There are a few things you can count on every year in high school football — but only a few.
For everything else, the unexpected is the norm. That’s the nature of the game at this level, where it’s played by 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds.
As the season unfolds, answers become clearer, but until then what we’ve got are a lot of questions.
With that in mind, what follows are a few guesses — some bolder than others — about what fans can expect during the coming season.
Buford drives to No. 5
It’s never easy to win a state championship, not even for Buford, which has won four straight Class AA titles.
But the Wolves are primed to become the first team in state history to win five straight, with a defense packed with Division-I talent.
Eleven players with starting experience are back from a defense that allowed 7.9 points per game in the 2010 regular season.
There are offensive skill players to replace, but if history is any indication, the Wolves will manage.
Falcons claim first title
Considering the amount of success Flowery Branch has had since opening in the fall of 2002, it’s hard to believe the Falcons have yet to bring home a region championship.
That could change this year.
The Falcons return numerous key pieces on both sides of the ball and got a big boost via the move-ins of quarterback Kanler Coker and the Curry brothers from North Hall.
The Falcons ran through their first nine games in 8-AAAA unbeaten before falling to Clarke Central last year.
One more win would be historic.
North Hall wins 8-AAA
This might qualify as a bold prediction to some.
The Trojans are coming off a 5-5 season and must replace its quarterback, leading receiver and leading rusher. But those facts can be deceiving.
Senior Imani Cross was second on the team in rushing only because he missed a month due to injury. Healthy, he could be region’s best player.
And Bob Christmas-coached teams have never needed stars at quarterback and receiver to thrive. The coach says he likes this year’s bunch and it appeared improved in a strong scrimmage showing against North Forsyth.
Have they improved enough to break Gainesville’s streak of three straight titles?
Chestatee in the playoff hunt
The War Eagles are in a three-year postseason drought, and they don’t yet appear ready to topple 8-AAA North’s power teams, but in the subregion system, a No. 3 finish in the North will land Chestatee in a region playoff game on Nov. 4 with a spot in state on the line.
Stephens County and North Hall have been singled out by many as the subregion frontrunners but the battle for the No. 3 spot is wide open.
The War Eagles have young, yet experienced talent returning and could make a run.