There are always a half-dozen unranked teams in early September that make their way into the rankings before the season is over.
Here are five that might make a jump. Who are others?
Johns Creek (1-0) – Be wary of these new schools that are just now having a full senior class. Remember Hillgrove and Peachtree Ridge. (Lambert is another to watch this season.) Two of those JC seniors that should get statewide attention this season are QB Skye Overton and two-way starting lineman Sam Arrington. JC was 9-2 last season in Class AAAA, losing once in overtime (Chattahoochee) and another time by three points (Flowery Branch).
Mill Creek (1-0) – This is a school that has never won more than seven games in a season, but the Hawks dropped Dacula 35-0 last week. Remember that Dacula went 9-4 last season. Mill Creek DL Casey Griffin is one of the state’s most heavily recruited players. Jacorey Lewis rushed for 216 yards against Dacula. Mill Creek’s game against Brookwood (0-1) should tell us something.
Milton (1-0) – Beat 2011 region champ Alpharetta 35-28 last week. Hard to think there is a team with a better combination of running backs in Peyton Barber (225 yards rushing vs. Alpharetta) and Treyvon Paul (109) and offensive linemen in three who have committed to FBS schools. But Milton hasn’t had a winning season since 2008 (8-3). Next is north Fulton rival Johns Creek (see above).
Norcross (1-0) – Unranked by the AJC, Norcross is No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. That’s kinda high considering the Blue Devils haven’t done better than 8-2 in a regular season since 2007. They have an RB in Alvin Kamara and another half-dozen players with college offers and beat South Gwinnett 35-20. On Thursday, they play Parkview, another intriguing team that could be much improved this season. Parkview’s 3-0 victory over Peachtree Ridge would not have been close if not for four Parkview turnovers. Parkview had 319 yards rushing and allowed only 81 yards of total offense.
Newnan (2-0) – It’s been only three years since Newnan finished the second of consecutive 13-=1 seasons, but the Cougars have been 13-11 since. Now they’re 2-0 after a couple of comeback wins over Marietta 38-29 (after trailing 22-17 and 29-25 in the fourth quarter) and LaGrange 24-21 (after trailing 14-0). (The Newnan newspaper is calling Newnan the Rally Cats.) Georgia-committed defensive back Tray Matthews has been dominant on offense and defense.