ATLANTA – Defending Class AAAAA state champion Lowndes has been selected as the preseason No. 1 high school team in Georgia by Georgia Football magazine and www.georgiafb.com.
Prep writers from around the state voted Lowndes No. 1 in the preseason poll that appears in the 2008 Georgia Football Magazine. The poll will be updated weekly on www.georgiafb.com. Northside Warner Robins (AAAAA), Tucker (AAAA), Buford (AA) and Camden County (AAAAA) round out the top five. Northside won the AAAA state championship and Buford was the AA winner last season.
Below is the complete Georgia Football magazine preseason top 25 poll:
1. Lowndes (AAAAA)
Three state titles in the past four seasons. The return of two of the state’s best defensive backs. Sixteen starters back from a state championship team. Add it all up and you have the No. 1 team in the state heading into the 2008 season, regardless of classification. Seniors Greg Reid and Gerald Demps are the marquee players on a team loaded with talent. Reid is a triple threat as a defensive back, running back and kick return specialist. In the trenches, Devin Simmons leads a strong group of linemen. Defense should be the Vikings’ strength again, after posting four shutouts and holding 10 of 15 opponents to less than 10 points last season. The Vikings’ biggest challenge for their third straight state title may come from within Region 1-AAAAA, which added AAAA back-to-back champ Northside Warner Robins.
2. Northside Warner Robins (AAAAA)
A move up to AAAAA shouldn’t slow the Eagles’ quest for a third straight state title.
3. Tucker (AAAA)
The prolific Tigers’ offense keeps rolling with the return of Jonathan Davis and Drayton Calhoun.
4. Buford (AA)
Reserves who played half the time during 2007’s 15-0 run will ease into starting roles.
5. Camden County (AAAAA)
Early games against Norcross and Hoover (Ala.) will set the tone for the Wildcats.
6. Carver Columbus (AAA)
Coach Dell McGee has reloaded after a perfect season and state title in 2007.
7. North Gwinnett (AAAAA)
In the third season under Bob Sphire, the Bulldogs aren’t surprising folks any more, just beating them.
8. Ware County (AAAA)
Another rugged defense could lead to another deep playoff run for Gators.
9. Valdosta (AAAAA)
The Wildcats are light years away from 2006’s 1-9 mark and are contenders once again.
10. Emanuel County Institute (A)
Washaun Ealey and a slew of other D-I recruits have made Twin City a hot spot for college recruiters.
11. M.L. King (AAAA)
Expect the Lions to build on last year’s first region title (and most wins) in school history.
12. Norcross (AAAAA)
Blue Devils are gunning for a third straight title in rugged 7-AAAAA and a deep run in the playoffs.
13. Cairo (AA)
With 3,000 yards of rushing offense returning, the Syrupmakers’ ground game in among the state’s best.
14. Peachtree Ridge (AAAAA)
Look for defense to be the Lions’ calling card with seven returning starters, led by Kevin Minter.
15. Brookwood (AAAAA)
Expect the Broncos to make some noise in the postseason despite returning only five starters.
16. Charlton County (AA)
Creating state title contenders from scratch is nothing new for Rich McWhorter.
17. Stephenson (AAAAA)
You can bet the Jags’ are ready to atone for last year’s late-season stumble and first-round playoff exit.
18. Thomas County Central (AAAA)
New coach Bill Shaver inherits 11 returning starters from a team that won 13 games a year ago.
19. Walton (AAAAA)
Look for QB Ray Rayburn to guide the Raiders on another deep playoff run.
20. Carver Atlanta (AAA)
With several D-I prospects, the premier Atlanta city school continues to take its game statewide.
21. Newnan (AAAAA)
The bulk of the Cougars’ explosive offense from last year is back to wreak havoc again.
22. Parkview (AAAAA)
Loaded and led by RB Brandon Jacobs, the Panthers are poised for a deep playoff run.
23. Roswell (AAAAA)
It may be a new era after the retirement of Tim McFarlin, but expect the same winning ways.
24. Dublin (AA)
The Irish are hunting for their fourth semifinal-or-better run in the past five seasons.
25. Cook (AA)
The Hornets made an improbable run to the state semis in 2007; a repeat won’t be unexpected.