Carrollton: The Trojans are coming off back-to-back Region 6-AAA titles and are just two years removed from the Class AAA state championship game as they move up to Class AAAA this season. Carrollton went 11-2 last season, making it to the state quarterfinals. Coach Rayvan Teague returns for his 11th season leading Carrollton and is coming off three straight 10-plus win seasons. The Trojans graduated six all-state performers in Josh Barge, Zach Gordon, Jonathan Jones, Tevin McCoy, Taylor Teague and Telvin Brown and will also have to replace quarterback Dallas Dickey and fullback D.J. Johnson.
Columbus: The Blue Devils completed their third straight 2-8 season last year competing in Region 6-AAA. Coach Phil Marino returns for his fourth season and will try to get Columbus to the postseason for the first time since a 9-3 campaign in 1994. Columbus has not had a winning season since going 6-4 in 2005. A school known mostly for its baseball program — winning its third straight Class AAA state title this past May — the football program has an overall record of under .500 since its inception.
Fayette County: The Tigers opened up their 2011 campaign going 0-7 en route to a 2-8 season playing in Region 3-AAAA. Fayette County has not had a winning season since they went 11-1 in 2007, winning their region and making it to the second round of the state playoffs. Fayette County produced Brandon Boykin, who was an all-state performer that 2007 season and went on to play at Georgia and was drafted in the fourth round this year by the Philadelphia Eagles. Coach Mike Davis returns for his second year leading the Tigers.
LaGrange: The Grangers suffered through another uncharacteristic losing season in 2011, going just 4-7, but did make it to the state playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of Region 6-AAA in coach Donnie Branch's first season. LaGrange has won 11 state championships, including three in four years (2001, '03, '04). The Grangers return a pair of all-state performers in Demoten Boyd (returner) and defensive lineman Chris Manning, who will both be seniors in 2012.
Sandy Creek: The Fighting Patriots have become a mainstay in the GHSA playoffs since former coach Rodney Walker took over the program in 1999, leading to back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010 under current coach Chip Walker, Rodney's son. This past season, Sandy Creek went 12-1, winning Region 4-AAA before falling in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA state playoffs. Last year, the Patriots had five all-state performers and return defensive back Shaquille Wiggins — a Georgia commit — this season. Sandy Creeks lost offensive lineman Will Adams, running back Mike Hilton, wide receiver JaQuay Williams and defensive lineman Quinteze Williams to graduation.
Shaw: The Raiders broke into the postseason for the first time since 2008, going 5-6 and taking the fourth seed out of Region 6-AAA. Kyle Adkins takes over the head coaching position this season after spending last year as the offensive coordinator under former coach Jamie Fox. The Raiders won a state title in 2000 and fell in the 2006 title game. Shaw graduated its pair of all-state players in linebacker Olawale Dada and receiver Jalen Jones.
Troup: Last season the Tigers continued their success, going 9-3, finishing second in Region 6-AAA and making the state playoffs for the fourth straight year and 11th time in 12 seasons. Troup will try to continue its success without coach Charles Flowers, all-state quarterback Eric Bridges and all-state linebacker and Alabama commit Reuben Foster. New Troup coach Lynn Kendall takes over as Flowers was fired after some controversy. Following the firing, Foster opted to move back to Alabama for his senior season. Kendall spent eight years as an assistant at Troup and was the head coach at Pacelli in 1997 and 1998.