The prep soccer season is kicking into high gear and several northeast Georgia area teams already are beginning to show off their clout.
Several area teams also occupy some lofty rankings by eurosportscoreboard.com.
The Johnson boys (Class 5A) and Buford girls (Class 5A) both sit ranked No. 1. The Union County boys are ranked second in Class 2A; the Gainesville boys are fourth in Class 6A; the Jefferson girls are third and the Jackson County girls are fourth in Class 3A.
But with teams now becoming immersed in region schedules, the all-important race to the playoffs is also under way.
For the boys, in Region 8-6A, Gainesville, the Class 6A state runner-up in 2019, has found the going rough so far sitting in fourth place. The Red Elephants (5-3-1, 1-2 Region 8-6A) have a huge showdown with Lanier, who is among three teams tied for first place, on Thursday at City Park Stadium.
In Region 8-5A, the Knights (7-0, 0-0 Region 8-5A) will finally open their region schedule on Friday at Loganville. They have looked dominant in the early going under new coach Frank Zamora.
In Region 7-4A, every team has a winning record and four teams are ranked in the top eight. West Hall (3-1-1, 1-0 Region 7-4A) is an early surprise. No. 7 Chestatee (4-2-2, 0-1 Region 7-4A) dropped its opener to No. 4 Blessed Trinity.
In Region 7-3A, Cherokee Bluff (3-6-1, 2-0 Region 7-3A) surprisingly sits atop the standings in the early going. North Hall (3-5, 1-0 Region 7-3A) is tied for second with No. 1-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian (4-4, 1-0 Region 7-3A).
In Region 8-3A, fifth-ranked Jefferson (4-2-2, 2-0 Region 8-3A) has the early lead atop the standings.
In Region 8-2A, last year’s state runner-up, Union County, which is ranked No. 2, is looking strong again. The Panthers (6-2, 3-1 Region 8-2A) sit second behind No. 1-ranked Putnam County (6-0, 1-0 Region 8-2A).
For the girls, in Region 8-6A, both No. 8 Gainesville (8-1, 3-0 Region 8-6A) and Habersham Central (5-2-1, 3-0 Region 8-6A) already are within one win of matching their entire win totals for 2019. The two teams have a two-game lead on the rest of the region and will meet next week in Mt Airy.
In Region 8-5A, the top-ranked Lady Wolves (7-2-1, 1-0 Region 8-5A) are tied with Loganville in the early going. The two teams will not meet until next month.
In Region 7-4A, No. 7 and 2019 state runner-up Flowery Branch (3-2-1, 0-0 Region 7-4A) does not open region play until next week. But No. 8 White County (7-2, 2-0 Region 7-4A) has won six straight. They are two of four teams in the region ranked in the top eight in Class 4A.
In Region 7-3A, No. 8 Lumpkin County (5-3-1, 3-0 Region 7-3A) sits alone in first place one game ahead of both No. 2 GAC (6-1-1, 1-0 Region 7-3A) and Dawson County (3-6-1, 1-0 Region 7-3A). The Lady Indians take on Fannin County on Thursday in a region battle and will play host to GAC next week.
In Region 8-3A, No. 3 Jefferson (7-0, 2-0 Region 8-3A) has the early region lead with No. 4 Jackson County (6-2-1, 0-0 Region 8-3A) set to open its region schedule on Friday against Morgan County (4-2, 1-0 Region 8-3A) at home.
In Region 8-2A, Union County (3-2-1, 3-1 Region 8-2A) last year’s region champs, is in second place behind surprising Oglethorpe County (2-3, 1-0 Region 8-2A). Those two teams meet next week in Blairsville.
Prep soccer 2020 Region Standings covering northeast Georgia teams (as of March 12):