Archive for May, 2010

Cook FLAMEthrower Kaleb Cowart (97 mph) stands between Calhoun baseball and PERFECT season

RELATED: Who is the most prolific slugger from Georgia?

Calhoun High’s baseball team is swinging for one of the most improbable accomplishments in high school athletics.

Calhoun is 33-0 and will try to complete an undefeated season when it plays at Cook for the Class AA state championship on Monday. Baseball may be the most difficult team sport to complete a season of perfection because one good opposing pitcher can single-handily shut down anyone. Cook is led by pitcher Kaleb Cowart, who has been clocked at 97 mph and will likely be the first Georgia player selected in the MLB draft on June 7.

Calhoun narrowly won Game 2 vs. Lovett in semifinals (Ryan Gibson Photography)

Calhoun narrowly won Game 2 vs. Lovett in semifinals (Ryan Gibson Photography)

Back to Calhoun: The team’s special season has been documented by photographer Ryan Gibson with photos and short essays. Click here to see the blog at www.ryangblog.com

Gibson is a Calhoun native who has worked in commercial and editorial photography for two years, and always had a passion for …

Continue reading Cook FLAMEthrower Kaleb Cowart (97 mph) stands between Calhoun baseball and PERFECT season »

Who is the best HR slugger from Georgia? FRANCOEUR or JASON HEYWARD? J.D. Drew? You vote!

RELATED: The “Marcus Thornton Effect?” Will state’s other elite players follow Mr. Georgia Basketball to UGA? (click here)

Wesleyan’s Kevin O’Leary, who is threatening to break the state’s record for home runs, crushes the baseball so hard that classmates sometimes have to duck while walking into the school gymnasium beyond the outfield fence.

Who was the most prolific Georgia HR slugger while still in school?

  • Kevin O’Leary
  • Ty Cobb
  • Jeff Francoeur
  • J.D. Drew
  • Jason Heyward
  • Frank Thomas
  • Johnny Mize
  • Other

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O’Leary has 22 homers — three shy of the single-season record held by two former Georgia greats — heading into Friday’s Class A state championship at Aquinas. The best-of-three series will begin at 2 p.m.

Wesleyan’s slugger stands big and strong at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, adding 15 pounds of muscle before his senior season. He looks nothing like the frail and sick kid who was confined to a wheelchair, slept …

Continue reading Who is the best HR slugger from Georgia? FRANCOEUR or JASON HEYWARD? J.D. Drew? You vote! »

The ‘Marcus Thornton Effect?’ Top prospect has UGA, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest as favorites, says coach

When the AJC’s Mr. Georgia Basketball (Westlake’s Marcus Thornton) picked UGA last week, Thornton said he hoped it would encourage Georgia’s other elite basketball prospects to consider playing for the Bulldogs.

How will the AJC’s Mr. Georgia Basketball picking UGA affect future recruiting for the Bulldogs?

  • In a big way. Thornton was the beginning of an Atlanta pipeline to Athens
  • Not at all. Just a lot of wishful thinking.
  • Too soon to tell. I’ll wait to see who Fox can sign next year.

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Shall we call it the “Marcus Thornton Effect?”

If anything, Thornton’s selection of UGA over perennial powerhouses such as Kentucky, Florida, Memphis and North Carolina caught the attention of a few of the state’s elite basketball players for 2011. Milton coach David Boyd said one of his three prized juniors, 6-foot-9 power forward Julian Royal, has UGA, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest as his favorites. Milton shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker is …

Continue reading The ‘Marcus Thornton Effect?’ Top prospect has UGA, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest as favorites, says coach »

With All-State RB Charles Perkins at Georgia Tech, Collins Hill searches for new football identity

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

Collins Hill High completed spring practice without two of its biggest names from last year. All-State running back Charles Perkins enrolled at Georgia Tech in January, while coach Billy Wells left to oversee the new football program at Lanier High.

Kevin Reach, who served as the team’s offensive coordinator the past two years, was promoted to the top spot —  head coach for the first time after 22 years as an assistant. Reach is an 1985 graduate of Clarkston High School.

What about spring practice? It was very productive for Collins Hill, allowing the players to get familiar with Reach, who decided to keep the same offensive and defensive schemes for this year. Reach is …

Continue reading With All-State RB Charles Perkins at Georgia Tech, Collins Hill searches for new football identity »

St. Pius DB Geno Smith has early scholarship offer from Auburn, one of Georgia’s top football prospects for 2012

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

St. Pius has one of the Georgia’s top cornerbacks in Geno Smith, a rising junior who already holds an early scholarship offer from Auburn.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound is considered a “true cover corner” and an impact player on the St. Pius defense, which heavily contributed to the team’s 12-1 record last year — which tied for the most wins in a season in school history.

Smith had 44 tackles, along with 2 interceptions and 7 pass breakups, as he was rarely challenged by opposing quarterbacks. Along with Auburn, Smith also has early offers from Louisville and Virginia Tech. He is also under consideration from numerous other SEC and ACC schools.

How was spring practice at St. …

Continue reading St. Pius DB Geno Smith has early scholarship offer from Auburn, one of Georgia’s top football prospects for 2012 »

Grayson High 6-foot-9 forward signs with Kennesaw State

Grayson’s Andrew Osemhen has signed a basketball scholarship with Kennesaw State, according to the college.

The 6-foot-9 forward was a four-year starter for Grayson, averaging 12 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocked shots as a senior this past season.

“He is a little raw at this point, but we feel that his best days are in front of him and, provided he brings the work ethic, we anticipate he will see some minutes as a freshman,” Kennesaw State coach Tony Ingle said in a statement.

Osemhen is the second local player signed by Kennesaw State this year, joining Tucker High’s Brandon Dawson.

Continue reading Grayson High 6-foot-9 forward signs with Kennesaw State »

GHSA partners with Comcast to broadcast high school sports

Do you want to see highlights from the dramatic shootout for the soccer championship in Georgia’s largest classification? Then you can watch the video below, which are clips from the GHSA Digital Sports Network.

The Network was formed with a partnership between the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and PlayON! Sports, with regular-season games and state championships shown on Comcast on Demand.

To find the programming with your TV remote, you go to Comcast Ch. 1 and then click on “Get Local.” Then go to “Atlanta sports” and then “High School Sports.”

What about the video below? They are clips from Collins Hill’s dramatic 1-0 win over Northview for the Class AAAAA boys championship. Collins Hill won a shootout 4-2 to capture the state crown.

Continue reading GHSA partners with Comcast to broadcast high school sports »

UGA football target hangs up helmet and shoulder pads to focus on basketball ONLY

Dai-Jon Parker, one of the nation’s premier two-sport athletes, has given up football in order to focus on basketball only during his senior year.

What advice would you give Dai-Jon Parker for his senior year?

  • Play both football and basketball
  • Basketball only
  • Football only

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The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder starred at wide receiver and cornerback for Milton High this past season as a junior, and got 11 early football offers, including UGA, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Duke and Mississippi State.

However, Parker is also highly-regarded in hoops, holding basketball scholarship offers from UGA, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Auburn, Ohio State, Oregon, Purdue, Virginia Tech, and Oregon State, among others.

Parker plays shooting guard, posting 19 points and 6 rebounds in Milton’s win over Westlake for Class AAAAA state championship. After the basketball season, Parker briefly considered playing both sports as a senior. However, he opted not to …

Continue reading UGA football target hangs up helmet and shoulder pads to focus on basketball ONLY »

Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Milton Eagles

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

The battle to be Milton’s No. 1 quarterback will carry into the summer.

The Eagles finished spring drills on Friday, and coach Scott Walker was not ready to declare a winner between junior Colin McElroy and senior Joe Vance.

“We’ll see how it plays out in pre-season,” Walker told the AJC on Sunday night. “The competition between the two has been good for us, and good for them. They are pushing each other.”

On Saturday, McElroy was honored as one of the top quarterbacks at the Elite 11 QB camp in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

“Colin has the better physical tools … the big-time arm,” Walker said. “Joe is a heady kid. He understands how to run the offense. He may not throw with the …

Continue reading Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Milton Eagles »

UGA 2011 football commitment to protect Wesleyan’s new quarterback

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

Wesleyan RB Kyle Karempelis may be the state's best player. Not "prospect" but player. (AJC)

Wesleyan RB Kyle Karempelis may be the state's best player. Not "prospect" but player. (AJC)

Wesleyan has found a quarterback to succeed Conor Welton, who led the Wolves to the 2008 Class A state football championship and has signed a baseball scholarship with UGA.

The team’s new quarterback will be rising senior Andrew Frerking, a 6-foot-4, 190-pounder who drastically improved on his footwork and technique during Wesleyan’s spring football practice earlier this month.

“Andrew is tall, strong, and very bright,” Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen said. “He makes few mistakes and is cool under pressure. He teammates and coaches are extremely comfortable with him at the …

Continue reading UGA 2011 football commitment to protect Wesleyan’s new quarterback »

Central Gwinnett’s new football coach greeted by 18 returning starters

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

Central Gwinnett will debut the new offensive for the public this weekend. The Lawrenceville school will have its spring football game at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Black Knights have undergone many changes over the last couple months under first-year coach Todd Wofford, who was previously an assistant at Gainesville. Wofford has installed the Spread offense to replace the Wing-T.

“My biggest goal this bring has been to speed up the tempo of both the offense and defense,” Wofford said. “These kids have worked really hard in the weight room over the last two months and are hungry to show what they can do.”

Central, which had its last winning season in 2006, returns a …

Continue reading Central Gwinnett’s new football coach greeted by 18 returning starters »

Mill Creek football — pretender or contender among the Gwinnett powerhouses?

RELATED: Catching up with Sandy Creek, the reigning Class AAAA champs

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis and fam (MillCreekFootball.com)

Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis and fam (MillCreekFootball.com)

Will Mill Creek’s football team be a contender for a berth in the state playoffs?

That’s the type of confidence and excitement I was hearing a few weeks ago when attending a few games of the wonderful Mill Creek baseball season (which ended in the state quarterfinals).

Some people say that Mill Creek’s football program is a sleeping giant among the Gwinnett County powerhouses. In the team’s six-year history, they have only playoff appearance. Could it happen again in 2010?

Where’s the root for this enthusiasm? It kicks of with 14 …

Continue reading Mill Creek football — pretender or contender among the Gwinnett powerhouses? »

Lassiter lacrosse coach hired away by Piedmont College

Piedmont College looked to Georgia’s high school ranks to find a lacrosse coach.

Peter Manderano will oversee Piedmont College's new lacrosse program (Piedmont Sports Information)

Peter Manderano will oversee Piedmont College's new lacrosse program (Piedmont Sports Information)

Lassiter High’s Peter Manderano was hired to oversee the debut of Div. III lacrosse at the Demorest college. In the past five seasons at Lassiter, Manderano led the Trojans to one state championship (2006), along with a couple of state runner-up appearances.

“After an extensive national search with several fine candidates being interviewed for the position, Peter Manderano stood out as the right man to become the first lacrosse coach at Piedmont College,” said Piedmont athletics director John Dzik said in a statement.

“Peter’s outstanding lacrosse background and coaching ties in the sport throughout the state of Georgia make him the perfect candidate to lead our program as it embarks on a Division III lacrosse experience.”

Manderano was the first lacrosse coach at Riverwood in 2004, with the Raiders …

Continue reading Lassiter lacrosse coach hired away by Piedmont College »

Sandy Creek High football coach to match wits against his legendary father

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

Chip Walker (right) guided Sandy Creek to 2009 Class AAAA state championship (AJC)

Chip Walker (right) guided Sandy Creek to 2009 Class AAAA state championship (AJC)

When Chip Walker led Sandy Creek to the Class AAAA state championship last year, he also made some family history.

Chip and his dad, Rodney Walker, are the first father-and-son tandem to each win state titles in Georgia. Rodney’s came in 1984 with West Rome.

One of the Sandy Creek’s preseason scrimmages will be against Mary Persons, coached by Rodney. Maybe that won’t be the last time they play. Due to the GHSA’s realignment, Sandy Creek has moved down to Class AAA, which also has Mary Persons as one of its member schools.

How was the spring for Sandy Creek? How are they looking for this …

Continue reading Sandy Creek High football coach to match wits against his legendary father »

Is Isaiah Crowell of Carver-Columbus the best high school RB in the USA?

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

Is Isaiah Crowell of Carver-Columbus the best running back in the USA?

Where will all-world RB Isaiah Crowell sign?

  • Bama
  • UGA
  • I’ll take the rest of the field

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At least one recruiting service thinks Crowell is among the nation’s elite, with Scout ranking the 6-foot, 215-pounder as No. 2 in the country.

Last year as a junior, Crowell rushed for 1,907 yards and 22 TDs on 175 carries. He also caught 18 passes of 241 yards and 3 TDs. He has more than 40 scholarship offers, with Alabama and Georgia as his leaders, according to CUTigers.com.

The recruiting services — and colleges — always love high school running backs from …

Continue reading Is Isaiah Crowell of Carver-Columbus the best high school RB in the USA? »