Class A Blog: Games to watch Friday (and Thursday, too)

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Here are seven big games this weekend, plus three more to pay attention to as well:

Mount Paran Christian School (2-0) at Landmark Christian School (3-0). The Eagles will look to continue their march to respectability when they visit Landmark on Friday. Mt. Paran finished 3-7 last season, but a new offense – the old single-wing with some spread principles – along with the addition of players like WR/RB Emoni Williams, who didn’t play last season, and the emergence of QB Jake Allen has turned the Eagles into a contender for the Region 6 crown. Landmark, a Class A private school state semi-finalist last season, is one of the few teams in the state to play in all three weeks of the season thus far. The War Eagles are undefeated despite playing a number of young players, including freshman DB DJ Brown. They are led by sophomore QB Stockton McGuire and RB/DB William Higbie. Last season: Landmark 28, Mt. Paran 10.

Clinch County (1-2) at No. 8 Seminole County (2-0). The Indians, the team many have dubbed the favorites to win the Class A public school championship, will look to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2005. They are led by QB Alex Fudge and RB Robert Speight, who ran, caught and threw touchdowns in a 49-0 win over Turner County last week. Clinch County is coming off a 30-0 loss to defending private school champion Eagle’s Landing Christian School last week. Last season: Clinch County 13, Seminole County 12.

Trion (2-0) at Walker (2-0). This public-private match up is a Region 6 crossover game featuring two teams looking to make an early statement this season. Both reached the state quarterfinals last season with Trion losing on the public school side to eventual champion Emanuel County Institute (27-10) and Walker falling to George Walton Academy (37-7). Trion is paced by QB Corey Bethune who accounted for 179 yards of offense, threw two touchdowns and ran for another in a 35-14 win last week over Class AAAA LaFayette. Walker is led by QB Cameron Bloebaum who passed for 150 yards and all three touchdowns in the Wolverines’ 21-0 win over Temple last week. Last season: The teams did not meet.

Dooly County (0-2) at No. 9 Wilcox County (1-1). Last season’s Class A public school runner up is still looking for its first win of the season. Meanwhile, the Patriots are looking to rebound from a 26-7 loss to Class AAAA Monroe. Last season: Wilcox County 28, Dooly County 14.

Holy Innocents (2-1) at George Walton Academy (1-1). Both teams are looking to rebound from losses last week. Holy Innocents fell 35-21 to Class AAAAA Riverwood, while George Walton loss 19-16 in OT to No. 4 Aquinas, as All-State RB Stanley Williams was sidelined for most of the second half. Holy Innocents is led by RB/DB Clay Pfohl. Last season: George Walton 45, Holy Innocents 14.

Telfair County (2-0) at Baconton Charter (0-2). One of the feel-good stories of the season is Telfair County. After going 4-26 in the four seasons prior to the arrival of Matt Burleson, the Trojans finished 6-4 last season but narrowly missed qualifying for the public school playoffs. This year, Telfair County is looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1994. Winless Baconton Charter is the likely victim. Last season: Telfair County 41, Baconton Charter 0.

King’s Ridge Christian School (2-0) at Pace Academy (2-0) (Thursday). This game is being held a day earlier in honor of Yom Kippur. Both teams feature dynamic offenses. Pace is averaging 40 points per game, while King’s Ridge is averaging 36. Pace is led by seniors WR Kameron Uter and RB/DB Denzel Franklin (bound for Stanford), juniors QB Kevin Johnson and WR/DB Trevor Cefalu, sophomore RB Malik Staples and freshman LB DeAndre Byrd. King’s Ridge is paced by QB Henry Jones, WR Penny Hart and RB Connor Henderson. Last season: King’s Ridge 48, Pace Academy 20.

Three more to watch:

Hancock Central (2-0) at No. 1 in AAA Buford (2-0)
Our Lady of Mercy (0-1) at Mount Pisgah Christian School (2-0)
Portal (0-1-1) at Johnson County (2-0)

Your turn, Class A Blog heads. Until Saturday …

58 comments Add your comment

southside fan

September 12th, 2013
7:39 pm

STC…What are your thoughts on OLM this week? Did the off week help them? In your opinion, would it have been better to have their bye week later in the season in light of the lost in the season opener?

Swamp Lizard

September 12th, 2013
7:41 pm

@ nourstuff … OK, I’ve done my research and I feel pretty good I’ve got you some accurate information. To my surprise we have a pretty large freshmen class ( football players ), I have counted 19 freshmen on the roster that I have. I also forgot to tell you that my little girl is a freshmen ( volleyball player ) and as I mention my son is a senior. There are six “new” freshmen students that are playing football. I will admit, I didn’t think they would be that many, but it is what it is. I ask my son if they were all “ringers” … he said a few were going to be good, but not all “ringers”. I can tell you, NONE are making any kind of impact in practice or varsity games. With that information I can tell you that the middle school team football team is a BEAST, and the JV team is good! So it looks like ELCA is going to be tough for awhile.
Now I’ve got something to ask of you, I’d like for you to man up and introduce yourself to me when you get a chance. I don’t mean that nasty or out of line, just think I’m a lot better man than you probably think of me.

Pace Student

September 12th, 2013
7:50 pm

Just FYI DeAndre Byrd is actually a freshman. You’ve called him a sophomore twice so just wanted you to know. He’s in my grade.

Swamp Lizard

September 12th, 2013
8:05 pm

TAKE ON GAMES ….

Mt Paran @ Landmark …. I just can’t go against those young men at Landmark, they are well coached and tough.
Clinch Co @ Seminole Co … I’m not yet sold on Seminole Co, I’ve got to see Clinch and those young men are tough and play with a ton of heart, here’s my upset special …. Clinch !!
Trion @ Walker …. I’ll be honest, I can’t get a read on Region 6, buy I’m going with my friends at Walker on this one.
Dooly Co @ Wilcox Co …. looks like Dooly is down a little this year ad Wilcox is always reloading … I like Wilcox Co in this one.
Holy Innocents @ George Walton … a lot depends on RB Williams ( GWA ) and if he is good to go, but I think Holy Innocent might surprise some people here …. got to go with GWA on paper, but I wouldn’t be shocked if HI pulls it off.

Swamp Lizard

September 12th, 2013
8:14 pm

@ STC …. just wanted to say thanks for the coverage and know your are appreciated by all of us Class A bloggers.

@ southside fan …. just my take, but don’t give up on Our Lady of Mercy just yet. Region 5 looks pretty tough with ELCA, Landmark, Holy Innocents and Pace right now, but maybe they can steal a game or two and make the playoffs.

Surprised

September 12th, 2013
8:37 pm

Hey Y’all,

Just wanted to say a quick note. My son played against Pace Academy today in an 8th grade football game. I was shocked to see that Pace only had 17 players on their middle school team! 17! I don’t feel like that’s a good way to build your program. But hey, what do I know.

Surprised

September 12th, 2013
8:37 pm

Not trying to start more drama…

S. Thomas Coleman

September 12th, 2013
8:48 pm

Southside Fan:

I have to be careful here in terms of objectivity, for obvious reasons ;) , but I think the off week was good in that it gave the coaches time to get some things fixed. But we won’t really know until about 10 pm Friday, I guess. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

S. Thomas Coleman

September 12th, 2013
8:50 pm

Pace Student:

Thanks for the correction. The blog has been updated.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

JT Walker

September 12th, 2013
8:51 pm

STC: I agree with your Private School Top 5 except for PAC ranked over LCS. 3-0 deserves the bump.

All the Pace chatter is great for the blog traffic but unfortunate for Class A sports. I have to agree with Walker Fan on this one- it is more a question of following the spirit of the law than the letter. How many kids transfered to Pace from Gwinett Co. who don’t play football? How many last year? How many in the last 7 combined?

Adam Adam: I completely agree.

True Story: If you witnessed any of the allegations in your post, it is your responsibility to report it. GHSA does not police it, so parents, boosters, and administrators must step up. Also, your tone toward the MPCS guys is not necessary. They’re just talking up their team. If you want to see how its done, read the posts from Walker Fan and Swamp. Go Eaqles! (and that’s from a life-long Wolverine. Grrr)

Swamp: Two words: glass houses.

LCS 31 MPCS 21
GWA 35 HIES 21
OLM 28 Mt Pisgah 20
Clinch Co 14 Seminole Co 12
Mt Zion 56 NCCS 0
Pace 38 KRCS 12

S. Thomas Coleman

September 12th, 2013
8:54 pm

Swamp:

Thanks for the love! Region 5 is the “SEC” of Class A, but I wouldn’t count the Bobcats out just yet either. As I said before, we’ll see.

Thanks for being one of the original Class A Blog supporters!

STC

Walker Fan

September 12th, 2013
8:57 pm

@Swamp…thanks for the vote of confidence in your picks on the Walker game with Trion. I wish I felt the same way. I am spooked by two things…the physical size of the Trion line (I watched my son’s HUDL film) and the size of their roster, 75 guys, which is very large for Class A…implying great depth…as opposed to Walker’s 52…which is still decent for A ball. I would love to see the MPC/Landmark game. I am still betting on MPS’s speed.

S. Thomas Coleman

September 12th, 2013
9:01 pm

Surprised:

Actually, that’s not too bad for a Class A school’s middle school program, especially at Pace. If most of those kids stick around the program, you’ll have a nice senior class in 5 years.

And given the arrows shot at Pace this week, you may have started more drama.

Thanks for reading and posting.

STC

JT Walker

September 12th, 2013
9:01 pm

Pace 39 KRCS 6

S. Thomas Coleman

September 12th, 2013
9:09 pm

JT Walker:

Is that the actual final score?

STC

Observing

September 12th, 2013
9:12 pm

Yes, 39-6

25-0 at half.

Swamp Lizard

September 12th, 2013
9:14 pm

@ JT Walker …. is that a final score on the Pace game or just a prediction?

Swamp Lizard

September 12th, 2013
9:16 pm

@ Observing ….. thanks for score

JT Walker

September 12th, 2013
9:21 pm

According to Scoreatl.com that is a final.

HI Parent

September 12th, 2013
9:24 pm

Our 8th grade team just beat Pace 28-0 and it could have been a little more. I predict our Varsity will lose to Pace by 30 or more.

Pace Student

September 12th, 2013
9:24 pm

That is a final score. Apparently pace came out sluggish but managed to win 39-6 anyway.

JT Walker

September 12th, 2013
9:25 pm

Oops. Shoulda hit refresh. Thanks, @Observing.

JSP

September 12th, 2013
9:29 pm

I think King’s Ridge is going to struggle when region play comes around. I watched their game against Pinecrest a few weeks ago and wasn’t too impressed..

Pace Student

September 12th, 2013
9:30 pm

Paces 8th grade team is pretty weak. Always has been. Not enough players go out for it. We’re such a small school that you need players from multiple grades to compete.

nourstuff

September 12th, 2013
9:42 pm

@swamp: Thanks for the freshman info, 6/19 are new to ELCA. A total guess on my part would be that ELCA would have ~80 kids/class so there must be about 25 new kids in the freshman class this year-right? If not, then I guess the stats might suggest some preferential enrollment may be occurring? Of course these students are not transfers and unless they were initially contacted by anyone associated with ELCA (staff, parents, boosters), there is nothing untoward about this at all-its up to the ELCA administration how they choose to prioritize. It makes no difference whether these freshman are contributing to the varsity yet-I would expect a mature program like ELCA to be in the development/reloading phase of maintaining their level of excellence.

Re your other comment, I’d be glad to introduce myself in the future-if I knew who you were? Honestly, I have no meaningful opinion about the quality of man you are based on info from anonymous posts on a HS football blog. My “calling you out” for your recent inquiring post about the PACE program simply arose from what I previously expressed to LoveFridayFootball-namely that it is particularly discouraging and frustrating to see supporters of private programs slinging mud (directly or by inference) at other private programs. As an ELCA supporter, you have endured more than your share of that in years past, hence my reaction when you claimed the PACE coach didn’t really answer STC’s questions and you called for STC to dig into some stats for you about PACE’s program-do you not appreciate the apparent irony and/or hypocrisy in play there?

I look forward to seeing the other two numbers I had asked for, the old and new transfers (i.e. any student not enrolled at ELCA as a freshman) on this year’s football team. As you know, one or two such players can have a big impact at the class A level. Essentially, what I’m asking for in this particular case is to discover what has PACE accomplished this year on the “recruiting front” that isn’t routinely occurring every year at ELCA (unless accusations of illegal activity are involved)?

Swamp Lizard

September 12th, 2013
9:45 pm

@ observing … so were you at the game? Give us your take on how strong Pace looks. I’m planning on going down to Macon and see them play First Presbyterian Day next Friday night. Congrats to Pace Academy, impressive turn around from last year, they are the surprise team so far this season.

HI Parent

September 12th, 2013
10:00 pm

Pace Student, the 8th grade should be next year’s 9th grade… so there will be variance from class to class but it should not be monumental shifts unless kids transfer in. Don’t get me wrong, kids can get coached up and kids do change and develop into much better players occasionally. I don’t want to be the ELCAs and Landmarks, I prefer we basically play with the kids we have. I hope Pace will stay true to that concept.

ELCA and Landmark supporters, all I am saying is that you are clearly putting some emphasis on bringing in kids who want to play football and are pretty good at football. Certainly your choice, I just wish you would play up with schools that have more athletes and can better compete with you.

The classification system is based on student populations so if two schools have 100 kids per grade and half are male and half of those are interested in football, you should get 10-15 decent players who stick with it throughout high school and anywhere from 2-5 who are good starting material. That would be normal.

If you choose to attract 25-30 who want to play football in each grade and are known to be good football players, you will create an unfair advantage over everyone else who is not following the same approach.

The classification approach doesn’t work anymore because the assumption that the student populations are reasonably similar is wrong.

I am explaining this because I know it is not blatantly cheating, it is just gaming the system. Without manipulation, the same teams would not compete for the championship year after year.

Swamp Lizard

September 12th, 2013
10:07 pm

@ nourstuff …. I think we’re good and understand one another. ELCA has endured it’s share of allegations of the “R” stuff, just like Pace is this year. Those six freshmen coming in can be taken a lot of ways. I don’t know their parents or the story behind them coming in and different views can be taken … every one has an opinion on that. My son has been at ELCA since the 4th grade and I’ve seen him grow up with these kids. I know how hard my son has worked, he’s no D-1 prospect, but we are hoping he can play in college. I’m sure you would defend your son and program, just like myself if you witness it like I have here at ELCA. As I said before, I would be hurt if I felt wrong doing was going on at ELCA. I’m just one person and I’m not one that rubs shoulders with the “high brass” at ELCA, so I don’t have all the answers. I would like to meet you if your team plays ELCA or if you come over to watch us. I’m sure we could find one another.

LoveFridayFootball

September 12th, 2013
10:53 pm

@nourstuff… I think I gave one number you were asking for. We have one starter that wasn’t on the team last year. He was at the school though.
@HIparent… I’m sure if any school had student athletes wanting to come to their school they would not be turned away because they are ball players. As I’ve said before, 21 of the 22 starters have been at ELCA since at least middle school or longer…..So much for the talk that we bring in players every year! I mean how much more home grown do they need to be? Should it be a requirement that they start in 1st grade???

War Eagle

September 12th, 2013
11:14 pm

RE: HI Parent, I’m a Landmark supporter and I’m also a parent of an football player. First of we do not bring in players or recruit player who are good at playing football. Our team has 40-42 players and all except for maybe 3-4 have been at Landmark 4+ years. We are definitly a homegrown football team, with majority of our team 9th or 10th graders. Landmark is well coached and well prepared to play. Those kids are hungry to win, and give there all on the field … So what you are saying about how our school looks for kids who want to play is not true. We play with the cards we are dealt and play very well so far…. Playing up with only 785 kids in the entire school , really with 40 kids on varsity and JV combined? Are you serious…..

Gotta Respond

September 12th, 2013
11:28 pm

@HI Parent while your math seems reasonable, your conclusions don’t allow for a couple of factors. For example, like attracts like. If you have a good football program you’ll attract more football players. If you have a great debate program you’ll attract more debaters. My guess is that HI attracts a higher percentage of Episcopalians than the other schools. Does that mean you recruit them?

Also, I know from experience that kids who might not be interested in a sport suddenly get interested when all of their friends are playing it. I’ve watched soccer kids join the football team as kickers and kids who never played join (and then become starters) just so they could be with their friends on Friday nights. So it could be that the culture at a school like ELCA or Landmark attracts a higher than average number of football players and also has a higher than average percent of their boys playing football because that’s the place to be on Friday nights. If they have good coaches they can then recognize and develop that talent more rapidly.

My guess is we’ll see more of that at Pace. If the team is successful and the kids are excited about playing on Friday nights, more kids will want to join the team and more serious players will come to Pace to play and the new coaches are quite capable of recognizing and developing that talent quickly.

Gotta Respond

September 12th, 2013
11:41 pm

@Pace Haters The roster is online. If you really want to investigate use your fingers to do a little walking through the website. Find someone with last year’s roster and compare. You’ll find there is not much to talk about. The kids who were doing it last year are the same kids doing it this year.

But as an insider, I can tell you what the difference is, it’s the coaching.

Last year’s team should have been 8-2 or 7-3, but late play calling, infighting amongst the coaches (in some cases two different plays being called on the field at the same time) bad attitudes, and a refusal to communicate left the kids a mess.

As a specific example, one group of coaches trained kids during the summer and coached them through 7 on 7 tournaments and led them in summer workouts. You could see their results in the scrimmage win over Wesleyan last year. Then with the start of the season, the regular coach took leadership, and without understanding what had been accomplished over the summer, he rearranged players positions, his defensive assistants had to ask the kids what they were supposed to do, and coaches, players, and parents were divided as to how to move forward. The season was downhill from there.

At the end of the year, administrators, coaches, parents, and team members had to decide whether they were willing to make some difficult changes and work hard to create a winning atmosphere or whether they were content to keep the program like it was. The answer was clear and a new head coach was named.

This is not coach bashing. Everyone at Pace has been amazing but the vision for the program wasn’t clear. Now it is. With a new head coach and a few adjustments in personnel, everyone at Pace is now operating out of their strengths, whether that means coaching other sports, or coaching varsity football, or coaching jv or middle school teams. There is a sense at the top level that the coaches really care about the kids and want to help them succeed. The kids have responded by working harder than ever.

More to come . . .

HI Parent

September 12th, 2013
11:42 pm

Please take another minute to read my post. I never said you recruit new kids every year and transfer them in or they are not “home grown”.

Let’s take Buford for example. They begin grooming kids in their youth program and they don’t blatantly “recruit” but one kid may invite a good buddy to come over and play on his 10 year old team and slowly but surely their feeder system is loaded with talented football players. Keep in mind that much of this talent is coming from nearby kids who would have eventually played on 5A or 6A teams in Gwinnett. Because it is a city school it can offer kids outside their city limits, if they pay $2k. Now they have a wealth of talent, but they still qualify to play 3A ball with 5A and 6A talent. They don’t have to “recruit” because the program sells itself at that point. Tons of championships, college scouts…

You tell me, did they cheat? Not by a rule book. Is the talent on their team the same as other 3A schools? Of course not. I don’t care that their student population matches the 3A criteria, they should play 5A teams.

The same 10 teams should not play for the championship EVERY year and in Buford’s case, the same school should not play for the championship for a decade, get moved up and win that class too.

When the Landmark and ELCA 8th grader line outweighs our team’s line by 40-50 lbs are just saying that your school is filled with giant kids?

Gotta Respond

September 13th, 2013
12:00 am

@ Pace Haters Part 2 If a parent is looking for a school to develop their son’s talent, knowing that Chris Slade is now the head coach would definitely make you look at Pace twice. Not only does he have a pedigree (NFL Pro-Bowler, who played in a quality college program) but he is also one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen. I watched him last year at the King’s Ridge game. While other coaches were tossing the ball around waiting for the kids to come out of the locker room, he went and got the five or so kids he was responsible for and went one on one with each one of them. (It looked pretty silly because he was so big and they were especially small.) He taught them exactly what to do, breaking down the footwork, physically moving their legs so they had the correct stance. I’m not sure if he has a teaching degree but he can teach!

If he’s now doing for the whole team what he did with 5 kids last year, I’m not surprised they’re doing so well.

And yes, kids do come from Gwinnett. My son transferred into Pace when he was a 9th grader. (It’s an obvious year to transfer in–there are more openings that year than most other years.) We drove him everyday for three years from our home near the Cherokee County line.

His first friend was another 9th grade transfer from Gwinnett county. His two best friends were also transfers in 9th grade another one from Gwinnett and another one from Dekalb. In his sophomore year, another boy transferred in from out of state (he played football too) and he joined the core group of friends who all played football. And finally, his junior year another football player transferred in (and sat out a year) from another private school in town.

I won’t betray the parent’s confidences by explaining why they all transferred but let’s just say it had more to do with academics than it did with football. All of us were seeking the same thing–a place where academics were valued and yet gave our boys an opportunity to participate in a multitude of extracurricular activities as well as get playing time on the field.

The year my son came to Pace the school was 9-2. Last year was 3-7. The program has been growing, but has been unstable. So it’s almost an insult to say the kids playing this year were recruited, how dumb would they have to be to choose to come to a program that was in such disarray?

However, if Pace continues to do well this year, my guess is that admissions will see more applications from athletes who want the playing time that a small school offers and the excellent coaching from Chris Slade and Kevin Johnson (who was New York City’s football coach of the year or something before he moved to Atlanta).

Here’s another insider secret. This information isn’t public so I can’t prove it, but I believe the sources who told me. Within the past three years, Pace had an offensive line that was made up of mostly seniors. None of the seniors on the line had an SAT score lower than 2350. Another player who started on both sides had an ACT score of 34. Currently, one of the starters (a kid who is getting a lot of press) had a perfect score on the PSAT. If you’re an athlete who values learning, Pace is the obvious choice.

I know this information won’t change your mind if you don’t want it to, but I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting on the bench watching the mud get slung at a program that is finally headed in a positive direction and seeing some success because of good leadership.

HI Parent

September 13th, 2013
12:06 am

Gotta Respond, I am not implying that Pace had no talent to work with and that all of the talent has been brought in. I also believe that coaches can make a team better, but I have been told that HI can’t beat Pace,they are just too big, fast and athletic. You usually don’t see that type of transformation overnight because coaches can’t teach speed, size or athleticism in one off-season.

The kids coming up through the Pace middle school program that played at NYO are not state championship material and neither are ours. None of the major private schools near Buckhead have nearly enough big, outstanding, prototypical linemen. In my experience, the NYO all-stars end up at Lovett in bunches and then Westminster, Woodward, HI and Pace usually only has 3 or so per year.

I don’t care if Pace runs the table and beats us like a drum this year, but don’t be shocked when you beat every opponent by 30-40 pts that people will believe that you cheated the system.

There is no way that you will convince me that the 8th graders we beat 28-0 will be coached up and beat us by 30-40 next year.

LoveFridayFootball

September 13th, 2013
12:06 am

@HIParent… “I don’t want to be the ELCAs and Landmarks, I prefer we basically play with the kids we have.” Maybe it’s you that should go back and read your own words.

HI Parent

September 13th, 2013
12:26 am

LoveFridayFootball – If you read my Buford example, I have explained that whether they are brought in during lower, middle or upper school, if the goal is to have a strong football program and you choose your students with that in mind, that changes the balance. Most private schools don’t attract kids that are exceptional football players, so they take the kids that can afford the tuition and want the higher quality education and they develop the best football team they can build with what they have.

Gotta Respond

September 13th, 2013
1:06 am

@ HI Parent You’re right, people will talk. And no one ever really knows the truth unless they took part in something. But I wouldn’t worry because you’ve been told HI can’t beat Pace. Some years Pace wins, some years HI wins across all sports. The schools are very competitive and what happens in 8th grade this year will have very little reflection on what will happen four years from now. There is too much school hopping in the Buckhead schools for anyone to predict what will happen. A “scandal” or a change in programs at one school leads to a mass exodus of students at one place and an influx at another.

You said, “You usually don’t see that type of transformation overnight because coaches can’t teach speed, size or athleticism in one off-season.”

You’re right.You usually don’t see that overnight. And that’s my point.

Many of those qualities have been at Pace but not developed to their full potential. Kids weren’t inspired to work during the off-season. There was no incentive and little accountability for training during the summer. Those things have changed not only because of the coaching but also because of the kids having bought into the program and the resulting peer influence and competition that arises when kids are motivated to outperform each other on the field and in the classroom.

But I think you’re wrong (feel free to disagree with me here I don’t have a degree in this stuff) but apparently one summer can make a difference in the characteristics you mentioned.

A Pace graduate from last year who went on to play in college was told by a college recruiter that “We can make you bigger, stronger, and faster, the only thing we can’t make you is taller.”

And I know anecdotal evidence does’t prove anything, but from watching my son I’ve learned that one summer of swimming broadened his shoulders and streamlined his body. One summer of cross country training increased the size of his calf muscles and significantly lowered his BMI, and one summer of the right coaching in the weight room doubled his strength, and increased his speed.

His existing athleticism and his heart were always there but were never put to use on the field until they were recognized by an assistant fb coach when he was a 10th grader. That coach developed him into a starter within a year. Did I mention he’d never played football before? You wouldn’t have seen him on an NYO team as an 8th grader.

I do believe coaching is the difference here. Even those scrawny middle schoolers could be state champions if someone believes in them and guides them. Your son can be too. Don’t let the talk you’re hearing mentally defeat you before he gets started. Enjoy today’s win. You guys are always a threat to Pace and nothing is ever for sure for long.

Walker Fan

September 13th, 2013
6:48 am

I hate to say this…but it is such a guilty pleasure of mine reading all of this. Shame on me.

Ga Boy

September 13th, 2013
7:38 am

Telfair Co. is developing into a good football program again, within the next few years if they keep the pieces of the puzzle in place they will have success in public A football.

Eagles1

September 13th, 2013
7:55 am

@HI Parent, what your saying is that if a program, Buford, does an excellent job creating a winning environment, setting up a feeder program that attracts quality players they should be punished and forced to play up? To answer your question no it isn’t cheating, it is building a program. I recall when I was in high school a dominate team from South Georgia being honored as the best program in the nation, Valdosta. I do not remember anyone saying they should play D-2 college teams. Successful programs have modeled that feeder system and program for years. It is not cheating to create an environment that kids want to be in.

Eagles1

September 13th, 2013
10:02 am

Walker Fan, good luck against Trion. Always pulling for Cobb teams! ;)

HIES

September 13th, 2013
10:37 am

This is HI Parent and I have been trying to post my comment:

Eagles1 – the very essence of competition is pairing two comparable opponents. From the beginning of a child’s competitive activities, kids choose captains and let them take turns picking players. The goal is a reasonably fair competition. They have weight classes in boxing and high school wrestling, the worst NFL team gets the first pick in the draft and the playoff teams get tougher schedules the next year. It is not a new concept to try and create parity and BETTER competition.

I have acknowledged that it is NOT cheating, but it renders the classification system useless if they are pairing school by relative student populations (assuming that there should be a comparable talent pool) but some schools have stacked the deck.

I doubt I will ever change your mind, but maybe someone reading this blog will remember that high school football is only a sport for 99% of these kids and that playing as a team and giving 100% is what it is all about. Beating a physically inferior team is not a terribly impressive accomplishment.

this guy

September 13th, 2013
10:38 am

@HIparent…The Landmark Middle School offensive lines outweighs the Landmark varsity offensive line too! Pretty sure Bremen never had huge offensive linemen when they were in single A and they didn’t do too shabby! Holy Innocents over the years have had some huge linemen and some smaller linemen. What I can say about them (Holy Innocents’) regardless of their size, like I hope people say about our Landmark linemen at the end of the day, is that they are very well coached on assignments and techniques and they play low and hard for 4 quarters which is all anyone can ask of a player regardless of his size. At the end of the day it isn’t the x’s and the o’s or the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s…it is how much can you get out of your Jimmy’s and your Joe’s while teaching them the x’s and the o’s. Best of luck and safety to all those playing and watching on this Friday the 13th!

W Parent

September 13th, 2013
10:54 am

I’ts pretty easy. Get out the roster for Pace from last year. Get out the roster for Pace this year. Compare. I did it for you. Nothing to see here. No “recruiting.” Standard roster with changes coming from matriculation.

james

September 13th, 2013
10:58 am

STC i told you that Irwin has really started to improve under Coach Lindsey. The atmosphere was crazy Friday night. I wish the game wouldn’t have ended in a tie, but I understand our coach’s decision. You can’t walk away without those 5 points.

nourstuff

September 13th, 2013
11:18 am

@LFF: I’ll respond this one last time to you re this issue. First of all, In the previous blog thread I never addressed any question to you asking for a number. Since you haven’t demonstrated a willingness to read my previous posts I will repeat what I had requested that Swamp provide ” 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. “. Thus I had asked him for these three numbers and he provided the first one earlier in this thread. I’ve already made clear the motivation for my request, so no matter how you try to spin it now, I believe it was readily apparent to the other readers that actually read the exchange. In general I wish ELCA team a fulfilling, injury-free season in the months ahead.

Walker Fan

September 13th, 2013
11:22 am

Does anyone have any insight (beyond what has been mentioned here) regarding the game last evening between PACE and KRCS. Obviously PACE won easily but I am looking for more details. My hope is that PACE will sound so good as to make my friend Swamp, and the other ELCA-ites, a little excited…and possibly even have a bit of nervousness in their stomach…not getting that feeling week to week (given their machine like W’s) actually reduces the experience and I want them to have the full experience.

bigchipola

September 13th, 2013
11:45 am

If you think Clinch plays with alot of heart just watch da Indians play.I seen a big physical Early co. Team beat them down for 3quarters and only to see a young squad fight harder our defense is vicious win or lose we gone go hard for 4 quarters.

idk

September 13th, 2013
11:50 am

I was at the game last night and I was able to meet some ELCA dads who were present at the game. I also met their quarterback (name Bryson?) who was wearing a Bud Light hat which I was unimpressed with to say the least. An ELCA (maybe the QB’s dad? they were there together) dad told me that he predicted they win 35-21 when Pace faces ELCA. He made sure to point out no one has scored more than 21 points on ELCA in 7 years and how generous he was being in giving Pace 21 points. Although he did say that he was impressed with Pace’s run game and thought that Pace could get 5 yards a play on ELCA if Pace just ran every play. Besides the point. Pace came out very flat, defense was not coming off the ball hard and the offense didn’t have the explosiveness that I have heard about. #2 on KRCS Penny Hart, a fast corner was guarding #2 on Pace Kameron Uter 1 on 1 with safety help over the top occasionally. Pace scored 6 points in the first quarter on a 30 yard pass from QB Kevin Johnson to #3 Trevor Cefalu. Pace struggled immensely with field goals all night. Pace played slightly better in the 2nd quarter putting up 14 then put up 19 in the 3rd. RB Malik Staples scored once on a screen from 41 yards out. He had a total of 162 yards from scrimmage (receiving and rushing) 105 on the ground. Kevin Johnson (who came to Pace in 8th grade from Brooklyn) had 305 yards of total offense, 261 passing and all 6 TDs through the air. Three of those TDs were to Kameron Uter who is verbally committed to Kennesaw state to pitch. The leading tackler was Kenneth Foote-Smith who has been at Pace since lower school I believe. Ross Cefalu (came to Pace in 3rd grade) had the most Pass deflections with 4. Pace could have scored a lot more points and could have played a lot better in the first half. Johnson, Staples, Uter, and Franklin all played less than half of the 3rd quarter and every single player on the Pace bench (37 kids total on the team) except 2 got some snaps.