Archive for the ‘3ABlog’ Category

Dale leads Ringgold to huge win … Region 6 makes Region 8 vanish

It was a big night for Ringgold quarterback Slade Dale and a bigger night for the Tigers football program.

Ringgold defeated North Hall 55-54 in the first round of the playoffs on Friday, with Dale accounting for 380 total yards and seven touchdowns. Dale, a senior who will play baseball at the University of Georgia, ran 22 times for 162 yards and four touchdowns and completed 11 of 21 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns.

The win gave the school a ninth win for only the second time (the other coming in 1989) and is believed to be the first playoff win in school history. Ringgold made the playoffs on six previous occasions, including last year, but lost in the first round.

Neither Ringgold nor North Hall could stop the other team. North Hall ran for 467 yards and threw for 55, while Ringgold ran for 268 and threw for 218. North Hall’s Zac Little carried 31 times for 267 yards and two touchdowns and Andrew Smith ran 16 times for 108 yards and one touchdown.

“To me this is …

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Woodward-North Oconee highlight first week of playoffs

If you’re looking for a game to watch two of the best athletes in the state, look no farther than the first-round match between North Oconee and Woodward Academy. The game provides a spotlight for North Oconee’s Kawon Bryant and Woodward’s Terry Googer and may offer the best game in the opening week of the playoffs.

North Oconee (7-3) finished third in Region 8-AAA because it could not beat Elbert County or Hart County. But the Titans have reached the second round in four of the last five seasons and must be taken seriously.

The Titans are led by Bryant, a junior running back, who has run for 2,485 yards and 41 touchdowns. He averages 9.5 yards per carry. He is capable to taking over a game with his exciting runs.

Woodward (8-2) is the second seed from Region 5, relegated to second place because of a loss to Blessed Trinity. This is the sixth straight trip to the playoffs for the War Eagles, who have won their first-round game on four of those previous occasions.

Googer plays …

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Durr, Carter make St. Pius girls the team to beat

With nearly everybody back from last year’s state championship team, there’s no doubt that the St. Pius girls will be considered the team to beat this year.

The Golden Lions knocked off No. 1-ranked and seemingly invincible Buford last year and went on to beat Dawson County in the title game. St. Pius went 30-3 and did not lose to another AAA team all season.

The team is led by All-American Asia Durr, a 5-foot-10 junior guard who averaged 21 points. In addition to her scoring prowess, Durr has the knack of being in the right place at the right time and getting a key rebound when needed most.

Durr tried out for the USA Women’s U16 National team and competed against international teams in Mexico. She wound up being MVP as the U.S. team won the FIBA Americas Cup.

The Golden Lions also return senior guard Jasmine Carter, another all-state player. The 5-9 guard knows how to handle the ball and is a strong 3-point shooter. She has committed to play for Andy Landers at Georgia.

The …

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Unbeatens Buford, Cartersville and Washington County headline AAA playoff field

Four teams nailed down region championships on Friday night, as Class AAA whittled the field of contestants for the big-money showcase to 32 teams.

Appling County, Cartersville, Blessed Trinity and Buford won the games they needed to secure the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs. Carver, Washington County, Callaway and Elbert County had already clinched their league championships

The playoff pool supports the argument that the addition of an extra classification has watered down the competition. There are six teams with a record below .500. That’s almost 19 percent of the playoff field.

Two teams will advance to the playoffs for the first time: the B.E.S.T. Academy Eagles and the Sonoraville Phoenix. West Hall and Southeast Bulloch will be going to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Here’s a rundown of what happened on Friday night.

Region 1: No. 9 Appling beat Southeast Bulloch 42-21 to win the regular-season championship. That means Pierce County takes second and …

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In this corner … a night of showdowns

The game to determine the championship in Region 7-AAA will be determined when Ringgold travels to Cartersville on Friday night. These two relatively new regional rivals will finish one-two in the league, but only one can be a No. 1 seed. Which one will it be?

Ringgold (8-1) has been fighting for a little respect all year. After losing an early season game to Central Carroll – a loss that likely kept them out of the polls — the Tigers have won six straight times. Only once has the score been closer than 18 points. Ringgold hasn’t had a nine-win season since 1989, the only time it has occurred in the school’s history.

Cartersville (9-0) has not been tested. Its slimmest margin of victory was a 35-point win over Cass on Sept. 6. The Canes’ average margin of victory has been an incredible 42.6 points.

It has all the makings of a shootout thanks to a pair of outstanding quarterbacks. Ringgold is led by Slade Dale, who operates an offense that averages 39.6 points. Cartersville’s …

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The playoff picture revealed

Here’s how the playoffs look coming into the final week of the season, with explanations about tiebreakers, etc.

Region 1: Southeast Bulloch travels to Appling County in a game that could determine the regular-season championship. If Appling wins, the Pirates are the regular-season champions and Southeast will finish third. If Southeast wins, there will be a three-way tie that includes Pierce County. All three teams will be declared co-champions and a coin flip would determine the seeds.

The fourth playoff spot should go to the winner of the game between Tattnall County and Johnson Savannah. But Brantley County could tie things up if it upsets Pierce County.

Region 2: Carver Columbus and Peach County will finish one-two. Pike County is third and Henry County is fourth.

Region 3: Washington County’s season is over and the Golden Hawks are the regular-season champions. Thomson is in the playoffs and would be the No. 2 team with a win over Jefferson County on Friday. A win would …

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Here’s what we learned on Friday

The plot got thicker in Region 6-AAA, which won’t have its four playoff teams decided until the final week.

On Friday night, Blessed Trinity beat St. Pius 21-20 and Woodward Academy beat Cedar Grove 17-14. Decatur, the other team in the equation, blasted McNair 48-0.

That means Woodward and Blessed Trinity are tied at the top of the 6-AAA standings with one loss. Woodward’s season is over, while Blessed Trinity finishes with Cedar Grove. If they end up tied, Blessed Trinity will get the nod because of its 27-17 win over Woodward.

Blessed Trinity seized control of the situation thanks to quarterback Conor Davis, who threw for 113 yards and two touchdowns to Colin Bradley. Tailback Milton Shelton ran for 142 yards and one score.

Woodward got a touchdown pass from Terry Googer to Jacob Robertson and took the lead when Elijah Holyfield scored on a run.

That leaves St. Pius, Cedar Grove and Decatur with two league losses apiece. St. Pius and Decatur play in the season finale next …

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Playoff positioning begins this week

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the playoffs in Region 6-AAA have essentially turned into a round-robin scenario to determine the four playoff spots. It’s all going to come down to who can beat who and claim the four postseason spots in one of the toughest leagues in the state.

This week the big games are St. Pius at Blessed Trinity and Cedar Grove at Woodward Academy.

Blessed Trinity (5-3, 3-1), led by tailback Chad Manthey, seems to have found its offense. The Titans have scored 150 points in their last five games. St. Pius (6-2, 3-1) had its defense rattled last week for 42 points, a fact that will challenge the unit led by Nick Ruffin and Daniel Crochet. St. Pius has won all five meetings against its fellow Catholic school competitor, including last year’s hard-fought 24-17 decision.

Cedar Grove (6-2, 3-1) had last week off after its loss to St. Pius. The Saints are led by running back Deion Sellers and quarterback James Hartsfield. Woodward (7-2, 4-1) has …

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Five teams that surprised in 2013

It seems that each year the same teams can be found at the top of the standings. But there are always a number of surprises that can be found throughout the classification.

Here are five of the top surprises in Class AAA this season.

Chapel Hill (4-4, 4-1 in Region 4-AAA): The Panthers have found their offense; they’ve scored 96 points over the last two games. Chapel Hill will make the playoffs and could even finish second in the region. It will be the second straight year the Panthers will make the playoffs under coach Geoff Pastrick.

The Panthers are led by running back Jamarcus Morrissette, who had four touchdowns last week against Haralson County. The sophomore had five touchdowns against Douglass and 385 yards and four touchdowns against B.E.S.T. Academy.

West Hall (5-3, 3-2 in Region 7-AAA): The Spartans will be assured of making the playoffs if they win one more game. It could come down to the outcome of the season-finale at Dawson County. The Spartans are seeking their …

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Region 3 title goes to Washington County

It wasn’t a classic. It wasn’t even the typical Washington County-Thomson matchup. But it did determine the Region 3-AAA championship.

No. 3 Washington County beat Thomson 55-12 on Friday to secure first place. The win, which was broke a two-game losing streak to Thomson, means the Golden Hawks (8-0) will be the top seed from Region 3 when the state playoffs begin.

Washington County was led by Melvin Hill, who ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns, and Danyale Wicker, who rushed for 112 yards. The Hawks gained 451 total yards and secured their first region championship since 2006.

Thomson (3-5) finishes the season against Jefferson County, a game that will determine the region’s second-place team.

Elbert virtually sews up Region 8

After three weeks the Elbert County Blue Devils were 1-2 and didn’t look like much of a playoff contender. Funny what five straight victories will do for you.

The No. 9 Blue Devils went on the road Friday and stunned No. 5 Hart County 28-23 and …

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St. Pius-Woodward showdown will clarify or muddy Region 6 picture

The situation in Region 6-AAA will either clear up a great deal or get even murkier this week, depending on the outcome of the game between St. Pius and Woodward Academy game.

If No. 6 St. Pius wins, the Golden Lions (6-1, 3-0) will be a step closer to defending their championship. Coach Paul Standard’s team closes with tough games against Blessed Trinity and Decatur.

If Woodward (5-2, 3-1) wins, the War Eagles would be in position to finish first. A Woodward win could throw the league into a four-way tie for first place and put even more importance in the final two weeks of the regular season.

Woodward and St. Pius have been sporadic rivals since the late 1960s. Woodward leads the series 12-3-2 and beat the Golden Lions 20-14 a year ago. The two teams have been slugging it out off and on since coaching legends George Maloof was at St. Pius and Graham Hixon was at Woodward.

Woodward is one of the best defensive teams that St. Pius has faced this year. Led by two-way standout …

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A look at the playoff picture in Regions 5-8

Upsets in Class AAA have been rare this year, but results from last week altered the way the playoffs are shaping up. After North Hall’s stunning loss and North Oconee’s setback, the picture has definitely been altered for the teams in the northern part of the state.

Here’s a look at the way the playoffs are shaping up for teams in Region 5-8.

Region 5: No. 2 Cartersville remains the team to beat. The Purple Hurricanes haven’t sniffed a challenge all year. Their closest call was a 20-point win over North Murray. With quarterback Brooks Barden leading the way, the Canes have not scored less than 35 points in a game this year.

Cartersville’s only challenge is expected to be Ringgold (6-1) in the final game of the season. Ringgold may be the best team in the state that hasn’t been ranked this year. The Tigers have lost only to Central Carroll, which will finish second in Region 4.

The other two playoff spots should fall to Adairsville and the winner of the Sonoraville-LFO game on …

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White County’s win over North Hall leads night of surprises

Perhaps the biggest upset of the season in AAA was White County’s 21-7 win over No. 4 North Hall of Friday night.

White County found a way to stifle a North Hall offense that had run roughshod over the rest of Region 7. North Hall had scored 306 points in its first six games. But the Warriors were able to limit the Trojans to their lowest point total since last year’s 31-6 loss to St. Pius in the state playoffs. It marked White County’s first win over North Hall since 2010 and just the second victory over the Trojans in the last 20 meetings.

Part of it was strategy. White County added an extra linebacker to its defensive alignment in an attempt to counteract North Hall’s strong offensive line. As a result, White limited North Hall to 335 total yards and their powerful running attack to 285.

Part of it was execution. White County ran for 225 yards, 80 on a touchdown run by Coley Loudermilk, and totaled 300 on offense. Quarterback A.J. Vandiver threw touchdown passes to Tucker …

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Cedar Grove-St. Pius in spotlight

Cedar Grove burst into the state rankings this week. That’s what six straight wins will do for a program. The Saints (6-1) have lost only to Tucker, the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAAA, in the season opener.

Since then the Saints have gotten better and better and beaten all the would-be contenders in their way. But if No. 10 Cedar Grove wants to avoid a road game in the playoffs, it will have to win at least two of their final three games against the elite teams in Region 6-AAA.

The road begins tonight against defending region champion and No. 7-ranked St. Pius at Panthersville Stadium. The Saints finish with games at Woodward Academy and Blessed Trinity, two teams that have spent time in the state rankings this season.

Cedar Grove features the most efficient passer in DeKalb County in junior James Hartsfield, who is hitting on better than 70 percent of his throws. He had thrown 11 touchdown passes in the first six games, eight of them to senior Brandon Norwood. Benjy …

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Who are the playoff favorites in Regions 1-4?

Hard to believe, but there are only four weeks left in the regular season. That mean it is time to assess the playoff hopes of the various regions in Class AAA.

This week we’ll take a look at Regions 1-4. Next week we’ll look at Regions 5-8.

Region 1: Appling County (5-2) has won five straight and has only one minor challenge remaining, that coming on Oct. 25 at Tattnall County. The Pirates essentially won the region when it beat Pierce County 38-20 on Oct. 4.

Pierce County will be the No. 2 team. Since the state requires four teams advance to the playoffs from each region, those spots should fall to Southeast Bulloch and Tattnall, who play on Nov. 1.

Region 2: Carver Columbus is the top dog here. The Tigers are 5-1 and have lost only to Class AAAAAA No. 3 Colquitt County. Carver does have a big game against Peach County on Nov. 1, which will likely determine the region champion.

Pike County will have something to say about second place. The Pirates play Peach on Oct. 25, …

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