Jeff Haws’ Top 10 List

We don’t know about you, but we really don’t know what to do with ourselves in the summer.

Stuck between spring sports and the kickoff of football, it’s just sort of a weird time for us. We mostly just read old List columns from last football season and dream of late August.

It’s also time for us to pack up our collections of pictures, media guides and Herschel Walker bobbleheads here at The List HQ and leave you, our beloved readers.

But before we do that, we wanted to engage once more with a look back at the school year that was and some reminiscing about our 10 favorite things that happened.

10. Basketball semifinals at Tech

This may sound like gushing, but what a cool atmosphere for high school hoops. That new McCamish Pavilion is quite a bit more open and brighter than the old place, and it’s still intimate enough where you don’t feel like you’re in an airplane hangar watching basketball. Georgia Tech got this one right.

9. Buford football back on top

There’s something soothing about a dynasty, and we just don’t get that many of them in football. Three in a row has been done to death, but only West Rome had posted four before the Wolves. And now they have five out of six, joining Lincoln County and Thomas County Central as the only teams to do that. How about six out of seven? Who’s gonna stop them?

8. Kell’s Kendell Williams setting state mark

The state track meets don’t bring us individual state records all the time, but Williams isn’t just any track athlete. A talented heptathlete, the Georgia signee dominated the field to post a state-record 13.23 in the 100-meter hurdles, the first record set in the event at the state meet since 2006. It would take us 13.23 minutes to complete that event, if we didn’t get stuck in a hurdle.

7. Miller Grove boys hoops keeps rolling

It’s amazing what coach Sharman White has built down there at Miller Grove. The Wolverines had never won a state title before 2009, and now they’ve won five straight. Yes, five straight. Who does that? Well, nobody in this state. Not until Miller Grove, that is. One more ties them for the seventh-most by anyone, anywhere, any time.

6. Jefferson gets its first football title

Weren’t too many who picked this one. Calhoun, playing in its fifth straight state title game, was supposed to be the new Buford … after, ya know, beating Buford. But the Dragons ignored all that and not only beat Calhoun but did it by more than two touchdowns, handing the Yellow Jackets their only loss of the season and first in 29 games.

5. Kevin Ware injury aftermath

OK, hear us out … Yes, we were as horrified as anyone by the injury to the Rockdale County High grad during the NCAA Tournament. But how great was it to see him get the recognition he deserved afterward, for his leadership and abilities since he’s gotten to Louisville? We’ve always thought a lot of Ware around here, and now he’s got a national championship ring to look at while he works to hopefully come back.

4. Juniors chasing football records

We definitely learned last year that Cedartown’s Nick Chubb and Gainesville’s Deshaun Watson are pretty darn fun to watch play. And then we quickly realized that, despite all these records they were throwing up, they were both only juniors, so we got another year to see them play. And maybe they’ll just own all the records for their positions by the time they’re done. That’d be OK by us.

3. Lovett volleyball pulls upsets in AA

The Lions weren’t a bad program or anything, but with no state titles to their credit, a No. 4 seeding and programs like Wesleyan and Westminster (12 combined titles) staring them down, nobody really expected them to make a run. But make a run they did, first through Wesleyan on the Wolves’ home court, then past rival Westminster to take home the unexpected crown. Ain’t surprises great?

2. Redan wins baseball title

We love when anybody wins a championship, but we’re huge suckers for when those wins have historical significance too. As the number of African-Americans playing baseball has dwindled at the pro level, we’ve seen the same thing happening locally. That’s why Redan becoming the first all-black metro-Atlanta team to win a GHSA title matters. Very cool, Raiders.

1. Gainesville winning in AAAAA football

OK, who was surprised to learn that Gainesville hadn’t won a single GHSA state title before 2012 (their only other one was in 1925)? This is a program with a nearly .700 all-time winning percentage and 28 region titles in seventy bazillion years of playing football. Seeing Gainesville shed the label of “Arguably the best program not to have a state championship” was pretty nice, we have to admit. Who’s at the top of that list now?

Now we want to know what you think. What were your favorite things about 2012-13? What all did we forget about, in all our excitement? Will you miss The List and its occasionally mildly amusing irreverence? Let us know here in the comments or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports, and have a great summer.

7 comments Add your comment

Ernest

May 29th, 2013
8:43 am

I’m glad that the AJC recognized Redan for winning the baseball championship. I recall when Beach won the basketball championship, the first year after sports were integrated. When you consider that the Redan players don’t have access to some of the same resources as other schools, it makes their win much more amazing.

It will be interesting to see when an all Hispanic team wins a state soccer championship (if it has not already been done).

Jeff Haws

May 29th, 2013
9:26 am

Agreed, Ernest. Personally, I’m just a little bit partial to DeKalb, as I’ve spent almost all of the past roughly 7 years covering sports there. It’s the county I’m most familiar with, and it’s the one I most enjoy seeing win (particularly outside of basketball, where they probably actually are the state’s best county). It’s not really that I root for DeKalb. More that I know a lot of the coaches/players, they’re largely good people, and it’s nice to see good people accomplish what they set out to accomplish.

So yes, Redan getting it done in baseball was a big deal not only for showing African-American kids that they can compete on the baseball stage, but for DeKalb County, as they’re the first public DeKalb school other than Dunwoody to win the state title since Tucker in 1966 and 67. Avondale also won it in 1964, back when they were winning at a lot of things. Demographics in the county have changed quite a bit in almost 50 years.

stephenscountyindianreport

May 29th, 2013
1:46 pm

Who’s at the top of “Arguably the best program not to have a state championship” list now?
Monroe Area
2013 is the team to beat Sandy Creek, and prove they are the best AAAA program in GA.

Alex

May 30th, 2013
9:42 am

Jeff, I really enjoy your Top 10 lists each week and Redan capturing the AAAA baseball state title is certainly list-worthy.

However, I’m curious as to why you omitted Westminster’s unprecedented run of success in the spring sports from this list. Nine of the school’s varsity teams won state championships this spring (boys tennis, girls tennis, boys track & field, girls track & field, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, boys soccer, girls soccer and boys golf) and the baseball team was state runner-up. Considering the fact that no other high school in the state has ever won more than five state titles in one spring sports season, I thought the Wildcats’ spring success would have been included on the list.

That being said, I realize it’s a subjective list, which features your “favorite things” that happened over the course of the 2012-13 high school athletic year and not necessarily the most impressive high school athletic accomplishments of the year.

Anyway, I look forward to future Top 10 lists as we head into the 2013-14 school year. Keep up the good work.

Ernest

May 30th, 2013
12:11 pm

Alex, that is an AMAZING accomplishment by the student athletes at Westminster. Who knows, maybe since you shared this insight, a separate article could be written about it.

Bulldog

May 30th, 2013
4:11 pm

Along the lines of Redan’s feat, Decatur boy’s lacrosse made a run to the state Final Four with 7 (out of 10) black starters. I challenge you to find anything close to that in any state for that sport.

Johnny412

May 31st, 2013
6:35 am

So with so few whites now playing basketball, is the AJC going to do an article whenever (if ever) a majority white team makes a long run in the basketball state tourney? I see something about blacks and Hispanics. If we’re going to make this about race, let’s do something about all races.