AAA football: Five who could break into rankings

There isn’t enough room get put everyone in the preseason rankings. They are mostly based on the results from the previous year. That’s a good indication of what to expect, since many of the same programs are competitive year after year.

Here are five teams that could be ready to jump into the Class AAA rankings if – and when – any of the top 10 stumble for the first time.

Callaway cracked the top 10 at the end of last season when they finally got around to sewing up the Region 4 championship. The Cavs lost the opener to Heard County and ran the table with a solid mix of offense and defense. Led by linebacker Keshun Freeman, a Georgia Tech commitment, they are again the favorite to win an otherwise average league. Callaway will be tested by Heard, which is led by Duranta Dunson, who rushed for 1,622 yards and 24 touchdowns last year.

North Oconee has won two straight region titles and built a program with a lot of pride. Despite losing all-state all-everything back Nick Colvin, the Titans may have the league’s best running back in Kawon Bryant. He hurt his ankle early last year and still managed to rush for 1,174 yards and 14 touchdowns. Much will be expected from quarterback Tate Adcock, who split time at the position last year and threw for 738 yards and seven touchdowns.

Pierce County scored more than four touchdowns in eight of its 10 regular season games last year. The Bears return starting quarterback Tyler Harris, an honorable mention all-state choice last year. Harris, who has committed to SMU, is one of the top pro-style quarterbacks around and could wrack up a lot of yards and points in an average region.

Ringgold has an outstanding quarterback returning in Slade Dale, who has already committed to play baseball at Georgia. Dale, who threw for 1,268 yards and 16 touchdowns and also ran for 1,000 yards last year, has two excellent receivers in Kile Sholl and Christian Plott. But the defense has to show a lot of improvement; giving up 30 points, as the Tigers did in their five losses last year, won’t cut it.

White County made great strides in its second season and made the playoffs under coach Bill Ballard, who was a big-time winner at Tucker and Peachtree Ridge. The Warriors were competitive against everyone except big dogs Buford and North Hall. This year they’ve got nine defensive starters back, including linebacker Dalton Whitfield.

Others to watch include Elbert County, Appling County, Adairsville, Gordon Central and Cedar Grove.

Who else looks like they could be a threat to break into the rankings in the early part of the season?

9 comments Add your comment

LakeDawg

August 22nd, 2013
3:59 pm

Look out for White County. They will be very tough this year.

Todd Holcomb

August 22nd, 2013
7:11 pm

North Oconee and then Callaway were probably the top two teams that didn’t make the Top 10. Callaway’s Keshun Freeman made the list of 44 finalists for Super 11. He’s committed to Georgia Tech. Tez Parks, the QB, has an offer from Georgia Tech. North Oconee’s Kawon Bryant could be the best RB in the state if he stays healthy.

FoghornLeghorn

August 23rd, 2013
9:56 pm

I distinctly remember the same thing being said about N Oconee last year Todd, and it looks like the same thing is going to happen again to them this year as it did during last years season opener against Pius.

Region 7-AAA

August 23rd, 2013
11:22 pm

White County has a few questions on offense, but the defense should definitely pull that team through some tough games but I still expect much of the same as last season from WC, a 3rd Seed to the playoffs. I still don’t think they have a chance in hell of beating North Hall or Buford this season but should steamroll the rest of the schedule. I think they’ll pull out a Sweet 16 berth this year.

BT Fanatic

August 24th, 2013
3:20 pm

White County meets BT in Sept. The outcome of that game will be much like their games with Buford or North Hall – a POUNDING. Especially since that could not offer BT the courtesy of a Home and Away. White County – definitely not a Top 10, and definitely not ready for the Sweet 16. Sorry boys.

Region 7-AAA

August 26th, 2013
4:20 am

I still expect White County to pull out of the 1st round this season. I’m not a WC fan, but I at least give credit where its due, unlike some fans…. (cough! ^^^^ ) who automatically call for a pounding.

Region 7 will be meeting Region 5 in the first round and I really don’t see a single team in that region beating White County. That’s my opinion.

Region 7-AAA

August 26th, 2013
4:24 am

Well, except for Cartersville. They would whip the tar out of White County but I don’t see a Cartersville/WC 1st Round matchup unless WC ends up losing a 3rd region game that nobody saw coming.

JM

August 26th, 2013
10:52 am

Ringgold may lose only one game this regular season at Cartersville.

Region 7-AAA

August 26th, 2013
9:37 pm

JM, Ringgold does look good I’ll admit but they look about the same as they did in 2009 when North Hall knocked them out in the first round. That 09 North Hall team only went 9-3 so I expect a 1st round exit for Ringgold. I am going to predict that 7-AAA #3 White County will make the trip to 5-AAA #2 Ringgold in the 1st round and win it.