Originally created 08/27/99

It's like old times in south



For the past three seasons, the Class AAA state champion has resided in Region 1-AAA. More impressive, a team from Region 1-AAA has captured the Class AAA state title seven times since 1990.

Only Kendrick and Lakeside-DeKalb, which shared the title in 1991, and Josey in 1995, have been able to grab the AAA state title from south Georgia.

From the looks of things, the state title could again be claimed by a team from Region 1-AAA as Dougherty, Cairo and Thomas County Central are all expected to be ranked in the Top 10.

Class AAAA: Valdosta is back to its winning ways after peaking during the state playoffs and winning its 24th state football title, but its first since 1992. However, the Wildcats may find the going tough in a region that consists of state title contenders Lowndes and Colquitt County.

Brunswick could be one of the sleeper teams, returning 15 starters from a team that finished 12-1 last year, led by running back Earnest Palmer.

South Gwinnett, a team that surprised everyone last season, is expected to be a state title contender with senior quarterback David Greene calling the signals. Greene is being touted as one of the state's top quarterbacks.

Class AAA: If it wasn't for Thomas County Central's dominance during the decade, Marist may have built its own dynasty. The War Eagles will again be tough, with senior running back Brandon Russell, who many are calling the state's top prospect, returning.

Don't rule out Oconee County, which made noise last season in the postseason and has 12 starters returning.

Creekside, another team that turned heads last season, is expected to be a state title contender.

Class AA: Carrollton may have lost wide receivers Reggie Brown and Blake Sabo but the Trojans could be back in the Class AA state title game for the third year in a row with a chance to repeat as state champions.

However, lurking behind is Mitchell-Baker, which could return to the glory it experienced during the late 1980s when quarterback Al Pinkins led the way. Fans in Camilla hope Pinkins' little brother, Dondrial, can perform the same kind of magic as his older brother and lead the Eagles to a state title. Pinkins may be the state's top quarterback prospect.

Mary Persons is expected to contend for a state crown as well with tight end Andre Zellner leading the way.

Class A: Late in the season, Taylor County was predicted to win the Class A state title until eventual state champion Darlington upset the Vikings in the semifinals. With 13 starters back, the Vikings are expected to get back to where they were last season.

All of the Bailey brothers are gone from Folkston but don't think Charlton County won't be tough. The Indians return 11 starters and are expected to be a title contender.

The matchup never materialized between Lincoln County and Washington-Wilkes last season, but the two teams are expected to battle each other for the Region 7-A title this season. The winner could battle for the state championship.