The Way Too Early Football Rankings: Class A-Public

This (way too early) edition of the Class A-Public 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 A-Private poll will be released Tuesday to conclude our early ranking rundown. 

Class A-Public defending champs Clinch County take the top spot of the rankings following the Panthers’ second consecutive title and third in four years. After five state titles and seven region championships, long-time head coach Jim Dickerson retired, leaving his team to Don Tison Jr. The shift in coaching will surely bring about some changes, but the returning talent will give the new coach plenty to work with during his inaugural season. Florida commit Jeremiah Johnson returns as one of the Panthers most reliable receivers, provided returning quarterback Tyler Morehead with a go-to option on offense. Morehead can sling the rock, but also makes a big impact in the running game. The Junior will also play free safety on defense, using his stellar vision of the field to break up big plays.

Irwin County comes in at the two-spot following its runner-up season in 2018. Since arriving at Irwin County in 2014, head coach Buddy Nobles has claimed four region titles but is still searching for the school’s first state title since 1975. A big part in the Indians potential run for the title lies in the backfield, which returns class A-Public Offensive Player of the Year DJ Lundy and Jamal Paulk. The duo played a huge role in Irwin’s 2018 postseason and will handle the majority of the workload in the backfield when returning quarterback Zach Smith isn’t forced to throw. On defense, Kam Ward and Gabriel Benyard will be relied on to suppress the opposition’s drives.

The Pelham Hornets sit at third now heading into head coach Dondrial Pinkins fifth year as head coach. Wide Receiver Jordan Bennett returns as a key piece of the offense. Bennett led the Hornets in receiving last season and will be a dependable offensive outlet along with receiver Darrell Starling for returning quarterback Kendrick Patterson. The loss of running back and linebacker Javoris Williams leaves a big hole in the Hornets backfield and defense. The senior rushed for 941 yards with 17 touchdowns, and also led the team in tackles with 150.

Marion County lands at the four-spot coming off of their region title season. Quarterback Trice McCannon will enter his senior year as the head of the Eagles’ offense but will be without his main receiver Josh Rodgers. Together, the two racked up four touchdowns in the 2018 quarterfinals game against Schley County. The team also loses running back Travon Mathews, the Eagles’ leading rusher with McCannon at second. This certainly raises a few questions as to who will handle the workload in the backfield on an offense that relied heavily on the run.

Mt. Zion-Carroll comes in at the five-spot following the Eagles’ first region title since 1996. During his two years as head coach Brad Gordon has led his team to two consecutive seasons with 10 wins for the first time in school history. The Eagles’ senior heavy 2018 team will see some of its key players leave, including a slew of running backs in Devon Farley, Tyriese Farley and Breon Henderson. With a run-first offense, Lane Ackles will have to step in amongst others to help continue the offensive play style.

The Commerce Tigers find themselves at the six-spot after the teams first 10-win season since 2014. This run-heavy offense loses some key players in Caleb Mason and Dajuan Wood, leaving the backfield duties open to the best man who can win the job. Head Coach Michael Brown nearly called it a career at Commerce but decided to return for the 2019 to continue building on the work he has done since arriving in 2013.

Charlton County’s 2018 season was cut short following a run-in with soon-to-be champs Clinch County in the second round, but the Indians 2019 season shows potential to take the team a few steps further. Long-time head coach Rich McWhorter departs from the team after 29 years, four state titles and 15 region titles, leaving the team to Russ Murray. Murray will look to build on the foundation set by McWhorter, starting with sustaining the offense without Raykwon Anderson that averaged just under 30 points a game last season with him under center. Receiver Seaquon Clark will play a big part in this as one of the returning offensive pieces alongside Ethan Maxwell.

The Schley County Wildcats sit at the eight-spot following their run to the quarterfinals in 2018, the first quarterfinals appearance in school history. The Wildcats will have to replace their leading rusher in Tra Sampson but have a reliable option in Zamon Ross who rushed for 1027 yards and 17 touchdowns. His 7.8 yards per carry is earned through his bruising style, but he is also capable of catching a quick pass. Garrett Peavy also returns under center to head the offense at quarterback.

Mitchell County comes in at the nine-spot as the Eagles get ready for their third year under head coach Deshon Brock. In 2018, Mitchell County only allowed an average of 13.1 points per game to opposing teams but may have trouble keeping that number that low this year. The Eagles lose their two leading tacklers in Malik Barnes and Shawndell Smith. The pair of seniors racked up 149 tackles throughout the season, while Smith led the team with three interceptions. Barnes also took carries in the backfield but leaves the workload to De’shaun Sherman who can carry the rock downfield with ease. James Thomas will take control under center entering into his senior season.

Greene County fell to Pelham 49-20 in the 2018 quarterfinals but are a candidate to extend their postseason run in 2019. The Tigers will have to replace quarterback C’darius Kelley but return some other key pieces on offense. Dmyron West will carry the ball from the backfield while Demetrius Mitchell stretches the field as one of the team’s best pass catchers. West scored 12 touchdowns last season while racking up 839 yards on the ground.

Class A-Public

1. Clinch County
2. Irwin County
3. Pelham
4. Marion County
5. Mt. Zion-Carroll
6. Commerce
7. Chartlon County
8. Schley County
9. Mitchell County
10. Greene County



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