Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Five teams waiting for their chance to break into state rankings

The Class AAAAA rankings are the most boring set of rankings in the state.

They never change. Since the publication of the preseason AJC rankings, there has been only one change. That happened the first week when Carver Atlanta lost and Dutchtown joined the top 10. There has been no movement since that time.

This no doubt causes great furor among schools and communities that are doing well, but can’t break into the top 10s. Those teams just have to bide their time – and keep winning. Their number may eventually be called.

In the meantime, here are five teams who are lurking in the shadows, just waiting for their chance to join the elite.

Veterans: The Warhawks are 4-0 and coming off a 21-0 win over previously unbeaten Statesboro. Quarterback Sebastian Verger has rushed for 288 yards and thrown for 322 and running back Cyrus Zuell has rushed for 436 yards and seven touchdowns. The Veterans’ defense has recorded two shutouts. Veterans plays Houston County this week.

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Southwest DeKalb: The Panthers are 4-0 and already have two shutouts. SWD’s offense has gotten better since Week 1, with Eian Scott rushing for 212 yards on 16 carries in a monster effort last week against Redan. Scott now has 365 yards. Jamel Starks also ran for 119 yards for the Panthers. The SWD defense limited Redan to 116 yards. Southwest hasn’t been ranked by the AJC since 2009. The Panthers play Lovejoy this week. 

Clarke Central: The Gladiators are 3-1 and are coming off a big win over Thomson. Clarke has more of an old-school approach his year with two stellar running backs (Jonathan Sewell, O’Brien Barnett) and a defense that has the speed to cover from sideline-to-sideline. The biggest test will come in the season finale at Buford, which could be for the region championship. This week the Gladiators continue their difficult preseason schedule in Death Valley against Lanier. 

Griffin: The Bears are 2-1 and bounced back from their loss with a win over rival Newnan. Griffin has a game-changer in Mo King, who ran for three touchdowns against Newnan. The Bears will be one of the main contenders in a wide-open Region 3. All-region linebacker Larry Corbin leads an athletic defense. This week the Bears host Upson-Lee. 

New Hampstead: A lot depends on how the Phoenix react after losing their first game against Florida’s Bolles School (where Chipper Jones played). They had an off week, but may need it since this week’s itinerary is a trip to unbeaten Richmond Hill. Quarterback Deyandre Ruffin has thrown for 468 yards and six touchdowns and run for 119 yards and three touchdowns. Dontre Wallace has run for 316 yards. 

 

 

 

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