Poll Talk: Final rankings, plus a few questions to ponder

Congrats to seven new state champions – Norcross, Gainesville, Sandy Creek, Buford, Jefferson, ECI and ELCA.

For the first time this season, we all agree on who is ranked No. 1. Except in Class A, perhaps. We’ll get to that later.

Not that there isn’t enough to talk about with final rankings, but here are some questions I had as I was thinking about the  what happened in the Georgia Dome …

AAAAA – How does Norcross rank among the top teams in history? The Devils won 15 games by 7 points or better. Not many teams have done that.

AAAAA – Where will Deshaun Watson, Gainesville’s quarterback, rank as a player in state history? Remember he’s got a year to go. He’s the state’s all-time leading passer.

AAAA – Is Sandy Creek a cinch to win it in ’13? They’re returning a 2,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard receiver and two 1,000-yard rushers.

AAA – Where does Buford’s dynasty rank all-time? Eight titles in 12 seasons for Buford. Only Valdosta has been that dominant over a dozen-year period, most recently (1960-71).

AA – Is coach T. McFerrin of Jefferson the greatest coach ever? Wright Bazemore, Nick Hyder and Larry Campbell were blessed to coach at schools that had won titles before they got there. McFerrin is  one of 14 coaches to win titles at two schools. Those were the first state titles at either school (Jefferson, Elbert County). He’s taken five schools to semifinals.He’s won 325+ games.

A – Is this working? Sure would’ve been fun to see ELCA play ECI.


1. Norcross (15-0)

2. Lovejoy (13-2)

3. North Gwinnett (11-2)

4. Colquitt County (10-4)

5. Camden County (11-2)

6. Grayson (10-2)

7. North Cobb (11-3)

8. South Gwinnett (9-3)

9. Parkview (9-4)

10. Mill Creek (9-4)


1. Gainesville (12-3)

2. Ware County (13-2)

3. Northside-Warner Robins (13-1)

4. Whitewater (12-2)

5. Tucker (10-3)

6. Kell (10-2)

7.  Stephenson (9-3)

8.  Allatoona (11-2)

9.  M.L. King (11-1)

10.  East Paulding (11-1)

Class AAAA

1. Sandy Creek (15-0)

2. Ridgeland (13-2)

3. Burke County (11-2)

4. Marist (12-2)

5. Monroe Area (12-2)

6. Stockbridge (11-2)

7. Carrollton (8-4)

8. Mary Persons (10-3)

9. Cairo (9-3)

10. South Effingham (8-5)

Class AAA

1.  Buford (12-3)

2. St. Pius (12-3)

3. Cartersville (13-1)

4. Thomson (12-1)

5. North Hall (11-3)

6. Washington County (11-2)

7.  Carver-Columbus (11-2)

8. Peach County (11-2)

9. Blessed Trinity (9-3)

10. North Oconee (10-2)

Class AA

1. Jefferson (14-1)

2. Calhoun (14-1)

3. Lamar County (12-1-1)

4. Brooks County (12-1)

5. Fitzgerald (10-3)

6. Lovett (8-5)

7. Greater Atlanta Christian (10-4)

8. Early County (9-4)

9. Vidalia (11-1)

10. Washington-Wilkes (10-2)

Class A
1. (tie) Eagle’s Landing Christian (13-1)

1. (tie)  Emanuel County Institute (13-1)

3. Prince Avenue Christian (11-3)

4. Wilcox County (10-3)

5. Dooly County (11-3)

6. Athens Academy (11-1)

7. Lincoln County (11-2)

8. George Walton Academy (9-4)

9. Wilkinson County (8-4)

10. Landmark Christian (9-4)

250 comments Add your comment


December 16th, 2012
2:02 pm

No, Single A is not working. Now both teams are wishing they had a shot at the other single A champion. And all because some adults didn’t want to adhere to the basic principles of competition. That is the beauty of AA- AAAAAA playoffs. There is no ‘what if’ or questions. We know how it would have played out. But A football and basketball in March is going to be a mythical ‘what-if’ until someone realizes that the solution is worse than the problem. It wouldn’t hurt if these private schools had a voice in the GHSA either…

Max Sizemore

December 16th, 2012
2:02 pm

Deshaun is de one for Dabo.


December 16th, 2012
2:17 pm

The crowds looked rather pathetic. Maybe 15K at the most at any one time, not counting the overlapping crowds in the last and first quarters. If this had been TX, AL, or even FL there would have been at least 20K in attendeance. Drop the dome for the finals, maybe use it for the semi-finals if anything. I was really surprised when they showed the crowd for the 6A final between Norcross and Lovejoy. Both these schools are not far from ATL.


December 16th, 2012
3:03 pm

Total b.s. to rank Burke above the final 4. Burke played a weak schedule. And no Sandy Creek is not a lock — need to replace almost their entire offensive line.


December 16th, 2012
3:06 pm

How can you rank Grayson, South Gwinnett and Parkview ahead of Mill Creek? No team had a more high powered offense – 5888 yards (4020rush/1888pass) in AAAAAA than MC. MC’s Achilles heel in big games was turnovers. Mill creek played in region 7 and lost to Norcross by 8 pts only LJ lost by less. Region 8 was weak this year with only Parkview in final 8. MC beat Parkview in preseason scrimmage 23-7. You need to do more research than just falling back on traditional powers for your rankings. MC should be no less than 7th.


December 16th, 2012
3:22 pm

Is this the first time there is no south GA team as champion in any classification? This is if you do not count ECI as a south GA team.


December 16th, 2012
3:29 pm

NORCROSS played and won EIGHT games (and one Live scrimmage) against the final season TOP 10 teams in AAAAAA. We were challenged by the best in Georgia and we met the challenge!

Here are the Top 10 teams we played:

2. Lovejoy (13-2) – BEAT BY NORCROSS
3. North Gwinnett (11-2) – BEAT BY NORCROSS (on the road)
4. Colquitt County (10-4) – BEAT BY NORCROSS (and NORCROSS won the AUG scrimmage too)
5. Camden County (11-2) – BEAT BY NOCROSS (on the road)
8. South Gwinnett (9-3) – BEAT BY NORCROSS TWICE (home and away)
9. Parkview (9-4) – BEAT BY NORCROSS in SHUTOUT
10. Mill Creek (9-4) – BEAT BY NORCROSS (on the road)

Patriot Power

December 16th, 2012
3:40 pm

@4AFan – We replaced our entire O-line this year. No problem when you have a good coach.


December 16th, 2012
4:00 pm

I know, but does not make you a lock for 2013. New players, other teams improving, injuries, etc. A little humble pie might be good idea, cause nobody is just giving so the title next year.


December 16th, 2012
4:04 pm

I agree with HSbball on A private/public separation. Thought it was wrong headed when it was decided and things haven’t changed having completed the season.

Agree whole-heartedly with Dum-Bass re use of Dome for finals. Throw the Dome a bone with the semis, but play the finals at the higher ranked (or coin toss winning) team. The attendances this year in ATL were pathetic, especially at the AAAAAA final..

One final thought: I appreciate being able to watch all the finals on GPB-TV, but those announcers really have to go. They appear to have a script that they need to.follow and they repeat it ad nauseum. They more often than not did not have a clue what was happening on the field.


December 16th, 2012
4:06 pm

Thought Dalton might crack the Top 10 in AAAA with three of its four losses coming to Sandy Creek (No. 1), Ridgeland (No. 2) and Calhoun (AA No. 2). That Cass loss is more puzzling every day. Lots coming back and should be strong next season. Will be interesting to see how Calhoun reloads with some key weapons lost to graduation.

As far as Class A is concerned, please bring back the multiplier for PRIVATE schools and open-enrollment CITY schools (Calhoun, Dublin, Dalton, Buford, etc.) and have everyone play each other. Either you are a member of the GHSA and can play for an undisputed “state” title or you are not.


December 16th, 2012
4:07 pm

Rumor is Buford and Sandy Creek will play in 2013.


December 16th, 2012
4:11 pm

North Cobb ranked way to low.


December 16th, 2012
5:05 pm

As an unbiased observer at the champ. games, I have to say that I didn’t see anybody that could beat Sandy Creek. The only team that might have a shot was Gainesville… That being said, it was great to see the best teams in Georgia go at it. We are very lucky to have some great talent both on the field and working the sidelines.

jokurone Red Elephants class of 65'

December 16th, 2012
5:12 pm

Gainesville could go toe to toe with any high school in Georgia!!

Todd Holcomb

December 16th, 2012
5:25 pm

‘’How can you rank Grayson, South Gwinnett and Parkview ahead of Mill Creek? No team had a more high powered offense – 5888 yards (4020rush/1888pass) in AAAAAA than MC.’’

Hard to rank those final few teams in AAAAAA. I have no problem w/ Mill Creek being ranked higher, although I don’t think the offense stats are pertinent. I think you have to look at good wins & losses.

MC d. B’wood, Alpharetta; lost to Norcross, N. Gwinnett, N.Cobb, B’wood
SG d. P’view, B’wood; lost to Norcross (2x), Grayson
P’view d. Grayson, West Forsyth; lost to Colquitt, S.Gwinett, Norcross, C. Gwinnett

Fwiw, the computer Maxwell Ratings put Mill Creek at #14.

“Total b.s. to rank Burke above the final 4. Burke played a weak schedule.’’

It wasn’t the strongest schedule, but they played the schedule they had like a top-4 team in every game, IMO. Statesboro, Wayne County, Coffee and Monroe are all pretty good teams, albeit not top-10 teams, and Burke handled them. They also played Thomson and Sandy Creek close. Everybody outside the top 4 lost to teams outside the top 4. Burke did not..

Todd Holcomb

December 16th, 2012
5:30 pm

”North Cobb ranked way to low.”

Sportsnut – First of all, congrats on a great season by Lovejoy. That was a fun ride for Lovejoy fans. Hope we’ve not seen the last of them contending for titles.

As for North Cobb, based on how they played Lovejoy, yes, they are ranked too low. Based on how Burke County played Sandy Creek, Burke should be ahead of Ridgeland, and somebody is arguing that Burke is too high.

It’s all a matter of opinion, but the rankings consider the full season, not just the rounds advanced in the playoffs. (This argument should sound familiar. :) ) North Cobb lost to South Cobb, and to McEachern (not that there’s any shame in that). NC beat Valdosta and Mill Creek, which is impressive, but all the teams ahead of NC also had wins like that and sometimes more.


December 16th, 2012
5:36 pm

Where is 5A powerhouse Harris County?


December 16th, 2012
6:03 pm

Hey Todd,

Thank you for the effort you put into Georgia High School athletics – it has improved every year!
I agree with your statement about Coach T McFerrin!!
I played or him in 81 ( Griffin – E-nuff said – What a team), 82 (North GA – lost to Newnan 31-28) and 83(State Championship -Lost to Valdosta 10-7 – still hurts) @ Peachtree High School and he is by far the best coach I have ever played for, from youth to college level.
He not only made me a better player, but he made a lasting impression on me as a man.
His coaching staffs are a list of who’s who in Georgia Football (present and past). I know Maloof was covered by GPB, for their coaching staff who had all the assistants, leading teams to the state championship games. BUT – look at what this amazing coach has accomplished not only on the field, but off the field – He needs to be honored by us, as all of the great coaches – they win on the field, but they make huge difference on many generations of young men!
I think that is what amazes me about the coaches you mentioned in your article, but there are not many like Coach “T”:

Cowardly coaches

December 16th, 2012
6:10 pm

The class a public coaches are a disgrace. They run and and hide instead of building their programs to compete. They talk about the character competition builds and yet they demonstrate fear to their players. They all should go get jobs selling insurance for they are true hypocrites and heir players and fans see right through them.

North Hall

December 16th, 2012
6:13 pm

Would have loved to see North Hall in that Top 4 in AAA but I can see where the AJC is coming from though in putting North Hall 5th. It was a great season.

How bout it AJC? – Did North Hall surprise you guys this season???

I had faith in them all year and had my doubts going into that 3rd Round vs Peach Co but they got it done and I’m proud of them.


December 16th, 2012
6:13 pm

I thought Burke should have been second in AAAA. They would have beat the brakes off Ridgeland.


December 16th, 2012
6:34 pm

MC When did preseason scrimmages start making a difference in state rankings? More often than not, teams don’t play to full strength during those games, they don’t run their total package of plays, and the 2nd half is full of JV time. MC beating Parkview in a scrimmage means nothing. MC had a great season and so did Parkview. But, in the end, the only ranking that matters is #1.


December 16th, 2012
7:02 pm

@Flintdog it would probably be a good game between Sandy Creek and Gainesville considering Gainesville got stronger on defense from last year’s team that beat Sandy Creek.

Michael Carvell

December 16th, 2012
7:03 pm

Love the split between Class A public and private schools. GHSA should’ve done it 20 years ago imho

old school

December 16th, 2012
7:14 pm

I would put Newnan at 10 in AAAAAA. Lost a heart breaker to Colquitt Co. in second round. 26-23.


December 16th, 2012
7:21 pm

To all the private school fans who feel the public schools are cowards for not wanting to play, man up like Marist and play up a couple of classes. That would solve the problem, you can draw from kids all over the state, pay their tuition but want to play against schools that draw from a district of 5-6k people, yet those are the cowardly coaches? Man up and move up a couple of classes, then all is settled.


December 16th, 2012
7:34 pm

Watch out for Carrollton next year. All those young guys coming back. Lost a heartbreaker to Marist in 5 ot’s this year.


December 16th, 2012
8:10 pm

Playoffs really do not determine who the best teams are for a season. It only proves who was playing better and who go the breaks on one particular night in the playoffs. Were the NY Giants really the best team in the NFL last year, or did they just get hot/lucky at the right time? That being said, at least everyone has their shot, and if you lose you can’t complain…you should have just won the games when you played them. However, watered down playoffs with too many teams increases the chances that undeserving teams will sneak in.

Cowardly coaches

December 16th, 2012
8:20 pm

I wish life were so easy that we could just tell our competition to go away. Then we could all be winners.

Patriot Power

December 16th, 2012
8:23 pm

#4AFan – Who said we were a lock? That’s a strawman. We will be favored, but that is not the same thing. No one gave us the title this year or any previous year; so I am not sure what you are talking about. Check the definition of humble pie. It’s for when you lose when you were confident you would win. Why are you already pre-hating on the Creek for next year?



December 16th, 2012
8:41 pm

Congradulation to all teams for another memorable football season. I enjoyed this season like so many others. Prepare well in the off season, and I look forward to next August.

AJC thanks for the great coverage.

Reg 5aaaaa guy

December 16th, 2012
8:56 pm

How do u rank allatoona with 2 losses…one which was a complete thumping by east paulding ahead of a one loss east team? Go figure….and kell? Really? Bett than east..,don’t think so…east had one bad game against a stephenson team that could do nothing wrong and they fall to 10th?

Cat Man

December 16th, 2012
9:01 pm

Gotta agree A Men. I played for T McFerrin at Forest Park 1971, the only year he was there. We won the region then went on to play Avondale for N. Ga. championship and got beat in a thriller. They went to Valdosta the next week and got blistered for the state championship. I’m 57 yrs. old today and I still remember his tough discipline yet caring disposition. And he was very young then. You can do the math. It should be an honor for the many young men who were lucky enough to play for him over the yrs. He’s truly one of the best in Ga. and deserve all the honors he gets. Congratulations Coach T!


December 16th, 2012
9:12 pm

In most States (only Alaska), the Championship game is played at a College or a Pro Field.


December 16th, 2012
9:20 pm

Congratulations to Buford and their great program.. St Pius played SIX of the final top ten and beat four of them. We lost to Thomson by 7 and Buford by 7. It was a great year for the Golden Lions. We will be back next year. Until then the Buford Wolves are the CHAMPS. I just hope we dont have to play WACO or BUFORD till the late rounds God willing.. It is GREAT TO BE A GOLDEN LION..

the truth

December 16th, 2012
9:23 pm

Some of you are crazy. The Dome seats 71,000 for football. It is not going to look full with 12,000 people, it will look exactly as it did last night. However, the largest high school stadium in the state is Valdosta at 11,000+ so you would not have had much more at a local stadium than you had last night. Fire codes would have prevented it.
The state championship has to be played at a neutral site. It is wrong to give one team and advantage over in the biggest game of the year based on a coin flip or the fact they happen to be on the side of the bracket that the GHSA decided assign the home team. It does not matter to me if it is N or S GA but it has to be neutral. The largest stadium in S. Ga is at Georgia Southern at 18,000+. They recently voted for a 6000 seating increase which would be good to possibly host. That is it. S. Ga does not have any other neutral facility big enough.


December 16th, 2012
9:25 pm

To be fair, there should not be a class A classification for private schools. Everyone knows their players are bought and paid for by parents whose kids go to these schools and rarely play football or any other sport. Make them play up @ AA or higher and therefore no “what ifs.” Three D1 players on the A private school champs. What are the odds of that happening without above mentioned recruitment. Give me a break!!


December 16th, 2012
9:30 pm

If you knew at all what you were talking about then a healthy debate might (stress might) ensue. Private schools don’t give athletic scholarships nor are they allowed to. Need based financial aid is about as good as it gets (and that is very limited). You also make it seem like private schools get kids who live two hours away to come to their schools. You will find that for the private schools in, for example, Gwinnett Co. (GAC, Wesleyan, etc) do not have too many kids that live in Cobb County who just bus in to play sports. “Wait,” says Brick. “What about schools like Woodward that literally bus in their students.” Good question. Tuition has be at or near 20K for a school like that. Call them up, pretend you have a stud athlete tyring to get in and see how many scholarships they offer you. IF you happen to qualify for financial aid you get about %10 off that number. You also have such things like high academic standards which is what most of these type schools are based off of anyway. Are their private schools that get kids in, sure. But Wilkinson Co. probably does too. The simple and lazy solution is just to say separate them. The just as lazy solutiion is to say ‘make them play up like Marist does.’

Long Time Fan

December 16th, 2012
9:33 pm

I totally agree with 57 Cat about the announcers, especially analyst Trey McDaniel. Arrrgh! He talked and talked and talked, and nothing he said really added anything to the game. He should have talked much less and let the game speak for itself.

I can’t believe that at the end of the Norcross-Lovejoy game, neither McDaniel nor Gil Tyree(arrgh) brought up that Lovejoy may have let Norcross score the last touchdown on purpose to give themselves one last chance with the ball. All they talked about was how easy Alvin Kamara scored the touchdown. It turned out to be great stretegy. Norcross missed the extra point and Lovejoy returned the kickoff to midfield. They had a real chance to tie or win the game but threw a bad interception.

Thanks to GPB for broadcasting the games, but pleassse get some better announcers.


December 16th, 2012
9:40 pm

Is TotheKing implying that some parent is going to fork over $20,000 just so some stud player can go to their kids’ school??? Okay, I’ve yet to hear a rational debate for why it should be divided in A. That comment proves my point. Anyone rational want to make a case for the public schools in single A? Cause you don’t have good representatives voicing your opinion right now…


December 16th, 2012
9:46 pm

@Patriot Power — the article asks if Sandy Creek is a “cinch” to win the title next year. That’s who said it. Not hating, just answering the question the article’s author asked. Jeez, sensitive much?


December 16th, 2012
10:02 pm

@HSbball that must one heck of a private school. $20,000 is higher tuition costs than @ most out of state universities. Maybe $10,000/ year. 4 families @ $2,500.00/each equals a D-1 prospect. Chump change for these private school parents.


December 16th, 2012
10:15 pm

First let’s put this BS argument to rest that private schools don’t recruit. You do and you know it. Check out where a lot of your athletes actually come from.

Second: The problem with the Private versus Public argument ain’t so much football. You seem to forget that there are a lot of other sports. Those other sports is where the private school’s has that huge advantage over the public schools. You don’t like the way it is now, then move up to AA or AAA. That’s your choice. No one is holding you back. By the way. My school plays in AA. Would love to have some of you single A private school’s.


December 16th, 2012
10:22 pm

I made that point last night, Long Time Fan, about the matador defense of Lovejoy on Kamara’s TD. Neither McDaniel nor Tyree had a clue. Both were interested only in pumping up how great Kamara is.

The strategy by Lovejoy was great and it did, almost, work. It was a great game and deserved much more professional broadcasters. Nonetheless, it was nice to sit here in S. Georgia and watch all seven playoff games, the really bad part about that was I didn’t have a dog in the fight. As they used to say in Brooklyn, “Wait til next year.”


December 16th, 2012
10:25 pm

On a neutral field, Sandy Creek could and I would expect beat any team in the state, however they would not be the favored in some, i.e. Buford, Norcross, but SC are as good of programs now but with overall higher caliber talent across all positions and depth.


December 16th, 2012
10:33 pm

57 Cat, I was watching the NC/LJ game on TV and blogging on this site. When they got down to the goal line I made the comment on here before the play, LJ needs to let them score and even with the extra point it will still be only an 8 point game. Then stupid Gil says, well there’s the score the ball game is over. What an idiot. He cheered from the broadcast booth behind his little mic for whoever was ahead. What a dork. Hopefully he won’t be back next year.


December 16th, 2012
10:44 pm

I’m not guessing, unlike you. That’s how much tuition costs at a big time private school like Woodward or Westminster. And the fact that you are trying to further rationalize your irrational point leaves me with nothing else to say.

Thanks for entering the debate but you are making me feel like Eminem from 8 Mile. “Pay attention meathead, you’re saying the same @#@ that he said.”

All I asked for was for someone on the other side of the private v. public debate to make a rational case – maybe put some independent clauses together, throw in some conjunctions and form a complete thought. None of you have countered the points I have already made. I’ve given you facts and you’ve given me wild accusations. Wasn’t it Milton that just had to get rid of their coach for illegal influence? Isn’t that a…public school? Both private and public schools can be accused of recruiting. To say that it is only private schools is simply dumb. To me that point is therefore invalid.

Bottom line is this. Private schools didn’t have a voice with GHSA and so the decision was made knee jerk style. The move wasn’t made for any other sport BUT football so don’t bring in the other sports to the debate and act like public school cross country coaches were complaining about private schools. Find me a kid from a public school who was whining about private schools last year in football. Don’t worry, I’ll wait….

You know why you’re still looking? It was only coaches that had a problem with it.


December 16th, 2012
10:50 pm

At least you guys aren’t in Tennessee where there is basically a complete separation of public and private schools. In addition to that, there are six public school champions and two private school champions. Eight state champs in a state with average high school football. All this thanks to gutless adults.

To clarify, in Tennessee there is a Division I and a Division II. Division I consists of public schools and private schools that do not give financial aid. Division II is made up of the private schools that do give financial aid to its students. Therefore, the true powerhouse private schools in Tennessee (Ensworth, McCallie, Baylor, Montgomery Bell Academy, Memphis University School, Brentwood Academy, Christian Brothers…) have effectively been separated from the public schools.


December 16th, 2012
11:11 pm

Congrats to Norcross for keeping the title in Gwinnett. The Blue Devils and Maloof finally cashed in all their chips! I am also very proud of the season that North Gwinnett had. Seven consecutive 10 win seasons and many more to come. Sphire will win the title soon. Can’t say enough about how special this season was considering all of the obstacles. Look forward to watching Sphire’s son Hayden continue the air raid tradition next season. Congrats to all on another great season!