Archive for September, 2011

AAAA blog: Four defending region champs face uphill battle to repeat

At the season’s halfway point, four of the eight defending region champions in Class AAAA have positioned themselves well for another title in 2011.

Northside, ranked No. 2, is one of two undefeated teams in 1-AAAA and faces cross-town rival Warner Robins on Friday in what might determine the region winner. No. 5 Statesboro is the best team in its subregion and appears headed for another appearance in the 2-AAAA championship game. No. 9 Lovejoy is tied for first place in 4-AAAA and likely needs only a victory against Jonesboro to win the region again. And the only thing standing between top-ranked Tucker and another 6-AAAA title is Mays, which plays the Tigers next week.

The other four defending champions are going to need a lot of help if they are going to win their regions again. Here’s where they stand, heading into the second half of the season:

*Starr’s Mill (3-AAAA): The Panthers are in the worst position of any of the defending champions, and their shot at the …

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My greatest memory: Georgia Tech’s Izaan Cross

Izaan Cross has developed a reputation for making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, and that pre-dates his arrival at Georgia Tech. The junior defensive end swatted four passes and registered 2.5 sacks as a sophomore, and he already has knocked down three passes in two games this season for the Yellow Jackets.

As a senior at Flowery Branch High, Cross had 13 sacks, and three of them came in the state Class AAA semifinal game in 2008. He also knocked down a pass in the unranked Falcons’ 28-0 upset victory at LaGrange. That was part of his favorite memory from high school football.

“Just that whole state championship run, even though we lost the state championship [to Cairo],” Cross said. “We were on the road every single game, and it seemed like every game we got stronger.

“Me and [Tech linebacker] Daniel Drummond, him on offense [where he rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns in the semifinal] and me on defense, it was like that whole ride we got stronger …

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TD Club to honor Tompkins, Whitehead, Cokely

Brookwood running back Nick Tompkins, M.L. King defensive tackle Kenderius Whitehead and Greater Atlanta Christian head coach Tim Cokely are the winners of the Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s weekly awards.

Tompkins, the back of the week, rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in a 56-14 victory over Central Gwinnett. Tompkins, an all-state player on Brookwood’s 2010 state championship team, has committed to Michigan State.

Whitehead, the lineman of the week, had eight tackles, four sacks, three other tackles for losses and three QB pressures in a 42-7 victory over Hughes. Whitehead is one of the state’s top defensive lineman prospects.

Cokely, the coach of the week, has led GAC to a 5-0 start that includes victories over region rivals Westminster and Blessed Trinity. GAC is 14-3 in his two seasons after a 1-9 finish in 2009.

The honorees will be recognized at noon Monday at the Touchdown Club’s weekly meeting at Fox Sports Grill in Atlantic Station. The …

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Longest winning streaks in regular-season games

58 – Camden County, 2000-06

56 – Macon County, 1991-97

53 – Lincoln County, 1975-80

49 – Buford, 2004-09

47 – Hart County, 1997-01

47 – SE Bulloch, 1970-75

46 – Valdosta, 1967-72

44 – Avondale, 1963-67

43 – Valdosta, 1981-85

41 – Marist, 1997-01

40 – Benedictine, 1979-82

40 – Marist, 1989-92

40 – Manchester, 1964-68

40 – McEachern, 1986-89

40 – Thomson 1966-70

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Top 10 games of Week 7

Carrollton at Troup

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Callaway Stadium, LaGrange

Records, rankings: Carrollton is 4-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 6-AAA and No. 4; Troup is 4-1, 1-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Carrollton won 48-7 in 2010.

Three things to know: 1. Carrollton and Troup are the only two of the seven teams in 6-AAA with winning records, and the winner of this game will be the overwhelming favorite to win the region title. Carrollton has not lost a regular-season region game (not including region championship games) since Oct. 19, 2007, against Sandy Creek. 2. Carrollton has rushed for 1,336 yards in five games while giving up just 473. The leading rushers are D.J. Johnson (424 yards, 71 carries, five touchdowns) and Telvin Brown (407 yards, 41 carries, eight TDs). 3. Troup won its region opener 42-0 last week against Columbus in a game that was stopped early in the third quarter because of bad weather. Ricky Frazier returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to …

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AAA blog: This week’s games to watch

If there were going to be a big one-week shakeup in the Class AAA rankings, this might be the week. Six of the 10 ranked teams – including all of the top five – play on the road, and three of those pose significant tests. We’ll see how well they studied.
This week’s top games to watch in AAA:
1. No. 1 Sandy Creek (4-0) at Eastside (4-1), Saturday: The Patriots take their 33-game winning streak across the metro area to Eastside, where the Eagles appear to have had this date circled on their calendar for some time. At least, their fans have. Eastside played without two key offensive players last week in a 20-7 win over Spalding, but Chavis Griggs had a breakout game. They’ll likely need a lot more against Sandy Creek. No one has slowed the Patriots and QB Cole Garvin down. Last year: Sandy Creek won 30-10.

2. No. 4 Carrollton (4-0) at Troup (4-1): Some observers … OK, me … view this as the de facto 6-AAA championship game. It’s explosive offense (Carrollton) …

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AA Blog: Ready to rumble in Region 1

The playoff picture starts becoming more focused this week in Class AA, as the elite teams meet head-to-head in several regions and subregions. In many cases the contenders will start to separate themselves from the other good teams and rise to the top.

The best example this week may come in Region 1-AA, that rock-em, sock-em region from South Georgia that encompasses a wide variety of styles. This week features offensive-minded Cook at Fitzgerald and defensive-minded Thomasville at Brooks County. Unless idle Early County can somehow get into the mix, these should be the region’s four playoff teams. They’ll just need to decide the order of play.

No. 9 Fitzgerald (4-1) seems to have the ability to flip an offensive switch when needed. The Purple Hurricanes were tied 21-21 at halftime last week against Albany, which must have been really irritating to Fitzgerald, which scored on the first five possessions of the second half and won 56-21. Scottie Griffin (255 yards) and …

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Brookwood boys, Westminster girls win Atlanta Classic

By Ricky Dimon

Score Atlanta

The Brookwood boys maintained their momentum from a recent triumph at the Gwinnett County Championships by taking home the title from last Saturday’s Atlanta Classic, hosted by Chapel Hill High School. Without top runner Morgan Malanoski, the Broncos edged runner-up St. Pius by an incredibly close score of 89-96. Gabriel Gomez finished sixth overall for Brookwood with a time of 16:10, five seconds ahead of teammate Austin Veith. The Golden Lions were led by fifth-place Austin Sprague in 16:01 and seventh-place Calvin Tirrell in 16:11. Bailey Roth of Eagle’s Landing won the race in 15:52, beating out Adam Jones of Columbus by three seconds. … Westminster made sure there would be no such suspense in the girls’ race, as the Wildcats ran 30 points clear of the rest of the competition. A well-grouped squad featured Michelle Sullivan in ninth overall at 19:57 and Martha Stewart in 12th place at 20:12. Parkview, Marist, Whitewater and Allatoona …

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Wolves win bracket at Brookwood Invitational

By Scott St. Lifer

Score Atlanta

Buford finished 5-1 in the 19th annual Brookwood Invitational to win its respective bracket. Three of the Wolves’ victories in pool play were shutouts, as Tessa Daniels, who went 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a save, pitched two of the shutouts. This lowered her overall ERA to 1.31. At the plate, Tennessee-commit Lexi Overstreet and freshman Jordan Deep carried the team. Both hit .667 with Overstreet having three doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs while Deep scattered 12 hits and drove in five runs. “[Lexi] is an outstanding player that swings the bat well, has a really good idea of what she is doing and has unbelievable skills,” said Buford coach Tony Wolfe. “Jordan Deep is a freshman and on the opposite end and a really good-hearted player, but as a 14-year-old freshman, she is learning the high school game.” … Kennesaw Mountain also finished 5-1 at the Brookwood Invitational with wins over South Gwinnett, Jackson County, Whitewater, …

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Seniors lead Greyhounds on winning streak

By Joe Deighton

Score Atlanta

Pope extended its winning streak to 15 with a victory over Woodland, Bartow on Tuesday. During the streak, the Greyhounds also captured their fourth consecutive Cobb County Invitational title. Pope wrested the championship from North Cobb, a team that simply could not handle long service runs. It was a total team effort as seniors Mary Hannah Arrington, Leslye Barnette and junior Rachel Reynolds combined for 12 kills. Senior setter Mikaela Tracy put up 21 assists and senior libero Wimberly Wilson had 14 digs. The Greyhounds have a 30-2 overall record and look to be in the driver’s seat going into the postseason. … St. Pius clinched the top seed in the Area 5-AAA tournament with a three-set victory over Riverwood and wins over Towers and Columbia. The wins over Towers and Columbia were the most impressive of the season for the Golden Lions. In winning all four sets, the Lions outscored their opponents by a total of 100-12. St. Pius is currently …

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Top single-game rushing totals in 2011

359 – Brendan Douglas, Aquinas

343 – Denzel Franklin, Pace Academy

317 – Evan Kasian, Walker

283 – Denzel Veale, Lithonia

279 – Tyren Jones, Walton

274 – Chris Beck, South Cobb

274 – Dalviness Greene, Westover

262 – Austin Terrell, River Ridge

259 – Kevin Ellison, Habersham Central

258 – Terry Lewis, Bainbridge

Source: GHSF Daily’s Top Performances. We realize this is not a complete list. Please let us know about any single-game rushing totals that exceed these.

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National rankings: Buford enters CNN/SI poll at No. 10

Buford became the first Georgia team to crack CNN/SI’s national rankings this season, checking in at No. 10 after a 35-7 victory over Lovett, a top 10 team in Georgia’s Class AA.

CNN/SI is the only one of eight national polls that ranks only a top 10. No Georgia team has been ranked in it until now.

Buford, a four-time defending champion in Class AA, was chosen ahead of larger Georgia schools.

“That’s thanks, in large part, to linebacker Dillon Lee,” said CNN/SI ranker Ben Blicksman. “The 6-4 senior is one of the nation’s best pure tacklers, and appears to be Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw’s heir apparent at Alabama. He’s certainly one to watch.”

Lee is an Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 pick but merely the fourth-leading tackler on a defense that includes six FBS (formerly Division I-A) prospects who are seniors.

Buford now is the highest-ranked Georgia team in four of the eight national rankings. Grayson and Camden County are the highest …

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POY Watch: Walton’s Jones moves into top spot

Tyren Jones, the Walton junior who is Class AAAAA’s leading rusher, is the new No. 1 contender in GHSF Daily’s Player of the Year Watch after a 35-carry effort last week against Etowah.

Jones will get a chance to solidify that spot when his team faces Lassiter on Friday in a game between undefeated teams in east Cobb. Jones played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Lassiter.

Stephenson’s Mike Davis, a running back who has committed to Florida, is the big mover this week. Davis rushed for 180 yards on nine carries in a 56-35 victory over Westlake last week and joins the POY Watch at No. 3.

Also new is Harris County DE Jordan Jenkins, perhaps Georgia’s top college prospect. Back in the Top 10 is Eagle’s Landing Christian junior LB/RB Keyante Green.

Dropping out, but still in the running, are Putnam County RB Marteze Waller, M.L. King QB Jonquel Dawson and North Gwinnett QB Scott Hosch. Each had good games last week.

1. RB Tyren Jones, Walton: Jones, a junior, rushed …

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AAAA blog: Glynn Academy, Alcovy, Salem facing trap games

Teams often are not at their best when coming off a big victory or facing a big game the next week.

Glynn Academy, Alcovy and Salem are in both situations – they had important wins last week AND play crucial region games next week. All three will be expected to win on Friday, but they can’t afford to take their opponents lightly.

Here’s a look at the three Class AAAA teams facing those so-called trap games this week:

*Glynn Academy: The Red Terrors are 4-0 for the first time since 1986 after their 13-10 victory against Class AAAAA’s Tift County, and next week they face subregion rival Ware County, the sixth-ranked team in AAAA. In between, Glynn Academy hosts Wayne County in its 2-AAAA Division A opener. Glynn Academy has won five consecutive games against Wayne, giving up a touchdown or less in four of them, but trails in the overall series 19-17.

*Alcovy: The Tigers have overcome injuries and an 0-2 start and enter Friday’s game against Ola on a three-game winning …

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AA blog: Who’s the best defensive team?

Does defense really win championships? That’s the old cliché, but does it really hold water (another cliché)? Halfway through the season it definitely has some validity when it comes to pointing out the best teams in Class AA.

There are 23 teams playing a region schedule in Class AA with zero or one loss. Of that number, 14 have at least one shutout and eight have two or more. Six of the teams ranked in the top seven have had at least one shutout.

So who are the best defensive teams in Class AA this year?

The best place to start is with No. 1 Buford, which hasn’t really best tested this year. The Wolves (6-0) have allowed 21 points and not allowed any opponent to score more than a touchdown. Buford’s talented defense has already posted three shutouts.

No. 2 Calhoun isn’t bad, either. The Yellow Jackets have allowed only 28 points and have one shutout. Fourteen of those points came in the opener against Dalton. Calhoun would no doubt like another crack at Buford in the …

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