Lee County’s Caleb McDowell (5) tries to get past a teammate during a recent scrimmage at Lee County High School. Sanders and the Trojans are rated No. 1 in preseason rankings for Class 6A and the No.4 team overall in Georgia behind Colquitt County, Grayson and Archer.

The preseason Maxwell Ratings for Georgia high school football teams were released Monday morning in Atlanta and the defending state champion Lee County Trojans top the list for Class 6A. While that is nothing new for Lee County, it is interesting to note that in Class 6A, three of Lee County’s region foes are right behind the Trojans. Northside of Warner Robins was second, Valdosta was third and Coffee was fourth. The Maxwell Ratings, compiled by mathematician and Georgia High School Football Historians Association founder Loren Maxwell, have projected the region finishes of all 422 football-playing schools in the GHSA.

“It really is not surprising,” said Head Coach Dean Fabrizio. “Our region is always tough. Every time we play a region game it is like playing a semifinal game. Each of the teams in the region are strongly competitive.”

Last year, the Trojans won the state title by beating Northside Warner Robins. the previous year the Trojans took the title over Coffee. So, the region continues to be the toughest in Class 6A football.

“Preseason ratings are what they are — preseason,” the coach said. “We tell our guys all the time a lot of this is based on what happened in the past. This is a new team and we have to go out and make our own mark with this new team. We don’t get a 7-0 start just because we are highly ranked.”

Fabrizio said he and the Trojans appreciated being ranked high but said it is not something that will give the Trojans an air over-confidence.

“We were ranked first wire-to-wire last year and ranked first most of the year before,” Fabrizio said. “Our kids are used to it. They know they have to perform on the field.”

The Trojans will be on the field this week preparing for a Thursday night scrimmage in Leesburg against Tift County. Tift County is a powerhouse in its own right, landing as the ninth-ranked team in Class 7A. Lee County will be using the scrimmage as a way to help make final decision on starters for the regular season opener.

“We are going to use this scrimmage as a way to give our guys another chance to compete for playing time,” the coach said. “We are not all caught up in winning a scrimmage, we are looking to find who fits best and wants to compete. We are going to run a lot players in and out and give them a chance to work.”

Another southern Georgia powerhouse — Colquitt County — was rated No. 1 in Class 7A. Atlanta area teams Grayson and Archer were listed second and third, respectively. Lowndes landed at fourth, Tift County ninth and Camden County 15th. No teams in the area in Class 3A or 4A were listed in the top 25, but Westover and Dougherty foe Cairo was listed at No. 10 in Class 4A. In Class A, Pelham came in at No. 7 and Mitchell County landed at No. 11.

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