Unlike the remaining regions in Class AAAA which feature anywhere from nine
to 14 teams, Region 1 has just four schools, meaning all four make the playoffs
regardless of records. However, the same quality football this region has
been known to produce will continue in 2006.
Thomas County Central rebounded
from a dismal 4-6 season in 2004 and finished 10-2 last year, falling
to Lee County 42-41 in their meeting which cost the Yellow Jackets the
region title. Some holes have to be filled but TCC should make a deep
postseason run. The Jackets' nonregion schedule includes higher classification
schools Colquitt County and Tift County and neighboring rival Cairo, a
Class AAA powerhouse, which should have the Jackets prepared by the time
the region schedule begins on Oct. 20 at Americus-Sumter. TCC plays all
of its region games on the road.
Bainbridge had a solid team
last year but ran into eventul state champion Statesboro in the first
round of the playoffs. The Bearcats lost talented fullback/defensive back
Daryl Gamble to graduation, but there is enough talent to make a run at
the region title. Like TCC, Bainbridge plays a rugged nonregion schedule
which will have them prepared for the region slate. The Bearcats don't
play Thomas County Central until the final game of the season in Bainbridge,
which should decide the region title.
After TCC and Bainbridge, the
final two positions are a toss up. Lee County, last year's region champion,
graduated more than 30 seniors after posting one of its better seasons
in school history. The Trojans feature one of the state's top offensive
line prospects in Steve Sutton (6-6, 265), who has drawn considerable
interest from schools such as Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU and
Americus-Sumter has yet to
prove it can compete at the Class AAAA level. The Panthers, who went 3-8
in 2004, slipped to 1-9 last year and dropped their final seven games.
Americus-Sumter lost all of its region games by a combined 166-65. The
Panthers are expected to improve.