Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Scouting 2009’s new teams in town

There are 12 new schools playing football this season. GHSF Daily ranks how they’ve fared (the teams’ records reflect only games considered varsity contests).

PHOTOS: Here are some AJC reader pictures of the area’s newest schools in action.

1. Grovetown (5-2): The Augusta-area school in Columbia County has seven seniors and 20 juniors with varsity or junior varsity experience, most of them from Harlem High. Among them is Seth Hill, who is looking for his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season. Grovetown has beaten more established schools in Pacelli and Allatoona. The Warriors even took on Buford but lost 51-0. They play Northside of Warner Robins on Oct. 17. Rodney Holder, who has been an assistant at Greenbrier, is Grovetown’s head coach.

2. Lambert (3-0): Lambert, which took all of its students from South Forsyth, has beaten news schools River Ridge (24-7), Johns Creek (42-7) and Locust Grove (17-3). Lambert is coached by Sid Maxwell, who helped build Sequoyah from scratch in the 1990s. Lambert has ninth- through 11th-graders and an enrollment of 1,350, so it should be ready to compete against a region schedule in 2010. Maxwell had 137 players out for spring practice. The Maxwell Ratings rank Lambert as stronger than Grovetown.

3. Mountain View (2-0): Many would predict Mountain View to be the new school most likely to succeed. It is cut from the districts of Collins Hill, Mill Creek and Dacula and figures to have the support of a fairly affluent and football-hungry constituency. It has victories against Archer (29-22) and Johns Creek (48-27). Mountain View’s coach is Tim Hardy, a former quarterback and assistant coach at Wheaton College.

4. Archer (0-1): Archer hasn’t won a game, but it played Mountain View closer than Johns Creek, and there’s a logical order of who has beaten whom that would suggest Archer is ahead of most new programs. Remember that Archer is getting about 40 percent of its students from Grayson, the No. 1 team in Class AAAAA. Archer’s head coach is former Mill Creek assistant Andy Dyer.

5. Johns Creek (2-2): The new school in north Fulton County has beaten Langston Hughes twice (24-12, 23-15) and lost to Lambert (42-7) and Mountain View (47-27). Its coach is Mike Cloy, who was 107-88-1 in 19 seasons at Centennial (1997-2004) and North Springs (1980-90). He started the Centennial program. Johns Creek has about 1,100 students but is built for 1,850. It takes from Chattahoochee and Northview.

6. Langston Hughes (1-5): The Panthers have only one victory (26-6 over Arabia Mountain) but have lost to Grovetown twice and even dared play powerful Brooks County of Class AA. That was a 61-12 road loss. But comparative scores indicate that Hughes is a little ahead of the teams below it. Hughes is drawing from Creekside and Westlake, which should ensure a wealth of talent through the years, as those districts have produces scores of college players. The coach is Willie Cannon, a former Creekside assistant.

7. Locust Grove (3-2): Locust Grove is coming off a 27-6 victory against North Murray in which a freshman, Blayne Christian, returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown. Locust Grove is a Henry County school that took from Ola and Luella. It already has 11th-graders so could be ready for region play next year. The coach, Clint Satterfield, was 12-20 in three seasons at Jonesboro, his alma mater, which was winless the season before he arrived.

8. Drew (1-2): Drew got its first victory last week, 20-6 over Arabia Mountain. The Titans have lost to Marion County (21-0) and Locust Grove (20-13). Drew is a Clayton County school that takes mostly from Riverdale and Mount Zion. Its coach is Jarrett Laws, who led Mount Zion to the Class AAAA quarterfinals last season.

9. Arabia Mountain (1-3): Arabia Mountain is DeKalb County’s newest school and will get students from much of DeKalb, perhaps mostly from M.L. King and Lithonia. New DeKalb schools have done pretty well in recent years, with M.L. King being the shining example. Arabia Mountain’s lone victory was against Walnut Grove (29-13). Its coach is Christopher Beal, formerly an assistant at Johnson of Savannah.

10. Walnut Grove (1-3): The Warriors got their victory against River Ridge (56-0) last month. Walnut Grove is Walton County’s third high school and draws from Monroe Area and Loganville. Its coach is Harris Rainbow, a former head coach at Worth County and Riverwood.

11. North Murray (1-1): This is Murray County’s second high school. There are only ninth- and 10th-graders, and enrollment is about 750, making it smaller than most of the new schools. North Murray got its victory against River Ridge (34-6). North Murray’s coach is Larry Cornelius, who had been an assistant at Murray County.

12. River Ridge (0-3): The new school in Cherokee County has only ninth graders, so it was projected to have the weakest team out of the gate. It got its students from Woodstock and Sequoyah, schools that have been ranked this season, so there’s reason for optimism. The coach is Robert Praucht, formerly the head coach of Pine Ridge in Florida.

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17 comments Add your comment

SouthGARules

October 7th, 2009
8:02 am

I give Grovetown credit. Nothing like playing your first ever game against Buford & scheduling NSWR as well. I don’t see them ducking teams.

Northside Observer

October 7th, 2009
8:43 am

This will provide a lot of NSWR boys a chance to play. Not to take Grovetown to lightly with their 5-2 record. They will be powerhouse in the future.

Say it Aint So

October 7th, 2009
9:12 am

I have to agree, Grovetown will take their lumps early with the Buford and NSWR games but will benefit down the road with those experiences and will be a team to watch out for in the very near future.I don’t see alot of teams scheduling them for Homecoming next year.

Todd Holcomb

October 7th, 2009
10:57 am

Grovetown has about three small-college prospects, and the coach, Rodney Holder, scheduled Northside and Buford so that those players could have film playing against big-time teams to show college coaches. That was one of the reasons, anyway. Grovetown still has a small senior class. It think it’s good to schedule tough opponents, but Northside is a bit much.

johnson 111

October 7th, 2009
11:08 am

Enter your comments here
good luck new schools look what hillgrove in powder springs has done in 4 years.

Watch IT

October 7th, 2009
11:09 am

I wouldn’t sleep on Langston Hughes either, I heard that the games they lost they were in, but let slip away on immature mistakes. I think they will be pretty good next year bringing back all starters who are 10th and 9th graders with some 11th graders sprinkled throughout.

JamesR1991

October 7th, 2009
1:37 pm

Langston Hughes has a bright future…I’ve coached some of the kids and they will be a force to reckon with in the next year or so. They’re talent level will easily rival Westlake and Creekside very soon. Coach Cannon is in a great situation and he knows what he’s doing.

COOL BREEZE

October 7th, 2009
2:24 pm

ARBIAN MOUNTAIN HAS NO WEIGTH ROOM NO SLED AND ONLY PRACTICE FOR 11/2 HOURS A DAY WITH NO SENIORS AND ONLY 6 JR. CHECK THE STATS THEY HAVE ONLY PLAYED 4 GAMES BUT STILL ARE IN THE TOP TEN IN MOST OFFENSIVE CATAGORIES.EVERYBODY HAS PLAY SIX GAMES SO IN THE FAMOUS WORDS OF T.O. GET YOUR POPCORN READY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bee shabazz

October 7th, 2009
6:24 pm

Miami Northwestern vs. Miami Central, tomorrow Oct. 8th,2009 at 7:30pm on ESPN2. This game will be very, very entertaining. SPEED, SPEED, SPEED!!!!! BIG BOY FOOTBALL NO CHICKEN WINGS!!!

EagleNationRising

October 7th, 2009
9:05 pm

Hats off to all of these new programs, especially Grovetown who has put together a really strong first season schedule.

Bee Shabazz: Northwestern (Miami) is coming off of their first loss of the season. They lost to Miami’s Booker T. Washington is a big rivalry type game on Fridau. They still have their big ESPN game against Miami Central and the BIG, BIG game against Miami’s Andrew Jackson. They call it the “Soul Bowl” and it supposedly draws over 50,000 fans. CRAZY!

BEARMAN

October 8th, 2009
2:01 am

I KNOW THAT CLINT DOES A GREAT JOB OVER AT LOCUST GROVE! GOOD LUCK CLINT FROM YOUR #1 GRIFFIN BEAR FAN.

SPEED

October 9th, 2009
11:38 am

Locust Grove will be the best team around in a year or two, Especially with stud freshman like Tyler Rapes and Blayne Christian

Tee

October 9th, 2009
9:25 pm

I agree wit James R1991 Don’t Sleep on Langston, it’s pretty much a young team this year with few seniors.. But their Freshmens starting defense is awesome. Nice quarterback and runningbacks good side boys for a freshman team.. From my understanding some of these boys are starting varsity which is a good thing. I’ll keep my eyes open these boys it will only get better and better for them PROWLING PATHERS OUT OF SOUTH FULTON !!! GOOD JOB to the coaching staff

dawgsfan3

October 10th, 2009
4:53 pm

Riverridge will be a force to be reckon with a couple of years down the line with a couple of years under its belt it will be the creekview of cherokee county

man o man 22

October 10th, 2009
10:50 pm

I give it to the grove, they have good athletes and good coaching, but I watched Locust Grove beat them Friday night straight up and it was the best game I have seen in a while at high school ball level. Great job to LGH and Coach Satterfield.

dawgsfan3

October 12th, 2009
7:35 pm

just remember dat rrhs is only 8th graders and they were playing 11 and 10

shawn

October 19th, 2009
9:40 pm

north murray is 4-2-1 as of right know. they are olny playing with 9th and 10th graders. so in 1 to 2 years they should be a force to be reconded with.