September 1, 2013

Georgia teams off to tough start

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Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Because multiple games are being played on Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend involving nationally ranked teams, the RivalsHigh100 will have a delayed release this week from its customary early Monday unveiling to a Tuesday reveal.

No. 22 Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha, No. 38 Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier, No. 45 Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee, No. 64 Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby, No. 70 Baltimore (Md.) Gilman, and No. 77 Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods are all playing games of consequence that could dramatically affect the rankings.

The half dozen programs that have the attention shown on them hope to perform better than the flag-bearing teams from Georgia have in the early season.

Norcross (Ga.) High, Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek, and Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County have played major out-of-state contests, and none has done anything to bolster the perception of the state.

Norcross was embarrassed by Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington, 55-0, Sandy Creek concluded its contest with Tampa (Fla.) Plant in a 27-27 tie, and Colquitt County was unable to do anything on offense in its 24-10 loss to Hoover (Ala.) High.

The results have knocked the Peach State behind Texas and Florida in the argument for top billing and into a discussion with California, Ohio, and Louisiana for the next rung in 2013. It could prove to be well below that group and into a third tier.

The top team in the state appears to be Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett. The Bulldogs entered the weekend as the No. 16 team in the RivalsHigh100 and blanked a Loganville (Ga.) Grayson team that is replacing 20 of 22 starters, 35-0. It does not figure to move up in the national rankings, but it occupies the top rung of the state rankings.

Below it will be Sandy Creek because the team will fall from the No. 9 ranking nationally on the back of its disappointing performance against Plant.

Gainesville (Ga.) High will remain as the No. 3 team in the state and the top team in Class AAAAA after beating Cumming (Ga.) West Forsyth. The Red Elephants host a quality Buford (Ga.) High this week.

Previously ranked No. 99, Lovejoy (Ga.) High will make a charge up the rankings and move to the No. 4 slot for the state. It has beaten Alpharetta (Ga.) High and Jonesboro (Ga.) Mundy's Mill to open the season and will host Colquitt County this weekend.

Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern is going to debut in the national rankings this week and as the No. 5 team in the state after opening with wins against Snellville (Ga.) Brookwood and Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter. It will have a few lesser opponents coming up on the schedule, but it will play nationally ranked Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb in October and close its regular season with Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove -- which moves into the No. 11 ranking inside the state this week.

Norcross and Colquitt fall just below McEachern at No. 6 and No. 7 in the state. Each has a chance to win a state title and move back up the rankings, but their deficiencies were clearly illustrated in the nationally televised contests.

Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County will remain ranked, but already has a poor performance on the resume as well.

Camden County fell to North Gwinnett in the opening week of the season. It entered this weekend at No. 72 in the nation and defeated Glen St. Mary (Fla.) Baker County in a rebound game.

North Cobb entered the weekend at No. 46 in the RivalsHigh100 and beat Fayetteville (Ga.) Starr's Mill in a 48-7 victory.

The start of the season has been anything but Peachy for Georgia teams, and that will be reflected in the updated rankings.

Uh-oh, Ohio

Like Georgia, the state of Ohio is respected for its high school football but the teams inside the RivalsHigh100 will be fluctuating greatly this week because the play on the field has not aligned with early expectations.

Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius entered the season No. 34 but lost its quarterback and defensive captain before its first game and was dropped to No. 65 because the program has been able to reload in its past.

Its opening game was a 29-20 defeat at the hands of No. 89 Birmingham (Mich.) Brother Rice, and it may not leave much room in the rankings for the Wildcats.

A team certain to leave the RivalsHigh100 is Pickerington (Ohio) Central, which entered the weekend at No. 50 but fell to unranked Centreville (Ohio) High, 38-33.

The preseason evaluation of Pickerington Central was in line with that of Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller, Cincinnati (Ohio) Colerain, Hilliard (Ohio) Davidson and Toledo (Ohio) Whitmer.

All of those teams struggled this weekend, which opens the door for Cincinnati (Ohio) Winton Woods, Massillon (Ohio) Washington and Mentor (Ohio) High to move up in the state and national rankings.

Winton Woods played a quality West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West program on Sunday, and it could be an indicator as to how far up it goes or whether it drops out of the rankings as well.

Mentor and Washington closed the weekend with victories. While Mentor came in at No. 98 nationally and is sure to slide up, Washington was unranked and will be moving into the discussion.

The quality at the top of the state seems to have clearly separated. Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward defeated nationally ranked Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville, 40-24, while Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier bettered Indianapolis (Ind.) Ben Davis, 34-7. St. Edward and St. Xavier were top 25 teams entering the weekend, and each figures to at least hold its spot at No. 11 and No. 21, respectively.

Texas turnstile

It was an early-season separation weekend in Texas. Many of the state's best teams took on one another prior to district play.

Several of the games produced results that will alter the bottom of the top 15 in the state and rotate a few of the victors into the RivalsHigh100.

San Antonio (Texas) Madison was one of the more surprising victories this week. The team was outside of the national rankings but a relevant opponent that took the next step by besting previously No. 24 Cibolo (Texas) Steele, 46-45. The win will push Madison into the rankings, while it will slide Steele down significantly.

In an impressive rally, Lufkin (Texas) High bettered a quality Tyler (Texas) John Tyler team, 52-28, and will move to the No. 12 spot in the state -- just ahead of Madison and Steele but behind Coppell (Texas) High, which eliminated Longview (Texas) High from the rankings picture.

Also moving into the rankings will be Cedar Park (Texas) High, which will take the place of the Austin (Texas) Westlake program that it defeated this weekend.

Much of the top of the state rankings will stay the same. Allen (Texas) High won in impressive fashion against Southlake (Texas) Carroll. Additionally, Katy (Texas) High, DeSoto (Texas) High, Houston (Texas) Lamar and Hosuton (Texas) North Shore claimed victories over unranked opponents.

Cedar Hill (Texas) High downed Denton (Texas) Guyer in a battle of nationally ranked teams, and both will remain in the RivalsHigh100.

Back in business

Philadelphia (Pa.) St. Joseph was one of the first teams to be bounced from the RivalsHigh100 last weekend, falling from No. 85 to just outside before playing a game.

After its 48-27 victory on the road against Dallas (Texas) Jesuit -- combined with an uninspiring performance by Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway -- the Eastern Pennsylvania power will return to the RivalsHigh100 and take over the top spot in the Keystone State.

The ranking could be short-lived or quickly boosted because four of its next five games are against nationally ranked or nationally relevant programs, starting with 2009 RivalsHigh100 national champion Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco.

After it faces the IronMen, St. Joseph will take on Lansdale (Pa.) North Penn at home before road contests against Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood and Wyndmoor (Pa.) La Salle.




 

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