Let’s consider this past Friday the calm before the storm.
There were a lot of idle teams getting a deserved mid-season break before trying to make a run down the stretch.
And most of the teams that played games emerged without much of a scratch. Only a handful of previously ranked teams went down, and even those were by close margins.
There was North Cobb falling to South Cobb in an extremely close contest, 27-26 in overtime. Appling County picked up its first loss of the season by just two points and fell out of the rankings.
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It’s not a forgiving period in high school football. Teams are expected to be at their best, and losses now mean more than ever (except, of course, the playoffs).
For now, not much has changed in the rankings with the exception of a few teams near the back end of their respective classifications’ top 10. With that said, things are about to get shaken up, and I think there are a few teams that are on the cusp that we’re about to hear more about.
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 3:30-5 p.m. on Friday for the prep football chat on the Valley Preps Blog.
1. Camden County (10) 6-0 109 1 (def. Coffee 39-12)
2. Lassiter (1) 6-0 97 2 (def. Walton 21-9)
3. Norcross 6-0 85 3 (def. Habersham Central 55-0)
4. Lowndes 6-0 79 4 (def. Brunswick 52-8)
5. West Forsyth 5-0 58 6 (idle)
6. Grayson 5-1 50 7 (def. Central Gwinnett 52-0)
7. Parkview 4-1 42 8 (idle)
8. North Gwinnett 4-1 25 9 (def. Duluth 42-28)
T-9. South Cobb 5-0 16 NR (def. North Cobb 27-26, OT)
T-9. Lovejoy 5-1 16 T-9 (def. Rockdale County 41-0)
Others receiving votes: North Cobb 11, Colquitt County 7, Johns Creek 5, Walton 3, McEachern 2.
Dropped out: North Cobb
How I voted:
1. Camden County
5. West Forsyth
8. North Cobb
10. North Gwinnett
This one is giving me particular trouble because, outside of what I said about Parkview last week, I can’t see a team I find to be valued excessively. I stand by what I said about Parkview last week. It deserves its ranking, but I don’t think it will hang on to it. And if we want to pick out a team I think might be a hair below its immediate surroundings, I think the gap between undefeated West Forsyth and No. 4 Lowndes is probably largest.
I have a couple of things to atone for on this one. First, I must be a hypocrite. After scolding pollsters for dropping Colquitt County out of the top 10 following a respectable 17-14 loss to No. 4 Lowndes, I dropped it out following a blowout win. Try to figure that one out. Here was my plan, though: The South Cobb win made it undefeated and worthy of a top 10 spot over North Cobb. Do you see the mistake yet? That’s right: There’s no South Cobb. Oops. The rankings should be: 8. South Cobb, 9. North Cobb, 10. Lovejoy. It’s a mistake, but one which would have very little effect on the rankings. As it is, I think we can still say South Cobb has been overrated by all of us so far. Great win for it last Friday.
Lovejoy is in a good place, I think. It has won all of its weaker games by a considerable margin, but in its real test against Colquitt County, it lost. It was a small margin of defeat, but it was a defeat nonetheless. I think Lovejoy is a very good team poised to make some noise at the end of the year, but for now, the back end of the top 10 is a good place.
1. Tucker (6) 5-0 105 T-1 (idle)
2. Northside-Warner Robins (5) 5-0 104 T-1 (def. Houston County 41-3)
3. MLK, Jr. 5-0 82 3 (idle)
4. Stephenson 4-0 76 4 (idle)
5. East Paulding 5-0 68 5 (idle)
6. Thomas County Central 5-1 46 6 (def. Bainbridge 17-14, OT)
7. Gainesville 5-1 43 7 (def. Cedar Shoals 42-23)
8. Allatoona 6-0 40 8 (def. New Manchester 41-13)
9. Warner Robins 4-1 20 9 (def. Jones County 35-7)
10. Kell 5-1 19 10 (def. Riverwood 35-7)
Others receiving votes: Lee County 2.
Dropped out: None
How I voted
2. Northside-Warner Robins
3. East Paulding
4. MLK, Jr.
8. Thomas County Central
10. Warner Robins
I could go with the argument about MLK, Jr., and Stephenson again, but as I look at this top 10, I see two very good teams at the top and a group of about eight that are hardly separated in ability. Three through 10 in Class AAAAA are very close to each other and could make for great competition later on. If we want to point out a couple of teams I think are out of order, I’d go with Gainesville and Allatoona. The votes have Gainesville ahead of undefeated Allatoona, and that might not be wrong. I can’t penalize Allatoona for doing everything right, though. I think this is a very solid team that hasn’t had its signature win yet.
I’ll give you a break from my East Paulding rant since it had a bye week last Friday, but I’m not mentioning any other team, either. It remains the team I view as most undervalued.
I’ve noticed that Warner Robins has remained in place at around No. 9-10 for a number of weeks. There’s a reason: That’s the right place for it. It’s a very good team that could make noise, but maybe just a click below some of the others.
1. Sandy Creek (11) 5-0 110 1 (def. Troup County 48-10)
2. Marist 4-1 96 2 (def. Columbia 16-0)
3. Burke County 5-1 91 3 (def. Wayne County 50-21)
4. Statesboro 5-1 67 5 (def. Swainsboro 32-7)
5. Carrollton 3-2 60 5 (def. Fayette County 44-13)
6. Washington 5-0 46 6 (def. South Atlanta 26-21)
7. Jonesboro 5-1 36 7 (def. North Clayton 25-8)
8. Monroe Area 5-0 31 9 (idle)
9. Stockbridge 5-1 28 8 (def. Eagle’s Landing 31-7)
10. Griffin 5-1 19 10 (def. Riverdale 35-14)
Others receiving votes: Westside-Macon 10, Chamblee 6, Ridgeland 4, Cairo 1.
Dropped out: None
How I voted:
1. Sandy Creek
3. Burke County
Stockbridge won 31-7 and Monroe Area was idle. Still, though, the latter was able to jump past Stockbridge in the rankings. Monroe Area is still undefeated and certainly deserves its ranking. That said, I don’t think it’s on that same level.
I can’t quite explain my love of Westside-Macon. I just think it’s a very good team. Its only loss game against arguably the best team in the state (Northside-Warner Robins), so no shame there. Let’s see what it has for us down the stretch.
Sandy Creek. The end.
1. Peach County (10) 6-0 108 1 (def. Henry County 48-7)
2. Thomson (1) 6-0 99 2 (def. Greater Atlanta Christian 36-27)
3. Washington County 6-0 90 3 (def. Lovett 48-35)
4. Buford 4-1 75 4 (def. West Hall 61-0)
5. St. Pius X 5-1 64 5 (def. McNair 34-0)
6. Cartersville 6-0 51 T-6 (def. Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 42-16)
7. Carver-Columbus 4-1 45 T-6 (idle)
8. Blessed Trinity 4-1 31 10 (idle)
9. Gordon Central 6-0 14 NR (def. Coahulla Creek 46-0)
10. North Oconee 4-1 12 NR (def. Morgan County 35-7)
Others receiving votes: Pierce County 8, Elbert County 4, Appling County 2, Callaway 1, North Hall 1.
Dropped out: Morgan County, Appling County
How I voted:
1. Peach County
3. Washington County
5. St. Pius X
8. Blessed Trinity
9. Gordon Central
10. Appling County
A solid tip from an emailer last week said Morgan County was overvalued. Notice its absence in the rankings this week. Right now, I think most teams are in a good spot, although I don’t know much about Gordon Central other than the fact that it is undefeated with three shutouts. It nearly lost to Ringgold, 27-26. That said, credit where credit is due. The team has earned the ranking. We’ll see if it can maintain the solid play deeper into the season.
I’m beginning to think we, or really I, undervalue Thomson a little bit. Not in its ranking, where I have it ranked No. 2. But just looking through its resume, this team is a lot closer to Peach County than I’ve believed in the past. Thomson has beaten Burke County, St. Pius X, LaGrange and Greater Atlanta Christian. That’s a very solid group of teams.
Still Peach County, and it isn’t close to losing my first-place vote. I just have one eye on Thomson, as well.
1. Calhoun (10) 6-0 109 1 (idle)
2. Brooks County (1) 6-0 100 2 (def. Thomasville 28-10)
3. Vidalia 6-0 80 4 (def. Atkinson County 35-6)
4. Fitzgerald 5-1 79 5 (def. Cook 21-15)
5. Lamar County 4-0-1 62 6 (def. Northeast-Macon 36-0)
6. Cook 5-1 57 3 (lost to Fitzgerald 21-15)
7. Heard County 5-0 46 9 (def. Chattahoochee County 40-14)
8. Greater Atlanta Christian 4-2 22 8 (lost to Thomson 36-27)
9. Jefferson 4-1 17 NR (def. Washington-Wilkes 31-0)
10. Benedictine Military 5-1 14 NR (def. Bryan County 21-9)
Others receiving votes: Bleckley County 5, Washington-Wilkes 4, Bowdon 3, Early County 2, Screven County 1.
Dropped out: Washington-Wilkes, Lovett
How I voted:
2. Brooks County
3. Lamar County
7. Heard County
I think voters got this one right. Not much to chip away at.
How about Heard County? It is undefeated and has a running back, sophomore Duranta Dunson who does about everything the team needs. I don’t have his statistics, but I’ve seen his numbers from a couple of games, and they’re impressive. I’m not saying this is a state-title caliber team yet, but it has an offense that has scored at least 40 points in every game this season. Not bad.
Recycled from last week: Calhoun is as prepared as ever to make another deep run into the playoffs.
1. Eagle's Landing Christian (7) 4-1 106 1 (idle)
2. Calvary Day (4) 5-0 96 3 (def. Savannah Country Day 48-7)
3. Aquinas 5-0 89 4 (def. Hancock Central 31-6)
4. Athens Academy 5-0 70 8 (def. Prince Avenue Christian 14-7)
5. Lincoln County 4-1 67 5 (def. Warren County 49-6)
6. Emanuel County Institute 5-1 49 6 (def. Wheeler County 68-7)
7. George Walton 5-1 45 7 (def. Hebron Christian Academy 52-10)
8. Prince Avenue Christian 5-1 40 2 (lost to Athens Academy 14-7)
9. Savannah Christian Prep. 3-2 20 10 (def. Claxton 24-14)
T-10. Walker 5-0 6 NR (def. Mount Pisgah Christian 35-6)
T-10. Wilcox County 3-2 6 NR (def. Lanier County 40-0)
Others receiving votes: Turner County 5, Miller County 2, Dooly County 2, Charlton County 1, Clinch County 1.
Dropped out: Charlton County
How I voted:
1. Calvary Day
2. Eagle's Landing Christian
4. Athens Academy
5. Prince Avenue Christian
6. Lincoln County
7. George Walton
8. Emanuel County Institute
9. Savannah Christian Prep.
10. Wilcox County
Another classification that appears close to what it needs to be. I can’t pinpoint an overvalued team, but I can talk about one that is being undervalued after just one loss.
A 14-7 loss doesn’t equate to a drop to No. 8 for Prince Avenue Christian in my book. That’s a situation where Athens Academy deservedly gets the big bump up the rankings, and Prince Avenue drops just a spot below. Those two teams aren’t four spots apart.
Most other teams, I think, are in a good place. I think Athens Academy, in particular, is very deserving of its meteoric rise in the rankings this week.
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.