Class A Blog: Things to look for Friday night

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here are a few things to look out for on Friday…

How good is Eagle’s Landing Christian? The consensus No. 1 Chargers sent five players to Division I programs from last season’s state championship team. Last week they gave Washington County, No. 6 in Class AAA, all it wanted through two quarters before the game was postponed due to lightning. Perennial Alabama private school power Briarwood Christian comes calling Friday. ELCA, led this year by QB Dalton Etheridge, LB Josh Shockley and DL Andrew Williams, won last year’s contest 32-7 in Birmingham.

The Highway 378 War. No. 4 Lincoln County travels to Washington for a date with rival Washington-Wilkes and the 76th installment of the Highway 378 War. Lincoln County, led by RB Mike McIntire, QB/S LaKeith Lockhart and WR/DB Jamar Norman, has won eight of the last 10 meetings, but lost last year’s game, 21-6.

Is George Walton Academy a title contender? The Bulldogs, ranked No. 5, kick off the season in Macon against First Presbyterian Day School, a team that advanced to the state private school quarterfinals last season. GWA, fell to eventual private-school champion ELCA in the state semifinals, is led by all-state RB Stanley Williams, who has committed to Kentucky. GWA defeated FPD last season 41-38.

How will Dooly do without Montravious Adams? Ultra-athletic defensive tackle Montravious Adams, one of the most sought-after recruits of the class of 2012 and the Class A Defensive Player of the Year, is now at Auburn. But No. 3 Dooly County still has RB Chanin Hamilton, WR Courtney Clark and DB Tay Daniels in Vienna. The Bobcats host Class AA Macon County on Friday. Dooly won last year’s game, 21-20. Macon County went on to finish 4-7.

Grudge match in Millen. Johnson County was headed for the playoffs last season before a 22-18 loss in the season finale to Jenkins County made the Trojans fall just four-hundreths of a point short of the No. 16 spot in the public school power rankings. Johnson County had defeated Jenkins County, 14-0, in the season opener. The teams meet again on Friday at Jenkins County.

Should Seminole County be the public school No. 1? Lincoln County head coach Larry Campbell thinks so, based on the fact that the Indians return almost all of their starters from last season’s squad that finished 9-3 and lost 34-28 to eventual state runner-up Dooly County in the state quarterfinals. Seminole County will face a stern test Friday when it hosts No. 9 Early County in the season opener in Donaldsonville. Early County won last year’s contest 55-20.

33 comments Add your comment

bucket

August 29th, 2013
1:28 pm

I used to work with a lot of Lincoln County and Wilkes County fans. That has to be one of the fiercest high school rivalries ever!

GWparent

August 29th, 2013
3:20 pm

STC, there are a lot more players on the GWA team than Stanley Williams. While he is a truly talented RB, with the best 100M time in the state last year, he doesn’t play defense or play on any of the special teams (may return a few kickoffs, but not punts). That being said, Stanley will put up unbelievable numbers this year. I will predict he will walk away with the most number of yards for the year, IF they don’t pull him after half every game. Even then, he will be there.

On the flip side, keep an eye on Stewart who as verbally committed to Middle TN . In the preseason game, he was very impressive on both sides of the ball. GWA has 4 RB’s who would start on pretty much any team in the state. They have more speed in the D backfield than you will see on most 4-6A schools (from 4.3-4.6 40’s). The preseason game against Walnut Grove (4A) was a joke. The starters outscored the opposition 21-0 before you could blink.

Then you can look at a Senior QB who makes excellent decisions and also plays Safety. And not to forget a RB/ Strong Safety/ Punter who dominated several games last year as a junior, including wins over Holy Innocents and Aquinas. Oh, did I mention the #1 ranked Junior kicker in the country? Talk about a weapon in games where it might matter. Putting the ball in the end zone every time, and the ability to kick 50 yard FG’s is something most opponents won’t have. Keep an eye on #6, as well. Strong TE/LB.

I’d love to see everyone continue to discount these guys as “underdogs”. Most teams play far better in that position. Keep singing the well-deserved praises of ELCA. Just make sure to throw an occasional bone the way of the GWA kids.

Bill Ryans

August 29th, 2013
7:37 pm

I would watch out for Pace Academy, saw their game against Wesleyan (They won 37- 0) and they had a very physical defense with an EXPLOSIVE offense. Them vs. Whitefield could turn into a blow out in a heart beat. Very surprising that they are projected to lose, someone did not do their homework. They play at Whitefield at 7:30…

Come check them out, I will be there. They are definitely a playoff caliber team flying under the radar.

Swamp Lizard

August 29th, 2013
8:01 pm

@GW Parent …. I mean no ill will our doubt how good you think GW is, but I think FPD will give them a hard time this Friday night. I seen them twice last year and I was really impressed with them no doubt. They gave ELCA all they could handle in the playoffs! When it comes to separating the Top 10 teams in Class A football, I think you’ll see the teams with strong O-lines & D-lines, if I’m not mistaking, GWA has lost a lot of beef on the lines. I’m just going out on a limb and saying FPD pulls off the win this Friday night. Don’t worry, I’ll be here Saturday morning with my BBQ sauce in hand to eat all the crow you can throw at me. I do wish GWA the best Friday night … I almost hope I’m wrong.

Swamp Lizard

August 29th, 2013
8:10 pm

@ STC …. I’m not sold on Seminole Co …. a couple years ago they were averaging 50 points a game against no name teams ( in their Region ) and got HAMMERED by ELCA …. they will go 8-2 or maybe even 9-1 just because of schedule. I don’t buy Coach Campbell’s story of them being a real player. If Seminole Co was in Region 2 they wouldn’t go 6-4. I think they’ll get beat Friday night too.

JPS

August 29th, 2013
9:35 pm

Bill, it probably has something to do with the fact that Pace went 3-7 last year and that most people don’t know they were recruiting throughout the whole off-season.

STC Fan

August 29th, 2013
9:47 pm

Pace Academy, the new face of Class A recruiting (e.g. cheating). Hard to believe.

JT Walker

August 29th, 2013
10:03 pm

@Swamp: I think you have forgotten more about Class A ball than I will ever know. Good luck to the Chargers tomorrow night. Show those Alabama boys how to play some football.

@STC: Will we see you at MPCS tomorrow? We will be there cheering on my nephew. Also, I have a question for the Class A blog-heads: I know of at least one school that won the Georgia state championship in football, men’s basketball and baseball in one school year. Does anyone know of another school to do that in Georgia?

My predictions for the weekend:

1. ELCA rolls (surprise!)

2. MPCS keeps it close in the first half but OLM pulls away in the second

3. Pace shows it knows how to use Arthur’s money well and thumps Whitefield (thanks for throwing out the “r” word, JPS. I hate being the first.)

4. Walker remains undefeated

5. NCCS wins a squeaker (actually I know nothing about Duvall but always give the Cobb Co schools the edge when I can.)

6. Take the over on the Georgia–Clemson game. Georgia wins the first half of its South Carolina state championship. (Go Dawgs)

7. Toledo 21 Florida 20

S. Thomas Coleman

August 29th, 2013
10:23 pm

Bucket:

Most definitely! WW head coach made some pretty bold statements last year about “turning the rivalry back into their favor” after they beat Lincoln County in Lincolnton. Should be a great game.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 29th, 2013
10:30 pm

GWparent:

I’m well aware of GWA’s other standouts, like Nick Waters, Patrick Stewart and Demetrios Mason. I just didn’t have time or space (today’s blog will also appear in Friday’s paper) to get into a full preview. The Bulldogs should be considered one of the favorites to win it all on the private side, along with ELCA.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 29th, 2013
10:33 pm

Bill Ryans:

Wow! Thanks for the info on the Pace-Wesleyan scrim. Didn’t know Pace pounded them like that! That is impressive! I know Wesleyan has lost a lot of athletes over the past few years, but didn’t know they were that depleted.

I’ll definitely keep any eye on them. Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 29th, 2013
10:47 pm

Swamp:

I agree on your GWA-FPD take. I think that will be one of the best games of the weekend. We’ll see.

As for Seminole, I know you guys roughed them up a couple of years ago in the playoffs, when they thought they had a pretty good team. In fact, that blowout factored into the decision by the public schools to split, and it wasn’t all necessarily precipitated by Seminole’s coach Alan Ingram. Other schools/coaches looked at that score and made their minds up that the privates had gotten too far ahead.

But enough with the history lesson. It will be fun watching everything play out this season. As always, Swamp, thanks for reading and posting, and for being one of the original Class A Blog fans!

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 29th, 2013
10:51 pm

JPS:

That’s a serious accusation. I remember about 10-12 years ago the Pace headmaster said he didn’t care if the school ever got football because he didn’t see a need for it. Now you’re saying its so important that they are “recruiting”? Let’s not go there unless there is proof.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 29th, 2013
10:55 pm

STC Fan:

The same goes for you. Let’s not accuse Pace of the dreaded “R” word unless there is proof.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 29th, 2013
11:08 pm

JTWalker:

Thanks for your takes, and yes, I will be at Mt. Paran Friday.

In fact, this gives me the opportunity to give a point of full disclosure to all the Class A heads:

In case you didn’t know, my son (Christian Coleman) attends Our Lady of Mercy and plays football and runs track (he plays slot, cornerback and returns punts and kickoffs, and he won the Class A long jump and the 200 meters and was second in the 100 at the state track meet in Jefferson, where he won the High Point Performer Award).

As such, I will not be able to write much about Mercy this season. When coverage for Mercy is warranted, that will most likely be handled by my compadre, Todd Holcomb. As I have done the past two years, I will maintain the highest level of objectivity when writing the Class A blog.

Thanks for reading and posting!

STC

Player

August 30th, 2013
7:20 am

Players of Pace Academy trying to get their friends to come to Pace to play with them is not recruiting. Especially when they were some of their best friends.

S. Thomas Coleman

August 30th, 2013
7:28 am

Player:

Actually, that is the definition of recruiting. But since it’s the kids doing the recruiting of their fellow student athletes, I don’t think it’s illegal. Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

Dog On Top

August 30th, 2013
8:12 am

Stanley Williams is a difference maker for GWA. I’m sure they have other nice players and that’s good, they should make a run at the title. Prince Ave and new coach Jeff Herron have recruited them two new running backs that will be a load for that region to stop as well. Funny what a player or two can do for a team at that level.

Walker Fan

August 30th, 2013
8:16 am

Why did Stanley Williams switch his verbal from UGA to Kentucky…or am I wrong in that understanding?

Player

August 30th, 2013
8:31 am

Exactly, athlete to athlete is fine.

GAHSFBFAN24

August 30th, 2013
8:52 am

@Walker Fan, I think Williams deciding to change his commitment from UGA to Kentucky for 4 reasons: Gurley, Marshall, Chubb, and Michel. Williams has amazing speed. I saw him play last year against ELCA. What I could not understand was why he was not on the field more. He seemed to always be out on 3rd down. GWA has many excellent skill players. But I have to agree with Swamp Lizard. You must have the guys in the trenches to spring those skills guys. GWA had those guys last year. They seems to lack any depth behind the starters on the line and many of the lineman were playing both ways and were worn out in the 3rd quarter. What do they have on the lines this year?

jocochief

August 30th, 2013
8:52 am

Johnson County defeated Jenkins County 40-0 at Paulson Stadium this past Saturday.

Swamp Lizard

August 30th, 2013
9:34 am

@ JT Walker & STC …. Guys, I really hate to say anything negative about any programs or coaches …. EXAMPLE …. my take on Seminole Co and Coach Campbell. But I am human and when I disagree with something, it’s just my take. I try to look at things and back them up with “facts” as much as possible. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but Coach Campbell will have you believing the “Sisters of the Blind” will give Lincoln Co a fight.

@ GW Parent … I was talking about seeing GW play twice last season, my wording looks a little like I was talking about FPD. I would love to see that game tonight, but my son will be under the lights tonight. I do wish both teams the best tonight, I’m sure it will be another barnburner like last years game.

@ STC …. I understand how hard it is for you to write about OLM and giving your son the due credit he deserves. I think you are very well respected on here ( & at the AJC ) to give the love where it’s deserved. Pulling for OLM & #3 !!

S. Thomas Coleman

August 30th, 2013
10:04 am

Walker Fan and GAHSFBFAN24:

UGA offered Stanley after his freshman season at Apalachee. But then they became more impressed with Chubb and Michel, and I don’t think they continued the same level of “recruitment love” with Stanley. He obviously saw that he was probably going to be below them on the totem pole in terms of RB recruits for 2014, so he decommitted and went where he was more coveted at Kentucky. Nothing wrong with that. It’s the ugly side of recruiting that some bubble headed fans who accuse kids of “running away from competition” don’t see or don’t understand.

And Coach Williams at GWA told me this spring that it was probably a mistake not to get Stanley the ball more in the ELCA game. He promised that won’t happen this season. Look for Stanley to touch the ball at least 25-30 times per game.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 30th, 2013
10:05 am

Jocochief:

Thanks for the update, correction. Do you have any team or individual tats on the game? It looks like Coach Campbell may be on to something, picking you guys to be one of the darkhorses on the public side this season.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

August 30th, 2013
10:10 am

Player:

Can you share with us some of the new players Pace has this season? I know about QB Kevin Johnson, DE/WR Cam Uter and RB/DB Denzel Franklin, but who are some of the transfers who you think will make a difference?

STC

bucket

August 30th, 2013
10:11 am

It’s always sad for me to read the posts of fans from schools that feel they have been falsely accused of cheating in the past to start throwing out wild accusations against other schools. Private schools cannot compel the students in their districts to attend their schools, so kids show up for a lot of different reasons. Just because a student transfers doesn’t mean that the kid or his parents or his new school did anything wrong. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)

S. Thomas Coleman

August 30th, 2013
10:12 am

Swamp:

Thanks, but in the name of objectivity it’s best for Todd to do any extensive writing about Mercy, if the team deserves it. And Christian will be wearing No. 2 this season. It’s the number he’s worn all his life, but it belonged to Rashard Fant (Indiana) the past three seasons.

STC

jocochief

August 30th, 2013
10:34 am

The game was originally scheduled for this Friday but it was moved up a week so we could play at Paulson. Here are some stats:

JOCO 12 14 14 0 – 40
Jenkins 0 0 0 0 -0

First Downs JOCO 15 Jenkins 4
Rush-Yards JOCO 30-249 Jenkins 28-41
Passing JOCO 13-19-1 Jenkins 3-10-0
Pass Yds JOCO 116 Jenkins 31
Total Off JOCO 365 Jenkins 72

Individual Stats
JOCO Rushing – Michael Taylor 14-92 1 TD, Ronquez Harden 4-79.
JOCO Passing – Michael 12-17-1-111 2 TD
JOCO Receiving – Markel Horne 4-48 1 TD, Colby Price 2-33, Ronquez Harden 4-26 1 TD

Bill Ryans

August 30th, 2013
3:03 pm

Swamp Lizard

August 30th, 2013
10:40 pm

How good is ELCA? ….. they are still pretty good! 27-7 win over a good AAAAA Briarwood Christian team from Alabama. The “D” looked really strong tonight and the offense was lead by QB Dalton Etheridge, running and throwing it well.

@GW Parent …. I want to be the first to say congrats! I was totally WRONG on my prediction thinking FPD would pull out a win tonight. I’ve got that BBQ ready for all the crow I have to eat.

Independent

August 31st, 2013
9:19 am

STC, Pace Academy has an incredible amount of new kids. As I said last week, I think it’s fair to throw around the “r” word. RB Malik Staples, WR Spencer Hemmingway, DE Anthony Trinth, and LB DeAndre Byrd, just to name a few.

GWparent

August 31st, 2013
11:08 am

@Swamp Lizard, thanks for stepping up and eating the crow. FPD is no slouch, and I didn’t mean to infer such. However, there’s far too much talent on the GWA side to ignore. And this was on an evening where FPD was dedicating the field to a young man battling for his life. It was truly a wonderful event and an outpouring of love, prayers and hope to this young man, with Bill Curry speaking, etc. I almost wanted to cheer for FPD by the time the dedication was over. I certainly left cheering for the young man and his struggle for life.

By the way, I’ve been around football for a looooong time, and I do know talent when I see it. That #73 for FPD (on is way to UNC) is a beast. But their touted line and RB were no match for GWA’s speed and strength.