High school football: GSWA Poll Hits for Sept. 25

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerSeptember 26, 2013 

Under coach Mike Muschamp, brother of University of Florida coach Will Muschamp, Lovett has been one of the most consistently solid teams in the state.

It has been to the state semifinals three times, the finals once, made the playoffs every year and failed to win eight games just once, in 2011.

But it hasn’t won a state championship. The closest it got was a 50-0 rout at the hands of Buford in 2007.

A 28-7 drubbing of previously No. 2-ranked St. Pius X last Friday, though, should have us all wondering what the season may hold for the Lions.

Each of the Lions’ wins during their 4-0 start has come against a solid to very good team: Woodward Academy, Blessed Trinity, Marist (in double overtime) and St. Pius X. The impressive start has it ranked No. 1 in Class AA, jumping from No. 3 last week past Greater Atlanta Christian and Lamar County.

The schedule doesn’t get easier for Lovett, as it travels to Fort Payne (Ala.) which won the game last year, hosts Washington County and Westminster and travels to Greater Atlanta Christian. It would be hard to run the gauntlet and finish the regular season undefeated.

But its resume so far should have Lovett thinking a state championship is well within the realm of possibility this year.

Now to the rest of the rankings, how I voted and why. Chime in with comments, Tweets @leprepsports or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports.

Class AAAAAA

1. North Gwinnett (20) 4-0 200 1

2. McEachern 4-0 179 2

3. Colquitt County 3-1 144 3

4. Peachtree Ridge 4-0 138 4

5. Lovejoy 3-1 101 6

6. Hillgrove 3-0 78 7

7. Mill Creek 3-1 75 5

8. Camden County 2-1 49 8

9. Valdosta 4-0 46 10

10. Lowndes 3-1 36 8

Others receiving votes: Coffee 19, North Cobb 13, Norcross 7, Etowah 3, Walton 1.

How I voted:

1. North Gwinnett

2. McEachern

3. Colquitt County

4. Peachtree Ridge

5. Lovejoy

6. Hillgrove

7. Camden County

8. Lowndes

9. Mill Creek

10. Valdosta

Thoughts…

With all the hype surrounding Norcross before the season, North Gwinnett and McEachern during their hot starts and Colquitt County, Peachtree Ridge has somehow flown under the radar. A team that finished 4-6 last season, Peachtree Ridge is 4-0 with wins over Walton, Parkview and Mill Creek already. It isn’t quite as impressive as North Gwinnett’s resume, but Peachtree Ridge has definitely earned a shoutout. Still, I rank Colquitt County ahead of Peachtree Ridge simply because its loss came to Hoover (Ala.) and I think it still may be the best team in the state.

Class AAAAA

1. Northside-W.R. (15) 3-0 194 1

2. Tucker (4) 3-0 182 2

3. Stephenson (1) 4-0 156 3

4. Kell 4-0 135 4

5. Gainesville 3-1 120 5

6. Thomas County Central 4-1 102 6

7. Warner Robins 3-0 80 7

8. Allatoona 4-0 66 8

9. Ware County 3-1 29 9

10. Lee County 4-0 18 10

Others receiving votes: MLK 10, Creekside 5, Whitewater 2, South Paulding 1.

Dropped out: MLK

How I voted:

1. Northside-W.R.

2. Stephenson

3. Tucker

4. Gainesville

5. Warner Robins

6. Kell

7. Allatoona

8. Thomas County Central

9. MLK

10. Ware County

Thoughts…

Looking simply at strength of schedule, I would argue that Northside-Warner Robins is the clear choice for No. 1 in Class AAAAA. There is still some level of disagreement, however, as Tucker received four first-place votes and Stephenson got one. Neither the Tucker or Stephenson strength of schedule measures up to the impressive wins for Northside (Flowery Branch, Veterans and Westside-Macon). That, of course, isn’t the only factor, and sometimes there is just a hunch one team is better than the other. I’m giving the nod to Northside until further notice, however.

Class AAAA

1. Sandy Creek (20) 2-0-1 200 1

2. Carrollton 3-0 179 2

3. Griffin 4-0 152 3

4. Stockbridge 4-0 143 4

5. Monroe Area 4-0 119 5

6. Statesboro 4-0 103 7

7. Wayne County 4-0 72 8

8. Mary Persons 4-0 59 10

9. Cedartown 4-0 30 NR

10. Marist 2-2 20 NR

Others receiving votes: Burke County 16, Liberty County 2, Westside-Macon 2, Grady 1, Lanier 1, Northwest Whitfield 1.

Dropped out: Burke County (6), Westside-Macon (9)

How I voted:

1. Sandy Creek

2. Carrollton

3. Stockbridge

4. Griffin

5. Statesboro

6. Monroe Area

7. Mary Persons

8. Wayne County

9. Marist

10. Burke County

Thoughts…

Nine teams remain in the top 10 remain undefeated in Class AAAA, more than any other classification. I think we all agree it’s clear who belongs at the top of the heap, but Nos. 2-10 are a little more complicated. Personally, I kept Marist and Burke County in the top 10. The majority agreed on Marist, helping it to come in at No. 10, while Burke County fell out. I don’t think there’s any wrong answer. We’ll find out more in the coming weeks, when teams begin to separate themselves.

Class AAA

1. Buford (20) 3-0 200 1

2. Cartersville 4-0 180 3

3. Washington County 4-0 158 4

4. North Hall 3-0 140 5

5. Jefferson County 4-0 106 6

6. St. Pius X 3-1 83 2

7. Carver-Columbus 3-1 81 7

8. North Oconee 2-1 58 8

9. Hart County 3-0 49 10

10. Pierce County 4-0 28 NR

Others receiving votes: Woodward Academy 8, Callaway 7, Decatur 2.

Dropped out: Callaway (9)

How I voted:

1. Buford

2. Cartersville

3. Washington County

4. North Hall

5. St. Pius X

6. Carver-Columbus

7. Jefferson County

8. North Oconee

9. Hart County

10. Pierce County

Thoughts…

The question in Class AAA to me isn’t so much which team belongs where, but which team will really contend with Buford at the top. Right now, I’m not sure any team is on the same level. Cartersville and Washington County are great teams, and North Hall has matched last season’s success well. The latter will get Buford as a region opponent in the regular season. I just don’t know that any team is on Buford’s level yet. Its run of success over the past decade plus has been nothing short of incredible.

Class AA

1. Lovett (9) 4-0 185 3

2. GAC (7) 4-0 181 1

3. Lamar County (4) 3-0 173 2

4. Calhoun 2-1 124 4

5. Washington-Wilkes 3-0 111 6

6. Benedictine 4-0 92 9

7. Jefferson 2-1 87 7

8. Brooks County 3-1 72 8

9. Vidalia 3-1 28 5

10. Cook 2-1 25 10

Others receiving votes: Manchester 11, Rabun County 4, Bowdon 2, Fitzgerald 2, Macon County 2, Bryan County 1.

How I voted:

1. Lovett

2. GAC

3. Lamar County

4. Calhoun

5. Washington-Wilkes

6. Jefferson

7. Benedictine

8. Brooks County

9. Manchester

10. Vidalia

Thoughts…

The top three this week was very interesting. I was interested to see what voters would do after Lovett beat St. Pius X. As expected, it rose to No. 1, while previous No. 1 Greater Atlanta Christian dropped to No. 2 and previous No. 2 Lamar County went down to No. 3. Voters got that right, I think. As stated previously, I’ll be really interested to see how much success Lovett can have this year.

Class A

1. Eagle's Landing Christian (20) 3-0 200 1

2. Landmark Christian 4-0 178 2

3. Savannah Christian 2-0-1 152 3

4. Aquinas 3-0 133 4

5. Prince Avenue Christian 3-1 114 4

6. Irwin County 3-0-1 94 7

7. Seminole County 4-0 73 9

8. George Walton 3-1 70 8

9. Marion County 3-0 35 10

10. Lincoln County 1-2 21 6

Others receiving votes: Mt. Paran Christian 14, Johnson County 12, Darlington 2, Pace Academy 1.

How I voted:

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian

2. Savannah Christian

3. Landmark Christian

4. Prince Avenue Christian

5. Aquinas

6. Irwin County

7. George Walton

8. Seminole County

9. Marion County

10. Lincoln County

Thoughts…

Marion County has remained consistent, while a lot of teams have moved around it. It gets two winless teams before facing undefeated Pacelli, 1-2 but still dangerous Dooly County and Brookstone. That three week-stretch will determine whether it can win its region and put itself in a good position for the playoffs.

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.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service