Power-packed group of teams in Region 5-AAAA

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, July 28, 2018


Daily News

They were two of the state’s top gun-slingers.

Region 5-AAAA had two of Georgia’s top high-school quarterbacks last season in Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence and Troup’s Montez Crowe.

Both of them have graduated and are on college rosters, leaving those teams with a major hole to fill.

Also having to replace a talented quarterback is Cedartown, which will take the field without Trevon Wofford, who had a phenomenal season.

Despite that, all three teams are expected to field strong teams again this season, and the region as a whole figures to be one of the best in the state.

Cartersville has won two of the past three state championships, the Troup and Cedartown programs are trending upward, Chapel Hill could be poised for a breakout season,

Sandy Creek and Central-Carroll figure to be greatly improved under second-year coaches, and LaGrange is feeling optimistic under new head coach Chuck Gibbs.

Troup head Tanner Glisson, whose team could contend for the region title, expects it to be a tough road for all of the region’s teams.

“Cedartown’s going to be good. They’ve got two good running backs,” Glisson said. “I’m hearing good things about Sandy Creek that they’re ready to bounce back a little bit. I think the last couple of years Chapel Hill has been right on the verge of taking the next step. I think coach (Darius) Smiley and his group at Central-Carroll are one of the best-coached teams. They just haven’t had the athletes. They’re doing it the right way. They’ll have a bunch of seniors that might not be four-stars, but they’ve been in the program. It’s going to be tough.

“And then LaGrange getting a new coach, they’ll be excited. So it’ll be a very difficult.”

The top four teams will advance to the state playoffs, and the top two finishers will host a playoff game.

Here’s a look at the teams in the region:


The Tigers lost Montez Crowe to graduation, but nearly every other key player returns, including a handful of future SEC players.

Defensive lineman and linebacker King Mwikuta (Alabama), quarterback/wide receiver Kobe Hudson (Auburn) and defensive lineman Andy Boykin (Auburn) have already committed to SEC schools.

A handful of other players, including defensive lineman Joko Willis and wide receiver Jamari Thrash, are still weighing their multiple options.

The list of talented players goes on and on with men like Kevin Martin (linebacker), Mark-Anthony Dixon (wide receiver), and Trey Williams (running back) ready to show what they can do.

“Expectations are real high across the state,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “People are thinking about Troup. (An interviewer) asked me what do I think the biggest challenge is, and it’s probably that, the outside expectations. It can be good, and be bad.

“But the expectations are no higher than what we put on ourselves.”


The Grangers hit bottom with a winless season, and they’ll look to get things moving in the right direction this year under new head coach Chuck Gibbs.

Gibbs’ message to every player on the roster is that “it’s a team sport.”

“All three phases better complement each other,” he said. “You have to have one team with one heartbeat and one mission, and that’s to get out of Friday night with as little injuries as possible, and hopefully a W. We’re going to use every facet we can to give ourselves a chance.”

Gibbs inherits a team that, despite last year’s struggles, has talent on both sides of the ball.

Linebackers Dexter Fitzpatrick and Vondez Taylor both had productive 2017 seasons, and Gibbs believes defensive lineman and offensive lineman Jonathan Sutton has NFL potential.

Offensively, LaGrange has some big-time play-makers, including wide receivers Jordan Ogletree, Kayo Bradfield and running backs Myles Johnson and Laracco Glaze.


Everyone is chasing Cartersville, which has won the past two Region 5-AAAA titles.

Even without Trevor Lawrence, who is at Clemson, Cartersville figures to a strong contender for a third state title in four years.

Stepping in to replace Lawrence will be 6-foot-3 Tee Webb, who got plenty of playing time last year because of all the blowouts.

Webb is so gifted that he was receiving major-college offers while he was still in middle school.

Other key returnees for Cartersville include Kaleb Chatmon and Jackson Lowe, wide receivers who both have numerous college offers.


What a debut it was for Doyle Kelley as Cedartown’s head coach.

Cedartown went 11-2, finished second in the region to Cartersville, and reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs before falling to Marist.

Cedartown, like Troup and Cartersville, is having to replace a gifted quarterback, but it helps to have running backs Tony Mathis and Kobe Pryor returning.

Pryor had nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards last season, and Mathis scored 28 touchdowns, so opposing defenses will have their hands full when trying to slow down those two.


The Lions went 3-7 last year, but that was nonetheless a step forward after a winless 2017 season.

Central will look for better things in its second season under head coach Darius Smiley.

Smiley will welcome back quarterback Landon Schulenburg, as well as his favorite receiver, Braxton Edge.

Those two connected for a 58-yard touchdown against Heard County last season.


The Panthers return most of their offensive weapons, including dynamic quarterback K.J. Burton, who accounted for nearly 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Joshua Milfort returns as the Panthers’ top running back, and defensive back Miles Richardson has committed to Wofford.

“We want to be more physical,” Panthers head coach Justin DeShon said last week. “We want to be extremely physical and fast. We want to put our guys in space to make the plays.”