National pollsters say lopsided Norcross loss won't hurt other Georgia teams

by: GHSF Daily Updated:

Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker (right) celebrates with assistant coach Howard Flanigan after their 14-7 win over Carrollton in the Class AAA final Saturday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 11, 2010.
ATLANTA —

Fans of Georgia high school football, even those who usually don’t pull for Norcross, found it hard to watch Saturday night’s massacre on ESPN, which televised live the 55-0 victory by Booker T. Washington of Miami against Georgia’s defending state champion in Class AAAAAA.

Georgia will be in the national spotlight again this week.

Colquitt County – the new No. 1 team in AAAAAA – plays nationally ranked Hoover in Alabama. Sandy Creek, No. 1 in AAAA, plays nationally ranked Plant of Tampa.

Stephenson, Carrollton and Eagle’s Landing Christian are playing teams that are ranked in other states.

GHSF Daily asked three national pollsters this week if Norcross’ lopsided defeat will make it hard for other Georgia teams to rise in the national rankings, especially if Norcross (which each pollster had in their preseason top six) still proves to be one of Georgia’s top teams, as most expect.

Here is what they said:

*Jamie Demoney, Prep Nation: “The Norcross game doesn’t really have a significant impact on our opinion of Georgia football overall. After all, Grayson put a similar beating on Miami Central early last season. Grayson did not end up being a state champion in Georgia, while Miami Central ended the year as 6A champion in Florida and is now considered the preseason favorite in the state. These things go back and forth when there are “power state” intrastate matchups and tend to even out more or less in the long run. They are a very good measuring stick but usually in the micro sense rather than the macro.”

Demoney noted that Colquitt County and Sandy Creek are moving into his Southeastern Top 10 this week.

*Dallas Jackson, Rivals: “The simple answer is no. That loss doesn’t cast any light onto other teams from the state because each is graded independent of the other. Teams like North Gwinnett, Colquitt County, Sandy Creek and many others will have opportunities to prove what Georgia can do in upcoming weeks. Fairly or unfairly it really hurts the perception of Norcross nationally. The team is going to stay in our RivalsHigh100 – and I am certain that I will take some flak for it – but from watching that game I feel like that was an exception and not a norm for Norcross. The team had three turnovers inside its own 35, and no matter how good a defense is when it is going against an offense like Booker T. Washington with so many returning starters who are Division I-caliber athletes, that is going to be hard. When it got to 27-0 the game was over, and Norcross knew it. While Washington didn’t call off the dogs and pushed the score to embarrassment, I think that the first team that goes against Norcross believing the Blue Devils are as bad as that 55-0 score will be on the flipside of one themselves.”

Jackson said that North Gwinnett will rise from No. 28 to inside the top 20 this week. He also added, “Sandy Creek could just as easily go hang 50 on Plant next weekend and then we can have the same conversation but in reverse.”

*Stephen Spiewak, MaxPreps: “It was definitely a big blow to Norcross, but it was probably more of a statement of just how good Booker T. Washington is. Since Norcross seemed to be universally considered the state’s top team, it is a blow to Georgia. However, it’s still extremely early in the season. Perhaps in December, it becomes apparent that Norcross wasn’t exactly the team everyone expected them to be. Right now, it’s not as if Norcross’ loss gives us any reason to penalize a team like Sandy Creek in the rankings.”

Five ranked Georgia teams play ranked out-of-state teams this week:

*Colquitt County – Hoover is ranked No. 1 in Alabama’s Class 6A and was 15-0 last season.

*Sandy Creek – Plant is ranked No. 4 in Florida’s Class 8A (highest class) and went 10-2 last season.

*Carrollton – Oxford is ranked No. 12 in Alabama’s Class 6A and beat Carrollton 21-14 in 2012.

*Eagle’s Landing Christian – Briarwood Christian is ranked No. 11 in Alabama’s Class 5A and lost to ELCA 32-7 last season.

*Stephenson – Norland is No. 16 among Class 6A schools in Florida’s large-school rankings and went 8-3 last season.

South Effington will play Bluffton, the No. 10 team in South Carolina’s Class AAAA (highest class). Bowdon will play Woodland, which went 10-3 last season and is the No. 10 team in Alabama’s Class AA. Georgia teams playing unranked out-of-state opponents this week are Camden County (Baker County, Fla.), M.L. King (Blanche Ely, Fla.), Washington-Wilkes (Calhoun Falls, S.C.), Banneker (Eastern Christian Academy, Md.), Dade County (North Sand Mountain, Ala.) and Mount Zion (Ranburne, Ala.).

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