Weekend HS football predictions

A lot of the football talk this offseason focused on realignment.

In college, a major reshuffling of the conferences appeared imminent. The end result, for now at least, was less dramatic. Nebraska to the Big Ten. Colorado and Utah to the Pac-10. Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West. Not exactly the game-changing scenario that many had envisioned.

In high schools, however, the GHSA’s biennial reclassification produced some major shakeups. Defending Class AAAA champion Sandy Creek dropped to AAA. Northside-Warner Robins, the runner-up in Class AAAAA last year, moved to AAAA. Charlton County dropped from AA to A and then earned the No. 1 spot in the preseason rankings. And traditional powers Warner Robins, Westside-Macon, Dalton and Carver-Columbus each dropped a classification.

The reshuffling should make for some fascinating matchups this season, especially in the playoffs.

But those teams have their big games down the road. We kick off the season by looking at a few of the teams that stayed put in this round of reclassification.

  • Tucker at Southwest DeKalb (Hallford Stadium): Region 6-AAAA doesn't waste any time getting to its big games. Tucker and Marist always meet within the first couple of weeks of the season, as they will do again this year when they play at Marist next week, and the game usually has a big impact on the final region standings. This year, Tucker tunes up for the Marist game by meeting defending 6-AAAA champion Southwest DeKalb, which beat the Tigers 26-0 last season. Both teams lost a lot of talent from last year, but both have a lot coming back, as usual. Tucker may have just a bit more, so look for the Tigers to avenge last year's loss.
  • Stephenson at Parkview: Parkview missed the playoffs last season for the first time in 16 years, and getting back there this season will be no easy task coming out of a region that includes Brookwood, Dacula, Grayson and South Gwinnett. The Panthers could make a major statement with a victory tonight against the sixth-ranked Jaguars, but look for Stephenson to walk away from the Big Orange Jungle with a big victory.
  • Buford at Gainesville: My number-one rule is that I don't pick against Buford. Not against the Saints, not against Alabama, not even against a good Gainesville team that is ranked No. 10 in Class AAA. In the past decade, Buford compiled a record of 139-7 (including 44-1 in the past three seasons) and an even more amazing 97-3 mark in the regular season. No reason to go against those odds, tonight or any other time in the foreseeable future.
  • Elsewhere: Roswell, ranked No. 8 in Class AAAAA, will spoil the head coaching debut of Collins Hill's Kevin Reach. ... Newnan will extend the state's longest current regular-season winning streak to 29 games by beating LaGrange. ... Savannah has lost 23 consecutive games, and it could get ugly when the Blue Jackets lose to two-time defending state champion Camden County. ... Last year, I slammed Clarke Central in the season-opening predictions, but the Gladiators proved me wrong by reaching the AAAA championship game. Look for Clarke Central to keep it rolling tonight against Athens-rival Cedar Shoals.

The weekend predictions

Friday

Winner##Loser

Apalachee##Habersham Central

Appling Co.##Dodge Co.

Armuchee##Trion

Athens Academy##SW Atlanta Christian

Avondale##Druid Hills

Bacon Co.##Jeff Davis

Bainbridge##Early Co.

Baldwin##Burke Co.

Banks Co.##Social Circle

Berrien##Southwest-Macon

Blessed Trinity##Benedictine

Bradwell Institute##Glynn Academy

Bremen##Howard

Brookstone##Macon Co.

Brunswick##Statesboro

Bryan Co.##Long Co.

Buford##Gainesville

Cairo##Drew

Calhoun##Dalton

Calvary Day##Montgomery Co.

Camden Co.##Savannah

Carver-Columbus##Spencer

Cass##Woodland-Cartersville

Centennial##Campbell

Central Gwinnett##Mountain View

Chamblee##Carver-Atlanta

Charlton Co.##Brantley Co.

Chattahoochee Co.##Marion Co.

Chattooga##LaFayette

Clarke Central##Cedar Shoals

Clinch Co.##Pierce Co.

Creekside##Morrow

Creekview##Sequoyah

Crisp Co.##Turner Co.

Cross Creek##Josey

Dacula##Mill Creek

Dade Co.##Gordon Lee

Darlington##Sonoraville

Decatur##North Springs

Duluth##Archer

Dutchtown##Stockbridge

East Coweta##Chapel Hill

East Paulding##South Paulding

Eastside##Alcovy

Effingham Co.##Screven Co.

ECI##Swainsboro

Etowah##Berkmar

Evans##Richmond Academy

Fannin Co.##Gilmer

Fayette Co.##Woodland-Stockbridge

Fellowship Christ.##Lakeview Academy

Fitzgerald##Worth Co.

Flowery Branch##Madison Co.

George Walton##Pinecrest Academy

Georgia Military##Strong Rock

Gordon Central##Model

Grady##McNair

GAC##Columbia

Greenville##Dooly Co.

Griffin##Spalding

Harris Co.##Hardaway

Harrison##West Forsyth

Hart Co.##Franklin Co.

Hawkinsville##Central-Talbotton

Henry Co.##Ola

Hephzibah##Greene Co.

Heritage-Catoosa##North Murray

Hillgrove##Sprayberry

Hiram##Douglas Co.

Holy Innocents’##Riverwood

Houston Co.##Perry

Jackson##Mary Persons

Jefferson##Commerce

Jenkins Co.##Metter

Johnson-Gainesville##Jackson Co.

Johnson-Savannah##Richmond Hill

Jones Co.##Luella

Kendrick##Randolph-Clay

Kennesaw Mountain##Allatoona

King’s Ridge##St. Francis

Lakeside-Evans##Glenn Hills

Lamar Co.##Bleckley Co.

Landmark Christian##Aquinas

Lanier Co.##Calhoun Co.

Lee Co.##Baconton Charter

Liberty Co.##Americus-Sumter

Lithia Springs##Haralson Co.

Lithonia##Redan

Lovejoy##Mundy’s Mill

Lowndes##Pebblebrook

Manchester##Columbus

Marietta##South Cobb

Marist##Douglass

McIntosh##Pike Co.

McIntosh Co. Academy.##Savannah Christian

Miller Grove##Lakeside-Atlanta

Milton##Cherokee

Monroe##Terrell Co.

Monroe Area##Monticello

Morgan Co.##Walnut Grove

Mt. Paran##Pace Academy

Mt. Pisgah##Cross Keys

Mt. Zion-Carroll##N. Cobb Christian

Murray Co.##Southeast Whitfield

Newnan##LaGrange

North Atlanta##South Atlanta

North Clayton##Riverdale

North Cobb##Alpharetta

North Oconee##Arabia Mountain

Northgate##Alexander

Northside-Columbus##Jordan

Northside-Warner Robins##Union Grove

Northview##Meadowcreek

Northwest Whitfield##Lambert

Oglethorpe Co.##Athens Christian

Osborne##Hughes

Our Lady of Mercy##Temple

Pacelli##Schley Co.

Paulding Co.##North Paulding

Pepperell##Cartersville

Pickens##Dawson Co.

Pope##Wheeler

Portal##Southeast Bulloch

Prince Ave. Christian##Hebron Christian

Putnam Co.##Hancock Central

Ridgeland##Adairsville

Ringgold#Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe

Riverside Military##Lumpkin Co.

Rockdale Co.##Winder-Barrow

Rockmart##Cedartown

Rome##Johns Creek

Roswell##Collins Hill

Rutland##Eagle’s Landing

St. Pius##Westminster

Salem##Heritage-Conyers

Sandy Creek##Whitewater

Sav. Country Day##Atkinson Co.

South Forsyth##Forsyth Central

Starr’s Mill##Coosa

Stephens Co.##Elbert Co.

Stephenson##Parkview

Tattnall Co.##Claxton

Telfair Co.##Wheeler Co.

Therrell##Clarkston

Thomas Co. Central##Thomasville

Thomson##Washington-Wilkes

Tift Co.##Locust Grove

Towers##Central-Macon

Tri-Cities##Jonesboro

Troup##Callaway

Tucker##Southwest DeKalb

Union Co.##Towns Co.

Valdosta##Brooks Co.

Vidalia##Treutlen

Villa Rica##Central-Carroll

Ware Co.##Coffee

Warner Robins##Peach Co.

Warren Co.##Glascock Co.

Washington Co.##Jefferson Co.

Wesleyan##Seminole Co.

West Hall##East Hall

West Laurens##East Laurens

Westlake##Washington

Westover##Mitchell Co.

Westside-Augusta##Butler

Westside-Macon##Stone Mountain

White Co.##East Jackson

Whitefield Academy##Walker

Wilcox Co.##Miller Co.

Wilkinson Co.##Johnson Co.

Windsor Forest##Wayne Co.

Woodstock##North Forsyth

Woodward Academy##Upson-Lee

Saturday

Banneker##Forest Park

Cedar Grove##Veterans

Dougherty##Albany

Mays##Dunwoody

Shiloh##Newton

South Effingham##Jenkins

Note: Games involving out-of-state teams not included