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FAB 5 POLL: Monroe rejoins Fab 5 at No. 4

It’s beginning to sound like a broken record.

New week, same teams — at least at the top of The Herald Fab 5 Poll

For the third straight week, the top three teams remain unchanged — Lee County, Seminole County and Westover are ranked 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

The Monroe Tornadoes, winners of three straight, rejoin the poll and grab the fourth spot after beating last week’s No. 4 in Americus-Sumter, 34-10. The Nadas began the season in the Fab 5 but quickly dropped out after a 1-3 start — but now Monroe seems to be hitting its stride at the perfect time.

Crisp County, last week’s No. 5, remains fifth after giving Westover a scare in a 17-3 loss last week.

Lee County will get its stiffest test of the season when they travel to meet Thomas County Central on Friday night in battle of Region 1-AAAAA leaders. The Trojans have been dominant so far and could add to an already impressive resume by topping the Jackets. Friday’s game will also have a major impact in the Region 1-AAAAA standings.

Seminole County continues to steam roll its opponents. While so much has been made of the Indians’ explosive offense, Seminole’s defense recorded its second shutout of the season last week against Stewart County.

The Indians have overpowered their competition. That likely won’t change anytime soon. Of Seminole’s final remaining opponents, only Mitchell County has a winning record. Seminole plays host to the Eagles in its regular-season finale on Nov. 8.

Westover is a lot like Seminole, using a crushing defense to win games. The Patriots, who won their third straight, have allowed just 25 points since Region 1-AAAA play began. If Westover can dispose of Americus-Sumter this week, they should be heavily favored in their final three games against Dougherty, Worth County and Albany, none of whom have a winning record.

Monroe makes the biggest move this week. The Tornadoes played their most complete game of the season last Thursday, winning all three phases of the contest. Reigning Herald Player of the Year Charles Stafford finished with 326 all-purpose yards, including 247 yards passing.

Meanwhile, the special teams set up one score, recovering a fumble on a punt return. Then the defense tacked on more points, using a 64-yard fumble recovery from Cornelius Jenkins to build an insurmountable lead.

“We challenged our kids to put together a complete game,” Monroe coach Charles Truitt said. “When we put everything together like this, we’re a tough team.”

Of the five teams in the Fab 5 Poll, Crisp County may be the most inexperienced. However, the Cougars have been in every game they’ve lost this season. Not only did Crisp play perennial state power Valdosta tough earlier this year, they lost tough games to Cairo and Westover, two games that were closer than the scores indicated.


HERALD FAB 5 POLL

1. Lee County (6-0)

The Trojans were off last week and play perhaps their biggest game of the year Friday night when they travel to meet Thomas County Central. Lee has cruised so far this season, but the Jackets Nest in Thomasville can be an intimidating place.

Next: at Thomas County Central, Friday, 8 p.m.

2. Seminole County (6-0)

The Indians showed mercy against Stewart County last week in a 38-0 rout. Seminole’s defense has been lights out. In two Region 1-A games, they have allowed just eight points. They have not allowed a score in seven straight quarters.

Next: vs. Calhoun County, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

3. Westover (4-2)

The Patriots keep rolling and scored a key Region 1-AAAA victory over Crisp County last week. The way Westover keeps winning, it would normally elevate them to higher rankings in the Fab 5 poll. However, Lee County and Seminole County keep rolling, too.

Next: vs. Americus-Sumter, Thursday, 7 p.m.

4. Monroe (4-3)

The Tornadoes played perhaps their best game of the season last Thursday and routed Americus-Sumter 34-10. Monroe gets an extra week to enjoy its big win. The Tornadoes may be peaking at the right time.

Next: vs. Crisp County, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.

5. Crisp County (3-3)

Despite a loss to Westover, Crisp County slips into the rankings this week. The Cougars were a few plays from upending the first-place Patriots. The game wasn’t officially secured until a late Westover defensive stand. You could hear more from the Cougars this year.

Next: vs. Worth County, Friday, 7:30 p.m.