Voting day: Which of Georgia’s five classifications has the best football?

david-and-goliath-fighting-coloring-pageIt’s the great debate every year: Which of Georgia’s five classifications has the best football? The big boys of Class AAAAA? They usually get the nod because of the sheer size of schools that provide a bigger talent pool of athletes.

Can Georgia’s smaller high schools compete with the state’s biggest programs in football?

Last week, there were some David vs. Goliath-like results that turned heads: Then-unranked Cook of Class AA had a 15-9 win over then-No. 5 Colquitt County of Class AAAAA, which advanced to the state semifinals; Fitzgerald (AA) also knocked off Tift County (AAAAA) 40-26.

Jess Simpson is coach of Buford, the three-time Class AA state champions. “Class AA is dadgum tough. We lost an outstanding program in Charlton County (dropping to Class A) but gained another great one in Carver-Columbus (dropping from Class AAA). Yes, look what those two teams — Cook and Fitzgerald — did last week. I don’t know, but that will get your attention. Class AA is pretty salty. You take the top 10 teams in AA and they will compete with most teams around the state. The top 10 teams in Class AA, I’m not saying they will win every game, but they would be competitive in most every game against any team from any classification on Friday night.”

Jeff Herron is coach of Camden County, the two-time state champions of the state’s largest classification (AAAAA). “There are several AA and AAA and maybe an A team that compete with a lot of teams, especially when it’s an one-night thing. We played Charlton County my first four years … and we were fortunate to win [in the two road games], and one of those years we went to the state semifinals. I didn’t read a whole lot into [the upsets] this early in the year. Certainly, you’re talking about some good schools. Cook and Fitzgerald has some good players and good coaches, they could compete with anybody. Now could they go into Region 1-AAAAA and win it? No, I don’t think so. Could they beat anyone in that region on a given night? Yes, it could happen.”

Now it’s YOUR turn: Which of Georgia’s five classifications is the strongest? And what is your best memory of a David beating a Goliath over the years? Please post below.

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91 comments Add your comment

Victorius Sakrete

August 26th, 2010
6:00 am

Five A is the tops

1-AAAAA is the cream of the cream


August 26th, 2010
6:36 am

Two A and three A is tops. Both classifications are loaded and plays a tough game every week against a quality opponent.

distant observer

August 26th, 2010
7:01 am

the safest and most aligned position on this topic is the reality that there is parity in upper level programs from 2A through 5A. to make an overarching  statement and say that the largest classification is the best is short-sighted and quite subjective. it’s a very fragile evaluation tool to measure the health and strength of something by it’s size. if you asked me how my family is doing, it would be foolish for me to answer, “great! there’s five of us!” that tells you NOTHING about the health or strength or weaknesses of my family. hope this makes sense…

Sowega Sam

August 26th, 2010
7:10 am

Day in and day out —– bigger is better, so I stick with 5 A schools..
However, we must consider the desire and support of an area too.
Valdosta has been a falling star in recent years, don’t count them as history, yet.
The Cats are an example of desire. Their school “size” does not qualify them for 5A, but their insistance to play “the best” keeps them returning to a tough region schedule.

Take a look at Marists. I recall a time when they kicked every butt that came before them, and the total school enrollment, at that time, was about 400 -450 students.

Wolverine Fan

August 26th, 2010
7:24 am

What a stupid question. it’s like asking which one of your children do you love the most.


August 26th, 2010
8:41 am

Football in Georgia is great in every classification. But I have to say AAAA, AAA, AA all have better talent than AAAAA. What happened last week to Colquitt County and Tift County just shows how great football is here in Ga. AAAAA is especially over-hyped in the Atl Metro. Its like Big Ten football in the Atl metro area.All Hype. But when they come down to South Ga.(The SEC) they usually get smoked. Marist hates to come down to South Ga. because they know whats about to happen. Flowery Branch came down here and got smoked. The big schools in Atl get smoked by Lowndes and Camden County. Atl-Metro just dilutes AAAAA football with all its parody.


August 26th, 2010
8:51 am

Sowega Sam- Marist has a small enrollment, but they are a private school that recruits like Georgia Tech. I remember when great Marist teams like the one lead by Kelly Rhino came down to Dougherty County and just got roasted like a bag of peanuts. The Coach use to always complain about having to come down and play in South Ga. I will take a top team(realize I said top) team from Ga. any day over those water-downed teams in and around Atlanta. Metro Atl = Pac Ten Football…….South Ga. = Sec


August 26th, 2010
8:56 am

Gotta go with the depth of 5AAAAA. Having to play guys both ways all year would not work out well for the smaller schools in a full length season.

Dontavius Supremo

August 26th, 2010
9:18 am

Bigger is not always better. Many of the AAAAA teams couldn’t beat teams from “lesser” classifications. So, the question really is: what schools have the strongest programs, and why? Typically, strong programs have outstanding coaches. On the high school level, it’s the COACH!! A AAAAA school with a sorry coach is a sorry team. And an A school with a great coach is a world beater (see, for instance, Wesleyan.) And please, drop that “private school” whine. What a cop out.

the widowmaker

August 26th, 2010
9:43 am

1-AAAAA is the best region in the state,last year wit warner robins and northside wr,they were even better. but on any given night you could be beat.this friday warner robins demons play peach co.last years aaa state champs,we will see how it goes

Small Town Friday Night

August 26th, 2010
9:56 am

Single A football in the GREAT State of Georgia is where it’s at.

Ifyou’ve never been out in the middle of nowhere, Ga, to see an intense rivalry between to small bordering towns…. make it a goal to so so once this year.

GO Lincoln, Co Red Devils!!!!!


August 26th, 2010
10:03 am

AAAAA still the tops.
AAAA a much closer second than last year.
AA comes in third this year but still a good distance from AAAA.
AAA is fourth this year.
Then A.


August 26th, 2010
10:14 am

AAAA and AAAAA teams are stronger for sure because of depth if you look across the board. Sure there will be upsets on any given Friday night. But this will always be true no matter the classification because of the players being 14-15-16-17 and 18 years old kids. Realistically Buford or Cook or Fitzgerald could not compete week in and week out against Peachtree Ridge, Brookwood, Greyson, North Gwinnett, Newnan, McEachern, MLK, Stephenson, Camden, NSWR, WR, TCC,Lowndes, Colquitt, Valdosta, South Gwinnett, Griffin, and so many other successful AAAA and AAAAA teams.


August 26th, 2010
10:25 am

I believe that the top classification is whatever classification that Northside (Warner Robins) plays in. LOL! I’m not kidding. Yes, I am back. Seriously, the top classification is AAAAA. I do believe that Region 1-AAAAA is grossly overrated (on the field), i.e. Tift County and Colquitt County losing to these small school programs. However, when you consider the off of the field, I would clearly rate it the best. When you combine the likes of Camden County, Lowndes County, Grayson, Peachtree Ridge, Brookwood, Parkview, etc. it has to be AAAAA. I will say that on the field the difference is much smaller than most people think. It is also somewhat cyclical. I would also make a strong case for AAA as the best classification.

The best David and Goliath that I remember is the historic Northside vs. Warner Robins football game in 1989. Warner Robins were defending state champions and ranked #1 in the nation. They had a top 5 (nationally) quarterback, an SEC RB, an ACC RB, & a defense with multiple top players bound for top college programs. ESPN’s Chris Fowler was there with an old ESPN program called Scholastic Sports America, which highlighted top high school athletes. Northside was limping into the game with a 6-3 record. Another loss would have kept the Eagles at home for the playoffs. Frankly, our Northside team was bad (I was a sophomore). That was back when Georgia’s state playoffs consisted of 8 teams…each region played their own region tournament with the winner advancing the the state playoffs (Quarterfinals – 1st round). Warner Robins won the toss and were intercepted on their first drive. Northside scored to take a 7-0 lead within the first minutes of the game. Somehow Northside held the high powered Warner Robins offense all game. The Demons drove the entire field to score on their last possession. The score was 7-6 with less than a minute in the game and appeared to be headed towards an inevitable Demon victory in overtime. The kicker missed the extra point. (Yes, he and his family left town…true story). Northside won an improbable 7-6 game in the City Championship. It is the best David and Goliath story that I have ever seen. When Carver-Columbus almost beat our nationally ranked Eagles from Northside a few years ago, that was close. Of course the unique aspect of David vs. Goliath is that David rarely pulls of the big win as Cook did over Colquitt County–another program that gets more ink than they have earned. (Tift County has been way down over the last couple of years and lost other games like this).

Warner Robins easily beat us (Northside) the next week in the regionals between the 1st and 4th seeds, 20-6. In the next City Championship, Warner Robins won 41-6. The truth is the Demons were that much better…except on that night.


August 26th, 2010
10:29 am

Enter your comments here


August 26th, 2010
10:30 am

AAAA is the best classification. Griffin is ranked 28th in the country in maxpreps.


August 26th, 2010
10:37 am

I think its a simple answer. Which classification has the most nationally ranked teams? I don’t think there is a nationally ranked team outside of AAAAA. Nuf sed.

2AAAAA is the toughest region week in and out. 1AAAAA play only four region games and 2AAAAA plays seven plus most are taking on 1AAAAA opponents this year. We’ll see then.


August 26th, 2010
11:04 am

Jim, there are no titles in 2-AAAAA. Two of the top teams, Newnan and Stephenson fizzle out when it counts. If it is competitive weekend and week out, then come playoff time they should be better prepared to face competition that is equal to or less than what is in their region. History of these 2 programs in AAAAA does not dictate this. Are there good programs in 2 AAAAA certainly, can they win it all, possibly, will they win it all, probably not. I believe programs within the divisions who make up the corner stone for the divisions, make or break them. I don’t read too much into Cook beating Colquitt. Cook has a good team this year, as far as Tift losing to a AA school, the Purple Hurricanes are the real deal, but that remains to be seen.


August 26th, 2010
11:27 am

IMHO, I think you are picking the wrong two top teams. Newton will probably surprise a lot of people. Westlake is right there as well. East Coweta can line up and battle with the best of ‘em. MLKing is just as strong. Newnan dominated a very week 4AAAAA for years and everyone thinks they are world beaters. Stephenson is good but how good remains to be seen. Hughes will compete fine. Luella will do little harm but will make you feel like you’ve been in a fight.

Mike T.

August 26th, 2010
11:41 am


Mike T.

August 26th, 2010
11:43 am

Take a look at Marists. I recall a time when they kicked every butt that came before them

Except Thomas County Central


August 26th, 2010
11:55 am

If yoyu look at the schools in each classification, AAA and AA are superior to the other classifications. AAA and AA are loaded with teams that are solid year in and year out and would spank the majority of AAAA and AAAAA schools on any night.


August 26th, 2010
11:59 am

2 stand out for me. Lowndes beating Valdosta 7-2 in 1977 (Lowndes first win ever against Valdosta)& Warner Robins beating Northside last year 21-20 after Northside had a 20-0 lead.

Old Wildcat

August 26th, 2010
12:34 pm

Welcome ENR!!!

Hit A Single

August 26th, 2010
12:44 pm

Top to bottom there is no doubt AA is the toughest. There are more quality teams in this classification than any other. AAAAA, AAAA, AAA and A have their traditional powers, but as far as being the deepest as far as strength AA is it.

Mr. Riley

August 26th, 2010
12:47 pm

Without 1-AAAAA the 5A classification is a joke, due to the number of teams that make it through the playoffs and to the state championship…I would have to say 4A is pretty deep this year top to bottom…


August 26th, 2010
12:50 pm

There is absolutely no doubt that Class AAAAA are the best Classification in Football. It is because of the School Size, and the talent Pools of Athletes. Although you may have smaller Classifications that could beat some Class AAAAA Schools as evident by last weeks beating in Region 1-AAAAA of three teams in what is / was known as the State’s Toughest Region, Class AAAAA are still the best in the State.

Pack Man

August 26th, 2010
12:51 pm

Best region is not likely to be 1-AAAAA due to the movement of Warner Robins and Northside WR to 1-AAAA. And, on an interesting note, it’s interesting that 1-AAAAA now has only FIVE teams in that region ensuring four of the five teams a state playoff appearance.

For Valdosta’s HC (and that wayward program) that must bring him a Gi-normous amount of comfort.


August 26th, 2010
12:51 pm

Welcome back our Prep Football Meet The Press orator EagleNationsRising. Good to see you back.

Pack Man

August 26th, 2010
12:58 pm

NWR, sorry but the best playoff game was (I believe) in 1998 state playoffs – Lowndes vs. NWR. NWR takes a 28-0 lead into halftime but a gritty LHS team fights back to win. I just happened to be at the Dome that evening…

Pack Man

August 26th, 2010
12:59 pm

Sorry that should have been addressed to “ENR” not “NWR.”

Big L

August 26th, 2010
1:16 pm

The one that recruits from other counties best.

Swamp thing

August 26th, 2010
1:18 pm

Whichever one Ware County’s in now.


August 26th, 2010
1:39 pm

None of the the teams you mentioned have showed any promise in AAAAA. The reason I say Newnan is because of the promise they show year in and year out. So you are saying that 4-AAAAA is competitive week end and week out. Let’s look at this region closer shall we.

Westlake records since in AAAAA
08-09 6-4 (4-AAAAA) 1SY year in AAAAA)
09-10 7-4 (4-AAAAA)

East Coweta:
04-05 6-5-0
05-06 7-5-0
06-07 6-5-0
07-08 9-3-0
08-09 7-4-0
09-10 7-4-0

04-05 6-5-0
05-06 4-7-0
06-07 7-4-0
07-08 11-2-0
08-09 13-1-0
09-10 13-1-0

Chapel Hill:
08-09 7-2 4-AAAAA (1ST year in AAAAA)
09-10 6-3 4-AAAAA

08-09 7-4 (1ST year in AAAAA
09-10 6-4
08-09 3-7 (1ST year in AAAAA)
09-10 6-4
08-09 3-7 (1ST year in AAAAA)
09-10 4-6
04-05 6-5-0 2-AAAAA
05-06 8-3-0 2-AAAAA
08-09 5-5-0 4-AAAAA
09-10 2-8-0
Mundys Mill:
04-05 3-6-1
05-06 6-4-0
06-07 5-6-0
07-08 6-4-1
08-09 0-10-0
09-10 1-9-0
04-05 1-9-0 2-AAAAA
05-06 1-9-0
06-07 3-7-0 4-AAAAA
07-08 1-9-0
08-09 1-9-0
09-10 0-10-0

Only 4 of the 9 teams have been in AAAAA since the 04-05 season, and only 3 have been in 4-AAAAA the entire time. Since that time as I said earlier Newnan has proveN to be the top of 4-AAAAA.


August 26th, 2010
1:40 pm

Whichever one The University of Buford is in!


August 26th, 2010
2:41 pm

No classification is better than the other one! They all play with eleven men on both sides of the ball! Just because you have more people on the sidelines doesnt make you better! I grew-up when there was only four divisions…and I can tell you now…(because of 5AAAAA) the rest of the championship teams are not as strong as they would have been without the largest class! They are watered down so to speak.


August 26th, 2010
3:15 pm

Glad you’re back ENR! Been missing you.

Pack Man, Lowndes comeback win over NSWR was in 1999 (31-28 after trailing 28-3 at halftime). I was there too. What a game! Best comeback in playoff history. Lowndes won ON THE ROAD in Savannah, at Southwest Dekalb, at Lovejoy, and at the Dome against NSWR. We beat Brunswick at Home for the title.


August 26th, 2010
3:29 pm

In the past, I think Valdosta ruled all the classifications and Avondale had just about everyone’s numbers, with Lakeside a close 2nd in AAAA. Now, I think the top two or three in each class could give someone in a region of larger schools a true test. It would be great to see, for example, Buford meet Camden and Sandy Creek meet, say, Northside Warner Robins. I don’t think the school with the larger classification would necessarily be an overwhelming favoritte.


August 26th, 2010
4:15 pm

Wouldn’t take much for a A or AA to beat Newnan,,,,,they are the best of the worse teams until the RING is on the line…..then they excuse themselves


August 26th, 2010
4:16 pm

The last five years or so its been 1-AAAAA,2- AAA,3- AA,4- AAAA


August 26th, 2010
4:35 pm

No one said which was better, north or south georgia but what classification is best football played.


August 26th, 2010
4:50 pm

BREAKING NEWS This just in, not exactly football related, but is school related breaking news. The State School Superintendent was in Valdosta today and announced that Lowndes High Principal Wes Taylor has been named National Secondary School Principal of the year! (He earlier was named Georgia High School Principal of the Year.)


August 26th, 2010
4:54 pm

lightning doesn’t strike often, but Buford a couple years back, and West Rome in early 80’s were AA teams with 7 or 8 D1 players who could beat anybody in any division. I believe West Rome was ranked in top 4 NATIONALLY in USA today poll. They beat AAA state finalist Cedartown by 40 that year.


August 26th, 2010
4:55 pm

AA and AAAAA are the best classifications..and 1 reason is because of the rich football tradition in South GA.

another VIKING fan

August 26th, 2010
5:38 pm

Congratulations to Wes Taylor, National Principal of the year. Buford, Thomasville , Fitzgerald and many of the great AA teams could play against and defeat many of the AAAAA teams. But put them in the playoffs against Camden, Lowndes, NSWR, Peachtree Ridge, Colquitt or a dozen other top programs and they probably will not win a game. (Anything can happen on a single Friday night). That said, if you want to see some great football go to a 1-AA game this year or even a !-A game.
Just look at the schedules….great match-ups.


August 26th, 2010
5:48 pm

Welcome back ENR!

I think its a tossup between 4 and 5A. I mean back home in Cherokee you’ve got Creekview and Sequoyah who are both great 4 A teams and Etowah and Woodstock who are both great 5A teams. When ever they play each other its always a tough game and could go either way.

Viking, congrats about ur principal. Member hearing about that at the TCC scrimage. Ya’ll still playing pebblebrook tomorrow?


August 26th, 2010
5:59 pm

can we please stop the weak region BS. im about tired of it. we’re are in region 2 now. me and my teammates go out and practice hard every day and fight for each other, and we won games period. that whole region thing aint nothing but a number and some “a’s” to us. maybe if me and my NEWNAN COUGARS brothers win the region, then all yall will shut up.


August 26th, 2010
6:04 pm

The stupid BCS of High School Football. no one knows who is best because they never play each other.

When I was in High School in Mississippi, they had an OVER ALL Champion. The Champions of the divisions or classifications played each other til only one team was left standing.

It ain’t that hard.

Quinn of the Ridge

August 26th, 2010
7:41 pm

Welcome back ENR! You failed to trash Peachtree Ridge in your first post, so I’m assuming you are just getting back into form?

blu eagle

August 26th, 2010
8:00 pm

5a is the best although the gap is thinner between 4a because of realignment.I believe the best rivalry in the past has been w.r. and nswr, with sometimes as many as 21 to 23 thousand there, no doubt!