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Four-Down Territory: The 2014 Debut

Original Publish Date: 
August 22, 2014

By Walter L. Johnson II

Metro Contributing Sports Writer

 

Welcome to the 2014 debut of “Four-Down Territory”, a weekly look at four of the top high school football games in Southwest Georgia.
A lot of things have changed since both the Lee County Trojans and the Westover Patriots won their respective region championships, with the Trojans winning the GHSA Region 1-AAAAA championship, and the Patriots capturing the 1-AAAA title.
Since both teams seasons ended abruptly in the second round of the state playoffs last November, the Trojans from Leesburg were stunningly moved up to Class AAAAAA, while the Patriots from Albany remained in Class AAAA, only to find that Thomas County and Bainbridge were sent down from Class AAAAA.
Still, 2014 could shape up to be one of the more interesting prep football seasons in recent memory. But Week 1 is only just the beginning.  Having said that, let’s get to this week’s games.
Fitzgerald at Worth County: The GHSA Class AAAA Rams will welcome the Class AA Purple Hurricanes to Sylvester, as they begin their second season under head coach Jason Tone.
After a 3-7 finish in 2013, Tone and the Rams hope to thrust themselves into playoff contention in 2014. The return of rising junior Zytavious Anderson in the offensive backfield could provide the difference as to whether or not Worth County returns to postseason play after sitting at home for the first time since 2008, when the Rams finished 5-5 overall, but found themselves on the outside looking in.
Perry at Monroe: The Tornadoes open the 2014 season with a non-region contest against the Panthers out of Middle Georgia, coming off of a 6-5 finish, with their 2013 season ending a first-round playoff loss to Wayne County. This Saturday’s contest marks the first regular season game at Hugh Mills Stadium for this season.
While the Tornadoes will be led defensively by recently committed Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Brentavious Glanton, they also face serious issues on the offensive side of the football, as quarterback Charles Strafford is now at Albany State.
Since becoming the head coach in 2004, Charles Truitt has taken the Tornadoes to the state playoffs seven times, including a region title in 2006, yet have never advanced past the quarterfinal round. They’ll face a Panthers team that has put up similar results over the last decade, advancing to the playoffs eight times dating back to 2003, but advancing to the quarterfinals only once, in 2007.
Colquitt County vs. Mill Creek (Corky Kell Classic at Powder Springs, Ga.): The Packers will open the 2014 season in Metro Atlanta against a Mill Creek team that barely missed the playoffs after finishing the 2013 campaign at 6-4.  After being eliminated in the state semifinals in each of the lasttwo years, Colquitt hopes to finally get over the hump, and win it all in 2014.
Game Of The Week—Westover at Lee County: This Saturday, at 1 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, the rest of America will get to see what high school fans in Southwest Georgia have known for so many years, as the Trojans from Leesburg will host the Patriots from Albany, on ESPNU.
This contest will mark the national television debut of one of the top defensive players in the nation in Trent Thompson. Thompson, of course, only recently committed to the University of Georgia, in an announcement that was televised live statewide, and even shown on video.  With that decision behind him, he can now focus on what’s most important, getting the Patriots back to the state playoffs, and beyond.
As for Lee County, while the Trojans will return plenty of talent from last year’s GHSA Region 1-AAAAA title team, they must replace Stephen Collier, who’s now at Ohio State, quarterback. If that wasn’t enough, they must also adjust to playing in the ultra-tough GHSA Region 1-AAAAAA, thanks to reclassification.
No matter what the outcome of this weekend’s contest, both the Patriots and Trojans will be facing tremendous challenges in getting back to postseason play this fall.
 
For the most up-to-date high school football coverage, please visit the High School Football Roundup Blog athttp://hsfbroundup.tumblr.com/. You can also follow HSFR on Twitter @swganetwork.