Americus-Sumter quarterback Bryce Benton and the Panthers are No. 3 in The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll after beating Worth County on Friday.
Fab 5 Poll
Bainbridge had a bye last week and stays atop the poll as Region 1-AAAAA play begins this week with Bainbridge’s biggest test of the season. Next: at TCC, 8 p.m. Friday.
2. Lee County.......(5-0)
The Trojans put up 51 points against Dodge County and have scored 236 points (47.2 average) in five games. The Trojans also open Region 1-AAAAA play this week.
Next: vs. Hardaway, 7:30 p.m., Friday.
3. Americus .........(4-1)
The Panthers move up from No. 4 to No. 3 in the poll after beating Worth County, 40-14, to win their third game in a row and third under assistant coach Chris Wade.
Next: vs. Monroe, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 12.
4. Early County...(3-2)
Early ran into what could be the best Class AA team in Georgia last week and fell to Brooks, 42-8, and slip one spot in the poll.
Next: at Berrien, 7:30 p.m., Friday.
The Patriots played much better than the 31-7 loss to Cairo indicates, and hang on to the No. 5 spot in the poll after a tough loss on the road to the state-power Syrupmakers.
Next: at Crisp County, 8 p.m., Oct. 12.
ALBANY — The Herald Fab 5 Poll had one shakeup this week, and it came from the hottest team in Southwest Georgia.
Americus-Sumter started the season ranked fourth in the poll, but the Panthers dropped out when they lost to Dooly County in the second week of the season. Americus has now won three in a row, including back-to-back romps in Region 1-AAAA, where the Panthers beat Albany High 43-0 to open region play and then blasted Worth County, 40-14, last week in Sylvester.
Americus-Sumter has turned its season around amid what could have been chaos and confusion, because head coach Michael Pollock has been suspended indefinitely. Offensive coordinator Chris Wade has taken over and kept the kids thinking about Xs and Os and not about all the turmoil that could have engulfed the team.
“We don’t think about all the other stuff and just keep our mind on playing football,” said Americus-Sumter tailback Wesley Fields, who rushed for 257 yards and three touchdowns last week against Worth County.
Americus-Sumter quarterback Bryce Benton said the same thing when he was asked about how the Panthers have been able to weather the possible storm.
“We want to win the region,” Benton said. “And we have been focused on playing football and not thinking about all the other stuff.’’
It has worked.
The Panthers, who climbed back into the poll a couple of weeks ago, move up from No. 4 to No. 3 this week, right behind Lee County, which is making an argument to become the top team in the poll.
The Trojans, who started the season ranked No. 3 in the poll and moved to No. 2 last week, are unbeaten at 5-0 and scoring like crazy.
They just beat Dodge County, which was ranked in the Top 10 in the Class AAA state poll.
Lee County didn’t just beat Dodge, the Trojans put up 51 points in a 51-8 win and are now averaging more than 47 points a game.
Lee County will be at home this Friday to open Region 1-AAAAA play against Hardaway in what should be a sellout. No Lee County team has ever started a season at 6-0, so there is some history at stake for the Trojans.
Herald No. 1 Bainbridge had a bye last week but faces its biggest test of the season this week when the Bearcats travel just up the road to face rival Thomas County Central, which is not only the favorite to win the Region 1-AAAAA title but is ranked in the Top 10 in the Class AAAAA state poll.
It’s the Region 1-AAAAA opener for both teams and might ultimately decide who wins the region title. Of course, Lee County will have something to say about that before the season ends. Lee County and Bainbridge meet next month in the final game of the regular season.
Early County slips from No. 3 to No. 4 this week after losing to powerhouse Brooks County, which has been ranked No. 2 in the Class AA state poll for weeks, in the Region 1-AA opener last week. Early County travels to Berrien for its second region game on Friday.
Westover stays at the No. 5 spot after losing to powerhouse Cairo on the road in a game that was closer than the 31-7 final score indicates. The Patriots were down just 17-7 and had momentum in the second half at Cairo, but Cairo returned two interceptions for touchdowns to put the game away. Since Cairo is not eligible for the Fab 5 Poll, the loss doesn’t affect Westover.