NUC Sports High School Football – South Georgia Poll – Medium Size Schools
The GHSA has added another classification (AAAAAAA) meaning there will be eight State Champions in 2016. How does this affect the Medium Schools Top Ten? Well, last year Medium Schools consisted of GHSA members in class AAAA and AAA. This year AAAAA will be included in the poll bringing the number of teams eligible for the Top 10 to 41 schools.
Bainbridge (13-1) finished the 2015 season ranked #1 in South Georgia Medium Schools . They were followed by Dodge County (11-1) who has dropped down to GHSA AA and are now in the Small Schools.
Dropping down from Large Schools is #2 Ware County who finished #3 in Large Schools last year. But two key players from last season Dedrick Mills and Jacquez Bolds may not be able to be replaced. Also dropping down is #8 Warner Robins; last year they finished outside the Large Schools Top Ten.
Starting the year off as the top AAAA team is Carver-Columbus at #5. They not only have a new head coach but must replace prolific signal caller Jawon Pass. Peach County is the Top AAA team at #3 the same spot they finished last season in the poll.
Medium Schools is not without its share of star power. Returning for his junior season at Bainbridge is Dameon Pierce who ran for over 2,000-yards and 33 touchdowns. Liberty County returns senior athlete Richard LeCounte who accounted for 1,967 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns while also leading the team in tackles. Signal caller Stetson Bennett, IV of Pierce County accounted for 3,534 yards and 35 touchdowns as a junior.
Three teams ranked in the preseason Top Ten start their season the week of August, 18. Thomas County Central #4 will host Worth County on Friday. Carver-Columbus #5 will cross the border to take on Opelika (AL) and Cairo #6 hosts bitter rival Thomasville on Thursday
|1. Bainbridge Bearcats (1-AAAAA)
Head Coach: Jeff Littleton, 4th Season (24-12)
Last Season: (13-1/4-0)
Key Losses: Tyler Storey, WR, Team’s leading receiver; Elsamar Williams, LB
Key Returnees: Dameon Pierce, RB, Jr. 2,060 yards rushing 33 TD’s; Brett McLaughlin, QB, Sr. 2,055 yards passing 14 TD’s; Senior Linebackers Leon Broadnax & Kerenski Williams combined 217 tackles
Top Non-Region Opponents: Lee County and @Lincoln, FL
Key to Success: The Bearcats will be riding junior running back sensation Dameon Pierce and they have their two leading tacklers back.
|2. Ware County Gators (2-AAAAA)
Head Coach: Franklin Stephens, 3rd Season (22-4)
Last Season: (11-3/6-2)
Key Losses: Dedrick Mills RB/LB , Team’s leading rusher & tackler; Jacquez Bolds, RB/LB. Team’s second leading rusher & tackler
Key Returnees: Olajuwone Smith, DB, Sr. 62 tackles, three INT’s; Jordan Turner, RB, Jr. 592 APY’s 5TD’s; Jemar Lincoln, QB. Sr. 1,017 total yards 5 TD’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: Glynn Academy, Coffee, @Lowndes, @Northside-WR
Key to Success: It will be hard to replace two-way standouts Mills and Bolds, but Coach Stephens is known for having fast smothering defenses.
|3. Peach County Trojans (4-AAA)
Head Coach: Chad Campbell, 10th Season (95-19)
Last Season: (9-3/7-1)
Key Losses: Tyrique McGhee, Ath 1,365 Total yards
Key Returnees: Kearis Jackson, WR, Jr. 1,124 APY’s; Kyle Nixon, LB, Sr. 110 tackles; Shamarcus Redding, DB, Jr., 90 tackles 4 INT’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: Houston County, @Warner Robins, Mary Persons
Key to Success: Get through brutal non-region schedule without injuries and ride a defense that is returning their top three tacklers.
|4. Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets (1-AAAAA)
Head Coach: Bill Shaver, 9th Season (63-28)
Last Season: (6-5/3-1)
Key Losses: Nick Patterson, RB 1,024 yard rushing nine TD’s
Key Returnees: Tyrice Cloud, RB, Sr. 1,077 yards rushing 15 TD’s; Kelias Williams, QB, Sr. 1,076 yards rushing 15 TD’s; Derrick Brock, S/LB. Sr. Most athletic defender
Top Non-Region Opponents: Valdosta, @Lee County
Key to Success: The Yellow Jackets had three 1,000-yard rushers last year but gave up a whopping 28.2 points per contest; they must improve defensively.
|5. Carver Tigers (1-AAAA)
Head Coach: Dre’mail King, 1st Season
Last Season: (9-2/6-0)
Key Losses: Jawon Pass, QB signed with Louisville; Javontay Smith, DB signed with ECU
Key Returnees: Giovannia Moore, LB, Jr. huge linebacker with several FBS offers
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Opelika, AL
Key to Success: Replacing Pass won’t be easy and the Tigers have a new coach at the helm; athletes are one thing they are seldom short of.
|6. Cairo Syrupmakers (1-AAAA)
Head Coach: Steven Devoursney, 2nd Season (4-6)
Last Season: (4-6/3-1)
Key Losses: Malik Taylor, RB team’s leading rusher with 537 yards
Key Returnees: DJ Donaldson, WR, Sr. 47 catches for 473 yards three TD’s; Jamal Thomas, Ath, Sr. 943 APY with 11 TD’s and six INT’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: Thomas County Central, @Bainbridge
Key to Success: This may be a strange pick but the Syrupmakers return nine of their top ten athletes in all-purpose yards.
|7. West Laurens Raiders (2-AAAA)
Head Coach: Stacy Nobles, 6th Season (30-25)
Last Season: (8-4/4-2)
Key Losses: Eric Scott, DB 64 tackles and five INT’s
Key Returnees: Darius Bradford, RB, Sr. Teams leading rusher with 938 yards and 11 TD’s; Jathaniel Allen, LB. Sr. Teams leading tackler with 118 stops
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Vidalia, @Warner Robins
Key to Success: Simply continue what they have been doing; 17 wins over the last two seasons are the most at West Laurens since the 90-91 seasons.
|8. Warner Robins Demons (1-AAAAA)
Head Coach: Mike Chastain 1St Season
Last Season: (7-4/6-3)
Key Losses: Marquez Callaway, WR/KR Teams leading return man, receiver and pick machine
Key Returnees: Javian Bradford-Jackson, RB, Sr. Leading rusher 1,403 yards and 12 TD’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Northside, Peach County, Houston County
Key to Success: For starters they have a new head coach. They also have a murderous non-region schedule and finally their new region won’t be easy with Bainbridge and Thomas County Central. One game at a time!
|9. Liberty County Panthers (2-AAA)
Head Coach: Kirk Warner, 15th Season (64-82)
Last Season: (8-4/3-1)
Key Losses: Jacquez Williams, RB/ATH accounted for 1,731 APY’s and 16 touchdowns; Jacari Roberts, LB had 83 tackles and 13 TFL’s
Key Returnees: Richard LeCounte, Ath, Sr. accounted for 1,967 APY’s and 15 TD’s while leading team with 100 tackles; Elisha Polite, Ath, Sr. 935 APY’s and ten TD’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Statesboro, @Effingham County
Key to Success: The Panthers will need to find athletes to help Mr. Do-it-All Richard LeCounte.
|10. Pierce County Bears (2-AAA)
Head Coach: Sean Pender, 6th Season (45-14)
Last Season: (7-4/4-2)
Key Losses: Brandon Sapp, RB 551 yards rushing and eight TD’s
Key Returnees: Stetson Bennett, IV, QB, Sr. accounted for 3,534 total yards and 35 TD’s; Chase Royer, WR, Sr. caught 76 passes for 1,054 yards and nine TD’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Brooks County, @Wayne County
Key To Success. Bennett is one of the most explosive players in all of Georgia, but the Bears need to play better defense after giving up 35 points per game last year.
|Just Outside: Appling County (5-5); Cook (7-4); Monroe (6-4); South Effingham (7-4); Southeast Bulloch (7-4); Worth County (8-4)|
*Special Thanks to the (GHSFHA) Ge orgia High School Football Historians Association