Only 15 AAAAA teams were in action last week, so Week 2 provides the real kickoff for the classification, and there will be some big games to get things started. Here are a few of the games this week that will show which teams are the championship contenders:
*West Forsyth at Gainesville: These schools became rivals in 2008 when West Forsyth, then playing its first full varsity season, was placed in Region 7-AAA with the Red Elephants. West Forsyth went 14-6 over the next two seasons but lost the two meetings with Gainesville by a combined score of 69-16. Now West Forsyth is the big guy on the block, beginning its third year in the highest classification while the Red Elephants move up to AAAAA from AAA. But on Thursday, West Forsyth will have to deal with Gainesville junior quarterback Deshaun Watson, one of the state’s most dynamic playmakers.
*Northside-Warner Robins at Flowery Branch: Top-ranked Northside hasn’t lost a regular-season game since Oct. 30, 2009, a one-point loss to rival Warner Robins. And if the Eagles are going to lose a game this year, it most likely will be either this one or the showdown with Warner Robins on Nov. 2. Flowery Branch won at least 10 games in six of the past seven seasons, but the Falcons have a new coach in Chris Griffin and will have their work cut out for them against a team that was probably a fumble away from winning the state championship in AAAA last season.
*Colquitt County at Thomas County Central: Is Thomas County Central as good as it looked in a 41-7 victory against Thomasville last week? The Yellow Jackets will have plenty of chances to prove it in the coming weeks. After playing Colquitt County, the seventh-ranked team in Class AAAAAA, the Jackets have games in the coming weeks against Class AAAA No. 3 Marist (away, Sept. 7), AAAA No. 4 Cairo (home, Sept. 14) and Class AAAAAA Tift County (away, Sept. 21). And those are just tune-ups for play in Region 1-AAAAA, which Thomas County Central should dominate.
*Coffee at Ware County: Ware County has a new starting quarterback and an inexperienced offensive line, but expect Ed Dudley’s team to be right in the thick of the race for the Region 3-AAAAA championship. Coffee will provide a good non-region test for the Gators. Coffee has a new coach in former Fitzgerald coach Robby Pruitt, and the Trojans are coming off a dominating 41-3 victory against Whitewater last week.
*Marist at Clarke Central: Clarke Central shared the Region 8 championship last season and won it outright the year before, but they are unranked going into the season-opener. Star running back Quenshaun Watson has graduated and gone to Tennessee, so the Gladiators will rely offensively on quarterback Cameron Johnson, who passed for almost 1,800 yards last season. This will be the first meeting for these longtime north Georgia powers.