Archive for August, 2012

Week 2 Picks: Cedar Grove, Peachtree Ridge have chance to bounce back in Week 2

The teams that lost their openers last weekend had to do so in a pretty bright spotlight, considering there were only about 50 games played around the state. Many will get a chance to recover in Week 2, although the stage will be a lot more crowded as the majority of teams kick off their seasons. Look for Cedar Grove, Clinch County, Colquitt County, Landmark Christian, Marietta, Peachtree Ridge and Woodward Academy to be among the teams bouncing back from opening-week losses.

Want to see how you stack up as a prognosticator against other high school football fans? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s High School Football Pickoff contest is back for a second season. Click here to register and participate in this week’s competition. The contest is open from noon Tuesday until noon Friday each week. I’ll announce the previous week’s winner in this column each Thursday.


Last week: 36-11 (.766)



Alcovy##Jones …

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Class AAAA blog: Chadwick goes for No. 300 at Marist

No. 4-ranked Marist travels to Athens Friday to take on Class AAAAA Clarke Central in a game notable for two reasons.

The two teams with storied football histories are meeting for the first time, and Marist coach Alan Chadwick goes for his 300th career win. Chadwick, in his 28th year as the Marist head coach, has led the War Eagles to double-digit wins 18 times, including state championships in 1989 and 2003, and has never finished with fewer than seven wins.

This one figures to be a shootout. Clarke Central averaged 38 points per game while going 10-2 in 2011. Marist averaged 32 points while going 9-2.

Other games to watch:

No. 1 Sandy Creek at Banneker

Last meeting: Sandy Creek won 21-9 in 2009, the only meeting between the two schools.

Three things to watch: 1. Banneker went 6-4 in 2011, and all four losses were to teams that went to the playoffs. 2. Sandy Creek QB Cole Garvin passed for more than 2,300 yards last year. 3. Sandy Creek has won 41 of its last 42 …

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Flowery Branch-Northside headlines week of big games

Only 15 AAAAA teams were in action last week, so Week 2 provides the real kickoff for the classification, and there will be some big games to get things started. Here are a few of the games this week that will show which teams are the championship contenders:

*West Forsyth at Gainesville: These schools became rivals in 2008 when West Forsyth, then playing its first full varsity season, was placed in Region 7-AAA with the Red Elephants. West Forsyth went 14-6 over the next two seasons but lost the two meetings with Gainesville by a combined score of 69-16. Now West Forsyth is the big guy on the block, beginning its third year in the highest classification while the Red Elephants move up to AAAAA from AAA. But on Thursday, West Forsyth will have to deal with Gainesville junior quarterback Deshaun Watson, one of the state’s most dynamic playmakers.

*Northside-Warner Robins at Flowery Branch: Top-ranked Northside hasn’t lost a regular-season game since Oct. 30, 2009, a …

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AAAAAA blog: Five things to watch this week

Five things to watch this weekend in Class AAAAAA.

Grayson vs. Miami Central – It’s the unofficial national game of the week with Grayson (ESPN’s No. 1 team) vs. Miami Central (USA Today’s No. 1 team). There will be 11 players in the game who are committed to FBS (formerly Division I-A) schools. For Central, they are LB Marquez Hodge (Syracuse), DB Ahmad Thomas (Oklahoma), DB Da’Wan Hunte (N.C. State), RB Dalvin Cook (Clemson), RB Josephy Yearby (Florida State) and OL Trevor Darling (Miami). Yearby rushed for 2,160 yards as a sophomore last year. For Grayson, they are DE Robert Nkemdiche, LB Wayne Gallman and DB David Kamara (all Clemson), LB Zach Barnes (Tennessee) and DE Jack Banda (Arizona). The game will air live Friday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN3 and at 11:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

East Cobb vs. West Cobb – McEachern is having a double-header Friday featuring Cobb’s four most prominent AAAAAA teams. It’s Hillgrove vs. Lassiter at 7 p.m., with Walton vs. McEachern to …

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Five games to watch

Normally the only time you’d see Buford and Elbert County play would be the postseason. The two teams are in different regions and have no history with each other. But Friday night fans will get an early taste of the playoffs when the two state-ranked teams open the season.

Buford will make its first appearance at the Granite Bowl in Elberton on Friday. The only previous meeting between the two clubs came last year in the Class AA quarterfinals, a 49-13 Buford victory.

The No. 2 Wolves will be making their AAA debut; they’ve had double-digit wins for 13 straight seasons and finished second in the state in 2011, breaking a string of four straight championship seasons. Buford lost 32 seniors from last year’s team, but return offensive line stalwart Josh Cardiello, a Georgia commitment.

The No. 4 Blue Devils are led by tailback Tyshon Dye, a Clemson commitment who rushed for 1,515 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior. Dye had 889 yards and 11 TDs as a sophomore. Elbert …

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Career victory leaders among Georgia coaches

Marist coach Alan Chadwick can become the 11th man to reach 300 victories as a Georgia head coach on Friday when his team faces Clarke Central. Here are the 10 that have hit 300:

459 – Larry Campbell

353 – Robert Davis

346 – Dan Pitts

323 – Luther Welsh

318 – Dwight Hochstetler

317 – Bill Chappell

315 – Wayman Creel

303 – T. McFerrin

302 – Nick Hyder

300 – Rodney Walker

Note: These include victories only while a coach in Georgia. The victory totals of Welsh, McFerrin and Walker do not include wins while they coached teams in other states.

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West Forsyth at Gainesville in Thursday night TV

It will be a rare head-to-head meeting between two D1 quarterbacks when West Forsyth plays at Gainesville at 7 p.m. Thursday.

It will be televised live on WSB-TV/Me-TV 2.2, which can be found on the following cable systems by channel number: Comcast 248 (Metro Atlanta, Calhoun, Rome), Charter 126 (Metro Atlanta, Athens), Windstream 871 (Dahlonega, Hiawassee, Cornelia, Commerce), ETC 190 (Ellijay, Cherokee, Pickens, Gilmer, Fannin), Plantation 601 (Green, Putnam) and Knology 168 (West Point). The re-broadcast will be shown at 1 a.m. Friday night on WSB-TV on Ch. 2.

You can also watch at online live broadcast of the game at

West Forsyth is led by senior QB A.J. Ederly, who has committed to Middle Tennessee State. Gainesville has junior DeShaun Watson, who pledged to Clemson last February. You can read more about Watson by clicking here.

It is the season opener for both …

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Ten best games of Week 2

A.C. Flora, S.C. at North Gwinnett

When, where: 6 p.m. Saturday, Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium, Suwanee

Records, rankings: A.C. Flora is 2-0 and No. 8 in South Carolina’s Class 3A; North Gwinnett is 1-0 and No. 5 in Georgia’s Class AAAAAA.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. North Gwinnett QB Michael Haynes, making his first start, passed for 125 yards and ran for 51 in the Bulldogs’ 16-14 victory against Colquitt County last week. His 22-yard run to the Colquitt 11 set up a 34-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired. 2. Flora’s Aven Pollard rushed for 222 yards on 12 carries in the Falcons’ 51-36 victory against Gilbert last week. He scored five touchdowns, on runs of 25, 66, 4, 65 and 15 yards. QB Jake Lewis passed for 127 yards and rushed for 104. 3. This is one of three games that were scheduled to be played at North Gwinnett as part of the National High School Gridiron Challenge. Stephenson’s 3 p.m. game likely will be canceled …

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Key games highlight AA schedule

For weeks, as football players crouched tense, awaiting the snap, the jersey across scrimmage was identical to their own, distinguished only by a red tank top defensive teammates typically wear.

Beginning Friday, that jersey across the midway will be an altogether different one worn by a nemesis. And the impending clash far more meaningful.

Through long, hot summer practices, players have butted heads among themselves. Now, as this week kicks off the football season for most teams around the state, it’s time to clash with opponents.

Class AA’s action figures to be as fierce as in any of the state’s now six classifications, with 17 of its teams having teed off in an abbreviated slate of games last week and most of its remaining 62 springing into action tonight. It’s particularly big for fans, the sport’s junkies who’ve longingly ticked the summer days off their calendar, awaiting their initial glimpse of many of the state’s ranked teams.

Here are some key games …

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Open playoff spots, Games of the Week, Possible player shortage at SACA

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

It’s time for us to look at a handful of big games in Week 2, which is actually Opening Week for a great number of teams. But first, as of course it’s never to early to talk about the playoffs, let’s examine something pretty interesting in Class A.

Last season, of the 32 teams to advance to the post season, 19 were public schools and 13 were private schools. Public: Bacon County, Bowdon, Bremen, Calhoun County, Charlton County, Clinch County, Commerce, Dooly County, Emanuel County Institute, Greenville, Johnson County, Lincoln County, Marion County, Miller County, Mitchell County, Seminole County, Washington-Wilkes, Wilcox County and Wilkinson County.

Private: Aquinas, Athens Academy, Brookstone, Calvary Day, Darlington, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, First Presbyterian Day, George Walton Academy, Holy Innocents, Landmark Christian Academy, Mt. Paran Christian, Prince Avenue Christian and Savannah Christian.

This year when the …

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SW Atlanta Christian to forfeit football game because helmets and pads not ready

Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy will forfeit its opening game Friday because the team won’t have helmets and shoulder pads ready, the coach of the opposing team confirmed Wednesday.

SACA was scheduled to play at North Cobb Christian on Friday.

‘’They sent shoulder pads and helmets off to be conditioned, and they haven’t come back yet; that’s the story that I got,’’ North Cobb Christian coach Harry Miles said. “I’m trying to find time to make it up, but it doesn’t look good.’’

Call to SACA asking for comment were not returned Wednesday. The Georgia High School Association was not aware of SACA’s decision.

Both teams were 1-9 last season. This was to be the first meeting between the two.

Continue reading SW Atlanta Christian to forfeit football game because helmets and pads not ready »

This week’s football schedule


Jones County at Alcovy

West Forsyth at Gainesville

Lakeview Ft Oglethorpe at Gordon Lee

East Laurens at Howard

Shaw at Northside-Columbus

Evans at Richmond Academy


Cass at Adairsville

Milton at Alpharetta

Kendrick at Americus-Sumter

Wayne County at Appling County

Mountain View at Archer

Trion at Armuchee

Jeff Davis at Atkinson County

Cross Keys at B.E.S.T Academy

Pierce County at Bacon County

Pelham at Baconton

East Jackson at Banks County

Sandy Creek at Banneker

Duluth at Berkmar

South Effingham at Bluffton, SC

Liberty County at Bradwell Institute

Charlton County at Brantley County

Eagle’s Landing Christian at Briarwood Christian, AL

Monroe at Brooks County

Columbus at Brookstone

Thomasville at Cairo

Ridgeland at Calhoun

Berrien at Calhoun County

Bryan County at Calvary Day

Riverwood at Cambridge

Ocala Vangard, FL at Camden County

Oxford, AL at Carrollton

Darlington at Cartersville

Mays at Carver Atlanta

Spencer at Carver Columbus

Columbia at Cedar …

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Maxwell Ratings: Grayson leads all-class rankings

Each week, will publish the Maxwell Ratings to give fans a computerized look at how Georgia’s 412 football-playing teams rank in each class and in all classifications.

The Maxwell Ratings uses only historical scores. Personnel changes from season to season are not considered. As a result, early-season rankings expresses a confidence level in each team based on recent seasons.

Buford’s history of dominance earns the Wolves a No. 2 ranking over all classifications despite the team’s loss of 22 starters, or the fact that Buford didn’t win its own state title last year.

Lassiter, a school that made the Class AAAAA semifinals, is not ranked as highly here as in the human polls because of its erratic history.

As the season progresses, the rankings will rely more and more on this season’s results and less on previous seasons. By the playoffs, the rankings will reflect 2012 results entirely.

All classification
All …

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Update: Stephenson game likely canceled; Florida opponent pulls out because of tropical storm

Stephenson’s opening football game on Saturday appears all but canceled.

Stephenson was scheduled to play Pine Forest of Pensacola, Fla., at 3 p.m. in the middle game of the National High School Gridiron Challenge at North Gwinnett. The Florida school pulled out Monday because of Tropical Strorm Isaac.

Event organizers have tried in vain to find another opponent, including Lincoln High of Tallahassee, but their efforts have not paid off.

”It’s looking more and more like we’re not going to have that game,” said Ken Manning, chair of the Gridiron Challenge. “I did speak to the Pine Forest coach this morning, and the schools remain closed, and many of his players have evacuated, so it might be next-to-impossible to get everybody together and up here. The only options remain would be very last-second additional team. It’s unlikely. I feel awful for Stephenson.”

The other two games will be played at their original times.

The Stephenson-Pine Forest game would’ve started at 3 …

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Georgia teams’ most common out-of-state opponents

Central High of Phenix City, Ala., has played Georgia teams more than any other out-of-state opponent. The Red Devils have a record of 139-89-11 against Georgia teams, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Here are the schools with the most games against Georgia opponents in the GHSFHA scores database, which goes back more than a century:

239 – Central (Phenix City, Ala.)

128 – McCallie (Tenn.)

122 – North Augusta (S.C.)

100 – Quincy (Fla.)

89 – Copper Basin (Tenn.)

80 – Ranburne (Ala.)

80 – Tennessee Military (Tenn.)

75 – Baylor (Tenn.)

69 – Leon (Fla.)

69 – McCormick (S.C.)

67 – Franklin (N.C.)

66 – Eufaula (Ala.)

64 – Hayesville (N.C.)

59 – Murphy (N.C.)

58 – Porter Military (S.C.)

57 – Smith’s Station (Ala.)

53 – Aiken (S.C.)

52 – Miami (Fla.)

51 – Woodland (Ala.)

50 – Carlisle Military (S.C.)

50 – Russell County (Ala.)

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