By David Purdum / For the AJC
The SEC West has nothing on Region 3-AAAA’s Division A.
Three of the four teams in Region 3-AAAA Division A are undefeated, with the fourth, South Effingham, sitting at 3-2. No. 5 Wayne County, No. 7 Statesboro and unranked Liberty County are all 5-0.
The fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets haven’t reached the playoffs since 2002 and are off to their first 5-0 start in 20 years. It’s a process that began in 2010, with the arrival of coach Jody Grooms.
Wayne County went 6-36 the four seasons prior to Grooms’ arrival. The Jackets went 5-5 in Grooms’ first season, but the foundation was established and a vision of what was possible was planted in the heads of talented freshmen class.
Two Wayne County players, Tre Jackson and T.Y. McGill, signed to play Division I football off that team. Jackson is now an all-conference offensive lineman at Florida State, who is on the Lombardi Watch List. McGill is an all-conference defensive tackle at North Carolina State.
“We had two kids sign with Division I schools that season,” said Grooms. “Our kids saw that it and understood that they could use athletics as a vehicle to move forward.”
More than two Yellow Jackets off this season’s team will be headed to the next level. This team is oozing talent.
Quarterback Malique Jackson, who is completing 65 percent of his attempts, is committed to Florida State. Defensive lineman Jeremy Patterson, who has seven sacks in the first five games, is being recruited by Wisconsin, Florida and many others. Receiver Krenwick Sanders, who has 11 touchdowns and is averaging more than 18 yards per catch, is being recruited by Florida State, South Carolina and Georgia, among others. And leading tackler, linebacker Taylor Heflin, is committed to Navy.
Wayne County hosts Burke County on Friday, before beginning Division A play next week.
Mary Persons: 5-0
Liberty County 5-0
Wayne County 5-0
Monroe Area 5-0
Sandy Creek 4-0
Washington (Atlanta) 4-0
Northwest Whitfield 4-0
North Clayton 0-5
Heritage (Ringgold) 0-4
Fayette County 0-4