FORT VALLEY -- A year after losing in the state championship game to Burke County, Peach County enters the preseason ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason Class AAA poll.
The Trojans received five first-place votes to finish three points in front of Buford, which garnered four first-place votes in its move up from Class AA. Carver-Columbus got the other first-place vote. Washington County is ranked fifth in the poll.
Two other Middle Georgia schools will begin the season ranked No. 2 in their respective classes.
Northside opens the season ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA behind Tucker, the team that beat Northside in the Class AAAA semifinals in 2011. Tucker received six first-place votes, while Northside received four. Warner Robins is ranked seventh.
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Lamar County begins the season ranked No. 2 in Class AA behind defending state champion Calhoun. Coming off their best season in school history, the Trojans received one first-place vote, while the Yellow Jackets garnered the other nine. Fitzgerald is ranked third, and Dublin is fifth.
Three teams from Region 2-AAAA are ranked. Baldwin is tied for fifth with Marist and Statesboro, while Westside and Perry are tied with Stephens County in 10th. Mary Persons was two points shy of being tied for 10th as well.
Eagle’s Landing Christian is a surprise pick for the top spot in Class A. The Crusaders, who host Washington County on Friday, received four first-place votes. Last year’s state champion Savannah Christian finished with five first-place votes, but the school appears to be left off a few ballots because it finished fourth overall. Wilcox County is fifth, while Wilkinson County is ranked sixth.