Many schools are at the halfway point of the regular season, and most are just getting to the thick of their region or sub-region schedules. With most of the non-region play completed, here’s a quick look around the classification and how the regions look at this point.
My vote for the best developing story in Class AAAA this year is in Cartersville, where long-time little brother Cass is looking all grown up in 2012. The Colonels, who skidded to an 0-10 record in 2011, are 4-1 after beating Dalton last week behind more than 300 yards of total offense from QB Brandon Etheridge in what has to be considered a signature win for the Bartow County team. Cass, which has finished above .500 three times since 1983.
It’s not that they’ve been abysmal all that time; 10 times in that span they’ve finished with either four or five wins. So with four halfway through the season, it would appear they’re cresting. And they have a chip in their collective shoulder.
“Go look in our locker room, and read what some fan on the Internet vent wrote about how this is just the same old Cass team that couldn’t play with the real teams,” coach Rick Casko told the Dalton Daily Citizen. “Our kids have been reading that all week. Our kids are for real, and they are going to continue to get better each week and believe. This is a great bunch of kids, and I can’t wait to see where this season will go.”
All the teams in 1-AAAA are off this week. If style points mattered – and they don’t, but still – Americus-Sumter might need a win over a quality opponent. The opponents in the Panthers’ four wins have a combined record of 5-12. all off this week. Through that prism, their 4-1 record leaves questions to be answered. The team they are tied with for first place, Cairo, has two non-region losses to good AAAAA programs, Bainbridge and Thomas County Central.
Mary Persons has allowed nine points in the past three games, and the Bulldogs under new head coach Brian Nelson get a chance for a statement win this week against Westside-Macon.
Three teams looking strong in 3-AAAA Division A. Liberty County and Statesboro are both 4-1 and Wayne County is 2-2-1, with close losses to AAAAA Glynn Academy and Brunswick. The Yellow Jackets have outscored their last two opponents 105-30 and visit Burke County Friday in a game that could work as a measuring stick for several teams in the region, notably Statesboro, which lost to the Bears two weeks ago in what some considered a preview of the region championship game.
While none of the teams in Division A have played a sub-region game, Stockbridge, Locust Grove and Dutchtown look to have separated themselves. All three are 4-1, but Stockbridge has the most impressive win, a 17-14 triumph over Griffin last week in which the Tigers left 13 points on the field and compiled more than 400 offensive yards. By comparison, Dutchtown played Griffin close for a half before things went wrong. Locust Grove, meanwhile, has won four straight since a season-opening loss to AAAAA Union Grove.
By pedigree, 5-AAAA looked like one of the deepest regions in the classification before the season. It may still be, but aside from Sandy Creek, the records aren’t pretty; the Patriots are the only team above .500. Carrollton is 2-2 and is banking on tough games early against Oxford (Ala.) and Calhoun paying dividends late.
By record right now, 6-AAAA looks like the deepest region, with three 4-0 teams and three others at 3-1. So somebody looking strong right now is going to get left out of the state playoffs.