Class A Blog: Week 3 Divided Top 5, Coachspeak with Pace Academy’s Chris Slade

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here’s the AJC.com Class A Blog Divided Top 5 after Week 3. The overall AJC/Georgia High School Football Daily ranking is in parenthesis. Right now with most teams having played two games, the Power Rankings don’t mean a whole lot. We’ll start linking to those after Week 6, when most teams will have completed half of their regular season (five games).

PUBLIC

1. Seminole County (8). The Indians are 2-0 after blasting Turner County (0-2) 49-0 last Friday. Seminole County gained 281 yards rushing and was led by senior RB Robert Speight who ran for 135 of those yards on 12 carries. Speight also accounted for three touchdowns. He ran for a 37-yarder, caught a 20-yarder from QB Alex Fudge, and threw a half-back pass for a 27-yard score to Tyler Peters. The Indians host Clinch County (1-2) on Friday in Donaldsonville.

2. Lincoln County (3). The Red Devils (1-1) were shut out in the second half in a 28-14 loss to Washington-Wilkes, ranked No. 6 in AA, in the 76th edition of the Highway 378 War. QB Keith Lockhart figured in both Lincoln County touchdowns with a 2-yard pass to Jamar Norman and a 51-yard run. Mike McIntire finished with 96 yards on 22 carries. The Red Devils will take a week off before traveling across the South Carolina boarder to face Ninety Six on Sept. 19.

3. Marion County (NR). The Eagles (2-0) jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead and then hung on to defeat Class AA Kendrick 20-14. A.J. Wells, one of the state’s top kickers, had field goals of 29 and 42 yards, while QB Dustin Eckert threw touchdown passes of 43 yards to Trae Swanson and 15 yards to Lorenzo Smothers. Marion County will take a week off before Miller County (1-1) pays a visit to Buena Vista on Sept. 20.

4. Wilcox County (9). The Patriots (1-1) came out flat and were dominated 26-7 by Class AAAA Monroe. Quinn Tisdol scored on a 57-yard pass from QB Antwan Benjamin for the Patriots’ lone tally. Wilcox will host defending Class A public school runner up Dooly County (0-2) on Friday in Rochelle.

5. Johnson County (10). The Trojans (2-0) jumped all over Twiggs County 43-0, and have now outscored their first two opponents (Jenkins County) 83-0. JoCo (2-0) will host Portal (0-1-1) on Friday in Wrightsville.

Another half dozen to watch: Charlton County (1-1), Hancock Central (2-0), Miller County (1-1), Telfair County (2-0), Trion (2-0).

PRIVATE

1. Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (1). The Chargers (2-0) shut out Clinch County 30-0 last week down in Homerville. The ELCA defense led the way stoning Clinch County on four downs at the ELCA 1-yard line in the second quarter. Senior quarterback Dalton Etheridge threw two touchdown passes to Davis Carrandi and ran for another. The Chargers will host Class AA Hapeville Charter (0-2) in McDonough on Friday.

2. Aquinas (4). For the second time in as many years, the Irish (2-0) defeated George Walton Academy in overtime, this time 19-16. Ruben Garnett, who finished with 164 yards rushing, scored from 5-yards out on a direct snap for the win, after GWA kicked a field goal on its overtime possession. The Irish will take this week off before traveling across town to visit AA Josey on Sept. 20.

3. Savannah Christian (5). The Raider (0-1-1) defense held previous No. 2 Prince Avenue Christian (2-1) to just 148 total yards in a 17-9 win in Savannah. J.T. Mertz, Nick Korzick, Nick Bateman, P.J. Green, John Jackson and Ahmad Johnson led the effort.  The Raiders will take a week off before traveling to Mt. Vernon to face Montgomery County (0-2) on Sept. 20.

4.  Prince Avenue Christian (7). The Wolverines (2-1) ran into a defensive buzz saw in Savannah as their leading rusher, Zantravious Shields, was held to 26 yards on 11 carries by Savannah Christian.  PAC will take a week off before traveling to Gibson to face Glascock County (1-2).

5.  Landmark Christian (2). The War Eagles (3-0) made a statement last Friday with a 37-18 win over Wilkerson County (0-2).  QB Stockton McGuire ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Sam Ward and kicked a 36-yard field goal.  Landmark will play its fourth game in as many weeks on Friday when it welcomes upstart Mt. Paran Christian (2-0) to downtown Fairburn.

Another half dozen to watch:  George Walton Academy, Holy Innocents, Mt. Paran, Mt. Pisgah, Pace Academy, Walker.

Coachspeak:  Pace Academy’s Chris Slade.

It was bound to happen.  Once Pace Academy, which finished 3-7 last season, jumped all over its first two opponents (Whitefield Academy and Athens Academy) in dominating fashion, the “R” word would inevitably soon follow.

The 180-degree turnaround with the Knights’ program must mean new head coach Chris Slade and his staff is recruiting players.  Nonsense, according to the nine-year NFL veteran linebacker.

“I hear [recruiting accusations] a little bit here and there, but not a lot,” said Slade, a former All-American at Virginia, who served as Pace’s defensive line coach last season. “But here’s the thing.  We have a squad of less than 40 kids, and I didn’t get the [head coaching] job until January.  But those kids that have been here bought into what we’re doing – kids like Denzel Franklin, Kameron Uter, Kevin Johnson and Trevor Cefalu, who have been here a long time.

“They wanted to be a part of building this program and they set the tone in the off season,” Slade said. “We had over 90 percent participation in our summer workout program.  No one talks about that, the work that these kids put in.”

Slade said Pace returned 17 of its 22 starters from last year. While 6-foot, 200-pound sophomore RB Malik Staples transferred in from Peachtree Ridge, the biggest reason for Pace’s early success has been a transfer of attitude.  There is a new dedication to football on behalf of the players and coaches.  For example, many of the coaches from last year’s staff are now running the Knights’ middle school program, which worked better for their schedules, Slade said.

What has developed has been a high-powered offense that can strike from anywhere on the field, whether it’s with Staples and Franklin on the ground, or Johnson, Uter and Cefalu through the air.  Defensively, the catalyst for the Knights is their quick, strong and aggressive front seven, led by sophomores Anthony Trinth, DeAndre Byrd, and Jack Walsh, as well as senior Baiza Cheirnet.

“Our staff is here, watching film every day, trying to help us get better every day,” Slade said. “That’s something people don’t know and don’t see when they start all of that talk.

“And the other thing they  don’t know is that every kid that is here, whether they are a student athlete or not, had to go through the same admissions process as every other student,” Slade said. “They are held to the same rigorous academic standards that every Pace student is held to.”

To that end, the UVA grad, who knows a lot about balancing football with academic rigor, make sure his players have more than enough time for school work, even though their football work load has increased. He has kept that top of mind, while developing his coaching style through taking a little bit from all of the high-caliber coaches he had throughout his playing career.  That includes Pete Carroll, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick in the NFL, George Welch at UVA, and even his prep coach at Tabb High in Yorktown, VA.

“I try to incorporate some things from all of them.  It might be how we warm up or how we watch film,” Slade said. “All of them were great coaches.  I’ve been very fortunate over my 18 years of playing football to be around some of the best coaches.”

Slade, who also tried his hand at broadcasting after his NFL career ended, hopes to carve out his niche as a stellar coach.  So far, so good.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Slade said.  “We won our first game last year and ended up going 3-7.  We still have a long, long way to go, but the kids have bought into our team concept.  They are a very tight group and they realize that no one is bigger than the team.”

Now it’s your turn, Class A Blog heads.  What say you?  Until Thursday …

93 comments Add your comment

Reality Check

September 10th, 2013
4:06 pm

Disclaimer: I am not a Pace insider so this is from the word on the street that could be inaccurate, but since you asked . . . I’ve heard pretty wild rumors floating around about recruitment. A number folks in the high school community knew that some of these guys were interviewing for a new high school team to play on, but it makes one wonder why Peachtree Ridge studs Anthony Tranh and Malik Staples would transfer to Pace this fall. Paces Ferry is a long commute from Gwinnett County. These guys are difference makers and playmakers. Not home grown at Pace. As the coach said, they may be held to the same academic standards but do they all pay the same tuition? What else were they promised, if anything? Pace’s curious influx of numerous transfers this year apparently also include the Payne kid and Markwalter to name just a few. Winning is great, but the influx of a number of ringers like this can have a downside, and sow discontent and apparently starting to do so. Inquiring minds want to know: Is Pace benefactor Arthur Blank involved in the football program at all and what means are being applied to help Pace get a state championship?

nelson smith

September 10th, 2013
4:21 pm

I heard that 20 new players are on the roster compared to last year’s roster. I wonder how many of those new players are starting. Also wonder if they are paying 23k tuition and if they are getting assistance and are there just as many non athletes getting the same assistance. Finally, if there are so many new players that aren’t incoming freshman then how where they all declared eligible since a bonafied move into the school service area is required. I guess they could all claim they are moving for academic reasons.

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
5:09 pm

Reality Check:

If Tranith and Staples were not cleared by the GHSA they wouldn’t be on the field. There is nothing wrong with their parents wanting them to get an education at an institution like Pace Academy. And if Pace admitted them, which they obviously did, there is nothing else for anyone to question. How their tuition is paid is also no one’s business, whether they are paying the full freight or getting some sort of financial aid.

And I’m pretty sure Arthur Blank has a full plate right about now trying to win a PROFESSIONAL football championship. I’m not sure he has time to worry about helping Pace win a private school Class A title.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
5:14 pm

Nelson Smith:

Again, every player in uniform and stepping onto the field — transfer or homegrown — has been admitted by Pace and cleared by the GHSA. Pace’s financial aid process — if they have one — is Pace’s business, as well as that of the families involved. The core members/leaders of the team — QB Kevin Johnson, DB/RB Denzel Franklin and WR Kam Uter — have been there since 8th/9th grade.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

Fairburn Fan

September 10th, 2013
5:53 pm

Landmark kids are “Homegrown”. One thing is for sure, no one and I mean no one can ever say Landmark has recruited. EVER. Good for them.

Walker Fan

September 10th, 2013
7:24 pm

I think the legality or rules appropriateness of the process as it relates to GHSA is probably not in question. Certainly though, what is in question in many people’s minds is the spirit of what is going on. I hope this does not portend the path of Class A. As well, I certainly appreciate better now the unhappiness of public schools two years ago.

Birdrow

September 10th, 2013
7:49 pm

I have a kid that goes to a private school in this same classification, and if anyone actually believes that these kids aren’t recruited and passed through the system without anyone being concerned about them or their future prospects are either in complete denial, or intellectually dishonest. Don’t get me wrong, many of these kids would never get to go to a normal high school, and experience how kids outside of their “hoods” live. Anyone who thinks that a D-line at Landmark that could start for Georgia State are not “recruited” has that head in the proverbial sand. I compare high school football in Georgia to D-1 a few years early. Sad……………..

reality

September 10th, 2013
8:07 pm

STC, you started off the piece acknowledging that there is indeed buzz out there about the “R” word and Pace football this year. Don’t you find it even a bit curious about all the new stud transfers? All organic tranfers huh? And there is no coordinated effort to induce any of these transfers? I am just asking questions. Instead of you asking pertinent questions, you are declaring everything to be kosher. No one said GHSA didn’t approve the transfers. But it does not follow that just because GHSA hasn’t objected, that means there was no recruiting. Instead of having a healthy sense of journalistic skepticism and probing further, you instead editorialize and assert that all is well and if Pace admitted them, then doggone it “there is nothing else for anyone to question.” Do you know the GHSA rules on improper influence and recruiting? Go look at GHSA rule 1.70. Evidence of recruiting and undue influence includes personal contact initiated by coaches or boosters in an attempt to induce a transfer. Also attendance at any reception or any social event for any of the athletes is undue influence Rumor is that these did occur. How is it that you know that those did not occur? Why don’t you actually ask the coach or Arthur Blank (a booster) if he ever spoke to the recruits, I mean potential student-athletes, instead of speculating that he didn’t? Why don’t you report the total number of transfers for this year who are playing? Compare that with the historically low number of transfers (3) in the past, see http://blogs.ajc.com/georgia-high-school-sports/2012/08/07/athletic-transfers-top-6000-for-2011-2012/. Why so many now? Now that is newsworthy.

MCMBAA

September 10th, 2013
8:25 pm

STC, please check the line on SCPS, I think that needs to read 1-0-1 instead of 0-1-1, but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

I’m exceedingly glad to have the new season well underway, but, geez, it’s the same old rhetoric….if you’re winning, you’re obviously recruiting, right. I had an extended say on this last year and thus won’t beat that dead horse too hard this year. However, the bottom line is that students may transfer in at will to a private school, provided that they pass the entrance requirements and satisfy the financial end. To suggest that a coach or school governing body is showing up at an athlete’s door with promises of free and unqualified educational assistance is reckless. It’s the school’s business who they allow to come play for them, and they only have to answer to the parents who support the school. Get over it already.

lol at you people

September 10th, 2013
8:26 pm

Reality, please get a life and leave 14/15 year kids alone…

You need a job.

Thanks,

Society

lol at you people

September 10th, 2013
8:27 pm

PACE HAS WON 2 GAMES…

A
R
E

Y
O
U

T
H
A
T

M
A
D

A
L
R
E
A
D
Y
?

Adam Adam

September 10th, 2013
8:29 pm

MCMBAA

September 10th, 2013
8:29 pm

LOL at “lol at you people”, now that’s funny….

SMH

September 10th, 2013
8:47 pm

@Birdrow not one of the transfers to Pace come from the hood! Not every African-American lives in the hood! Secondly, who ever thinks that there are 20 new players on Paces football team is dreaming! Look up A Better Chance everyone and then you can lay the R rumors to rest. Boy I hope Pace keeps winning so they can really piss some of you guys off. You are just motivating all of the other athletes that have been on that team for years to shut you guys up. The transfers cannot win the games by themselves. They are one! Black, White, Green or Yellow! Please keep motivating these young men!

Disgusted

September 10th, 2013
8:56 pm

If my son had been at Pace from the time he was in lower school and was replaced by one of these recruits by the time he was in high school, I would be pissed.

War Eagles

September 10th, 2013
9:22 pm

What I’m not understanding about all the talk about Pace is that all schools want to WIN and all schools go about it differently. Some want big players, some want fast players, some even have older players but they want to win. The difference is that anyone can attend a private school if they are accepted and can pay the bill. Lets not act like none of us have ever gotten help with bills, whether it is school, credit cards, car note, groceries or whatever form you can possibly think of. Are others mad because there school is not winning or do their kids attend Pace and their kids are not playing now ? If the coach didn’t win he would be fired, now that he has won just 2 games there is an uproar or is there a threat to someone else program ? Or is the real issue all the kids just happen to be African American ? C’mon people its 2013 ……

Swear I'm Ralph

September 10th, 2013
9:34 pm

STC, there is an inherent flaw in the blogosphere– facts are elusive. All private schools recruit, they have to attract tuition paying students to survive. Schools like Pace, Lovett, Westminster, HIES, Woodward, Marist, etc. market themselves to a broad range of families who have interests in quality academics, arts, athletics, service, and community. These schools (over 100 independent schools in Georgia) many of which also have a religious component, are thoughtful about their missions. Proudly, Georgia has some of the top private schools in the US. The “recruiting” of student- athletes is a reality of all these schools. Look at the number of Westminster state championships with such a small population. The GHSA tries to limit the recruiting by stopping schools from initiating the contact. However once a prospective student contacts the private school, then the conversation can begin about the benefits of a private school education. As for the tuition and financial aid; every school is clear about process and policy – NO ghsa school gives merit based aid; they only give need based financial aid. Go to the schools websites to see financial aid process.
Students move from one school to another (public to public, public to private, private to public) each year. Often times students move to find better programs – academic, arts, music, athletics. The GHSA’s role is to verify that the transfer is legitimate. We can’t read the mind of a student and tell if they really want to transfer to so they can play tuba in the Lovett band!
As I remember, Pace Academy has won more debate state championships than any other Georgia school — my guess is they must have had a great program and coach that attracted great debaters. After reading about Coach Slade – just maybe parents and students find him to be the kind of person you would want your student-athlete learning from. Parents choose a private school because of excellent teachers and coaches – that is a believable narrative in 2013.

Fairburn Fan

September 10th, 2013
10:09 pm

When you walk into Landmarks front office, you better have check in hand. They care about academics, Sports is icing on the cake. Birdrow you are so mistaken. Landmarks DLINE probably averages about 180. Get over it man. Landmark has never recruited,

Recruiting Clarification for Ralph

September 10th, 2013
10:10 pm

Running ads, having an open house for the public, and marketing the school in general is not considered recruiting under the GHSA rules. Many schools, both public and private, do that and that is perfectly fine under the rules.

However, a coach or booster who initiates contact with a specific student-athlete who has been going to another school to promote their school, or inviting the athlete to a reception or event that is not an open house for the public, is considered undue influence and evidence of recruiting under the rules.

LOL

September 10th, 2013
10:32 pm

Just because questions are raised doesn’t mean anyone is mad at Pace or has it out for them. Such ad hominem attacks on the questioner are red herrings to avoid dealing with a legitimate question. Frankly, Pace is a superb academic institution, but their football program hasn’t been around that long or been that good enough to develop a whole lot of rivalries or haters. Certainly, a couple of wins is not enough to consider them a threat to be the next Buford-like dynasty.

The issue is, the high number of stud athletes who transferred in and the persistent recruiting rumors of how they got there do give rise to some legitimate questions and discussion regarding the GHSA rules that all the schools are supposed to abide by regarding recruiting and improper influence of students enrolled elsewhere. It’s as simple as that.

Fairburn Fan

September 10th, 2013
10:35 pm

Amen Ralph! Don’t know what school you support, but that is the truth. Landmark wins some and losses some but it is natural. Some classes are better than others. We just try to win. Some are setting a dangerous precedent. If Landmark recruited we could draw from schools in Fayette, Fulton, Coweta and Clayton Counties. My Lord, Landmark would have 20 Football Championships if they recruited players and paid for a private school education. Pace has some questions to answer. Other schools also.

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
10:35 pm

Birdrow:

Not sure where you were going with the “hood” comment. Not every kid – African American or caucasian – who transfers is from the “hood.”

And last season, Dooly County had 2 D-linemen over 260 pounds. One of them is now at Auburn. I don’t think Dooly County is running over with transfer requests.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
10:50 pm

Reality:

I asked Coach Slade point blank to give his answer to the “rumors” and “talk” out there that he and his staff loaded this team with players recruited from other schools. You read his direct answers to my direct questions on that matter.

And though I’m not an expert by any means, I think I’m pretty well versed on GHSA rules. If you or anyone else can provide proof of “undue influence” exerted by Coach Slade or a member of his staff, I’m sure the GHSA would love to see it. Additionally, if a player attends a student recruiting reception hosted by a private school, that is NOT deemed “undue influence” by the GHSA. You say this was “rumored” to have happened at Pace. Again, even if it did happen, it’s perfectly within the rules. There is nothing to stop a kid from attending an open house event at another school.

Also, my buddy D-Led who covers the Falcons has a hard time catching up with Mr. Blank. I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think talking to me about his “involvement as a booster” for Pace Academy would be high on his list of phone calls/emails to return. But to satisfy your sense of “journalistic skepticism” I’ll make the call.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
10:57 pm

MCMBAA:

Sorry for the typo. The correction has been made, and kudos to your comments.

STC

ga sports

September 10th, 2013
11:02 pm

I usually cover AAA ball but Pace Academy is a intresting team to follow. All of this recruiting yall speak of is a myth. They brought in 3 players, Philip Markwalter, Malik Staples, and Anthony trine. 3 playes is nothing. The 2011-2012 Bufford class had over 10 transfers play on there team. Two other schools that have alot of “transfers” are Landmark Christian and ELCA

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
11:07 pm

SMH:

Thanks for reading and posting.

For those who are unaware, A Better Chance, to what SMH referred, is a private grant fund available to families looking for assistance with private school tuition. There are specific qualification guidelines, based on need and academic performance, and stringent application deadlines as well.

This is one of the funding sources that was/is at the heart of the argument put forth by small public schools that private schools have too much of a competitive advantage. Personally, while I’m not a fan of the split, this is a point that I will concede us a valid one.

STC

X

September 10th, 2013
11:08 pm

One of the rumors floating out there is that some of the Pace-targeted recruits were courted by influential boosters and invited to a reception or event that members of the Pace football team were at, which was not an open house for the public. If true, and depending on the timing, this could be considered undue influence and evidence of recruiting under the GHSA rules.

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
11:10 pm

Disgusted:

There is a bit of that very sentiment at several private schools, based on emails I have received over the past couple of years.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
11:20 pm

Swear:

Are you sure that Pace didn’t scour metro area libraries and oratorical contests looking for the best candidates for it’s debate team, with the promise of free tuition and all the automatic pencils they could ask for?

Just kidding! Thanks for your thoughts!

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
11:23 pm

LOL:

Coach Slade provided answers to those questions. I guess it’s up to you as to whether you believe him or not.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
11:28 pm

Fairburn Fan:

Landmark is not at all immune to scrutiny similar to that faced by other private schools.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
11:35 pm

Ga sports:

Thanks for the perspective.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 10th, 2013
11:38 pm

X:

If you have proof of this event – pictures, video, an engraved invitation on gold leaf parchment, etc. – I’m sure the GHSA would love to have a look.

STC

Private School Parent

September 11th, 2013
1:04 am

Pace canceled their JV season because they did not have enough “homegrown” kids playing football. I think they only have three freshmen playing. Their 8th grade team is 15 or 16 kids. My point is that they did not build a state championship contender from within.

I was told by a Wesleyan father that our team had ZERO chance of beating Pace and he was not exaggerating. To this point, Pace has not been a football factory but this year may be the beginning of a new philosophy. I dread the beating our team will take, but I admit, I would like to see the ELCAs and other usual suspects get a taste of their own medicine.

I pay tuition and I would move my kids if our school brought in a team of outsiders, especially if they don’t even pay for school. I want to see my sons play and enjoy the experience of high school football, not sit and watch from the sidelines.

The Georgia Private School Tax Credit program was intended to bring financial and ethnic diversity to private schools. Unfortunately, some schools are targeting athletes from public schools.

Private School Parent

September 11th, 2013
1:16 am

I do want to point out that it isn’t just private schools and not just Buford and Calhoun. I have watched Riverwood go from a doormat to a highly athletic and competitive team. Nothing outside of GHSA rules, just started bringing in athletes from other parts of Atlanta. Not a state championship contender, just a competitive team for their classification. I still would not like it if my sons were playing there, but at least it wouldn’t be costing $22K a year.

NoDistrictLinesInDekalb

September 11th, 2013
7:05 am

Move along here nothing to see here ! This is single A Private school foootball this is why they have this special division right? Public and Private seperate. Pace academy and the “Tom Murphy Rule” go hand in hand tho some try to discount that as folk lore but that would still not apply in this small classification unless you want to create a “B” division.
Lovett, a private school neighbor of Pace tried to get their version of a residency measure in front of the GHSA and where did that go? The public schools don’t want that to happen just as much as the private schools.
Now the Wesleyan father being upset please look at your girls basketball program not so much now as a few years ago. The smart way now is bring them in while they are in middle school that way you can say they have been here since middle school. ( Like the private school in dekalb does) All you have to do is go to a game and see the way the parents dress the well to do have their intials on their shirts while the lesser income folks have their names on their shirts followed by a tire shop or fast food design on it. I want to make myself clear there is nothing wrong with getting your child in a better enviorment to obtain a better education where the problems lie is the athletic side of it.
If you think that 4 or 5 players can’t change a game at the A level in football you are mistaken. When those 4 will be in the all state race you only need 6 or 7 regular Joes to be good.
In Dekalb you have kids that can walk to one high school but don’t because they want to play at the Dekalb football or basketball factories of their choice. So you always will have the haves and the haves not in football and basketball that does now inclued the girls in this.
Like I said move along here nothing to see business as usual move along here.

LoveFridayFootball

September 11th, 2013
7:31 am

Some of the comments are comical about how the parents feel their kids are in line to start because their kid has been at the school for years. Do you really feel that if the kid has been there since 1st grade he should play? THIS IS HS FOOTBALL! Not peewee league where everyone plays! All schools public and private want kids to transfer in… They would continually decrease in population otherwise.
STC: it seems we now have two debates going. One, did Pace recruit those kids and not go by the rules. And two, should kids that transfer to a school get playing time over a kid that’s been there for years paying tuition…. I know my thoughts on both, yours???

S. Thomas Coleman

September 11th, 2013
8:00 am

Private School Parent:

I don’t know if Pace cancelled its JV season or not, but that is not uncommon on any level. Sandy Creek, the defending AAAA champs, are having trouble fielding a JV team this season. And 15-20 kids on an eighth grade team is not unusual either.

I don’t know if you can consider Pace a football factory yet. But Coach Slade did say that he and his staff are dedicated to building a winning program at Pace. Nothing wrong with that to me.

And I think you should consider it a great blessing that you are able to pay full tuition at Wesleyan! That is awesome! Additionally, I think it is a great thing that some private schools see the value in diversifying their campuses, whether it be racially, ethnically or in terms of gender. Providing financial aid to do so is not something that is specific to Pace or any other private school in Georgia. For example, the Patriot League, which boasts schools like Fordham, Bucknell, Holy Cross and Lehigh, is now offering athletic scholarships. That was not the case before. The president at Fordham began pushing this several years ago as a way to diversify his campus, and after they initially balked at his effort, he finally got a majority of the presidents in the Patriot League to come on board.

Of course, there are NO ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS/AID in high school sports. But there are other vehicles for aid available, from both public and private sources. And finally, this is high school athletics, not rec ball. Just because you pay full tuition, or just because you may give a little extra to the booster club at a public school, does not guarantee your child playing time. That’s a harsh, and some would say cruel reality, but it’s reality nonetheless.

STC

Swamp Lizard

September 11th, 2013
8:04 am

@ STC ….. I’m going to “try” and comment on all this without throwing stones or making accusations on all this Pace Academy stuff. First off, I disagree with you about Coach Slade giving “answers” to all the “R” stuff. He gave us a lot of “stuff” that sounded like a politician …. the work the kids have put into this, buying into the off season workouts, 90% participation, etc … I would like to know the numbers, the “FACTS” on how many transfers that are playing football this year that were not on the team last year. Coach Slade didn’t answer that. He mention ONE kid ( Staples from Peachtree Ridge ). Like REAILTY said …. that would be newsworthy.
My personal opinion is that Coach Slade has a “pedigree” that I would love for my son to play ball for. Him “knowing” football, being a great player himself, and having the “mentors” he has had during his football career. If Pace has had three, four, or even five football players transfer in, I see no wrong with that ( wanting to play for him and attend Pace ), BUT if you are using Private Grant Funds to build a football team and you have an influx of “stud” football players using that money …. it is downright SORRY! I hope that Pace Academy nor Coach Slade would stoop as low.
With all this said, and until proven “guilty”, I wish Pace Academy, Coach Slade, and all his players the very best ….. until Novenber 1st !! ;)

S. Thomas Coleman

September 11th, 2013
8:06 am

LoveFridayFootball:

Did Pace recruit? Coach Slade said he and his staff did not go recruiting kids this summer or any other time, and I haven’t seen or heard any direct evidence to the contrary. So I’ll take him at his word.

And you were correct in your statement that this is high school, not rec league. As I stated earlier, your child is not guaranteed a starting position or playing time just because you are a full tuition paying parent, or just because your kid is a “lifer” at a K-12 private school, or just because you give tons of dollars and countless volunteer hours to the booster club at your public school. Again, it’s a harsh reality, but it’s reality nonetheless.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 11th, 2013
8:24 am

Swamp:

If you recall last season when I spoke to Coach Gess about the same allegations that, as you well know, are hurled at ELCA on a constant basis, Coach Gess gave me nearly the EXACT SAME ANSWERS as Coach Slade gave. In fact, he took it a step further and was truly upset that the “recruiting” accusations only arose with the African American kids at ELCA. I took/take Coach Gess at his word, and extend the same to Coach Slade.

STC

Ajc blogger

September 11th, 2013
8:51 am

Pace returns 17 out of 22 starters. They have 3 new high caliber players Anthony trinh, a transfer from peachtree ridge, Phillip markwalter a transfer from Marist, and Malik staples a transfer from peachtree ridge, pace starts 2 freshman as well as these three new sophomores. This is not a different team then last years, just way better coaches

Private School Parent

September 11th, 2013
8:52 am

STC – I never said my son deserves playing time because we pay tuition. The reality is that we pay tuition and my sons get exceptional teachers with exceptional resources and surrounded by families that support academics and success in general. If you become a distraction or do bad things, the school will dismiss you because parents are paying a lot of money for the learning environment.

Having said that, I know that my sons have a modest number of kids they are competing with and many of these boys have specialized sports or don’t play sports at all. I am paying for my sons to have opportunities that they might not have in a 6A pool of 3,000 students. I have no problem with my son losing a position to another tuition-paying child, I knew that was always a possibility. However, if you say we are going to bring in any kid from anywhere in the city and not charge them tuition then I am certain that they can find more athletically talented kids.

True high school football should be kids that are at your school playing for the school team. You should play with the talent you have and accept winning and losing.

Once you decide to start hand-picking athletes and do not charge them tuition, you are now providing athletic scholarships.

nourstuff

September 11th, 2013
9:15 am

@swamp: Lol, tell me ELCA and their coach has not responded with the same platitudes in the the past (e.g. our kids are working hard) to the same question! Why don’t you go ahead and give us the info (”FACTS”) on the ELCA program this year as a show of good faith-i.e. the number of new 9th graders (did not attend 8th grade at ELCA) on the football team, “old” transfers that sat out last year, “new” transfers that are eligible this year, etc. This whole thread is “SORRY”, considering is seems to be a load of sour grapes…

Y

September 11th, 2013
9:22 am

Blogger–

Staples, Trinh, D Byrd, Markwalter, Payne, and others are all impact players — D-1 prospects — who transferred in. If there is even one of them that was recruited under the GHSA rules, it is improper. And that is still true regardless of whether Pace is 2-0 or 0-2. You are in denial if you are trying to say that the influx of this type of D1 talent on a previously losing Single A team doesn’t have a huge impact. 17 of the starters from last year may have returned to be on the team this year, but how many of the 17 have been displaced from starting by the new transfers?

defense

September 11th, 2013
9:55 am

Jordan Payne and d-byrd are freshman they are not recruits, and 16 of last years 17 starters are starting this year

Swamp Lizard

September 11th, 2013
9:57 am

@ STC ….. Yes, Coach Gess did give the same “answers”. And as I said in the rest of my take, I’d just like to know how many kids have transfered in … four or five I have no issues with …… 10 or 12 ….. then you have “doubt”. AGREE? I thought I spoke highly of Coach Slade and Pace ….. I wish them well, but like I said, if you are using Private Grant Funds to build your football team, it’s not right. I don’t care if the kids are black, white or green …. that money should go to deserving kids that want to better themselves.

Blogger #2

September 11th, 2013
10:02 am

Philip Markwalter went to Pace Academy from Pre-K thru 6th grade… then transferred to Marist and really did not like HS at Marist, so transferred back for 10th grade… He was a Pace Knight when he was 7 years old, he is as homegrown as they get…

Aside from this…. Payne and Byrd are currently in 9th graders (8th grade last year), THESE KIDS ARE NOT TRANSFERS…. they are incoming 9th graders… they cannot be transfers.

Please study up… Quit hiding behind the keys of a message board, and show up to Pace Academy and ask someone a question face to face.

Class A

September 11th, 2013
10:06 am

From researching…

Offense: 9 out of the 11 starters from last year RETURNED TO THEIR STARTING POSITIONS THIS YEAR.

Note: One of them is a freshmen.

Defense: 7 out of 11 starters from last year RETURNED TO THEIR STARTING POSITIONS THIS YEAR.

Note: one freshmen, and one student-athlete who attended Pace previously.

LoveFridayFootball

September 11th, 2013
10:08 am

It really doesn’t matter if the kids are freshmen or seniors… If and I say if the were recruited, it’s wrong. Doesn’t matter the grade…