2006 Football Preview
Class AAAA - Region 8
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Region 8, which featured only 10 teams during the 2004-05 seasons, has expanded to 13 as the 2006 season begins. The only difference is Dacula dropped down from Class AAAAA, Winder-Barrow moved back up a class and Alcovy begins its first season as Newton County's newest school. The A subregion will consist of Clarke Central, Dacula, Habersham Central, Jackson County, Loganville, Madison County and Winder-Barrow. Alcovy, Cedar Shoals, Eastside, Heritage, Rockdale County and Salem make up the B subregion.
Dacula lost its first game last year to Brookwood, then reeled off 12 straight wins until Brookwood eliminated the Falcons in the Class AAAAA semifinals. Dacula's drop in classification doesn't mean it will be any easier, but the Falcons return a solid group of returners to mount a challenge for the region title and to make a deep postseason run. Dacula boasts one of the state's top running back prospects in senior Cole Brodie (5-10, 180).
After Dacula, the subregion appears to be a toss-up. Clarke Central had its worst season since 2001 when it went 4-6 last year. The Gladiators were young and inexperienced but should be improved. A pair of senior offensive line standouts return in Ben Morris (6-0, 240) and Demetrius Edwards (6-1, 235). A pair of skill players in senior wide receiver Josh Hurst (6-5, 185) and senior safety Dominique Faust (6-0, 175) also return.
Habersham Central and Madison County both made the playoffs last year and are expected to be contenders once again. Loganville and Winder-Barrow could also contend after both posted .500 seasons in 2005. Jackson County isn't likely to improve upon last year's 2-8 record.
The B subregion will continue to be dominated by Rockdale County schools. Despite Salem losing coach Frank Caputo, the Seminoles along with Rockdale County will be the two teams to beat in their subregion. Keep an eye on Rockdale County defensive standout Branden Sheppard-Harris (6-1, 185), a solid Division I prospect at cornerback.
Heritage and Cedar Shoals both went 6-4 last year and just missed the playoffs. They both could contend. Things aren't expected to get better for Eastside, which finished 0-10 last year. Alcovy will be too young and inexperienced in its first season of competition.
Class AAAA - Region 8 Football Preview
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