Archive for August, 2013

AA blog: What we learned from Friday night

Here’s what we learned from Friday night about Class AA:

  • It’s not really something that was learned, but rather something that was reinforced – the Calhoun Yellow Jackets are once again a state title contender, confirmed by their convincing 37-0 season-opening victory over the Ridgeland Panthers, who are ranked No. 9 in Class AAAA. Winning is nothing new for the No. 1-ranked Jackets – they’re seeking a 13th straight region championship. In Friday’s matchup of two 2012 state finalists, the Jackets pulled away in the second quarter with three touchdowns that helped build a 27-0 halftime lead.
  • Calhoun has some company in AA from other emerging and re-emerging contenders. The Jefferson Dragons made their case for a No. 1 ranking with a 40-0 home win over its rival Commerce. The defending state champion Dragons, ranked No. 3, dashed to a 20-0 halftime lead and added another 20 points in the third quarter. The No. 2-ranked Lamar County Trojans handled visiting …

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Nick Chubb: Another monster night

Is Nick Chubb slipping? After rushing for 363 yards in three quarters against Rockmart last season, the Cedartown senior back managed “only” 331 yards and five touchdowns in Friday’s 40-14 win over Rockmart. He averaged 13.2 yards per carry.

Chubb had five 330-plus-yard rushing performances last season and finished with 2,721 yards, the seventh best single-season mark in Georgia high school history.

Chubb has committed to Georgia.

Congrats: The Howard Huskies ended their 24-game losing streak with a 20-14 victory over East Laurens in new coach Barney Hester’s debut. With the win, Hester moved into a tie with Luther Welsh for fifth on Georgia high school’s all-time coaching win list.

Curfew violation: Defending state champ and top-ranked Sandy Creek had its 39-game regular-season win streak snapped – with a tie. The Patriots’ game against Florida power Plant High School on Thursday was stopped with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter and the scored tied, 27-27, due to school-night …

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Class A Blog: ELCA reps Georgia; GWA debuts strong; Rough start for Dooly; JoCo a contender?

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here’s a sampling of what went down Friday night:

ELCA defends Georgia championship pride. After defending Class AAAAAA champ Norcross got embarrassed last weekend by Booker T. Washington of Miami and Sandy Creek, last season’s undefeated Class AAAA champs, escaped with a tie Thursday against Plant of Tampa, somebody had to step up and represent Georgia’s finest. Defending Class A private school champion Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy answered the call with a 27-7 win over traditional Alabama private school power Briarwood Christian of Birmingham. The Chargers, ranked No. 1, were led by senior quarterback Dalton Etheridge who ran for three touchdowns and threw for another.

Strong debut for George Walton. One team looking to challenge ELCA for Class A supremacy is George Walton Academy, which fell to the Chargers in the private school semi-finals last season. GWA made an early statement Friday with a 36-10 thumping of First Presbyterian …

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Big winners Friday: North, McEachern, Marietta, Robby Pruitt

Gainesville’s state championship in 2012 removed an unwelcome title for the Red Elephants. They had won more GHSA region titles (27) without a state title than any other program.

Now that distinction now belongs to McEachern, with 15. With a 2-0 start and a top-five state rankings, the Indians are bent on fixing that. They beat No. 8 Lassiter 42-28 on Friday as Taj Griffin rushed for 154 yards and quarterback Ty Clemons rushed for 128. That’s the second straight game each has rushed for more than 100 yards.

McEachern, which started 0-2 last season, is the only Class AAAAAA team that has won its last 10 regular-season games.

Five more things we learned in AAAAAA on Friday:

- No. 1 is a treacherous place – Especially against out-of-state opponents. The preseason No. 1, Norcross, lost to Florida’s Booker T. Washington. On Friday, the next No. 1, Colquitt County, lost to Alabama’s Hoover 24-10. The Packers led 10-3 at halftime but couldn’t hold off Alabama’s reigning class 6A …

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Rough start for Tanks; another big night for Watson

Here’s a recap of the big stories in Class AAAAA from Week 2:

*Rough debut for Tanks: Southwest DeKalb, playing its first game since Buck Godfrey resigned after 30 seasons as the Panthers’ head coach, were upset by Pebblebrook in coach Michael Tanks’ debut. Pebblebrook was 0-10 last season and lost to Southwest DeKalb 23-0. Godfrey is DeKalb County Schools’ winningest coach with a 273-89-1 record. Tanks, who played for Godfrey’s first two Southwest DeKalb teams, has been out of coaching for the past five years to spend time with his school-age children.

*Watson Watch: Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson, who last season became the state’s career leader in passing yardage and touchdowns, got off to a hot start, leading the defending state champions to a 58-28 victory against Class AAAAAA West Forsyth. Watson passed for 362 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score, according to the Gainesville Times. He needs about 278 more yards to become the first 10,000-yard …

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No. 100 for White County’s Ballard

White County coach Bill Ballard joined the 100-win club when his team defeated Habersham Central 35-14 on Friday.

The Warriors (1-0) got two touchdowns apiece from Sam Turner and Maurice Sutton. Adam Johnson snagged two interceptions to spark the defense.

Ballard is 11-11 in his third season at White County. He was at Tucker from 2002-06 and Peachtree Ridge from 2007-2010.

Here’s what else we learned on Friday night:

Kegler debuts with win: Joe Kegler won his head coaching debut for No. 4 Carver, which ripped rival Spencer 40-3 in the 51st annual Heritage Bowl. Carver has now beaten Spencer 15 straight times. Noah Hickey was named the MVP of the game. He ran 14 times for 93 yards and scored two touchdowns. Jawon Pass, who was making his debut at quarterback, completed 11 of 19 for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

Buford dominant again: Defending champion Buford was overwhelming in its season opener, beating Elbert County 46-7 on Friday. Six different players scored touchdowns …

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McEachern 42, Lassiter 28

Quarterback Ty Clemons ran for two touchdowns and passed for another to lead McEachern to a 42-28 victory over Lassiter in the second game of the Battle of the Big Chicken doubleheader Friday at McEachern.

McEachern (2-0) scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter to take control of a game that was tied 21-21 at halftime. Clemons scored on an 18-yard run with 8:46 to play in the quarter, and Ryan Sherman had a 12-yard touchdown run a little less than two minutes later.

McEachern led 21-7 early in the second quarter, but Lassiter (0-1) scored two touchdowns in the final 6:08 of the half. Will Anderson threw a touchdown pass to Lane Jackman on the first play after an interception by Clay Roelle set the Trojans up at the McEachern, and John Corley tied it with a 3-yard run with seven seconds to play in the half.

Clemons scored on a 42-yard run and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Artise Clark in the first half.

Lassiter – 7-14-0-7 – 28

McEachern – 14-7-14-7 – 42

M …

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Carver-Atlanta 20, Mays 19

When Corey Jarvis took the helm as Mays head coach, his first goal was to return the Raiders to its place among Atlanta’s winningest programs.

The program had not slipped much, but a 5-5 regular season and no playoffs in 2012 was enough for a change at the top. Carver-Atlanta provided a proper measuring stick before the Raiders begin play in Region 6-AAAAA, regarded by some as the state’s best league.

The Raiders showed some work is needed to compete against DeKalb powers Tucker, Stephenson and M.L. King. Mays struggled offensively and Carver took advantage of special teams mistakes to win 20-19 at Lakewood Stadium Friday night.

“We can’t play the way we played tonight and expect to win football games,” Jarvis said. “This is not the brand of football we teach.”

Carver capitalized on an early Mays miscue when junior tailback Charlie Patrick scored on a 6-yard run with 5:14 left in the first quarter. Three plays before, Mays lost a fumble at its own 23 and Patrick scored on …

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Class A football roundup

By Score Atlanta

Fellowship Christian 41, Lakeview Academy 14: On the first play from scrimmage, tailback Travis Kinney recovered a fumble in the end zone that gave host Fellowship Christian a 7-0 lead. Kinney also contributed on offense by scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Fellowship wide receiver Alex Edmonds caught a 78-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hunter Bryant that gave the Paladins a 21-0 halftime lead.

Holy Innocents’ 17, Wesleyan 14: Visiting Holy Innocents’ overcame a 14-10 halftime deficit to defeat Wesleyan. Running back Conner Dolan of Holy Innocents’ scored two rushing touchdowns on eight carries while rushing for 39 yards. Kicker Walker Thomas nailed a 40-yarder in the second quarter for the visiting team.

King’s Ridge 34, Pinecrest Academy 10: Austin Hennings and Connor Henderson each scored two touchdowns for visiting King’s Ridge. Hennings caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Henry Jones and returned a fumble for a score. Henderson also scored …

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Class AAAAA football roundup

By Score Atlanta

Allatoona 50, Woodland-Bartow: Allatoona quarterback Conner Larson connected with D.J. Ezell on two touchdown passes and Conner ended the game with 65 total yards. Allatoona running backs Josh Bettistea and Ryan Halimon combined for 229 yards and four touchdowns. Bettistea led the team with 144 yards rushing.

Gainesville 58, West Forsyth 28: Record-setting quarterback Deshaun Watson had another big night for visiting Gainesville. Watson threw for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Watson also added 70 yards and a score on the ground. Wide receiver Jay Gaudlock caught 10 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown.

Heritage-Conyers 14, Northgate 7: Visiting Heritage-Conyers beat Northgate in a closely contested game Friday night. Heritage scored off a 20-yard C.J. Stone rushing touchdown, and the game remained tied up until the final seconds of the game. Heritage’s Ryan Sutton had a quarterback sneak in the last 15 seconds for the game-winning score.

McIntosh 55, North …

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Milton 31, Alpharetta 24 (OT)

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Treyvon Paulk scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, to lift Milton past Alpharetta, 31-24, Friday at the Eagles’ field.

Paulk scored on a 7-yard touchdown run on the first possession of overtime, and Michael Collins recovered a fumble on Alpharetta’s first play of its overtime possession to seal the win for Milton.

The first half was full of big plays. Paulk has 208 of his 233 yards in the first half. The senior, who is committed to Tennessee, scored on Milton’s first play from scrimmage, an 85-yard sprint down the sideline.

Alpharetta answered with long touchdown passes from Austin King. King, a junior making his first varsity start, threw a 72-yard touchdown to Daniel Clements and an 80-yard touchdown to Andre Harton with a minute left before halftime.

But that was enough time for Paulk to break off another long run, this time racing for 45 yards to put the Eagles up 24-13 at the half.

It’s the second win in a row in …

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Peachtree Ridge 28 Parkview 14

By Robert Haddocks

Peachtree Ridge returned two fourth-quarter interceptions for touchdowns to beat Parkview 28-14 in the Lions’ home opener.

The game was tied 14-14 entering the final quarter, but within a three-minute span, Travis Bowers and Nick Glass took overthrown passes and raced into the end zone. From there, the Lions simply handed the ball to Jordan Ellis, who ran out the clock. Ellis finished with a game-high 123 yards rushing.

Peachtree Ridge, which beat Walton last week, improves to 2-0. The Lions were 4-6 last season.  Parkview, which advanced to the state quarterfinals last year, is 0-1.

The Lions forced three turnovers on the night and that was the difference. Their second touchdown of the game came after they recovered a fumble by Parkview’s Laronn Veal. One play later, Ellis burst up the middle 35 yards for the touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

Entering the contest with one game already under its belt, Peachtree Ridge was a bit sharper than Parkview. Justin Rosser …

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North Gwinnett 35, Grayson 0

LOGANVILLE – Two things were confirmed Friday at Britt-Moody Field with the North Gwinnett Falcons’ 35-0 victory over the Grayson Rams. First, North Gwinnett – ranked No. 3 in AAAAAA – is a legit contender for a state title. Second, Grayson has fallen from the ranks of elite status, a luxury it has enjoyed the past six seasons.

The Bulldogs (2-0) jumped out to an early 16-0 lead thanks to three scores in a 1-minute span in the first quarter, highlighted by an Avery Elford safety, a 28-yard touchdown pass by Hayden Sphire to Nate Brown and a 52-yard interception return by Jaye Stackhouse.

The Bulldogs led 19-0 at halftime and 35-0 after three quarters, which led to a running clock in the fourth quarter.

Sphire, a first-year starting senior, completed 12 of his 26 passes for 115 yards and his main target, Brown, caught 6 passes for 72 yards. The Bulldogs relied almost solely on the passing game, gaining just 8 yards on three carries though the first three quarters. Starters were …

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St. Pius X 27, Westminster 13

For three quarters Friday night, St. Pius X dominated Westminster before things got dicey and the Golden Lions held on for a 27-13 win in which special teams were critical.

St. Pius (1-0) eased to a 24-0 halftime lead, and went up 27-0 in the third quarter on Thomas O’Leary’s second field goal. Then, Westminster sophomore utility man Rankin Woley scored two touchdowns in the final period to pull the visitors close.

Good thing the Golden Lions have O’Leary, a special teams plan and senior wingback/cornerback Jack Pelt.

St. Pius scored first when junior linebacker/fullback Forrest Whitlark blocked Westminster’s first punt, and then scooped it up to score on a 32-yard play. Add field goals of 22 and 47 yards by O’Leary, factor in a missed PAT after the Wildcats’ final score, and you have the margin – 14 points.

“Every [O'Leary] kickoff but one was in the end zone, we punted the ball well, we didn’t let them get any returns,” said St. Pius X coach Paul Standard, whose team fell in …

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Cedar Grove 20, Columbia 12

It’s fitting it basically ended on a penalty.

In a game mired by 280 penalty yards, Antonio Holloway’s 15-yard touchdown catch at the final horn was called back for illegal touching, leaving Cedar Grove with a 20-12 win over Columbia.

The Eagles’ offense hadn’t moved the ball much all night until the final possession, starting at their own 39-yard line with 2:04 left and marching methodically toward what could have been a tying touchdown.

Ten plays later, Columbia quarterback Andre Brown spiked the ball to stop the clock with 2.4 seconds left at the Cedar Grove 15, setting up what figured to be the final play.

He threw a short outlet pass to Holloway on the right sideline, and Holloway sidestepped two defenders, then leaped into the end zone, seemingly setting up a two-point conversion play that could send the game to overtime.

But the side judge immediately threw a flag and called Holloway for illegal touching, as his right foot landed just out of bounds a step prior to …

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