Unbeaten, but unranked: A closer look at 12 teams looking for respect

There are two teams from Calhoun with 5-0 records.

One is Calhoun High, the No. 1-ranked team in Class AA and winner of 20 consecutive games. The other is Gordon Central – 5-0 for the first time in history but still unranked since 1995.

“As we tell our kids each week, we don’t worry about what other people think or say,” said Gordon Central coach Chad Fisher, whose Class AAA team goes for a 6-0 start at home Friday against Coahulla Creek (2-3). “All we can do is focus on ourselves. We are excited about a 5-0 start, but our main focus is game by game and putting ourselves in position to make the playoffs at the end of the season in a new, higher classification.”

Here is a look at Gordon Central and Georgia’s other 11 unbeaten, but unranked, teams.

*Carver, Atlanta (4-0): After a 2-8 finish in 2011, Carver has perhaps its best team since the 11-1 club of 2007. A pair of 28-27 victories over Mays and Columbia has helped. So has Delando Crooks, one of the state’s most recruited offensive linemen. He’s a two-way starter. Carver averages about 270 pounds per offensive lineman and 270 yards per game rushing. Derick Johnson (54 carries, 436 yards, three touchdowns) and Montavious Taylor (48-240-3) lead the way. Junior WR Tevish Clark has an offer from Purdue. Free safety Aaron Williams, a sophomore, was all-region as a freshman. Carver could be looking at an Oct. 27 showdown of unbeatens with Atlanta rival Washington (4-0) in Region 6-AAAA Division B.

*Chamblee (4-0): Chamblee made what seemed like an odd hire in the offseason by picking Allen Johnson, a Chamblee teacher and alumnus who had been out of coaching for two seasons. It’s working. Chamblee is 4-0 for the first time since the 2007 state semifinal team. The top player this season is Florida State-committed LB Davin Bellamy, who has a team-leading six tackles for losses. He has also caught two TD passes. Desmin Reid (46-222-6), QB Jordan Branch (609 yards passing, seven TDs) and WR Desmond Noird (246 yards receiving, two TDs) are the primary weapons on offense. The only scheduled opponent remaining with a winning record is Marist, slated for Nov. 2. Chamblee is in 6-AAAA in the subregion opposite of Carver.

*Gordon Central (5-0): Central had its first winning season in six years in 2011, finishing 7-4 in Class AA. Now, the Warriors are in AAA. Except for a nail-biter against Ringgold, a 28-27 victory, they have rolled, with an average score of 38-8. QB M.J. Reynolds has thrown for 1,052 yards (62-of-96, 15 TDs) and rushed for 302 yards and five touchdowns on 49 carries. WR Tyshaun Clemons (13 receptions, four touchdowns) and DL Larons Winstons (six tackles for losses) were preseason all-state picks. WR Chandler Curtis has three receiving touchdowns and two punt-return touchdowns. He has also had five touchdowns called back. The game Oct. 19 with Cartersville (5-0) is the real test for Central in 5-AAA.

*Johns Creek (5-0): Johns Creek of north Fulton County lost two games last season, one in overtime to Chattahoochee. Johns Creek avenged that last week with a 30-16 victory. The other was 41-38 to Flowery Branch in the playoffs. The Gladiators are in the highest classification now and will play fifth-ranked West Forsyth (5-0) in Region 6 on Oct. 12. Johns Creek’s Skye Overton is a dual-threat quarterback who has scored 11 touchdowns, including three in a game three times. He has rushed for a team-leading 431 yards and passed for 762 (49-of-82, five touchdowns). DL Sam Arrington, with a team-leading 38 tackles, is a rock on the line.

*Lambert (5-0): The West Forsyth-Johns Creek game on Oct. 12 is a big one, but there’s a third 5-0 team in 6-AAAAAA. That’s Lambert, in its fourth season after a pair of 8-3 seasons in AAAA. The coach is Sid Maxwell, who came from Sequoyah. Maxwell’s son, Brock, is the quarterback, a good runner and passer. Lambert’s most famous win this season came against Roswell. With Lambert down 17-16 with less than 30 seconds left, Maxwell threw a slant pass to WR T.J. Russell, who pitched to Chandler Register on the hook-and-lateral. The play went 58 yards and set up a 36-yard field goal by Ryan Karjala. Lambert, Forsyth County’s newest school, won 19-17.

*Lee County (5-0): The Trojans have scored at least 42 points in every game. They’ve typically been a passing team under fourth-year coach Dean Fabrizio, but the focus of this year’s offense is RB Kenneth Hurley. He has rushed for 782 yards and 13 touchdowns on 62 carries (12.6 ypc). He also has 13 receptions and has blocked a punt. Lee County also was 5-0 in 2010 and finished 7-4 after losing to traditional state powers. But the prospects are better this time because Northside and Warner Robins are no longer in Lee County’s region.

*Northeast (4-0): This is coach Bruce Mullen’s ninth Raiders team, the second to start 4-0. The other, in 2008, finished 8-3. Northeast is allowing 3.0 points per game, third-lowest in all classifications. Kentrelle Curry and Darius Jackson each have games of rushing for more than 100 yards. Jackson is considered the top running back among the 13 public or private schools in Bibb County. QB Davion Anderson is a two-way starter who threw three touchdowns passes in the 24-0 victory over Monticello last week. The last time that Northeast was 5-0 or won a playoff game was in 2002. Northeast plays at seventh-ranked Lamar County (4-0-1) on Friday.

*Pacelli (4-0): Pacelli, a private school in Columbus, is seeking its first winning season since 2007 (9-2). It’s not going to be easy because the Region 4-A schedule is about to begin, and Pacelli’s first four opponents this season are 1-17 when not playing each other. But it has been fun so far. Wyatt Peterson, a transfer from Columbus, has thrown for nine touchdowns and rushed for seven. That accounts for 16 of Pacelli’s 21 TDs. Sophomore Luke Dawahare has five TD receptions, and Jay Dawahare, a four-year starter, has three. Pacelli’s second-year coach is Randy Grace, who came from Wheeler County. He was Pacelli’s defensive coordinator from 2002 through 2004, when Pacelli was 28-7, won two region titles and had consecutive 10-0 regular-season finishes.

*Richmond Hill (4-0): The 20-17 victory over Glynn Academy last week (avenging a 44-27 loss last year) sets up Richmond Hill as perhaps the team mostly likely to challenge Ware County (4-1) in Region 3-AAAAA. Richmond Hill has not made the playoffs since 1996. Richmond Hill averages three passes per game. Instead, look for the ball in the hands of running QB Dominique Allen (53-363-7) or RB David Katzman (50-405-4). Both are going to Air Force, though Katzman might not play football there. PK Canon Rooker, committed to Middle Tennessee, is a weapon. Opponents are beginning to run away from LB Zach Stegner, who has a team-leading 17 solo tackles and two fumble recoveries.

*Riverwood (5-0): Riverwood of north Fulton is trying to have a winning season for the first time since 2001. Riverwood has won eight consecutive games dating to last season. The best offensive player is QB Grant Drakeford, who runs the triple option. He has 287 yards rushing and more than 400 passing. The leading rusher is another junior, slotback Tyler Blake (505 yards, 14.9 per carry). Linebackers Jamel Johnson and Preston Stewart average nine tackles per game. Stewart, who lines up almost anywhere on defense, is getting looks from Navy, where Riverwood coach Robert Ingram’s brother is a coach. Ingram realizes the next five games won’t be as easy as the first five. “The next part is the tricky part,” said Ingram, whose team plays 10th-ranked Kell in a Region 7-AAAAA Division B opener this week. “We’ve got to play the big boys now.”

*South Cobb (4-0): The Eagles have won three games by seven points or fewer to help them to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2006. Getting to 5-0 probably would ensure a Top 10 ranking because the next opponent is No. 6 North Cobb (4-0) on Friday. That’s for a share of first place in Region 4-AAAAAA. South Cobb typically has the ball in the hands of one of three players on offense. QB Stephon Masha has thrown for 909 yards and rushed for 397 and seven touchdowns. He has committed to Liberty University. RB Chauncey Ingram has rushed for 412 yards (7.92 per carry) and nine touchdowns and caught 10 passes. WR Ryan Sumner has 24 receptions for 303 yards (8 for 130 in a 42-39 victory over Campbell). DE Brice Connor has four sacks.

*Walker (4-0): Walker has not won four games in a season since 2006 and never started 4-0. Granted, it’s against what the computer Maxwell Ratings rank as the weakest schedule in Class A so far, but it has been a confidence boost. Walker has a legitimate first-team all-state candidate in RB Evan Kasian, who has 767 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 61 carries. He also has two interceptions on defense. John East, formerly athletics director at Whitefield Academy, is the Marietta private school’s new head coach. He is looking for the school’s first winning season since 2006.

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18 comments Add your comment

Lambert Wins!!!

October 2nd, 2012
10:21 am

Way to go Chandler!!! Without you, Lambert would not have three wins this year!!!!

Maroon and Black

October 2nd, 2012
11:22 am

Aaron Williams is a Sohpomore. He made all Region as a Freshman

Robins Demons

October 2nd, 2012
11:56 am

LMBO! Lee County…


October 2nd, 2012
12:41 pm

Actually it’s Cartersville who will be tested and will lose.

Todd Holcomb

October 2nd, 2012
12:46 pm

thanks, Maroon & Black. Freshman. That’s what we meant. :)

Caver Panther 1

October 2nd, 2012
1:05 pm

The Carver program is on the move. It’s not too early to get on the bandwagon. Just keep winning and the respect will come. Let’s go panthers!!!


October 2nd, 2012
1:37 pm

Congrats to Coach Ingram and Riverwood. They are a great of example of what happens when you do the right things and have the right head coach.

Max Sizemore

October 2nd, 2012
3:52 pm

That should likely be “hook-and-lateral” in the Lambert graph.


October 2nd, 2012
5:33 pm

@Max Sizemore — potato, potato — play goes by both names

class of 10

October 2nd, 2012
8:01 pm

@Caver Panther 1 yall not all that gud


October 2nd, 2012
9:25 pm

Chamblee back. Coach Johnson is legit not like that dumb ass we had last year who was obviously to caught up in his roommates crack cocaine sales to be a real coach.

Carver Panther 1

October 2nd, 2012
9:59 pm

@ class of 10. Have you seen us play? What school are you with? Sounds like a bit of hate to me.


October 2nd, 2012
10:34 pm

Johns Creek Gladiators are one of the coolest TEAMs in Georgia. The only dress 50 kids and most play both ways. They get little respect – but earn it all. 27 seniors and a heart the size of Georgia. They will keep doing what they do – play as a team with passion and mental toughness – and hope the respect will find us.

Todd Holcomb

October 2nd, 2012
10:38 pm

Max – You’re right. Hook and lateral. Thanks for straightening me out on that one.

Now is it a shuffle pass? Shuttle pass? Or shovel pass?

class of 10

October 3rd, 2012
12:22 am

@Carver Panther 1 is this the same school that won by one point to Columbia play some better schools


October 3rd, 2012
10:40 am

Rankings are great because they give those outside a certain program an opportunity to get an idea as to who the top dogs are in a specific group. However rankings are something that can get everyone up in arms because of where their team is placed (if at all).

My major point is if your team is good, prove it. Keep winning games and progress throughout the season. Who cares if you are ranked? What matters at the end of the year is if you are still standing.

I guarantee you that 100% of ALL teams across the state would chose a state championship over being ranked.

With that being said……stop whining about ranking and focus on the field. If you are that good we will all be seeing you name in the paper well into November and December.


October 3rd, 2012
2:05 pm

Go Gordon Central. I can see them at 6-0 after this weekend. If it happens they will be heading to play undefeated Cartersville for the Region 5AAA lead.


October 4th, 2012
6:42 am

@Gladiator Why do you only dress 50 kids for a AAAAAA school? You have had some impressive wins this year, but is this year it? It doesn’t sound like much depth on the team. Do you think you can continue to compete in AAAAAA with kids playing both ways?