Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Lee County, Houston County to kick off play in wild Region 1

Here are five questions hanging over the heads of Class AAAAAA teams this week, along with the games that will begin to answer them. All games are Friday.

1. Will it be another crazy year in Region 1?

- Lee County at Houston County: Last season, Jake Fromm-led Houston County was ranked No. 1 entering region play but finished in last place and missed the playoffs. It was that kind of year. Now, No. 2 Lee County, No. 3 Coffee and No. 6 Northside appear a step ahead of Valdosta and Houston County (both 1-4). But as Houston knows all too well, anything can happen in this powerful region.

2. Can Jonesboro buck the trend against ranked teams?

- Stephenson at Jonesboro (Tara Stadium): Jonesboro (2-3, 1-1) appears to be the front-runner to earn the No. 4 seed in Region 4, but it has struggled against top-10 teams. The Cardinals’ three losses have come against ELCA (35-7), McEachern (49-10) and Tucker (42-7). Now they face a Stephenson team that entered the rankings this week at No. 9. Stephenson beat Jonesboro 27-0 last year.

3. Can Alexander keep pace at the top of Region 5?

- Northgate at Alexander: Alexander is 2-0 in Region 5 and trails Douglas County by a half-game, but this week it faces its toughest test yet. Northgate has lost twice, but those losses came against Douglas County and Class AAAAA Starr’s Mill, both of which are undefeated and ranked in the top 10. Northgate and Alexander made the playoffs in 2016 and are leading candidates to do it again.

4. Is Chattahoochee ready for its toughest stretch?

- Chattahoochee at Centennial: Chattahoochee has taken the lead in Region 7 with a 3-0 record built off victories against teams (Cambridge, North Atlanta and Dunwoody) that are a combined 1-7 in region play. This week, the Cougars begin a three-game stretch against Centennial, Johns Creek and Pope, which are tied for third place at 2-1 in region play. Centennial won 32-14 last year.

5. Who gets the early lead in the Region 3 race?

- Grovetown at Alcovy: Alcovy finished in last place last season but has a chance to emerge from the weekend on top of the standings when it hosts Grovetown in the first Region 3 game of the year. Alcovy is 3-2 overall, but the Tigers were 1-14 in region games the past three seasons and haven’t reached the playoffs since 2013. Grovetown won 34-0 last year and went on to finish in third place.

*Worth noting: Georgia High School Football Daily has more complete previews of some of this weekend’s top games involving Class AAAAAA teams. Click here to read more about Coffee-Warner Robins and Macon County-Northside (Warner Robins).

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