South Georgia Large School Preseason Top 10
With reclassification Region 1-AAAAAAA drops down to just four high schools (Camden County, Colquitt County, Lowndes and Tift County). For the first time in GHSA history Valdosta is no longer in the state’s largest classification.
There are only three regions in the NUC Sports South Georgia Large School Poll; they are 1-AAAAAAA, 1-AAAAAA and 2-AAAAAA. Region 1-AAAAAA and 2-AAAAAA only have five members each. This means out of the 14 largest schools in South Georgia only two teams are guaranteed of not making the playoffs; with a possible third from the four team 1-AAAAAAA.
Starting the year off #1 are the two-time defending State Champions Colquitt County Packers. Coach Rush Propst will have his hands full this year rebuilding a squad that had eight FBS signees this past February. Bottom line, until the champs lose their swagger they will be given the nod for the top spot.
Camden County and Lowndes pose a serious threat to Colquitt Counties reign in Region 1-AAAAAAA. Last year the Wildcats went toe-to-toe with the Packers for a half before succumbing to the Packer offensive onslaught. Lowndes may return the most experience of the three schools; while only having three road games on their 2016 slate.
The Top AAAAAA school to start the season is #4 Northside-Warner Robins. Why? Because they return several key seniors none bigger than three-year starting quarterback Tobias Oliver who led the Eagles to the AAAAA State Championship as a sophomore.
Region 1-AAAAAA is being renamed the Region of Doom as the five team league had a combined record of (34-14) last season. Over the last two seasons Coffee has gone (20-4), Houston County (21-5) and Northside-Warner Robins (23-3).
Two players to keep an eye on are Deejay Dallas of Glynn Academy and Jake Fromm of Houston County. Dallas is currently committed to Miami while Fromm, two-time 5A State Player of the Year, gave a verbal to Georgia.
Large School’s also has two of the best big men in the entire Southeast. Brunswick has giant offensive tackle D’Antne Demery who tops the scale at around 6-foot-5, 320-pounds and Lee County has defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon 6-foot-4, 300-pounds.
The season starts off with a bang as Houston County takes on Mary Persons at Mercer on August, 18. Friday’s big matchups include Glynn Academy at Benedictine, Northside vs. Warner Robins, Camden County at Oakleaf, FL and Lowndes @ Valdosta. The weekend ends with Colquitt County taking on Mill Creek in the Corky Kell Classic in the Georgia Dome on Saturday.
1. Colquitt County Packers (1-AAAAAAA)
Head Coach: Rush Propst, 9th Season (86-25)
Last Season: (15-0/5-0)
Key Losses: Eight players signed FBS scholarships off the 2015 State Championship team; this includes record setting signal caller Chase Parrish, prolific receiver Kiel Pollard and record setting kicker Baby Lou Martinez.
Key Returnees: Tory Ponder, WR, Sr. 417 APY; Quan Walker, CB, Sr. 41 tackles three INT’s; Tirise Barge, S, Sr. 32 tackles; JJ Peterson, LB, Jr. 32 tackles, three sacks
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Mill Creek, American Heritage, FL, Tucker, @Roswell, @ Valdosta
Key to Success: The nine leading tacklers from last season are gone as are 85% of the touchdowns scored. Coach Propst will find out what kind of depth he has in Moultrie as the Packers look to take one game at a time.
2. Camden County Wildcats (1-AAAAAAA)
Head Coach: Welton Coffey, II, 4th Season (25-9)
Last Season: (10-2/4-1)
Key Losses: Ten of the Top 11 tacklers are gone including the top four tacklers. Leading rusher Harrison Poole and leading tackler Dondre Winn are off to college.
Key Returnees: Brandon McMaster, RB. Sr. 793 yards eight TD’s; Mikey Pickard, RB, Jr. 561 yards three TD’s, Cole Loden; S, Sr. 62 tackles, 11 TFL’s; Oliver Kellam, K, Jr. 40-40, PAT’s 5-6 FG’s.
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Columbia, FL, Glynn Academy, McEachern
Key to Success: They need to play each game like they did in the first half versus Colquitt County last year. Run McMaster, eat up clock and play tenacious defense.
3. Lowndes Vikings (1-AAAAAAA)
Head Coach: Randy McPherson, 15th Season (136-37)
Last Season: (6-5/2-3)
Key Losses: Gone are the three leading rushers and five of the top eight tacklers; this includes quarterback Austin Dixon, running back Dexter Copeland and defensive end Logan Neeley.
Key Returnees: Wideouts Xavier Jenkins, Sr. and Tayvonn Kyle, Sr. combined for 52 catches for 713 yards and ten TD’s; Michael Bennett, LB, Jr. 44 tackles, two INT’s; Tyson Harris, DB, Sr. 40 tackles, 5 INT’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Valdosta, Newton, Ware County
Key to Success: The Vikings only have three road games and one is in-town rival Valdosta. Take advantage of home field and the fact that you have more returning starters then Colquitt County or Camden County.
4. Northside-Warner Robins Eagles (1-AAAAAA)
Head Coach: Kevin Kinsler, 7th Season (68-9)
Last Season: (9-2/8-1)
Key Losses: Linebackers Tyler Williams and Yacht Jones combined for 97 stops and 10 TFL’s
Key Returnees: DeSean Dinkins, RB, Sr. 1,033 yards 18 TD’s; Tobias Oliver, QB, Sr. 1,704 total yards 11 TDs; Kam Burnett, LB, Sr. 84 tackles; Tae Daley, S, Sr. 50 tackles; Taykwan Northern, DL, Sr. 43 tackles, 7 TFL’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: Warner Robins, Lanier, Ware County
Key to Success: The Eagles have plenty of senior leadership; especially with Oliver who was the starting QB two years ago in the AAAAA State Championship game. Oh yeah, they only have three away games.
5. Houston County Bears (1-AAAAAA)
Head Coach: Von Lassiter, 4th Season (28-9)
Last Season: (11-2/8-1)
Key Losses: The three leading tacklers Bennie Steadman, Myron Jacobs and Rontravius Byron combined for 208 stops.
Key Returnees: Amari Colbert, WR, Sr. 44 catches 904 yards 9 TD’s; Eli Watson, WR, Sr. 32 catches 771 yards 8 TD’s; Jake Fromm, QB. Sr. 4,099 passing yards 36 TD’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Peach County, @Warner Robins
Key to Success: The Bears will go as far as Jake Fromm’s arm will take them. Houston County has a murderous stretch from September, 9 to October, 14 as they play 5-straight road games.
6. Glynn Academy Red Terrors (2-AAAAAA)
Head Coach: Rocky Hidalgo, 3rd Season (21-7)
Last Season: (12-3/7-1)
Key Losses: Garrison Hurd and Morris Demery combined for 2,145 APY’s and 13 TD’s
Key Returnees: Kendall Cross, RB, Sr. 347 APY’s 7 TD’s; Deejay Dallas, Ath, Sr. 1,964 total yards and 15 TD’s
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Benedictine, @Ware County, @Camden County
Key to Success: Replacing Hurd will be tough and the Red Terrors start the season off with four straight road games. Coach Hidalgo and superstar Deejay Dallas will have to work their magic to make another long run in playoffs.
7. Valdosta Wildcats (1-AAAAAA)
Head Coach: Alan Rodemaker, 1st Season
Last Season: (8-4/3-2)
Key Losses: Record setting Wildcat quarterback Seth Shuman is gone.
Key Returnees: Jontae Baker, WR, Sr.; JJ Strickland, RB, Sr.; Zakoby McClain, LB, Jr.
Top Non-Region Opponents: Lowndes, @Thomas County Central, Colquitt County
Key to Success: For the first time in history the Wildcats are not in Georgia’s largest classification. They have a new head coach that will have his hands full with a tough non-region schedule and they are now in possibly the GHSA’s most competitive Region.
8. Lee County Trojans (1-AAAAAA)
Head Coach: Dean Fabrizio, 8th Season (44-31)
Last Season: (6-4/1-4)
Key Losses: Three FBS signees Chris Barnes, William Bryant and Garet Morrell also their leading receiver Tray Eafford
Key Returnees: Tory Carter, DE, Sr.; Aubrey Solomon, DT, Sr.; Otis Reese, S, Jr.
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Bainbridge, Thomas County Central
Key to Success: Coach Fabrizio has been known for his quick strike offense but this year he may have to rely on his experienced defense to win games.
9. Coffee Trojans (1-AAAAAA)
Head Coach: Robby Pruitt, 5th Season (30-12)
Last Season: (10-2/7-1)
Key Losses: Quan Grady led the Trojans with 120 stops last year and Jay Ashley possibly the second best athlete on team transferred to Irwin County.
Key Returnees: Demetrius Davis, RB. Sr. and Tywone Brewton, RB. Jr. combined for 1,760 yards rushing and 25 TD’s; defensive linemen Undray Heller, Sr. and Derrick Newton, Jr. combined for 114 tackles, 30 TFL’s and 16 sacks
Top Non-Region Opponents: @Brunswick, @Ware County, Tift County
Key to Success: Demetrius Davis averaged over nine yards per carry but only gets 10.5 totes a game; that needs to increase. Special teams, across the board, must be improved in order to make the playoffs.
10. Brunswick Pirates (2-AAAAAA)
Head Coach: Larry Harold, 2nd Season (3-7)
Last Season: (3-7/2-6)
Key Losses: They really didn’t lose anyone of note; this was a really young team last season.
Key Returnees: D’Antne Demery, OL, Sr.; Sharrod Frazier, LB, Jr.; Randon Jernigan, Ath, Jr. 696 APY’s 8 TD’s; Shaq Robinson, RB, Jr. 669 APY’s 2 TD’s; Shawn Smith, RB/WR, Sr. 882 APY 9 TD’s
Top Non-Region Opponent: Coffee, Camden County
Key To Success: With a change to Region 2-AAAAAA the Pirates should make the playoffs as they return almost their entire team from last season.
|Just Outside: Bradwell Institute (0-10); Effingham County (7-3); Richmond Hill (3-7); Tift County (5-5)|