2005 Football Preview
Class AAA - Region 8
Oconee County and Stephens County battled for top honors in this region last year. Look for more of the same, except add Hart County into the contender mix. This region promises to continue putting good football teams on the playing field.
Hart County was the region's hottest team at the close of 2004, winning its final three games, including a 19-7 victory over eventual region champ Oconee County. The Bulldogs lost to Cartersville in the first round but should pick up where they left off when the regular season ended. Hart features the region's more-exciting players. The Bulldogs have five potential Division I prospects, including a pair of solid running backs in Kevin Harper and Tim McAdams. The Bulldogs should be exciting to watch with seniors Nate Morrison and Luke Fouch returning at wide receiver. The bad news is Hart doesn't have a proven offensive line or quarterback. Defensively, Hart must find some linemen to step up. Safety Duke Tate returns to lead the secondary.
Oconee County's 10-7 victory over Stephens County last September helped them to the region title in its first season of competing in Class AAA. After a first-round win over Cass, the Warriors' season ended with an upset loss to M.L. King in the second round. Some key positions have to be filled, but there is enough talent for the Warriors to contend for the region title.
Stephens County has talent, but it remains to be seen how the Indians react after a tumultuous offseason in which former coach Charlie Winslette resigned and the school hired new coach Travis Noland from North Carolina. He inherits a talented program that needs some interior linemen on both sides.
Elbert County always has plenty of athletes and should figure in the postseason race again.
Winder-Barrow and Monroe Area should be improved and could make runs at postseason berths if some underclassmen step forward.
Franklin County boasts one of the top quarterbacks in the Northeast Georgia area in junior Kyle Harris (5-11,180). However, the Lions need more to go along with Harris to challenge for the playoffs.
Apalachee failed to win a region game last season. It won't get any better this year.
Class AAA - Region 8 Football Preview
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