Will Grayson, the newly-crowned No. 1 team in the state’s largest division (Class AAAAA), be able to hold onto the top spot after surviving yet another upset bid on Friday?
Grayson clung to a three-point lead against Brookwood before a touchdown with six minutes left made the final score 22-12, nowhere near indicating how close the Rams were to losing their first game of 2009.
Do “style points” or winning by a large margin count for anything in the high school rankings like they do at the collegiate level? If so, Grayson might be in trouble. In five of the team’s seven wins, they either trailed or held a slim lead in the fourth quarter.
However, here is the bottom line on Grayson: All they do is win.
In other words, the Rams may not win any beauty contests along the way with how they do it. But they still do it.
This week, there will likely be a large contention of high school fans to the South calling for No. 2 Northside of Warner Robins to overtake Grayson for the top spot.
Who do you think deserves the No. 1 ranking? Grayson or Northside? Or other high-profile undefeated teams, such as North Gwinnett, Newnan, M.L. King and Stephenson? One notable high school football expert said last week that he feels like Lowndes is still Georgia’s best team, despite the loss to Northside. What’s YOUR vote?
A few more notes on Grayson: With the win against Brookwood, the Rams have virtually clinched an undefeated regular season and the Region 8-AAAAA championship. Grayson’s remaining three games are against teams which have a combined record of 1-18. Therefore, barring any politicking with the rankings, Grayson will carry the treasured No. 1 into the state playoffs.
What’s the most important thing for Grayson to accomplish over the next three game? Without a question, work on its passing game. In the playoffs, Grayson will see the same effective scheming it witnessed against the defenses of Brookwood and South Gwinnett. Other teams will stack the line of scrimmage with all defenders in an effort to have anyone but Grayson All-State tailback Ean Pemberton beat them.
In the long run, Grayson will only go as far as quarterback Patrick Santry’s arm will take it. Santry completed only 6 of 15 passes against Brookwood, but two were homerun balls, either accounting for or setting up crucial scores. Santry appeared much more comfortable in the pocket and threw it as well as he has all season. However, he still needs to improve on avoiding eyeing his primary target as soon as he gets the snap, and also on exhibiting more patience in looking for his secondary and third WR options. Brookwood’s defense was superb on Friday, but Grayson will see a parade of elite defenses in the playoffs.
Considering Grayson’s brutal schedule over the season’s first seven games, it gets my endorsement for No. 1. However, I wonder one thing: Grayson has won all the close games like a champion. I wonder what will happen if the Rams ever fall behind by a couple of touchdowns early. In your opinion, do you think they have the type of high-octane offense and breakaway stars (other than Pemberton) to rally back from a huge deficit?
And, of course, back to the BIG QUESTION: Which team do you think deserves the No. 1 ranking in Class AAAAA?