Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

It may not be anywhere near championship time in the high school sports world, but the NCAA Tournament has our minds turned toward titles.

Watching all the great teams battle and fight for the national championship makes us remember all the awesome high school champs of the past, particularly the ones that won a lot. For some, a whole lot.

Pretty much every sport has had its share of dynasties, taking over the sport for years at a stretch. Given that us Listers basically haven’t won much of anything in our lives, we’re pretty much in awe of them all.

So, in that spirit, here are the top 10 dynasties in state history …

10. Buford softball 2007-present

Six straight titles is easily the most ever in softball, and nothing indicates the run is on its way to ending anytime soon. The Wolves have built a dominant program, sending players to UGA, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Alabama, etc., during the stretch. Record since 2007: 190-31-2.

9. Taylor County girls basketball 1968-72

Never heard of them? Well, they only won five straight titles – the most ever in girls basketball at the time and still the third-longest streak – won 134 consecutive games – tied for third-best all time nationally – and were a key part of the state school integration movement at the time. So, yeah, they mattered.

8.  Jefferson wrestling 2001-present

Since the move to five classifications in 2001, Jefferson has been invincible. This is one of the goliaths to beat all goliaths. Since that time, the Dragons have won every traditional and dual state title. That’s 13 years and 25 trophies for the trophy case.

7. Richmond Academy baseball 1951-57

The list of schools that have won three straight baseball titles is a long one – Americus, Columbus, Harlem, Evans, Pace Academy, Greenbrier, Gainesville, Marist, Pepperell – but the list of those who have won four is much shorter: Richmond Academy. And they didn’t stop at four. They took it to seven, tied for the third-longest streak in U.S. history.

6. Marist girls tennis 1994-2006, 2009-11

Through much of the 1990s and 2000s, it looked like the Eagles may never lose again, running off a stretch of 12 straight team titles after winning the singles title in 1994 before Starr’s Mill finally knocked them off the top in 2007. Two years later, though, they were back, adding three more to their remarkable legacy.

5. Westminster cross country 1984-present

This one’s a combination dynasty, for the boys and girls. While the girls were winning every title from 1984-2004 except for 1991, and have another three-year streak going now, the boys did even better, standing on top of the podium all but one year from 1996 to today.

4. Buford football 2007-present

In 2010, the Wolves became the first team since West Rome from 1982-85 to win four straight titles. Last year, they became only the third team to win it all in five out of six seasons. Nobody has posted six out of seven. Does anybody actually think this one isn’t going to keep going?

3. Wesleyan girls basketball 2002-present

The Wolves have dominated girls basketball like nobody else before. Since 2002, they’ve won 10 out of 12 titles, and they’re riding a six-year title streak that’s tied for the ninth-longest all-time nationally. And with plenty of young talent coming back next year, there’s every reason to think this one keeps going too.

2. Miller Grove boys basketball 2009-present

What coach Sharman White has done had to really leap off the page at you this year. No more dominant Tony Parker to dominate in the paint. Lots of youth that had to deal with a tremendously tough region. Still, the Wolverines marched right through it, becoming the first team in state history to win five straight titles. One more would tie them for seventh-most in U.S. history.

1. Valdosta football 1951-71

Still the Gold Standard today. It’s the stretch where Valdosta High established itself as the nation’s best program, and the city began earning the title “Winnersville.” The Wildcats won 13 titles in 21 years, posted 10 undefeated seasons and won 13 out of 14 state-championship game appearances.

Now we want to know what you think. What has been the best dynasty in state history? Who did we leave out? How many titles could your friends at the pickup league win? Let us know here in the comments or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.

14 comments Add your comment

Hubert Green

March 27th, 2013
8:02 am

I believe Walton girls tennis has had an incredible run. McEachern wrestling was dominant for years. Any streak in the highest division in hoops trumps most anything because of the elite level of competition. What MG has done is incredible, but there were no Norcross, Milton, Wheeler, Savannah, Tift County, et al in the way.

Ernest

March 27th, 2013
11:11 am

Good list Jeff! It really gives us something to think about. It is interesting that the only ‘pre-integration’ dynasty mentioned is Valdosta.

One should also factor the growing population in the metro area that resulted in many schools being built and splitting the talent. Had DeKalb adopted the ‘large school’ model like Gwinnett, I’m sure Southwest DeKalb would have won several more championships. Many of the students that attend ML King would have gone to SWD. If Miller Grove wasn’t built, it is possible those championships would have been won by Redan. To me, that’s what makes Miller Grove’s achievements amazing as the school has existed for less than 10 years.

Jeff Haws

March 27th, 2013
1:47 pm

Hubert – Certainly some logic to that, and I did try to consider that in these rankings. So yes, your point is definitely valid. I still think AAAA has a tremendous amount of talent, though, and that was nowhere near a cake walk for the Wolverines.

Ernest – Don’t forget about Richmond Academy baseball. But, still, good point about how these tended to skew to the recent past. I had a few others on my list I was choosing from, but even those didn’t come any earlier than West Rome football 1982-85. And you’re probably right about DeKalb County there. Tons of schools all pulling from what could have been another school’s district. I’ve been tremendously impressed with MG’s run as of late.

moodswing

March 27th, 2013
2:59 pm

How about – Newton County Basketball Boys 1958-70. During this twelve year period Coach Ron Bradley led the AA Rams to a 333-39 record, 10 Region Championships, 11 straight Gold Dome appearances( when only region champs and runner-up went), 1 State Championship and 2 State Runner-Ups. For an added bonus – 129 straight home court victories – a National record it shares with Adolf Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats.

Ernest

March 27th, 2013
3:07 pm

Jeff, thanks for the correction. Richmond Academy slipped by.

That West Rome football team was something else. I believe David McCluskey was on several of those teams before he went to UGA. Don’t forget the Westover (Albany) basketball team from 89-93 that won four straight titles with Dontonio Wingfield. I considered him the greatest GA high school player until Tony Parker repeated that success with Miller Grove.

I’m biased in saying this but I can also say that basketball in Savannah from the mid 60’s to late 70’s was very good, starting with Beach in the old GIA. They were the first champions when the GHSA integrated followed by Johnson-Savannah. Savannah High alternated as champion with Southwest Macon during several years in the 70’s.

57Cat

March 27th, 2013
9:59 pm

Naturally, you’ll get no argument from regarding who’s #1. Earnest made a good point about that period of Cat superiority being pre-integration. The landscape changed with the building of Lowndes, but the tradition of Bazemore carried over to Hyder. But while titles and accolades continued for Valdosta,,the shifting population eroded that foundation to the point that Lowndes County (and even Valwood, and soon Georgia Christian) are (or will be) drawing from a greater population base and posing strong opposition to such a Wildcat dynasty recurring any time soon. We have a small window to maybe dominate for a short period, but that window will not be open long. Please don’t take my comment to mean the Cats are dead. I’m just saying given present demographics we will not dominate over a period of 20 years as we did when we “laid the gold standard.”

HPE

March 28th, 2013
10:35 am

I never saw my high school girls basketball team lose during my time at Lowndes High School from 1976 to 1980. They were undefeated in the largest school category for 4 years. I can’t imagine how they’re not on this list. They totally dominated that era.

Jeff Haws

March 28th, 2013
10:45 am

HPE –

Not too hard to imagine. They won 4 straight titles, while No. 9 won 5 straight while also winning 134 straight games. The Wesleyan girls make them both look like lightweights at this point, in dynasty terms. You could make an argument for them, of course. Is 4 straight titles in the highest classification tougher than what Taylor County did? Perhaps. How deep was girls basketball in the late 70s in Georgia? I’m not entirely sure. But they were on my list of considerations. There’s also the factor that I didn’t want any one sport to get too many spots on the list. I did want to spread the wealth just a bit.

NYCDAWGFAN

March 28th, 2013
12:33 pm

Hey Jeff. Nice list… But I don’t know how Thomas County Central’s football run in the 90′S doesn’t make it or Lincoln County’s football run from the mid 80’s to mid 90’s.. Those two HAVE to be on there. Two of the most prolific players in GHSA football history were a part of both runs in Charlie Ward and Garrison Hearst.

Red and Black til Death

Shelbytown

March 28th, 2013
2:07 pm

What about Hart Co. Girl’s basketball winning state from 1989 -1994. Six titles in a row.

Matt

March 28th, 2013
2:13 pm

Add Westminster Tennis to the list…Girls and Boys have a combined 83 state championships (43 and 40, respectively). And I believe this number is missing the past couple of years

Ernest

March 28th, 2013
3:34 pm

CGood points, 57CAT! I mentioned how building new schools diluted the talent base, I sure that happened when Lowndes County was built.

Something to consider with the football power on the East Coast, Camden County. Their ADA is over 2200 students and I believe they are the only public high school in that area. They fattened their records over the years by beating the schools in Savannah, many which had ADAs around 1100. I was glad to see the Savannah schools finally play in a region based on their ADA. I’m also glad to see Camden County play the other large schools in south Georgia. The team that comes out of that region will be better prepared for the large schools in Gwinnett, North Fulton and Cobb.

Swamp Lizard

March 29th, 2013
7:57 am

… pretty impressive stuff …. the state of Georgia has a lot to be proud of when it comes to sports ( teams ). Thanks Jeff for giving us the Top 10 !!

Mike

April 1st, 2013
1:03 am

I had the pleasure to witness the Lowndes Vikettes from 1976-1980!!! Four time national champions, that averaged eighty points per game while giving up 35. During that time they implemented a ten player rotation, with a 6′4″ center Pam Johnson, and a 6′2″ coming off the bench!!! It was full court pressure for 32 minutes!!! Their coach, Charles Cooper, was among the best in Georgia history, who went on to coach Valdosta State. If anything, girls basketball, with the likes of Baldwin, Beach, Savannah High, Jordan, Northeast Macon, Southwest Macon, Butler, South Gwinnett, Hephzibah, Coffee, LaGrange, Morrow, Stephens Co., and Rockdale, was FAR deeper than that of today.

Lowndes played much more like the boys, than the girls teams of today.