1-0 34 9

10. Benedictine 1-0 16 NR

Others receiving votes: Fitzgerald 12, Bleckley County 1, Westminster 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…

Not much to say here. Only Fitzgerald dropped from the rankings, a delayed reaction after its 28-24 loss to Jefferson County two weeks ago. Aside from that, my votes and the top-10 rankings stack up almost identically. Last year’s state champions, Jefferson, comes in right in the middle of the pack after a 40-0 win over Commerce last week. It faces Jackson County this week and then gets Class AAA No. 7 North Hall.

Class A

1. Eagle's Landing Christian (15) 1-0 159 1

2. Prince Avenue Christian (1) 2-0 139 2

3. Lincoln County 1-0 129 3

4. George Walton 1-0 114 4

5. Wilcox County 1-0 99 5

6. Landmark Christian 2-0 47 NR

7. Emanuel County Institute 0-1 36 8

8. Irwin County 1-0 34 10

9. Savannah Christian 0-0-1 31 9

10. Athens Academy 1-0 26 NR

Others receiving votes: Wilkinson County 15, Dooly County 13, Brookstone 11, Seminole County 8, Aquinas 7, Charlton County 6, Marion County 2, Clinch County 1, Johnson County 1, Trion 1, Walker School 1.

How I voted:

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian

2. Prince Avenue Christian

3. Lincoln County

4. Wilcox County

5. George Walton Academy

6. Emanuel County Institute

7. Athens Academy

8. Savannah Christian

9. Landmark Christian

10. Brookstone

Thoughts…

Local readers will notice the movement Brookstone and Marion County are making in the rankings. Still left outside of the top 10, the two have 11 points and 2 points, respectively. If they keep winning, expect one or both of them to make an appearance in the top 10 before too long.

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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