The Westover Patriots had the kind of victory Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium that could define a season.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, the Lee County and Seminole County football teams have been simply unbeatable this year.
So despite Westover’s dramatic win against Region 1-AAAA powerhouse Cairo, the Patriots remain at No. 3 in The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll behind Lee County and Seminole County, who are both undefeated.
It was still a defining night for the Patriots, who snapped Cairo’s 24-game region winning streak and beat the Syrupmakers for the first time in 20 years.
“We talked (last) week about our seniors leaving a legacy … making the playoffs and hosting a first-round playoff game as the (region’s) No. 2 seed,” Westover coach Octavia Jones said after the game. “There is only one way to better that, and that was to win (Friday) and hopefully win the region.”
Lee County (5-0) has been in the No. 1 spot since Week 1 but had its top ranking in jeopardy early Friday when Dodge County jumped out to a 7-0 lead and led for the entire first quarter. Ohio State commit and Dynamite Dozen QB Stephen Collier and the Trojans’ offense finally got things rolling and survived for a 28-14 win.
The Trojans have won 16 straight non-region games in the regular season and will open Region 1-AAAAA play Friday at Hardaway.
Seminole County was off last week but last played Sept. 20 in a 42-12 win against then-No. 3 Pelham, which fell to No. 5 after the loss and then dropped out of the poll this week after a 24-0 loss to Fitzgerald.
Seminole County (4-0) is ranked No. 1 in the state’s Class A public school power rankings and has outscored opponents 126-39. Two of their victories (Pelham and Early County) came against Class AA teams.
Bainbridge (2-2) is hanging on to the No. 4 spot in the Fab 5 Poll after a bye week, but the Bearcats are facing one of their toughest tests of the season Friday when they host Thomas County Central, one of the top teams in all of South Georgia. The Bearcats were shut out for the second time this season two weeks ago in a 36-0 loss to Westlake, but Bainbridge has also posted two shutouts of its own this season and has a defense that can keep it in any game.
The newcomer to the Fab 5 Poll is Americus-Sumter, which is tied for first in the Region 1-AAAA standings with Westover at 2-0. The Panthers are 3-2 overall and their two losses to Kendrick and Macon County were both by single digits. Americus, which was led by Dynamite Dozen QB Jonathan Thomas on Friday, is off this weekend before playing again Oct. 11 against Monroe at Hugh Mills Stadium.
HERALD FAB 5 POLL
1. Lee County (5-0)
The Trojans wrapped up their non-region schedule with a 28-14 win against Dodge County, an underwhelming Class AAA team that surprisingly gave Lee some early trouble. A challenging Region 1-AAAAA schedule begins Friday.
Next: at Hardaway, 7:30 p.m. Friday
2. Seminole County (4-0)
The Indians were off last week but rose to No. 1 in the Class A public school state power rankings during their bye week. They will try to keep their undefeated season alive against a surging Terrell County team.
Next: at Terrell County, 7:30 p.m. Friday
3. Westover (3-2)
The Patriots defeated Cairo for the first time in 20 years for a victory that would typically lift a team in the Fab 5 Poll. Unfortunately for Westover, Lee and Seminole are both undefeated. The Patriots get an extra week to savor their win before hosting Crisp County on Oct. 11.
Next: vs. Crisp County, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11
4. Bainbridge (2-2)
The Bearcats have either been held scoreless or posted a shutout in all four of their games this season. It doesn’t get any tougher than Friday when the Bearcats host TCC.
Next: vs. Thomas County Central, 8 p.m. Friday
The Panthers are above .500 for the first time in the Reggie Mitchell era and are tied atop the Region 1-AAAA standings with Westover.
Next: at Monroe, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10