Class A: Are Johnson County and Mt. Zion-Carroll really public school “losers”?

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Another ripple effect of the New World Order of things in the Class A playoffs is the built-in bye week between the end of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs.

So no recap of Friday night’s games … because there were none. But we’ll soldier on with a few nuggets for everyone to chew and stew on until we preview the first round games on Tuesday. But first, a bit of non-football housecleaning:

Congrats to the baseball program at Mt. Pisgah Christian, which is sending two of its players to the next level in 2013. Last week, Kyle Jackson, a 5-11, 185-pound center fielder signed with Coastal Carolina and Adrian Celata, a 6-4, 215-pound catcher, signed with Tusculum. The senior duo looks to help the Patriots improve upon last season’s 16-8 record.

Public school “losers:” Johnson County and Mt. Zion-Carroll? Maybe, maybe not.

Last week we presented a list of public and private school “winners” and “losers” in the new point-driven, Power Ranking system for advancing to the playoffs. We did not list Johnson County nor Mt. Zion-Carroll as public school “losers” because even though the Power Ranking system wasn’t kind to them, neither would have made the playoffs under the old system either, as both lost their region play-in games in the final week of the regular season.

Johnson (7-3) fell 22-18 to Jenkins County (6-4), after failing to score a touchdown in the game’s final minute with the ball deep in War Eagle territory. The Trojans were held out of the end zone on third-and-goal from the half-yard line and on fourth-and-inches to go.

Johnson, which had defeated Jenkins 14-0 in Week 1, played the game without a total of seven starters because of a flu breakout at the school, according to head coach Don Norton. Four players were infected and sat out, but three of them started both ways while the fourth was a one-way starter.

All three of the Trojans’ losses were to teams that advanced to the playoffs. Still, Norton offered no excuses, even though his team fell just .05 of a point short of a playoff spot in the rankings.

“We knew if we won we would be in, but we didn’t get the job done,” Norton said. “We had four players out with the flu at our school, but that’s not an excuse.”

“I was in favor of the split,” said Norton, in his sixth season as head coach in Wrightsville. “We definitely got caught on the short end this time, but the system is what it is. There are a bunch of others who have gripes, too. We had a good year and we played hard, but we didn’t take care of our business.”

Mt. Zion (6-4) lost its play-in game to Mt. Paran Christian (3-7), 35-14. In the Power Rankings, the Eagles were hurt by not getting credit for wins over AAA Cross Keys (59-12) and North Cobb Christian (46-13) because both teams played non-region schedules this season. Mt. Zion finished with a Power Ranking of 24.

“We had our chance to beat Mt. Paran and we didn’t get the job done,” said Mt. Zion head coach Keith Holloway, in his first season as head coach in Carrollton. The Eagles were coming off of consecutive 0-10 seasons prior to Holloway’s arrival.

“You tell the seniors you really appreciate what they did. They played a big part in turning this program around. They will go down in history around here for that,” Holloway said. “Things didn’t end on a good note, but there were a lot of positives for us.”

And so in actuality, Jenkins should have made our public school “loser” list. The War Eagles won their play-in game, and therefore would have advanced to the playoffs under the old system. Also, three of the four teams that defeated Jenkins in the regular season made the playoffs.

If this were last year …

For nostalgia’s sake, here’s how the playoffs would have looked under the old system (higher seeds listed first):

Left Side

Wilcox County-Jenkins County winner vs.
Miller County-Marion County winner

Vs.

Athens Academy-Our Lady of Mercy winner vs.
Wilkinson County-Trion winner

Emanuel County Institute-Turner County winner vs.
Dooly County-Mitchell County winner

Vs.

Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy-Athens Christian winner vs.
Darlington-Aquinas winner

Right Side

Seminole County-Hawkinsville winner vs.
Irwin County-Calvary Day winner

Vs.

Lincoln County-Mt. Pisgah Christian winner vs.
Prince Avenue Christian-Holy Innocents winner

Brookstone-Terrell County winner vs.
Savannah Christian-Telfair County winner

Vs.

Walker-First Presbyterian Day winner vs.
Landmark Christian-George Walton Academy winner

And as a reminder, here are the real pairings for the Round 1:

PUBLIC SCHOOL PAIRINGS

No. 1 Lincoln County hosts No. 16 Hancock Central

No. 2 Wilcox County hosts No. 15 Greenville

No. 3 Emanuel County Institute hosts No. 14 Gordon Lee

No. 4 Seminole County hosts No. 13 Commerce

No. 5 Dooly County hosts No. 12 Turner County

No. 6 Irwin County hosts No. 11 Trion

No. 7 Marion County host No. 10 Charlton County

No. 8 Miller County hosts No. 9 Wilkinson County

PRIVATE SCHOOL PAIRINGS

No. 1 Athens Academy hosts No. 16 Mt. Pisgah Christian

No. 2 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy hosts No. 15 Our Lady of Mercy

No. 3 Walker hosts No. 14 Athens Christian

No. 4 Brookstone hosts No. 13 First Presbyterian

No. 5 Calvary Day hosts No. 12 Landmark Christian

No. 6 Aquinas host No. 11 George Walton Academy

No. 7 Savannah Christian hosts No. 10 Holy Innocents

No. 8 Darlington hosts No. 9 Prince Avenue Christian

49 comments Add your comment

Swamp Lizard

November 19th, 2012
9:06 am

STC …. I’d like to know if you agree with me on this ….. let’s forget the GHSA Power Rankings this year, the “old” way ( 1 vs 4 … 2 vs 3 Region winners ) …. and answer the question, DID THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OVERREACT LAST YEAR WITH FOUR PRIVATES IN THE FINAL FOUR LAST YEAR ? …. my point? ….

It’s my opinion ( as it is WALKER FAN ) that ELCA is clearly the best team on the PRIVATE side of the playoffs … take them out and I think they’re 6 or 7 teams that could win it all in the Private Bracket. On th PUBLIC side you have FOUR teams ( ECI, Lincoln Co, Wilcox Co, & Wilkinson Co ) …. maybe five ( Irwin Co ) …. that could win it all ( Public Bracket ).

Again, this is my opinion …. I really think the Public schools … 1-5 are a little stronger than the Private schools 1-5. The point I’m trying to make is, I don’t think the Private schools would have dominated the playoffs like last year. I think it would be ELCA & three Public schools if I had to pick a final four this year ( under the old system ).

We may never know who pushed the issue the most for the split or the teams & coaches that didn’t want the split. It’s ashame individuals ( certain coaches ) wanted to run from competion because four privates schools had great teams one year. I know ECI, Lincoln Co, Wilcox Co, etc …. would want a shot at the Private Champion ….. weather you agree or disagree …. it’s the Public schools ( certian ones ) that RAN.

Prince

November 19th, 2012
10:01 am

Swamp Lizard >>> Eagle Landing is a Great Team , that you should be proud of , but for you to keep saying that they are the best , is just crazy. We are now in the playoffs and anything could happen. I remember last year , everyone thought ELCA would be in the finals and it did not happen. Let these young men, go out play hard and see how it turns out. Then if they win, you can say that they are the best!!

You guys that live, so vicariously through your boys are so funny. I am sure a little humility is not that hard and then when your dreams get crushed!!! It is not so hard to get over.

Go Region 8 !!!!!!

Swamp Lizard

November 19th, 2012
10:18 am

@ Prince …. You are so right. I do not think ELCA will have a cakewalk in the playoffs …. that was more a “gig” at my friend WALKER FAN. I do think ELCA is the favorite to win it all this year, I want run from that statement. …. but I do think Prnce Ave ( great coaching staff ), Athens Christain ( a nasty D ), & George Walton ( a lot of talent ) will have a say ….. yes, your Region 8 teams! I think Sav Christian will come with a nasty game for ELCA in round 2. So there’s a lot a agree with you on … now if your refering to me living vicariously through my son, and having my dreams crushed …… you are wrong. No Dad is more proud of my son than I am, but I did my own thing in high school and in college.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
10:52 am

@Swamp: Pardon me for a moment while I go into a little detail about what you’v asked.

In all honesty, this year ELCA is head, shoulders and torso above everyone else in Class A, although I do think ECI and Lincoln coiuld keep the game competitive throughout. Wilcox may have a chance as well if Grace and Howard are clicking. For ELCA, this is one of those seasons where everything has come together for a very special season. It happens from time to time in all classifications, where you have one team that is dominant. See Buford in Class AA for several seasons. STILL, ELCA, like any time, can be beaten — even in Round 1 by Our Lady of Mercy. The Bobcats’ big-time players — Rashard Fant, Chauncey Laboo and Matt Frank — each have to have monster games, and the others have to execute their assignments nearly perfectly. If that happens, Mercy has enough talent and a good enough head coach in Mike Earwood to make it a fourth-quarter game, where anything can happen. But ELCA is still the consensus pick for the best team in Class A (and possibly AA and AAA).

However, I do think the public schools overracted last year, though I do see their point. I’ve always said that you cannont ignore the fact that private schools can recruit and allow a student to attend their school regardless to his/her address. By their very nature, private schools have to recruit students, either actively or through word of mouth. Public schools are bound by residential boundaries where private schools are not. This is an advantage for private schools. There’s no two ways around it.

Additionally, you have to put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Football in the South is what I like to call the great “tool of validation.” It — often times falsely — validates your manhood, your toughness, your strength, your speed, and your intelligence. For a small Class A-school community in Georgia, the high school football team is the very heart and soul of the town. There are local radio call-in shows devoted to the team, coaches and players. When I spoke with Rich McWhorter earlier this season, he told me how he and his players were catching a little heat in the community because they had started the season 2-2. Nevermind that the losses were to AAAAA Ware County (now 10-1, heading into Round 2) and AA Fitzgerald (now 9-2, heading into Round 2), and nevermind that Coach McWhorter and his staff have led the school to its four state championships and 15 of its 21 region titles.

The Class A public schools were willing to live with private schools having the upper hand in the “non-revenue” (baseball, track, soccer, cheerleading) and “country club” (golf, tennis, swimming) sports. But then they began to see how private schools began closing the gap in basketball. For example, the GHSA’s records for boys basketball go back to 1922, girls to 1945. The first time a boys private school won a title in the smallest class wasn’t until 1970 (Arlington). Greater Atlanta Christian went on to win 3 titles in the 1970s (71, 72, 77). After that, the only time a private school won the state championship in the smallest class was Bible Baptist in Savannah in 1986. But since 2000, private schools have won 6 of the last 13 state championships in Class A and three of the last four.

On the girls side, Greater Atlanta Christian won the first state title for a private school in the smallest class in 1972, nearly 30 years since girls began competing in basketball. GAC won again in 74, 75, 82 and 83, and Holy Innocents won in 1999. But since 2000, private schools have won 8 of the (13) state titles, including 6 of the last 7 and the last four consecutively (Wesleyan).

I think the public schools saw this as a “storm” coming down the road in footbal, too, although the stats don’t point to as dramatic a turn as in basketball. The GHSA’s football stats go back to 1947. Since then only 6 state titles in the smallest class have gone to private schools — Savannah Christian (1969, 2011), Mt. De Sales (70, 71), Darlington (98) and Wesleyan (08). But private schools have won two of the last four titles and the number of them in the state semiinals has increased steadily — from 1 each year from 2006-08, to 2 in 2009 and in 2010, and finally all 4 slots last season.

So the private schools looked at all of this and decide to make a pre-emptive strike in football.

But I do wish there had not been a split. And even though ELCA appears dominant, I would love to see Lincoln or ECI get to take a shot at them.

Thanks for reading, posting and allowing me to wax poetic!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Mt Zion - Eagle

November 19th, 2012
11:33 am

Mt Zion – Carroll got the shaft, purely based on this – They won the sub-region with Darlington, Trion, and Gordon Lee. They beat all three teams in the regular season. How can those three teams make the playoffs while the Eagles sit at home. You want to use “Last Years Rules” – Neither of those three teams make it in, so there you go.

Walker Fan

November 19th, 2012
11:57 am

I agree, Mt. Zion’s situation is just truly unfortunate. The sub-region model makes no sense in the world we now live in. The reason for having eight regions was that it provided a nice multiple for an 8 team, 16 team, or 32 team playoff. In a power ratings based world, the concept of eight regions is irrelevant. The region cross over game at the end, particularly as designed is foolish and only serves to hurt teams. Regardless of what one thinks about the strength of region 6 this year (my friend swamp) this whole thing should be designed smartly for the long term. Ignoring the fact that a couple teams did not play varsity schedules this year as they will soon do so, when that happens, Region 6 will contain something like 11 or 12 schools of the total private school population…roughly a third. Sub-regions should be permanently split into individual regions. Certainly, Mt. Zion would have benefited in that scenario as region champ.

dap01

November 19th, 2012
12:03 pm

The Point System is pathetic. Look at the results. Winning don’t matter, who you lost to matters most.

Only the government could complicate “standings” in sports.

jacket

November 19th, 2012
12:10 pm

mt. zion would have got in using last years rules–of course they are one of this years biggest losers–beating to bottom 3 teams on there sub region side (bottom because we were subregion champions) and they make it to state, by losing to bigger schools. we did lose last game, but in last years rules 1 vs. 1 for region champion with loser no worse than 2nd place in region. We would be hosting a game. not sitting at home whinning, but they will get over it and GHSA will ask somebody with some brains to figure out a different solution.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
12:36 pm

@Mt. Zion-Eagle and @Walker: Had Mt. Zion won its region play-in game against Mt. Paran and STILL not had enough Power Ranking points — which would have most likely been the case, given that they wouldn’t have received a lot of points for beating Mt. Paran — they could have been classified as being one of the big “losers” because of the Points System.

BUT, as Coach Holloway pointed out, they lost to Mt. Paran anyway, and quite handily. So everything else is mute. By losing to Mt. Paran, the Eagles removed the possibility of being shafted by the Point System off of the table.

The better argument is why the Region 6 coaches voted to do the cross over the way they did with the 1’s vs. 4’s, which makes a sub-region title actually worthless. You two need to contact Coach Holloway and Coach East and ask them to bring this up when they meet with their fellow coaches sometime next year.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

Swamp Lizard

November 19th, 2012
12:44 pm

@ STC …. thank you for a detailed reply. I too hate it that we have the split Public / Private. I was not taking a shot a OLM or any of the other Private schools. I don’t know how you meant this, but I too would like to see Lincoln Co & ECI get a shot at ELCA.

I appoligize to you and others if I have come across as ELCA being unbeatable ….. I know better ….. ( 14-7 last year ). I do not want to be thought of as an arrogant fan.

Walker Fan

November 19th, 2012
12:46 pm

As coach East is new, hire this past spring I believe, I suspect he may not have been present during the meetings when Region 6 decided on the crazy system of 1vs4, etc. I have tried to think of a good reason why the region leadership elected to go with this system for the 10th game and the only thing I can come up with is that they were seeking to not hurt the second place team with a loss at the end of the season…thinking that both sub-region champs would likely win their last game (which MZ did not), knowing the region champ (however determined) would get a good seed, they wanted to prevent the possibility of the second place team in the region sliding down in the seeding or even out of the tourney altogether. I am all ears (or eyes given the format) for a better explanation.

Walker Fan

November 19th, 2012
12:55 pm

Let’s see some more folks step out and publish their picks, at least fo thr round 1…just to refresh, here are mine:

ROUND 1
Athens Academy over Mt Pisgah
Darlington over Prince Avenue
Calvary Day over Landmark
FPD over Brookstone (upset pick)

Walker over Athens Christian
GWA over Aquinas (against conventional wisdom regarding difficulty beating a team a second time)
Sav Christian over Holy Innocence
ELCA over OLM

jacket

November 19th, 2012
1:21 pm

@S. Thomas They did the 1 vs. 4 because of the power rankings, they were worried that if a 1 vs 1 happened (of course one would lose) they thought the power rankings would hurt them. (by losing the 10 pts for a V) They did not even see that it would hurt them the other way, problem is system is awful, of course they changed the rules mid season. Hopefully they will get it right,, I had a Senior busted his butt this year, like all the other years, but it didnt and should have seen some playoff time. Ive got an up and coming 9th grad. So i hope they get it right. But like I said, system and splitting only helped the south schools. Us northern schools still have regions that are 90%private.

LoveFridayFootball

November 19th, 2012
3:43 pm

STC please correct me if I’m wrong. But if a highschool athlete transfers to anther school he/she has to move or sit out a yr. Everyone thinks that a student can just show up and start playing, but don’t the parents have to move for the student to be eligible to play right away…even transferring to a private. I know of several players this has affected and could not play varsity sports for one year.

Ray Goff

November 19th, 2012
3:54 pm

STC, great job breaking the whole situation down. I do believe the publics are better overall, even though ELCA is probably the best team overall. I believe they will win the private side going away. No one will get within 2 TD’s of them. I believe ECI, Lincoln and Wilcox could beat the other 15 on the private side, and give ELCA a run for their money. With SCPS being down this year, Prince losing some key players before the season started, and George Walton not playing as consistantly as many thought they would, the public schools would stand a good chance of having three in the final four if there were no split, depending on the way the brackets would have been set up. Anyway, there should be some really good matchups coming our way on both sides with the new format.

moto

November 19th, 2012
4:32 pm

Two points:

1. If a player transfers to a private school, he has to sit out a year; he can apply for a waiver based on strict criteria; one of our team’s best players transferred to us a few years ago and had his waiver denied, so he missed a year of eligibility. He transferred because he was in a public school and going nowhere academically. His sisters had gone to private schools and on to Harvard and Cornell.

If a player moves from one public district to another public district, he of course can play at the public school immediately. This happens FREQUENTLY. I’m not sure what the rule is in a case like Buford; that’s a city school that will take out-of-city students for a fee, as I understand it.

2. Not all of the public schools wanted the public/private split. Some, Lincoln County for instance, thought the threat of many public schools forming their own association would force GHSA to reinstitute the Speaker Murphy’s Granddaughter’s rule penalizing private schools by adding 50% to their enrollment for classification purposes. Then, only the smaller private schools would be left to the mercy of the bully public schools.

I think you can make a case for up-classifying private schools in the case of some sports, including the “country club sports.” Kids at private schools are more likely to have had the years of out-of-school private instruction necessary to excel in certain sports. That’s just not the case with football; nor do most private schools have access to many of the great black athletes in this state, without whom it’s almost impossible to win a state championship.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
4:42 pm

@Swamp: I don’t know about anyone else, but facts are facts. ELCA IS a BEAST! Great talent, solid coaching, hard working kids. I didn’t and don’t take offense to your comments one bit.

ELCA is still the clear favorite on the private side — as long as they stay healthy. JT’s injury in the Landmark game REALLY hurt them. I think of all the teams in Class A, Lincoln and/or ECI would have the best chance of knocking them off. But even on the private school side, anything can happen.

I would have loved to have seen this 2012 verson of ELCA play last season’s (2011) Savannah Christian team.

S. Thomas Coleman
s.thomascoleman@yahoo.com

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
4:46 pm

@Walker: You are correct. Coach East told me he was not at the meeting. He didn’t want to go into whether or not he would have voted for that format, and I didn’t press him on it. No need to stir up a minor controversy over that. I’m sure he’ll be at the meeting this time.

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
4:49 pm

@Jacket: Thanks for the explanation, which I can see does make some sense. Dr. Swearngin said to me on the day that the split was passed that doing it would have “unforeseen consequences.” He takes a lot of heat, but he is a very smart, shrewd, forthcoming individual. Some give him a hard time but I don’t know of anyone else who could do a better job running the GHSA (but maybe I’m bias because he seems to always take my calls!!).

Also, sorry your senior son got short changed. Is he planning on playing on the next level?

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
4:56 pm

@LoveFridayFootball: If you are transfering from public to public, and you have moved into that district, you are eligible immediately.

If you are transfering from public to public but DO NOT live in the zone (i.e., you are in the magnet program or you are invoking your adminstrative transfer rights because you have a parent that works at the new school or works for the school district), the GHSA can hold up your eligibility, and you would therefore be forced to appeal. I’ve seen those go either way.

As for transfering from public to private, if you reside in the county in which the private school is located (i.e., you are a Henry County resident, transfering to ELCA or a Fulton County resident transfering to Landmark), you are eligible immediately and do not have to sit out/spend a year on JV.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
4:58 pm

@Ray Goff: Thanks for the love! As I’ve always said, I understand why those public schools that advocated for the split (about 90 percent of them) felt that way. I just wish there was another way of appeasing them without the split.

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

GaNole05

November 19th, 2012
5:11 pm

As I have stated before teams on paper look good but it is what the kids do in the games that really count. As an parent that has a child attending ELCA (non-football player) I have to agree with Swamp Lizard. I’ve looked at them all year and have been impressed. Now I was impressed also last year as they were very good. But I guess the Landmark game two weeks ago really sold me on this team. They were without their starting QB and were still able to dominate a very athletic Landmark team. I guess where I keep reading about how ELCA has a few D-1 prospects and that is what they are riding, the last game dispelled that. To watch the defense take over like they did with such a passion. Coach Chastain has got those kids playing with such a passion and they are playing hard and playing fast. The offense without Dalton stepped up to the plate and functioned very well. I guess you could say that they showed that there is no “I” in ELCA or in Team. To watch what happened showed that there is a very well oiled team playing together. Like @STC said, ELCA looks strong enough to compete at AA and possibly AAA level.

To say something about the small town football. I think the Gwinett County Schools found out not quite 20 years ago how to become sucessful and that was taking a page from the South Georgia small town schools. They started the GFL to have feeder programs that led into the high schools. That is what ended the big city drought of State Championships in Football. Well ELCA is using the same type feeder program. Listen, if you do something long enough you are going to get very well at doing that, it being football or a job in life.

In closing I say this, I really like what I see at ELCA. I don’t look at the field and see D-1 prospects, I instead see a team that is on a mission and taking it one game/one week at a time! That is a program, and a program that is coached very well.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
5:17 pm

@moto: Careful with the generalizations!

First, you’re somewhat correct about not all of the Class A publics being in favor of the split. Larry Campbell was not, though he did/does advocate for some other measures to “level the playing field,” i.e., not allowing student athletes at private schools to utilize the “GOAL” scholarship money that is available, or only allowing student athletes who live in the same county as the private school to participate in sports (in other words, only Henry County residents would be able to participate in sports at ELCA).

As for the generalizations, I’m sure we’ll hear from some private school parents who will tell you that A) their child doesn’t get any outside coaching/training and B) even though their child DOES get outside coaching/training, why should they be “penalized” or “demonized” for it.

And finally, Wesleyan won the state championship in 2008. That school traditionally has very few if any black players on it. Also, you could make an argument that the best player on last year’s state championship team, Savannah Christian, was Will Austin — a white kid. He was the sub region player of the year. He had 15 touchdowns, averaged 11 yards a carry and racked up over 1,000 yards rushing, and on defense he had 7 picks and almost 40 tackles playing safety. I think he’s playing college baseball now.

In addition to all of that, the reigning Class A Player of the Year is Brendan Douglas of Aquinas, who is also white. In fact, I submit to you that if he had the same size (6-1, 215) and speed (4.5 in the 40) and stats that he has piled up, BUT he was Black, he would have had 10-20 offers from FBS schools, instead of the 1 that he had from Georgia Tech. I think the folks on the Flats got a steal!

Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 19th, 2012
5:19 pm

@GaNole05: Very well said. Thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

Mt. Zion Fan

November 19th, 2012
6:15 pm

@S. Thomas Sweargin has a tough job, i just wished they would have thought it over for maybe a year until they could figure something out, and he had made the statement, Dont let the Butt hit you in the rear, when first hearing of teams leaving to form own league. Then Larry Campbell appears, and it changed to quick. Of Course there was going to be problems. And Know my Son Corey Loftin just plays the game for the love of it, 4yr starter wide reciever with great hands average speed, kid never missed single proctice in 4yrs wins Iron Eagle award every year. Baseball is his sport hoping to play small ball somewhere. Do as good a job covering baseball. Mt. Zion going to be good, but we stuck in 6A strong baseball, the privates are loaded(thats where the differnce in public vs. private) he is also starting forward on basketball, primarly short in baseball, but plays all positions. thx for asking

jocotrojan

November 19th, 2012
6:42 pm

man i shouldnt of read this… i was ready to move on and now im back mad… but its very tempting when you see johnson county on the ajc page, heck, its even tempting on the macon telegraph and 13wmaz page… little ole joco makin news… but it is what it is… hate to see the seniors season end… in my opinion, in no format should a 7-3 team be left out while 5-5 teams are… but life ain’t fair… it’s no longer football season in wrightsville. it’s next football season… haha (because it’s certainly not basketball or baseball season)

moto

November 19th, 2012
6:56 pm

STC — You make thoughtful, knowledgeable and well-reasoned statements as usual. Points well taken. I’ll grant you there are some great white and latino football players in Georgia. When Wesleyan won state in 2008, I don’t think they had any black players. Kyle Karempelis (sp?) was their chief weapon, as a running back. He now plays special teams at Georgia but is in no danger of carrying the ball from scrimmage, I would guess. But as far as I’m concerned, he and Brendan Douglas are the exception to the rule. Wesleyan now has a number of black players, as do all of the improving private schools I have had the opportunity to watch. In most cases, they just don’t have enough.

You will remember a couple of years ago, Westminster had a running back named Ralph David Abernathy. In last year’s Liberty Bowl his kickoff return for a touchdown was the difference in Cincinnati’s victory over my Vandy team. Before him, Lovett had an all-purpose back whose name somehow escapes me, who broke a lot opposing teams’ hearts with his explosiveness. He single-handedly beat my team whenever we played, starting in middle school. But I’ll never forget the beautiful things those guys could do on a football field. I live for that: watching a beautiful game played beautifully.

gh2o

November 19th, 2012
7:41 pm

Wow…how did this become a thread of black vs. white football players? STC, kudos for handling those comments far better than I would have! Oh, and I don’t beileve which county a public school student is transferring from to a public school makes any difference. There is no real school “district” for a private school. So, if you live on the edge of a county and are transferring to a private school in the adjacent county, unless you move, you have to sit out a year.

gh2o

November 19th, 2012
7:49 pm

Also, STC, can you tell me whether or not you’ve seen any of the private schools play, outside of those in metro Atlanta? I don’t think it’s going to be a cake walk for ELCA or any other team. I’ve seen plenty of NFL teams that have had erratic seasons carry momentum into the playoffs and become unstoppable. I think that type of team momentum carrying into playoffs is even more prevalent in high school ball. And especially in A and AA where injuries and depth (lack thereof) could play such a pivitol role. I would look toward teams with a large number of healthy seniors and juniors in the starting lineups. Oh, and thank you so much for covering A football!

moto

November 19th, 2012
8:16 pm

@gh2o — You totally missed the point. It’s not about race. It’s about FOOTBALL and the actual world we live in. I’m sorry if dealing in FACTS offends your delicate sensibilities.

moto

November 19th, 2012
8:21 pm

@gh2o — When the rules of basketball greatly favored 7-footers, was it inappropriate to talk about big men dominating the game? Think before you pick a fight.

nourstuff

November 19th, 2012
9:07 pm

STC, I see you and others often refer to a “level playing field” with respect to what the A publics want when competing with the A privates. This is in fact already the case, as any two teams meeting at a GHSA-sanctioned football game play on the same field, with the same # of players (see Peach vs Carver 2012 for an exception), with the same officials/rules, the same ball, etc. The field is “level”. Now is it “fair” to have the typical public vs. the typical private-maybe not. Is it fair for the typical AAAAAA team to compete head up with the typical A team-probably not. There are a lot of things in life that are not fair, but this whining about “all we want is a level playing field” is tedious at best and at worst carries an implied lack of ethics on the part of the privates (i.e. they are cheaters). Obviously, one way or another, a private school recruits every kid in attendance-but I digress. My point is, that taken to its logical conclusion, there is only one GHSA football champion each year, that at the AAAAAA level. There is no penalty for playing up, so any team that wants to line up and compete with the best is free to do so. Every other “winner” (public or private), at the lower levels is just a beneficiary of a watered-down competition in some form or fashion. I don’t expect agreement-but tell me why this logic is flawed?

gh2o

November 19th, 2012
9:21 pm

@moto…not “picking a fight”. Sorry if everything is a “fight” to you. I won’t bother responding in the future. Life is way too short.

gh2o

November 19th, 2012
9:26 pm

@Nourstuff….you think a level playing field is having a 3000 student body to choose from vs 200? I think you see the flaw in that logic. Oh, and GHSA has to approve any changes in classification, so you really can’t just “move up” to a higher level without approval.

nourstuff

November 19th, 2012
9:34 pm

@gh2o I yield to your lack of reading comprehension-you got me.

gh2o

November 19th, 2012
9:40 pm

@nour, Is it possible you can tell me where I was wrong without being condescending? It’s easy to to make such comments without actually having to be in the room with the person you’re talking to, isn’t it? My point illustrates that there is NOT only one champion per year (AAAAA) for obvious and logical reasons. That’s what you asked for someone to show. Maybe you should lighten up a little.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
8:57 am

@Mt. Zion Fan: Thanks for the love and best of luck to your son!! We do the springs sports differently. In the spring season my concentration is track and field. Baseball will probably be handled by Todd Holcomb, so be on the lookout for his blogs on that.

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
8:59 am

@JoCo: Thanks for your thoughts and opinions this season! Keep ‘em coming. I know Coach Norton will have you guys right back in the mix next season.

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
9:16 am

@moto: I agree with your last statement. Football is truly a beautiful game. To watch a team, on any level, execute its offense, defense and/or special teams strategies effectively is something to behold.

And Karempelis is another kid who, if he were Black, would have, in my opinion, had several FBS offers — perhaps not SEC offers, but FBS offers nonetheless. Good to see him having a good walkon career at UGA.

Yes, RDA 3, as they call him, was a stud at Westminster and is a stud at Cincy now. I’m sure he will get drafted in the lower rounds by a team looking for a kick returner (Falcons could use him now!!). FYI, his cousin Micah is a sophomore running back at Greater Atlanta Christian.

The Lovett player you reference is Andre Hicks. He graduated in 2008 and I believe he played all four years at UAB. Folks down in Thomasville will tell you how he broke their hearts too in the 2007 quarterfinals. They had lost their first two games of the season — both non region games to teams from larger classes — and then went on a 10-game winning streak … until they hosted Lovett in the quarters. Thomasville went up 16-13 with about :30 seconds left in the game. But Hicks returne d the ensuing kickoff about 80 yards to give Lovett the win, 20-16. Lovett went on to the AA title game but got crushed by Buford (50-0).

And, finally, I also agree that it seems like more and more private schools are attracting more Black players. Your point about Wesleyan is very well taken. I’m sure this is the most Black players they have ever had on their roster this season.

Thanks again for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
9:22 am

@gh2o: I haven’t put eyes on any of the privates outside of metro Atlanta. I can only go by what I’ve seen on some of the news channel websites (WMAZ in Macon and WALB in Albany are a couple), and updates I’ve recieved via email from some parents and coaches.

But I think George Walton and/or Prince Avenue might be able to keep it close against ELCA. Both are well coached, disciplined teams, and that is a big factor against ELCA — you absolutely CANNOT give them any freebees. No penalties and no turnovers. They are plenty good enough to beat anyone without any help!

And as I’ve stated, Mercy is talented enough and coached well enough to make a game of it as well.

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
9:32 am

@gh2o: Also, the county in which a private school resides is indeed a factor when a student seeks to transfer to that school. To repeat, if you live within the county where the private school is located, you may play immediately, when transfering from a public school.

As I’ve stated previously, this was the case a couple of years ago when Avery Walls (now Avery Sabastian, at Cal) transfered from Union Grove (in Henry County) to ELCA (also in Henry County) for his senior year and was eligible to play immediately. This is also the case this season for another one of ELCA’s seniors who was at a Henry County public school last year.

And, again, I see no problem with this at all.

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
9:45 am

@nourstuff: I see your point, but that does not diminish the points that are made by public schools. Simply put, they are bound by residential lines, for the most part, while private schools are not. That fact, and the possible impact it can have on athletics, cannot be argued or debated.

That said, I still wish there was a way that the publics and privates could still compete against each other in Class A. Perhaps some sort of geographic limitation could be implemented, such as no student athletes who live farther than 30 miles away from the school would be allowed to compete.

And your premise about the only “real” being the AAAAAA champ might be true in some years, but not all. Back in the late 1990s, AAA Washington County was probably the best team in the state. In 2006, AAA Peach County would have beaten — in my opinion – either of the split champions in AAAAA, Peachtree Ridge or Roswell (they tied that year). And during Buford’s most recent run, they could have competed with and beaten any of the champs from the larger champs.

S. Thomas Coleman

nourstuff

November 20th, 2012
10:01 am

STC, my point is that the phrase “level playing field” has become inflammatory in this particular discussion. As I said in my previous post, this phrase typically is accompanied by text that directly or indirectly states that private schools are not “playing by the rules” or are otherwise not being forthright in their participation in Class A football. My point is to illustrate how every school playing below the top classification is benefiting from some form of “fairness adjustment” that most of us accept as being rational. I don’t understand why private schools, in particular, have been demonized by so many in these discussions? Thanks for the reasoned response, most of the time this issue just evokes reflexive, maternal-type replies, in my experience.

Sportmanship?

November 20th, 2012
10:11 am

Would someone be able to clarify the penalties for being ejected from a football game?
A Gordon Lee football player was ejected from their last game by the referees due to a blatant personal foul. Does this mean this player will not be able to play in the first playoff game against Emanuel County Institute?

gh2o

November 20th, 2012
12:08 pm

@STC, thanks for your response. I appreciate your coverage! I think you’re correct in not simply handing the trophy to ELCA. While they may be head and shoulders above the teams they’ve played, we all know that some regions are stronger than others (can change from year to year). I think AA and GWA both have enough to hang with them. Maybe even Prince, but I wasn’t all that impressed with what I saw. Had they not lost key players at the beginning of the year, they would have been a contender.

However, I believe you’re incorrect about the county issue. Unless a public school student moves into that county in which a private school exists, they would have to have another exception in order to not sit out a year.

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
12:31 pm

@Sportsmanship?: In a word, yes, the Gordon Lee player has to sit out Friday, if he was truly ejected by the refs and not just “benched” by his coaches.

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
12:34 pm

@gh2o: That’s correct, if a student-athlete DOES NOT live in the county in which the private school he/she intends to transfer is located, that student-athlete has to sit out a season unless he/she appeals under some sort of circumstances. And I know for a fact that the GHSA has granted eligibility in cases such as this. Not often, but it happens.

S. Thomas Coleman

S. Thomas Coleman

November 20th, 2012
12:58 pm

ATTENTION Class A Heads! The new Class A Blog with playoff capsules is up: “Class A: 16 First round playoff previews, 8 public, 8 private.”

As always, thanks for reading and posting!

S. Thomas Coleman

Steve

November 22nd, 2012
6:40 pm

I don’t understand where you say public schools wouldn’t have minded things staying the same in sports other than football. I really, really, really disagree. my alma mater Irwin County could have won at least 2 or 3 more state championships in baseball in the 90s except for having to deal with Pace Academy. also there was a decade stretch that saw Irwin County tennis teams be the last public school alive. and I won’t even mention recruiting but will say when Pace Academy can get students from all over the city of Atlanta, and Irwin County can only get students from Irwin County that’s just a tad unfair. you may not realize this but Ocilla and Irwinville are slightly smaller than Atlanta. don’t let the three traffic lights in the entire county fool you