Region 8, which featured only 10 teams during the 2004-05 seasons, has expanded
to 13 as the 2006 season begins. The only difference is Dacula dropped down
from Class AAAAA, Winder-Barrow moved back up a class and Alcovy begins
its first season as Newton County's newest school. The A subregion will
consist of Clarke Central, Dacula, Habersham Central, Jackson County, Loganville,
Madison County and Winder-Barrow. Alcovy, Cedar Shoals, Eastside, Heritage,
Rockdale County and Salem make up the B subregion.
Dacula lost its first game
last year to Brookwood, then reeled off 12 straight wins until Brookwood
eliminated the Falcons in the Class AAAAA semifinals. Dacula's drop in
classification doesn't mean it will be any easier, but the Falcons return
a solid group of returners to mount a challenge for the region title and
to make a deep postseason run. Dacula boasts one of the state's top running
back prospects in senior Cole Brodie (5-10, 180).
After Dacula, the subregion
appears to be a toss-up. Clarke Central had its worst season since 2001
when it went 4-6 last year. The Gladiators were young and inexperienced
but should be improved. A pair of senior offensive line standouts return
in Ben Morris (6-0, 240) and Demetrius Edwards (6-1, 235). A pair of skill
players in senior wide receiver Josh Hurst (6-5, 185) and senior safety
Dominique Faust (6-0, 175) also return.
Habersham Central and Madison
County both made the playoffs last year and are expected to be contenders
once again. Loganville and Winder-Barrow could also contend after both
posted .500 seasons in 2005. Jackson County isn't likely to improve upon
last year's 2-8 record.
The B subregion will continue
to be dominated by Rockdale County schools. Despite Salem losing coach
Frank Caputo, the Seminoles along with Rockdale County will be the two
teams to beat in their subregion. Keep an eye on Rockdale County defensive
standout Branden Sheppard-Harris (6-1, 185), a solid Division I prospect
Heritage and Cedar Shoals both
went 6-4 last year and just missed the playoffs. They both could contend.
Things aren't expected to get better for Eastside, which finished 0-10
last year. Alcovy will be too young and inexperienced in its first season