With two weeks left in the regular season, there’s a new team making its debut in The Herald’s Fab 5 poll — the Mitchell County Eagles.
Otherwise, the first four spots remain the same with Lee County, Seminole County, Westover and Monroe at Nos. 1-4, respectively.
The Eagles broke into the poll after Crisp County, last week’s No. 5, suffered a 24-21 setback to Monroe.
Mitchell has steadily improved since losing three of its first four to start the season. The Eagles have won five straight Region 1-A games behind an offense that can score plenty of points and a defense that has allowed just 8.6 points per game in region play.
The Eagles scored a 20-2 victory over Calhoun County last week and take Friday night off. Their regular-season finale is on Nov. 8 at Seminole County, a game that will decide the Region 1-A title. Mitchell County coach Larry Cornelius was thankful for the challenge Calhoun presented.
“We’ve had several blowouts in our last three or four games, so it was good to have to play four quarters,” he said.
Perhaps the biggest victory of the week was Lee County’s 44-7 rout of Harris County just a week after the Trojans were pounded at Thomas County Central. The victory put Lee into the playoffs. The Trojans can improve their seeding by beating Northside-Columbus and Bainbridge. If that happens and Thomas County Central wins out, Lee would finish no worse than second in the region.
“We challenged our kids to respond,” Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio said. “We wanted to come out and make a statement, and we think we did that (Friday) night.”
Seminole County continues to light up the scoreboard as well as its opponents to improve to 8-0 on the season and remain at No. 2 in the poll. The Indians, who got four touchdowns from Javon Wiggins, continue to sit in a tie for first-place in the Region 1-A standings with Mitchell County.
The two teams meet on Nov. 8 in Donalsonville.
Westover continued its winning ways last Saturday, jumping out to an early 17-0 lead and cruising to a 31-6 victory over Dougherty.
It might have been easy for the Patriots to overlook the Trojans, who haven’t won a game this season.
“These guys understand the ramifications of each game, which is what we have to do to be a championship-style football team,” Westover coach Octavia Jones said.
The Patriots need just one more win to capture their first region title in school history.
Monroe continues its hold of No. 4, coming from behind to capture a wild win over Crisp County last week. The Tornadoes trailed 21-12, then used two fourth quarter scores to take a 24-21 lead. Their defense then held off a furious Crisp rally as game officials ruled the potential go-ahead touchdown caught by Crisp’s Landon Whitman was out of bounds in the endzone.
Monroe plays its biggest game of the season this week at Cairo. The winner will take over sole-possession of second in Region 1-AAAA with one week left.
“This is where we want to be,” Monroe coach Charles Truitt said. “But we’ve got to get better.”
HERALD FAB 5 POLL
1. Lee County (7-1) – The Trojans scored a huge bounce-back win over defending Region 1-AAAAA champion Harris County last week. Lee can secure a first-round home playoff game by winning its final two games against Northside-Columbus and Bainbridge.
Next: vs. Northside-Columbus, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
2. Seminole County (8-0) – The Indians continue to roll. However, their two most important games on the schedule await them – Miller County and Mitchell County. If they win both, there’s a chance Seminole could be the top seed in the GHSA Class A public school playoffs.
Next: at Miller County, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
3. Westover (6-2) – Just one more win and the Patriots will clinch the Region 1-AAAA title. The good news for Westover is they’ll play their final two games against Worth County and Albany at friendly Hugh Mills Stadium.
Next: vs. Worth County, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
4. Monroe (5-3) – A thrilling come-from-behind win over Crisp County was the best local game of the season. The Tornadoes can’t enjoy it very long. They’ll meet Cairo with the winner taking sole possession of second place in Region 1-AAAA.
Next: at Cairo, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
5. Mitchell County (6-3) – Quietly, Mitchell has won five straight and six of seven and has a chance to win the Region 1-A title. The Eagles, with their passing attack, are a dangerous football team
Next: at Seminole County, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.