Everyone loves lists. And even though it is far too early to think about such things – summer hasn’t started and no one is exactly sure when football practice cane begin – here is the proposed pre-preseason rankings.
These are not official and should only be used for discussion purposes. No wagering, please.
But first, some general thoughts about each region.
Region 1: This is easily the toughest league in the state. Each member of the small five-team region made the state playoffs last year and each won at least eight games. There will be one very good team sitting home at the end of the season. Dark horse: None.
Region 2: Once again, Starr’s Mill and Griffin are expected to be the class of is league. That’s been the came the last four years, so this should be no surprise. Those two will likely meet for the region championship. Dark horse: Harris County.
Region 3: Woodward Academy, moving up a notch in classification, will be the favorite, with Creekside likely the main nemesis. Creekside is one of five teams moving down from Class AAAAAA. Dark horse: Forest Park.
Region 4: The favorites are the same in his predominantly Henry County region – Dutchtown, Stockbridge and Jones County. Dark horse: Union Grove.
Region 5: Southwest DeKalb will be favored to win its third straight region title, but the competition is much tougher with King, Decatur and St. Pius joining the league. Dark horse: Stone Mountain.
Region 6: This region appears to be wide open, although Maynard Jackson, Chapel Hill and Lithia Springs are the early favorites. Dark horse: Villa Rica.
Region 7: This new league is packed at the top with Blessed Trinity, Calhoun and Cartersville, who have each won a state championship over the last five years. Blessed Trinity has won three in a row, so the Titans get the nod here. Dark horse: Hiram.
Region 8: Clarke Central has the ability to be the king of this castle. The Gladiators earned that right a year ago when the conquered Buford. Dark horse: Eastside.
Pre-preseason Top 25
- Warner Robins: May have the best quarterback (Jalen Addie) and best linebacker (Ahmad Walker) in the classification. There is plenty of motivation for the Demons, who have reached the final the last three seasons.
- Clarke Central: Wide receiver Jairus “Nono” Mack may be the best pure athlete in the classification and most dangerous wide receiver in Georgia. This is reputedly the best class of athletes the school has produced in many years.
- Blessed Trinity: The Titans move up after winning three straight titles at AAAA and they’ve got plenty of talent to compete at the next level. A talented quarterback transferred in and sophomore running back Justice Haynes (1,754 yards) could be the classification’s top back. That’s two good starting points.
- Wayne County: The Yellow Jackets are stacked on both sides and herald the return of four-star lineman Weston Franklin. Quarterback Trey Pierce is ready to open some eyes with his speed and quickness.
- Woodward Academy: The War Eagles have three returning first-team all-region defensive players and should be extremely stout there. The offense suffered losses, but does return all-region running back Damari Alston.
- Southwest DeKalb: The Panthers feature QB Rion White and bring back four of five starters on the offensive line. SWD has traditionally been one of the best defensive teams in DeKalb County and that isn’t likely to change.
- Starr’s Mill: These Panthers lost some key pieces, but their option attack continues to mesmerize the opposition. All-region safety Cole Bishop, a Duke commitment, returns to lead the defense.
- Coffee: Good news, Trojans: You’re playing down in classification. Bad news: You’re playing in the high school version of the Southeastern Conference. Quarterback A.J. Wilkerson gives the Trojans a good starting point on offense.
- Griffin: Yes, the Bears graduated a lot of talent. But the Griffin staff has the knack of finding offensive gold and the defense features one of the most talented secondaries in the state.
- Dutchtown: Quarterback Arendez Fedd is back at the helm of what has become the signature program in Henry County. The Bulldogs are known for their defense, but lost six first-team all-region defensive players.
- Jones County
- St. Pius
- Lithia Springs
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