Archive for the ‘6ABlog’ Category

Lowndes? Brookwood? Who won’t make the playoffs?

This week’s Top 10 in Class AAAAAA features an odd fact – There are four teams from Region 1 present, but none of them is Lowndes, the program that has won five of the past Region 1 titles, not to mention three state championships in that time.

If that’s not enough to motivate the Vikings, consider this next slight.

The Maxwell Computer Ratings not only don’t consider Lowndes in Region 1’s top four, but they don’t consider Lowndes the best  ‘’fifth-place’’ team in AAAAAA. (Reminds me of that ESPN commercial when Charlie Steiner ranked Evander Holyfield  the 50th best heavyweight – in Georgia.)

Which of these teams will NOT make the playoffs?

  • Lowndes
  • Coffee
  • Valdosta
  • Brookwood
  • Parkview
  • Archer
  • South Gwinnett
  • Collins Hill
  • Mill Creek
  • Norcross
  • Peachtree Ridge

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Maxwell thinks Collins Hill is better. In Maxwell’s defense, you can’t blame the teacher for taking off points for losing to …

Continue reading Lowndes? Brookwood? Who won’t make the playoffs? »

Topics from Friday: North Gwinnett power … Norcross outage … 87-0? … Archer & Grayson … Room in the Top 10

North Gwinnett became the first No. 1 team in Class AAAAAA to defend it ranking successfully this season with its 36-17 victory over Norcross.

The Bulldogs trailed 14-0 on the road but dominated most of the final three quarters.  Hayden Sphire threw four touchdown passes, all to Nate Brown.

What’s the story with Norcross? Nobody should given up on what is probably the most talented roster in AAAAAA, but it’s hard to figure how a team that returns 16 starters from a 15-0 team can be handled pretty easily twice.

This is a little unlike 2012 Grayson, which returned a similar talent from a 15-0 team last year. Grayson remained a dominant team, except twice when it made multiple turnovers. This Norcross is not close to last season’s form. Not yet.

Other topics that emerged from Friday:

- Should Region 1 teams schedule a Savannah opponent again? Region 1 powerhouses Lowndes and Camden County played smaller Savannah schools in non-region games Friday, and the scores were ugly. …

Continue reading Topics from Friday: North Gwinnett power … Norcross outage … 87-0? … Archer & Grayson … Room in the Top 10 »

Five things to watch this week: North Gwinnett depends #1 ranking

No. 1-ranked North Gwinnett plays at defending champion Norcross on Friday in Class AAAAAA’s spotlight game. Each has won three Region 7 titles since 2006, when Bob Sphire came to North Gwinnett.

The No. 1-ranked team in AAAAAA is 0-2 this season as Norcross and Colquitt County failed to defending their top rankings. Now North Gwinnett gets its shot. For those who follow recruiting, the game features the state’s top two defensive ends in Lorenzo Carter (Norcross) and Dante Sawyer (North Gwinnett). Both are uncommitted.

Five more things to watch this week:

Coffee: Many are calling Coffee under second-year coach Robby Pruitt the sleeper in Region 1. If so, maybe the Trojans can avenge last season’s loss to AAA’s No. 3 team, Burke County, which features wizard QB Donquell Green.

Wheeler: Region 5 seems up for grabs as Lassiter and Walton appear down while Cherokee, Etowah, Milton and Wheeler are 2-0. Let’s see what Wheeler and QB Elijah Staley (448 passing yards, 5 TDs) …

Continue reading Five things to watch this week: North Gwinnett depends #1 ranking »

Colquitt, Lovejoy play a classic; Lowndes plays a dud

No. 4 Colquitt County beat No. 2 Lovejoy in the Class AAAAAA game of the week, but the winner probably meant less than the game itself, the best of the young season.

Colquitt defended a fourth-and-goal pass from its 5-yard line in the final minute to win 17-13 in Moultrie. It meant that the highest-ranked team on the schedule has lost three weeks in a row in AAAAAA – Norcross, Colquitt County and now Lovejoy. No. 1 North Gwinnett was off this weekend but plays preseason No. 1 next.

More things we learned Friday –

Lowndes knows trouble: Newton, a 5-6 team last season that lost its opener to AAAA Eastside, defeated seventh-ranked Lowndes 15-14 on a touchdown pass on the final play of regulation. An extra point then won it. Lowndes has lost three of its last four games dating to last season, all at home. Congrats to new Newton coach Terrance Banks for that special memory.

Norcross hasn’t gone to pieces: The defending state champion Blue Devils came back from their 55-0 loss …

Continue reading Colquitt, Lovejoy play a classic; Lowndes plays a dud »

Five things to watch this weekend: Colquitt-Lovejoy is headliner

Five things to watch in Class AAAAAA this weekend –

Who will win the Colquitt County-Lovejoy game?

  • Colquitt County
  • Lovejoy

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- No. 2 Lovejoy plays at No. 4 Colquitt County in the headliner. Colquitt won last year’s game 14-7 after a scoreless first half. Both went on to make the semifinals or better, each losing to Norcross.  Lovejoy sat three defensive starters because of injuries last week in a 41-12 victory over Mundy’s Mill. They were LB DeMarquis Gates, NT Chris Ellis and LB Randy Anyanwu. Gates, a preseason all-state player who is committed to Ole Miss, would be the most sorely missed this week.

- Norcross’ opening game was a disastrous 55-0 loss to Miami’s Booker T. Washington. Now, the defending state champions travel to Parkview, which should provide a pretty good measure of whether Norcross has fallen a couple of notches, or just had a bad night. Parkview was a quarterfinal team last season that lost 28-14 last week to …

Continue reading Five things to watch this weekend: Colquitt-Lovejoy is headliner »

Why is AAAAAA so hard to predict?

Georgia’s highest classification is as competitive and as unpredictable as it has been at any time in history.

What team is most likely to replace North Gwinnett at No. 1 at some point this season?

  • Colquitt County
  • Lovejoy
  • Lowndes
  • McEachern
  • Norcross
  • North Cobb
  • Peachtree Ridge
  • Nobody. North Gwinnett is here to stay.

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I’m basing that on ‘’lead changes’’ at the top.

This shows the number of times there was a new No. 1 team in the rankings after the preseason poll:

1980-89 – 12

1990-99 – 16

2000-09 – 21

2010-19 – 24*

*Projected. There have been eight in a little over three seasons.

No. 1 teams over the past 25 years:

1989 – Warner Robins, Valdosta

1990 – Valdosta, LaGrange, Valdosta

1991 – Valdosta, LaGrange

1992 – Valdosta

1993 – Valdosta, Dunwoody

1994 – Upson-Lee, SW DeKalb, Colquitt County

1995 – SW DeKalb, Warner Robins, SW DeKalb

1996 – SW DeKalb, Marietta, Brookwood

1997 – …

Continue reading Why is AAAAAA so hard to predict? »

Big winners Friday: North, McEachern, Marietta, Robby Pruitt

Gainesville’s state championship in 2012 removed an unwelcome title for the Red Elephants. They had won more GHSA region titles (27) without a state title than any other program.

Now that distinction now belongs to McEachern, with 15. With a 2-0 start and a top-five state rankings, the Indians are bent on fixing that. They beat No. 8 Lassiter 42-28 on Friday as Taj Griffin rushed for 154 yards and quarterback Ty Clemons rushed for 128. That’s the second straight game each has rushed for more than 100 yards.

McEachern, which started 0-2 last season, is the only Class AAAAAA team that has won its last 10 regular-season games.

Five more things we learned in AAAAAA on Friday:

- No. 1 is a treacherous place – Especially against out-of-state opponents. The preseason No. 1, Norcross, lost to Florida’s Booker T. Washington. On Friday, the next No. 1, Colquitt County, lost to Alabama’s Hoover 24-10. The Packers led 10-3 at halftime but couldn’t hold off Alabama’s reigning …

Continue reading Big winners Friday: North, McEachern, Marietta, Robby Pruitt »

Big tests this week for Colquitt, North Gwinnett, McEachern, Lassiter

Here’s what to look for this weekend in Class AAAAAA –

- The new No. 1-ranked team, Colquitt County, gets its shot on a national stage Friday when the Packers play Hoover, the defending Class 6A champion in Alabama. Both teams are nationally ranked, and both are No. 1 in their own states. Hoover has won two state titles (2009, 2012) since Colquitt coach Rush Propst resigned there in 2007. Propst won five titles at Hoover. Colquitt’s defense was good against Grayson, but the team needs a big game from QB Daniel Mobley to beat Hoover.

- No. 8 Lassiter opens at No. 4 McEachern on Friday as part of a double-header that pits Hillgrove and Walton in the first game. Lassiter has become a Top 10 program for the first time in its history under quarterbacks Hutson Mason and Eddie Printz. But they’re gone, and Lassiter’s current ranking is open to question. Also graduated are star receivers Willie Police, Ryan Jenkins and Juwan Dickey. The Trojans hope Will Anderson, a transfer …

Continue reading Big tests this week for Colquitt, North Gwinnett, McEachern, Lassiter »

Georgia pride: Can Colquitt atone for Norcross in Hoover game?

As Norcross picks up the pieces from its 55-0 loss to Booker T. Washington, the new No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAAAA, Colquitt County, puts Georgia back in the national spotlight on Friday with a game at Hoover of Alabama.

Colquitt and Hoover are the No. 1-ranked teams in the highest classifications of their states, and both are nationally ranked.

Does anyone think that Colquitt County needs to beat Hoover, or keep it close, to salvage Georgia’s reputation?

No one is questioning Georgia’s overall strength as a football state, but if two elite programs get slammed in consecutive weeks, some will doubt the strength of Georgia’s best handful of teams nationwide.

As for Norcross, was the 55-0 score a fluke, or is Norcross just not that good? There’s little question that BTW is one of the nation’s best teams. But can Norcross recover and defend its state title?

Norcross is saying the right things.

‘’We can’t get back time, and we can’t get this game back,’’ …

Continue reading Georgia pride: Can Colquitt atone for Norcross in Hoover game? »

Colquitt County new No. 1 in Class AAAAAA

Two defending state champions and seven other Top 10 teams lost their opening games last week, making for lots of changes in the high school football rankings.

Norcross, ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAA, lost to Booker T. Washington 55-0 in a stunning outcome to a game televised by ESPN. Washington is ranked No. 1 by USA Today, but Norcross had six top-six national rankings of its own. The Blue Devils fell to No. 6 in the AAAAAA rankings.

Colquitt County, a 21-6 winner over Grayson on Saturday in the Corky Kell Classic in the Georgia Dome, took over the to spot. It is the first time the Packers have held a No. 1 ranking  since a 5-0 start in 2006.

Colquitt’s chance to justify that position comes Friday when the Packers visit nationally ranked Hoover of Alabama, a team that won five state titles under Colquitt head coach Rush Propst. Colquitt has reached the semifinals or better each of the past four seasons, each time losing to the eventual champion.

Another defending champion …

Continue reading Colquitt County new No. 1 in Class AAAAAA »

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 …

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

AAAAAA blog: Norcross takes national spotlight in opener

It’s been 21 years since a Georgia team won one of those mythical national championships. That was Valdosta in 1992, winners of that title from the National Sports News Service and the National Prep Poll.

This season, a couple of Georgia teams have a pretty good opportunity – Norcross and Sandy Creek. Both have top-five national rankings.

Since this is the Class AAAAAA blog, let’s talk about Norcross today.

The Blue Devils are playing at home Saturday at 7 p.m. against Booker T. Washington of Miami in what is easily the national game of the week. It will be televised by ESPN, which also will broadcast the South Gwinnett-Lincoln (Fla.) game that precedes it at Norcross.

Washington is ranked No. 1 by USA Today. Norcross is ranked in the top six of several national rankings.

I talked with Norcross coach Keith Maloof on Monday. Here is what he had to say.

The Washington game: ‘’This game, as big as it is, it’s really no indication of whether we’ll repeat of not. …

Continue reading AAAAAA blog: Norcross takes national spotlight in opener »

2013 football schedules: 10 best ‘new’ games

The Georgia High School Association published the 2013 football schedules this week.

Football schedules during odd years (ie, 2013) generally feature the same opponents as the previous season because they are generally played under two-year contracts, but there are several good exceptions.

Here are the 10 best ‘’new’’ games on the 2013 schedule:

1. Booker T. Washington (Fla.) at Norcross: Norcross returns 16 starters – including three blue-chip recruits – from a team that went 15-0 and won Class AAAAAA last season. That’s the kind of glitz that attracts national TV audiences, especially when matched against Florida’s reigning Class 4A champion. The game is set for Aug. 24. Each team has three prospects who are rated four stars by Rivals.com. They are DE Loenzo Carter (rated No. 1 at his position nationally), WR Myles Autry and LB Kevin Mouhon for Norcross and QB Treon Harris, DE Chad Thomas and DB Nigel Patten for BTW, which was 13-1 last season. Expect both to …

Continue reading 2013 football schedules: 10 best ‘new’ games »

Boys quarterfinal primer: No. 1 Tift vs. No. 2 North Cobb … Columbia-Marist III … GAC-Manchester rematch

Here is a class-by-class look at the boys quarterfinals.

For a rundown on the girls semifinals, go here.

AAAAAA – Tift County had to turn 400 fans away Saturday for its 100-81 victory over Westlake. Expect the same for the quarterfinals against North Cobb unless Tift is able to find a way to squeeze them in. Tift is ranked No. 1, North Cobb No. 2. Tift led by as many as 30 against Westlake, which is ranked eighth. … The other quarterfinal that is between ranked teams matches No. 6 Peachtree Ridge at No. 7 Wheeler. AJC.com’s David Purdum is slated to cover that one from The Lip in Marietta. … Unranked Brunswick is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1982. The Pirates will be at home against fifth-ranked Hillgrove, another second seed. Hillgrove made the quarters in 2010. Neither has made a state semifinal. … No. 3 Norcross plays Berkmar in the other quarter. The two Gwinnett County schools have won some six state titles since 2000, although it’s been a …

Continue reading Boys quarterfinal primer: No. 1 Tift vs. No. 2 North Cobb … Columbia-Marist III … GAC-Manchester rematch »

AAAAAA odds: Maxwell pegs Tift, North Gwinnett as favorites

Here are the Maxwell Ratings’ computer-generated odds of winning the state championship for each of the 64 Class AAAAAA boys and girls playoff teams.

The odds are based on team strength, but also the difficulty of each team’s draw. For example, in the girls draw, second-ranked Parkview might play third-ranked Norcross in the second round. That hurts their chances, while helping the chances of No. 1-ranked North Gwinnett. Hillgrove’s boys, though seeded second from its own region, have a decidedly easier path than any other Top 10 team because of their light draw.

Here’s a definition of terms:

Rating = Strength of the team.

Draw = Strength of opponents this team might face. (Low number means a favorable draw.)

Wins=Number of times team would win out championship in 100 tries.

Odds = Chances of this team winning the title.

Here are the odds for other classifications:

AAAAAA

AAAAA

AAAA

AAA

AA

CLASS AAAAAA

BOYS

1. Tift County Rating: 97.04 Draw: 83.44 Wins: 29.29 Odds: …

Continue reading AAAAAA odds: Maxwell pegs Tift, North Gwinnett as favorites »