Archive for November, 2012

Playoff preview: Class A (private) quarterfinals

Prince Avenue Christian at Athens Academy

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Slaughter Field, Athens

Records, rankings: Prince Avenue Christian is 9-2, the No. 9 seed and unranked; Athens Academy is 11-0, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 3.

Last meeting: Athens Academy won 14-7 on Oct. 5 in the regular season.

Three things to know: 1. Prince Avenue nearly had three runners over 100 yards in the 42-21 first-round victory over Darlington in RB Carl Mattox (162, two TDs), Conner Sibley (114, one TD) and Bryce Huff (91, three TDs). Mattox also had 11 tackles. 2. Athens Academy trailed Mount Pisgah 13-0 in the fourth quarter before winning 17-13. In what might stand up as the gutsiest call in the state this season, Athens Academy had a fourth-and-1 at its 39-yard when QB Austin Schulte threw deep to sophomore Eric Williams for a 61-yard TD pass to make it 13-7. 3. These schools are sometimes called cross-town rivals because they are associated with Athens, but they actually are merely …

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Playoff preview: Class A (public) quarterfinals

Wilkinson County at Lincoln County

When, where: 7 p.m. Friday, Buddy Bufford Field, Lincolnton

Records, rankings: Wilkinson County is 8-3, the No. 9 seed and ranked No. 7; Lincoln County is 10-1, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 4.

Last meeting: Lincoln County won 21-19 on Nov. 2 in the regular season.

Three things to know: 1. This is a rematch of the Nov. 2 game that decided the Region 7 championship. Trailing 21-19, Wilkinson had first-and-goal at the Lincoln County 7-yard line but missed a 38-yard field goal. Wilkinson later had first down at the Lincoln 24 but turned the ball over on downs. Lincoln County overcame a 13-0 deficit. Lincoln County RB Mike McIntire rushed for 138 yards, and Wilkinson County QB David Whipple was 10-of-18 passing for 151 yards. 2. Whipple is a three-year starter at quarterback for Wilkinson with more than 4,000 yards passing in his career. He led a comeback over Miller County last week after Wilkinson trailed 14-0 and 26-20. 3. McIntire leads …

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All-region teams: 6-AAA

Coach of the year: Paul Standard, St. Pius

Offensive player of the year: QB Johnathon McCrary, Cedar Grove, Sr.

Defensive player of the year: DL Bryson Allen-Williams, Cedar Grove, Sr.

Offense

QB – Jack Spear, St. Pius, Sr.

RB – Ryan Braswell, St. Pius, Sr.

RB – Deion Sellers, Cedar Grove, Jr.

RB – Casey Bradley, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

WR – Terryon Robinson, Decatur, Sr.

WR – Jamir Hannah, Cedar Grove, Sr.

WR – Michael Minter, McNair, Sr.

WR – Sam Roberts, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

OL – Ryan Witherspoon, Cedar Grove, Sr.

OL – Zach Mitchler, Blessed Trinity, Jr.

OL – David Marsau, St. Pius, Sr.

OL – Phineas Andrews, St. Pius, Sr.

OL – Cristian Euten, Cross Keys, Jr.

PK – Thomas O’Leary, St. Pius, Jr.

SN – Tucker Etheridge, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

Defense

DT – Quincy Nieporte, St. Pius, Sr.

DT – Antwuan Jackson, Cedar Grove, Fr.

DT – Myles Kinder, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

DE – Kyle Kitchens, Decatur, Jr.

DE – Ozzie Bunbury, Woodward Academy, Sr.

DE – Nathaniel Maggio, Blessed Trinity, Sr.

LB …

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Playoff preview: Class AA quarterfinals

Fitzgerald at Jefferson

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

Records, rankings: Fitzgerald is 10-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 1-AA and ranked No. 4; Jefferson is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 8-AA and ranked No. 7.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Fitzgerald has attempted only 50 passes this season and managed to put up 3,795 yards rushing (316.3 per game) without a 1,000-yard rusher. QB Romarius Gaulden (898) and FB Ron Swain (822) are the main ball-carriers, although Larry Stewart (595) had the hot hand in the second round against Vidalia, rushing for 138 yards. 2. Jefferson QB Bryant Shirreffs rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 victory over Westminster in the second round. Shirreffs has passed for 1,828 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 1,026 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. He has Ivy League invitations from Dartmouth and Yale. 3. Jefferson is in the quarterfinals for the first time …

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Playoff preview: Class AAA quarterfinals

Buford at Carver (Columbus)

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium, Columbus

Records, rankings: Buford is 9-3, the No. 2 seed from Region 7-AAA and ranked No. 3; Carver is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 2-AAA and ranked No. 2.

Last meeting: Buford won 28-13 in the 2011 Class AA semifinals.

Three things to know: 1. Carver QB Torrance McGee (not related to head coach Dell McGee) has passed for 17 touchdowns and scored 10 while passing for 1,183 yards (74 of 115, only three interceptions). But Carver is primarily a running team with four backs between 500 and 650 yards rushing, none averaging more than seven attempts per game. They are Danny Ryles (627), Brandon Thomas (607), Mario Moore (588) and McGee (518). 2. Matthew Bonadies made field goals of 47 and 42 yards in Buford’s 13-0 victory in the second round against North Oconee. It was Buford’s fifth shutout of the season. That is the most among teams in Class AAA. 3. Each of these schools has made the quarterfinals or …

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Teams with the most shutouts in 2012

What has been more common this season – a team scoring 50 points or being shut out? Perhaps surprisingly in this age of high point totals, there have been 366 shutouts this season out of 2,185 games played. Teams have scored 50 points or more 283 times. Those events occurred in the same game 65 times. Here are the teams that have posted at least four shutouts this season:

Five

Buford

Marist

Northside-Warner Robins

Four

Calhoun

ELCA

East Paulding

Glynn Academy

Grayson

Lamar County

Lovejoy

M.L. King

Richmond Hill

Ware County

Washington-Wilkes

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Calhoun’s Lamb named Gatorade state football player of the year

Calhoun quarterback Taylor Lamb was named on Thursday the Gatorade Georgia football player of the year.

Lamb, who has committed to South Alabama, has thrown for 2,801 yards and 30 touchdowns with only five interceptions. He has rushed for 302 yards and nine touchdowns.

Calhoun is 12-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class AA. Calhoun plays No. 2 Brooks County on Friday in the state quarterfinals.

Also a basketball, tennis and golf standout, Lamb has maintained a 3.73 GPA in the classroom. In addition to serving as a member of his school’s student council, he has volunteered on behalf of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and donated his time to the local recreation department.

“He would be a great player for any team in Georgia, regardless of how good his surrounding players are,” said Model head coach Gordon Powers. “He is the best I have seen and competed against in years. His stats are only a small part of his athletic ability. I found out first-hand in our game against him …

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Tucker-Northside games have had unexpected twists

Here are some of the stories to watch this weekend in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals:

*Don’t leave early: Tucker and Northside will be meeting in the playoffs for the third time in six seasons, and neither of the previous games ended up the way they appeared to be headed. Last year, Northside led 16-10 with less than five minutes to play and was driving for the potential game-clinching score, but Tucker returned a fumble 100 yards to win 17-16. In 2007, Tucker led 28-7 at halftime, but injured quarterback Marques Ivory came off the bench in the second half to rally the Eagles to a 31-28 victory. Tucker and Northside have won two state championships each since 2006.

*Clearing the hurdles: Stephenson has smashed through some big obstacles this postseason, winning a first-round game for the first time since 2009, a second-round game for the first time since 2006 and a road playoff game for the first time ever. To reach the semifinals for the first time since 2005, they have to …

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AAAAAA blog: Who is for real? We’ll find out about Lovejoy, Norcross & others this week

The assignment for today is ‘five things to watch in Class AAAAAA’ this week.

In my mind, this week helps us find out who’s real and who is not. These are teams, and even one player, that I’m curious to find out more about.

Are they for real?

Lovejoy: It won’t surprise me if Lovejoy beats North Gwinnett. Let’s get that out of the way. What we’re saying is that Lovejoy has played fewer games that define a team than anyone else still standing in AAAAAA. The Wildcats have played one ranked opponent, Colquitt County, and lost 14-7 in early September. Taking out perennial power North Gwinnett would change the perception of a program with a great record (35-3 over the past three seasons) but without a defining victory in the highest class.

Jacorey Lewis: No player in AAAAAA has had a better post-season than Jacorey Lewis, the senior running back from Mill Creek. He has rushed for 595 yards and eight touchdowns in his two playoff game. For the season, he has rushed for …

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Which of the elite with survive?

There are no dark horses left in the Class AAA football playoffs. The remaining teams either won their region championship or finished second.

This is an elite field. Six of the eight teams still playing in the quarterfinals were ranked all season. Cartersville joined the rankings on Sept. 10 and North Hall was ranked on two occasions.

Here’s a look at this week’s playoffs:

No. 3 Buford at No. 2 Carver: While both teams have ample offenses, their true strength is on defense. Buford (11-1 on the field, 9-3) has five shutouts, including last week’s 13-0 win over No. 8 North Oconee. In the first round of the playoffs, Cedar Grove became the first team to score more than 20 points on the Wolves this season.

Carver’s defensive numbers aren’t as gaudy; the Tigers have only two shutouts. Carver (11-1) limited No. 5 Peach County to only 17 points in winning that showdown. Carver’s only slipup was a 33-0 loss to Colquitt County, a quarterfinalist in AAAAAA. A key for …

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Winning: a 50-50 coin flip

It’s a time honored tradition that football coaches meet half way on Saturday morning to exchange game films and flip a coin for home-field advantage for a playoff game, when neither is seeded higher.

In recent years, though, with coaches instead exchanging film on the web, Calhoun coach Hal Lamb considers it somewhat crazy to have met Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman at Burger King in Macon last Saturday just to flip the coin to determine home-field advantage for Friday’s Class AA quarterfinal between the 12-0 teams.

Lamb had a couple coaches with him, Freeman a few family members. They spoke briefly. Lamb flipped. Freeman called heads. It landed tails.

That meant Brooks, the No. 1 seed from Region 1-AA, now drives five hours from Quitman to Calhoun, the No. 1 seed from 7-AA.

Seemed odd to Lamb, who with just a few mouse clicks had exchanged four films with Freeman earlier that morning, before either drove 2 1/2 hours to meet for five minutes.

“With today’s technology, …

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Class AAAA quarterfinalists seek smooth sailing

This week’s installment of the History Channel series: Mankind, The Story of All of Us, detailed the circumstances of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World. Columbus, as we all learned in grade school, took off across the Atlantic Ocean not knowing what he’d find, or, frankly, if he’d find anything other than water.

Which brings us to the Class AAAA quarterfinals. Three of the eight teams this week are looking to find land. Yes, Stockbridge, South Effingham and Ridgeland are … wait for it … in uncharted waters. None of the three has previously advanced this far.

Is that meaningful? Probably not as meaningful as talent and preparation, as well as the draw of the bracket. But it will be interesting to see how they fare. I’d rate Ridgeland as the most likely of the three to land in the semifinals. Whatever happens, this is a red-letter weekend in AAAA football.

The state quarterfinals in Class AAAA:

South Effingham (8-4) at Monroe Area (11-1): Shootout alert. South …

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All-region teams: 2-A

Player of the year: QB Makail Grace, Wilcox County, Sr.

Offensive player of the year: WR Johnathan Howard, Wilcox County, Sr.

Offensive player of the year: QB Luke Soliday, Turner County, Sr.

Defensive player of the year: DL Abraham Freeman, Telfair County, Sr.

Special teams player of the year: P Trae Harrington, Charlton County, Jr.

Offense

QB – Javon Smith, Lanier County, Sr.

FB – Abraham Freeman, Telfair County, Sr.

RB – Rashan Mackey, Telfair County Sr.

RB – Ryan Peterson, Irwin County, Jr.

RB – Donte Studstill, Irwin County, Sr.

WR – Quan Hillmon, Turner County, So.

WR – C.J. Mainor, Charlton County, Jr.

WR – Curtis Nixon, Charlton County, So.

WR – Quin Tisdol, Wilcox County, So.

TE – Taylor Hughes, Irwin County, Sr.

C – Cam Morgan, Irwin County, So.

OL – George Barnes, Telfair County, Sr.

OL – K.J. Billingsley, Irwin County, Sr.

OL – Marquis Brown, Wilcox County, Sr.

OL – John West, Wilcox County, Sr.

OL – Tony Jenkins, Lanier County, …

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All-region teams: 6-AAAA Division B

Offensive player of the year: RB Frank Barthelemy, Washington, Sr.

Defensive player of the year: DL Roc-M Nesbit, Carver, Sr.

Coach of the year: Darren Myles, Carver

Offense

QB – Fernanda Tucker, Washington, Sr.

QB – Kivon Taylor, Grady, Sr.

RB – Frank Barthelemy, Washington, Sr.

RB – DeAndre Jackson, South Atlanta, Sr.

RB – Montavious Taylor, Carver, Sr.

WR – Deshawn Benton, Grady, Sr.

WR – Tevish Clark, Carver, Jr.

TE – Darren Dowdell, Grady, Sr.

TE – Chris Gardner, South Atlanta, Sr.

OL – Brandon Bowman, Washington, Sr.

OL – Christian Avery, Washington, So.

OL – D’Anthony Ross, Grady, Sr.

OL – Dontavious Compton, Grady, Sr.

OL – Xavier Walker, Grady, Jr.

OL – Xavier Davis, Carver, Sr.

OL – Delando Crooks, Carver, Sr.

OL – Leonard Badgett, Carver, Sr.

OL – Dequavious Hodges, South Atlanta, Sr.

Defense

DL – Jeremy Rogers, Washington, Sr.

DL – Jamal Heard, Grady, Sr.

DL – Dequavious Hodges, South Atlanta, Sr.

DL – Roc-M Nesbitt, Carver, Sr.

DL – Terrell Davis, Banneker

LB – …

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All-region teams: 6-AAAA Division A

Offensive player of the year: QB Myles Willis, Marist, Sr.

Defensive player of the year: DL David Johnson, Lithonia, Sr.

Coach of the year: Alan Chadwick, Marist

Offense

QB – Noah Thomas, Redan, Sr.

QB – Cordelral Cook, Stone Mountain, Jr.

RB – Desmin Reed, Chamblee, Sr.

RB – Clark Jones Jr., Lithonia, Sr.

RB – Gray King, Marist, Sr.

WR – Cameron White, Lithonia, Sr.

WR – Sammy Johnson, Stone Mountain, Jr.

TE – Desmond Noird, Chamblee, Sr.

TE – Jaquez Johnson, Redan, Jr.

OL – Kamren Mack, Chamblee, Sr.

OL – James Hanley, Chamblee, Sr.

OL – Eric Smith, Columbia, Sr.

OL – Xavier Davis, Lithonia, Sr.

OL – Deonte Davis, Lithonia, Jr.

OL – Sean McVay, Marist, Jr.

OL – Robert Atkins, Redan, Sr.

OL – Coy Reliford, Stone Mountain, Sr.

OL – Tolunte Anderson, Lithonia, Sr.

Defense

LB – Khari Rosier, Chamblee, Sr.

LB – Devon Wallace, Lithonia, Jr.

LB – Jason Morris, Marist, Sr.

LB – Michael Toner, Marist, Jr.

LB – Kaleel Hasan, Redan, Sr.

LB – Keishan Health, Redan, Jr.

LB – Soloman …

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