AAAAAA blog: What are your 5 questions for the ‘13 season?

Question of the day for the blog –

What are the five most interesting things about the season ahead in Class AAAAAA?

Here are my answers, or questions, as it were:

- Will Norcross make a run at a national title? Or maybe the first question is whether Norcross will win the state title. Grayson was ranked No. 1 by one national poll a year ago and fizzled out. But Norcross, ranked in the top six of six polls, is the only Georgia team (AAAAAA) in good position to win a national title, which hasn’t been done by a Georgia team since 1992 (Valdosta). Norcross opens Saturday vs. B.T. Washington of Miami, the No. 1 team in USA Today. On paper, this Norcross team could be special. There are 16 starters back, a half-dozen major Division 1 recruits and couple of key move-ins at the positions most hurt by graduation (QB, TB). Sure would be good to see the Blue Devils knock out the BTW and stay in the hunt.

- How will Camden County do? I expect the ‘Cats will be fine, as usual, but it’s been a while since a top school lost a coach that had the success that Jeff Herron had – three state titles in 13 seasons. The successor is Welton Coffey. There are lots of teams with intrigue, but this one stands out to me.

- What stars will emerge this season? There aren’t as many marquee players  returning in AAAAAA as last season, guys such as Tyren Jones, Robert Nkemdiche, Eddie Printz, Josh Dobbs. This season, the rushing and passing leaders are more unknown. Nine of the Top 10 teams have new starting quarterbacks. North Cobb’s Tyler Queen is the only one who was a full-time starter in ’12. None of the Top 10 has a running back who was considered for all-state last season. Who will be a star in 10 weeks? Jeremiah Kirkland of Lovejoy? Taj Griffin of McEachern?

- Who will the surprise teams be this season? Preseason rankings are unreliable, especially in the highest classification. In defense of preseason rankings, the No. 1 team in preseason wins the title almost one-third of the time, but they’re still just guesses. Remember that Norcross was unranked in preseason a year ago. Lovejoy was No. 7. In 2011, eventual champ Grayson was No. 5. In 2010, Brookwood was unranked. Not saying an unranked team will win it, but an unranked team will be a major factor. Who will it be? Mill Creek? Parkview? Valdosta? Walton? Hillgrove?

- What Top 10 team won’t be a factor at all? In 2012, there wasn’t a bad case of this. Preseason No. 4 Walton faded, but only after injuries took a toll. No. 8 Alpharetta was good, but not special. All of the Top 10 teams performed reasonably well. Not so sure this season because of there was more turnover in personnel. Ranking Grayson at No. 10 drew some fire. The Rams lost 21 starters and seven D-1 signees. No. 9 Lassiter lost its best  two players in QB Eddie Printz and WR Willie Police, and that was after losing in the first round last year. Lovejoy lost its best two players in RB Travis Custis and LB Nathaniel Norwood. Inevitably there is one team that can’t pick up the pieces. Who will it be?

62 comments Add your comment

Dekalb Co Guy

August 22nd, 2013
8:18 am

Will Region 2 and 3 be as bad as they were last year? With the exception of Lovejoy, Region 2 was pretty weak last year. And Region 3 wasnt much better. Hope they will have a few more stronger teams this season.

Camden74

August 22nd, 2013
10:17 am

Camden will definitely be fine. They are a young team, with a new Head Coach. But after a few games, the young kids will GET IT. Then, they will start their march towards the playoffs. Camden is young, fast and physical. Keep an eye on a very good group of running backs, with Antonio Wimbush being one of the breakout guys. The real concern for Camden this season will be the kicking game. They lost one of the best kickers in the state with the graduation of Brice Ramsey. Look for them to be more aggressive on defensive and less predictable on offense. FEAR the PAW! :-D

Todd Holcomb

August 22nd, 2013
10:23 am

IMO – Regions 2 and 3 will be no factor again, except for Lovejoy. And Camden will be fine, but good point about the kicking game. North Gwinnett has outstanding kicking & punting. I wonder if that will be significant on Saturday.

Drock13

August 22nd, 2013
2:28 pm

Todd from a old poster Drock says this Newnan team will be special by years end. They will win the region this year. Will not be surprised to see them beat a solid Marietta team by 2TD tomorrow. My prediction NHS 33-17. This is by far the biggest and quickest Newnan team in 4 years. With the addition of some transfers and 6′7 in grown BBall player the offense will be explosive this year. NHS have a special junior QB and RB who have D1 offers.

Camden74

August 22nd, 2013
3:04 pm

The kicking game could very well be the difference. North Gwinnett definitely has the advantage there……. :-)

Dekalb Co Guy

August 22nd, 2013
3:17 pm

@Drock13

I wouldnt give Newnan the region just yet. Hughes has a lot of their key players back and are the defending region champs. Newnan lost almost all their starters, but they do have their qb back, he looked solid as a soph. last year, figure he will be lots better this year.

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
3:45 pm

Was Lovejoy a surprise team last season? Not to many, certainly not Lovejoy and it’s fans. Only to those who have preconceived notions as to who they think would or should be there. Remember last season. The question was, “Is Lovejoy ready to play with the big boy’s of 6A”? In the final 2 years in a row and still being questioned.

I am, like my counterpart from Camden, wondering what is so special about North Gwinnett. I also have questions about Colquitt’s continuing lofty status. We all talk about now and not the past but as soon as the subject comes up, the past is what is used to justify the present.

CoffeeC100

August 22nd, 2013
5:45 pm

Let’s play ball folks. We’ll know he answers to all these questions by the middle of September. One more day!

Todd Holcomb

August 22nd, 2013
5:53 pm

”Was Lovejoy a surprise team last season? Not to many.”

I would have to disagree. Lovejoy was not a major surprise in ‘12, but how many people in preseason expected Lovejoy to play in the state championship game or thought they were one of the 3-4 best teams in AAAAAA? Most did not. There were three human preseason polls last season. None had Lovejoy in the top five in preseason. Only Sportsnut. And, of course, Sportsnut was right. :)

”The question was, “Is Lovejoy ready to play with the big boy’s of 6A”? In the final 2 years in a row and still being questioned.” … I also have questions about Colquitt’s continuing lofty status.”

Lovejoy makes a championship game for two years in a row (only one of which was with ‘the big boys’, btw), and in your mind is still being questioned, even though Lovejoy is ranked #3 in preseason. But you question Colquitt County’s ”lofty status” when Colquitt has made the semifinals or better four straight seasons, each time losing to the eventual champ. Why is it better to question Colquitt than Lovejoy?

bksmith14

August 22nd, 2013
6:35 pm

colquitt beat lovejoy …and lowndes and valdosta beat colquitt. in our region..you never know what will happen..throw record books out the window

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
8:37 pm

Lovejoy was only a surprise to those of you who had your favorites, which is what Lovejoy is to me. They were not supposed to be there in 11′ or 12′ according to those who are the experts. To be honest, the fact that they were is the only reason they are ranked where they are now. Three human polls last year and none had Lovejoy there goes to show the mind set of those prognosticators even though they were 14-1 the previous year and had everyone returning.

The previous year, we were not ready for the likes of Kell, Ware and the rest. Playing in AAAA with the almighty Tucker, WR, NSWR, Flowery Branch and others does not constitute playing with the big boys, especially since it was supposed to be an ALL WARNER ROBINS FINAL, according to some. Lovejoy and Tucker threw a wrench into those plans.

I will always question when there are answers to be had. I am not the only one with those questions about Colquitt. People realize they have not won anything since 96′, I believe. A region title. Or was it 99′?. We know they won state in 94′, but not a thing since. From then on they did not do much even though I give them credit for having a good program. That does not change the fact that they have not even won a region since. Yet, they are nationally ranked.

Perplexing !

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
9:10 pm

From 2000-08′, Colquitt was 50-46. During that same time Lovejoy was 60-39.
From 2009-present, Colquitt is 41-16. During that same time, Lovejoy is 41-10.

bksmith14

August 22nd, 2013
10:08 pm

sportsnut…colquitt is just glad to be relevant again. On the other hand lowndes has owned them winning 14 out of last 16. propst wd leave colquitt tomorrow if lowndes or valdosta offered him the head job.

PackGATA

August 22nd, 2013
10:12 pm

@sportsnut, Big difference in competition in our region could effect those numbers. We’re on our third coach since then. How many coaching changes did Lovejoy have during that time? Your not comparing apples to apples.

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
10:35 pm

@ BK == I hear you but they will always be relevant to certain people and that includes more than their fans.(wink, wink)

Black&Gold24

August 22nd, 2013
10:55 pm

I haven’t posted in a while, but have watched much of the chest thumping by sportsnut and bksmith. I will say that I respect the Lovejoy and Lowndes programs, but neither of those programs or any other in the state have been in the final four in a four year span. Yes, the Packers have not won anything of significance since 1994 when they won the state title with a victory over Valdosta. Colquitt has chosen to play the toughest schedule in the state and have picked very competitive foes over the last four years, which led them to be better prepared for the playoffs. Lovejoy, Concrete palace Vikings, Valdosta or any team in the state has dared to play a schedule like Colquitt. I will tip my hat to Camden for playing the Ohio powerhouse last year, and Norcross for venturing to South Florida this year. We can battle on this blog all we want, but the proof is in the numbers. No team in region 1AAAAAA has accomplished what Colquitt has in the last four years. That being said that is the past, and this is a new season………..let the games begin. Oh yeah, and one more tidbit, yes bksmith, Lowndes has owned us, for a long while but we have more recent success in the playoffs and that is where it counts.

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
11:00 pm

@ PackGATA == I know who you guy’s have played. It is always the same. Here is a list of teams Lovejoy has played; Alpharetta, Carver-Columbus, Coffee, Colquitt, Creekside, East Coweta, Glynn Aca., Griffin, Houston County, Kell, LaGrange, Lowndes, Marietta, Newnan, Norcross, North Clayton, North Cobb, NSWR, SWD, Starrs Mill, Stockbridge, Troup, Tucker, Walton, Ware, Warner Robins, Westside Macon, Whitewater, Riverdale, Jonesboro, Mount Zion, Morrow, Eastside, Mundy’s Mill, Sprayberry, Forest Park, Americus-Sumpter, Bradwell Instutute, Upson-Lee, McIntosh, Union Grove, Douglass(ATL). Sequoia.

We have played you and yours and much, much more. Region 1 is not the only place to find good football.

Camden74

August 22nd, 2013
11:11 pm

Sportsnut…….There’s one team in particular that’s missing from your list, you know which team I’m talking about. Sooner or later they will have to meet! Lobby for a 2014 game if they don’t meet in the playoffs this season…….RELEASE the CATS, CAMDEN COUNTY WILDCATS! :-D

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
11:19 pm

Now, a little name dropping: D.J. Shockley at N. Clayton, Keith Brooking, E. Coweta, Jamal Lewis at Douglass, Hines Ward at Forest Park, just to name a few.

@ Black&Gold24 == After this year, Probst will not do it again and you will see why.

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
11:24 pm

@74 == You know I want it. I do have a rapport with the coach and maybe it will come up.

Black&Gold24

August 22nd, 2013
11:36 pm

@Sportsnut
I appreciate your opinion and speculation. At this point everyone can post facts from the past. I am hoping like everyone that this year is the year for our program. I am looking forward to the Pack and Lovejoy game. You guys will be the 3rd straight stiff contest for the Packers. I extremely doubt we will be 2-0 when we meet, but who cares the postseason matters and we may meet there also.

reggaeman

August 22nd, 2013
11:52 pm

My Valdosta Wildcats definately not in the hunt and we won’t be any time soon because like Lowndes we too busy playing politics at the quarterback position. Our athletic black quarterbacks keep getting the raw deal, while the rich touchdown club members son got that position on lock. I wanna win play the best kid, the days of slow pocket quarterbacks are fading away.

Drock13

August 23rd, 2013
6:31 am

@Dekalb Co guy… I know Hughes bring alot of talent back but I’m telling you this Newnan team will be clicking when they meet in Fairburn. I think a lot of teams including NHS didn’t respect Hughes last year. This year they are the haunted. After watching the NHS vs Colquitt Co slugfest last year and truly believing in NHS underclassmen are loaded in every key position I truly believe in them this year.

CoffeeTrojan#44

August 23rd, 2013
6:37 am

@reggaeman , It was like that here at Coffee for years, I hope that we have moved past that now thow.

Go Trojans!

Dekalb Co Guy

August 23rd, 2013
7:40 am

@DRock13

Well nothing wrong with being optimistic, everyone is this time of year until reality sets in. I lived in newnan and daughter graduated from there so I have some allegiance to them and hope they do well. Just looking at it objectively I see Hughes as the favorite, Newnan lost the majority of the starters, but of course, I do know that Newnan and probably East Coweta have significantly more depth than the other teams in the region, so maybe that extra depth can be the difference.

ricohman

August 23rd, 2013
8:52 am

Don’t discount Camden County just because Coach Heron left. Coach Coffey will have these young Cats ready to play. I too have great concerns about the kicking game, hopefully someone will step forward or it could cost a a victory or two. As usual, Region 1 will be a meat grinder with all the teams beating up on each other but I feel this only prepares those teams better for the playoffs. Off to the Dome tomorrow to watch a great couple games involving Region 1. GO WILDCATS!!!

The Cross

August 23rd, 2013
10:31 am

Ahhhh high school football!!!! Kids wait for this moment to come after December. My blue devils are ready!!!!!! Qb A.j. Bush…WR .Myles Autry ….RB Joshua Boyd …. WDE Lorenzo carter…. MLB Kevin mouhon…. WR Clinton lynch. The seniors have been ready since we left the dome that night.
Welcome back folks.!!!!!!Lets the get this show underway!!!!!!!!

Sportsnut

August 23rd, 2013
11:29 am

Welcome back to you Cross. Nice to know you didn’t take your ball and go home after you won. Good Luck this year.

57Cat

August 23rd, 2013
11:36 am

It is great to be back on the best high school football blog in the nation! (That may be a stretch, but with Sportsnut, bksmith14, CoffeeTrojan44, Camden74, etc., who can challenge us? And we haven’t heard from Gwinnett County yet!). The board of the VHS TD Club met last night and honored our seniors, of which the Cats only have 19. That leaves some 80 underclass men, which bodes well for us next year. But the board voted (and you know we run football in Valdosta!) to go ahead and play the 2013 season, even though we lost our starting QB for the year. We owe it to our seniors to do so.

I know, I can hear bksmith14 now saying, “There goes 57Cat, throwing in the towel already!” Not so, we will strap on our cleats, helmets, and pads, and put on or Nick Hyder “What others fear, we will do” shirt and get in behind one of the best coaches in the state in Rance Gilllespie and go to work. It will be fun to see who can knock off the big dogs this year, not just in Region 1, but those powerhouses from up North as well.

So, let’s have a great year, guys. And keep it nice!

57Cat

August 23rd, 2013
12:32 pm

Sportsnut
August 22nd, 2013
4:49 pm

Thanks Todd. I am glad to a part of such a forum with diverse opinions on the game of high school football. Without you, it would not be possible.

@57Cat == Glad you enjoy the banter. Are you a VHS Cat, Camden Cat or LHS Cat

That is hilarious, Sportsnut. I mean the part about “LHS Cat.” I’ll bet the Vikings crowd at Lowndes is having a fit!

I am a VHS Cat, having graduated in ‘57, which explains my devotion to the Valdosta Wildcats. I was able to enjoy and bask in the glory years of Coaches Bazemore and Hyder. Our program is down a bit now, but we fully believe that Coach Gillespie will have us back on top in another year or two.

I do enjoy the banter, as long as it doesn’t get personal or unsportsmanlike.

Sportsnut

August 23rd, 2013
2:55 pm

@ 57 Cat == The LHS Cat was referring to the Lovejoy Wildcats. Not Lowndes. I hope the Vikings know I did not mean them or I was making a mistake. We always try to keep it clean and not get personal. After all, this is about the kids. I too, am from the old school and remember the days of Hyder and Bazemore. I don’t go back as far as you but the program at Valdosta was well known to us northerners as far back as I can remember.

57Cat

August 23rd, 2013
3:17 pm

Sportsnut: I should have known better. Around here we think “Lowndes” first when we see LHS. Shoulda known you were referring to your Cats. Look forward to the coming year on the blog. Best of luck to Lovejoy.

bksmith14

August 23rd, 2013
5:49 pm

Black&Gold24…we measure success on region titles and state titles..so if we get knocked out in rd 1 or rd 4…we got knocked out of playoffs. We just look at it diff man..thats all. I respect the way you look at it..you have that right as a fan. We have beat you guys every year propst has been there excpect for one time and yes you guys have went further in the playoffs over the last few years but still got knocked out just as we have. Lowndes and Camden made the North and everyone else change the way they do football bc they realized if they didn’t then they were going to be left in the dust

As for td club paying daddies at Lowndes…I don’t think that is going on with our qb situation.. coach mac is goin to play the best option we have behind center

Camden74

August 23rd, 2013
7:29 pm

57CAT…..Great to see you back for another year of Head Peeling GHSF. Sorry to hear about you guys starting QB. But, as much as it pains me to say it (in my best sympathetic voice), you will get no mercy from Camden! Good luck in every game, except against Camden! RELEASE the CATS, that’s the, CAMDEN CATS! :-D

Camden74

August 23rd, 2013
8:34 pm

Sportsnut…..Get it done! That’s one game I’d make the long trip for……Go Camden! :-D

Fred

August 23rd, 2013
10:48 pm

We may have lost 21 starters but don’t count us out. Our guys got playing time last year and have a winning tradition from JV and 9th grade championships. I can’t speak for the other Gwinnett teams as I haven’t had time to keep up with them. The first couple of weeks should give us an idea. There are many good programs here.

Fred

August 23rd, 2013
11:04 pm

@Black&Gold24 – The proof is in the numbers? Colquitt is 45-22 in the past 5 years and hasn’t won anything. Yes, they have played some tough teams but so have others. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to play as many throw away games. The Gwinnett teams as a example have 8 region games leaving 2 open dates. Last year Grayson played McEachern in the Corky Kell and Miami Central, one of the top ranked teams in the nation. There’s not a lot more we can do than that. Over the same 5 year period we are 60-8 with 4 region championships and a state title. I’m not saying Colquitt isn’t a good team – far from that. I just wonder about all the hype that Rush has generated. I think he has found that GA football is tougher than he thought. I know this year he has said he wants to win the region so he doesn’t have to live and die on the road as much this year.

DOSTA DAWG

August 24th, 2013
4:48 am

@ reggaeman- Before you go crying “POLITICS” about Valdosta’s QB situation, go out to the teams practice or talk to a couple coaches. If Valdosta had a mobile QB who could run and throw, Gillespie would play him!!! So if you know where Valdosta can find a “BLACK, ATHLETIC QB”, who can RUN and THROW, I would suggest you inform the coaching staff ASAP!!!!

Also, other than Parrish (Brooks County) – Choice(TCC), who else in South, Ga. has a “ATHLETIC BLACK QB who can RUN-THROW??????

AVikingFan

August 24th, 2013
9:38 am

Howdy friends! Last night was a good start for another season. Today’s games will punctuate it. Biggest surprise to me last night was the shellacking handed to Newnan. Coffee and Brooks County made some great adjustments and “came back” to win good games. Our region’s (1-AAAAAA) last place team from a year ago took a big belly punch last night when Brunswick got steamrolled. That program has fallen quite a ways since playing for the state title in 1999.

Fred, what do you think about Grayson’s chances this year? I suppose we will all know more about that after today! I gotta pull against your Rams today, but I doubt that will affect the outcome a whole lot!

Camden1902

August 24th, 2013
6:49 pm

Watching the Camden NG game. If there is a record for penalties in the state, I think Camden will get it tonight. They have beaten themselves out of three possessions in the first half. Unfortunately, losing Brice Ramsey real hurt. Their QB is ok, but there is a big gap in almost every category. I think Camden will do okay this season, but they will lose tonight. We will see how much they improve throughout the year. Discipline + QB gaps – Big Problems for Camden this year……

reggaeman

August 24th, 2013
7:00 pm

@ Dosta Dawg I don’t want to hear that bull, our mobile quarterbacks never get a fair chance to compete because they get move to another position and Coach G calls them in his office and tell them how many qbs ahead of them so they move to another position to play. Why not let them all compete on the field first, no he rather go with the qb who parents got the money like he did with Stephenson n Wilkes. Marsh who starting at corner was going to quit but his Dad encourage him not to. Our freshman tight end is the other kid Coach G convince to change positions. This coach wants a pocket qb, he claim he don’t want a back yard qb, what an insult. Don’t this jackass see how the game changing to qbs who can extend plays with their feet. Lowndes won three rings with mobile qbs and our last two apperances came with Gatlin and Hatten. VSU got three championships with qbs who can run. I can care less about race, I just want to win and I want a fair chance at that qb position, don’t move our black kids just to make room for the rich parents kids.

Camden1902

August 24th, 2013
7:27 pm

Wow, the Camden game is brutal. I knew it was going to be a tough year, but I really hoped they would put up a better showing than this. Their QB can’t throw the ball…at all….sigh

AVikingFan

August 24th, 2013
7:37 pm

Todd Holcomb – Please remind everyone about the AJC’s longstanding policy against racial remarks in these blogs. This simply is not the forum for the comments such as those posted at 7:00 on August 24.

Camden1902

August 24th, 2013
7:56 pm

43-14 Final. NG QB is really good (coaches son I think.) Camden didn’t touch him the whole game. Long long long way to go for Camden. Hopefully they will learn from this. The penalties have got to stop. It was horrible. The absolute worst I have seen them play in the last 10 years, hands down. They have a one dimensional attack. If that doesn’t change, they will be lucky to go .500 this year.

Camden1902

August 24th, 2013
7:56 pm

oops, 34-14, my bad.

Gamer

August 24th, 2013
7:57 pm

Look at the Athletes—– not color.

AVikingFan

August 24th, 2013
8:05 pm

Colquitt County and NGHS are two GOOD teams! If Norcross is better than those two, mannnnn, we’ve got some good teams in GHSF this year!

Camden1902

August 24th, 2013
8:16 pm

I think Norcross will be real good this year. They are getting tore up right now by Washington (FL) but I think most teams in the country would get tore up by that team. Fastest team I have seen in a long time. Colquitt looked good today. It will be an interesting season. I just looked at Lowndes schedule. Theya re not really playing anybody tough outside the region. Other than NG, Camden didn’t either. We have to start going out of the comfort zone a little. Camden used to (Miami Central, ST Thomas Aguinas, Hoover, etc.)

Camden1902

August 24th, 2013
8:17 pm

We will find out soon if Norcross is better than North Gwinnett. Norcross will need to shut down North Gwinnett’s QB. Tough order to do.

CEM

August 24th, 2013
8:37 pm

Right now, Norcross is embarrassing themselves and the state of Georgia. Coach Maloof simply didn’t have them ready to play, and had no visible plan on either side of the ball. You have to come up with specific ways to harass and disrupt a quarterback like Washington’s, and throw a variety of looks at him and his offensive line. Their fundamentals were also lousy and oddly enough, looked uninspired even though the game was nationally televised. Even the lack of penalties in this case was a sign of Norcross’s lack of aggressiveness. I’m not a Norcross fan OR basher, but – especially now after a blocked punt returned for a score by Washington – Blue Devils fans should be extremely disappointed in their team’s showing tonight.