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MAHONE: Clayton County still producing good teams, talent

Sometimes it sounds like coachspeak.

At every opportunity coaches and players in Clayton County will say that football in the county is among the best in the state.

Often times programs are perceived good at how they produce in the postseason. Lovejoy bolted into the “contender” and “program” status with consecutive trips to the state finals in their classification.

The Wildcats yearly produce top college football level talent. And they certified themselves to be in the conversation as a one of the best programs in the state.

The only thing missing from the Lovejoy resume is a state championship. And many think this could be the year.

The county has produced an assortment of players that are rated high by the various online recruiting services. And this year is no different.

Preston Williams is considered the state’s top wide receiver

Last season, two of the county’s nine teams reached the postseason with Mundy’s Mill advancing to the Class AAAAA quarterfinals.

Lovejoy lost at home to South Georgia power Lowndes in the second round of the state’s highest classification. The Wildcats finished out of the final Top 10 rankings following that lost, but it is evidence that the name Lovejoy still carries wait around the state.

Lovejoy enters Friday’s season-opener against Mundy’s Mill ranked in the majority of the state preseason polls. The Wildcats are No. 6 in the latest Georgia Sportswriters Association poll.

Count them among the state’s elite.

Jonesboro and Mundy’s Mill are right in the conversation of teams to watch. With a talented junior class, which includes several players ranked among the top in the state, Jonesboro still might be a year away.

However, they will definitely be one of the teams to keep an eye on this season.

Everybody wants to know if Mundy’s Mill is a contender or pretender. Last year, they came close to reaching the Class AAAAA semifinals.

However, two of its best players, along with several other members of the state quarterfinals team are now playing in college.

Was last year the start of something special for the Tigers’ program, or just a case of everything going right with the mixture of good coaching and solid talent.

For Clayton County football to continue to be in the conversation with the likes of the Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb counties, they will have to continue to produce on the field. And there is no question that there is enough good coaching and solid talent to keep the county in that conversation.

Not to mention that the fielder middle school programs are still loaded with talent.

As the season kicks off on Friday, look for another great year by the county schools.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com. On Twitter? @DerrickMahone_