ADEL - The Cook High Hornet football team entered the 2001 season with a distinct set of objectives. They wanted first of all to win the region. Second, they wanted to run the region table. And finally, they wanted a perfect season.

All three objectives were accomplished. Cook secured its regular season region title with a win over Brantley County several weeks ago. The perfect region record came with a homecoming win over Bacon. And the Hornets went to 10-0 with a 40-9 road victory over Pelham last Friday.

This week the Hornets embark on a quest for the ultimate prize, the AA state championship. First on the list are the Albany High Indians, the number-four team from region 1-AA. The Indians are the only team coach Michael Pollock and the Hornets are worried about.

"There are four teams from each region still playing," Pollock said. "They can all compete with one another, so we can't afford to look past anybody."

While the Hornets, who have been ranked in the top five all season, appear to be one of the teams to beat, Pollock feels that there are several teams with a shot at the crown. In addition to Americus, Pollock mentioned teams such as Cartersville, Greater Atlanta, Putnam and even Southeast Macon, which has not been beaten since Tift County handed the Warriors a loss during the second week of the season.

"There are probably six or seven teams that have more than a Cinderella shot at winning it," Pollock said.

"It's as wide open as it can be."

The Hornets are playing just about as well as they can heading into the first round match up. Against the Pelham Hornets, the Cook team went without the services of senior running back Vincent Brown due to a slight hip pointer.

Despite his absence, the Hornet offense still rolled up 511 yards. Demarrow Byron carried the ball 24 times for 261 yards. Deonto McCormick also stepped up and ran for 180 yards from his slotback position.

"Cornelius Brown did a fantastic job of stepping in and rushing for 50 or 60 yards," Pollock said. "He also did a good job of blocking."

The Pelham contest was a test for Cook as they only led 19-9 at the half.

"That was the closest we've been in a while," he said, "that was good to be able to go into the locker room and discuss the second half and make some adjustments."

Statistically the Hornets are dominating opposing defenses. Both Brown and Byron have rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season. McCormick has crossed the 1,000-yard barrier in rushing and receiving combined.

The winner of the Cook/Albany game will face the winner of Dooly and Jeff Davis.

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