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Bainbridge new No. 1 in Herald Fab 5 Poll

Bainbridge linebacker Marshall Mack pulls down a Westlake player in the Bearcats’ 38-14 win Friday night at Centennial Field. The win improved Bainbridge’s record to 3-1. (Special to The Herald/The Post-Searchlight)

Bainbridge linebacker Marshall Mack pulls down a Westlake player in the Bearcats’ 38-14 win Friday night at Centennial Field. The win improved Bainbridge’s record to 3-1. (Special to The Herald/The Post-Searchlight)

Fab 5 Poll

1. Bainbridge.......(3-1)

The Bearcats, who haven’t lost a game in Georgia, have been No. 2 all year but move up to the top spot, replacing Monroe, which lost to Westover, 17-14. Bainbridge beat Class AAAAAA Westlake, 38-14. Next: at Thomas County Central, 8 p.m. Oct. 5.

2. Lee County.......(4-0)

The Trojans have one of the top offenses in Georgia and move up a notch to the No. 2 spot after beating Class AAAAAA Morrow, 42-6. Next: at Dodge County, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

3. Early County ...(3-1)

The Bobcats beat Calhoun County, 20-6, and move up to No. 3 but face their biggest test of the season Friday night. Next: At Brooks County, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

4. Americus .........(3-1)

The Panthers have scored 77 points in two games without suspended coach Michael Pollock and move up to No. 4 after a 43-0 win against Albany High. Next: At Worth County, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

5. Westover...........(2-2)

The Pats toppled No. 1 Monroe, 17-14, and move back into the poll, dropping Monroe from first to all the way out of the poll. Next: At Cairo, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

NOTE: Poll voted on weekly by Herald sports department. New poll will be released every Tuesday.

ALBANY — Monroe looks like a team that can make a deep playoff run, a team with a purpose this season, but the Tornadoes will be starting a new season this week after suffering a bitter, 17-14, loss to city rival Westover in the Region 1-AAAA opener on Saturday night.

The loss drops Monroe from the top of The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll to all the way out of the poll, because the loss came to Westover, which dropped out of the poll a week earlier with a 42-28 loss to Lee County. It also will likely knock Monroe out of the Class AAAA Top 10 state poll.

Westover’s victory moves the Patriots back into The Herald’s poll at No. 5 with a 2-2 record, and Monroe can’t be ranked higher than Westover, which means the Tornadoes are out of the Fab 5 poll this week.

Everyone else in the poll won and moved up a notch. Bainbridge moves up from No. 2 and is now the top-ranked team in the poll.

The Bearcats lost on opening night to Florida powerhouse East Gadsden but have not lost to a team from Georgia and are coming off a big 38-14 win against Class AAAAAA Westlake. Bainbridge will stay at No. 1 for a while, because the Bearcats have a bye week before playing state-ranked Thomas County Central in their Region 1-AAAAA opener in Thomasville on Oct. 5.

Lee County is the only unbeaten team in the poll at 4-0, and the Trojans are rolling with one of the top-ranked offenses in the state. They racked up 42 points last week against Class AAAAAA Morrow in a 42-6 rout, and have scored 185 points in four games. Early County moves from No. 4 to No. 3. The Bobcats are 3-1 and their only loss was to Bainbridge, which hung on in the final seconds and stopped a two-point conversion run to win, 14-12.

Early County faces its biggest obstacle of the season this week when the Bobcats travel to Brooks County to play the No. 2-ranked Class AA team in Georgia in the Region 1-AA opener.

Americus-Sumter has been remarkable the past two weeks, winning despite the turmoil and confusion of losing head coach Michael Pollock, who hasn’t been on the sidelines with the team because of an incident at practice.

The Panthers have had two impressive wins in Pollock’s absence. Offensive coordinator Chris Wade is running the team, and the coach and the kids say the key now is to just stay focused on football.

They have done an incredible job, considering everything that has happened, and are coming off a 43-0 Region 1-AAAA opening night win against Albany High and look like a contender for the region title.

Westover will also face a huge test on Friday when the Patriots travel to Cairo for a critical region 1-AAAA game. Cairo is the favorite to win the region again, but Westover has visions of winning the first region title in school history. The Patriots took the first step on Saturday when they knocked off Monroe and shook up the Fab 5 Poll.