Georgia's Region 7-AAAA features an emerging threat in football this season

Staff photo by Robin Rudd / Heritage High School football players run onto the field before their home game against Catoosa County rival Ringgold on Aug. 30, 2019. Heritage remains in Region 7-AAAA this season, along with fellow local programs Northwest Whitfield and Ridgeland, but GHSA reclassification has added some new programs to the league.

Perhaps no level of Georgia High School Association football was shaken up more by the latest round of reclassification than Class AAAA, where five of last year's eight state quarterfinal teams are gone and several other big-time programs changed regions.

Region 7-AAAA returns mostly intact, though smaller. The region lost Gilmer and LaFayette, while Southeast Whitfield elected to play a nonregion schedule. The GHSA, however, threw the league a curve by adding Cedartown and Central-Carroll to the mix.

Cedartown, which went 7-4 with a win over state power Cartersville last season, has two of the state's top prospects in junior linebacker and running back C.J. Washington and senior quarterback and safety Jayden Johnson. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Washington, who recently committed to Georgia, had more than 20 sacks in 2019 and is rated by