This (way too early) edition of the Class AAA 2019 football rankings has been assembled based off a variety of factors and estimations. We will attempt to validate the reasoning behind the order that has been selected by presenting some of the stats or factors that went into our consideration. The Class AA poll will be released on Friday and the remaining classes will be released in descending order each day that follows.
The usual suspects are lurking, as they have been for the past several seasons, with Peach County and Cedar Grove leading the pack.
The state runner-up Trojans are out front in this poll with talent returning all over the field. Peach County lost the 2018 title game 14-13 after a 22-yard touchdown pass from Kendall Boney to Cedar Grove’s Jadon Haselwood as time expired. The loss stung, but Peach County is back and at the top of several AAA coaches ‘text message polls’ as of Wednesday.
Cedar Grove, the defending champions, will weather the loss of head coach Jimmy Smith, who took a job at Georgia State, as well as the graduation of Haselwood, the nation’s leading receiver. On top of that, countless bits of their production from the title run will be lost to graduation, including quarterback Kendall Boney. But, the Saints are still loaded with potential and experience to lead the Region 5 power deep into the postseason with ease.
Pierce County is one AAA program on the rise and, after last year’s loss to Cedar Grove in the semifinals, the Bears return most of the moving parts from 2018. Quarterback Jermaine Brewton returns for his junior year after passing for 1914 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2018.
Region 7 power Greater Atlanta Christian graduates quarterback Josh Rose but has an experienced player, Jackson Hardy, to take over the signal-calling duties. Last year, Hardy passed for 791 yards and 10 touchdowns on 53-of-97 passing with just two interceptions as the backup for the Spartans.
Westminster rounds out the top-5 and, after its loss to Peach County in the quarterfinals last year, the Wildcats are poised to make waves from Region 5. Quarterback Parks Harber returns for his senior season with a supporting cast of talent that will help Westminster through the regular season and, possibly, deeper into the playoffs than its quarterfinal exit last year.
Calhoun, a semifinalist last year, will have to weather a coaching change and the loss of several moving parts to be successful entering 2019. However, it’s hard to write off the Yellow Jackets after Hal Lamb’s retirement due to their perennial playoff appearances and consecutive region titles from 6-AAA.
Jefferson returns quarterback Carter Stephenson for his junior year and the Dragons will still have a sour taste from the loss to Westminster in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Fullback Paxton Corkery, an all-region nominee, will also return with experience.
Dawson County lost in the second round to a Chandler Byron-led Monroe Area teams during last year’s playoffs. The Tigers will look to fill the shoes of quarterback SeVaughan Clark after his graduation, but it returns all-region nominees tight end T.J. Wilson and linebacker Brody Howell for their senior seasons.
Lovett enjoyed a first-round victory over Morgan County 40-7 in the first-round last year before losing to Calhoun in the second round. The Lions return quarterback Blaine McAllister for his senior campaign after he passed for 1,771 yards and 12 touchdowns on 147-of-271 passing in 2018. His experience will help guide the Lions through the regular season and, likely, deep into the playoffs.
Westside-Macon debuts at No. 10 and the Seminoles are poised for a breakout season. Last year, Westside advanced past Cook in the first round of the playoffs and nearly beat Benedictine 43-36 in the second round. Quarterback Victor Dixon Jr. returns for his senior year after passing for 2,116 yards on 132-of-248 passing for 20 touchdowns.
1. Peach County
2. Cedar Grove
3. Pierce County
4. Greater Atlanta Christian
8. Dawson County