Five questions to be answered in the coming weeks

It will be a light first weekend of the high school football season for Class AAAAA, where only 17 of the 75 teams will be in action. Here are five questions that will be answered in the weeks ahead but deserve some consideration before the season kicks off:

Q: What will Deshaun Watson do for an encore?

A: Gainesville’s star quarterback already holds the state’s career records for passing yardage and passing touchdowns. In 2012, he threw for 4,024 yards and 50 touchdowns, rushed for 1,441 yards and 24 TDs, was the Class AAAAA player of the year and helped the Red Elephants win the first state championship in the program’s long, proud history. Then he helped the basketball team reach the state championship game, as well. It won’t be easy to duplicate those numbers in 2013, but it likely will be considered a disappointment if his team doesn’t repeat as state champion.

Q: Who will be the region champions?

A: According to the computer Maxwell Ratings, it will be Thomas County Central (1-AAAAA), Northside-Warner Robins (2-AAAAA), Ware County (3-AAAAA), Whitewater (4-AAAAA), East Paulding (5-AAAAA), Tucker (6-AAAAA), Kell (7-AAAAA) and Gainesville (8-AAAAA). It’s hard to argue with those choices. Six of those teams won region titles in 2012, but note that state champion Gainesville was not one of them as Flowery Branch took the Region 8 championship. Second-ranked Tucker might have the most difficult road, considering it has No. 3 Stephenson and No. 5 M.L. King standing in its way in Region 6.

Q: Can Harris County build on its surprising success in 2012?

A: The Tigers started the season 0-4 last year before a 37-31, three-overtime victory against Douglas County ignited an eight-game winning streak that produced the first region title and first playoff victory in school history. It was one of the biggest surprises of the season in AAAAA. Esaias Chapman, a 2,000-yard rusher last year, returns to lead the offense behind an experienced line, but there are some questions on defense. Another playoff berth out of six-team Region 1 is a good bet, but the battle for the region championship probably will come down to Thomas County Central and Bainbridge.

Q: Which new coach has the best chance of success this season?

A: That would be Cortez Allen, the new coach at M.L. King. Allen, who led Newton to one of its best three-year runs in more than two decades, inherits a Lions team that went 11-1 in 2012, losing to Allatoona 20-19 in the second round of the playoffs. The rugged Region 6 schedule that includes games against Southwest DeKalb, Mays, Stephenson, Tucker and Miller Grove might make repeating the 11-1 mark difficult. But a postseason berth is almost a certainty, and a deep postseason run isn’t out of the question.

Q: Which teams will be playing for the championship on the second weekend of December?

A: Gainesville vs. Northside-Warner Robins. Gainesville’s biggest hurdle likely will come in the semifinals, where it could meet the Region 6 champion, and that will be a challenge whether it’s Tucker, Stephenson or M.L. King. That leaves the door open for Northside on the other side of the bracket, although the Eagles could face the Region 6 runner-up in the third round. Northside has won 10 or more games for 15 consecutive seasons and is itching to get back to the championship game for the first time since 2009. But don’t count out the Region 6 teams.

19 comments Add your comment

Jusfellofftheturniptruck

August 20th, 2013
10:04 am

Even non ghs fans are wondering what kind of numbers Deshaun will put up this season. He looked very solid against Grayson last Friday.

A victory over region 6 enroute to a dome meeting with nswr would be so sweet!! A lot of work to be done between now and then. We will have a good idea after West Forsyth and Buford.

Ed Pilcher

August 20th, 2013
10:40 am

Bainbridge isn’t going to be the top challenger for TCC and the Region-1 title.

Lee County is.

Bainbridge is going from running the veer for the last 5 years to running the spread…..which is the polar opposite of the run-heavy veer. New coaching staff on both sides of the ball, new system on both sides.

Lee county is in year #5 of their version of the spread….they have experience, a darn good QB, and a good coaching staff. If they can get their defense on track…..they haven’t learned to defend the Veer yet…..they could cause plenty of trouble for TCC.

The Lee Co vs TCC game will likely determine the Region 1-AAAAA champ.

blu eagle

August 20th, 2013
11:58 am

NSWR would love to be in those positions come playoff time but as much as G’ville and Tucker have coming back, that is about how much NSWR lost to graduation. Hope springs eternal on Northside Drive however!

Jusfellofftheturniptruck

August 20th, 2013
3:54 pm

Made a trek down to Warner Robins the other day to handle sum bidness. Man, that town is high school football crazy. Everybody either a demon or an eagle. Some gave props to peach.

Nice town, good people. For flatlanders, heehee.

Would love to play either team, ESP nswr. Got a nswr buddy that always talks smack

blu eagle

August 20th, 2013
5:23 pm

Who do you pull for turniptruck? And yes that town is football crazy, back in the day w robins was the team now it is NSWR but the game between those two has turned out some classics, as they say throw out the stats on that game.

Jusfellofftheturniptruck

August 20th, 2013
8:07 pm

Big Red Elephants! Been keeping an eye on nswr since back a few years ago when y’all had a big quarterback that was hurt during the regular season and came back during the playoffs and dominated. Ivory was his name maybe?

Gamer

August 20th, 2013
9:09 pm

Because of the region we play-in—–all Warner Robins team will make the play-off. It will end there because we just don’t have the horses to challenge this year. We will be back!!!!!!

blu eagle

August 20th, 2013
9:15 pm

Them Red Elephants should have the title again that kind of QB only comes around every 100 years!Those receivers are plenty good too.And yes that was Marques ivory, who had a good career at Jacksonville State.

Gridiron

August 21st, 2013
6:55 am

Tucker will win the AAAAA 2013 Champsonship!!!

Billy Johnson

August 21st, 2013
7:46 am

In region 1 5A Lee Co will not be a contender. They play a weak non region schedule. They run a gimmick offense and their defense always over promises and under delivers. This year will be no different. Great stats against smaller schools with less talent. Big disappointment when they face real competition. Hard times have arrived in Lee Co sports. Never have been good in football and baseball is fading. On a positive note, the soccer program shows some real promise! Good luck.

Jusfellofftheturniptruck

August 21st, 2013
9:27 am

Maybe so gridiron. We never know. Gville lost the first and last games of the regular season with a surprising loss to Loganville in between. We know how the season ended.

Reg 6 reps may have to head north to City Park and battle the ghosts of Bobby Gruhn Field in one of the very best high school venues in the state. And, by the way, once yawl figure out who the toughest kid is in the Dekalb county sandbox, they are going to have to deal with the mighty Mr. Watson.

I like our chances. The anticipation of toe meeting leather is maddening!

Jusfellofftheturniptruck

August 21st, 2013
9:31 am

I agree blu eagle. When we had Blake Sims, I didn’t think we would see another qb that gifted for a long time.

The Gainesville faithful have been so fortunate to enjoy a football player like Deshaun who’s on field talents are on par with his off the field attributes. An amazing young man indeed.

5AReg6Fan

August 21st, 2013
11:31 am

@ Jusfellofftheturniptruck – Nothing but a short ride up 85 for region 6. And when the sand clears, G-ville will see region 6 #4, assuming the Red Elephants take region 8 #1, in the first round of playoffs and say – “If that’s their #4, don’t want to see # 1, 2, or 3”. (LOL) Mr. Watson is one of a kind special athlete and hopefully he is surrounded by many others. He will need all of them when matching up against a region 6 team – many athletes on the field at ONE time. Good luck to the defending 5A state champs and have a safe season – REGION 6 stands directly in the way for the repeat.

“WE ARE TUCKER”

REGION 6, the best in GA 2013 5A Football……

5AReg6Fan

August 21st, 2013
11:43 am

@blu eagle/Gamer – We Tucker fans no better than to fell for the comments that NSWR will not be a player in the 5A game. (LOL) The Tigers have A LOT of business to take care of in the strong region 6, but maybe our paths will cross again in 2013. Another Tiger/Eagle epic battle, this time hopefully it’s for all the marbles. Good Luck to NSWR and possibly a quarter final matchup, appears certain with region 6.

“WE ARE TUCKER”

REGION 6, the best in GA 2013 5A Football……

JAB

August 21st, 2013
9:31 pm

I COULDN’T AGREE WITH THIS ANSWER MORE.
Q: Which teams will be playing for the championship on the second weekend of December?

A: Gainesville vs. Northside-Warner Robins. Gainesville’s biggest hurdle likely will come in the semifinals, where it could meet the Region 6 champion, and that will be a challenge whether it’s Tucker, Stephenson or M.L. King. That leaves the door open for Northside on the other side of the bracket, although the Eagles could face the Region 6 runner-up in the third round. Northside has won 10 or more games for 15 consecutive seasons and is itching to get back to the championship game for the first time since 2009. But don’t count out the Region 6 teams.

GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS & REGION 6AAAAA THE SEC OF HS FOOTBALL BEST IN THE STATE…

blu eagle

August 21st, 2013
10:20 pm

Well gotta stir the pot some more, in NSWR scrimmage, not only is spread running well, we apparently have another beast of a running back, this info is coming secondhand but we will see. It may get interesting in the great classof 5A!

Dekalb23456

August 22nd, 2013
12:01 pm

Miller Grove Will Shock The Region Just Watch

Dekalb23456

August 22nd, 2013
12:04 pm

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Chase

August 25th, 2013
6:26 pm

Stephenson is the team to watch for, not Tucker… Region 5 5A is gonna be tough too. Region 6 and 5 are arguably the best in the class of 5A.. If you play at the Dekalb schools in the playoffs, their field is just horrible