2004 Football Preview
Class AAAA - Region 1
Ware County, the defending region champion, lost quarterback Steven Daniels to graduation but if a replacement can be found, the Gators can approach last year's offensive success. Ware boasts three solid wide receivers that are garnering major college attention – Cedric Jones (6-foot-1, 180 pounds), Xavion Thomas (6-5, 200) and Mike Duncan (6-3, 200). A solid offensive line returns to lead the way. The biggest drawback for the Gators may be on defense where a replacement must be found for All-State defensive back Leodis McKelvin. Unless some underclassmen step forward, Ware may have to rely on its high-powered offense to win games.
Thomas County Central hasn't won a state title since 1997 even though they annually rank as one of the state's best. The Yellow Jackets lost a lot of firepower from last season, including a 19-member senior class that included quarterback Erik Walden and running back Moses Cochran. If TCC can find a quarterback, there is enough talent to contend for the region title. The likely candidate appears to be junior Doug Pilcher, the son of head coach Ed Pilcher. A strong junior class will be expected to contribute. The Jackets may be a year away from dominating this classification.
A team to watch out for is Americus-Sumter County. Americus and Sumter County, both Class AA members last year, merged. Americus dominated Class AA under Erik Soliday. Sumter County struggled but has plenty of athletes. Coach Bill Clark is expected to help mold two teams into one and develop the program into a consistent state championship contender. Clark has a good starting point in senior Cedric Johnson (5-11, 175), arguably the best quarterback in the region.
Bainbridge should once again challenge for a postseason berth. The Bearcats upset Sandy Creek last year in the first round. They have a solid offensive line prospect in Gage Crews (6-3, 280).
Lee County, which hasn't enjoyed much success
since 1999, can only hope to compete.
Class AAAA- Region 1
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