East Paulding: This could be a breakthrough season for the Raiders, who start their second season under Jon Lindsey. If East Paulding is to compete with perennial powers Kell and Carrollton, it will need stellar seasons from seniors Jalen Browder and Dylan Prater. Browder had 56 catches and seven touchdowns last year and has a dozen D-I offers; he may also play some quarterback. Prater, who threw for 1,411 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 1,094 yards and 12 touchdowns, will also be ask to start in the secondary. Season opener: Friday vs. Harrison.
Rome: The Wolves are talented enough to make some real noise this season, their second under coach John Reid, who transformed East Pauling in a state power. Rome is loaded with all-star talent, including two all-star caliber running backs in junior Jaylynn Sykes (1,025 yards) and sophomore Jamious Griffin, a physically gifted player who scored 10 touchdowns last year. Throw in quarterback Knox Kadum (2,000 yards and 18 TDs) and older brother Zach Kadum, D-I prospect at left tackle, and you've got plenty of offensive punch. The defense is especially stout with tackles Jaquon Griffin and Jamarcus Chatman and end Adam Anderson (6-6, 235), a trio of juniors who are receiving D-I offers. Outside linebacker Jaylen Griffin (6-3, 225) had 25 offers before committing to Virginia Tech. Season opener: Aug. 26 at Harrison
Stockbridge: The Tigers once again plan to use their triple option attack to keep the ball on the ground and grind it out, just like last year when they rushed for 3,598 yards. The centerpiece of the attack is senior running back Jalen Holston, who ran for 1,361 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015. Much pressure falls on senior Kenderick Duncan, who takes over at quarterback for the graduated Malachi Brown. That transition will be helped by the return of all-region receiver Marquez Ezzard. Season opener: Aug. 27 vs. Mays at Clark Atlanta.