mhs

Marietta’s TAJI JOHNSON signals the Number one as he scores on the open drive on a Harrison Bailey Pass during Friday night football action. Staff-Kelly J. Huff

Five Cobb County teams were among the top 10 of their respective classifications as the Georgia Sports Writers Association's preseason poll was released Tuesday.

Marietta ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAAA behind only 2018 state runner-up Colquitt County. McEachern and Hillgrove were ninth and 10th, respectively.

Gwinnett County rivals Parkview, Grayson and Archer followed the Blue Devils, with defending state champion Milton at No. 6. Lowndes and North Gwinnett came before the two Powder Springs neighbors.

While having praise thrown his team’s way is never a negative thing, Marietta coach Richard Morgan was not incredibly interested in his team’s ranking, at least not yet.

“I’m more interested in how we play week-to-week,” Morgan said. “The most important poll is at the end of the year. We’ll just try to get better week-by-week.”

If the Blue Devils are to be highly ranked in the polls their coach cares the most about, they will have to make their way through a region which ranked among the state's toughest.

Hillgrove, which went 12-1 last season, won the Region 3AAAAAAA title with a 5-0 mark. McEachern finished third.

Marietta will be thrust right into the fire to kick off 2019, with a non-region game against another highly ranked opponent. The Blue Devils open their season Thursday in the Corky Kell Classic, facing Class AAAAA No. 1 Rome at Barron Stadium.

McEachern will open against Brookwood on Saturday as part of the Corky Kell Classic at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, while Hillgrove will start the season Friday at Douglas County.

In Class AAAAAA, Allatoona and Harrison represented the county in the sixth and seventh spots, respectively.

Similar to Morgan, Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said he will start paying closer attention to the polls once his team get deeper into the season.

“Polls don’t mean anything until after you have played five games,” he said.

Harrison opens Friday night at home against Lassiter. Allatoona will host Class AAAA No. 2 Cartersville.

Lee County topped the Class AAAAAA rankings, followed by Valdosta, Northside-Warner Robins, Coffee and Dacula. Stephenson, Creekside and Glynn Academy rounded out the top 10.

Blessed Trinity (AAAA), Cedar Grove (AAA), Callaway (AA), Clinch County (A public) and Eagle's Landing Christian (A private) were the other No. 1 teams. All are returning state champions except for Callaway.

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