MLK, Stephenson, Collins Hill must answer bell Friday

There are 12 undefeated teams in Class AAAAA, and about half have not been tested against another top AAAAA opponent.

The chance to make an impression is now for MLK and Stephenson, which play each other Friday, and Collins Hill, which takes on Peachtree Ridge, another team that has something to prove.

I think Peachtree Ridge will reassert itself as a state-title contender and handle Collins Hill. I have no feel for MLK-Stephenson other than a sense that one is better, and one is worse, than we all think and that it could be a blowout.

In other news, I’d like to her people’s take on Lowndes-Valdosta. The score – 57-15 – was stunning, but then Lowndes also beat Peachtree Ridge by similar numbers. Valdosta had some injury issues. I expected Lowndes to roll, but not like that.

Because it’s Valdosta, I quickly went to some of the message boards to hear the backlash after the game.

I don’t know Rick Tomberlin well, but I’ve had many conversations with him, and it’s hard for me to think those who spend time around him don’t like and admire him. Truth is, Valdosta always has had a good head coach, and the current one seems like the kind of role model I’d want around my kids. Is that enough in Valdosta? I think Valdosta will make the playoffs this season and bounce back from this loss, but Tomberlin is still a game under .500 at Valdosta

I also think most Valdosta fans realize the current challenges in the football program and support Tomberlin, who told me this summer, “I never thought Valdosta would be so nice. In some respects, Valdosta gets a bad rap in terms of not treating coaches good. Maybe some things happened in the past. I can’t say good or bad, but they’ve treated me nothing but wonderfully.’’

Of course, Tomberlin doesn’t read the message boards. There, he would find people who don’t realize that winning at Valdosta is tougher now than it’s been in 70 years.

This week’s rankings:

1. Grayson (7-0)

2. Northside, Warner Robins (6-0)

3. North Gwinnett (6-0)
4. Newnan (6-0)
5. Lowndes (6-1)

6. McEachern (7-0)
7. Stephenson (6-0)
8. M.L. King (6-0)
9. Peachtree Ridge (5-1)
10. Camden County (4-2)

1. Griffin (6-0)

2. Westside, Macon (7-0)

3. Southwest DeKalb (5-1)

4. Hillgrove (6-0)

5. Sandy Creek (5-1)

6. Marist (5-1)

7. North Clayton (6-1)

8. Tucker (5-1)

9. Apalachee (6-0)

10. Hiram (6-0)
1. Gainesville (7-0)

2. Peach County (6-0)

3. St. Pius (6-0)

4. Carver, Columbus (5-1)

5. Washington County (6-0)

6. Carrollton (7-0)

7. LaGrange (5-1)

8. Jackson (7-0)

9. Baldwin (4-2)

10. Burke County (5-1)

1. Calhoun (6-0)

2. Fitzgerald (6-0)

3. Buford (5-1)

4. Jefferson County (7-0)

5. Charlton County (5-0-1)

6. Lovett (6-1)

7. Thomasville (4-2)

8. Westminster (4-2)

9. Jefferson (6-0)

10. Brooks County (5-1)
1. Wesleyan (7-0)

2. Savannah Christian (6-0)

3. Johnson County (7-0)

4. Lincoln County (5-1)

5. ECI (5-1)

6. Twiggs County (6-1)

7. Wilkinson County (5-1)
8. Greenville (6-0)
9. Seminole County (6-1)

10. Miller County (5-1)

209 comments Add your comment


October 11th, 2009
7:18 pm

C’mon Todd – - please share your thoughts regarding Stephenson vs. MLK. Which team do you really think is better and could win by a blowout? We anxiously await your response.


October 11th, 2009
7:19 pm

he’s to proud to say that Stephenson will win..


October 11th, 2009
7:28 pm

Yea Todd, who do think will win?? I think MLK but I must say that I have not seen Stephenson play this year yet. Todd, let us know.


October 11th, 2009
7:35 pm

Lets go Jags. Dem stephenson boys ready for whatever. Aint no way they should even have a problem with MLK. All we have to do is shut down Mack and let Raymond(The best running back and most under rated in GA) DO HIS THANG. I think that Mlk will have a very tough time finding any running room. Stephenson has the best front seven it has had in a long time.That is saying a lot because in the LSU VS Florida game stephenson had 3 STARTERS on defense in that game(Perry Riley(LSU), Kelvin Shephard(LSU), and Jermaine Cunningham(UF)). Now come on how many high school teams in the state better yet nation can say they have 3 STARTERS on two top 5 SEC teams. That Defensive line is raw. #56, #49, #57, #45, and #3 be holding down that line of scrimmage and i doubt Mack gets over 60 yards. Even if they do go to passing they ball with #7, he is not gonna have much time with that line coming at him. But nonetheless in should be a good game.


October 11th, 2009
7:44 pm

Could we please keep the Stephenson/MLK HATERS OFF this blog. We aint got no time for no haters and if what you got to say about these great programs is negative, then do us all a favor and keep it to yourself.


October 11th, 2009
7:59 pm



October 11th, 2009
7:59 pm

Todd: Where would the most backlash be felt-on the Valdosta message boards or the UGA blogs? I’m sure for many down in Valdosta this weekend will go down in history as a real nightmare. Getting stomped by Lowndes & UT stomping UGA does not go over well. Regarding CH-PRHS, this will see if CH is a player in Region 7 or a #4 seed. After PRHS, CH has Mill Creek (win), South Forsyth (win) & Norcross (toss up). They do not play North due to not everyone playing each other & playing 2 non-region games instead of 1 non-region & round robin schedule.
BROOKWOOD MOM: You asked about the college blogs recently. The UGA blog is going crazy with thousands of comments. Good luck at “the Castle” Friday night versus Central Gwinnett.


October 11th, 2009
8:25 pm

The chance to make a impression to who TODD HOLCOMB. Who are you to make a impression to TODD. We all know that your team is PEACHTREE RIDGE, but who cares. This blog is all ready negative about MLK, STEPHENSON, and COLLINS HILL. Parents from STEPHENSON don’t entertain this blog until Todd put something positive about our program. BOYCOTT the BLOG

Say What

October 11th, 2009
8:35 pm

I don’t think anyone can make solid prediction on the MLK-Stephenson game. You can say who would like to win but neither team has shown they are significantly better than the other. Actually, they are mirror images of each other. Both have a super defense which will not let anyone blow them out. Both have offenses that at any given time can light up the scoreboard in an instant. Both teams rarely get beaten by anybody. They normally beat themselves with consecutive bonehead penalties at the most inopportune time combined with predictable play calling.

Similar to the MLK-SWD game both backs Raymond Sanders and Mack Brown will be keyed and will not gain over 100 yards. The difference will be who plays the most mistake-free football and which coach is able to swallow their pride and change their game plan when it is obvious it is not working.

Regardless of who wins or loses, both teams combined will send more kids to college than any other region in the state.


October 11th, 2009
8:36 pm

Hey Newton County who do you think is better? MLK or Stephenson?


October 11th, 2009
9:24 pm

Mark. As I said in the local paper if you put us in any region Newnan would blowout 80% of there opposition. Westlake has more talent as any team in Georgia. Just like Stephenson and mlk it all come down to coaching

Raider Fan

October 11th, 2009
10:13 pm

Come on, STILL no Walton? Get real here, I’m getting annoyed at the lack of attention. They’re 6-0, goodness.

Say it Aint So

October 11th, 2009
10:28 pm

Raider Fan we will be OK at Walton. Let’s continue to fly Under the Radar and handle our business. Let’s get Centennial under our belts and continue one game at a time. By the way, I like the Jags over the Lions by 3 Newnan over Westlake by 10 and P’tree Ridge over Collins Hill by 17.


October 11th, 2009
10:31 pm

Lowndes’ defense played it’s best game in well, maybe ever. For the 1st time I can remember under McPherson, we won the coin toss and chose to defer to the 2nd half, putting our defense on ther field to start the game. On the 3rd play we intercepted and ran it down close to the end zone where Kharey Franklin promptly ran it in. For the game we passed for 158 yards. (Parker was 5 out of 8.) In the 1st half Valdosta had minus yards rushing, while Lowndes had 258 yards total offense. Late in the 2nd quarter, Valdosta called the same exact pass play that Northside ran in the 4th quarter against Lowndes (when they went like 60 yards to set up the winning field goal) and Valdosta scored to make the score 23-7. But Lowndes came back on the next drive and went the length of the field to answer the Wildcats score, making it 30-7 at the half. We received the 2nd half kickoff, scored in a few plays, and the rout was on. Our starters and their backups came out at the end of the 3rd quarter, and the BTeam and 9th graders played the 4th quarter. It was the 1st time Valdosta has ever been forced to a running clock when they were behind. It was the most points ever scored on Valdosta, and Lowndes became the only team to beat them 6 times in a row. Above all else, proud Valdosta was humiliated and embarassed. That may very well be the fodder the anti Tomberlin people need to make a change with their head coach.

The talk around town is that Tomberlin’s tenure as the Cat’s coach is over, unless Valdosta goes deep into the playoffs. Before the season it was “he must win a playoff game.” I really hate it. He, like Randy McPherson, is a good friend of mine. And he is a very good man, a great leader for his players, a tremendous role model, a really devoted husband and father, and is a Christian in every way. Valdosta will never be the old Valdosta again, but Rick Tomberlin can do more for their young men and athletes than anybody else they can hope to find in helping them become better people.


October 11th, 2009
10:44 pm


Collins Hill EAGLES

October 11th, 2009
10:55 pm



October 11th, 2009
11:10 pm

Still no love for undefeated Lassiter? Should be a good east cobb battle when we play walton.


October 11th, 2009
11:18 pm

I think that Valdosta has the players to do good. Its just the current play calling and scheme isn’t working out. Specially against that Vikings D. Lowndes was dominating the Cat’s WR and running game, alot of which had to do with the safeties which seemed to be everywhere cept for one play. The wideouts curled out which the safeties bit in on and the 3rd WR would streak up between the numbers and hash and would be open every time. Valdosta only maximised on this play once. In the 2nd half they didn’t run it much if at all going more for the short game. Just not a good match up scheme wise when it gets down to it.

Also, think is might be the last week Woodstock isn’t in the top ten. better crack it next week. haha


October 11th, 2009
11:31 pm

I listen to all the excusses , and guesses, and etc about Valdosta….Rge truth is that they only have a small area to draw players and students from. This has become the major reasob Valdosta has not been at the win level they once were year after year..Lowndes Co gets alot of talent that Valdosta once had in their hip pocket, but due to their location, and student base; they cannot match up on talent etc as they once did…This is why it is hard to win at Valdosta….This is the truth; because a friend of mine played,there, and grew up in Valdosta.


October 11th, 2009
11:50 pm

I look for the game between #4 Hillgrove and my ALMA MATER #10 HIRAM to be a GREAT GAME as HIRAM Has the #1 PPG Ave in the state….and I think HIRAM Should be ranked ahead of Apalachee (6-0) and Sandy Creek


October 12th, 2009
12:41 am

Bodog, i dissagree. Valdosta has some great talent. Great QB. WR #11 is a great target. and their MLB is a hoss. Its just they aren’t being utilized correctly.


October 12th, 2009
12:52 am

hey mark newnan what numbers do you have for those 3 westlake players cause i heard westlake has more than 3 good players

go cougars

Firday Night Football Fan

October 12th, 2009
1:55 am

Go Hiram! Good Luck Against Osbourne…

Suwanee 0wnz

October 12th, 2009
3:44 am

OK. I will make a prediction in the Stephenson MLK game. I predict that everyone there will be amazed by the Stephenson drum-line. I have not seen them play in a few years. But the football team will show talent. The band will be great. And the drum-line will be incredible. The school can be very proud regardless of the final score.

I suspect Peachtree Ridge will handle Collins Hill easily, but I am really pulling for the Eagles. They have made slow steady progress in their program over the last few years, and it just seems they deserve a little luck and a little recognition. They have pushed a big rock up a big hill and I would love to see them go the last few yards this year. They finally got the Buford wolf out of their hen house and they have kept some very strong home-grown talent. Go EAGLES!!!!


October 12th, 2009
5:59 am

Oh, BTW, Griffin keeps rolling along: da Bears mashed previously unbeaten North Clayton Friday. Kudos to North Clayton, a VERY good team. Our second team didn’t play much as our starters HAD to play the entire game, a tribute to the Eagles. It was smash-mouth the whole game.


October 12th, 2009
8:00 am

Westlake has 3 lineman that average 6′6 320. Two talented quarterbacks a 6′6 tight end on offense. The defensive ends are tall and athletic. They also have a linebacker who is committed to Tennessee and one of the best corners in the nation who is a Clemson commit.


October 12th, 2009
8:05 am

Yes you are right in that there is no love for walton and lassiter. Add Roswell to that list as well. I believe that Roswell will beat Alpharetta this coming Friday; I also believe that Milton will pull off the upset this weekend against walton. Roswell is built the old fashion way; solid running game, really physical defense and special teams, and if neccessary 2 great playmakers at wide reciever. Guess Roswell will have to play under the radar until the last 2 weeks of the season when we meet Walton and Lassitter on the road. We may run the table but a 1 loss season and region title would also be great heading into the playoffs. Go Hornets !!!

NTH Trojans

October 12th, 2009
8:09 am

Hornet 04,

I was at the game Friday night, my son plays for Hiram. I agree that it should be a great game between Hiram and Hillgrove, both teams match up well on paper. However, if Hiram turns the ball over 5 times against Hillgrove like they did against South Paulding, Hiram will get massacred. Hiram has to find a way to minimize turnovers and penalties against Hillgrove. If they do that, then it WILL be a great game. GO HORNETS!!!!!!!!

Say it Aint So

October 12th, 2009
8:17 am

roswell#1 Milton did not pull the upset this past weekend, Walton won 28-23, Sorry for disappointing you. Keep looking ahead.


October 12th, 2009
9:15 am

Bodog, I somewhat agree with you, Lowndes has over 2900 students while Valdosta has around 1800. Although, coaching is huge there is a lot to be said for the talent pool.
I predict Stephenson/MLK to be really close like Lowndes/NSWR with the edge going to Stephenson, probably around 10-7! It will come down to mistakes as both teams are very evenly matched.


October 12th, 2009
9:33 am

Enter your comments here

Wildcat Fan

October 12th, 2009
10:06 am

Apalachee is one of only 5 teams in AAAA still undefeated and only ranked 9th, these rankings are crap. They should at least be ranked 5th.

Friday Nights game of the week

October 12th, 2009
10:09 am

I saw that game friday on CSS between Griffin and North Clayton and I must say that the game was decided by three questionable calls by the officials. #1 was a blocking in the back call against North Clayton in the 1st half that would have made the score 14 – 0 North Clayton going into halftime. #2 was the punt that Griffin downed on the 1 yard line even though their player had both feet over the line. That meant that North Clayton should have started at the 20 yard line instead of the 1 yard line. That was a crucial call because… and this is #3, the 2-point safety Griffin received because North Clayton was called for holding in the end zone which made the score 19-14 Griffin with around 6 minutes left to go in the 4th quarter. Ironically, all of the questionable calls went Griffin’s way even though North Clayton was at home.

Wildcat Fan

October 12th, 2009
10:09 am

Apalachee is only giving up 6.8 points a game by there defense. Guess we have to go undefeated to get respect from the Atlanta News paper!!!

Sideline Observer

October 12th, 2009
10:15 am

GO UG – Correction. Lowndes has just over 2800 students and Valdosta has over 2000. But Valdosta has 5 gangs with national affiliation – per an FBI report to local schools – It’s hard for “good coaching” to overcome that. Police have had to go to Valdosta’s locker room at half time in the past to break up fights between team mates, and once after a game.

Valwood, a large predominently white private school, draws mostly from the Valdosta School District. This drains a lot of Booster funds that other wise would go to Valdosta High.

Valdosta’s QB is a good athelete, like Wolverine2Blazer says. But he acts like a thug on the field, and was warned repeatly by the refs last Friday night at Martin stadium. In the shotgun formation he missed the snap from center three times while jawing to the defense or gestering to the Lowndes fans and bench. (Granted the Wildcat starting center is out with an injury.) Valdosta’s QB reminds people of Marcus Ball. A great athelete who could not control his emotions. He and two other Wildcat players have been banned from the Lowndes High School campus by the Sheriffs Dept for off the field altercations that occurred back in the summer and once early this fall when Valdosta was not practicing on a day that Lowndes was.

The powers to be in Valdosta want to merge school districts with Lowndes (like Ware and Waycross did, except maintain two, or possibly three high schools). That it seems is their only hope of ever regaining their swagger.

MLK vs Stephenson is going to be a Dekalb county matchup this week, but Stephenson should win in a not so close game.


October 12th, 2009
10:21 am

TO FRIDAY NIGHTS GAME OF THE WEEK – It doesn’t matter if the players feet were in the endzone, on a punt (or kick off which ever the case) the ball itself has to actually cross the goal line. So one of your so-called “questionable calls’ was entirely correct if the ball did not cross the plane of the goal line.


October 12th, 2009
10:23 am


Maybe I am wrong. But for you to be a reporter, you should have done SOME research on MLK and Stephenson. Since they are on ESPN!! Even though both schools don’t get the coverage and respect from AJC and you the nation will know. Please don’t be mad if your favorite school wasn’t choosen to be in the spotlight. There is always next year!!!

cane fan

October 12th, 2009
10:34 am

go fitzgerald purple hurricanes, beat early this week

MLK Lions Fan

October 12th, 2009
10:38 am

Let’s go MLK Lions!!!!!!!! Stay focused and let’s take this Stephenson game like we do the rest of them- ONE GAME AT A TIME. Good luck and know that your fans are 100% behind you.


October 12th, 2009
10:43 am

Valdosat is toast


October 12th, 2009
10:46 am

To elaborate more. Coaching is the key at Valdosta. Yes the have major in school problems. But how woulf Nick Hyder handle them? You bet the farm he would bench who oever he had to and get the job done. The ghosts of former great players and 23 state championships and 6 national titles are a heavy burden for zny team to carry!


October 12th, 2009
11:47 am

I am a proud MLK fan! I truely think MLK will take this game just like last year! Let’s not forget the year before last!! Also 5 quarter we are ready!!!REMEMBER!!!!!


October 12th, 2009
11:51 am

I am hoping both teams will be at 100% and I am pulling for MLK…I just think this is great opportunity to showcase two programs and the loads of talent in the South Dekalb community. Let’s see who really wants to win the region title. Since the winner controls it’s own destiny this game is huge with or without ESPNU…but we will take the exposure! GO LIONS!!!!!


October 12th, 2009
11:56 am

Where is Darryl Maxie when you need him?


October 12th, 2009
12:11 pm

It was rare of Hiram to turn the ball over several times like they did in the first half of the South game. But as you can tell the real Hiram team stepped up in the second half and kept South from scoring anymore points and kept them in 20 yards rushing the whole game. GO HORNETS!!!!

mike branca

October 12th, 2009
12:14 pm

I guess your just waiting for Grady to beat st. pius befure you put Grady in the top ten

mike branca

October 12th, 2009
12:16 pm

No where is Charlie Roberts?


October 12th, 2009
12:17 pm

Mark I was giving jason a littlel info about westlake. I stated on this website and gavsv that jamal ransby and tay willis are the two most underated players in ga. Jamal is the best man to man corner in ga.


October 12th, 2009
12:25 pm


D Tech-Fan!

October 12th, 2009
12:28 pm

Who won the creekside-westlake game or was it canceled? Don’t know about Westlake, but Newnan is a beast! Would not surprise me if they win state, even though they don’t get a ton of love! Definitely the best Defense in the state.