Behind the biggest blowout in modern Ga. HS history

By David Purdum \ For the AJC
There are two sides behind every game that gets out of hand. In the final week of the 2010 regular season, South Atlanta defeated Cross Keys 95-13.
It’s the largest margin of victory in Georgia high school football since at least 1980 and two years later, both sides still have unresolved complaints.
Cross Keys coach David Radford believes questionable sportsmanship was on display. South Atlanta coach Julius Moses doesn’t understand why Radford refused to implement the running clock in the third quarter with his team down 60 at half.
The Georgia High School Association mercy rule states if a team is trailing by 30 points or more at halftime, the coach of the trailing team may choose to play the entire second half with a running clock. Radford declined the option, according to officials from DeKalb County Schools and Atlanta Public Schools. A running clock is implemented automatically if the margin remains over 30 points heading into the fourth quarter.
According to Radford, South Atlanta kept its starters in too long and continued to blitz. According to Moses, South Atlanta had approximately 20 players suited up.
“Putting in backups wasn’t an option,” he said. “There wasn’t a second or third string. We ran the ball every play in the second half, using only two plays.”
This wasn’t the first time Cross Keys had been on the wrong end of a lopsided score. The Indians lost 77-7, 75-7 and 65-0 the previous season.
This year there are 26 players on the Cross Keys varsity team, which lost 64-0 to B.E.S.T Academy in the opener. Some of the play calls and audibles are made in Spanish. The coaching staff held a practice to teach players how to properly put on their pads.
“Some guys were using their butt pad as a cup,” Radford said this week. “Others had their thigh pads where their knee pads should go. It’s so much bigger than the knee pad; how do you even get it in there? It’s hard to explain to other coaches, but we’re actually teaching kids the rules, while they’re putting in their offense.”
Radford understands his program’s disadvantages can put opposing coaches with superior talent in difficult spots. He often talks to opponents leading up to a game about his team’s vulnerability and what to expect, as he did with Moses before the South Atlanta game.
Radford lines up his quarterback 12 yards behind the center to allow him to see downfield and get a little relief from what is instant pressure. The Indians rarely run the ball for the same reason. That strategy played a role in the game against South Atlanta getting so out of whack.
“They kept throwing and with every incompletion, the clock would stop,” said Moses. “They’d go three-and-out and have to punt.”
“I tried to explain to him why we were throwing,” Radford said. “We can’t line up and run. We have to pass. It’s part of our strategy.”
Ron Sebree, athletic director for DeKalb County Schools at the time, saw the final score and looked into the game.
“As soon as I was told that Coach Radford didn’t agree to the running clock, then I felt like he was putting his team in a position to give up more points,” said Sebree, who is now the athletic director at Social Circle High School. “The GHSA has measures in place to try to prevent results like that.”
Atlanta Public Schools Director Jeff Beggs also looked into the result after the game and met with Moses to discuss the situation. “While we were not proud of the score, we were satisfied that Coach Moses did everything that he could to keep the score within reason,” said Beggs in a Tuesday phone interview.
Radford disagrees, but doesn’t expect teams to let up completely. He mentioned Buford and Westminster as teams that managed blowouts well.
“I never want a team to stop playing, but have class in winning,” Radford said. “My kids will keep fighting until time expiries. It’s something we emphasize, but don’t try to embarrass us or show us up. We as coaches are in charge of molding people’s minds.”

By David Purdum \ For the AJC

In the final week of the 2010 regular season, South Atlanta defeated Cross Keys 95-13.

It’s the largest margin of victory in Georgia high school football since at least 1980, and two years later, both sides still have regrets.

Cross Keys coach David Radford believes questionable sportsmanship was on display. South Atlanta coach Julius Moses doesn’t understand why Radford refused to implement the running clock in the third quarter with his team down 60 at half.

The Georgia High School Association mercy rule states if a team is trailing by 30 points or more at halftime, the coach of the trailing team may choose to play the entire second half with a running clock. Radford declined the option, according to officials from DeKalb County Schools and Atlanta Public Schools. A running clock is implemented automatically if the margin remains over 30 points heading into the fourth quarter.

According to Radford, South Atlanta kept its starters in too long and continued to blitz. According to Moses, South Atlanta had approximately 20 players suited up.

“Putting in backups wasn’t an option,” Moses said. “There wasn’t a second or third string. We ran the ball every play in the second half, using only two plays.”

This wasn’t the first time Cross Keys had been on the wrong end of a lopsided score. The Indians lost 77-7, 75-7 and 65-0 the previous season.

This year there are 26 players on the Cross Keys varsity team, which lost 64-0 to B.E.S.T Academy in the opener. Some of the play calls and audibles are made in Spanish. The coaching staff had to hold a practice to teach players how to properly put on their pads.

“Some guys were using their butt pad as a cup,” Radford said this week. “Others had their thigh pads where their knee pads should go. It’s so much bigger than the knee pad; how do you even get it in there? It’s hard to explain to other coaches, but we’re actually teaching kids the rules, while they’re putting in their offense.”

Radford understands his program’s disadvantages can put opposing coaches with superior talent in difficult spots. He often talks to opponents leading up to a game about his team’s vulnerability and what to expect, as he did with Moses before the South Atlanta game.

Radford lines up his quarterback 12 yards behind the center to allow him to see downfield and get a little relief from what is normally instant pressure. The Indians rarely run the ball for the same reason. That strategy played a role in the game against South Atlanta getting so out of whack.

“They kept throwing and with every incompletion, the clock would stop,” said Moses. “They’d go three-and-out and have to punt.”

“I tried to explain to him why we were throwing,” Radford said. “We can’t line up and run. We have to pass. It’s part of our strategy.”

Ron Sebree, athletic director for DeKalb County Schools at the time, saw the final score and looked into the game.

“As soon as I was told that Coach Radford didn’t agree to the running clock, then I felt like he was putting his team in a position to give up more points,” said Sebree, who is now the athletic director at Social Circle High School. “The GHSA has measures in place to try to prevent results like that.”

Atlanta Public Schools Director Jeff Beggs also looked into the result after the game and met with Moses to discuss the situation. “While we were not proud of the score, we were satisfied that Coach Moses did everything that he could to keep the score within reason,” said Beggs in a Tuesday phone interview.

Radford disagrees, but doesn’t expect teams to let up completely. He mentioned Buford and Westminster as teams that managed blowouts well.

“I never want a team to stop playing, but have class in winning,” Radford said. “My kids will keep fighting until time expiries. It’s something we emphasize, but don’t try to embarrass us or show us up. We as coaches are in charge of molding people’s minds.”

22 comments Add your comment

Dekalb County Guy

September 4th, 2012
8:23 pm

Man I know its tough at Cross Keys didnt know it was that bad. I actually saw the 2nd half of that BEST academy game and it does make you feel bad for the kids. I know they are play a non region schedule and schedule several Class A schools to keep down on so many blowouts. I must comment their coach for sticking it out there, it takes a lot to do what he does.

fitzgerald

September 4th, 2012
9:12 pm

This is one of those situations where the winning coach/team is placed in a difficult position. Even if there were enough substitutes to play the last two quarters, how can anyone fault them for wanting to play well and score. This could have been their only time to get into a game and play some quality time. Perhaps if the score is already 45 points difference at halftime, then have a running clock for the entire second half.

MH

September 4th, 2012
10:01 pm

I played at Windsor Forst in Savannah in 99 and 00. we lost a few games 70-7, 77-0. We lost to our rival like 45-21 and we felt Excellent about it! The only game we won was vs. an equally as bad team, by a field goal that came off a trick play.

BehindEnemyLines

September 4th, 2012
11:14 pm

fitzgerald raises a good point about that particular team, there weren’t many chances for them to get quality time for the few reserves they had. They themselves had been outscored 118-12 in the five weeks leading up to this game, and had gone 3-26 in the previous three seasons.

Decatur joe

September 4th, 2012
11:30 pm

I knew cross keys had a inferior team but I truly didn’t know it was that bad. You truly feel bad for the kids.

sports

September 5th, 2012
12:20 am

that is a disgrace…no team should be allowed to humilate another team like that!

912

September 5th, 2012
3:24 am

@mh yea I went to beach graduated in 00 I remember those bad windsor teams was everyones homecoming game….but the teams are wayyyy better now I believe they was in the playoffs last year.

piggly wiggly

September 5th, 2012
6:34 am

unless these kids have mental/physical disabilities then stop trying to baby these kids, let them play and whatever happens in the game let it be.

KF

September 5th, 2012
7:14 am

Our daughter graduated from Cross Keys in 2010 and believe me, at 5′9″, 135 lbs. she could have easily been a varsity football player. Unless you’ve seen their team you can’t imagine how small they are.

Johnny Too Good

September 5th, 2012
7:25 am

yeah Windsor has turned things around in Savannah, they used to be horrible, they went on like 30 plus losing streak. I remember putting up good stats against them even when I was just a sophomore

tardawg

September 5th, 2012
7:39 am

I remember WRHS beating Jordan of Columbus 90-0 in 1976 when WR won their first state and national championships.

spider

September 5th, 2012
7:43 am

you just hope and pray none of these kids at cross keys get seriously hurt, it has been this way for several years and one would think the leadership of cross keys and the dekalb county AD would realize this and shut their football program down, the kids that want to play football could be allowed to play at another school if GHSA would allow that.

GA_Native

September 5th, 2012
8:09 am

I agree with you spider… allow some exceptions (like playing at another school) until (if) they can rebuild their program. It’s unfair to the few players on the team who can actually play and also unfair to the poor kids being forced to play. If your heart isn’t in it, football is the worst sport to be in. That’s why the pro’s hate the preseason so much.

Mighty Mighty Wildcats

September 5th, 2012
8:24 am

Wow…..I thought our 40-0 blowouts back in the 80’s against the albany schools was bad. I think if its 40-0 at the half, then the running clock should be AUTOMATICALLY started, not optionally, when the 2nd half starts. I agree with earlier bloggers. Someone could get really hurt.

David Purdum

September 5th, 2012
8:51 am

Coach Moses at S. Atlanta suggested that the running clock become automatic if a team is down 50 at half. So that might be a good direction to go. But, even when teams are losing big, I still the kids want to continue to play. So while we might be saving them some humiliation, we’d be depriving them of playing time. It’s a tough situation. I feel for both sides of the S. Atlanta-Cross Keys game. Sounds like nothing could have been done to prevent it from getting out of hand, except, of course, agree to the running clock.

GA_Native

September 5th, 2012
8:51 am

Good point Wildcats. Just take the coaches’ option out of it. Make it automatic.

D man

September 5th, 2012
9:30 am

They ran the ball every play in the second half. Doesn’t sound like they purposely ran up the score. What should they have done, take a knee? Of course not because that would have been showing up the other team. Stop whining Cross Keys and learn how to play football.

D man

September 5th, 2012
9:41 am

Oh, and by the way, life is not fair. Everybody is not equal. This is America people. We are Americans, not Americants. Stop crying about what you don’t have and work harder to not lose so bad next time. Maybe some day, you will win a game. have some pride… Man, I want to go coach up those boys. Sounds like they need a leader at Cross Keys.

rabundawg

September 5th, 2012
10:18 am

the cross keys and his superiors have a problem…not running the clock was wrong….off course Atlanta publoc schools have big big problems anyway when you have leaders and teachers cheating with the tests….the whole program is broken….

Dekalb County Guy

September 5th, 2012
10:34 am

wow so many are way off base with your comments. I remember seeing that score a couple of years ago, but I saw South Atlanta play a couple of games before that and trust me, they did only have about 20 players. they should have ran the clock for sure. But I know South Atlanta does blitz a lot, they live and die by the blitz, not sure if that is what infuriated the Cross Keys coach.

Its not about the kids not knowing how to play. I saw the 2nd half of the BEST game, I could tell several of their players became very discouraged. And it did seem like many of their players were vulberable and did get hurt toward the end of the game.

The solution might be shutting down the football program, but they experiene similar blowouts in basketball as well. Actually Dekalb probalby has very little interest in uplifting the school I think. Its essentially a segregrated school, the school is 80% Hispanic and basically its attendance lines are drawn so that they only get kids running along Buford Highway which is nothing but apartments. So as with apartments, the communities are very transient, so they might get a whole new set of kids year in and year out who have to be retaught the game. Ask yourself, if Dekalb schools gave a damn about Cross keys being diverse, why would they take a school located in Brookhaven, adjacent to Buckhead and only send the “mexican kids there”.

South Ga boy (formerely) in the Atl, back in Thomas Co.

September 5th, 2012
10:40 am

Why have none of you stated the obvious. WHY DID THE LOSING COACH CHOOSE NOT (I REPEAT, NOT TO KEEP THE CLOCK RUNNING. He is the main reason the score got so high. He says he wants his kids to play hard, well play doesn’t stop completely with a running clock. His kids would still play but I bet 2 or 3 TD’s would have been shaved off the final score. He says they throw every time because it their strategy. He’s an idiot. A coach with 20 players who calls the same two plays the hole second half can’t be faulted for “crazy logic” of the losing coach.

Pac- Man

September 5th, 2012
1:29 pm

Rabundawg……What does the teaching scandal that happened in Atlanta Public Schools have to do with football?….Please explain……