Towers, other most improved teams emerging

The 2013 season is only a month old, but that’s long enough to see that several Georgia teams are much better than they were last season.

Today, GHSF Daily spotlights some teams that have made giant leaps.

We also use the Maxwell Ratings to provide an objective measure of teams’ improvement. They show the 10 most improved in each classification.

It doesn’t take a computer scientist to realize the team that is most improved. That would almost certainly be Towers, a DeKalb County school that is 4-0 in 2013 after an 0-10 finish in 2012.

Compare scores from 2012 to 2013:

Maynard Jackson: Lost 31-4. Won 13-0.

South Atlanta: Lost 56-0. Won 44-0.

Clarkston: Lost 34-6. Won 26-7.

Douglass: Lost 14-0. Won 32-0.

In the charts below, the IMP column is an estimate of how many points a team is improved over 2012. For example, Rockdale County might be considered a toss-up in a game against an opponent that would’ve beaten the Bulldogs by 26 points in 2012.

The “rank” columns show how the teams were ranked in their classifications in 2012 and 2013. For example, Dacula is currently rated the No. 20 team in Class AAAAAA. In 2012, Dacula was rated No. 39.

For a breakdown of all 412 teams in the state and their level of improvement, or regression, see this story.

Class AAAAAA

Peachtree Ridge has matched its 2012 win total with a 4-0 start, burying the memory of last season’s losing record, the program’s first since 2004. Coach Mark Fleetwood, in his third season, has things turned around with a special senior class that includes five certain Division I signees, according to 247Sports. They are RB Jordan Ellis (committed to Virginia), OL Orlando Brown (Tennessee), DB Nick Glass (Miami, Ole Miss lead), WR Myron Burton (Vanderbilt leads) and LB Dru Moody (Jacksonville State leads).

Team

2012

W-L

Rank

2013

W-L

Rank

IMP

Rockdale County

3-8

59

3-1

48

26.51

Westlake

0-10

55

3-2

34

25.78

Luella

2-8

60

2-2

55

24.60

North Forsyth

3-7

50

4-0

28

22.40

Pebblebrook

0-10

57

2-2

52

19.56

Peachtree Ridge

4-6

30

4-0

7

18.93

Alcovy

4-7

56

3-1

51

18.46

Tift County

2-8

48

3-1

30

17.73

Dacula

1-9

39

2-2

20

16.90

Cherokee

1-9

53

2-2

40

16.27

Class AAAAA

Give new coach Olten Downs some credit for making bold moves at Creekside, which has a good shot at its first 10-0 season since 2006, when Eric Berry was the quarterback. Younger brothers Evan and Elliott Berry are leaders on this team. Downs moved Evan from quarterback to strong safety and multiple positions on offense. New starting quarterback Felix Harper threw five TD passes against Forest Park last week. Downs also moved Elliott Berry to outside linebacker from defensive end. “Offensively and defensively we are extremely multiple, which allows us to take advantage of our skill sets,” Downs said. Creekside is 4-0 after starting 2-2 in 2012.

Team

2012

W-L

Rank

2013

W-L

Rank

IMP

Forest Park

0-10

74

1-3

67

25.59

New Manchester

2-8

58

4-1

26

24.15

Houston County

3-7

52

2-1

28

18.88

Evans

3-7

56

2-1

42

18.30

Lakeside (Evans)

5-6

42

2-1

22

16.41

Paulding County

1-9

62

1-4

52

16.30

Starr’s Mill

3-7

54

2-2

41

15.38

North Springs

0-10

75

1-2

75

15.25

Creekside

7-4

25

4-0

10

15.19

Warner Robins

9-3

22

3-0

8

14.40

Class AAAA

Raekwon McMillan and Nick Chubb are five-star recruits who rank 1-2 on GHSF Daily’s Player of the Year Watch. Neither has won a playoff game in their high school careers. Their teams – Liberty County for McMillan and Cedartown for Chubb – are 4-0 after finishing 6-4 in 2012. Both are more than two touchdowns better than in 2012.

Team

2012

W-L

Rank

2013

W-L

Rank

IMP

Madison County

1-9

72

2-2

59

23.77

Hephzibah

0-10

77

1-3

76

23.10

Columbus

0-10

75

1-2

65

22.97

Alexander

2-8

64

2-1

36

21.69

Statesboro

8-3

26

4-0

5

20.46

Eagle’s Landing

1-9

58

3-1

23

19.79

Carrollton

8-4

5

3-0

2

18.05

Cedartown

6-4

38

4-0

12

17.09

Liberty County

6-4

51

4-0

27

16.44

Howard

0-10

74

1-2

71

16.16

Class AAA

Jefferson County’s 4-7 finish in 2012 was the school’s worst in 10 years. His team now 4-0, coach J.B. Arnold says the biggest difference is mental. He admits that his players and staff weren’t ready to move from Class AA to AAA last season and underestimated step up. “I think we played eight teams that were ranked in the Top 10 at one point or another,” Arnold told GHSF Daily. “As coaches, you’ve got to figure out how to do that week to week. We were used to having that patsy on the schedule where we could take a break.” Jefferson County has avenged losses to Fitzgerald, Baldwin and Evans.

Team

2012

W-L

Rank

2013

W-L

Rank

IMP

Towers

0-10

59

4-0

25

42.88

Jefferson County

4-7

20

4-0

7

22.22

Henry County

1-9

52

0-4

31

19.20

West Hall

2-8

51

3-1

34

17.30

Hart County

6-6

16

3-0

9

16.60

Central (Carrollton)

5-6

35

4-1

21

16.19

Douglass

1-9

56

1-3

49

15.63

East Jackson

0-10

58

1-3

56

13.71

B.E.S.T. Academy

3-7

46

2-1

35

13.66

Buford

14-1

1

3-0

1

12.58

Class AA

Lovett remained ranked last season through a 2-4 start and a four-game losing streak and validated that faith by making the quarterfinals. The excuse was that the four losses were against ranked teams from higher classes. The Lions aren’t making excuses this time, and it’s state finals or bust. It’s unlikely that any Georgia team has ever beaten four consecutive ranked teams from higher classes to open a season as Lovett has just done.

Team

2012

W-L

Rank

2013

W-L

Rank

IMP

Dublin

2-8

50

2-2

24

31.80

Monticello

2-8

53

2-1

34

28.95

Metter

2-8

38

3-1

22

24.15

Pelham

1-9

46

3-1

31

22.57

Dade County

3-7

45

2-2

30

22.52

Murray County

0-10

62

1-3

59

21.55

Harlem

2-8

57

4-0

49

14.01

Westside (Augusta)

5-6

44

3-1

37

18.28

Lovett

8-5

7

4-0

1

17.84

Bryan County

3-7

30

4-0

20

16.29

Class A

When Landmark Christian struggled to beat Mount Paran Christian 14-7 two weeks ago, Landmark coach Wayne Brantley didn’t complain about how his team played. Instead, he said that Mount Paran – despite its 3-7 record in 2012 – could run the table and win its region. The coach looked pretty smart last week when Mount Paran bowled over previously unbeaten Trion 31-12.

Team

2012

W-L

Rank

2013

W-L

Rank

IMP

Montgomery County

0-10

70

0-4

64

19.28

Seminole County

9-3

22

4-0

3

17.86

Mount Paran Christian

3-7

39

3-1

12

17.41

Calhoun County

1-9

62

1-3

53

15.90

Hawkinsville

4-6

43

2-1

18

15.77

Charlton County

5-6

36

2-2

15

14.64

Hebron Christian

1-9

71

2-1

67

14.62

Clinch County

4-6

38

1-3

16

14.01

Fellowship Christian

2-8

63

3-1

56

13.51

Pace Academy

3-7

42

3-1

23

13.44

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10 comments Add your comment

DawgFan

September 24th, 2013
10:53 am

I wish who ever wrote this knew what they were talking about. Cedartown and Nick Chubb went to the playoffs in 2011 when he was a sophomore. They got beat by Stephens Co in the first round.

High 5

September 24th, 2013
5:58 pm

Kudos to Coach Holloway and Staff at Towers High! To anyone that saw him coach at Bethune Middle School this should not come as a shock because you would know that his teams come prepared and ready to play hard!!!

Sportsnut

September 24th, 2013
8:17 pm

4 of the top 10 most improved teams are from regions 2 and 3. That is what I have been saying. No talk of us being the softest region this season.

Todd Holcomb

September 24th, 2013
8:20 pm

DF – Correct. Chubb has played in one playoff game, McMillan none. It has been written that neither had won a playoff game, and that was the source of confusion.

CoffeeC100

September 24th, 2013
8:40 pm

What is obvious about SOME of the teams is just that. Obvious to most anyone following Georgia high school football. But… The fast majority of this exercise in misleading math is hogwash.

Henry County who was 1-9 last year and is 0-4 this year, and, lost its first four games last year by a combined score of 35-95 compared to losing it’s first four games this year by a combined score of 61-161, to the same team’s is the third most improved in AAA? What does that mean?

And. Montgomery County is the most improved in A when they were 0-10 last year and have jumped out 0-4 this year?

Compare the teams at the end of the year.

wowJUSTwow

September 25th, 2013
4:12 pm

@ Todd Holcomb

Tift record this year is 3-1

wowJUSTwow

September 25th, 2013
4:15 pm

@ Todd Holcomb

And Tift’s last years record is wrong as well LOL Will the % show Tift more love ????

hamilton

September 26th, 2013
6:32 am

Todd, how is the IMP# calculated? Base on last years scores, Towers is averaging 58.25 pts/game better if you simply total the scores.

Suwanee 0wns

September 26th, 2013
10:20 pm

I am not sure how one could tell that Buford improved, other than watching them play. Maybe another undefeated season with a State Championship for the Buford Wolves. Bad news for everyone if Buford has gotten even better.

GnG

September 27th, 2013
1:46 am

Ask Gainesville if the Green and Gold got better!