Poll Talk: Lamar County is new No. 1 in AA

Highlights/observations of the latest rankings –

- North Gwinnett’s victory last week, over Norcross, was the first by a No. 1 team in the highest class this season. That’s really just two losses (Norcross, Colquitt County), although Lovejoy was the highest-ranked team on the schedule the week before at No. 2 when the Wildcats lost to Colquitt County.

- Norcross, nationally ranked in preseason, is unranked in September, at 1-2.

- Four teams from Region 1 are ranked in AAAAAA. None is Lowndes.

- M.L. King, formerly No. 4 in AAAAA, is out of the rankings after losing to Mays. Creekside joins the Top 10. Creekside is very talented with the Berry twins and others, but from a human-interest perspective, it’s nice to see the Seminoles start 3-0 (avenging two 2012 losses) in the wake of the tragic death of De’Antre Turman before the opener. Kudos to first-year coach Olten Downs, who did great work at Riverdale before coming to Creekside.

-Marist is out of the Top 10 after the overtime loss to Lovett. Statesboro took Marist’s place.

-Lamar County is the new No. 1 team in AA after Calhoun’s loss to Carrollton. Lamar is the team that hired away former Tucker coach Franklin Stephens after the 2011 state title. It’s also the team with three Georgia Tech-committed players in Qua Searcy, Lance Austin and Lawrence Austin.

-Lots of teams ranked for the first time in a while. They include Coffee (2008), Creekside (2007), Macon County (2006) and Pace Academy (first ranking ever).

Some big games this week –

McEachern at Marietta

Mill Creek at Peachtree Ridge

Tift County at Thomas County Central

Burke County at Statesboro

St. Pius at Lovett

Vidalia at Benedictine

Class AAAAAA

1. (1) North Gwinnett (3-0)

2. (2) McEachern (3-0)

3. (3) Colquitt County (3-1)

4. (4) Lovejoy (2-1)

5. (7) Mill Creek (3-0)

6. (8) Camden County (3-1)

7. (9) Peachtree Ridge (3-0)

8. (NR) Valdosta (3-0)

9. (NR) Hillgrove (3-0)

10. (NR) Coffee (3-0)

Class AAAAA

1. (1) Tucker (3-0)

2. (2) Stephenson (3-0)

3. (3) Northside-Warner Robins (3-0)

4. (5) Kell (3-0)

5. (6) Gainesville (2-1)

6. (7) Thomas County Central (3-1)

7. (8) Allatoona (3-0)

8. (9) Warner Robins (2-0)

9. (10) Ware County (2-1)

10. (NR) Creekside (3-0)

Class AAAA

1. (1) Sandy Creek (2-0-1)

2. (2) Carrollton (3-0)

3. (4) Stockbridge (3-0)

4. (6) Monroe Area (3-0)

5. (7) Griffin (3-0)

6. (3) Burke County (1-1)

7. (8) Wayne County (3-0)

8. (9) Mary Persons (3-0)

9. (NR) Statesboro (3-0)

10. (10) Westside-Macon (2-1)

Class AAA

1. (1) Buford (3-0)

2. (2) St. Pius (3-0)

3. (3) Cartersville (3-0)

4. (6) Washington County (3-0)

5. (5) North Hall (3-0)

6. (4) Carver-Columbus (2-1)

7. (7) Callaway (2-0)

8. (8) Jefferson County (3-0)

9. (9) Hart County (3-0)

10. (10) North Oconee (1-1)

Class AA

1. (2) Lamar County (3-0)

2. (5) Lovett (3-0)

3. (4) Greater Atlanta Christian (4-0)

4. (3) Jefferson (2-1)

5. (6) Washington-Wilkes (3-0)

6. (1) Calhoun (2-1)

7. (7) Vidalia (3-0)

8. (8) Brooks County (2-1)

9. (9) Benedictine (3-0)

10. (NR) Macon County (2-0)

Class A

1. (1) Eagle’s Landing Christian (3-0)

2. (2) Landmark Christian (4-0)

3. (3) Lincoln County (1-1)

4. (4) Aquinas (2-0)

5. (5) Savannah Christian (1-0-1)

6. (6) George Walton Academy (2-1)

7. (7) Prince Avenue Christian (2-1)

8. (8) Seminole County (3-0)

9. (NR) Irwin County (2-0-1)

10. (NR) Pace Academy (3-0)

69 comments Add your comment

Gwinnett Fan

September 15th, 2013
3:34 pm

Can we finally recognize North for what they are? They are a good team that is very well coached. Coach Sphire does a fantastic job and is one of the best in the state. Coach Andrews is a nice replacement for Moe Dixon as defensive coordinator.

It think it is time to give them some proper respect around the statre. They win year in and year out with less talented players. They may not win state but are a tough out year after year. Maybe this year will be the year they get it done.

57Cat

September 15th, 2013
4:03 pm

Gwinnett Fan – Those of us Region 1 have great respect for the brand of football being played in Gwinnett now, especially at North Gwinnett, Norcross, and (recently) Grayson.

BcS2010

September 15th, 2013
6:41 pm

Mlk should still be ranked!!! There is not 10 teams better than Mlk and they should still be ranked!

Todd Holcomb

September 15th, 2013
6:58 pm

There might not be 10 better teams than MLK in AAAAA, but you must be ranked based on how you play. MLK lost to an unranked team (Mays) that lost to another unranked team (Carver) that got blown out by another unranked team (Alexander) that lost to another unranked team (McIntosh). On that criteria, McIntosh (3-0) should be ranked ahead of MLK.

Reeze

September 15th, 2013
7:05 pm

BcS2010………That may be true , we’ll have to see how Mays plays out

Reeze

September 15th, 2013
7:18 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86GwUGIcK_M Check out the big hit from the Northside /Westside game.

Jefferson

September 15th, 2013
7:26 pm

Get your butt kicked in the regular season every 4.5 years or so and where does the love go? Nothing has changed.

Swamp Lizard

September 15th, 2013
7:26 pm

@ Todd Holcomb ….. Class A Top 10 ….. I’d swap #3 Lincoln Co & #8 Seminole Co. Who has Lincoln Co beat? ….. no “quality” wins, didn’t drop a spot after a loss last week and living on just “name”. Seminole Co has two “quality” wins over Early Co & Clinch Co.
I know I give you “static” sometimes, but I appreciate the coverage yourself & staff give to all of us high school football junkies …. THANKS

Trojan '85

September 15th, 2013
8:18 pm

@Todd Holcombe, wow thats pretty deep!

Trojan '85

September 15th, 2013
8:22 pm

@All of AA football teams. Don’t let Friday night game against Carrollton fool you into thinking Calhoun won’t be making another deep run in the playoffs. I’m just saying!

WildHawg2012

September 15th, 2013
8:32 pm

congrats to Coffee and Valdosta for breaking into the top ten. Its a lot of football to be played and good luck the rest of the season

Todd Holcomb

September 15th, 2013
8:37 pm

Lizard – All of Class A is pretty tight after ELCA, so the difference between #1 and #8 is negligible. You make a good point about quality wins. You start with a belief (Lincoln County > Seminole County) and leave it until evidence to the contrary arrives. Don’t believe that losing to Washington-Wilkes is evidence enough. But we’ll see. Got a lot of respect for Seminole.

Trojan – I haven’t thrown in the towel on Calhoun.

rockdale observer

September 15th, 2013
8:54 pm

If Rockdale beats Langston Hughes this week to move to 4-0 (which they lost in blowouts to the same 4 teams last year), will that be enough to get them ranked? Langston Hughes was #1 in their region last year.

Todd Holcomb

September 15th, 2013
9:57 pm

Rockdale’s turnaround has been pretty amazing. They’ve beaten teams that beat them 28-7, 34-7 and 42-0 last season. Great effort by Venson Elder, who inherited a tough situation last season. If they beat Hughes (which frankly I don’t expect), they’d have to be taken seriously. But being honest, that win wouldn’t be enough to make Rockdale a top 10 team in AAAAAA. You’d probably have to beat Lovejoy to convince people of that.

FarTrain

September 15th, 2013
10:41 pm

WHAT? No Camden or Lowndes in 6A? Any team that scores 91 and 87 points has to be ranked! That’s such an injustice! Now they’re wishing they had hit 100. (Any and all sarcasm intended)

Sportsnut

September 15th, 2013
11:02 pm

With 1/3 of the season in the books, I would like to take this time to point out that Regions 2 and 3 are the weakest regions in AAAAAA. They should not be taken seriously. They are not a threat. Everyone knows that aside from Lovejoy, there is nothing else.

Lovejoy being taken to the wire by Alpharetta indicates that Lovejoy is not what they were. There is no possibility that Alpharetta could be a good football team. Or is there?

One more week of non region play for regions 2 and 3 and then they again become obscure. Banished to the wastelands to be used as stepping stones for the elite as they march on in their quest to reach their final destination, The Dome.

Sleep well, Regions 2 and 3.
Your participation was greatly appreciated.

Marietta fan

September 15th, 2013
11:09 pm

Of course Marietta dropped out after losing a tough one to Hillgrove. We can get back on the right track this week with an upset of 2nd ranked Mceachern. It doesn’t matter the records, Marietta Mceachern always comes down to the end. In terms of the rankings this week, Hillgrove didn’t impress me and Coffee and Valdosta could validate themselves better to me in a few weeks when region play starts for them. I know Valdosta is at Camden but I’m not sure who Coffee has. I know Coffee has a great win over Burke County and Valdosta over Brooks County. We’ll see what happens

Marietta fan

September 15th, 2013
11:20 pm

Sportsnut… region 2 and 3 might be weak but Newton beat Lowndes and Langston Hughes beat Wheeler so I wouldn’t sleep on those regions totally. I haven’t seen the playoff brackets but I believe we (region 4) would play region 2 in the first round, so I would guess you would not want to be 4th in our region since Lovejoy is still strong and has championship game experience

Sportsnut

September 16th, 2013
12:09 am

@ Marietta Fan == I was just pointing out what the overall perception around the state is in regards to those two regions. This was the opinion last season and it is today. Even the prognosticators agree with the average AAAAAA fan, regardless of which team they follow.

We know a year can make a difference. Look at region 8. All that traditional power but not as strong as many would have thought. Region 1 is doing it’s thing in non region games but you know the fun is just about to start for them. Their W/L record sits at 18-5. That is the best in the class.

You guy’s in region 4 are right behind them at 17-8, followed by region 5 at 15-9, and region 2 at 11-8. All the other regions are at .500 or below. Regions 6 and 7 are both .500 at 12-12 and 13-13, respectively. Region 3 is one game under at 9-10-1 and region 8 is 11-15.

And yes, region 2 does open with region 4 this year. Should be fun.

HSFB Follower

September 16th, 2013
12:19 am

Coffee is well improved but it’s going to be hard to expect them to remain in the Top 10 with the region skid they have coming up but Pruitt has those guys playing some good football.

NG Dawg

September 16th, 2013
6:13 am

Give small school (Class A) some credit. In their pre-season scrimmage, they beat a Class AA school. Then in their regular season they have beaten another Class AA school as well as a Class AAAA school along with beating their only Class A opponent so far. They are 3-0 currently.

NG Dawg

September 16th, 2013
6:14 am

Meaning small school………TRION in my above comment!!!! SORRY!

Northside Dawg

September 16th, 2013
7:50 am

I hope Northside works on some pass defense during this bye week because Westside sure lit them up.

Trojan94

September 16th, 2013
9:47 am

I think once they get there QB issue settled Calhoun offense will explode. Now by me saying that that’s what it looked like to me as a fan, they may not have an issue maybe fields got injured or something what ever the case was the backup came in and did little better job and looked to me to be in control of there offense

Jefferson

September 16th, 2013
9:53 am

Hats off to you T94, ya’ll hung the points, Nothing has changed at Calhoun other than got beat by a good team. AA football is still the same.

Sportsnut

September 16th, 2013
10:15 am

Score Atlanta’s new Top Ten : 1) North Gwinnett
2) Mceachern
3) Colquitt County
4) Peachtree Ridge
5) Mill Creek
6) Valdosta
7) Hillgrove
8) Coffee
9) Norcross
10) Lovejoy

This is our 2nd highest ranking from Score Atlanta. We were once #9.

Sportsnut

September 16th, 2013
10:17 am

The smile is because I think they belong and am glad to see them get the pub.

CoffeeC100

September 16th, 2013
12:08 pm

Thanks Sportsnut. The staff and players have worked hard to get where they are. Get ready for teeth, hair and eyeballs. Region 1 play is about to start.

Trojan94

September 16th, 2013
12:27 pm

@Jefferson You guys still have an outstanding program who will be in the mix for another state title in December good luck to Calhoun the rest of the way!

Jefferson

September 16th, 2013
1:15 pm

Thanks T94, the Carrollton gig is to die for. Took care of business early and often.

Trojan4Life

September 16th, 2013
4:12 pm

Well I represent the Brooks and I went and watched Calhoun they really gotta get things together before the playoffs if the want to go deep with a first year starter @Jefferson overall you guys played a good game against a great Carrollton team honestly I feel you guys won’t get tested again until the post season and that worrys me but hey wish you guys luck….

david

September 16th, 2013
5:55 pm

better watch out for Fellowship at Class A

Sportsnut

September 16th, 2013
8:07 pm

@ CoffeeC100 == I like Coffee for the region champ. I think it will be either them or Camden. I see Archer, Mill Creek and Hillgrove as possible top 10 teams.
It is hard for me to see some of these teams in it with the easy non region schedules they play. Many teams are not what they were and are being looked at because of their past mainly. Each year, talent levels change and this is not only happening at the upper echelon but the lower ranks as well.

I know we are not what we were the previous 3 seasons but we have replaced talent with young talent. The difference being maturity and experience. Even though many of our young players got significant playing time last season, their maturity to handle big games and situations is not yet there.

Congrats on your progress. I know it has been a long time coming and good luck the rest of the way.

WildHawg2012

September 16th, 2013
9:51 pm

@sportsnut= Slow your roll their buddy. I feel good for Coffee too but I refuse to them the region title. The title runs threw Camden Co until someone takes their crown (which we plan to) They still have a lot to prove in this region but you are a smart guy so u know but they do look better this year

lovettlions

September 16th, 2013
10:33 pm

How about those lions shooting up to a high level Marist program and taking them down? I’m proud of our boys. Hopefully we can keep up the winning spirit against our seemingly impossible schedule (SPX, WACO, Ft. Payne, GAC, and Westminster [rivalry game that's always close], then hopefully go deep into December again. What do y’all think?

Camden74

September 16th, 2013
10:42 pm

Score Atlanta has it right, right? :-)

Suwanee 0wns

September 17th, 2013
1:20 am

The good and bad about NG v Norcross.

The bad.
1) NG defense got a slow start. NG outstanding DC – Mo Dixon – went to Byrnes of SC. Some folks think NG improved by getting Andrews from Grayson. But they run different systems, and the NG system is critical to their success. Andrews seems to be making the transition from keeping the play in front of the defense to an “attacking defense”. But the early part of this game showed the problems that can result without a 100% commitment to the NG system. Andrews is awesome, and he will get there. Expect NG to create turnovers against every opponent.

2) It looked as though NG was making a massive improvement by getting CJ Legget as a running back. He is not a power runner, and his speed is suspect. On one screen play he broke through and was wide open for a TD but a Norcross DB ran him down FROM BEHIND. I would not say that the NG running attack is an improvement from the past.

3) The team is a bit undersized compared to some Georgia teams. But it looks like the coaches have given the players techniques and strategies to make up the difference. Some of the players have plenty of size and speed, just not as many big and fast players as Camden, Mill Creek, or Lovejoy.

The Good
1) The defense is still very Stout. Both North DEs are outstanding HS players. Dante Sawyer is an incredible athlete who could play any position (and has) but he will be a top recruit at DE. Very astute coaching to move Dante Sawyer to DE and give him the best possible chance to succeed at the next level.

2) Common wisdom seems to be that North can be stopped by putting pressure on the QB. Norcross came at him play after play. Hayden Sphire stood in and delivered accurate passes despite getting pounded. Somehow it is not surprising that a “coach’s kid” would not be intimidated by pressure. Blitzes and zone rushes are not going to work against the 2013 NG team. Sphire will make the read, deliver the ball where it does the most damage, and take the hit.

3) North has 3 or 4 legitimate reliable receivers this year instead of 1 or 2. Nate Brown ia probably a legitimate All-State receiver. Caleb Scott is the son of an NFL player and continues to be a reliable receiver. In addition North has TE, WR, slots and backs who can be expected to catch the ball reliably. This is NOT typical for a HS team to have so many passing targets.

Very few teams have enough DB’s to cover the North receivers, and pressuring the QB is not a substitute. Bob Sphire developed his “up tempo” offense complete independently of the college and pro teams. It is adpated for the skills of High School players. It is fun to watch and wears out a defense. The college version leads the Ducks to run a play every 17 seconds. Denver wore out the strong Raven defense and the up tempo spread led Manning to tie the NFL record for 7 TD passes in a game. It is a new era in football strategy.

Personally, I think the offense would have to sputter for several sets against a ball control team in order for North to lose a game. There are plenty of teams out there that might do it, but this team is still fun to watch, and they will be a contender in every game.

Colquitt Fan

September 17th, 2013
8:17 am

Jamiyus Pittman came out of surgery about 11pm last night and did great. Doctor said expect him back in 6-8 weeks. Couldnt he happier for Jamiyus. Dr said he couldnt knock him and said he gave him enough medicine to knock out a horse but realized he was dealing with an elephant lol

Suwanee 0wns

September 17th, 2013
8:43 am

Thank you for keeping us informed, Colquitt Fan. I hate to see injuries happen to any player, and Jamiyus has so much promise. Fortunately with teenage boys, bones heal very quickly. He probably still has his growth plates open. That is fantastic to hear that Jamiyus will recover quickly.

CoffeeC100

September 17th, 2013
8:58 am

Good news on Pittman. Hope is pain is relieved even though they couldn’t KO him. Should have shot him with an elephant TQ.

CoffeeC100

September 17th, 2013
9:17 am

@ Sportsnut. Thanks for the glowing review. But region 1 is region 1. There is so much parity this year. Who knows on taking the region. Just a home field advantage after the region schedule will be fantastic.

Coffee is soooo young this year. We are starting 9 Frosh and sophomores. Talking about experience though, some of them are looking as good as the older players after getting some experience against three good teams so far this year.. We should stand shoulder to shoulder with Colquitt on receivers and the Trojan DB’s got some valuable experience against the two D1 guys at Burke last week. We got burned early but once the Coffee safeties figured out the up men could minimize Donquell Green, they quit inching up and held their own the rest of the night.

And who know about Tift this year? We get to find out first.

We can’t rest against Mundys Mill this Friday.

Let’s play some football!

CoffeeC100

September 17th, 2013
9:26 am

To Camden and Lowndes posters – I bet the Score Atlanta ranking are posted all over you locker rooms.

I would not want to be in Valdostas or especially Hardaways shoes. They are both going to be out to prove to the world in their next games.

Any bets on Lowndes going for another top ten in lopsided scores this weekend?

Suwanee 0wns

September 17th, 2013
9:48 am

@CoffeeC100. I hate to spoil your touching bonding moment with SportsNut, but the smiley face came purely as a result of typing the number “8″ next to the close parenthesis “)”. There are several such keyboard combinations that result in special characters ;)

Dee Oatis

September 17th, 2013
10:33 am

Coach Stephens is proof that great coaching can take what otherwise would be marginal teams with less “talent” to their highest potential. It is obvious that he has that “It Factor” that great coaches have to make a team a high performing one. A number of us Stephenson fans often wondered how many state championships he may have won had he coached there, given all the “talent” that school has every year. It is obvious he knows how to build a great TEAM, not a collection of great individuals. Much continued success at Lamar County coach Stephens.

Camden74

September 17th, 2013
10:39 am

The words BIG and FAST doesn’t even go together when speaking of Camden. But, one day, they’ll be a perfect match! That’s the day the CATS will be……….RELEASED!!!! :-D

Sportsnut

September 17th, 2013
10:53 am

@ CoffeeC100 == The smiley face was there because I put it there. I put it there for the reason I said I did. I understand the Region 1 thing. I still have that feeling it will be Coffee’s to lose.
@ 74 == Score Atlanta does not have a clue. We are 10th and you guys are not there, go figure!
@ Dee Oatis == Lamar County was doing fine before Coach Stephens got there.
@ SuwaneeOwns == Or should I call you Mr. Cleo, Sports Advisor and Palm Reader ? Since you know my reason for doing what I did, can you please tell me if we are going to win Friday and by how much? Also, will we(Lovejoy) be playing for the SEC championship at the Dome in December?

Camden74

September 17th, 2013
1:52 pm

Sportsnut……Score ATLANTA, get it? Where’s your poll? :-)

Dekalb Watcher

September 17th, 2013
3:02 pm

@Sportsnut They were building the program back up with Strickland. Don’t think that coach Stephens had an easy time last year at Lamar just because he is a proven Championship coach. Far from it, he only had about 32 players last year, half of what it would of been had coach Strickland still been there. So many players left because of how drastic the program was under Stephens. Things that included exposing those players to the states best in the summer, which included Lovejoy,Camden, and McEachern in his first year, that was something they had not done in Lamar. They now have 50+ on the roster this year, adding much needed depth this year. So even being one of the best coaches in the state means you still don’t have to prove yourself, that’s what he had to do at Lamar last year. Also I think that Black coaches have to prove themselves more so than others, especially in Ga.

Dekalb Watcher

September 17th, 2013
3:05 pm

Still have to prove yourself.^

Dekalb Watcher

September 17th, 2013
3:14 pm

@Sportsnut@Dee Oatis There is a difference between doing fine and excelling. Tucker was not a championship program before Stephens got there, they had been to the Semifinals, but no championships. Stephens to them to the next level, I think that is what Dee Oatis is trying to get at. To you Dee, Tucker has such tremendous community support for there program. You also need a coach to lead you to the championships. Stephenson’s problem has been a mixture of both. Need better community support to bridge the gap because Dekalb hogs all the money. Gartrell could have done a much better job with some of his assistant coaches, as well as his own coaching in the playoffs.