2006 Football Preview
Class AAAAA - Region 1
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The road to the Region 1-AAAAA crown still goes through two-time defending state champion Lowndes, which has dispatched of Gwinnett County powers Parkview and Brookwood in the past two state championship games.
With such steady postseason success behind them, the Vikings again figure to be in the state title hunt. Leading rusher Darriett Perry is a key player on an offense that needs to replace veteran quarterback Doug Belk. Although Lowndes rarely threw the ball last season, Belk was steady in running the offense.
Devaris Leonard (5-foot-8, 240 pounds) will get some reps at fullback, but his major impact is at defensive line, where he's a force along with Jack Schroepher.
Lowndes' crosstown rival Valdosta won't roll over easily. New coach Rick Tomberlin takes over a young team with two capable junior quarterbacks, Alfrie Johnson and Mike Turner, who can contribute at other spots because of their athleticism. Johnson rushed for 852 yards and seven TDs last season and also threw for 509 yards and four TDs, while Turner threw for 750 yards and seven scores. Linemen Lawrence McCoy (6-6, 265), Alex Hall and Calvin Burgess anchor what should be an intimidating offensive front.
Warner Robins, the 2004 state champions in Class AAAA, jump up to AAAAA this season. The Demons should return to the state playoffs with running back Antwan Hamilton (829 rushing yards, 9.9 yards per carry) and quarterback Shane Sams back to lead the offense. Linebacker Brian Buford (104 tackles, 15 for loss) and defensive end Roderick Rose (64 tackles), the top two tacklers last year, also are back.
Tift County has some of the top players in the region, led by wideout Israel Troupe, who had 38 catches for 498 yards last year. Colquitt County and top recruit Vance Cuff, a speedy skill guy, also look for a return trip to the state playoffs.
Houston County just missed a postseason berth last year at 5-5 while Coffee, big up front with Caleb Thornton and Brooks Barbaree, hopes to better a 4-6 mark from 2005.
Class AAAAA - Region 1 Football Preview
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