The weirdest high school football season in state history officially ended in Walton County last Friday with George Walton’s quarterfinal loss to Calvary Day in Savannah. With 2020 behind us, and good riddance to ya, I’d like to take this time and space for a way too early look at the 2021 season. 

Our two most successful programs — Monroe Area and George Walton — should be good again next fall. 

The Bulldogs will return a boatload of experience, most notably at quarterback and on the offensive line. But maybe more importantly, their biggest rivals won’t. 

Athens Academy and Prince Avenue, who have blocked GWA’s path in Region 8-A for many years, will be ravaged by graduation. Athens loses a four-year starter at quarterback while Prince will see its signal caller from the past two years move just up the road to Athens.

As a result, the Bulldogs might never have a better chance at earning its first-ever league title since joining the Georgia High School Association a decade ago.

A few miles away at Monroe, the Hurricanes finished second in a tougher-than-expected region. They did it with a young roster playing under a third-string quarterback down the home stretch.

Monroe would likely have made it further in the playoffs but for two-time defending state champ Cedar Grove getting busted for infractions that dropped them to third in their league, matching them with the Hurricanes in round one.

With a healthy quarterback and a host of key players back, the Hurricanes should be serious contenders to win their region.

Loganville faces a major rebuilding job as it loses a class that’s been making major contributions since its sophomore season. The biggest hole to fill will be at quarterback with the departure of four-year starter Tanner Greene. 

Brad Smith, the Red Devils’ first-year coach, faces the biggest challenge of his young career.

Walnut Grove gave us a tease this fall, winning three of four over a stretch, including an upset of a then-unbeaten Greenbrier. But they enter the off-season with a four-game losing skid.

Entering his fourth season at the helm, head coach Robert Andrews faces a crucial season to try and find some traction for a program that’s struggled since its first full varsity season in 2010. 

Having finally snapped its extended playoff drought, Social Circle appears well-positioned to shed another monkey on its back by achieving a winning season. The last time the Redskins ended the season above .500 was 14 years and five coaches ago. It was also the last time they cracked the state rankings. 

Assuming this coaching staff remains intact and the expected returners actually return, the Redskins could pull a trifecta: winning season, state playoffs, and Top-10 ranking.

Loganville Christian, though clearly outmanned in most games, gave a good accounting of itself. The Lions lose several key players and would benefit from a few good transfers. An easier non-region schedule would also be helpful. 

Given its small region, LCA could sneak into the playoffs with just a single league victory. But battling a for a region crown is still a long ways away.

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