Goodbye to South Georgia’s reign of dominance in Class AAAAA? Or is 2010 just a fluke?

Is the balance of power finally shifting in Georgia’s largest classification for high school football?

South Georgia teams have ruled in recent years, winning 6 out of the last 7 state championships in Class AAAAA. South Georgia was expected to be a top contender again this year with both Lowndes and two-time defending state champion Camden County. However, both have been eliminated in earlier rounds of the playoffs and Colquitt County is now the South’s last hope for 2010.

FOOTBALL CHAMPIONS OF GEORGIA’S LARGEST DIVISION

2003: Camden County

2004: Lowndes

2005: Lowndes

2006: Peachtree Ridge/Roswell (tie)

2007: Lowndes

2008: Camden County

2009: Camden County

2010: ???

2011: ???


Is this year’s playoffs a fluke? Or is the Atlanta area about to have a dominant reign in Class AAAAA? The other three semifinalists are Brookwood, Grayson and Collins Hill.

What do you think? Is the North finally taking control of Class AAAAA? Or is this a one-year wonder? State your case below.

Note: In this particular post, we’re only talking  about the state’s largest division.

[The AJC's Michael Carvell is out while recovering from surgery, but you can follow the AJC's coverage of the high school playoffs by clicking here .... and here.]

164 comments Add your comment

roger

November 29th, 2010
9:53 pm

first. it is a fluke

roger

November 29th, 2010
9:55 pm

Look who is winning in four A. watch out for statesboro, watch out for savannah christian in one A,

city slicker

November 29th, 2010
9:56 pm

south georgia is out numbered in AAAAA metro ATL dominates with numbers But region plus camden is good gwinett is the king right now Dekalb will always have the best prospect but until the perents and board of education get there support system together gwinnett will leave dekalb in the last century. South Ga needs more AAAAA schools to dominate region normally benefits from the flow of the brackets.

99packer

November 29th, 2010
10:04 pm

I have not pulled up school populations, but between the two South Georgia regions (1AAAAA & 3AAAAA) there are really only 5 or 6 true AAAAA schools. Valdosta has less than 2000 students and technically could play in AAAA. They chose to stay in AAAAA and they had a great season under Coach Gillespie. I don’t know, at least by population, if there is another true AAAAA school in region 3 besides Camden. With all of the remaining AAAAA teams being in the Atlanta area it just seems like it is Valdosta, Lowndes, Colquitt, Tift, Coffee & Camden against Atlanta. It just seems to me that the balance by sheer number of schools is in Atlanta’s favor. I don’t want to take anything way from any region particularly region 7 & 8 which are still in it, but there are only 5 AAAAA contenders each year from South Georgia four from Region 1 and Camden. The rest are from Atlanta so come playoff time the South is greatly out numbered. To add insult to injury, region a played region 3 in the first round which automatically eliminates 1 of the 5 contenders from the South.

the Shef

November 29th, 2010
10:04 pm

it is a fluke, the camden and lowndes are just reloading. Camden county only 1 school in the entire county or lowndes county 2 schools in entire county compare that to creekside, westlake,banneker, langston hughes a 15 miles radius

99packer

November 29th, 2010
10:06 pm

Meant to say Region 1 played Region 3 in the first round. Camden knocked out a fastly improving Coffee County team from Region 1

reggae man

November 29th, 2010
10:09 pm

This is trully a one wonder.. Valdosta and Lowndes both beat themselves and they played stiffer competion. Grayson only had 150 yards totally but The Cats turnovers gave them an easy 20 points..

99packer

November 29th, 2010
10:13 pm

I agree with you Shef. Colquitt County is the same way, 1 town 1 team. Everybody in Moultrie is a Packer. Made the trip to Kindsland last year for the Semifinals and the atmosphere there reminded me a lot of Moultrie. There was a big fan turnout for both teams even in the cold wet weather.

99packer

November 29th, 2010
10:21 pm

I know that the Gwinett schools have to put up with new schools being built every few years, but they have the advantage of having quality AAAAA competition right down the street. With 5 teams in Region 1 and several smaller schools in Region 3, we have to find quality non-region opponents to help improve our football teams. Valdosta and Camden schedule games with out of state teams each year. Colquitt County played one of the best teams in the country in South Panola. Lowndes usually plays a metro team early in the year. We have to play smaller, although typically very good, local schools to fill our schedule and even then we have to pay many of them to play us. We paid Cook County and got beat. We offered a good bit of money to get Cairo to play us and they wouldn’t. We are fortunate to have a good rivalry with AAAA Thomas County Central and we get to play them pretty much every year.

quitman dog

November 29th, 2010
10:40 pm

Put your money on the PACKERS,nobody gave them a chance to get this far.They had the
toughest schedule in GEORGIA,Colquitt Co will score points on Grayson.they will score early and often,they are battle tested,and will beat Grayson,in Grayson,you heard it here first………..GO PACK GO…………………………

billy

November 29th, 2010
11:26 pm

you guys are some haters, its not a fluke.

yo

November 30th, 2010
4:19 am

Didn’t we have this same discussion in 2006? You see where that got you.

Gatornation

November 30th, 2010
6:57 am

I thought that having region 1-AAAAA and region 3-AAAAA play one another in the first round was kind of silly. If this setup is played out every year then there will only be Camden from region 3 and 3 teams from region 1 in the second round. I would like to see region 1 matched up with with either region 7 or 8 in the 1st round or region 3 with region 7-8. This will spread the wealth. Then we may be able to put to rest which region is better. What better time to find out than to matchup the regions in the playoffs. This will also prevent regions from matching up with schools that they played earlier in the year. In the case of North Gwinnett versus Lassitter in the first round. All that has to be done is place them all in different bracketts so that teams don’t play region teams. That is the only way Ga will ever know who has the best region year in and year out. But for now, the south dominates with basically 4 teams versus the numerous schools out of the Atlanta metro area. Really kind of says a few things about the Atlanta metro schools really. Regardless of the number of schools that are being built to alleviate overcrowding. These schools are still larger than the schools from the south. I’ll take Gwinnett County since they have an established football league of some sort. With this league, every school is getting their fair share of players coming up through this league. So, to say schools lose players when new schools are built is kind of cheesy. New schools don’t just popo up over night, they are built in years increments based on population growth. So before that new school pops up, what’s the issue with not winning a state title? Or competing for that matter? I don’t think that south Ga is about to turn over the reins yet. Has north Ga gotten better, yes. They have established football leagues now, makes it easier to produce players. This is that 3-4 cycle of Ga football. 2000-2002(Parkview. 2003-2005(Camden and Lowndes)2006(Roswell-PTRDG)2007-2009(Lowndes-Camden). 2010? I think that Colquitt has a great chance, been saying it all year, would not count them out. They had some issues, internally I believe and the Seniors have righted the ship. I also Like Brookwood chances. Either way south Ga will be back in the saddle next year. The other thing that separates north Ga from south Ga is longevity. Which means their is a history of pride in the different programs. There are a lot of 1 hit wonders in north Ga, where as there are some fixed powerhouses in south Ga. I will say again, match regions 3-7 and 1-8 in the playoffs and let the chips fall wehre they may.

cat doc

November 30th, 2010
7:19 am

a fluke , I can only speak for Camden. Two field goals , instead of TDs. An onside kick. Hillgrove was more pumped up in game. Camden lost that nite. But I would put CCHS up any week againist any Hotlanta team.

valleyboy32

November 30th, 2010
7:29 am

i think now its all about pride for those sga teams they dont wanna drop down but sooner or later they wont have a choice like everyone saying population good coaching its hard to beat that

GHS#22

November 30th, 2010
7:51 am

You guys are on crack………..
first of all Gwinnett teams have to play other top schools all year every year. Lowndes just plays valdosta and colquitt has a good game sometimes. you guys should be all rested come playoff time.

Fact is Grayson played lowndes and won, played Valdosta and won, played Warner robins twice and won, played CC twice and went 1-1.

Gatornation
Region 1 and 8 met last friday!!

GHS#22

November 30th, 2010
8:09 am

you south boys should really be proud to have people like reggae man on your side……..his post
” Valdosta and Lowndes both beat themselves and they played stiffer competion. Grayson only had 150 yards totally but The Cats turnovers gave them an easy 20 points..”

That has to be the most clueless comment I have eve heard in here. what game was he watching? this guys doesn’t know anything about football. Those turnovers were CAUSED, they were not just dropped by accident. Valdosta must have never been hit, and I mean HIT!!!

you should not post dumb stuff. get your fact right.

Grayson defense facts during Valdosta game: 2 INT, 4 pass breakups, 5 sacks, 3 sacks for huge losses, 6 hurries, 3 caused fumbles, and a safety. also only allowed 36 total rushing yards.

total domination!!
reggae man don’t just let emotions cloud your judgement!! BTW 22 points, but one thing you said right, those points were easy to get. Grayson has worked harder to score on their worst region teams.

Fred

November 30th, 2010
8:22 am

@reggae man, with all due respect I would offer that Grayson had all the offense they needed. Valdosta may have moved up and down the field but they never got over the goal line or through the uprights. Style points only count in the mythical rankings. W-L wins championships and at this point the teams left are 3-0 where it counts – in the playoffs. All the other teams are (some number) – 1.

Using Grayson as an example since I prefer to talk about the teams I have the most personal knowledge, as another poster pointed out, Grayson is 5-1 against south Georgia teams if you include Warner Robbins in the south classification, 5-2 if you include Newnan (and that is a whole ‘nother issue!). Not too bad. I know that several Gwinnett teams have traveled south or hosted southern teams for some of their non-region games. There are some real dollars and cents issues with that lengthy of travel so I don’t know that you will see much more than the hand full a year that we now have.

Fred

November 30th, 2010
8:38 am

You know, I think we have a “you say potato and I say potahtoe” issue here. We all can agree that the rapid growth in the metro area causes issues with the ability of the schools here to build their programs and maintain them. We differ in the amount that impact has. Using Grayson as an example, two years ago Grayson lost 1500 students to Archer. Kids that live 1 mile from Grayson now go to Archer. The Gwinnett Football League (GFL) programs also had to realign. If you did your research several years ago and determined that you wanted your 8 year old to be in the Grayson program and purchased your house based on that desire in relatively close proximity to the school but just happened to be on the wrong side of GA 20, all your planning went out the door. It is not in the first 2-3 years after a split that the program feels the difference as most kids in high school are given the opportunity to stay and complete HS if they provide their own transportation, it is that the “farm system” to use a baseball analogy has now been dramatically changed.

On the flip side, the south Georgia rural counties don’t have to deal with that but as someone pointed out on the last discussion, they have issues with rural life, keeping kids in the community, poverty (although the metro area has that as well). Valdosta was was hoping to do will this year because many of those factors are having an impact and folks down there aren’t sure they will be able to be competitive in the next several years.

This has gone far too long but the short answer is each are has its issues and while they might not be the same, they have similar results to the football programs.

Fred

November 30th, 2010
8:41 am

Oops – Valdosta was hoping to do *well*

Mike

November 30th, 2010
9:24 am

You AJC scribes are just itching for a Metro school to take over AAAAA. How many south Georgia schools made the quarterfinals & all from pwoerhouse region 1 AAAAA? Looks like four to me. And 6 of the last 7 state champions came from the southern part of the state. To borrow a pharse, “Come on Man!” When Metro schools can claim more championships, then the Atlanta fish wrapper can beat the drum. Until then, just cool your heels.

Sideline Observer

November 30th, 2010
9:34 am

GHS#22 “Lowndes’ only tough regular season games were against Colquitt and Valdosta.” (sic) Lowndes also played Burke county which is still playing, along with McEachern, South Gwinnett, Coffee, Ware, (all playoff teams) and Tallahassee Leon. A mediocre team (by Lowndes standards defeated a good Newnan team, and took the best team Collins Hill has ever had to overtime.

PACKER99 Valdosta had over 1900 students when the numbers were sent to the state for classification. Earlier they had stated if the numbers come out low they would “play up.” But when the actual atendance numbers came out, they were indeed a AAAAA school and could not “play down.”

Gwinnett and Cobb teams have made huge strides in the quality of their teams AND programs. Teams win games and occasional championships. Programs win repeated championships. Growth and expansions seems to have slowed down in those two counties, probably due to the economy, and therefore, the level of consistant play should continue to improve because of students remaining within the same school feeder areas.

Nevertheless, South Georgia football is NOT dead, as evidenced by the numner of Region 1-AAAAA teams in the 1/4 finals. Coffee and Tift will be vastly improved next year, as will Camden County. Tift will have the best Sophmore QB in the state regardless of classification. Ware, Charlton, Thomas County Central, Bainbridge, Thomasville, and Fitzgerald will all be better next year because they played so many young players. Valdosta won’t be as good next year because of the number of seniors they played this year, and Lowndes most likely will also have another “down year” by their standards. (But they still made the final 8 this year in what Todd Holcomb called a “down year”)

See yer in the dome everybody!

MHC Tiger

November 30th, 2010
9:35 am

dayum socio-economic issues, and population growth. we all know it comes down to who recruited better…the top kids in each area are STEERED/RECRUITED to the top schools in a prospective area.

waynester

November 30th, 2010
9:57 am

(Full Disclosure) CCHS ‘82
Having said that, I realize Grayson has a helluva defense, playing at home etc, etc–but don’t sleep on the Packers. Rush Propst set up a grueling early-season schedule and Colquitt took their lumps early against the stiffest competition they could find. That initial bombardment really toughened this team up for their current playoff run. The arrow is definitely UP for CCHS….

billdog

November 30th, 2010
10:05 am

Let’s face it; if Mill Creek could have picked their nose just a little better, they could have flicked that Colquitt booger out of the playoffs. How many times did Colquitt offer them the game with turnovers? How many series did Mill Creek play on the Colquitt side of the field with no results? A 4 seed that just doesn’t have the killer instinct born of playoff experience to finish.

It’s still a Region 7 and 8 world for the best top to bottom AAAAA football. Lowndes and Camden come to the party every year but I still say they could not survive a Region 7 or 8 schedule year after year, or play from a 4 seed position deep into the playoffs. You could go 6 deep in either region most years and I bet you would see a #6 go to the quarter finals.

The GFL youth program is superior training. Good facilities, excellent coaching, great instruction/teaching, top level competition, etc. It even spills over into lower classifications with most of Buford, GAC and even some of Wesleyan’s players having grown up in the GFL. I have an old AJC article that quotes some of the Cobb high school coaches when asked about why Cobb teams lose to Gwinnett teams in the playoffs every year, saying the GFL is the difference.

Get ready. Archer, Mountain View, Lanier, and two new Gwinnett high schools to be built in the next few years just mean future regional alignments that could bring even more Gwinnett teams to the playoffs. And someday they will build another high school in Lowndes and Camden County and you might not hear from them again in AAAAA for at least a decade.

Gerald

November 30th, 2010
10:11 am

The Lowndes-CH game was a great game. Although, it could have been more decisive on CH’s part with and Int in the endzone on the 1st drive, fumble inside their 25, in which Lowndes scored 7, pick 6 for Lowndes and then CH not converting on 4th down inside the ten. Great game, but CH COULD have scored a few more times. Obviously the other team had something to do with these things and I know if and but’s, but I’m just saying. The people, atmosphere and facilities at Lowndes were awesome.

GHS#22

November 30th, 2010
10:13 am

Waynester…
Unlike the down South boys, you won’t find Grayson taking any team for granted. That’s how you get caught slipping. This is football, and any giving friday you can lose!!

Laughing out Loud

November 30th, 2010
10:31 am

You win High School Championships we produce Pros and well looks like the Hesiman Trophy winner this year lol!!! Enjoy your High School rings Ed Bundys lol!!! And if your wondering yes I have a High School ring with SWD..

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
10:34 am

gerald your comment can go both ways, if Collins QB didn`t throw up a prayer in the 4th (the bad snap play) or the freaking trick play!

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
10:35 am

Lowndes will be back! we are only losing 7 or 8 starters! watch out for these names….Tre Jackson and Richard Williams

PACKDADDY

November 30th, 2010
10:44 am

Colquitt loves being the underdog. We are just de-lighted to go up to the big city and play such an obviously talented team. We don’t stand a chance. O’Course, we have had our nose bloodied before and survived. Just spot us …say 20 points..and maybe we can keep up with your boys with their personal trainers and off season football league. It will be a pleasure to pop your chin strap. Fact is, most of the Gwinnett schools would be run of the mill down here..Just ask the Mill Creek coaches. You can’t tackle what you can’t touch.

Fred

November 30th, 2010
10:49 am

Plowboy, was your stadium full Friday night? The Valdosta stadium was a loooooong way from full and that really surprised me. Were the Wildcats looking past Grayson and not taking us seriously so they didn’t bother to come out? It surprised me more at the number of Valdosta fans that left at halftime. I know it was raining and they were down 20-0 but this is the playoffs and anything can happen!

Having said that, the Wildcat fans I talked with were all very nice and the facilities are great! There was even a Lowndes fan in front of me that I joked with all night but he was adamant that Lowndes would kick our b*** all over the field! :)

Gerald

November 30th, 2010
11:01 am

@powboy – How was that pass a prayer, the WR was open and he threw it to him, it’s not like it was a hell mary pass. How do you know they wouldn’t have scored on that drive anyway and the last drive even if they didn’t run the double pass.

Fred

November 30th, 2010
11:06 am

Packers fans, I know the team is traveling on Thursday so they won’t be impacted by traffic. For all the fans coming up on Friday, add an hour to whatever the time given you by your GPS or mapping software! You may get lucky (in traffic anyway ;) ) and not have any problems but if you want to ensure that you make the kickoff you need to allow for Friday afternoon traffic in the Big A! Also, while there is a fair amount of parking at Grayson, it overflows onto the roads around and can get to be a mess. There are three ways to get to the school and they are all two lane roads leading to a single driveway. I know but that it the way it is. Next year we should have a second entrance off Ga20 when the road construction is finished but until then it will be a mess!

WarEagle

November 30th, 2010
11:39 am

Who follows AAAAA anymore — the best football in the state is played at the AAAA level anyway!

SportsFan31313

November 30th, 2010
12:00 pm

I believe that Colquitt County can pull this one off as well. They have been under the radar for so long that people have discounted them, and did not take them serious. You had better think again.

99 Packer,

Bradwell Institute is very close in population to be a true Class AAAAA School again. Bradwell are less than 100 students off from being a true Class AAAAA school. They would have been easily a AAAAA School if it had not been for the new School being built in recent years. Bradwell Institute and Liberty County are both true Class AAAA Schools though. Bradwell Institute have just chosen to play up.

SportsFan31313

November 30th, 2010
12:01 pm

It’s been region 1-AAAAA or region 3-AAAAA with the dominance. It will be Region 1-AAAAA who will win it this year.

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
12:05 pm

@Gerald, he is a heck of a QB! i was right in front of that play and the receiver was not open! REALLY GOOD PASS, but a hail mary for sure. hope he has some more of that magic this weekend!

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
12:10 pm

@Fred, yes we were full! I was praying that it would RAIN harder! during the little bit of rain we did get, collins hill QB could not grip the ball, and i felt like we were about to run away with the game, but they played hard! maybe this is the year GWINNETT COUNTY gets the title. But BEWARE, the VIKINGS will be back with some UNBELIEVABLE talent! If u thought Greg Reid was good, wait until you see the next 3 or 4 years!

rwdekalb

November 30th, 2010
12:47 pm

When you think about it one of the critcisms on this blog is a lot of the south georgia posters constantly bragging about their past accomplishments, but the key word there is “past” accomplishments. This the 2010-2011 season. Its great to remember past accomplishments but how can that help you this season. Seeing different teams advance is great for high school football and in the end seems like something we all should embrace.

grayram

November 30th, 2010
1:15 pm

Packdaddy: There is no way Colquitt can be the underdog. You see they participate in the vastly superior region 1. Grayson is fortunate just to be allowed to play against a team from the chosen region. Sure Grayson may have gotten lucky 4 or 5 times against teams from down south but that can’t be expected to continue. And i’m sure you are correct that Grayson won’t be able to touch or tackle the Packers, after all The Reg 1 teams have proven this by scoring 7 points in the two games they have played already.

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
1:21 pm

grayram…..win state and everybody will have to shut their mouth about the Gwinnett AAAAA teams!

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
1:24 pm

every team that plays Lowndes gets UP for that game, because of all of our success….if Grayson wins state this year, then you will see how all the teams start gunning for you, they will play their best game against you and you will have to fight every week!

GHS#22

November 30th, 2010
1:35 pm

Grayson has to fight every week now…….thier in region 8 remember!

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
1:52 pm

GHS#22 great region (8AAAAA)…. I personally believe that all of AAAAA is getting better, that is why u don`t have a BUFORD in AAAAA! this year I witnessed some pretty good spread teams, maybe one of the spread teams will win state…..seeing it hasn`t been done in AAAAA in a long time! if at all!

Gatornation

November 30th, 2010
1:52 pm

How many staetitles in AAAAA does Gwinnett County have since the inception of this classification? Folks are throwing out Gwinnett schools have this record against this school and that record against that school. Let’s look at the big dogs of Gwinnett County.

Grayson- Zero titles
Brookwood- Zero titles
North Gwinnett- Zero titles
Parkview-3
Peachtree Ridge-1(shared)
Collins Hills- Zero titles
South Gwinnett- Zero titles
Norcross- Zero titles
Buffalo beat a lot of teams and had a lot of great seasons, but had no championships to show for it. So do you really want to be known as a team that won a lot of games, but could not win the big one or do you want to win a lot of games and have the championships to back it up?

SportsFan31313

November 30th, 2010
2:01 pm

Gatornation,

I like the way you put that statement out there, and it is so true.

plowboy

November 30th, 2010
2:13 pm

our region will never be down long……since 1980
region 1 …..14 state titles
gwinnett county……5.5 state titles
camden…….3 state titles
warner robins……2
morrow……1
dunwoody…..1
clark central….1
southwest dekalb….1
lagrange….1
roswell….1/2
all were in the largest classification!

grayram

November 30th, 2010
2:38 pm

Plowboy:
Brookwood does have 1 title, i think AAAA was the largest then.

Grayson has the same number of state titles in their 1st 10 years as Lowndes and alot more wins and playoff games.

And its not like we get to play little teams like Braswell Institiute.
(just kidding sportsfan)

grayram

November 30th, 2010
2:43 pm

Sorry plowboy ,I should have said Gatornation. BTW i was busy Saturday reading all the blogs from Lowndes/Valdosta/Brookwood games and missed The college games, who won the Florida/FSU game?