Archive for September, 2009

Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Critiquing the Ga. Sportswriters Association rankings (and ours, too)

The Georgia Sportswriters Association rankings are out. They’re not much different than our GHSF Daily rankings, but we thought it would be fun to critique their work, and perhaps our own as well.

We’ve selected five teams that should be higher, and five that should be lower:

Move ‘em up
Brooks County: Brooks made the Class AA semifinals last season and lost to Calhoun 38-35. This season, Brooks has beaten Class AAAAA Tift County 27-7. Brooks has a star player in Keith Christopher, who could break 1,500 yards rushing. Where would one expect such a team to be ranked? Eighth? Doesn’t seem right. We admit we have Brooks only seventh. We’re going to deliberate more on that.

East Paulding: The Raiders finished in the Top 10 of Class AAAAA last season and are 2-0, with a victory over Rome, a former ranked team in AAAA. Further, East Paulding defeated McEachern a year ago. Should McEachern be the team on the outside until it avenges that loss to East Paulding? We won’t go that far, …

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Wesleyan replaces Buford as state’s most likely to go 15-0

Now that Buford is beaten, which Georgia team has the best shot of going undefeated?

My first thought is Lowndes, but it’s pretty tough going unbeaten in Class AAAAA. Much depends on home-field advantage and coin tosses. There’s so much depth. Plus, the No. 2 team, Grayson, beat Lowndes the last time they played.

In AAAA, there’s no clear-cut favorite yet, so I wouldn’t pick any of those teams to go 15-0.

Gainesville is No. 1 in AAA, but the Elephants have never gone undefeated. Plus, many would say once-beaten Carver of Columbus remains the team to beat.

In AA, nobody would be surprised if Buford went 14-1, so it’s tough picking any of those, although Calhoun and Fitzgerald look awfully good. And don’t forget Lovett, the team that ended Buford’s 32-game winning streak last week.

My choice would probably be Wesleyan. A friend asked me last week if Wesleyan is unbeatable in Class A, and the answer is no. Wesleyan was not a dominant state champion last year, although …

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Georgia High School Football – Week 3: Lovett upsets defending Class AA state champ Buford

By GLENNIS CURRY
For the AJC

The Buford reign over its neighbors ended Friday night, as Lovett dashed to a 21-point lead and held off the two-time defending Class AA champions 28-21 at Conley-Oakley Field in Atlanta.

A last-minute defensive stand preserved the win for Lovett (3-0, 1-0 in Region 6-AA) and gave the Wolves their first defeat to a region opponent as a Class AA school. Buford had not lost a region game since losing to Commerce in 2000, when the teams played in Region 8-A.

Since then the Wolves had defeated 58 consecutive region opponents, including 55 wins in Class AA after joining in 2002. As a member of Region 6-AA, the Wolves were 23-for-23 before Friday. Buford (2-1, 0-1) had won 49 consecutive regular-season games after losing to Central Gwinnett on Sept. 10, 2004.

“I’ve not experienced a bigger win in the five years that I’ve been here, “Lovett coach Mike Muschamp said. “For us to come out and hold them was huge for our team and our fans.”

Buford …

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Georgia High School Football – Week 3: Peachtree Ridge rolls to shutout, blanks Northview

Peachtree Ridge’s Brad Roby, who is one of the state’s top college prospects, said Friday’s game could not come soon enough.

The speedy Roby scored the first two touchdowns and set up the third one in a 44-0 win over Northview in the Region 7-AAAAA opener for both teams.

The game was a healing session for No. 9-ranked Peachtree Ridge (1-1), which was pounded 51-17 by No. 1 Lowndes last week. Playing again made Roby, who has committed to Vanderbilt over more than a dozen offers, feel a little better about things.

“I wasn’t sure how our team was going to take that loss,” Roby said. “We thought we were going to have to run a lot at practice on Monday. But we didn’t because our coaches thought we stuck with Lowndes and hung with them despite the score.”

Peachtree Ridge coach Bill Ballard said he pointed out an important fact to lift the spirits of his players this week: The Lions started off last year with an 0-2 record and made it all the way to the Class AAAAA state …

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The Georgia High School Football Daily’s Weekend Predictions: Who’s winning and losing in Week Three

By CHIP SAYE
For the AJC

Picking the winners of high school football games can be easy a lot of the time. Even an occasional upset can be spotted a mile away. Other times, teams appear pretty even on paper, so you have to go one way or the other. Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re wrong, and you don’t worry about the misses. Then there are the frustrating times, when the teams defy all logic. Play poorly against a weak team one week, pound on a good team the next.

It’s not going to be easy for me to put up a good score from week to week if the teams won’t cooperate and play the games correctly. And here are some of the prime offenders so far:

Whitefield Academy: Whitefield, 10-2 in 2008, lost its opener to a Walker team that went 2-8 in 2008. So the Wolfpack had no chance against Athens Academy, which has won at least 10 games in four of the past five seasons, right? Wrong. The Wolfpack beat Athens Academy 21-15. This week, while Whitefield Academy is beating …

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Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Week Three’s 10 Best Matchups

Here are 10 high school football matchups not to be missed in Week Three, according to the GHSF Daily staff:

Buford at Lovett
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Conley-Oakley Field/Kilpatrick Stadium, Atlanta
Records, rankings: Buford is 2-0 and No. 1 in Class AA; Lovett is 2-0 and No. 7 in AA.
Last meeting: Buford won 41-0 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Lovett will be looking for points. In their past three meetings in 2007 and 2008, Buford has outscored the Lions 112-0.
2. Jon Carkhuff, the Lovett starting quarterback for each of those past three meetings, passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two more in Lovett’s 56-28 victory against Callaway last week.
3. A victory by Buford would be its 50th straight in the regular season.

Burke County at Statesboro
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Womack Field, Statesboro
Records, rankings: Burke County is 2-0 and No. 10 in Class AAA; Statesboro is 2-0 and No. 5 in Class AAAA.
Last meeting: Statesboro won 28-19 last season.
Three …

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Free-For-All Forum: Georgia high school football Week Three scores, updates, photos and chat – LIVE!

Chat with the AJC's Michael Carvell

Chat live on Fridays with the AJC's Michael Carvell

It’s Week Three of HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. Whenever possible, AJC high schools beat writer Michael Carvell will try to blog live Friday nights and take your questions about high school football and related topics.

We are here to talk football, football and more football. Going to a Week 3 game? Take the cellphone or PDA and let us know what’s going on. Got a score update, see a killer play or have a shout-out? Keep it clean, POST IT HERE and

Continue reading Free-For-All Forum: Georgia high school football Week Three scores, updates, photos and chat – LIVE! »

Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Four national polls put Lowndes in top 10

Lowndes is ranked in the top 10 of four national polls after its 51-17 victory against Peachtree Ridge last week, the GHSF Daily reports.

The Vikings’ highest ranking is in the RivalsHigh 100, which places Lowndes at No. 3, an 18-place jump. Lowndes is ranked No. 10 in USA Today, No. 6 in MaxPreps and No. 4 in PrepNation101.

Lowndes has won five state championships but no national titles. Grayson is ranked in three national polls and joined the USA Today rankings for the first time, at No. 18.

Georgia teams in the national rankings:

USA Today
10. Lowndes; 18. Grayson

MaxPreps
6. Lowndes

PrepNation 101
No. 4 Lowndes; No. 18 Grayson

RivalsHigh 100
No. 3 Lowndes; No. 11 Grayson; No. 43 Peachtree Ridge; No. 50 Camden County; No. 68 North Gwinnett; No. 73 Gainesville; No. 92 Buford

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Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Computer rankings say M.L. King, Stephenson are overrated

Above all else, computer rankings are objective. That’s not the same thing as accurate, but it’s something that human polls can’t deliver 100 percent.

Here, the GHSF Daily staff takes a look at the Maxwell Rankings, calculated by Loren Maxwell, the founder of the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. The Maxwell Rankings consider performance from previous seasons (as do human pollsters), but historical influence diminishes each week as the season grows older.

Class AAAAA
The computer says Lowndes would beat Grayson by seven on a neutral field and that M.L. King and Stephenson are overrated in human polls based on Region 2-AAAAA’s recent playoff struggles.

1. Lowndes (2-0)
2. Grayson (2-0)
3. Northside, Warner Robins (1-0)
4. North Gwinnett (2-0)
5. Newnan (2-0)
6. Peachtree Ridge (1-1)
7. Camden County (1-1)
8. McEachern (2-0)
9. Roswell (2-0)
10. Walton (2-0)
11. East Paulding (2-0)
12. M.L. King (2-0)
13. Woodstock (1-0)
14. Collins Hill (2-0)
15. Warner …

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Pounded at Lowndes: Can we write off Peachtree Ridge?

If they play again in November, will it be the same story?

I didn’t see the Lowndes-Peachtree Ridge game, but hearing from a few who did, and reading newspaper reports, it sounds like Lowndes played a great game, while Peachtree Ridge got knocked down hard early and couldn’t get up. Result: 51-17.

Tyler Hunter, the son of former Georgia receiver Brice Hunter, returned the kickoff for a touchdown, then ran a fumble in for a touchdown. Lowndes also scored on an interception return.

Don’t misunderstand: If I didn’t think Lowndes were the better team, I wouldn’t have put the Vikings at No. 1 in preseason. A few people grumbled at my sticking by Lowndes after its QF exit last year and the loss of Greg Reid. If Lowndes played Peachtree Ridge tomorrow, I’d expect Lowndes to handle the Lions again.

But it’s a long ways until November. Just ask Tucker and Marist. Or just ask Lowndes, for that matter. Just curious of how others view the significance of this game.

Can we …

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No. 2 Grayson shuts out Warner Robins 10-0

Grayson coach Mickey Conn said the Warner Robins defense was keyed on Rams RB Ean Pemberton (24, right) for most of the game. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Grayson coach Mickey Conn said the Warner Robins defense was keyed on Rams RB Ean Pemberton (24, right) for most of the game. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Grayson coach Mickey Conn had an autograph request after the Rams defeated Warner Robins 10-0 on Friday.

The baby-faced coach, who prefers a low profile, and the Rams cannot avoid the spotlight these days: The Gwinnett school is ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA, with the Rams entering several national polls this week.

“Yeah, signing autographs doesn’t happen every day for a high school coach,” Conn said with a laugh.

Grayson’s Seun Olukoju scored the game’s only touchdown on the 34-yard run after a fake handoff to teammate Ean Pemberton, and Austin Clark connected on one of three field goal attempts.

It was not a vintage performance by Grayson (2-0), but it wasn’t needed because of a dominating effort by the defense. Warner Robins (1-1) was limited to only one first down in the opening half, five for the game, and 40 yards total …

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Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Peachtree Ridge’s Bill Ballard talks Lowndes, national ranking, more

Tonight’s big Week 2 game is in Valdosta, where No. 1 Lowndes will play No. 3 Peachtree Ridge in a matchup between nationally ranked teams. Lowndes is ranked in four national polls. National Prep Football puts the Vikings at No. 3. Peachtree Ridge is No. 7 in the RivalsHigh 100.

A live broadcast of the game, which starts at 8 p.m., can be found on www.thevikingvoice.com.

GHSF Daily spoke with Peachtree Ridge head coach Bill Ballard on Thursday. Here were his thoughts about …

The best team in the state: “I went to the Corky Kell Classic and watched the teams there, and I’ve seen several on film. I’d have to say Lowndes is probably the best I’ve seen on film, and I would say Grayson is real close. The thing that both have over some other teams is their lines of scrimmage. Both are big and fast on both sides of the ball. That’s an advantage when you have equal skill players. Those are the two best lines I’ve seen on both sides early in the season. I also know Jeff Herron very …

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Free-For-All Friday: Georgia high school football Week Two scores, updates, photos and chat – LIVE!

Chat with the AJC's Michael Carvell

Chat live on Fridays with the AJC's Michael Carvell

It’s Week Two of HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. Whenever possible on Friday nights, AJC high schools beat writer Michael Carvell will try to blog live and take your questions about high school football and related topics.

We are here to talk football, football and more football. Going to a game? Take the cellphone or PDA and let us know what’s going on. Got a score update, see a killer play or have a shout-out? Keep it clean, POST IT HERE and SEND US GAME PHOTOS.

WEEK 2 RESULTS: CLICK HERE to see the Week 2 scores.

Here are the Week Two games you can find stories and photos from on ajc.com…

Warner Robins vs. Grayson – GAME STORY | PHOTOS
Brookwood vs. North Gwinnett – GAME STORY | PHOTOS
Lakeside-DeKalb vs. Tucker – GAME STORY | PHOTOS
Walton vs. Kell – GAME STORY | PHOTOS

Don’t forget to check out these games from around the metro area. Here’s what you’ll find…

GAC vs. St. Pius
Etowah vs. McEachern
Peachtree Ridge vs. Lowndes

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The Georgia High School Football Daily’s Weekend Predictions: Who’s winning and losing in Week Two

By CHIP SAYE
For the AJC

Picking the winners of high school football games in the first week of the season can be tricky. You have to base your selections on tradition, last year’s results and whatever previews you might be able to find. In other words, you’re guessing.

Last week, I went into detail about three games and missed on two of them. Southwest DeKalb put up a fight but lost to a strong M.L. King team, and I was way off the mark picking Marist over St. Pius. Only Peachtree Ridge came through as predicted. That’s not exactly the way I wanted to make my debut. Overall, however, I got 77 percent of the winners across the state correct, which is pretty good.

Now we move to the second full week, which presents its own set of problems. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what to make of the first week’s results. For instance, is Lakeside-DeKalb on the road back to respectability, or is Columbia in for a long season? Does Leo Barker have Roswell turned around after going 5-5 in his …

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Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Week Two’s 10 Best Matchups

Here are 10 high school football matchups not to be missed in Week Two, according to the GHSF Daily staff:

Banneker at North Clayton
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Southern Crescent Stadium, Riverdale
Records, rankings: Banneker is 1-0 and No. 9 in Class AAAA; North Clayton is 1-0 and No. 8 in AAAA.
Last meeting: Banneker won 21-20 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. North Clayton won Region 4-AAAA last season, improving from 5-5 to 10-2 under first-year coach Rodney Hackney.
2. North Clayton RB/LB Clarence Jackson, a preseason Class AAAA Super 11 player, rushed for more than 1,200 yards last season and has committed to Ole Miss.
3. This game features a number of major Division I-A recruits, including Jackson (Ole Miss) and lineman Torian Box (N.C. State) of North Clayton and defensive back Demetruce McNeal (Auburn) and linebacker Shaun Kitchens (Auburn) of Banneker.

Brookwood at North Gwinnett (AJC game / photo coverage online 9/4)
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tom Robinson …

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