Class AAAAA - Region 1

2004 Georgia High School Football Preview

2004 Football Preview
Class AAAAA - Region 1

No one in the state can compete with Valdosta's tradition, but Lowndes is clearly the favorite in Region 1. With the return of 14 starters, the Vikings are expected to contend for a state title after coming off an 11-3 season with their only losses to state champ Camden County (21-14, 7-0) and arch-rival and state runner-up Valdosta (28-26). Look for speedy running back Lynn Williams to handle the rushing load and improvement from returning starting quarterback Doug Belk. Dominating defensive lineman B.J. Wright will give offensive lines major problems.

Despite the loss of 35 seniors, including eight offensive starters, Valdosta is expected to make another deep playoff run as usual. Under first-year coach Rich Darlington last season, the Wildcats pulled off plenty of improbable feats, shaking off a 1-3 start to win 10 straight and reach the title game. Darlington and his players were rewarded with a rebuilt Bazemore-Hyder Stadium which underwent a $7 million dollar renovation. The new look Wildcats will be rebuilt around the strong linebacking trio of Matt Ansley, James Neal and Roderick Johnson. Running back Victor Harrel will lead a revamped offense.

Houston County, which moved from Region 2, may have the region's top two players. The Bears are led by defensive lineman Kyle Moore and Nic Riley, both major Division-I prospects.

Colquitt County may be the darkhorse especially if they can find adequate replacements for leading rushers Danny Butts and Chris Jackson.

Coffee, which lost 31 seniors including its leading rusher, passer and receiver isn't expected to be in the postseason hunt along with Tift County, which is coming off a 2-8 season.

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