Calhoun High’s football team started this season with all the first-place votes in the Northwest Georgia Prep Power Poll.
That never changed as Calhoun kept on winning, and even after the Yellow Jackets’ only loss, they’re still the unanimous No. 1.
Calhoun ends the season where it started — at the top — in the final Northwest Georgia Prep Power Poll for 2012, having been voted No. 1 by every voter throughout the season. The Yellow Jackets earned all seven first-place votes despite losing the Class 2A state championship 31-14 to Jefferson on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
The Yellow Jackets, who won the 2011 Class 2A state championship against Buford after losing the previous three state title contests to the Wolves, also held No. 1 rankings in both The Associated Press and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution/Geor-gia High School Football Daily Class 2A rankings every week of 2012 save this one. Like the Northwest Georgia Prep Power Poll, which is voted on by publications in the region, those state polls published throughout the regular season and after the end of the playoffs.
Another mainstay in the Northwest Georgia Prep Power Poll was the No. 2 team, Ridgeland, which lost 45-10 to Sandy Creek in Saturday’s Class 4A state title game. The Panthers were No. 2 each week except for the fourth, when Cartersville took the spot by two votes.
The Purple Hurricanes, who lost 21-10 in the semifinals to eventual champion Buford, finished the season ranked third, including two second-place votes.
Dalton, the area’s only local team that finished in the top 10, ended ranked fourth with all but one fourth-place vote. It is the best spot all season for the Catamounts, who won their first state playoff game since 2005 with a 17-14 victory against Carver-Atlanta but lost 35-13 in the second round to Sandy Creek. Rome, which lost 49-14 in the first round to eventual champion Gainesville, rounded out the top five.
Gordon Central finished sixth, followed by Trion, Adairsville, Darlington and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe. The only team of the five to advance past the first round of the state playoffs was Trion, which competed in Class A’s public-school bracket.
The only other area school to receive votes in the final poll was Northwest Whitfield, with three. Ringgold, Cedartown, Rockmart, Pepperell and Model also received votes. The Bruins were ranked as high as sixth in Week 7, which preceded their 24-19 loss to rival Dalton.
Christian Heritage, Coahulla Creek and North Murray were the other local teams to receive votes at some point this season.
The poll was restricted to the 31 GHSA football programs within Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker and Whitfield counties. Those teams were Adairsville, Armuchee, Calhoun, Cartersville, Cass, Cedartown, Chattooga, Christian Heritage, Coahulla Creek, Coosa, Dade County, Darlington, Gordon Central, Gordon Lee, Heritage-Catoosa, LaFayette, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, Model, Murray County, North Murray, Northwest Whitfield, Pepperell, Ridgeland, Ringgold, Rockmart, Rome, Sonoraville, Southeast Whitfield, Trion and Woodland-Bartow.
The eight publications invited to participate in the power poll’s inaugural season were the Calhoun Times, Catoosa County News, Cedartown Standard/Rockmart Journal, Dade County Sentinel, (Cartersville) Daily Tribune News, Rome News-Tribune, Summerville News and Walker County Messenger.