Archive for November, 2012

Camden County wins $20,000 coin flip vs. Norcross

By David Purdum / For the AJC
Camden County won a $20,000 coin flip, when Norcross athletic director Kirk Barton incorrectly chose tails Saturday at a remote country store in Soperton.
The result has Norcross headed five hours south to Kingsland this week for a AAAAAA quarterfinal playoff game at Camden County.
The Georgia High School Association has been using a coin flip to decide home field in playoff games between teams with the same seeding for more than a decade. Both Norcross and Camden County are 1-seeds after winning region championships.
According to Georgia Football Historians Association, Camden coach Jeff Herron has taken his team on 12 trips to the Georgia Dome during his 12-year career. He knows how much a 300-mile, overnight trip costs.
“It is an extremely expensive thing, when you have to travel five or six hours like we do or like Norcross will have to this time. It’s a heavy financial burden on a school,” said Herron. “When we travel to Atlanta, we …

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Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

Headed into the third week of the playoffs, we can barely think of anything except high school football down at The List HQ.

So many favorites have rolled through their first two opponents, and a few surprises just add to the intrigue as we argue across the newsroom about who the semifinalists are going to be.

We know there are going to be more surprises, and the big question is where those are going to come from now. Can any of the 4 seeds make it into the semis? We’ll just have to wait to see, and we have zero patience.

In the meantime, we decided to look at the brackets and pick out the 10 most likely upsets waiting to happen this week.

10. Class A Private: 11 George Walton at 3 Walker

Can we be forgiven for wondering if Walker is for real? This is a program that had never won more than six games and has already won as many games this season as it had the previous four combined. Now, maybe new coach John East has just turned them into an overnight state power.  But this …

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Career passing leaders

Career passing yards in three metro Atlanta counties were broken this season by Cedar Grove’s Johnathon McCrary (DeKalb), Lassiter’s Eddie Printz (Cobb) and Central Gwinnett’s Eman Westmoreland (Gwinnett). Here is how they rank among those who have thrown for more than 7,500 yards in their careers, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Let us know if there are any that are not included.

9,062 – Zach Stanford (Metter) 2001-04

9,025 – Johnathon McCrary (Cedar Grove) 2009-12

8,798 – Jonquel Dawson (Martin Luther King) 2008-2011

8,751 – Eddie Printz (Lassiter) 2009-12

8,427 – Drew Little (Henry County) 2005-08

8,392 – *DeShaun Watson (Gainesville) 2010-12

8,281 – Fabian Walker (Americus) 1996-98

8,265 – Hutson Mason (Lassiter) 2007-09

8,226 – Cedric Johnson (Americus) 2001-04

8,043 – Nick Marshall (Wilcox County) 2007-2010

7,782 – Eman Westmoreland (Central Gwinnett (2009-12)

7,655 – Dwight Dasher (Charlton County) 2003-06

7,568 – Caleb …

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POY Watch: Lamb, Watson move into top two spots

Every state player of the year in Georgia since 1986 has played on a team that has reached at least the quarterfinals in the state playoffs.

All but six have played on state championship teams.

Does that mean players on teams that have been eliminated have no chance at the award? Not necessarily. It happened in 1985 (Billy Ray of Dunwoody) and 1984 (Keith Henderson of Cartersville).

But it’s safe to say that those still playing are better positioned.

Here is our updated Player of the Year Watch:

1. QB Taylor Lamb, Calhoun: Lamb is 224-of-328 passing for 2,801 yards and 30 touchdowns with five interceptions for the No. 1-ranked team in Class AA. He has scored nine touchdowns while rushing for 302 yards on 56 carries. Lamb has committed to South Alabama.

2. QB Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Watson is 234-of-335 passing for 3,053 yards and 41 touchdowns. He has rushed for 1,117 yards and 19 touchdowns. His team is 9-3. Watson has committed to Clemson as a junior.

3. RB Jacorey …

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Playoff preview: Class AAAA quarterfinals

South Effingham at Monroe Area

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Purple Pit, Monroe

Records, rankings: South Effingham is 8-4, the No. 4 seed from Region 3-AAAA and unranked; Monroe is 11-1, the No. 1 seed from 8-AAAA and unranked.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first meeting.

Three things to know: 1. Monroe Area has two 1,000-yard rushers in junior RB Kwan Brooks (1,769 yards, 18 touchdowns) and QB Stanton Truitt (1,245, 16 TDs). Both average more than 11 yards per carry. Truitt, who has missed four games with injuries, has thrown for 810 yards. 2. South Effingham RB Josh Mercer, who has committed to N.C. State, is perhaps the most overshadowed major college prospect still playing. He has rushed for 1,476 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. He has run for 111 and 130 yards and scored five touchdowns in two playoff games. RB Cordaro Leverett has five 100-yard rushing games and 991 yards on the season. 3. The winner of this game will be playing in its first state semifinal. …

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Tuesday: Boys basketball scores

Complied by Score Atlanta

Aquinas 74, Griffin 58

Brookwood 77, Central Gwinnett 64

Buford 59, Milton 41

Cedar Shoals 55, Apalachee 50

Dawson County 55, Lumpkin County 36

Dunwoody 72, Arabia Mountain 66

Fellowship Christian 46, Lassiter 44

Griffin 50, Woodland-Henry 22

Miller Grove 64, Stephenson 42

Norcross 60, Mill Creek 53

North Gwinnett 60, Mountain View 34

Pacelli 38, Strong Rock Christian 27

Peachtree Ridge 74, Habersham Central 59

Savannah 82, Islands 27

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Tuesday: Girls basketball scores

Complied by Score Atlanta

Holy Innocents’ 52, Providence Christian 17

Landmark Christian 59, Yeshiva 11

Lassiter 36, Fellowship Christian 18

North Cobb 59, McEachern 47

North Gwinnett 66, Mountain View 26

Roswell 67, Lambert 56

St. Pius 50, West Hall 19

Stephenson 43, Miller Grove 40

Woodland-Henry 46, Griffin 35

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Maxwell Ratings: Updated odds of each quarterfinal team winning title

By Loren Maxwell



Most Common Semifinal Matchups:

North Gwinnett versus Mill Creek, 444,927 times

Norcross versus Parkview, 398,896 times

Most Common Championship Matchup:

North Gwinnett versus Norcross, 433,779 times

Cinderella teams (any team with 0.333 or less): North Gwinnett (0.236), Parkview (0.237), Mill Creek (0.263), and North Cobb (0.321)







North Gwinnett




Camden County




Mill Creek












Colquitt County




North Cobb























Most Common Semifinal Matchups:

Northside (Warner Robins) versus Stephenson, 464,047 times

Gainesville …

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First two rounds have been free of big upsets

The first two rounds of the Class AAAAA playoffs have been relatively free of major upsets. The higher-seed (home) teams are 19-5, and Tucker is the only No. 3 or No. 4 seed remaining.

Here’s a look at the five games won by the lower-seeded team and how those games rank in terms of upsets.

Heading into the quarterfinals, is there anything that could happen that would be considered a major upset?

1. North Paulding 63, Flowery Branch 43: North Paulding’s first trip to the playoffs produced the biggest upset of the first two rounds. Flowery Branch was the Region 8-AAAAA champion and had not lost in a first-round game since 2007. It’s worth noting that Flowery Branch allowed just 66 points combined in season-opening losses to region champions Northside and West Forsyth.

2. Allatoona 20, M.L. King 19: Allatoona has a good team and a great coaching staff. But the Buccaneers lost by 18 to East Paulding, which lost by 29 to Stephenson, which lost by 19 to M.L. King. So M.L. King …

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Maxwell Ratings: Computer likes 8-AAAAAA, even if only Parkview has survived

The Maxwell Ratings after the second round of the playoffs.

Remember that the ratings are not designed to rank teams based on their success in reaching the goal of a state championship. Otherwise, the top eight would be those still playing. Rather, the Maxwell Ratings rank the teams based on their scores from the full season. It’s evident that Maxwell thinks there are several teams that should be playing that aren’t.

All Classifications

1. Norcross 100.31

2. North Gwinnett 93.17

3. Grayson 87.54

4. Camden County 87.14

5. South Gwinnett 82.98

6. Northside (Warner Robins) 81.18

7. Lovejoy 80.81

8. Sandy Creek 80.58

9. Parkview 80.28

10. Mill Creek 80.23

11. Colquitt County 80.05

12. Lassiter 78.34

13. North Cobb 77.24

14. West Forsyth 76.73

15. Lowndes 76.59

16. M.L. King 75.82

17. Calhoun 75.65

18. McEachern 74.79

19. Brookwood 74.22

20. Thomson 73.41

21. Burke County 73.12

22. Valdosta 72.6

23. East Paulding 71.52

24. Johns Creek 71.48

25. Archer 71.37


1. Norcross …

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Class A Blog: Quarterfinal previews — 4 public, 4 private

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Time for the Second Round, the Elite Eight, or the Quarterfinals, whichever you prefer. Here is a quick look at all eight games – four public and four private.

But first, some have made the argument that while Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy is the clear favorite on the private school side, there is great parity among the other private schools. After the first round, proponents of that theory may be on to something.

If you take the Power Rankings as the measurement of team strength, which many absolutely do not, the top eight seeds were supposed to be the “favorites.” On the private school side, half of those teams lost last week. While the top three – Athens Academy, ELCA and Walker – moved on, No. 4 Brookstone, No. 5 Calvary Day, No. 6 Aquinas and No. 8 Darlington were all soundly beaten. That smacks of a lot of parity among the private schools, ELCA not withstanding.

Meanwhile, on the public school side, things went more …

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Wrestling: Archer wins three tournaments in a week

By Stephen Black

Score Atlanta

Class AAAAAA No. 2 Archer improved to 14-0 over the Thanksgiving holiday by winning three matches.

The Tigers won the Takedown Sportswear Duals wrestling tournament Saturday in Lawrenceville by beating Class AAAAA No. 5 Kell (72-6), South Forsyth (76-0), Mill Creek (81-0), Rockdale County (67-10) and Bob Jones (Ala.) (72-12). Vinny Artigues, DaQuan Olbert, Grant Aycox, Chris Diaz, Daniel Bullard, Thomas Bullard, Zach Wright, Robby Kwarteng, Elliot Lee and Ernest Alexander each went undefeated during the event.

On Wednesday, Archer won the Parkview Duals by upending five other teams. The Tigers took down Class AAAAA No. 8 Paulding County (60-13), Class AAAAA No. 2 Loganville (59-9), Woodland-Bartow (55-12), Lumpkin County (73-6) and Class AAAA No. 2 Gilmer (56-6). Olbert, Sam Bullard, Diaz, Bullard, Lee, Alexander and M.J. Couzan each finished undefeated for Archer.

Gilmer took second at Parkview and was followed by Woodland-Bartow, Parkview, …

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AAAAAA blog: Who has the best go-to player in the QF?

I thought it would be interesting today to look at what teams have a major go-to guy on offense, and which ones are more balanced. Does it make any difference how dependent a team is on one player?

Not sure. But here is a look at the eight teams remaining and their feature player on offense.

Who do you want to have the ball when the game is on the line?

Camden County – Camden has two offensive players committed to Georgia, and it’s hard to say which is more valuable. QB Brice Ramsey doesn’t pass much for a major college prospect, but he adds a dimension that Camden rarely has seen. He is 70-of-128 passing for 1,358 yards and 19 touchdowns with only one interception. RB J.J. Green, who also starts at cornerback, has rushed for 876 yards and scored 11 touchdowns on 100 carries and is a factor in the return game.

Colquitt County – Colquitt is largely a passing team, and WR Bobby Hill (72 catches, 980 yards, 5 TD) is the primary target. But the key player has become QB

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Stars come out in Class AAAA

It goes without saying that by this point in the season, there are a lot of football players showing what they can do. Even so, the remaining eight teams in Class AAAA seem particularly star-studded.

A handful – opposing coaches might argue they’re more than a handful – of players to watch in the third round of the Class AAAA playoffs:

Donquell Green, Burke County: Green goes by the nickname “Gator”, but “Goodness Gracious” might be more appropriate. The junior quarterback has rushed for 1,626 yards and 31 touchdowns, scoring two or more touchdowns in nine of the Bears’ 12 games. He’s also passed for 1,202 yards and nine more Tds, and perhaps most impressive, he’s thrown just one interception in 115 pass attempts. Said Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker, “The best way to slow him down is to keep him on the sideline.”

Darrell Bridges, Ridgeland: While teammate and big-time recruit Vonn Bell has garnered a lot of attention, Bridges has his eye on 2,000 rushing. Going …

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Schools with the most quarterfinal appearances

Schools with the most appearances in GHSA quarterfinal playoff games:

34 – Lincoln County

26 – Valdosta

25 – Buford

22 – Charlton County

22 – Gainesville

22 – Marist

19 – Carrollton

19 – Dalton

19 – Warner Robins

18 – Lovett

16 – Clinch County

15 – Americus

16 – Commerce

15 – Clarke Central

15 – Griffin

15 – Mary Persons

15 – Northside-Warner Robins

15 – Southwest DeKalb

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