STARTING AT #1
It’s here. The 2017 Georgia High School football season kicks off this weekend. Here are teams starting out at the top of each classification:
- 7A – Grayson
- The Rams won the 7A title with a thrilling overtime win over Roswell. Head Coach Jeff Heron is gone and several starters have been lost to graduation. I don’t see them repeating in 7A but the so-called experts start them out at the top spot. Grayson opens their season next week at home against Hoover (AL)
- 6A – Valdosta
- The Wildcats surprised everyone by winning the school’s first title since 1998. The word is that another dynasty is in the making. Valdosta will be tested from the first game as they face their crosstown rivals at Lowndes.
- 5A – Buford
- The Wolves always seem to get ranked higher than they should be and once again the experts put them in at #1 despite losing Head Coach Jess Simpson. Buford opens at home against Hillgrove.
- 4A – Cartersville
- The Purple Hurricanes will have a chance for a three-peat and it is entirely possibly with the team returning all but one starter on the offensive line and, of course, the state’s best quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. Cartersville won’t have an easy schedule as they play three powerhouses in their first three games. They open at Allatoona.
- 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian
- I’m not sure why the Spartans are ranked #1 but they are certainly a contender for the 3A title this year. If they can replace their starting quarterback from last season, Davis Mills, they should go a long way. GAC opens their season at always tough Lovett.
- 2A – Benedictine
- The Cadets are looking to repeat and will be lead by senior quarterback Nick Iannone who threw for 1,850 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. The Cadets open the season at Glynn Academy.
- 1A (Public) – Macon County
- The Bulldogs were a surprise last year but they shouldn’t sneak up on anyone this year. They are loaded with talent but will have to replace K’hari Lane who was the Class A offensive player of the year.
- 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian
- The Chargers will have a lot to do with who wins the 1A Private School title this season. They are everyone’s favorite to repeat. ELCA opens against Eagle’s Landing. (No, not themselves but the public school version)
CORKY KELL CLASSIC KICKS OFF WITH 18 TEAMS
The Corky Kell Classic will showcase 18 teams to kick off the season. The classic will be played on Thursday at Mercer University’s Five Star Stadium and then Friday and Saturday at Georgia State’s Stadium which was formerly Turner Field. Here’s the schedule for the games:
- Thursday, August 17
- Lee County vs. Mary Persons
- Houston County vs. Jones County
- Friday, August 18
- South Forsyth vs. Roswell
- Buford vs. Hillgrove
- Saturday, August 19
- Kell vs. Tucker
- Archer vs. Brookwood
- Colquitt County vs. Norcross
- Mill Creek vs. McEachern
- North Gwinnett vs. Walton
THE VOICE OF GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
If you are in the State of Georgia, you will want to tune into the Georgia High School Football Scoreboard show with the legendary Tommy Palmer. Tommy is a seasoned voice of high school football and will give you information on the games played on Friday nights.
TEAMS OR GAMES I AM FOLLOWING
I have my own personal following of teams that I follow during the season. Here are the games I will be following this week:
- Warner Robins vs. Northside
- It’s still very strange for this game to be the first game of the season. For many years, it was the last game of the season until the schools moved to different classifications. This will be the 60th meeting. Warner Robins leads the series 34-25. Northside has won the last three meetings. Warner Robins last won 28-18 in 2013.
- Villa Rica vs. Central-Carrollton
- Villa Rica will have their fourth new coach in this decade. The Wildcats opened last year with a 20-13 win over the Lions. They have won nine straight in the series.
- Clinch County at Bleckley County
- Clinch County is playing only their second game ever against Bleckley County. The Panthers trounced the Royals 47-7 last year in Homerville.
PREDICTIONS FOR 2017
Here are my predictions for 2017 state champions in each classification:
- 7A – Roswell
- Surprise Team: Camden County
- 6A – Dalton
- Surprise Team: Johns Creek
- 5A – Kell
- Surprise Team: Warner Robins
- 4A – Cartersville
- Surprise Team: Cairo
- 3A – Peach County
- Surprise Team: Liberty County
- 2A – Callaway
- Surprise Team: Thomasville
- 1A (Public) – Clinch County
- Surprise Team: Charlton County
- 1A (Private) – Prince Avenue Christian
- Surprise Team: Tattnall Square
The last school to do a “three-peat” was the Buford Wolves. They won four straight titles from 2007-2010.
LAWRENCE LEADS LIST OF TOP PLAYERS IN GEORGIA
Here are the top five players in Georgia:
- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Cartersville (Sr)
- Justin Fields, QB, Harrison (Sr)
- Michael Barrett, QB, Lowndes (Sr)
- Adam Anderson, DL, Rome (Sr)
- Brenton Cox, DL, Stockbridge (Sr)
GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:
- Carrollton at Newnan
- Mary Persons at Lee County
- Benedictine at Glynn Academy
- Cartersville at Allatoona
- Greater Atlanta Christian at Lovett
- Northside Warner Robins at Warner Robins
- Stephenson at Cedar Grove
- Valdosta at Lowndes
- Norcross at Colquitt County
- Tucker at Kell