Five teams in the second-highest classification made it through the regular season last year at 10-0. Two of those (Statesboro and Lovejoy) have moved to different classifications this season, and one more (Northgate) already has two losses.
The 2012 regular season is now one-third of the way complete, and 13 Class AAAAA teams remain undefeated. Leading the way are Tucker and Northside of Warner Robins, the other two teams that went 10-0 last season. Also included among the 13 are M.L. King and Allatoona, which went 10-0 in other classifications last year.
Here’s a look at the 13 undefeated teams, the obstacles they still face and the chances of them making it through the year without a loss.
We’ll continue next week with our series looking at the playoff chances for the teams beginning region play, picking up with Regions 2-AAAAA and 3-AAAAA.
*Lee County (1-AAAAA): The Trojans (3-0) have won 10 games in a season just once in their history, a 10-2 season in 2005 that ended with a second-round playoff loss to Griffin. Lee County has a difficult non-region game remaining at Dodge County on Sept. 28, but the biggest hurdle comes on Oct. 19 against sixth-ranked Thomas County Central.
*Northside-Warner Robins (2-AAAAA): With victories in hand against Flowery Branch and Westside-Macon, the biggest obstacle remaining for the Eagles (3-0) is a Nov. 2 meeting with city rival Warner Robins, a game Northside will be favored to win. Chances are good that Northside will finish the regular season 10-0 for the sixth time in eight years.
*Richmond Hill (3-AAAAA): The Wildcats have posted state-best defensive numbers, allowing just six points in victories over Johnson of Savannah, Beach and Savannah. But Richmond Hill started 3-0 last year against Savannah schools before finishing 6-4. Things shouldn’t turn that bad this year, but region games against Glynn Academy and Ware County probably will end the Wildcats’ 10-0 dream.
*McIntosh, Union Grove (4-AAAAA): The magic should run out soon (possibly as early as Friday against Drew) for McIntosh, which is 3-0 for the first time in school history. The odds appear a little better for Union Grove (2-0), but a schedule that still includes Whitewater, Northgate, Drew and a possible region championship game makes a 10-0 season unlikely.
*Allatoona, East Paulding (5-AAAAA): One of these teams is almost certain to go undefeated. Both teams are 3-0 and appear destined to remain undefeated heading into their Nov. 9 showdown that will decide the 5-AAAAA championship. East Paulding had its only 10-0 regular season in 2007, when it reached the AAAA quarterfinals in John Reid’s second season as coach.
*M.L. King, Stephenson, Tucker (6-AAAAA): Region 6 is probably the deepest in Class AAAAA. Tucker (3-0), M.L. King (3-0) and Stephenson (2-0) are ranked in the top four, and there are strong teams at Southwest DeKalb, Mays, Miller Grove and Arabia Mountain. It’s conceivable that every team suffers at least one loss, but don’t be surprised if 2011 Class AAAA champion Tucker goes 10-0 for the sixth time in nine years.
*Creekview, Riverwood (7-AAAAA): Kell appears to be the best team in the region despite a 42-13 loss to Lassiter last week. Riverwood’s three victories have come against two teams with a combined 0-5 record and Class A Holy Innocents’, and it would take a big upset to knock off Kell for the subregion title. Creekview has a chance to win its subregion but would be the underdog in the region title game.
*Heritage-Conyers (8-AAAAA): The Patriots (3-0) were 9-1 last season and have a team good enough to go 10-0 in some other regions, but 8-AAAAA is deep and talented. Gainesville, Flowery Branch, Clarke Central and Cedar Shoals await them in the next five weeks. If Heritage is somehow able to survive that stretch, then it should coast to 10-0.