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Power poll: Wayne County new No. 1 in first regular-season rankings

The high school football season in Southeast Georgia is only one week old, and a few teams haven’t even played yet.

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But, there is already some movement in our weekly Power Poll which made its debut last Monday in advance of Friday’s opening ballgames across the region.

The most noteworthy change in the poll comes at the top, where the Wayne County Yellow Jackets have moved into the No. 1 spot with their first game coming Friday at Long County.

The preseason No. 1 team, Glynn Academy, dropped to the second spot where the Jackets were originally following their season-opening 37-21 loss at home to Fort Dorchester (S.C.), one of the premier teams in South Carolina’s largest classification.

Also, Camden County, the largest school in our area, has moved from sixth in the poll to fourth this week. That’s the largest forward movement by any team in the rankings.

The Wildcats pulled out an impressive 27-20 home win Friday night over a West Forsyth team that made the Class 7A playoffs last season in the Georgia High School Association.

Three teams who were ranked in the preseason poll all lost last week, so their positioning in the rankings has also changed.

Here is this week’s power poll:

1. Wayne County (0-0, 0-0 Region 2-5A, ranked No. 7)

Last week: Open date.

This week: at Long County

The skinny: The Yellow Jackets have created a lot of buzz in the preseason and have now been put into the top spot. The Jackets are looking to repeat as region champions and make a deep run in the playoffs. They return several starters, including college prospects, on both sides of the ball.

2. Glynn Academy (0-1, 0-0 Region 2-6A)

Last week: Lost 37-21 to Fort Dorchester (S.C.).

This week: Home vs. Washington (Atlanta)

The skinny: The Red Terrors drop a spot in the poll after falling to the Patriots in their opener. Glynn trailed 21-0 after a lackluster first half, but outscored Dorchester 21-16 after halftime. Glynn had a late touchdown called back by penalty.

3. Liberty County (0-0, 0-0 Region 2-3A, ranked No. 8)

Last week: Open date.

This week: at Bradwell Institute

The skinny: The Panthers have won back-to-back region titles while playing 13 games the last two years. Last year, they lost to eventual state champion Calhoun in the state quarterfinals. Ten returning starters on offense are back as Liberty looks to keep winning in 2018.

4. Camden County (1-0, 0-0 Region 1-7A)

Last week: Won 27-20 over West Forsyth.

This week: vs. Wren (S.C.) at Mercer University

The skinny: The Wildcats move up two spots after claiming a hard-fought opening-game win. The Wildcats broke a 20-20 tie with just under seven minutes to go. They finished with 282 total yards while giving up 319.

5. Charlton County (1-0, 0-0 Region 2-A, ranked No. 4)

Last week: Won 28-21 at Frederica Academy

This week: Home vs. Brantley County

The skinny: The Indians pulled out the win with a short interception return by Randy Nelson for the deciding score. Friday’s game included three consecutive kick returns for touchdowns to start the second half, two by Frederica and one by the Indians.

6. Frederica Academy (0-1, 0-0 GISA Region 2-3A)

Last week: Lost 28-21 to Charlton County

This week: Home vs. Valwood

The skinny: The Knights gave up the winning score on an interception return for a touchdown by the Indians in the closing two minutes. Frederica returned back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns in the second half, one by Patrick Brunson and the other by Isaiah Jackson. The Knights host Valwood on Friday in another meaningful game. Valwood beat them in the state semifinals a year ago.

7. Ware County(1-0, 0-0 Region 2-5A, ranked No. 8)

Last week: Won 62-0 over Pine Ridge (Fla.)

This week: at Burke County

The skinny: The Gators dominated Pine Ridge from the start after a three-hour lightning delay. Ware rolled up 249 yards rushing and 204 passing while allowing just 24 total yards. The task is tougher this week at Burke.

8. Pierce County (1-0, 0-0 Region 2-3A)

Last week: Won 48-14 at McIntosh County Academy

This week: Home vs. Bacon County.

The skinny: The Bears powered by MCA, rushing for 236 yards on 16 carries while the varsity defense did not play in the second half after giving up just 35 net yards in the opening half. Dee Bethea had five carries for 149 yards and two scores.

9. Richmond Hill (1-0, 0-0 Region 2-5A)

Last week: Won 27-7 at Grovetown

This week: Open date

The skinny: The Wildcats led 20-0 after three quarters on the road. Luke Carter was 7-for-10 passing for 100 yards and a touchdown. The team is off this week before playing Wayne County on Aug. 31.

10. Brunswick (0-1, 0-0 Region 2-6A)

Last week: Lost 20-7 at Coffee

This week: at Bartram Trail (Fla.)

The skinny: The Pirates trailed 13-0 at halftime and 20-0 after three quarters at Coffee, the state’s No. 2-ranked team in Class 6A. Brunswick visits Florida this week to play at Bartram Trail.

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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