After realignment, Region 7-AA will have a bit of a different feel when football officially kicks off in September. Gone are Armuchee and defending 7-AA champ Rockmart. Joining the ranks is Fannin County.
In 2019, the Pepperell Dragons finished second to the Rockmart Yellow Jackets, qualifying for the Class AA state playoffs. After realignment, the Jackets move up to AAA.
Pepperell head coach Rick Hurst said his squad graduated 11 seniors in 2019 and will have a majority of his starters back for a 2020 campaign. The Dragons look to take home their first region title in four years, but several teams will challenge for this year’s region crown.
The Model Blue Devils had a resurgent 2019, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2016. They look to carry that momentum into their 2020 slate, which includes hosting Pepperell in the penultimate game of the regular season in November.
The Dragons/Blue Devils tilt could determine who takes Region 7-AA in what is sure to be a unique football season unlike any other in history.
“I hope that our game with Pepperell ... there’s a change that might be for that region No. 1 (spot),” Hunnicutt said in a phone interview. “I think every year, if you try to attain that, and if you’re in a position to play for that, I think it’s a very meaningful and it’s something these kids can carry with them.”
The Fannin County Rebels, newcomers to Region 7-AA, moved down from Region 7-AAA. The Rebels finished 2019 at 6-4 with a 3-3 record within their division. FC played in the same division as powerhouse Greater Atlanta Christian.
Chattooga, Gordon Central, Dade County, Coosa, and Armuchee, respectively, rounded out 7-AA in 2019.
Chattooga finished with a 5-6 overall record and a 4-3 region mark. Gordon Central Warriors will be led by second-year head coach T.J. Hamilton, who played his high school football for the blue, silver and white. Dade County completed its season at 2-8 with their two victories coming against the Armuchee Indians and the Coosa Eagles. Coosa came in at 1-9 with the lone Eagles win over the Indians.
Since ending their 2019, the Coosa Eagles have a new man at the helm in Joey Mathis. Mathis comes from coaching football at Marion High School in Tennessee.