Southern Football Report Region Preview: Region 1-AA

High School FootballEvery season Region 1-AA is one of the most competitive regions in all the state regardless of classification. The top dogs in the region duke it out for home field advantage in the playoffs while the next tier of teams play spoiler and fight it out for the final playoff spots. There have been two newcomers in the region over the last couple years in Seminole County and Pelham who have yet to make a splash in region play but are poised to compete for a playoff spot in 2015.

2014 Region 1-AA Standings
Brooks County Trojans 10-3 (5-1)
Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes 12-2 (5-1)
Thomasville Bulldogs 6-4 (5-1)
Berrien Rebels 4-6 (2-4)
Early County Bobcats 3-6-1 (2-4)
Pelham Hornets 4-6 (1-5)
Seminole County Indians 4-6 (1-5)

The Brooks County Trojans have reached the state semifinals in each of the last two seasons but couldn’t quite make it to the championship game in the Georgia Dome but are set to make a serious run at the Dome in 2015 with the return of star quarterback Demontay Jones. Year in and year out Brooks County is one of those south Georgia teams who no one really wants to play because of their hard nosed defensive style and wide open offense loaded with athletes. The Trojans and Coach Freeman want to take back the region crown but that will all hinge on the October 16th meeting with Fitzgerald on the road.

The Purple Hurricanes hit a snag in 2013 with only 6 wins, snapping their nine year streak of double digit win seasons but were back to the old ways in 2014 with the Region 1-AA title and a trip to the state semifinals. Gone is quarterback Gerald Morgan but everyone else from a loaded offense and defense are back to repeat as region champs and earn a birth in the championship game in Atlanta. Fitzgerald rarely has a down year and 2015 definitely will not be one of those.

Every season it’s the same song and dance for the Thomasville Bulldogs; they play one of the toughest non-region schedules, end up with a poor win-loss record to start the season before marching through Region 1-AA towards the playoffs. Last season all of Thomasville’s non-region opponents made the playoffs and had a combined record of 37-14. They will play the same bunch of schools before region play in 2015 but do get Fitzgerald and Brooks County at home.

It’s year 3 under Head Coach Ed Pilcher where typically mass improvement will be had by the team which is exactly what the Rebel fans in Nashville are hoping for from Berrien in 2015. They did squeak into the playoffs in 2014 and will be looking for more this season but will have to do so with a lot of inexperienced but talented players. The Rebels will also get Brooks County, Fitzgerald & Thomasville at home this season which never a bad thing.

The Early County Bobcats just couldn’t get over the hump in 2014 losing to every region opponent other than Seminole County and Pelham by an average margin of 18 points but will look to rebound in 2015 with a more veteran group on both offense and defense. Head Coach Trey Woolf has become the patron saint of coaches in southwest Georgia after a lot of turnover around him and will look to lead the Bobcats back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 when they made it all the way to the quarterfinals.

There is a new coach in Pelham and it is one who the locals know all to well in Dondrial Pinkins who was a star player for the Hornets’ cross county rival Mitchell-Baker, now known as Mitchell County. Pinkins takes over a program in much better shape than when former head coach Frankie Carroll found it and will look to replace some star power on offense but will open it up from the wing-T that Carroll ran.

The Seminole County Indians were in a rebuilding season in 2014 and also playing in a new larger, more competitive region which all culminated in a 4-6 season and Head Coach Alan Ingram to retire after 11 seasons in Donalsonville. Wes Williams is the new head coach but the Indians won’t be deviating too much away from what has made Seminole County successful in the past; power running game and a strong defense. The Indians lost a lot of seniors last season so there will be a lot of new faces on the field but the Indians are never void of talented young players.

Everyone around the state knows that Region 1-AA is a one of the most difficult regions in the state but to the coaches and players, it’s just another Friday night against a quality team every week. It’s obvious that Fitzgerald and Brooks County will be the favorites to make a run at the region championship but there is a log jam of good teams right behind them that will be trying to knock the two big dogs off their perch in 2015.

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