Breaking down the high school football season so far, region by region

Article and photos courtesy of the Macon Telegraph –> Original Article Here

Area high school teams are entering their most important part of the regular season: region games.

In fact, some regions already have jumped into region play.

Here is a region-by-region breakdown of the GHSA regions that include teams from Bibb, Houston, Peach, Monroe, Jones, Crawford and Twiggs counties:

Region 1-6A

Region play begins: Oct. 6.

What we know: The region appears to be down a bit from last year, but things ramp up once the region games begin.

Keep an eye on: Northside, of course. The Eagles lost their season opener, but they are rounding into form with three straight wins entering their trip Friday night to Ware County for a non-region game.

Early surprise: Valdosta, and not in a good way. The defending state champion Wildcats have struggled with injuries, and they are 1-3.

Player to watch: Marcus Jolly, Northside. The senior is a dynamic talent, and when the Eagles have him in the game plan, the offense can be dangerous.

Playoff picks: 1. Northside, 2. Lee County, 3. Coffee, 4. Valdosta.

Region 1-5A

Region play begins: Oct. 6.

What we know: Warner Robins is much improved. The Demons won just three games last year, but they already have won four games as they head to West Laurens on Friday.

Keep an eye on: The Demons. They look like the class of the region early in the season, and they will want to keep their momentum going once region play begins.

Early surprise: Yep, the Demons, again. It’s not a surprise that Warner Robins is improved, but beating Northside and Peach County has been impressive.

Player to watch: Dylan Fromm, Warner Robins. The junior quarterback has been terrific in his team’s 4-0 start, and he has a lot of weapons surrounding him.

Playoff picks: 1. Warner Robins, 2. Bainbridge, 3. Veterans, 4. Harris County.

Region 4-5A

Region play begins: Entering third week of region games.

What we know: Jones County is really, really good.

Keep an eye on: Jones County’s offense. The Greyhounds have weapons galore, and Justin Rogers and his coaching staff have shown they know how to use them.

Early surprise: Teldrick Ross, Jones County. It’s not really a surprise that Ross has fit right in at quarterback. But just how calm and collected he has been has been impressive in his first year as the Greyhounds’ starting quarterback.

Player to watch: Drake Bolus, Jones County. The do-everything star gives the Greyhounds a dynamic weapon at running back and in special teams. He already has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns.

Playoff picks: 1. Jones County, 2. Stockbridge, 3. Eagle’s Landing, 4. Woodland.

Region 2-4A

Region play begins: Sept. 29.

What we know: The region appears to be deeper, but Mary Persons continues to lead the way.

Keep an eye on: Perry. In head coach Kevin Smith’s first season, the Panthers are much improved.

Early surprise: Howard. The Huskies were coming off a two-win season in 2016, but they already have won four games.

Player to watch: Jeremiah Kelly, Howard. The sophomore has come out of the gates quickly and has been the focal point of the Huskies’ offense.

Playoff picks: 1. Mary Persons, 2. Upson-Lee, 3. Howard, 4. Perry.

Region 4-3A

Region play begins: Friday.

What we know: Peach County has an abundance of talent. Kearis Jackson, JaQuez Jackson, Antonio Gilbert, Chris Gibson, Trevon Woolfolk and on and on.

Keep an eye on: Westside. The Seminoles are 2-2 entering their region opener against Peach County on Friday. If Westside’s young talent can come together, the Seminoles have a chance to be strong later in the season.

Early surprise: Pike County. The Pirates made the playoffs last year, and they look solid this season with a 3-1 record.

Player to watch: Kearis Jackson, Peach County. Yep, he is just one of the talented players on the Trojans’ roster, but Jackson can do it all, and it’s a good bet he’ll showcase that in region play.

Playoff picks: 1. Peach County, 2. Jackson, 3. Westside, 4. Pike County.

Region 3-2A

Region play begins: Friday.

What we know: Not much, really. Northeast and Bleckley County have been strong under first-year head coaches, and they face off Friday in their region opener. Southwest, with Jordan Slocum leading the way, is solid, as is Dublin. Dodge County looks really strong, while Washington County has been inconsistent, but the Golden Hawks usually get better as the season goes along. There’s a lot to be learned.

Keep an eye on: Friday’s games in region play. In addition to Northeast-Bleckley County, Dodge County hosts Southwest, and East Laurens hosts Dublin. We should know more about these teams after those games.

Early surprise: Northeast. The Raiders have cruised to a 3-0 start with Ashley Harden as their head coach after winning just two games last year.

Player to watch: Slocum, Southwest. The junior quarterback is really talented, and as he keeps growing as a quarterback, he will continue to lead the Patriots.

Playoff picks: 1. Dodge County, 2. Northeast, 3. Southwest, 4. Bleckley County.

Region 4B-1A

Region play begins: Friday.

What we know: Macon County isn’t going anywhere. The defending Class 1A public school champion Bulldogs lost a lot of talent from last year’s team, but Dexter Copeland’s program rolls right along.

Keep an eye on: Crawford County. Greg Street’s Eagles program continues to grow and improve.

Early surprise: Schley County. Yes, it’s early, but the Pirates appear poised to make a run at their first playoff berth since 2008.

Player to watch: Lyn-J Dixon, Taylor County. The running back is one of the top players in the state and one of the top recruits in Georgia in this recruiting cycle.

Playoff picks: Playoff spots decided by power ratings.

Region 7A-1A

Region play begins: Sept. 29.

What we know: Sub-region play is going to be interesting with Tattnall Square, FPD and Stratford looking to return to the Class 1A private school playoffs and Mount de Sales hoping to join them.

Keep an eye on: Tattnall Square. The Trojans haven’t lost a regular-season game since Nov. 30, 2016 — a span of 14 games.

Early surprise: Mount de Sales. The Cavaliers won just two games last year, but Keith Hatcher’s team is off to a 3-1 start.

Player to watch: Tobe Umerah, Stratford. The Stanford commit has the ability to change a game from his defensive end spot.

Playoff picks: Playoff spots decided by power ratings.

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