New Lovejoy coach Edgar Carson’s team will start the season ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAAA in the Georgia Sportswriters Association Preseason Prep Poll. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
It is no secret that expectations are high this season for the Lovejoy Wildcats as they enter the new season.
When you have an abundance of talent, including the state’s top wide receiver prospect in Preston Williams, people tend to take notice.
It should come as no surprise that the Wildcats enter the season in just about everyone’s preseason rankings.
The latest, the Georgia Sportswriters Association Preseason Prep Poll, which was released earlier this week, has the Wildcats at No. 6 in the state in Class AAAAAA.
Lovejoy is the only school from Clayton County that made the rankings, compiled from sportswriters across the state who cover high school football.
The Wildcats, who finished 10-2 last season, were unranked at the end of last season after losing to Lowndes in the second round of the playoffs.
Gwinnett County schools dominated the preseason poll in Class AAAAAA, the state’s largest class. Five of the Top 10 schools were from the county. It is not surprising since a team from the county has won the state’s largest class the last four years.
Archer is Gwinnett’s highest-ranked team at No. 2 with the Tigers receiving two of the eight possible first-place votes. Also ranked is North Gwinnett at No. 4, Mill Creek at No. 5, Norcross at No. 9 and Grayson at No. 10.
Norcross has won the last two state titles in Class AAAAAA. Grayson won in 2011 and Brookwood won the 2010 title.
McEachern, which was ranked No. 4 in last season’s final GSWA poll, enters the season at No. 1.
The Wildcats will play two teams, including McEachern, ranked in the Top 10. Lovejoy will host McEachern on Sept. 19 at Twelve Oaks Stadium.
Tucker, which is ranked No. 7 in the preseason poll, travels to Lovejoy on Halloween night for a key Region 2-AAAAAA contest. This game could decide the region championship.
Tucker moves into the region after reaching last season’s Class AAAAA championship game against Creekside. The Tigers lost that contest at the Georgia Dome to finish 14-1 overall.
Jonesboro finished with three points in the preseason poll voting in Class AAAA. The Cardinals will take on ranked in the preseason.
Jonesboro opens the season next week at No. 3 Sandy Creek, which reached the Class AAAA quarterfinals last season. In the second week of the season, Jonesboro will host Westover, the No. 10 team in the state at Tara Stadium.
Westover is led by Trent Thompson, who is considered the top-rated prospect in the nation at defensive end. He recently committed to Georgia.
Jonesboro will take on No. 2 Griffin, the defending state champions in the classification on Sept. 26 in Griffin. The Bears are led by former Drew and Mount Zion coach Jarrett Laws.
The only other Southern Crescent area team that is ranked is Eagle’s Landing Christian, which is No. 4 in Class A. Last year, the Chargers reached the semifinals. ELCA opens the season on Saturday by hosting No. 6 Mount Paran Christian in McDonough.