As we cross into the second half of the regular season, the portion filled with region play and playoff races, a clearer picture of the top contenders in the state is beginning to come together.
Of the six classifications, only in 5A is there really a question over which is the top team in the state.
With that said, there are still some interesting things going on in the rankings this week that I thought worth noting.
--North Cobb jumped West Forsyth this week without the benefit of a West Forsyth loss. West Forsyth is 5-0 with wins over Gainesville and Flowery Branch (both in 5A), but voters finally decided that North Cobb’s blowout wins over Walton and Harrison (among others) were enough to elevate it. I was not one of the voters to make that leap, but I can certainly understand why others did. North Cobb might just be that good.
--Voters have put Parkview at No. 8, just eight votes behind No. 7 Grayson, which it beat 22-7 a few weeks ago. Here’s my issue: If we, collectively, think Parkview is worthy of being No. 8 right behind Grayson, why can’t we give Parkview the nod to No. 7 over the team that it beat? They have the same records and Parkview settled it on the field. It isn’t a big deal, but I think it’s fairly logical.
--Northside-Warner Robins caught Tucker in the rankings, now tied for first in Class 5A. I still have Tucker ranked ahead of Northside, but it has been very close for the last couple of weeks. Northside might have the best team of any classification.
--Carver is still the only team in Columbus in the rankings, although Brookstone received votes in the last couple of polls.
--Pacelli is one of just three undefeated teams that are still unranked in Class A, along with Athens Academy and Walker. The Vikings face Brookstone on Friday.
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 football chat on the Valley Preps Blog.
1. Camden County (9) 5-0 99 1
2. Lassiter (1) 5-0 88 2
3. Norcross 5-0 78 3
4. Lowndes 5-0 69 4
5. North Cobb 4-0 50 T-6
6. West Forsyth 5-0 48 5
7. Grayson 4-1 39 8
8. Parkview 4-1 31 10
T-9. North Gwinnett 3-1 14 9
T-9. Lovejoy 4-1 14 NR
Others receiving votes: Colquitt County 10, Walton 5, Johns Creek 3, South Cobb 2.
How I voted:
1. Camden County
5. West Forsyth
7. North Cobb
9. Colquitt County
Contrary to what I said earlier about Parkview, I do think we might overvalue it a bit. Confused? Let me explain. Yes, I think Parkview should be ranked above Grayson because of what it has done on the field. It has wins over Peachtree Ridge, Grayson and Brookwood. Not bad. Here’s where I think Parkview is going to get held up in the end: It’s offense is not on the same level of the defense. It hasn’t had a game where it ran away from an opponent and has relied too much upon a stout defense. I can’t see that holding up throughout the grind of Class 6A playoffs.
Colquitt County. A three-point loss, and we drop it out of the top 10 entirely? Tough crowd
The top four teams again. Until something changes, those are the frontrunners in 6A, though I’m sure Grayson will still have something to say about it.
T-1. Tucker (5) 5-0 95 1
T-1. Northside-Warner Robins (5) 4-0 95 2
3. MLK, Jr. 5-0 73 3
4. Stephenson 4-0 70 4
5. East Paulding 5-0 63 5
6. Thomas County Central 4-1 42 6
7. Gainesville 4-1 39 8
8. Allatoona 5-0 32 7
9. Warner Robins 3-1 20 10
10. Kell 4-1 18 9
Others receiving votes: Bainbridge 2, Lee County 1.
How I voted
2. Northside-Warner Robins
3. East Paulding
4. MLK, Jr.
8. Thomas County Central
10. Warner Robins
No team is really overvalued in that I think they are all top 10 teams. But I’m going to take my love of East Paulding a step further this week. MLK, Jr., and Stephenson are overvalued because they should not be ahead of East Paulding. I’m not sure which team is the best, but there becomes a point at which a team’s on-field production has been enough to earn a higher ranking. East Paulding has reached that point, and I’ll tell you why
East Paulding just completed its fourth consecutive shutout win, topping Villa Rica 38-0. And I’ll say what I said last week: I don’t care what teams you are playing. Four straight shutouts is nearly unheard of. In five games, East Paulding has allowed 17 points compared to its own 224. In the last four games, it is outscoring opponents 186-0. Let me repeat: 186-0. That is unreal.
Northside-Warner Robins caught Tucker in points this week, and I think that’s a good thing. These two teams are very close, and I can’t wait to see what might happen should they meet in the playoffs.
1. Sandy Creek (10) 4-0 100 1
2. Marist 3-1 86 T-3
3. Burke County 4-1 84 T-3
4. Statesboro 4-1 57 6
5. Carrollton 2-2 53 T-7
6. Washington 4-0 36 9
7. Jonesboro 4-1 30 T-7
8. Stockbridge 4-1 28 NR
9. Monroe Area 5-0 27 10
10 Griffin 4-1 21 2
Others receiving votes: Westside-Macon 9, Stephens County 7, Chamblee 6, Ridgeland 3, Mary Persons 3.
How I voted:
1. Sandy Creek
3. Burke County
For once, I hit my overvalued team on the head. I called Griffin last week, and it suffered its first loss of the season. Still a great football team, though. Right now, I’m looking at Monroe Area. Right now it is 5-0 and has put up good numbers, but it has been against a weaker slate. That said, it will face Stephens County next, which will give a good indication of its standing on the state level. That said
My genius promotion of Stephens County the last couple of weeks has fallen flat. Stephens County lost to Chestatee last Friday, an incredibly surprising turn of events. But, with that said, I’m going to go outside the box and say Chestatee is, in fact, an undervalued team. I don’t have it on my ballot either, but it won’t be long until it is. The War Eagles’ only loss this season came by 12 points to a much-improved North Hall team. Coming up: Johnson-Gainesville, Walnut Grove, Lanier and Lumpkin County. Four very winnable games. Could Chestatee really make it to 7-1 after four straight losing seasons?
Sandy Creek. I’m just going to pencil in the Patriots in this slot going forward. They’ve got the biggest stranglehold over their respective classification.
1. Peach County (9) 5-0 99 1
2. Thomson (1) 5-0 90 2
3. Washington County 5-0 81 3
4. Buford 3-1 68 4
5. St. Pius X 4-1 57 5
T-6. Carver-Columbus 4-1 41 6
T-6. Cartersville 5-0 41 7
8. Morgan County 5-0 27 9
9. Appling County 4-0-1 23 8
10. Blessed Trinity 4-1 16 10
Others receiving votes: Gordon Central 5, Swainsboro 2.
How I voted:
1. Peach County
3. Washington County
5. St. Pius X
7. Appling County
10. Morgan County
I’ll steal this one from an email I received this week. Morgan County has benefited from a light schedule that includes three 2A teams with a combined record of 3-10 and a 3A team with a record of 1-3. Tough games await Morgan County going forward, so we’ll learn a lot about what kind of team it has.
I’m actually going to say Carver this week, and here’s why. I think some other teams in the state have slowly gained a little bit more momentum than the Tigers, and rightfully so. Teams like Peach County, Thomson, Washington County, Buford and St. Pius X are all great football teams. That said, Carver is improving, and I think it is doing so under the radar. Might not be a bad thing
Peach County. Ditto what I said last week. I think it should be unanimous, but it’s close nonetheless.
1. Calhoun (9) 5-0 99 1
2. Brooks County (1) 5-0 88 2
3. Cook 5-0 80 3
4. Vidalia 5-0 64 4
5. Fitzgerald 4-1 56 5
6. Lamar County 3-0-1 50 6
7. Washington-Wilkes 4-0 45 7
8. Greater Atlanta Christian 4-1 31 T-10
9. Heard County 4-0 22 NR
10. Lovett 2-3 4 T-10
Others receiving votes: Northeast-Macon 3, Bleckley County 3, Benedictine Military 2, Jefferson 1, Bowdon 1, Early County 1.
How I voted:
2. Brooks County
4. Lamar County
8. Greater Atlanta Christian
9. Heard County
Lovett. I know the team’s history is very good. There’s no question it has a great coach with a great program. Here’s my issue, though: It is 2-3 right now. That is not a record that lends itself to a top-10 vote. Not in my book.
Nobody significant, but I did say Lamar County last week, and I’m sticking with that. The team hasn’t lost, but I feel like it is being slightly overlooked in the rankings.
Calhoun is as prepared as ever to make another deep run into the playoffs.
1. Eagle's Landing Christian (7) 4-1 96 1
2. Prince Avenue Christian 5-0 83 2
3. Calvary Day (3) 4-0 80 3
4. Aquinas 4-0 77 4
5. Lincoln County 3-1 63 6
6. Emanuel County Institute 4-1 43 8
7. George Walton 4-1 38 9
8. Athens Academy 4-0 24 NR
9. Charlton County 3-2 19 NR
10. Savannah Christian Prep. 2-2 13 NR
Others receiving votes: Commerce 5, Wilcox County 4, Walker 3, Miller County 1, Dooly County 1.
How I voted:
1. Calvary Day
2. Prince Avenue Christian
3. Eagle's Landing Christian
5. Lincoln County
6. George Walton
7. Emanuel County Institute
9. Charlton County
10. Savannah Christian Prep
A handful of people think Calvary day deserves to be ranked No. 1. I’m one of them. And I think Prince Avenue deserves No. 2. Those are two very good teams.
Commerce dropped a game, but it was a respectable 12-point loss to George Walton. It is by no means the best team in the world, but I don’t think we drop it out of the rankings simply because of that loss.
I’m sticking with Prince Avenue. It has won 18 of its last 19 games, and looks poised for a run in the state playoffs. And yes, I did just update the numbers from last week’s post. The fact is, Prince Avenue is a good football team. Whether it’s the best will be decided 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 football chat.