The realignment of the GHSA’s classification structure has led to a strange football season. With the addition of a sixth classification of competition, the division in the middle – Class AAA — has been torn apart perhaps more than any other. What’s left is a clear line of demarcation between the good and the bad. Most regions have seen one or two good teams emerge, with the others a mix of mediocre or poor.
A few teams have thrived under the new setup, while a few have suffered from the new arrangement.
Three that have thrived:
North Murray: A year ago the Mountaineers were 0-10. This year they’ve become one of the most improved teams in Class AAA and stand at 4-2, with a good chance to make the playoffs for the first time. This week: at Ringgold.
McNair: A year ago the Mustangs were 1-9 and finished dead last in Region 5-AAA Division B. This year they’re 3-3. A loss last week to Cedar Grove likely ended any playoff hopes, but they could win four games (woeful Towers awaits in the season finale) for the first time since 2009. This week: Woodward Academy.
Central Carroll: The Lions are seeking their first winning season since 2005. After going 4-6 last year, Central is 4-3, has already defeated Region 4-AAA rival Haralson County, and could make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. This week: at Rockmart.
Three that have reversed course:
Banks County: The Leopards were 7-4 last year and won the Region 8-AA North title. This year, forced to play up a division in classification, they have dropped to 1-5 and are in last place in Region 7-AAA. Their only victory was in the season opener against winless East Jackson. This week: at Fannin County.
Henry County: The Warhawks were 6-4 and made the playoffs last year. They aren’t out of the picture yet, since Region 2 is so top-heavy with Peach County and Carver Columbus. But Henry Count (1-6) was spanked by a combined 95-7 by those two clubs over the last two weeks. This week: vs. Jackson.
Franklin County: The Lions were 6-4 a year ago, but have sunk to a 1-5 start. This is the 13th consecutive season that Franklin County will have at lest five losses, although they’ve made the playoffs in five of those years. This week: at Oconee County.
Restless rankings: For the first time all season the state rankings for Class AAA did not change. The bottom three spots have been in motion most of the season, with 17 teams spending time in the poll.
Elbert County, Blessed Trinity and North Oconee began the season there, only to drop out because of an early season loss. That trio has battled its way back into the poll.
Still looking for No. 1: Three winless teams remain in Class AAA – Cross Keys, Towers and East Jackson.