Archive for the ‘4ABlog’ Category

Georgia high school basketball: AAAA notables

–The Columbia Eagles will be looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, when they host Lithonia on Friday. Columbia reached the championship game of the Chick-fil-A Holiday Invitational Classic, before falling to Tucker. Columbia had won the last two tournament titles.

Columbia is No. 1 in’s Georgia AAAA boys rankings, followed by Fayette County, Rutland, Jonesboro and Statesboro.

–Speaking of MaxPreps, did Redan’s girls really beat a team from Louisville 105-19 at a tournament at Daytona Beach? Here’s the box score on MaxPreps. I have not been able to confirm this yet, but hope to speak with Redan coach Jerry Jackson next week about his team’s 13-0 start. MaxPreps has Redan No. 1 in its Georgia AAAA girls rankings.

–The Rutland Hurricanes put up 100 points in a win over Wilkinson County on Dec. 28. Senior guard Jaylon Tyson scored 30 points, connected on 13 of 15 free throws and had five steals to win MVP honors in the Wilkinson County …

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Top running backs to be showcased in Junior Bowl

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Two of the most highly-regarded rising senior running backs will be in the same backfield Tuesday, in the AT&T Junior Bowl at Grady High School

Sandy Creek’s Eric Swinney and Alexander’s Mikell Lands-Davis will be suiting up for the West squad.

Swinney rushed for 1,149 yards and scored 22 touchdowns for the Patriots. He averaged 8.39 yards per carry and has received scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida State, Clemson, Tennessee and Arkansas, among others.

Lands-Davis rushed for 2,374 yards and scored 27 touchdowns to help lead Alexander to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. Lands-Davis has an offer from Clemson, several SEC teams, including Georgia, appear to be interested.

Here are the players from AAAA schools on Junior Bowl rosters:

(Note: Buford players included. Buford will be joining AAAA next season).


TE Aaron Cochran, Grady

ATH DeMarcus Moragan, Grady

S Aaron Williams, Carver

ATH Charlie Patrick, Caver

RB …

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Georgia high school basketball: AAAA squad gets crack at No. 1 team in nation

South Atlanta lost seven of its top nine players off of last season’s squad. But the two returnees are exceptional.

Senior guards Costa Anderson and Derrick Byrd were all-region selections last season and are off to hot starts for the Hornets, who head into the holiday tournament season at 5-1. Anderson and Byrd came through in the clutch to help South Atlanta come from behind and beat Lithonia in the Region 6-AAAA opener.

“We were down by five points with three minutes left to go,” recalled Hornets coach Michael Reddick. “My veteran guards stepped up, got a couple steals, made some smart plays, and we were fortunate enough to beat them down the stretch. “

Anderson is averaging 21-22 points per game, said Reddick, and Byrd is averaging around 17 points and seven assists.

Reddick will find out a lot more about his team at next week’s Wild Wing Café HS Hoop’s Class in Charlotte, N.C. South Atlanta opens that tournament Dec. 27 against the No. 1 team in the nation, …

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Griffin vs. Carrollton storylines, X-factor and pick

By David Purdum / For the AJC


–Carrollton runs a wing-T attack featuring three backs —Jarvis Terrell, Malik Sheppard and Trey Chivers—who have each rushed for more than 800 yards. Carrollton averages seven yards per carry. Will Griffin’s defense be able to stand up?

–Griffin runs an explosive no-huddle, up-tempo offense featuring senior quarterback Jaquez Parks and a bevy of weapons at receiver, including Christian Owens, who is committed to Georgia. Second-leading receiver Keyston Fuller is back after suffering a shoulder injury against Sandy Creek. If the game turns into a track meet, the coaches I spoke to this week believe the Bears will have the advantage.

–This is Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague’s second time taking the Trojans to the state championship game. A lot of the seniors on this year’s team were freshmen, when Carrollton reach the 2010 title game in the Georgia Dome. This is the first time for Griffin coach Steve DeVoursney to coach in a …

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Million-dollar difference between high school football and basketball in Georgia

By David Purdum / For the AJC

It’s no secret that the state of Georgia likes high school football more than basketball. The million-dollar gap in the amount of revenue generated by the two sports’ postseasons, though, is quite stunning.

The gross receipts for last season’s state basketball tournament were $389,003, according to numbers provided by the GHSA. Gross receipts for last season’s football playoffs — $1,352,673. Despite having only half as many games as the basketball tournament, the football playoffs generate more than three times the amount of revenue.

There are 14 state championship basketball games (girls and boys) held over three days. Last season those games generated $185,580 in gross revenue. With the addition of AAAAAA and public/private split of Class A, there were seven state championship football games at the Georgia Dome last year. Those seven games generated $757,593 in gross receipts.

Does that mean football is just that popular in Georgia? Or is …

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Dramatic wins set up classic state championship game

By David Purdum / For the AJC

A pair of dramatic semifinal victories has set up a doozy of a AAAA state championship game.

For the second straight week, Griffin quarterback Jaquez Parks led a second-half comeback to help the unbeaten Bears hold off No. 7 Wayne County and advance to their first title game since 1980. Last week, Parks led two scoring drives in the final seven minutes in a road upset of defending champion Sandy Creek. Against Wayne County, the senior quarterback rallied the Bears back from a 14-6 halftime deficit. Griffin’s Anfornee Stroud changed the momentum with a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown on Wayne County’s first drive of the second half. Parks adding a passing and rushing touchdown

No. 2 Griffin will face No. 4 Carrollton, which won a four-overtime thriller over Marist. Carrollton’s Jarvis Terrell scored three touchdowns and the winning two-point conversion in the fourth overtime. The Trojans avenged a five-overtime playoff loss to …

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What separates this Griffin team; Will Marist need more balance against Carrollton?

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Griffin coach Steve DeVoursney says the football facilities have been a little cleaner this season. The language used by the team has been more respectful, and players have been more active in the community, often visiting local elementary schools and always handing out high fives to young Bears fans.

These are the things DeVoursney points to when asked why he believes his team was able to persevere through a bevy of early mistakes in a comeback road win over defending champion Sandy Creek. They are also the reasons DeVoursney believes his team has the ability to win the state championship.

“We’ve had talent in the past and do again this year, but what makes this team stand out is that we have a lot of high-character kids,” said DeVoursney. “I think the character of this team is the reason why we’re where we’re at.”

The team’s character and resiliency were on display in last week’s win at playoff-favorite Sandy Creek. Griffin …

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High school basketball: Do we need a shot clock?

Football season is winding down and we are two weeks away from a champion being crowned in Class AAAA. However, basketball season is gearing up, so as we transition, Tuesday blogs will be dedicated to basketball for the remainder of the football state playoffs.

By David Purdum / For the AJC

After the scoring plummeted to a 30-year low last season, college basketball revised how the game was officiated.

This season’s points of emphasis included: reducing hand-checking; limiting how post-defenders are allowed to use their arms, and giving offensive players the benefit of the doubt on block/charge calls. The early results have been higher-scoring games with many more fouls.

Should high school basketball follow the college game’s lead?

Chestatee girls coach Web Daniel believes so.

“In every officiating rules clinic, they say they’re going to call it more,” said Daniel. “But I don’t think they call it enough. Truthfully, they could call it every play. If you watch …

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Friday rewind: Marist doesn’t pass or punt in quarterfinal win

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Passing is over-rated.

Marist didn’t attempt a pass in its quarterfinal win over Burke County. Carrollton attempted only one pass–and it was intercepted—in the Trojans’ win over Stockbridge.

Yet, the two teams advanced and will meet at Marist on Friday in a rematch of last season’s five-overtime playoff thriller.

The War Eagles rushed for 429 yards, led by quarterback Chase Martenson’s 162 and four touchdowns, and reached the semifinals for the 11th time under coach Alan Chadwick. Marist had an 11-minute advantage in time of possession and did not punt.

The Trojans weren’t nearly as prolific in their quarterfinal win at Stockbridge, finishing with just 195 yards of offense, but made enough plays to advance to the semifinals for the second time under coach Rayvan Teague.

Marist beat Carrollton, 43-37, in five overtimes in the second round of last season’s playoffs. The War Eagle are 50-2 at home in the playoffs since 1987.

Stepping …

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Friday advance: Will Stockbridge’s home-field atmosphere get under Carrollton’s skin?

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Judging by online chatter, Stockbridge’s home-field atmosphere–announcer, crowd and officials–have gotten under the skin of a few visiting fans bases, including Griffin’s.

“I’m not sure we got under Griffin’s skin,” said Stockbridge coach Kevin Whitley. “They beat us 35-14.”

Whitley is hoping for a different result Friday, when No. 4 Carrollton visits in a AAAA quarterfinal matchup. Stockbridge was just beginning its rise, when the Tigers traveled to Carrollton in 2011 for a second-round game against the Trojans. The Trojans would overwhelm the young Tigers, 35-10.

“We were shell-shocked. It was just our second time in the playoffs, and it was very intimidating to our kids,” said Whitley. “Even our coaches were saying, ‘Look at this stadium, look at the weight room.’ It was more like a vacation than a business trip.”

Whitley hopes his home atmosphere also will have an impact this week, but knows, with school out, the crowd might not be …

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Coin flip determines home field in quarterfinal showdown between No. 1 and No. 2

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Sandy Creek and Griffin rolled to easy wins Friday, setting up a quarterfinal showdown between the top-two-ranked teams in the AAAA. No. 1 and defending champion Sandy Creek hammered Chestatee, 55-7, behind three Eric Swinney touchdowns. No. 2 Griffin eliminated Statesboro, 42-7, to advance to the third round for the first time since 2009. Griffin running back Devontae Freeman ran for two touchdowns and blocked a punt resulting in a score. Griffin has won two of three playoff meetings with Sandy Creek all-time.

Sandy Creek won the coin flip and will host Griffin.

Region 5 represented: Three of the remaining eight teams in the AAAA bracket are out of Region 5, including the only remaining fourth seed in Alexander. The Cougars knocked off Lanier, 42-28, to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Sandy Creek and Carrollton are the two other remaining Region 5 teams.

Defense: Stockbridge, Marist and Burke County each posted …

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Friday advance: Few are giving Monroe Area a shot against Carrollton

By David Purdum / For the AJC

A reporter mentioned to Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg that not too many folks were giving his team a shot against Carrollton. Fligg sees why.

“I can understand why they think that, on paper and on film, “ Fligg said. “But they still have to come play us. You can tell, it’s a little different around here this week. And it better be.”

The Purple Hurricanes didn’t stand up to Sandy Creek in a 35-0 semifinal playoff loss to the eventual-champion Patriots last season. Now, Monroe Area gets a shot at another Region 5-AAAA perennial powerhouse in fourth-ranked Carrollton on Friday.

“Carrollton doesn’t have a weakness. They’ve got five or six D-I guys, spread out all over the field,” Fligg said of the Trojans, who are in the playoffs for the 26th straight season. “We’re playing a legendary team.”

Game notes: Carrollton’s only loss came against No. 1 Sandy Creek. … Trojans coach Rayvan Teague and Fligg were roommates at the last …

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Georgia high school basketball: Which AAAA teams are college coaches watching?

By David Purdum / For the AJC

“Our goal is to win the state championship again.”

Those were the confident words of new Columbia girls coach Carla Hollaway. She has the returning talent to back it up.

Hollaway took over a Columbia program that won three of the last four state championships in the Eagles’ classification. She inherited the entire starting backcourt off of last season’s state title team. Senior combo guards Yaktivia Hickson and Shamyia Smith and senior point guard Malisha Harris are all back.

Hickson led the Eagles’ with 11 points in their state championship game win over Sandy Creek. She is one of only two AAAA players out of Georgia to make Prospect Nation’s Elite 150.

Hollaway has coached in DeKalb County for the last seven years, winning two middle school titles. This is her first head-coaching position at the high school level. She points to Jerry Jackson’s Redan team as the biggest challenge in Region 6-AAAA.

After scrimmaging defending AAAAA …

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Friday rewind: Chubb checked, showdown set and Alexander springs upset

By David Purdum / For the AJC

In the final game of his prolific high school career, Cedartown running back Nick Chubb was held to 71 yards on 19 carries in a 63-10 loss to No. 1 Sandy Creek. Chubb finishes his senior season with 2,710 yards and 39 touchdowns. He rushed for 5,431 yards combined in the past two seasons.

Sandy Creek running backs Delvin Weems and Eric Swinney each rushed for more than 100 yards. Swinney had four touchdowns, and Weems finished with three. Javon Jackson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown for the defending state champions, who extended their unbeaten streak to 26 games.

Sandy Creek will face Chestatee in the second round.

Upset: Alexander pulled off the biggest upset of the first-round. The Cougars, the fourth seed out of Region 5-AAAA, knocked off Region 7-AAAA champion Dalton, 13-10. Andrew Chandler’s field goal as time expired gave Alexander its first playoff win since 1996.

Second-round showdown set: No. 3 Monroe Area will host No. 4 …

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Sandy Creek preps for Nick Chubb: ‘He’s like an Alabama tailback’ + playoff picks


By David Purdum / For the AJC

No. 1 Sandy Creek begins its playoff defense with an intriguing matchup against running back Nick Chubb and Cedartown. Chubb, a Georgia commitment, has rushed for 2,612 yards and 40 touchdowns this season.

“He reminds you of Alabama tailbacks the way he runs and how physical he is,” said Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker, who coached Chubb last season in the Junior Bowl, which features rising seniors. “He can do a little bit everything, run with power, run with speed; he’ll make you miss. He’s just a really good player.”

The Patriots have won three of the last four state championships in their classification and enter the playoffs on a 25-game unbeaten streak. Walker is confident in his team’s mindset.

“Probably the last month or so, we’ve really honed in and focused,” said Walker. “You can tell it’s the playoffs. It’s a different mindset for them.”

Sandy Creek would meet No. 2 Griffin in the state quarterfinals if both …

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