Archive for May, 2010

Will it be MLB or NCAA for Georgia Tech football recruit??? ‘Superman’ on torrid baseball streak

It was easy to figure out when Blessed Trinity baseball star Jake Skole had returned to the team from his ankle injury.

Skole: Georgia Tech vs. MLB (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Skole: Georgia Tech vs. MLB (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

How so? The major-league baseball scouts started showing back up at the team’s games.

Nearly 30 MLB scouts watched Skoke put on a show in Tuesday’s sweep over Pierce County in the Class AA quarterfinals. The Titans (24-10) won a pair of five-inning games by the scores of 12-2 and 11-1.

Skole might be the state’s hottest player. Since returning from his injury, he has six homeruns and 21 RBI in six games — all playoff games.

“That’s impressive, isn’t it? He was out for most of the year,” Blessed Trinity coach Andy Harlin said. “Six homeruns in the playoffs? I don’t even know what to tell you about that one.

“He’s just one you sit back when you coach him, fold your arms and say ‘That a boy.’ He just has so much tremendous ability.”

In the Tuesday’s opening game, Skole blasted a homer that easily cleared …

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Step right up and make YOUR PREDICTIONS for the AJC’s Mr. Basketball

Six weeks of life in the fast lane for the AJC’s Mr. Basketball will end at high noon on Wednesday.

Predict Marcus Thornton?

  • UGA
  • Georgia Tech
  • Bama
  • Texas
  • Surprise school ….

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Which college will Westlake High’s Marcus Thornton select? His finalists are Georgia Tech, UGA, Alabama and Texas.

YOU MAKE THE PICK. Please post your selection below, along with your reasons for your selection. We’re taking names, and we’ll see who knows what they are talking about later today

What do I think? I think it’s very hard to get a read on Marcus Thornton, who — to his credit — has kept a low profile as possible while living large. Out of the four finalists, Thornton has the longest friendship with Alabama coach Anthony Grant, who recruited him at VCI. What about Texas? I never thought they had a chance because of distance. But Thornton had a tremendous visit to Texas, and said that distance would not be a factor in his college decision. I …

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Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Rockdale County Bulldogs

(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)

Rockdale County was one of the state’s biggest surprises last year.

Second-year coach Mike Etheridge had the “magic touch,” guiding the Bulldogs to the Class AAAA semifinals in the Georgia Dome. Rockdale suffered a heart-breaking loss, dropping a decision to Clarke Central — which the Bulldogs had defeated during the regular season.

How is the spring going for Rockdale? “We are trying to find more depth at each position … I think we have the players out here, we’ve just got to get them in the right position.”

The team’s best player may be safety Neville Hewitt, who holds a scholarship offer from South Carolina. Grady Jarrett, who starts at both offensive guard and …

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Camden County’s football team goes for the three-peat in Georgia’s largest classification

(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 eyes of the nation will be on Camden County again this year.

Place your bet for 2010 Class AAAAA champs

  • Camden County, home of the two-time defending state champions.
  • Someone from Gwinnett
  • I’ll take the rest of the field — the non-Camden and non-Gwinnett schools

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Can the Wildcats win the state championship for the third year in a row in Georgia’s largest classification?

Georgia’s high school football gets a lot of respect around the country, with the biggest props always going to the best teams in Class AAAAA. Will Camden County be among them again this year? Yes, they will, at least in the beginning, as most …

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Greenville High football coach wishes faith-based comments would’ve been shown in ‘Extreme Makeover’ appearance on ABC-TV

One day after his heart-wrenching story was told to a national TV audience, Jeremy Williams was back in his comfort zone on Monday — coaching high school football in rural Georgia.
Some things have changed since last February’s taping for “Extreme Makeover” and Sunday’s night’s broadcast on ABC-TV, while other things have remained the same. Williams is progressively getting weaker from the terminal illness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, but the coach’s faith and determination remain as strong as ever.
Williams had mixed feelings about the final edited version of the TV show.
“The whole experience was such a blessing,” he said. “My family and I are so thankful to so many people for everything they did for us.
“My only disappointment was that they cut my faith-based comments out. I’m the man I am because of God. Not because of my strength, but God’s strength. That’s how I can smile and say I have ALS.
“Everybody around here knows that, but I wish the nation would’ve heard that …

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AJC following up with Greenville football coach after national TV appearance on ‘Extreme Makeover’

Note: Click here to watch the season-ending episode of “Extreme Makeover” featuring Greenville High School football coach Jeremy Williams.

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I missed watching Sunday night’s scheduled version of “Extreme Makeover” featuring Greenville football coach Jeremy Williams on national TV.  I was returning from a family event in Charleston, S.C.

But I knew exactly when it was on. My cell started blowing up with text messages and emails, with most people moved to tears. And I’m talking about a few people I know who don’t cry about anything.

They were touched by the story of the small-town football coach who displays such a wonderful attitude and has a powerful influence on many young people (his players, students, kids) despite being diagnosed with a terminal illness. The AJC has been following the “Jeremy Williams story” since the fall (see the links below), and we’ll be in Greenville, Ga., on Monday to follow up on the coach’s national TV debut, along with updates on his …

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Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Lovejoy Wildcats

(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)

Let the good times roll in Clayton County.

The GHSA’s new region alignments have returned the county’s schools to the old familiar format of being able to compete against each other. “A lot of old rivalries should be reinstated,” Lovejoy coach Al Hughes said.

Hughes has directed Lovejoy since 2001 and is excited about the spring. What are his goals? “We are hoping to accomplish a mental toughness. Because we are a Spread Offense, people think we are soft. We are out to prove them wrong.”

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Lovejoy always has some of the state’s best linemen. This year’s crop includes:

OL Lamont Hardy (6-foot-6, 330 lbs.), with an early offer from North Carolina State

DL David Washington

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Star of Sunday’s ‘Extreme Makeover’ TV show is Greenville High football coach Jeremy Williams

Jeremy Williams (left) with his two children (AJC)

Jeremy Williams (left) with his two children (AJC)

The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode featuring Greenville High football coach Jeremy Williams will be televised at 8 p.m. Sunday by ABC.

Williams, whose inspirational story was voted as the AJC’s Sports Story of the Year, has the terminal illness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Rather than extensive remodeling, the “Extreme Makeover” crew bulldozed the Pine Valley house of Williams, and built a new one to accommodate the health issues of the coach, along with those of his son, Jacob, who was born with spina bifida.

The TV show also remodeled the fieldhouse at Greenville High School in late February.

“Oh my gosh, I think every TV on this side of the state will be watching the show,” said Carol Lane, superintendent of Meriwether County Schools. “It has been the talk of the town for months, and everybody is really excited for Jeremy.”

The coach will keep a low profile on Sunday. Williams plans to gather with family and …

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Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Stone Mountain Pirates

(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)

Perhaps no team wants the football season to kick off more than Stone Mountain.

Last year was the best and worst of times for the Pirates. The DeKalb school was on brink of making the state playoffs for the first time since 2004 under first-year coach Dante Ferguson. However, the GHSA determined on Nov. 5 that Stone Mountain (along with Lithonia) had used an ineligible player and ruled that the Pirates had to forfeit five wins. Stone Mountain’s record was switched from 6-3 to 1-8, which was a devastating turn of events for the team.

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However, Ferguson had Stone Mountain looking forward at spring practice, which ended last week.

What did the Pirates accomplish this …

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Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Riverwood Raiders

(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)

Stadium announcers will be challenged by the name of Riverwood’s deep threat at wide receiver this year.

Matt Onyegbuchulam is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior that is very athletic and fast. He also starts on defense at safety.

Riverwood coach Robert Ingram (AJC file)

Riverwood coach Robert Ingram (AJC file)

When asked about the last name, Riverwood coach Robert Ingram said, “The name is Nigerian…  He is a super kid. I am really pulling for him.

“I tell him that he is the sole reason that we don’t put last names on our jerseys.”

Riverwood will have its scrimmage on Friday (today). The freshman will play at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity at 6:30.

What have the Raiders been working on this spring? “We have to get …

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Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Walton Raiders

(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)

Walton is doing its spring game in style.

The Raiders will scrimmage at 7 p.m. Friday, and it will be broadcast live over the Internet on the football program’s Web site — www.raidersfb.net

What will you see? One of Cobb County’s top teams trying to replace 18 of 22 starters this spring.

The big story on offense is senior Bradley Kilborn, who is performing well in his bid to be the No.  1 QB. On defense, Walton’s coaches are tinkering with the 3-4 defense, perhaps changing this year from the traditional 4-3 scheme. The Raiders are also desperately seeking a new punter and placekicker — two positions which have nearly always been a team strength.

Walton RB Kyle Vorster is one of the team's four returning starters (AJC photo)

Walton RB Kyle Vorster …

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AJC’s Mr. Georgia Basketball discusses UGA recruiting trip, plans visit to Georgia Tech, and confirms contact with North Carolina Tar Heels

The AJC’s Mr. Basketball reflected on his recruiting trip to UGA on Wednesday night, said he will visit Georgia Tech within the next few days, and confirmed that yet another national powerhouse has made recent contact.

Who is the new school interested in Westlake High’s Marcus Thornton? It’s none other than North Carolina and coach Roy Williams. Thornton confirmed only that he has talked with the Tar Heels, and politely declined further comment at this time. He wouldn’t say whether or not it was too late in the process to consider another school.

If North Carolina’s Roy Williams contacted you at the last minute, what would you do?

  • Thanks, but no thanks. Too late.
  • Take a visit, even if I didn’t sign with them, or I’d regret it for the rest of my life
  • Are you kidding me? This is North Carolina. Skip school tomorrow and drive to Chapel Hill!
  • What’s the big deal about North Carolina? Who cares?

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But the 6-foot-7 power forward …

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Eric Berry’s twin brothers are the star attractions of Creekside’s spring football practices

NFL first-rounder Eric Berry recently had his No. 10 jersey retired at Creekside High School (AJC photo)

NFL first-rounder Eric Berry recently had his No. 10 jersey retired at Creekside High School (AJC photo)

(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)

Two of the nation’s most highly-anticipated freshmen will be on display for Creekside’s spring game at 7 p.m. Friday.

Who are these guys? There are the Berry Twins, Evan and Elliot Berry.

Perhaps you’ve heard the last name? Older brother Eric Berry, who also played at Creekside, was the fifth overall choice of last month’s NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The twins have as much potential, as least at this young age. Both are bigger and faster than Eric was as a baby-faced freshman, say Creekside’s coaches.

Here’s the breakdown of the Berry Twins:

Evan Berry: The …

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Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Brookwood Broncos

Is No. 21 (white jersey) the best overall player in Georgia? Brookwood WR-DB Andre Sims will be one of the top candidates to watch for 2010 (AJC)

Is No. 21 (white jersey) the best overall player in Georgia? Brookwood WR-DB Andre Sims will be one of the top candidates to watch for 2010. By the way, Sims caught this pass. (AJC)

(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)

It’s always tough to replace a legend.

Brookwood coach Mark Crews has performed admirably in succeeding his mentor, the legendary Dave Hunter. In eight years as head coach of the Snellville school, Crews has guided the Broncos into the state playoffs every season.

Last year, Brookwood sent shockwaves around Georgia by knocking off previously undefeated McEachern in the playoff opener.

What about this year? Will it be nine years in a row under Crews?

Things are looking good for Brookwood as …

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Greenville High football coach Jeremy Williams to be star of Sunday’s Extreme Makeover ABC-TV show

The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode featuring Greenville football coach Jeremy Williams will be televised at 8 p.m. Sunday by ABC.

Williams, whose inspirational journey was voted the AJC’s Sports Story of the Year by our readers, has the terminal illness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Rather than extensive remodeling, the “Extreme Makeover” crew bulldozed the Pine Valley house of Williams, and built a new one to accommodate the health issues of the coach, along with those of his son, Jacob, who was born with spina bifida. The TV show also remodeled the fieldhouse at Greenville High School in late February.

ABC aired a promo for the upcoming episode during this past Sunday’s “Extreme Makeover.” Viewers of the show saw singer-actress Demi Lovato of Disney fame sing to the Williams family while they were on vacation in Colorado — at the same time the construction work was performed back in Georgia, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Follow the Jeremy Williams …

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