Archive for August, 2011

AAA blog: Cedar Grove gets huge early test against Stephenson

The headliners in AAA are more inter-classification games, and those include a couple of heavyweight matches.

A look at the top games in Class AAA this week:

1. Stephenson (1-0) at Cedar Grove (1-0), Hallford Stadium: No. 7 Cedar Grove warmed up with a 40-19 win over a fledgling Veterans club last week, and the Saints jump into the deep end with both feet this week, facing what many view as the state’s most talented team in Stephenson (ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAA). The game is a contrast in styles; the Jaguars are a power team with a strong ground game, while Cedar Grove airs it out. Saints QB Johnathan McCrary completed 10 of 12 passes for 312 yards and four TDs last week, gets a much more difficult test against a Stephenson defense that held Parkview to a field goal last week. Last year: Stephenson won 24-18.

2. Statesboro (1-0) at Washington County (1-0): Unranked Washington County steps out of AAA competition against Statesboro (ranked No. 3 in AAAA). The …

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Class AA Blog: Buford-Carver headline week

The folks lucky enough to attend the Carver-Buford game could be getting a peek at a possible championship match.

No. 1 Buford (2-0) hosts No. 3 Carver (1-0) in a game between two highly regarded teams. Carver won last year’s game 14-0, but Buford hasn’t come close to losing since and went on to win its fourth straight state championship. The game will be televised at 7:30 p.m. on CSS.

Buford has at least 10 Division I prospects, including preseason all-state selections offensive lineman Vadal Alexander, tight end Kurt Freitag, wide receiver Paris Head, linebacker Dillon Lee and defensive back C.J. Moore. Long snapper Reid Ferguson has been offered by LSU.

Carver is led defensively by Derious Bennett, a 6-foor-1, 285-pound defensive tackle who already has offers from Wake Forest, Houston, Marshall, Arkansas State and Southern Miss.

Other top games this week include:

Elbert County at Wesleyan: It could be a shootout when these two high-scoring teams collide. Elbert put 29 on …

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My favorite memory: Georgia Tech running back Preston Lyons

Preston Lyons transferred from Colgate and walked on at Georgia Tech. Before become at B-back for the Yellow Jackets, one of his great football memories came from when he played high school ball for Marist. He explains:

“It was in the Georgia Dome, my senior year in the state semifinals [in 2006]. We beat East Paulding. I remember running out of the tunnel, just the feeling of being in the big leagues. It’s so loud in there, and I remember everyone was yelling in the tunnel.

“There were people all around us. Running out into that environment was one of the most electrifying experiences of my life.”

Asked how he did in that game, Lyons paused and said, “Uh, I know we won.”

Lyons rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown as the War Eagles won 27-7 to advance to the state championship game.

– Matt Winkeljohn for the AJC

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Ranked teams clash at Buccaneer Bash

Score Atlanta

By Scott St. Lifer and Stephen Black

Union Grove won five games to win the platinum bracket at the Buccaneer Bash Invitational last weekend, which was held at several locations in Cobb and Cherokee. The Wolverines beat Lassiter 7-2 in their final game Saturday. Pitcher Megan Betsa struck out eight and allowed only one hit in four innings. … Allatoona, St. Pius and North Gwinnett finished 2-1 on Saturday, but Allatoona was awarded the victory in the silver bracket because of fewest runs allowed. Allatoona’s Tressa Watson pitched a 3-0 shutout against Woodland-Bartow and pitched five shutout innings against St. Pius in a 5-0 victory. Watson also had RBI doubles against Woodland-Bartow and North Gwinnett and a two-run homer against St. Pius. Erika Dunbar was 6-for-10 on Saturday, and Kara Chambers was 5-for-10. … No. 6 Kennesaw Mountain defeated region foe North Cobb for the ninth straight time in a 3-1 victory. Mustangs starting pitcher Becca Farris allowed one …

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Harrison, St. Pius impress in early-season play

Score Atlanta

By Joe Deighton

It is still early in the season for the vast majority of teams throughout the state of Georgia, but some elite volleyball programs have already played a significant portion of their schedule. Harrison is one of those elite programs and they showed up in a big way at the McGill-Toolen Catholic Dirty Dozen Invitational in Mobile, Ala., this past weekend. Although they didn’t win the tournament, the Hoyas were able to defeat some of the top teams in the country. Harrison beat Faith Academy (Ala.) 2-0 (25-13, 25-15), Hancock (Mich.) 2-0 (25-13, 25-10), St. Paul’s Episcopal (Ala.) 2-0 (25-24, 25-19), Bayside (Ala.) 2-0 (25-21, 25-13), and Pelham (Ala.) 2-0 (25-16, 25-19). The Hoyas were defeated in the championship match by host McGill-Toolen 2-1 (30-28, 16-25, 9-15). Harrison has been led by Alexis Ryan, who has 89 kills and 23 aces in 39 games. The senior outside hitter was selected to the 2010 GVCA all-state team and looks like she is on her way to …

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Top runners, teams stand out in Blastow Invitational

Score Atlanta

By Ricky Dimon

Several metro Atlanta schools put their 2011 cross country campaigns into high gear by taking part in the annual Bob Blastow Invitational last Saturday at Alexander High School. While the Lakeside, Evans boys stole the show with five runners posting times faster than 16:30, plenty of standout performances were turned in. … The Pope boys were led by Patrick Fleming’s third-place finish in 15:43 and teammate Justin Howell crossed the line in 16:41. Riverwood had three runners in the top 17; James Ryden, Eric Dietrich and Connor McDaniel. Woodward Academy showcased its depth with all seven entrants breaking the 18:00 mark. Chris Burnett led the way for the War Eagles in 16:12, followed closely behind by freshman Drew Sands in 16:17. Daniel Navarro, Ty Nelson, Matthew McMurray and Jack Leahey scored points for Marist, all finishing under 18:00 and in the top 13 overall. Galloway saw two of its runners cross the line with times faster than 18:00 in …

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McEachern gets national ranking; polls like Buford, Grayson

Fresh off a 49-0 victory over Gainesville, Buford is the highest-ranked Georgia team in three national polls this week.

Grayson is the highest in three others, and a seventh poll tabs Camden County as Georgia’s best team.

The biggest jumper this week was McEachern. That’s partly because the team that McEachern beat two weeks ago – North Gwinnett – routed nationally renowned East St. Louis (Ill.) 41-0 last week. McEachern is No. 57 in the National Prep Poll, near the spot East St. Louis occupied last week.

MaxPreps Xcellent 25

17. Buford (24)

20. Grayson (25)

MaxPreps Freeman Rankings

9. Buford (4)

National Prep Poll

21. Grayson (24)

SuperPrep

16. Buford (20)

30. Camden County (32)

ESPN Fab 50

20. Grayson (26)

29. Stephenson (32)

43. Lowndes (NR)

48. Camden County (NR)

USA Today

12. Grayson (14)

15. Camden County (16)

RivalsHigh 100

13. Camden County (25)

19. Buford (21)

20. Sandy Creek (20)

26. Lowndes (58)

29. Grayson (50)

55. Colquitt County (14)

57. McEachern (NR)

79. …

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Toughest, easiest Class AAA schedules

The 10 teams in Class AAA with the toughest and easiest schedules, according to the Maxwell Ratings:

Toughest

1. Worth County

2. Locust Grove

3. Americus-Sumter

4. Crisp County

5. Spalding

6. Drew

7. LaGrange

8. Troup

9. Central (Carrollton)

10. Dougherty

Easiest

1. New Manchester

2. Lanier

3. Heritage (Ringgold)

4. Butler

5. North Atlanta

6. Grovetown

7. Cross Creek

8. Johnson (Gainesville)

9. Monroe Area

10. Burke County

Note: The computer ratings have limited information on out-of-state opponents, and some schedules may be underrated as a result. Strength of schedule will change each week depending how each team on the schedule performs.

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Sandy Creek joins elite group with 30-game winning streak

Sandy Creek’s winning streak, which was extended in a 43-20 victory over Whitewater last week, is the 16th in GHSA history to hit 30 games.

Here’s a look at those 16:

47 – Buford (2001-04)

State titles: 2001, 2002, 2003. Coach: Dexter Wood. Key players: RB Darius Walker, DL Neil Brown, OL Trey Chandler, WR Mikey Henderson. Streak-breaker: Central Gwinnett, 20-14, third game. Noteworthy: Buford is 142-6 since this streak began.

46 – Parkview (2000-03)

State titles: 2000, 2001, 2002. Coach: Cecil Flowe. Key players: WR/DB Jeff Francoeur, OL Zeb McKinzey, LB Sean Dawkins. Streak-breaker: Brookwood, 35-21, second game. Noteworthy: Parkview’s streak is the longest ever in the highest classification.

44 – Lincoln County (1989-91)

State titles: 1989, 1990. Coach: Larry Campbell. Key players: RB Garrison Hearst, LB Anthony Parks, LB Dramel Ware. Streak-breaker: Clinch County, 11-8, state championship game. Noteworthy: Streak’s end stopped Lincoln County’s bid for six Class A titles in …

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Top performances from Week 2

*Allatoona RB Miles Jones rushed for 216 yards on 18 carries in a 34-0 victory over Kennesaw Mountain.

*Albany QB Emmanul Byrd was 5-for-5 passing for four touchdowns and 181 yards, all in the first half, and also scored two touchdowns in a 39-7 victory over Dougherty.

*Armuchee QB Zack Payne rushed for 245 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries and was 8-for-13 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown in a 33-13 victory over Trion.

*Cedar Grove QB Johnathan McCrary was 10-of-12 passing for 312 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-19 victory over Veterans.

*Charlton County RB Tre Hamilton rushed for 211 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-6 victory over Brantley County.

*Collins Hill RB Jordan Parker rushed for 219 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in a 24-21 victory over Roswell.

*Darlington QB Brad Butler was 14-of-17 passing for 166 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries in a 42-35 victory over Dade Christian (Fla.).

*Dawson …

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AAA blog: St. Pius gets back to Standard’s roots

On the surface, No. 5 St. Pius  at Savannah’s Benedictine might seem like a strange fit, but there are connections between the two Catholic schools beyond their religious affiliation. The two schools had never played before last year, when the Cadets visited St. Pius, which rolled to a 42-19 win. St. Pius coach Paul Standard’s family lived in Savannah before moving to Atlanta and he has several family members who attended Benedictine. St. Pius Principal Steve Spellman also attended Benedictine.
The Lions executed very well last week, rushing for 345 yards, including 135 from senior Geno Smith, and outgained Westminster by more than 200 yards, but needed a score in the final minute to win. “When the game got tight our kids battled back,” Standard said.
Benedictine lost to Blessed Trinity 17-14 last week, a near-complete turnaround from a 44-0 loss to the Titans in 2010 …

Cairo linebackers Terrell Cason and Paul Davis made plays all over the field for the No. …

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AAAA blog: Five reasons to love the Tucker-Marist rivalry

Top-ranked Tucker will host No. 9 Marist at Adams Stadium on Friday in their annual DeKalb County showdown. A share of the early lead in Region 6-AAAA will be on the line, but in reality there’s a lot more at stake. Here are five things to love about the Tucker-Marist rivalry:

1. It provides a region championship game atmosphere in early September. Tucker and Marist have been in the same region every year since 1996, and only once in that time has another team (Southwest DeKalb in 2009) won the region title. Both teams have games remaining against region contender Mays, and Marist must face Southwest DeKalb, but the odds are good (14 to 1, in this case) that the winner of Friday’s game will take the No. 1 seed.

2. It’s the state’s top rivalry between a public and a private school. Savannah-Benedictine has the history, and GAC-Buford had its moments in the early part of this century. But no game between a public and a private school currently compares with the appeal of this …

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Toughest, easiest Class AAAA schedules

The 10 teams in Class AAAA with the toughest and easiest schedules, according to the Maxwell Ratings:

Toughest

1. Kell

2. Hardaway

3. Sprayberry

4. Warner Robins

5. Thomas County Central

6. Fayette County

7. Winder-Barrow

8. Osborne

9. Douglass

10. Lakeside (Atlanta)

Easiest

1. Evans

2. Richmond Hill

3. Lithia Springs

4. South Effingham

5. Lovejoy

6. Mount Zion (Jonesboro)

7. North Clayton

8. Creekside

9. Banneker

10. Alexander

Note: The computer ratings have limited information on out-of-state opponents, and some schedules may be underrated as a result. Strength of schedule will change each week depending how each team on the schedule performs.

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POY Watch: Tracking the state’s top players

In a new weekly feature, GHSF Daily will keep tabs on the state’s top players in their pursuit of state player-of-the-year recognition. Some media do a Heisman Watch for college football. Call this the POY Watch.

Our picks are based on this question: What are the chances that this player will be the all-classification player of the year? In the early season, it’s partly about reputation and last season, meaning a couple of mediocre games early won’t have much impact. As the season unfolds, it will be more about this season. The success of the player’s team is important, but not everything.

*Brad Butler, Darlington: He’s a junior, he plays in Class A, and he’s a long shot, but there’s a little Nick Marshall or maybe Tim Byerly in this 205-pound quarterback who can ran and pass. In a 42-35 victory over Dade Christian, Butler was 14-of-17 passing for 166 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries. The week before, he was 7-of-8 passing …

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Class AA Blog: Major Players Show Scoring Depth

Looks like there may be a common thread running through the best Class AA teams in the state. It’s depth. Just ask the teams that played No. 1 Buford, No. 3 Carver and No. 10 Dublin last week. Each victorious team brought wave after wave of players to the mix and overpowered their victims.

Buford used 14 different ball carriers and had seven different players score touchdowns in a 49-0 win over Gainesville. Andre Johnson was the workhorse with 12 carries and 115 yards and the Wolves ran for 325 yards.

Carver had seven different players score in a 52-0 win over Spencer. It was a creative approach, with touchdowns coming via the pass, run, kick return and interception return. Quarterback Torrance McGee threw for 124 yards (competing 6 of 6 passes) and a touchdown.

Dublin had six players score touchdowns in its 50-16 win over Toombs County. Quarterback Rob East completed 8 of 10 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns and Brandon Coney had a momentum-shifting interception …

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