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 Day School of Macon, which advanced to the state quarterfinals last season. The Bulldogs were paced by Kentucky commit Stanley Williams, who rushed for 232 yards and touchdowns of 63 and 26 yards.

Landmark still rolling. The mark of a good program is when it continues to succeed in spite of change. Last season, coming off of a run to the 2011 state title game, Landmark went 9-4 and advanced to the semi-finals even though longtime head coach Kenny Dallas left. This season, without all-state running back Jeremiah Kirkland (transferred to Lovejoy) the War Eagles are still 2-0, after downing Athens Christian 26-7 behind the running of senior Darius Smith (122 yards rushing, two touchdowns) and passing of sophomore quarterback Stockton McGuire (5-of-7 passing, 71 yards, touchdown run).

Rough start for Dooly County. The 2012 Class A public school runners-up, ranked No. 3, were knocked off by Class AA Macon County 34-18. Dooly won last year’s game 21-20.

Johnson County makes statement. The folks in Wrightsville believe they have a title contending team at Johnson County.  The Trojans bolstered that belief with a 40-0 whitewashing of Jenkins County in a game that took place on Thursday.  JoCo rolled up 365 yards of offense and held Jenkins County to just 72.  The Trogans were paced by quarterback Michael Taylor who racked up 92 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown, and was 12-of-17 passing for 111 yards and two scores. JoCo 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. JoCo had defeated Jenkins County, 14-0, in the season opener last year.

Now it’s your turn.  Express your thoughts on what you saw/heard Friday.  Until Tuesday …

STC

35 comments Add your comment

Independent

August 31st, 2013
9:23 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.

S. Thomas Coleman

August 31st, 2013
10:15 am

Independent:

Thanks for the tip. Do you know what schools these kids came from? What year are they? Still, I don’t like tossing around the “R” word. It’s not fair to the staff and administration at Pace. If their parents decided that Pace was the best place for them to be, it’s pretty hard to argue with that.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

1gadawg

August 31st, 2013
11:09 am

ELCA looked like they hadn’t played a game the week before in the first series. They haven’t. The shortened game last week was no help for live action, tempo and penalties. But the team got it together and started laying as a team. The defense looked dominant. Number 99”45,4 and 7 are very good. The timing on the offense was a little off but Etheridge made up for it with his pure ability and full speed attitude. Watch out for GW,Pace and Landmark. OLM not quiet there yet

CSRA706

August 31st, 2013
4:02 pm

The Aquinas Vs. GWA will be the game to see come friday. Look for Aquinas to really give those boys the BIZNESS!!!!!!!!!!

A Pace Parent

August 31st, 2013
4:12 pm

Independent, you want to throw the R word around at Pace. What you need to know is Hemmingway played for Pace as a freshman, Byrd is a freshman, and Staples were not recruited. Not that it is your business, but these BIG AFRICAN-AMERICAN kids you were refering to came to Pace through the same program that assisit minorities in going to private school. The program assist you, not the coaching staffs at other schools. Do your homework. Check the rosters of ELC and you will have a number of their players that are there through the same program. It is a shame that when you have a new coach at the helm that people want to throw the recruiting word out there. I feel you owe these kids an apology. All of these kids can first and formost hang academically at Pace first. Stop trying to throw red flags where their are none. In the future expect to see more BIG AFRICAN -AMERICAN SCHOLARS attend Pace. Independent, just sit back and watch and these kids along with all of their other teammates will teach you a few things. Why can’t you just give the coaching staff credit for teaching these kids how to play the game instead of trying to bring unneed attention to a new up and coming program!!!!!

GWparent

August 31st, 2013
6:56 pm

@CSRA706 Aquinas talked a ton of trash before last year’s game. I attended and heard parents and students. I was fairly surprised, coming from such a quality Catholic institution. Not sure that trash talking worked out too well last year, and you lost your star RB/LB. Not here to trash talk, but I know it’s encouraged on here. So, have at it. I’m sure you have a quality team and look forward to the “bizness” they plan on delivering. Should be a good game….for awhile.

Cold Hard Facts

August 31st, 2013
7:22 pm

I want to put a shout out to several Landmark players that are under the radar this year. Seniors Will Higbie and Nolan Bryant both are team captains and play both sides of the ball.These young men have great character and leave everything on the field every game. This time next year they will both be playing D-1 football. Higbie lead the team in tackles for the last three years. Bryant does it all as a RB, DB, WR, punter, and return man.
Also two young players on Landmark’s team that are making some noise are soph QB stockton McGuire and freshman Lofton Tidwell both these kids are gonna be heard from the next few years.
A big test for Landmark comes this Friday when they play Wilkenson Co.

Swamp Lizard

September 1st, 2013
2:34 am

Anyone got a score on the Seminole Co / Early Co game?

bigchipola

September 1st, 2013
4:28 am

Seminole 14 Early Co 13

road warrior

September 1st, 2013
8:57 am

Face it everyone recruits. Some just happen to recruit the ones who can play ball instead of academics. Some want to win so bad they sell their soul to the devil and bring in elements that affect what they were set up to do. Then they preach on Sunday. Its black and white recruits. Its so pathetic when they deny it. No harm except when it affects fund raising from the paying parents and they wont contribute and the preacher wonders why.

mrpace

September 1st, 2013
11:00 am

You people need to get over the fact that we are now better than you and we did it in just one year by adding the right players to our school. Of course we had to pay their way through special channels. For example, we have many wealthy alumni willing to scholarship players, and we are now finally taking advantage of that. We just had to get the right people on board with the process. This is just the beginning for us. We are now probably in the top three or four in the state for class A private schools, in just a few short months. It will take one more season of adding players. By next fall we will be unbeatable. Trust me that there are many families with great athletes in metro Atlanta who are more than willing to send their children to PACE for a free outstanding education. Its a win/win.

Cool hand Luke

September 1st, 2013
2:53 pm

@mrpace….You havn’t played anyone yet. Your test is coming. Talkin smack now is showing your ignorance. Throwing money at the team doesn’t build character. I rather go into battle with my home grown brothers than your paid-for paid for studs. I think lacrosse is better suited for you silver spooners.

footballmom

September 1st, 2013
2:54 pm

Enter your comments here

Swamp Lizard

September 1st, 2013
3:23 pm

@ Cool Hand Luke ……. I hear ya !!

PACE yourself …. Pace Academy still has to play Athens Academy, FPD, Landmark, Holy Innocents and ELCA …… they end up 9-1 or 8-2 against that schedule …. we’ll all pitch in and hire us a Private Eye !!

footballmom

September 1st, 2013
3:28 pm

@GWparent…dont be shocked by the trash talk coming from Aquinas parents and students. Nothing of “quality” coming out of this “Catholic” organization. Foul language from the students and parents. I was shocked to see alcohol in such abundance at their home tailgating. Their home crowd was in a drunk stupor way before the game started.

mrpace

September 1st, 2013
3:50 pm

@Cool Hand Luke – I know we will not run the table this year. Next year when we add even more players through our new “program” and “approach”. The point here is that we have now decided to throw our money and weight behind this sport by “adding” the right players to the school. This year is a giant leap forward with the players we have added to the Pace family. Next year we will add more and then lookout. Trust me, we are already quietly talking to other families with quality players about the value of a PACE education, especially when it is free or nearly free.

Swamp Lizard

September 1st, 2013
4:02 pm

@ mrpace ….. you have NO credit on this blog … If I went to Pace or had a son that was playing football there, I would track you down. YOU are a disgrace to the good people at Pace Academy, the coaches and the players that are working hard to get better. I would think Pace Academy would have more “class” than to go out and “buy” football players.

Swamp Lizard

September 1st, 2013
4:24 pm

6 GREAT GAMES …. I know STC will be all over this, this week, but I’m like a kid at Christmas and can’t wait. This week will be better than the first round of the playoffs …

Private vs Private … GW @ Aquinas and Prince Ave @ Sav Christian

Public vs Public …. Lincoln Co @ Washington-Wilkes and Seminole Co @ Turner Co

Interleague ( Private vs Public ) … Wilkinson Co @ Landmark and ELCA @ Clinch Co

What’s your take on these games?

Walker Fan

September 1st, 2013
4:44 pm

GW 27 – Aquinas 14
PAC 14 – Sav Christian 31
Lincoln 18 – Washington Wilkes 16
Seminole Co 21 – Turner Co 7
Wilkinson Co 7 – Landmark 28
ElCA 42 – Clinch 7

S. Thomas Coleman

September 1st, 2013
6:28 pm

MrPace:

Wow! I don’t know what to say to that. Many people come on our blogs and accuse “School A” or “School B” of recruiting, but usually there is no proof.

If what you are saying is true — that Coach Slade, and/or one of his assistants in the course of working at a summer football camp, is talking to kids about coming to Pace — then that is illegal by GHSA rules.

Personally, I don’t think you are a Pace parent at all. I think you are pretending and just trying to stir up trouble. I don’t believe the parents and administration at Pace would knowingly be complicit in such illegal activity.

STC

davidwins

September 1st, 2013
6:55 pm

@stc I’m sorry but I don’t believe your theory that @mrpace is not affiliated with Pace. I have to say that I think he is just DUMB AS DIRT!!! Who in their right mind would come on a blog and admit that their team actually got alumni to pay for “scholarships” for their new found football players. I am both appalled and amazed at their absolute stupidity!!! Do they not know that it is COMPLETELY illegal??? WOW….ignorance at it’s best!

Football Fan 123

September 1st, 2013
7:03 pm

@A Pace Parent, you’re right. Every private school recruits kids. The issue is that most private school recruit individuals that are the TOTAL person. It’s wrong when you bring in a kid just to play football. My oldest son goes to Pace and doesn’t play football. He say that they barely ever see these kids at school and they just show up to practice. He said that you never see these kids involved in anything at school. I’m ashamed of Pace Academy. I have a 7th grader who plays for Pace right now. I would hate for him to never see the field in high school because of new kids coming that are just there to play football.

Regoin3guru

September 1st, 2013
8:26 pm

Mr. Coleman, not sure where you get your in info, but you need to get it from some place else. Johnson Co. beat Jenkins Co. last Saturday night 8/24 in the Erk Russell Classic in Statesboro and not Thursday night as your Blog stated. And no they will not be a contender for the State Championship. They beat a Jenkins County team who probably won’t win but 3 or 4 games this year.

CSRA706

September 2nd, 2013
3:37 am

@GWparent and @footballmom, yes Aquinas is a fine Catholic institution, they send 99% of their graduating seniors to college, and quite a few of them are Quality student athletes. As far as the trash talk goes i didn’t catch wind of much except maybe a little overconfidence heading into that 2nd game in the playoffs, but lesson learned! now as far as the tailgating, not sure what was in folks cups out there and unless someone gave you a taste don’t think you know that either. and i will speak to the profanity which is absolutely not true, that is not tolerated. Now lets talk football, yeah they lost Brendon (whom is doing quite well at UGA) but that is the only lost off of last years team that did split with yall. Now i know yall cant say the same, we know about Williams, but that big DL yall had is gone and i will say he was a player (where did he end up if you know????) but yall have more holes to fill then we do, and i will say we had the pleasure of being humbled by Washington-Wilkes (my pick for 2A state champs) in there scrimmage, so they will come into the game focused and healthy, hope to see you there!!!

S. Thomas Coleman

September 2nd, 2013
9:42 am

davidwins:

I still hope I’m right about this, and you’re wrong. I just don’t think the administration and the non-football parents at Pace, many of whom pay full tuition, would stand for it.

BUT, I will admit, football is KING in the south and particularly in Georgia. It’s not out of the question for some non-football parents who are football fans nonetheless, to look the other way and perhaps even help “attract” great athletes to Pace so that they can have a championship caliber football team.

Still, I hope my first instinct it right. Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 2nd, 2013
9:48 am

Regoin3guru:

First, I think it’s probably a good idea for you to learn how to spell the word “Region” before proclaiming to be a guru.

Second, sorry for the mistake on the game time.

Third, the phrase “title contender” is used subjectively. I was more so referring to a region championship, with a shot at a playing for a state title due to the fact that JoCo would make it into the Field of 16. Even though Jenkins might not be that good this season, 40-0 is still 40-0. But thanks for reading and posting. Come back and join the conversation after you tighten up on your spelling a bit ;)

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 2nd, 2013
9:56 am

Berry:

If this is true, and I hope it’s not, it is a sad state of affairs. I’ll try to get in touch with Coach Slade to get his side of the story.

Thanks for reading and posting. Sorry you felt you needed to leave the program at Pace. Good volunteers are hard to come by.

STC

davidwins

September 2nd, 2013
12:45 pm

@Berry…you should be ashamed of yourself for even “acting” like you were affiliated with Pace! It is men like you who stir up junk that has no business being said! Wow…you are a class act!

S. Thomas Coleman

September 2nd, 2013
1:34 pm

Davidwins:

Don’t worry. I’m sure that little stunt made Berry feel really good about himself.

Thanks for reading and posting!

STC

Swamp Lizard

September 2nd, 2013
2:40 pm

@ Walker Fan …. here are my picks

George Walton 28 Aquinas 20
Sav Christian 27 Prince Ave 20
Washington-Wlikes 28 Lincoln Co 10
Turner Co 24 Seminole Co 13
Wilkinson Co 35 Landmark 28
I like your pick on the ELCA / Clinch Co game !! …. I want give my take on that game.

LoveFridayFootball

September 2nd, 2013
3:09 pm

STC: what happened to Berry’s comments?

bucket

September 2nd, 2013
6:59 pm

I know it’s only Week 3 (or 2 for some), but this Friday’s games will be a good barometer to see how the teams stack up in Single A. I will be in Savannah watching the Wolverines, but I wish I could be in several different places this w/e!

S. Thomas Coleman

September 2nd, 2013
9:25 pm

LoveFridayFootball:

I banned him.

STC

GWparent

September 2nd, 2013
10:14 pm

@CSRA706, Please don’t lump me in with someone else, as I did not say anything negative about Aquinas or their program. Brendon is an excellent football player and from what I’ve heard, a great kid. I’m very pleased to hear that he is doing well at UGA. I’m certainly pulling for him. My comment was directed toward your trash talking and the talking that I heard before the playoff game last year. I will certainly be there this Friday and expect a good game. There are several returning players on the line from last year. Chad Howell, the DL player you mentioned, is playing at Birmingham Southern because he was a 4.0 student and wanted an aeronautical engineering degree. One of the best kids you will ever meet. And, yes, a huge hole to fill. However, there are some kid stepping up to share the load. FPD’s line isn’t exactly hapless…. I still think the speed and strength of GWA’s skill players more than makes up for the loss of size up front. But keep dismissing it. Want to continue to see them billed as underdogs.

S. Thomas Coleman

September 3rd, 2013
2:35 pm

Class A Blog Fans:

The new blog with the Divided Top 5 is now up!

STC