Archive for October, 2009

Time to step up: SWD, Lassiter, Union Grove, Grady

A week ago, I called it a week of reckoning for Stephenson, M.L. King and Collins Hill.

This week, it’s Southwest DeKalb, Lassiter, Union Grove and Grady.

Lassiter might get extra motivation at not being ranked again in Class AAAAA this week despite M.L. King’s loss making room in the Top 10.

The spot went to Woodstock, a team with one loss. I’m wearing armor this week in anticipation of the criticism, although come to think of it, Lassiter doesn’t complain here as much as Walton and Roswell. Nothing wrong with complaining. Just an observation.  : )

Other thoughts …

Stephenson looked great last week. Top-flight defense, a top back in Raymond Sanders. I wondered as I walked out of Hallford Stadium how many times the best back in the state (if it’s Mack Brown) has played on a team that got shut out. Then I remembered Herschel Walker’s Johnson County team in 1979 was shut out by ECI but won a state title that year. Stephenson re-jumped McEachern in the rankings this week.

Some …

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Collins Hill and M.L. King suffer first losses of season

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Peachtree Ridge knocked Collins Hill from the ranks of Gwinnett’s undefeated Class AAAAA teams with a 21-7 win on Friday, but the Lions were not really in the mood to celebrate afterwards.

As the final buzzer sounded, there were no Peachtree Ridge players jumping up and down in jubilation, and coach Bill Ballard barely cracked a post-game smile.

When asked why he wasn’t happier, Ballard shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know what to say. We’ve just got to play better. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Peachtree Ridge’s Brandon Stanley scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns as the No. 9-ranked Lions improved to 6-1. Unranked Collins Hill dropped it first game after kicking off the year with six wins in a row.

“There’s some learning moments we need to look at,” Collins Hill coach Billy Wells said. “In big games, you can’t make crucial mistakes … like turning it the ball over, and taking sacks when you don’t need to. …

Continue reading Collins Hill and M.L. King suffer first losses of season »

Tennessee All-America DB Eric Berry returns to Atlanta for jersey ceremony

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One of the greatest high school players Atlanta has ever produced is Tennessee All-America safety Eric Berry. Remember the hit he had last year vs. Knowshon Moreno? Anyways, tonight “Wild Boyz” Berry will have his jersey retired during halftime of the Creekside’s game vs. Lovejoy.

Berry is projected to be one of the top five players taken in this year’s NFL Draft. The best thing I can say about Berry is not only is he an A+ athlete, he is also one of the most outstanding human beings you will ever meet. My gut feeling tells me life has much bigger things in store for him than football, and that’s saying a lot.

How could Berry be at Creekside in the middle of Tennessee’s season? The Volunteers, fresh off defeating UGA and Lane Kiffin’s declaration of a recruiting war in Georgia and to never again lose to the Bulldogs, have a bye week.

WINTER WEATHER – ALMOST: This year, the weather has almost been as unpredictable as the teams …

Continue reading Tennessee All-America DB Eric Berry returns to Atlanta for jersey ceremony »

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

By CHIP SAYE
For the AJC

There are four weeks to go in the regular season, but we already know who a lot of the region champions will be.

We know that Grayson is going to win Region 8-AAAAA. We know that Camden County is going to win 3-AAAAA (OK, we’ve always known that). And we know that McEachern is all but set in 5-AAAAA.

In other regions, there is way too much football to be played to even hazard a guess as to who takes first place. Who will emerge from the Marist-Southwest DeKalb-Tucker-Stone Mountain logjam atop 6-AAAA? Who comes out on top in 6-AAAAA, where Lassiter, Roswell and Walton are tied at 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the region? Which 8-AA team survives the three-way battle among Jefferson, East Jackson and North Oconee?

Then there are the other regions, ones for which a lot of the answers will come tonight.

Stephenson at M.L. King: This 6 p.m. game at Hallford Stadium has it all — big-time college prospects on both sides, neighborhood bragging rights and a national …

Continue reading The Georgia High School Football Daily’s Weekend Predictions: Who’s winning and losing in Week Eight »

Free-For-All Forum: Georgia high school football Week Eight 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 Eight of HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. Whenever possible, 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 at YOUR game. Got a score update, see a killer play? Keep it clean, POST IT HERE and SEND US GAME PHOTOS.

WEEK 8 SCOREBOARD: CLICK HERE to see the Week 8 results.

AN UPDATE FROM MICHAEL CARVELL: Collins Hill and M.L. King both suffered their first losses of the season. Which Class AAAAA team is best?

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

M.L. King vs. Stephenson
Collins Hill vs. Peachtree Ridge (Michael Carvell’s live blog game)
Newnan vs. Westlake
Creekside High retires Eric Berry’s jersey

Don’t forget to check out these high school football …

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

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

Here are 10 games the GHSF Daily staff considers not-miss this weekend.

Apalachee at Loganville
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Red Devil Stadium, Loganville
Records, rankings: Apalachee is 6-0 overall, 6-0 in Region 8-AAAA and No. 9; Loganville is 4-2, 4-2 and unranked.
Last meeting: Loganville won 17-12 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Apalachee’s Jon Lee has rushed for 676 yards this season, including 275 against Winder-Barrow two weeks ago.
2. Loganville’s Storm Johnson and Mykel Wyyett combined for almost 300 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the Red Devils’ crucial victory against second-place Madison County last week.
3. Apalachee, which started its program in 2000, leads Madison County and Clarke Central by two games and is closing in on its first region title.

Collins Hill at Peachtree Ridge
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lion’s Den, Suwanee
Records, rankings: Collins Hill is 6-0 overall, 4-0 in Region 7-AAAAA and unranked; Peachtree Ridge is 5-1, 4-0 and No. …

Continue reading Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Week Eight’s 10 Best Matchups »

Valdosta High, nation’s winningest football program, will not renew contract of head coach

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Valdosta High School, which has the nation’s winningest football program, will not be welcoming back its head coach for next season.

Valdosta dropped a 57-15 decision to crosstown rival Lowndes last weekend. Wildcats coach Rick Tomberlin was told late Tuesday his contract would not be renewed for the 2010 season by Valdosta City Schools Superintendent Bill Cason, according to the Valdosta Daily Times.

“I’m in shock,” Tomberlin told the Valdosta newspaper. “I did everything I could do here. I’ve never worked harder in my life. I haven’t missed many days of school. I’ve made some wonderful friends here. A lot of people have been very kind to me. I think I’m leaving (the program) a lot better than it was when I got here.”

Tomberlin was given the option of resigning immediately or finishing out the season. He has decided to stay on with the Wildcats, who are 4-3 and still have a chance of earning a berth in the Class AAAAA …

Continue reading Valdosta High, nation’s winningest football program, will not renew contract of head coach »

Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: A look at the state’s most improved teams

A few weeks ago, the GHSF Daily staff looked at some of the most-improved teams in Georgia. Here’s an update.

As we did before, we’re going to break them into two categories – teams that have gone from poor to respectable, and teams that have gone from good to outstanding. These are ranked using the Maxwell Ratings as a guide. Without that computer-generated objectivity, you’d think we loved just DeKalb County.

PHOTOS: Take a look at some of the teams in action during the 2009 season.

Once were bad:

Avondale: From 1-9 to 3-3. Under second-year coach Michael Carson, Avondale can achieve its first winning season in 20 years if it can defeat GAC (0-6), Decatur (4-2) and Cross Keys (1-5).

Putnam County: The War Eagles, 2-8 last season, are 5-1 and leading Region 4-AA under Ben Reaves.

Towers: The Titans were 1-9 last season. This year, they are 3-3 with an overtime loss to state-ranked Lovett and a seven-point loss to 2008 region champ Dunwoody. Unbeaten Grady accounted for the …

Continue reading Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: A look at the state’s most improved teams »

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 …

Continue reading MLK, Stephenson, Collins Hill must answer bell Friday »

Will Grayson hold onto No. 1 ranking after another close call?

Michael Carvell

Michael Carvell

Will Grayson, the newly-crowned No. 1 team in the state’s largest division (Class AAAAA), be able to hold onto the top spot after surviving yet another upset bid on Friday?

Grayson clung to a three-point lead against Brookwood before a touchdown with six minutes left made the final score 22-12, nowhere near indicating how close the Rams were to losing their first game of 2009.

Do “style points” or winning by a large margin count for anything in the high school rankings like they do at the collegiate level? If so, Grayson might be in trouble. In five of the team’s seven wins, they either trailed or held a slim lead in the fourth quarter.

However, here is the bottom line on Grayson: All they do is win.

In other words, the Rams may not win any beauty contests along the way with how they do it. But they still do it.

This week, there will likely be a large contention of high school fans to the South calling for No. 2 Northside of Warner Robins to overtake Grayson …

Continue reading Will Grayson hold onto No. 1 ranking after another close call? »

Free-For-All Forum: Georgia high school football Week Seven 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 Seven of HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. Whenever possible, 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 at YOUR game. Got a score update, see a killer play? Keep it clean, POST IT HERE and SEND US GAME PHOTOS.

WEEK 7 SCOREBOARD: CLICK HERE to see the Week 7 results.

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

Grayson vs. Brookwood | Photos | Carvell: Will Rams stay No. 1?
Griffin vs. North Clayton | Photos
Walton vs. Milton | Photos
Avondale vs. Westminster | Photos

Don’t forget to check out these stories and the metro Atlanta roundup. Here’s what you’ll find…


A look at Westminster’s Ralph David Abernathy IV
Towers vs. Dunwoody
Alpharetta vs. …

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

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

Cairo at Peach County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Anderson Stadium, Fort Valley
Records, rankings: Cairo is 3-2 overall, 2-0 in Region 1-AAA and unranked; Peach County is 5-0, 2-0 and No. 2.
Last meeting: Cairo won 16-7 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Cairo is 3-0 all-time against Peach County, winning in 2008, 2000 and 1999.
2. Cairo graduated all but four starters from its Class AAA championship team. As a result, most favored Peach County in 1-AAA this season.
3. Peach County’s Luke Crowell has nine touchdowns, but he failed to score last week against Monroe, when Peach County was slowed on offense but turned three punting mistakes into 17-0 points in a 31-6 victory.

Calhoun at Chattooga
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Little Big Horn Stadium, Summerville
Records, rankings: Calhoun is 5-0 overall, 1-0 in Region 7-AA North and No. 1; Chattooga is 5-0, 1-0 and unranked.
Last meeting: Calhoun won 32-3 in 2008.
Three things to know:
1. Calhoun has not lost a region game …

Continue reading Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Week Seven’s 10 Best Matchups »

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 …

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

Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Grayson makes move in national rankings

Lowndes’ hopes of a national title evaporated with a loss to Northside-Warner Robins, but another Georgia team is now in position, the GHSF Daily staff notes.

Grayson, the new No. 1 team in Georgia’s Class AAAAA, jumped 12 places to No. 3 in the RivalsHigh 100 released Monday. Grayson is No. 10 in the National Prep Poll and No. 15 in three other national rankings.

Northside, which beat Lowndes 10-7 last week, entered three national rankings but remained behind Lowndes in two polls, including USA Today.

RivalsHigh 100
3. Grayson (+12); 21. Northside (un); 38. Lowndes (-35); 58. North Gwinnett (-18); 68. Gainesville (-13); 79. Peachtree Ridge (-13)

MaxPreps Xcellent 25
15. Grayson (+3); 18. Lowndes (-14)

ESPN Fab 50
15. Grayson (+3); 35. Northside (un); 45. North Gwinnett (-1)

National Prep Poll
10. Grayson (+8); 21. Northside (un)

USA Today
15. Grayson (+1); 25. Lowndes (-16)

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Continue reading Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Grayson makes move in national rankings »

Grayson takes Lowndes’ place at No. 1

Congrats to Northside on the victory over Lowndes. Some would contend that Northside should be No. 1 now, but we moved up Grayson, a team that’s now 19-1 over the past two seasons and beat Lowndes in the AAAAA quarterfinals last year.

More important than the rankings for Northside and Lowndes are the implications of this game in the region standings. Remember that the No. 2 seed from 1-AAAAA likely will be playing at Camden County in the second round. Not that Northside or Lowndes couldn’t win there, but you know they’d rather be somewhere else in November. Further, a No. 2 seed also figures to be on the road for the quarters and semis.  Can Lowndes win at Camden, at McEachern and at Grayson (or Newnan) in consecutive weeks?

My gut says Lowndes still is the best team in AAAAA, but the odds of going 3-0 through that gantlet is well below 50-50, IMO. We’ll see how it plays out.

In other news, Westminster’s victory over Lovett rends Class AA very difficult to rank. Do I put …

Continue reading Grayson takes Lowndes’ place at No. 1 »