West Forsyth coach changes mind about controversial ending

Upon further review, West Forsyth coach Frank Helper said the referees “got it right” with a ruling on one of the state’s most controversial — and sensational — plays of the season.

Facing fourth down-and-2o with less than a minute remaining, Flowery Branch’s Connor Shaw rifled a 42-yard touchdown pass to Robby Boudreau in a 51-47 win over West Forsyth.

The last-second heroics had a huge impact on both teams: Flowery Branch (7-2), which finished at the Class AAA runner-up last year, clinched a playoff berth, while West Forsyth (4-4) was eliminated from postseason consideration.

After the game, Hepler told the Gainesville Times that he “thought (Shaw) was across the line (of scrimmage) there at the end and (the referees) didn’t call it, so that’s what we’ve got to go with.”

After reviewing the game film into the wee hours of Saturday morning, Hepler told the AJC he changed his stance. “The officials did a great job in getting the call right.

“As a coach, you always want to see things go your team’s way. But they got this one right. The referees work a lot more games than I do. I’d say they are right 99.9 percent of time … or maybe even 100 percent.”

Hepler also had hefty praise for Shaw, comparing him to one of his former quarterbacks while coaching in Florida — Ryan Schneider, Central Florida’s second-most accomplished QB in school history after Daunte Culpepper.

Flowery Branch QB Connor Shaw (left) plays high school for his father, Lee Shaw (right). Older brother Jaybo Shaw is a backup QB at Georgia Tech, while Jaybo has pledged to play for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina (AJC photo).

Flowery Branch QB Connor Shaw (left) plays high school for his father, Lee Shaw (right). Older brother Jaybo Shaw is a backup QB at Georgia Tech, while Jaybo has pledged to play for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina (AJC photo).

“Ryan was a great passer and was tough. That’s what Connor is, too. He’s tough and can take a hit. We got some pretty good shots at Connor, but he jumped back up like it didn’t bother him at all. With all the blitzing at the collegiate level, his toughness will make him a great one.”

Shaw, the younger brother of Georgia Tech quarterback Jaybo Shaw, has pledged to South Carolina.

>  Both No. 4 Carver-Columbus (7-1) and No. 7 LaGrange (7-1) won to set up Friday’s showdown between the two Class AAA powerhouses. Carver’s Isaiah Crowell, perhaps the state’s most talented junior tailback, had five carries for 137 yards in a 47-8 win over Kendrick. Carver rested its starters after intermission, according to the Columbus Ledger.

> Mary Persons tailback Meshari Walton, who had missed the last three games with an ankle sprain, had the game-winning touchdown run for 11 yards in a  14-7 decision over Woodward. “We felt like if we had Meshari maybe one of the other games would have been different,” coach Rodney Walker told the Macon Telegraph.

> Cloquitt County’s Rashawn Hunt stripped Warner Robins quarterback Maurice Dudley just before he was about to score to change the game’s momentum in a 17-0 upset. The loose ball bounced out of the back of the end zone for a touchback, according to the Moultrie Observer.

> Big numbers: Union County’s Kolt Owenby tossed six TD passes in a 44-14 win over Dawson County while Chattahoochee County’s David Cochran threw for five in a 66-8 win over Stewart County. Meanwhile, West Forsyth’s Ben Emert had one of the state’s top rushing performances with 352 yards and six touchdowns in the loss to Flowery Branch.

10 comments Add your comment

sheila walker

October 25th, 2009
1:09 pm

ref’s rule


October 25th, 2009
3:03 pm

Frank Helper is not alone. Lowndes County Vikings fans and posters dislike officials who make the proper calls, as well. West Forsyth’s coach should sit in the little boys corner with the group of Lowndes posters who proclaimed that “officials” cost tem a game earlier this season.

Someone should put Warner Robins coach Bryan Way on “Alert” on South Davis Drive. It is going to be very challenging to justify what is happening at Warner Robins HS after winning a State Championship in 2004. That State Title is the only reason Coach Way, a very nice guy, has kept his job this long. Unless the Demons shock Northside and Lowndes County in consecutive weeks (a feat that is borderline impossible), Warner Robins will be watching the state playoffs again.


October 25th, 2009
7:50 pm

EagleNationRising one big difference from 2004 state AAAA title and 2009. WR is now in AAAAA. Like your NSWR Eagles, they have never won a AAAAA state title. 1-AAAAA is a lot different region than the AAAA ya’ll came from. Oh I almost forgot Colquitt SHUTOUT the Demons and was NOT violated. Just saying.

See you at the Omni, and YOU’RE BUYING PARTNER!

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October 25th, 2009
9:45 pm

NEWNAN is teh BIG suprose this year after losing so many seniors. Definetly the BEST DEFENSE in the state. Offense is young and inexperienced. However, what a job they have done. They will ake it to the Semi’s and a good chance for the finals.

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WR Class of '89

October 26th, 2009
8:55 am

Even though Warner Robins played AAAA in 2004, they have always played in the top tier in the past. Also, keep in mind that AAAAA did not start until 2000. The top tier used to be AAAA and WR has 2 state titles under this tier (they 4 total, 2 national). WR has always played the same teams that are in the AAAAA (Lowndes, Northside, Valdosta) and have been competitive. I do agree that they need to find out what is broken to restore them to powerhouse status like they have been in the past.

Sting 'em Buzz

October 26th, 2009
10:42 am

great job by your crew Steve

Sting 'em Buzz

October 26th, 2009
11:00 am

way to go T, on being in position to make the call. Thank you Coach Helper for admitting you were wrong and apologizing to the officials.

Dawgs Fan

October 26th, 2009
11:16 am

Let’s promote them to SEC officials who seem to never get it right. Even with the review system.