Class 7A blog: Review of regular season’s first half

The regular season is at the halfway point – six weeks down, six to go.

Here’s what we might tell someone who just woke up from six weeks of hibernation.

*Lowndes, coming off a state runner-up finish, is 5-0 and ranked No. 1, having beaten the likes of Archer Lee County and Valdosta. New coach Jamey DuBose has the Vikings in the top 10 of most national polls. The team went in quarantine over COVID-19 concerns Wednesday and can’t practice for two weeks, so there’s some concern about its condition entering region play Oct. 30.

*Grayson, the preseason No. 1, is 5-0 with five quality wins and also highly nationally ranked. Phil Mafah has emerged as the classification’s best running back. But quarterback Carlos Del Rio was ruled ineligible after his transfer from McEachern, and wide receiver Daejon Reynolds, who came from Central Gwinnet, has been hurt. Both of those are committed to Florida. Their presence was one reason the Rams got the preseason No. 1 ranking. But Grayson remains well-armed for a run at a state title.

*Colquitt County beat Valdosta 24-10 in the return to Moultrie of coach Rush Propst, now Valdosta’s coach. The Packers have dealt with COVID-19 shutdown and merged 4-0. The Valdosta game was their only major test, but they passed.

*Brookwood, which finished 5-6 last season, is 5-0 for the first time since 2005 and ranked as high as No. 4 in the rankings for the first time since 2011. Quarterback Dylan Lonergan and wide receivers Samuel Mbake and Denylon Morrissette have emerged as stars, and they are underclassmen,

*Norcross is 5-0 for the first time since 2016 and are favored to win its region, which would be the first since 2016, also the last time Norcross was ranked as high as its current No. 5.

*Marietta and Harrison, state champions from 2019, have struggled. Marietta is 1-4, Harrison 0-3. Both suffered major graduation losses, and Harrison has had the added stress of COVID-19 interruptions.

*North Gwinnett and Parkview, both ranked in the top five in preseason, are down, but not out. Parkview lost to North 21-0, and that loss became more concerning with North lost back-to-back games against Lovejoy and Archer. But North bounced back with a 16-0 victory over No. 6 North Cobb last week. Both teams are talented and are expected to be major factors in the playoffs. Jordan Hancock, the Ohio State-committed cornerback who opted out of his senior season, just rejoined his North Gwinnett teammates.

*Collins Hill has been up and down but always fun. The Eagles were impressive against Carrollton and Rome, played Grayson tough and lost in overtime to East Coweta. Sam Horn has thrown for 1,380 yards, and Travis Hunter has 680 yards receiving, both near the top of state yardage leaderboard.

*Cherokee us 5-0 for the first time since 2007, with victories over Rome and Cartersville, the latter ending the state’s longest regular-season winning streak. Cherokee is ranked for the first time since 2004. The No. 6 ranking is the program’s highest in school history.

*Newnan and East Coweta, county rivals that haven’t won region titles in over 10 years, are the teams to beat in Region 2. Newnan is 5-0, and East Coweta is 5-1, losing only to fifth-ranked Norcross.

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