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August 11, 2008

GA Top 50 Teams Countdown: 50-41

High school football in the Peach State is just around the corner and excitement is in the air. This week GAVarsity.com will reveal our top 50 teams in the state heading into the 2008 season. Today we reveal #s 50-41.

50. Flowery Branch Falcons
The Falcons have evolved into one of Class AAA's better teams in just six years of varsity play, having won 30 of its past 36 games. The offense will have to endure the departure of perhaps the program's best player to date—quarterback Jaybo Shaw who is now a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket. The Falcons offense will now be in the hands of Jaybo's younger brother Connor, a rising junior who could be a top recruit himself this time next year. The offense will also feature West Hall transfer
Daniel Drummond, a bruising fullback who is headed to the Georgia Tech. Izaan Cross is the marquee attraction on defense. Cross stands at 6-foot-2, 253 pounds and has offers from schools across the South.
49. Baldwin Braves
The Braves will compete in AAA after spending the last 30 years in Class AAAA. The team's staple should be its defense, led by hard-hitting linebacker
Corico Hawkins, who notched 126 tackles as a junior. In all, seven starters return on defense and six are back on offense, including last year's leading rusher Jerrico Ford. The Braves seem to be a sure bet to return to the playoffs this year after missing out last year for the first time in four years, despite winning eight games.
48. Clinch Co. Panthers
The Panthers have been one of Class A's strongest teams the last two years, going 23-6 and deep into the playoffs. The Panthers lost to Emanuel County Institute in the semifinals last year after losing in the finals to Lincoln County the year before. They may have been one of the best three-loss teams in the state with its losses coming to Charlton County, Coffee and E.C.I. Clinch should contend again for the Class A title.
47. East Coweta Indians
After a 10-2 season, its best in six years, the Indians will be under the direction of first-year Head Coach Clint Wade, who replaces Danny Cronic, the Indians coach the last 18 years. Wade inherits nine starters from last year's team, including one of the state's fastest running backs in
Henry Dixon.
46. Calhoun Yellow Jackets
The Calhoun Yellow Jackets have been a model of consistency in Class AA with seven consecutive seasons of double-digit victories. 15 starters are back from last year's 10-2 squad, including nine on a defense which features one of the state's best defensive tackles in
Eric McDaniel.
45. Lovett Lions
Head Coach Mike Muschamp has quickly turned Lovett into one of Class AA's most feared teams. The Lions are 31-10 since his arrival in 2005 and reached the state finals last year for the first time since 1970. They ran into Buford in the finals, a game they would most likely want to keep in the very back in the memory bank after coming up on the wrong end of a 50-0 blowout. The Lions were hit hard by graduation, but should still be a threat in AA.
44. Henry Co. Warhawks
If you like offense, you might want to check out the Henry County Warhawks this year. The 'Hawks average 32 points per game during last year's 10-win season, the best season in the school's history. The offense could actually be better after the moving down to AA from AAA and with 7 offensive starters returning, including one of the state's best pitch-and-catch combos in QB
Drew Little and WR Jamal Patterson. Throw in one of the state's top junior wide receiver prospects in Markeith Ambles, a transfer from Griffin, and nine starters back on defense and Henry County could be a serious contender in Class AA.
43. Whitewater Wildcats
It has not taken Whitewater long to become a force in Class AAAA. Coach Amos McCrary's team is 31-10 in four years and made it to the semifinals for the first time last year. Whitewater's three losses in '07 came to Class 5A power Newnan, Fayette County and Thomas County Central, two of the best teams in Class 4A last year. Whitewater will have talented players like
Zach Mann and Thomas Frierson back in the fold.
42. Thomasville Bulldogs
After a couple of years of mediocrity, the Bulldogs returned to their winning ways, winning 10 games and going deep into the playoffs. A key contributor to last year's success was
Tyrone Williams, a talented running back and linebacker who's back in the mix and has already committed to the University of South Florida. The Seminoles certainly had to be one of the best teams not to make the playoffs last year, winning seven regular season games and playing eventual 4A champ Northside-Warner Robins as close as any body in last year's regular season.
41. Westside-Macon Seminoles
The Seminoles welcome back an abundance of talent that should be enough to get them into the playoffs this year with Northside now in Class 5A. Quarterback Orrin McFadden is back to lead the offense after accounting for 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior. His primary target will be
Danny Madison, a Division-I prospect. The defense features one of the state's best and most underappreciated linebackers in Julian Burnett.

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