A host of Lee County tacklers try to bring down Thomas County Central’s Adam Choice on Friday night. Choice and the Yellow Jackets beat the Trojans, but Lee County holds on to the No. 1 spot in the Herald’s Fab 5 Poll.
Fab 5 Poll
1. Lee County.......(6-1)
The Trojans stay atop the poll after almost knocking off Thomas County Central, one of the best teams in Georgia.
Next: at Harris County, 7:30 p.m., Friday
The Patriots are sky-high after their 16-14 win against Americus-Sumter on a last-second TD catch from Jackie Childs and can win the region title with some help.
Next: vs. Dougherty, 7:30 p.m., Friday
The Nadas put up 56 points against Dougherty — the most since Charles Truitt has been coaching there — and are a week away from their showdown against Cairo.
Next: at Crisp County, 8 p.m., Friday
The Bearcats won a close one against Hardaway, 24-19, and need to win one of their last two region games to reach the playoffs.
Next: at Northside Columbus, 7:30 p.m., Friday
5. Early County...(5-2)
It took a rare field goal for Early County to beat Thomasville, 17-14, but that win may be the one that ultimately puts the Bobcats in the playoffs.
Next: at Fitzgerald, 7:30 p.m., Friday.
ALBANY — Nobody move.
That’s kind of the theme this week in The Herald Fab 5 Poll, where everyone stays put after a wild weekend that saw Lee County almost pull off the biggest upset of the week, before falling to state-ranked Thomas County Central.
The Trojans gave TCC all it wanted in a 41-35 loss that probably decided the Region 1-AAAAA title. It would be impossible to drop Lee County after that loss, and it’s going to be difficult for No. 2 Westover to leap-frog Lee County, because Lee beat Westover, 42-28, earlier this year in Albany.
Westover isn’t worried about being No. 1 in the poll as much as being alive in the Region 1-AAAA race. The Patriots are 10 feet off the ground this week after coming back and beating Americus-Sumter, 16-14, with a 34-yard TD pass with 19 seconds left in the game to keep their hopes alive for a region title.
Jackie Childs made “The Catch That Saved Westover,” but the victory belongs to coach Octavia Jones, who has turned things around at Westover, where the Patriots have never won a region title. He has been preaching region title since he arrived from Monroe three years ago, and he has his kids believing in themselves — which is a greater leap than even Childs made on Friday.
The Pats will need some help to get that title, and have to hope Americus-Sumter beats Cairo on Friday night, and Monroe beats Cairo next week. Remember this is Cairo, which hasn’t lost a region game in more than three years. But they believe at Westover.
And why not? In just three years the football program has emerged as a force in a community where basketball is everything. Nothing seems impossible for the Patriots after last week’s comeback, so don’t blame them if they do a little scoreboard watching the next couple of weeks.
Jones has everyone in Northwest Albany watching his football team. There are many who believed that day would never come. It’s here, and Jones deserves all the credit.
Monroe stays at No. 3 in the poll after beating Dougherty, 56-26, putting up the most points in coach Charles Truitt’s nine years at Monroe and the most points by any Monroe team since William Chunn’s 1995 Tornadoes beat Albany High 60-14.
Dynamite Dozen quarterback Charles Stafford completed 9-of-10 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns, but didn’t throw a pass in the second half as Monroe went with backups.
Monroe is on the road against Crisp County on Friday, and if the Tornadoes win, they face Cairo on Nov. 2 for the biggest game in the region race.
Bainbridge stays at No. 4 after playing its third nail biter in a row — all Region 1-AAAAA games. After losing two heartbreakers to TCC and Harris County, the Bearcats beat Hardaway, 24-19, and now travel to face Northside Columbus in a must-win game Friday. A loss to Northside would jeopardize Bainbridge’s playoff hopes. But Bainbridge can almost assure itself a playoff spot with a win.
Early County’s 17-14 win against Thomasville kept the Bobcats at No. 5 in the poll and all but opened the door to the playoffs. Early plays in the toughest Class AA region in the state, which includes Brooks County, Fitzgerald and Cook, which are all ranked in the state’s Top 10 poll.
That means the fourth spot in the region is highly coveted, and if Early beats Pelham next week, the Bobcats will be all but guaranteed that No. 4 spot. Early faces Fitzgerald this week on the road and gets Cook at home in the region finale on Nov. 9.
The Bobcats could pull off big wins in both games and finish second in the region, but last Friday’s win against Thomasville was huge because it puts Early in a tie with Cook for third place with three games left in the season.