It’s only my second year here covering the county football scene, but if results thus far are any indication, it appears it will be an up year for the locals.
I guess I need to throw the caveat of it’s still early – hopefully I’m not going to jinx anyone.
The preseason promise of Augusta Prep, entering its fifth full year, appears to be coming to fruition. The Cavaliers were a dynamic offensive team in 2012 and haven’t slowed down, averaging 37.5 points per game while limiting opponents to 10. They’re off to a 2-0 start as of this writing and have a good chance to be 4-0 heading into their televised game at Westminster on Sept. 27.
Highlighting team turnarounds are the Harlem Bulldogs, who started the season 2-0 heading into Friday’s homecoming game against Glascock County. Like the Cavaliers, the Bulldogs’ defense is highlighting the charge, holding teams to 7 points per game. Hopefully their homecoming game was a good one.
The Augusta Christian Lions lost to a good Wilson Hall team in week one but rebounded for a win last week. They won’t be as dominant as the 13-0 state championship team from a year ago, but they have the feel of a team that will be in the thick of things come season’s end.
Region 2-AAAAA football will be something to watch this year. This week marked the end of nonregion play, with the exception of Lakeside, which had a bye and plays Westside at home Friday, and Evans, which faces Jefferson County on Friday.
With a limited sample size, it is hard to say who will be the top dog in the county this year. Lakeside would be the easy pick with the number of returners and talent it has, especially coming off a win against the traditionally tough Thomson Bulldogs.
But not so fast. Grovetown, which was a game behind the Panthers in the race for the final state playoff spot a year ago, could be a serious contender. The Warriors lost their season-opener to Washington County, who is tied for third in the latest Augusta Chronicle poll, but rebounded to beat Swainsboro 48-14.
Oct. 4 will be a telltale day as county teams square off for the first time. The Warriors play host to Lakeside and Greenbrier plays host to Evans.
Evans beat Richmond Academy on Aug. 30 and traveled to Elbert County on Friday. It is hard to read the Knights, but they seem to be tough on both sides of the ball and I anticipate them being in the thick of the region race.
Greenbrier is a team that is hard to judge. The season-opener against Cross Creek was winnable but they let it slip away. The team was crushed by No. 2 North Augusta and faced No. 5 Jefferson County on Friday. Its first region game is Sept. 27 against another 2012 state playoff team, Jones County.