Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Critiquing the Ga. Sportswriters Association rankings (and ours, too)

The Georgia Sportswriters Association rankings are out. They’re not much different than our GHSF Daily rankings, but we thought it would be fun to critique their work, and perhaps our own as well.

We’ve selected five teams that should be higher, and five that should be lower:

Move ‘em up
Brooks County: Brooks made the Class AA semifinals last season and lost to Calhoun 38-35. This season, Brooks has beaten Class AAAAA Tift County 27-7. Brooks has a star player in Keith Christopher, who could break 1,500 yards rushing. Where would one expect such a team to be ranked? Eighth? Doesn’t seem right. We admit we have Brooks only seventh. We’re going to deliberate more on that.

East Paulding: The Raiders finished in the Top 10 of Class AAAAA last season and are 2-0, with a victory over Rome, a former ranked team in AAAA. Further, East Paulding defeated McEachern a year ago. Should McEachern be the team on the outside until it avenges that loss to East Paulding? We won’t go that far, but East should be the first team in line to be ranked next week, if it wins.

LaGrange: LaGrange reached the semifinals last year and is averaging about 12 wins a season this decade. Should we keep LaGrange out of the rankings just because the Grangers lost to the No. 7 team in Class AAAAA? The GSWA did. Does anyone really think LaGrange isn’t a Top 10 team? Because it lost to Newnan?

Mount Zion: This Clayton County school reached the quarterfinals a year ago, losing to Marist 33-32. This season, Mount Zion has beaten Shiloh 40-10 (after losing to Shiloh last season) and Forest Park 65-6 (after winning only 15-14 last season). That walks and talks like a top-10 team. But it’s not in the GSWA.

Newnan: No one has scored on Newnan’s defense. Save for LaGrange, a Class AAA school, there hasn’t been great competition yet, and perhaps there won’t be a true measure of Newnan until the playoffs. But this defense is perhaps better than a year ago, when Newnan went 13-1. Plus, Newnan might have the best player in the state in Alec Ogletree, a safety. Yet Newnan is only No. 7.

Move ‘em down
Bainbridge: It’s too soon. Bainbridge was 6-4 last season. It has a great coach. But it’s too soon. Bainbridge also was undefeated at this time last season. OK, we know Bainbridge didn’t play Cairo last year and beat Cairo this year, but the Bearcats don’t need to be No. 6 in Class AAAA. We’ve got them No. 9 and worry that this is still too high.

Jefferson: T. McFerrin likes to read our newsletter, and we’re trying to help him by giving him something to post on his bulletin board. The Dragons and Darius Minor are streaking toward another 10-0 regular season, but we still won’t know how good they are. Jefferson shouldn’t be ranked higher than No. 9 or No. 10 until it beats a team that will win a playoff game. Last year, that didn’t happen. Jefferson has not finished with a Top 10 ranking in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 1977. The GSWA gave the Dragons the No. 10 spot last season. Truth is, mainstream Georgia high school football fans don’t believe Jefferson would beat Charlton County, Dublin, Thomasville and the like, all teams ranked below.

Statesboro: Statesboro lost 35-17 to a good Class AAA team (Burke County) and stayed in the GSWA rankings while Marist lost 28-3 to a good AAA team (St. Pius) and can’t get a single vote. Marist finished higher than Statesboro last season, started higher than Statesboro this season and returned more starters. Further, Marist just beat no-slouch Chamblee 40-0. GHSF Daily doesn’t have Marist in its Top 10 either, but neither does it have Statesboro.

Stephenson: Don’t get us wrong. Stephenson is loaded. Or so we hear, and we don’t doubt it. GHSF Daily has Stephenson No. 5, and the GSWA has Stephenson No. 4. Unproven is the word we’re looking for. The Jags have shut out a pair of weak teams and also apparently shut out Tucker in a scrimmage. OK, but No. 4 in Class AAAAA is pretty high for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2006. That’s why Northside of Warner Robins jumped the Jags this week to No. 4 in the GHSF Daily poll.

Valdosta: Same as Stephenson. By all accounts, Valdosta is better this season. But if you’re looking for an undefeated team to rank at No. 10, would you pick Valdosta, which was 5-5 last season and has not faced a real good team yet, or would you pick East Paulding or Walton, teams that were better than Valdosta last season and have beaten ranked teams this season?

The GSWA rankings, with team, first-place votes in parentheses, record, points in the poll and last week’s ranking:

1. Lowndes (11) 3-0 119 1
2. Grayson (1) 3-0 109 2
3. North Gwinnett 3-0 90 3
4. Stephenson 2-0 75 4
5. Northside, Warner Robins 2-0 70 7
6. M.L. King 3-0 65 6
7. Newnan 3-0 46 8
8. McEachern 3-0 26
8. Peachtree Ridge 2-1 26 9
10. Camden County 1-2 14 5
(tie) Valdosta 3-0 14
Others receiving votes: East Coweta 4, South Gwinnett 4, Lassiter 3, Woodstock 2, Walton 1, East Paulding 1

Class AAAA
1. Tucker (12) 3-0 120 1
2. Griffin 3-0 103 2
3. Westside, Macon 3-0 95 3
4. Hillgrove 3-0 80 6
5. Southwest DeKalb 2-1 74 5
6. Bainbridge 3-0 49 8
7. Sandy Creek 2-1 42 7
8. North Clayton 3-0 38 9
9. Clarke Central 3-0 27
10. Statesboro 2-1 8 4
Others receiving votes: Brunswick 7, Apalachee 5, Mount Zion 5, Richmond Academy 3, Hardaway 2, Mays 1, Dalton 1

Class AAA
1. Gainesville (12) 3-0 120 2
2. Peach County 3-0 101 4
3. Carver, Columbus 2-1 96 1
4. St. Pius 3-0 72 6
5. Washington County 3-0 57 7
6. Carrollton 3-0 54 8
7. Creekview 3-0 30
8. Flowery Branch 2-1 27 3
(tie) Burke County 3-0 27
10. Jackson 3-0 24 9
Others receiving votes: Baldwin 19, LaGrange 18, Washington 7, LaFayette 5, Monroe 3

Class AA
1. Calhoun (9) 3-0 116 2
2. Fitzgerald (1) 3-0 101 3
3. Lovett (2) 3-0 100 6
4. Jefferson County 3-0 77 4
5. Buford 2-1 75 1
6. Pepperell 3-0 63 5
7. Jefferson 3-0 44 7
8. Brooks County 2-0 42 8
9. Charlton County 2-0-1 22 9
10. Dublin 2-0 8
Others receiving votes: Blessed Trinity 4, Chattooga 3, Swainsboro 2, Greater Atlanta Christian 1, Thomasville 1, North Oconee 1

Class A
1. Wesleyan (13) 3-0 130 1
2. Wilkinson County 3-0 116 3
3. Lincoln County 3-0 99 4
4. Savannah Christian 3-0 89 5
5. Wilcox County 2-1 78 2
6. Johnson County 3-0 68 6
7. Bowdon 3-0 51 7
8. Chattahoochee County 3-0 39 8
9. Treutlen 3-0 16
10. Emanuel County Institute 2-1 8 10
(tie) Twiggs County 2-1 8
Others receiving votes: Washington-Wilkes 3, Seminole County 2, Warren County 2, Holy Innocents’ 2, Walker 1, Brookstone 1, Marion County 1, Athens Academy 1

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124 comments Add your comment


September 16th, 2009
11:19 am

Here’s one you both got wrong, Benjamin E. Mays Raiders MOVE ‘EM UP!!!

Say it Aint So

September 16th, 2009
11:21 am

After this weekend, Walton should show up in the top 10. They are some what of a second half team. Playing from behind in the 2nd half of the last 2 games, they shut out their opponents on the way to comeback victories.


September 16th, 2009
11:32 am

How does Marist not even receive a vote for AAAA ranking? Yes, Marist lost to a very good St. Pius team, but it is the returning State runner-up, started the year ranked fourth, and has won its last two games big.

Lincoln County Red Devil

September 16th, 2009
12:04 pm

I know, why don’t we make it a standard that if you are a private school, offering scholarships and have the ability to recruit, you should be classified as MINIMUM AAA school. Heck, i’d go as far as to say you must compete in AAAAA.

We are talking about you Wesleyan!! Your program is destroying the greatness that is small town A Georgia High School Football. If you guys are so good, move up to a larger classification and prove it!!!!


September 16th, 2009
12:12 pm

Class AAAAA is loaded with good teams. McEachern is big, fast and aggressive. If there is a team better than them, I would like to see them play. This team has already defeated 2 top 10 teams. It’s good to see them in the top ten. East Paulding had better bring their A game if they plan to match up against McEachern this Friday.


September 16th, 2009
12:20 pm

Roger Holmes and the Irish at number 10? This team has made it to the 3rd round or better since 2002…and the AJC has them at number 10

Grayson Student

September 16th, 2009
12:23 pm

I would say Lowndes, Grayson, Stephenson, North Gwinnett, Valdosta, and the ridge are all better than mceachern… maybe even teams who are unranked such as south gwinnett

NW Georgia fan

September 16th, 2009
12:24 pm

Thanks for noticing Chattooga County in AA. They will compete!


September 16th, 2009
12:40 pm

Mays should be moved up.


September 16th, 2009
12:44 pm

I agree with Joe Mays should be moved up atleast in the top 5 of AAAA.


September 16th, 2009
12:56 pm

Why is a 1-2 team even ranked???

Daddy Big Bucks

September 16th, 2009
1:21 pm


Well LC Red Devil, it had been 4 days since I heard that charge and I almost got it out of my mind. I have got to get the right mindset: if a team is good (too good), and it is a Private school, then they must have cheated with recruiting and scholarships. Same song different sport; Football, Basketball, etc etc.

Look forward to playing the Red Devils on the field – where the question of who is number one should be settled for all the divisions.



September 16th, 2009
1:22 pm

I don’t understand the rankings do you rank by who you think is better or by what the records are cause what I’ am seeing seems crazy. I think rankings should be by what the teams records are not by who you think is better how is a 2-1 team gets ranked over a 3-0 team that don’t make any sense.


September 16th, 2009
1:38 pm

I think marist should be ranked even though pius ran their faces up and down the field. Marist is the kind of team that gets better and better as the season goes on, more so than any other team in the state. Back when I was at pius there was always the love triangle with pius, tucker and marist. Tucker beats marist in the 3rd game of the season, pius beats tucker in the 5th game, and Marist beats pius in the last game. Don’t under estimate them.


September 16th, 2009
1:42 pm

Nah, McE is a great team. right up there with Valdosta and “the Ridge”. trust me. They’re going to be making some headlines in november.


September 16th, 2009
1:55 pm

how does creekview have a 3-0 record when they have only played 2 games?

the real Old Gold

September 16th, 2009
2:17 pm

Calhoun looks strong.. do you think this could finally be Coach Lamb’s state championship year?


September 16th, 2009
2:18 pm

I grew up in Valdosta, went from kindergarten through four years of college there. I played football for Lowndes and have always looked at Valdosta as a bitter rival but one that I respected. I have been a student of the game for many years and I can tell you that Valdosta is a much better team than the one from a year ago. I predict a VHS win this friday against NSWR. I also predict for the Wildcats to end up in Mr. Holcombs top ten before the year is out. Lowndes goes 15-0 and the “cats” only lose twice, the first time to my MIGHTY VIKINGS and the second in the semifinals. Mark it down!

decatur where it is greater

September 16th, 2009
2:21 pm

Stephenson: Don’t get us wrong. Stephenson is loaded. Or so we hear, and we don’t doubt it. What is this statement suppose to mean. Mr. AJC Sports or who ever you are you dont have to rank stephenson at all. Just be ready to eat crow when we play your favorites. I want you to bet against stephenson every week and see how successful you are with your predictions.


September 16th, 2009
2:31 pm

Recruiting? Are you kidding me? If you think certain public schools do not recruit you are out of touch with reality.


September 16th, 2009
2:33 pm

i just want to no why Newnan high school havn’t received the channnel 5 trophy yet they just don’t get no respect from the AJC

The Cannon Rules!!

September 16th, 2009
2:42 pm


WOW!…This is HARD to say BUT I actually AGREE with you…East Paulding should not be ranked…YET…and McEachern SHOULD NOT be kept out of the rankings…this week…because of a loss LAST year to EP but ABSOUTELY The Raiders from EAST PAULDING should be ranked once they beat McEachern this week…AT MCEACHERN…this will be a HUGE win for EAST and set the tone for the division for the rest of the year!!!

STAY TUNED…the countdown clock is ticking…64 hours AND COUNTING…TICK…TICK…TICK…BOOOOOOOOM!!!!…GO RAIDERS!!!


September 16th, 2009
2:53 pm

St. Pius X Golden Lions should be number 1, they have one of the best defense in the state bar none!
They do have the very best defensive coordinator in the South!

Objective Observer

September 16th, 2009
2:54 pm

Lincoln Fan why are you so quick to rail against recruiting? LC is one of the best at doing it. Carl Dorsey never lived in L-town but his grandmoter did. He was from Harlem. Tae Norman (R.I.P.) was from McCormick and didn’t live there either. Travis Clark not a L-town native neither was Brandon Barden who led them to two State Championships. Oh by the way, this year is Garrett Mohr. Everyone knows he is from Thomson and couldn’t get recognition at Briarwood so his dad pulled some strings and made it happen. Just don’t be too quick to judge next time.

Some Sense

September 16th, 2009
2:57 pm

To whoever “Ed” is…I gotta agree that Marist should be ranked. Not having the Big M in the top ten is like dinner without wine…o. k.., a day w/out sunshine.

To whoever PIHI is…Really unfair to disrespect a great program the way you did…”ran their faces up and down the field.”

No two coaches in the state are better than Paul S. at SPX and Alan C. at Marist. Neither, not their respective programs, deserves to ever be spoken to or about like that.


And now to the tired old argument about private schools recruiting and offering scholarships. Get a grip…this one’s a been there/done that. If you want to see why private schools succeed, visit one and look at the way the coaches and players simply “handle” themselves. These kids were raised to do right, and that covers a lot of ground, including how they play games.


September 16th, 2009
3:36 pm

What idiot voted for GAC!! Haven’t they given up like 180 points in 3 games.


September 16th, 2009
3:39 pm

Roger Holmes = best coach in the state.


September 16th, 2009
4:12 pm

why did ajc take their version of the rankings off the website???????????


September 16th, 2009
4:18 pm

Valdosta does not deserve to be ranked at #10. They may deserve an honorable mention, but that’s all. They have beatebn 3 teams that they beat last year, by roughly the same margins and then the wheels came off. Thery are clearly outclassed by Lowndes, and many other teams. their glory years are behind them. Bazemore and Hyder are rolling over in their graves!!


September 16th, 2009
4:22 pm

Friday predictions: LOWNDES rolls over Colquitt. Northside by 10 over Valdosta.


September 16th, 2009
4:39 pm

What about Appling County they beat Charlton County last year and also beat two AAAA teams this year.

Sting 'em Buzz

September 16th, 2009
4:46 pm

Bubba, Granted it was a preseason game, but St. Pius lost that game to Gainesville this season. There is no way that they should be ranked #1.

BullDawg Rick

September 16th, 2009
4:56 pm

The “Beauty” of all this is…. The rankings do NOT matter… There is a playoffs at season end!!!

The Wolves of Buford will be a better team from losing to Lovett and win their 3rd straight & 6th State Championship this century..


September 16th, 2009
5:12 pm

What about Warner Robins demons? They lost 10-0 against the #2 team(grayson) and dont even get mentioned, they play in the toughest region in the country and are 2-1 and blew out the other 2 teams!

R.W. Gweed

September 16th, 2009
5:32 pm

The AJC should take notice of Jackson’s #10 ranking in AAA by the GSWA. Also, I don’t believe Tucker or Gainesville will win it all this year. Tucker had to be the team of the year last year, especially for winning at Westside-Macon. Then they got their revenge against Marist, showing just how much they improved during the year. Gainesville has some individual superstars to be sure, but I,m not convinced they can go all the way and win the state championship (I could be wrong on this one).


September 16th, 2009
5:39 pm

Machearn fans: Need advise on where us East Paulding fans can park and tailgate before the game?


September 16th, 2009
5:50 pm

Mike: Maybe the vote for GAC is similar to college where Steve Spurrier voted Duke 25th on his ballot every week because he has a soft spot for the Blue Devils.
dst: Warner Robins opponents outside of Grayson are a combined 0-6. Houston County has a more quality win by beating Bradwell Institute, a playoff team last year.
Todd: Agree with you about Valdosta. They have not played anybody yet. I would rank EP & Walton in the top ten & drop Camden & Valdosta out.

Wolverine Fan

September 16th, 2009
5:53 pm

Speaking of parking. What is the parking like at Marietta?


September 16th, 2009
5:54 pm



September 16th, 2009
5:55 pm

Thanks for givving Newnan some recognition. They are truly an amazing team this year and could stick with any of the top schools in Georgia right now. Grayson and Lowndes are the only schools I would say would beat us if we were to play today.


September 16th, 2009
6:05 pm

Any given Friday a team can lose. Especially if your are the visiting team. Newnan is tough team and could beat big dogs at home and things just went right.

I want to see Warner Robins play a really good team in their region soon. I think they are really stout on defensive front. Do not think they will be scored on easily.

Game I am really excited about is South Gwinnett and Grayson. There is a lot of smack talk happening in Gwinnett communities. Should be a really sprited game. Hope no one gets hurt. And it is suppose to rain. Grayson will really do well then. What is rain rule for high school football? Stop games only if lightning or when kids can get hurt?


September 16th, 2009
7:44 pm

Realistic EP fan- at McCeachern you need to park in the school lot. Take the first right turn on the road before the school and left into parking lot. A couple hundred yards from staduium. This is also pretty easy access out. Cars will eventually park on the road side as well, as I know you will be bringing many “Raiders”.
Wolverine Fan – Good luck, you have to park on the street in one of the old neighborhoods and walk up. They paly at the old field. You goota love it though, great old school football atmosphere, gate right on the street,campus setting, very close to the action. Make sure you check out the restrooms under the vistor’s stands. Classic!

Valdosta Dawg

September 16th, 2009
7:59 pm

“Vikingsrule” good post, we (Valdosta) our a much improved team from last year, Coach T finally has some things working. I think we may give your beloved Vikes a run for their money, I hope so because my wife teaches at that school and I want to beat the crap out of Lowndes so I can rub it in her eye! GO CATS!
“Viking Dad” y’all will beat the Pack but hold on to your skirt Missy, we will beat Northside and then maybe Todd will think we our worthy. I will say this Todd we get the love we do because of 23 state titles, 6 national titles, and over 845 wins thats why we are 10
Go Cats and Todd lighten up on Bainbridge!.

Wolverine Fan

September 16th, 2009
8:24 pm

Thanks for the info Pops. I love the old stadiums. Cherokee has a great one also.


September 16th, 2009
8:30 pm

Wolverine Fan – Absolutely, I am looking very much forward to the Etowah game at Cherooke this week. I honestly prefer most of the road venues for getting close to the action. I like to be right up in it, and at Etowah despite the beautiful field, well kept grounds and amenities, the best seat for me is up top standing along side the fence.


September 16th, 2009
8:47 pm

for you east paulding fans on where to park, in paulding co. and walk on over, just kidding we have all kinds of room, be safe and have a great time!


September 16th, 2009
9:26 pm

Personally I like Marietta’s stadium over Cherokee’s. My dad played there back in the 60’s back when Athens High was still around. Its got a feel sorta like the UGA baseball stadium cuz the people who live next to the south end-zone just walk out on their porch to watch the game. And you’ve gotta make sure your WR’s dont run through the south endzone and try to keep going cuz of the brick wall that’ll lay you out. haha


September 16th, 2009
9:59 pm

To all followers of Region 1-AAAAA football and GHSA observers: Is Friday night a must win for Valdosta head coach Tomberlin? I believe that Valdosta has at least one All-American on their roster and a myriad of All-State level players. What happens in Winnersville if the Wildcats lose at home to Northside-Warner Robins?

I believe that Tomberlin is on the hot seat. Things can only get worse for him as Valdosta fans watch Lowndes County roll year after year. A loss to Northside on Friday night signals a third place region finish for Valdosta, at best, and bad news for the Wildcats. This week’s big game hosting our beloved Eagles has to be a must-win for the Wildcats from Valdosta.

Ironically, Valdosta has only lost once to Northside ever…last season. Northside won easily 28-14.


September 16th, 2009
10:12 pm

if anything… stephenson is UNDERRATED!!! but we’ll see


September 16th, 2009
10:19 pm

By the way, Northside-Warner Robins trailing metro Atlanta programs, like North Gwinnett and Stephenson is a borderline sham. What has Stephenson accomplished on the football field to merit a ranking as high as 4th in the state? The same question is applicable to North Gwinnett.

After Lowndes County destroyed yet another grossly overhyped metro Atlanta program, Peachtree Ridge, the state rankings should be Lowndes County, Grayson, Northside-Warner Robins as the top three. I would add that other teams in Region 1-AAAAA like Valdosta, Warner Robins, and Colquitt County, should be ranked due to principle.

Saying that Valdosta or that Warner Robins has not played stiff competition is interesting. Who has Stephenson HS played? These guys couldn’t win a state championship game with superstars like Reggie Ball and Kregg Lumpkin. What makes anyone believe these guys can shake that giant lump lodged in the throats of practically every DeKalb County program?