Class AAA - Region 1 Football Preview

2005 Football Preview
Class AAA - Region 1

Cairo won the region title last with relative ease, surviving a close first-round playoff victory over Jefferson County before getting shutout at home by Shaw, which snapped the team's eight-game winning streak. The Syrupmakers featured a young team last year and coach Tom Fallaw hopes Cairo matures into a state title contender. After a challenging nonregion schedule that features South Georgia powerhouses Cook, Thomasville and Thomas County Central, the Syrupmakers should be prepared for the Region 1-AAA slate that begins on Sept. 30 at Westover.

A pair of Albany schools - Dougherty and Westover - made the playoffs last season and scored impressive first-round victories. Dougherty finished last season at 7-5, one of its better seasons since the school won the Class AAA state title in 1998. The Trojans could challenge Cairo for the region crown. If Dougherty can replace players like the talented Courtney Love at defensive back, they have a chance to approach last year's success. A
good nucleus to build around is senior tight end Joseph Sheffield (6-foot-1, 205 pounds).

Westover continues to improve under coach Jeff Caldwell, who enters his third season after guiding the Patriots to back-to-back postseason appearances. Westover, more known for its powerful basketball programs, believes it turned the corner in the playoffs last year when it upset Region 3-AAA champion Thomson in the first round. Despite the loss of 12 starters, the Patriots believe they can be a region contender. Cornerback Tony Reid (5-10, 145), safety Jermelle Benton (6-2, 190) and offensive tackle Demario Johnson (5-10, 240) return for their senior seasons, giving Westover a good nucleus to build around.

Crisp County lost 13 starters after finishing as the region runner-up last year. The Cougars lost four offensive linemen to graduation and most of its skill players. Some key positions have to be filled if Crisp is going to challenge for a playoff berth.

Worth County should be much improved. The Rams will be strong on the interior lines on both sides of the ball. Seniors Eddie Faureau (6-0, 245) and Robbie Purifoy (6-2, 250) anchor the offensive side, while Brandon Kent (5-11, 230) and Barry Thomas (5-11, 230) anchor the defensive line.

Monroe lost quarterback Terrance Ransom to graduation and most of its talent. It could be a long season for the Tornadoes.

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