Lineup for GPB Sports Central

GPB Sports Central
GPB Sports Central airs weekly on Wednesdays at 7:30 pm on Channel 8 and its HD channel. The show will replay Fridays at 11 p.m. with final high school football scores and Saturdays at noon with final scores and game news.

Show Highlights:

  • Reporter Mark Harmon went up to Cumming where he visited Bryce Haynes of Pinecrest Academy, considered the top long snapper in the county.
  • Reporter Jon Nelson checks in with Class A Charlton County, which has won four state championships in the last 12 years.
  • Host Gil Tyree does a story on the new turf fields in Cobb County, part of a $9.5 million project, and the effect it is having on one high school team.
  • Reporter Niki Noto hits the field with the Lady Eagles of Collins Hill, looking to win a back-to-back state title in softball.
  • Recruiting expert Scott Janovitz is this week’s guest, there is the GPB/AJC Top 10 high school football poll presented by the Georgia High School Football Daily, radio voice Tommy Palmer checks in from South Georgia and Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli talks about his high school experiences.

GPB Sports Central XL
GPB Sports Central XL: a live video chat featuring interviews with Georgia High School coaches mixing it up with bloggers, writers and fans. Airs weekly on Wednesday at 8:00 pm online at gpb.org/sports.

Show Highlights:

  • Theme for this week is the midterm review: Guests will talk about the best teams, players and games of the first half and what to expect in the second half of the regular season and the playoffs.
  • Host of the Georgia High School Scoreboard Tommy Palmer will focus on South Georgia, the AJC’s Michael Carvell will discuss the metro Atlanta area, Todd Holcomb of the GHSD Daily will look at the whole state and Score Atlanta/GPB recruiting expert Scott Janovitz will tell us who has moved up or down the recruiting prospect list.
  • GPB will be webcasting two games this week so the head coaches at Kell and Pope will talk about Friday’s game and coaches from Valdosta and M L King will look into Saturday’s battle.

One comment Add your comment

dexter askin

October 1st, 2010
1:58 pm

Does GPB support all of Georgia or just the Atlanta areas. All of georgia support GPB. What has GPB done for the state 5A boys football back-to-back champions lately. Are we(Camden) so close to Florida that we are considered a Florida team. One would think that the best that Georgia had to offer in the last 2 years as indicated by the Championship rings and another on the way, would get one televised/webcast game. Florida Time Union had a some great articles on Camden and also ranked the game today as Florida game of the week in high school.

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By Hays Carlyon
A high school football program need stars to become a national power.

It needs blue-chip recruits. It needs high-profile coaches such as Florida’s Urban Meyer and Alabama’s Nick Saban drooling over the chance to sign the team’s top talents.

Right?

Well, not in Kingsland, Ga.

Camden County is doing just fine. The Wildcats have become one of the top-ranked teams in the country without having five-star prospects.

Camden County is currently ranked in the top 10 by three major services: Rivals.com, USA Today and ESPN Rise. A fourth, MaxPreps, has the Wildcats 11th.

That ranking will surely be put to the test Friday when Camden (4-0) travels to take on one of the country’s top programs in Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (3-0). The game starts at 7 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPNU.

The game is a contrast in styles, but also in regard to the rosters.

While Camden does not have a player committed to a NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision school, Aquinas has several. The Raiders have four players currently pledged to major college programs. Offensive lineman Bobby Hart and receiver Rashad Greene are heading to Florida State. Quarterback Jake Rudock chose Iowa, and receiver Phillip Dorsett is committed to Miami. The biggest Aquinas prize, cornerback Marcus Robinson, is undecided. Rivals lists Robinson as the nation’s No. 30 overall prospect.

So how can Camden stay competitive?

The Wildcats have already knocked off one highly regarded South Florida team. Camden edged visiting Miami Central, then ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Today, 45-42 in the second game of the season. Central has eight players committed to FBS schools.

“Not every team highly ranked nationally is filled with top recruits,” Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. “Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey won the national championship last year with one four-star recruit. There are teams, and Camden is one of them, that are more of a team than some with great Division I prospects. You look at the coaching and the scheme, and that’s where Camden excels.”

There is no magic. Camden’s success starts with coach Jeff Herron, who has installed his philosophies deep within the community over the past decade.

Herron’s program is machine-like. It’s the reason Camden remains one of the nation’s best teams despite losing 19 of 22 starters from a 2009 team that successfully defended its Class AAAAA championship. There are 115 players on the varsity roster. The school also fields a junior varsity and freshman team. Twenty players have logged at least one carry this season in four varsity games.

“Camden doesn’t have the usual blue-chippers you might see, but they have a blue-collar, hard-working mentality,” said Dallas Jackson, senior analyst for RivalsHigh.

“Coach Herron has done an amazing job. There’s very little drop-off from their top running back to their fourth. It’s an impressive team top to bottom.”

Camden’s wing-T offense and 3-5-3 defense are well-entrenched in every player’s mind by the time his high school career begins.

“By the time a student is in the spring of his sixth-grade year, he’s running our offense and defense,” Herron said. “That helps us take average kids and get more out of them. That’s the key to high school football.”

That stability and continuity is incredibly rare at any level of football, let alone in high school. Most high school coaches can only dream about having their philosophies taught to students before they start middle school.

“Camden has a blue-chip mentality,” said First Coast High coach Marty Lee, who faced Camden last season.

“They’re the only school in that community, and they have the support of everybody there. It’s a solid, disciplined foundation of hard work and dedication. A little kid in that community knows one day he’s going to play football for Camden County.”

Herron is quick to point out that Camden has produced quality players. Since 2006, 30 players have gone on to play college football. However, only five signed with schools that play in a Bowl Championship Series conference. Two signed with South Carolina. Clemson, Illinois and Vanderbilt each signed one player in that time frame.

One problem Herron feels is the school’s location. College coaches are less inclined to make a visit to the campus.

“We have had some very good players here,” Herron said. “Players I feel should’ve been recruited at a higher level than they were. A lot of it is convenience. A coach can fly into Jacksonville and visit 10 or 12 schools in a day. He can fly into Atlanta and visit 20 or 30 schools in a day. We’ve been hurt by the fact our county is kind of isolated. We’re working hard to reverse that. I tell coaches we’re closer to the Jacksonville airport than most of the schools in Jacksonville.”

Playing on national TV against other top teams is sure to help boost the profile of the school as well.

While Camden has not been drawn into the national recruiting spotlight yet, those days might be soon be over. Sophomore quarterback Brice Ramsey is expected to be one of the top prospects at his position in the 2013 class. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Ramsey is the team’s backup now to senior Joel Ruiz, but Ramsey does handle punting chores.

“Brice is going to be special,” Herron said. “He’s more of a pocket quarterback now, but that’s because he’s still growing into his body. He has a size 161/2 shoe, so he’s still adjusting. I feel he’s going to be recruited on a national level.”

Junior Bryan Attaway (6-4, 240) has the size to play tight end, middle linebacker or defensive end in college. He’s expected to be heavily recruited. Joining Ramsey in the 2013 class is J.J. Green, who is versatile enough to play defensive back or running back in college.

“Bryan is a can’t-miss kid talent-wise,” Herron said. “J.J. has skills that are rare. He started for us as a freshman.”

hays.carlyon@jacksonville.com,
(904) 359-4377

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Comments (1) Coach Herron
By Linda Tyler | 09/29/10 – 10:37 am
Great story about a great man that just happens to be a Coach. He is totally aweome with the players and certainly deserves to be be recognized by more than the Camden community. Go Wildcats !

Posted: September 30, 2010 – 8:14pm | Updated: September 30, 2010 – 10:14pmVideo
High School Football

Camden County at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

When: 7 p.m. Friday.

Where: Brian Piccolo Stadium, Fort Lauderdale.

TV: ESPNU.

Records: Camden is 4-0; St. Thomas Aquinas is 3-0.
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By Kevin Price
KINGSLAND, Ga. — Jim Walsh probably knows more than he wants to know about Camden County football.

A yearly region opponent for the Wildcats, Walsh’s Tigers have fallen victim several times to Camden’s athletic prowess in lopsided games, such as last Friday’s 55-10 mismatch in Hinesville between the teams.

But other Bradwell teams that were better suited to give the Wildcats a strong test also might have lost because of Camden’s winning attitude and willingness to stay the course under the leadership of coach Jeff Herron, who will take his team to face St. Thomas Aquinas today in Fort Lauderdale in a matchup of national powerhouses.

“We’ve had some backyard brawls with [Camden] in the past, but they ended up on the upside because of what Coach Herron instills in them from the time they start playing football in Camden County coming up through the feeder program he has developed,” Walsh said. “They don’t know what losing is about, and they’re going to do everything they can to make sure they don’t find out about it.

“They know they’ve got their hands full this weekend, and that’s because St. Thomas Aquinas has the same thing Camden County has. So, it’s just going to be a battle of wills.

“But, my money would have to be on Camden. You know what they are going to do offensively and defensively, but they’re going to take it to you from kickoff until the final horn. It’s hard to bet against them.”

Still, many across the country who will watch the 7 p.m. game on ESPNU are hedging their bets on the Raiders (3-0), who won back-to-back state championships in Florida’s 5A classification in 2007 and 2008 while also winning a national championship two years ago.

Related: High School Football Week 5: Games to watch, power poll, schedule

Camden (4-0) meantime, is going for a third consecutive state title in Georgia’s largest classification.

The Wildcats are ranked as high as sixth in one of the many national polls, while the Raiders are ranked as high as third in one rankings list.

Those siding with St. Thomas are doing so largely because of the team’s high-powered offense, which has scored at least 28 points in each of its first three games with a season-high 52 against Boyd Anderson two weeks ago.

The Raiders have done it with decent balance, too, as they have rushed for 389 yards and passed for 649.

“And, I don’t they’ve turned it over even once in three games,” Herron said. “They’re extremely efficient. I remember putting in a tape of them from last year the first time and I thought it was a highlight tape. It seemed like every play was a big play.”

Three weeks ago, Miami Central, then ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today, hit several big plays on Camden, but the Wildcats managed to survive a 45-42 contest at home.

In that game, Herron saw Central receivers literally run past his defensive backs, something which is rare at Camden, a team loaded with speed.

It seems that many in the national media figure Herron might see this happen again, but not be as fortunate in the end this time. And Camden’s coach understands why.

“Miami Central was the fastest team we’ve seen, and the athletes they had were unbelievable,” Herron said. “St. Thomas has those guys, too.

“Two of their receivers are as good as anyone Miami Central had. Then, there’s the quarterback, who doesn’t seem to make a bad throw or read. They’re great on defense and special teams and are well-coached. They’re just a very solid, solid football team.”

The same goes for Camden. Walsh marvels at the Wildcats’ execution every time he sits down to watch their game films.

“Defensively, they are always very athletic and aggressive,” Walsh said. “Offensively, there is one word to describe them. They’re methodical. And you know what’s coming, but their execution is always outstanding.”

That worries St. Thomas Aquinas coach George Smith, who is going for his 350th coaching win. He said earlier this week that the Raiders haven’t faced a true Wing-T team such as Camden under his guidance, and that the Wildcats run the offensive system about as well as anyone he has ever seen.

Walsh concurred. “It’s really a 4-yard offense,” he said. “They know if they can control the ball, they can control the clock and hopefully control the scoreboard. It might take them eight plays to go 30 yards, but it’s chunk by chunk. And, they just don’t make mistakes.”

And while Camden’s best answer for the Raiders’ offense might be ball possession, Walsh believes Camden’s defense might be better prepared to slow down the St. Thomas offense than it was Miami Central’s.

“They’ve got speed and size, and their coaches do a good job,” Walsh said. “Herron knows you win with defense, and he’s going to put his best athletes on that side of the ball. If they’re good enough, they’ll also play on offense, and nine times out of 10, they’ll be part of the kicking game, too. You don’t catch a break against those cats.”

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