Archive for the ‘StateFinals’ Category

Class AAAAA Baseball Finals: Pope sweeps Greenbrier, 11-7 in eight innings and 15-5 in five innings

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Propelled by two huge innings, Pope swept the Class AAAAA Finals from Greenbrier, winning Game 1, 11-7 in eight innings, and Game 2, 15-5 in five innings. It gave the Greyhounds their second state title in four years (2009).

Game 1 had one of the most bizarre finishes imaginable for any ball game, let alone a state final.

Trailing 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Pope scored three runs to tie the game. The final two runs were plated on a two-out single to center by junior Patrick Wiseman that was misplayed into a double by the Greenbrier centerfielder.

But the Wolfpack retook the lead in the top of the eighth. Two walks and a single by senior Steven Maier loaded the bases, and after freshman Ty Snipes was fanned by Pope freshman hurler Cameron Allison, senior Clint Hardy’s sharp grounder ate up Greyhound shortstop Johnny Flading, which allowed Chris Michaels to score.

Greenbrier added what seemed like a key insurance run one …

Continue reading Class AAAAA Baseball Finals: Pope sweeps Greenbrier, 11-7 in eight innings and 15-5 in five innings »

Class A Baseball Private School Championship: ELCA defeats Mt. Paran 5-1 and 4-1

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy waited seven years to celebrate another baseball championship. Saturday evening, they had to wait about a little longer than anticipated.

Leading Mt. Paran Christian 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh of Game 2 with the bases empty and two outs, after already defeating the Eagles in Game 1 (5-1), the Chargers thought they had recorded the final out of the series when freshman Cole Ganopulos got fellow ninth grader Taylor Trammell to ground out to first on a full count. ELCA players charged the field and dog piled on top of Ganopulos, as did several enthusiastic students from the bleachers. But the ball had hit Trammell’s foot and was ruled a foul ball by the home plate umpire.

Not to worry. After the fans went back to the stands and all the players collected their gloves and hats, Ganopulos zipped a fastball on the outer edge of the plate for a called strike three and a Class A Private School state title …

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Track and Field (Girls): 2013 Georgia Championships (Final Results)

2013 Girls State Championships, Albany

Saturday’s results (Final)


Class AAAAAA: 1. Westlake, 72.50 ; 2. Mill Creek, 41; 3. Marietta, 40

Class AAAAA: 1. Dunwoody, 69.33; 2. Kell, 44; 3. Miller Grove, 42

Class AAAA: 1. Marist, 57.50; 2. Redan, 50; 3. Rutland, 38

Class AAA: 1. Cedar Grove, 89; 2. Blessed Trinity, 78; 3. Douglass, 47

Class AA: 1. Westminster, 72; 2. Greater Atlanta Christian (GAC), 70; 3. Wesleyan, 55

Class A-Private: 1. Our Lady of Mercy (OLM),68.50; 2. Athens Christian, 58; 3. Holy Innocents, 48

Class A-Public: 1. Marion County, 48; 2. Gordon Lee, 61.50; 3. Georgia Military College (GMC), 46

400-meter relay

AAAAAA: 1. Westlake A (45.92); 2. Westlake B (47.61); 3. McEachern (47.80)

AAAAA: 1. M.L. King (47.13); 2. North Springs (47.42); 3. Dunwoody (47.61)

AAAA: 1. Sandy Creek (47.67); 2. Shaw (47.79); 3. Rutland (48.04)

AAA: 1. Blessed Trinity (48.53); 2. Cedar Grove A (49.14); 3. Cedar Grove B (49.35)

AA: 1. Laney (49.25); 2. Early County (49.33); 3. …

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AAAAAA: Norcross 21, Lovejoy 14

Alvin Kamara had been held relatively in check for most of the night in the Class AAAAAA championship game on Saturday, but he broke loose at just the right time for Norcross.

The senior running back scored on a 61-yard reception and a 10-yard run as the Blue Devils (15-0) rallied from a 14-3 fourth-quarter deficit to beat Lovejoy 21-14 at the Georgia Dome and claim the first state title in school history.

The championship is the third consecutive for Gwinnett County, following Brookwood in 2010 and Grayson last year. The last time a team from Gwinnett or the current Region 1 did not win at least a share of the title in the highest classification was in 1995, when Quincy Carter led Southwest DeKalb to the Class AAAA title. It was the second consecutive loss in the final for Lovejoy (13-2), which lost to Tucker 22-7 in AAAA last season.

“It just feels awesome,” Norcross coach Keith Maloof said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of how our kids fought, being down 7-0 and …

Continue reading AAAAAA: Norcross 21, Lovejoy 14 »

AAAA: Sandy Creek 45, Ridgeland 10

On the first series of Saturday’s Class AAAA championship game, Ridgeland’s Vonn Bell delivered a big hit on Sandy Creek running back Eric Swinney.

Sandy Creek did the delivering the rest of the day.

Getting four first-half touchdowns from sophomore running backs Swinney and Delvin Weems, Sandy Creek won its third state title in four years, winning 45-10 to finish 15-0 and complete the season ranked No. 1 from start to finish.

“It’s a blessing,” said Swinney, who finished with 64 yards on 10 carries. “There were people who doubted us and didn’t think we could do it, but here we are. We’re state champions.”

The Patriots outgained Ridgeland 473-272. Cole Garvin passed for 249 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Wilson, who had two catches for 81 yards. Junior receiver Demarre Kitt finished with six catches for 85 yards.

“We jumped on the board real quick and it felt good,” said Garvin. “Defense played great all night long. I think we played a great …

Continue reading AAAA: Sandy Creek 45, Ridgeland 10 »

Jefferson 31, Calhoun 14

By Michael Alpert

For the AJC

Bryant Shirreffs ran 139 yards up the field Saturday, but seemingly 500-plus if you counted scrambling.

Repeatedly turning apparent losses into key gains, Jefferson’s senior quarterback proved slippery for defending champion Calhoun, running for three short touchdowns as Jefferson won its first Class AA championship, 31-14, at the Georgia Dome.

“He was winded after the first quarter,” Jefferson coach T. McFerrin said.

But after catching his breath and accepting the championship trophy with teammates on the field, Shirreffs acknowledged, “I’m going to be tired in the morning, but this is the best way to end my senior season.”

Though Jefferson was underdog against Calhoun, Shirreffs said he had an uncanny sense beforehand. Apparently knowing the Chinese calendar, he noted this being the Year of the Dragon and an ideal title chance for the Jefferson Dragons who reached championship games in 1975 and ‘77.

“I don’t know what it was, but I had a feeling …

Continue reading Jefferson 31, Calhoun 14 »

Class A Public School Final: ECI 47, Dooly County 7

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

In this technology driven age, even a small town like Twin City – population 1,752, 3.6 square miles, and home of the Emanuel County Institute Bulldogs – has a Wikipedia page. But it fails to mention one of the biggest things the town is known for: ground-and-pound football.

ECI (13-1)let that be known again Saturday morning in the Georgia Dome. The Bulldogs rolled up 353 yards rushing against Dooly County (11-3) — in spite of the presence of 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle Montravius Adams — on the way to a 47-7 rout in the Class A public school championship game.

“We run the ball at ECI,” said senior offensive lineman Gunnar Brown. “We don’t like all that passing stuff. We have a couple of passing plays we practice, but that’s it.”

“Ain’t nothing new, that’s what we do,” said senior running back Greg Purcell, who plays the role of “Batman” in the Bulldog backfield duo that features him and fellow senior …

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AAAAA: Gainesville 49, Ware County 13

It was a record-setting and drought-ending night for Deshaun Watson and the Gainesville Red Elephants.

The junior quarterback threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as Gainesville overwhelmed Ware County 49-13 in the Class AAAAA championship game on Friday at the Georgia Dome to claim the first state title in school history. Gainesville (12-3), one of the state’s all-time winningest programs, was making its seventh appearance in the final, the most of any team that had never won a title.

And as has been the case so often in his three years as a starter, it was Watson who made it all go. He came into the game needing 17 yards to break the state record for career passing yardage, and he got them on his third attempt with a 10-yard pass to Tray Harrison. It was part of an 8-for-8 effort on the Red Elephants’ opening drive that was capped by a 17-yard pass to Caleb Hayman for a 7-0 lead less than six minutes into the game.

For the game, Watson was 27-of-36 …

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AAA: Buford 10, St. Pius 3

The Buford defense lived up to its billing as the best in the state, putting the clamps on the the prolific St. Pius running game and coming away with a 10-3 victory in the Class AAA championship game.

The win gave Buford (12-3) its fourth state championship in five years and its first since moving up in classification. It was the school’s ninth state title and the eighth in 12 years.

“That’s the legacy these seniors have left you,” Buford coach Jess Simpson told his team after the game. “That’s what you juniors and sophomore have to live up to.”

Buford limited St. Pius to 104 yards rushing, 198 yards below its average, and only 184 total yards. St. Pius had only three runs that exceeded 10 yards. The St. Pius defense was equally rugged and allowed Buford only 178 total yards, 189 below its average.

The difference in the game came down to one play early in the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-1 at the 39, Buford quarterback Taylor Mitchell pitched the ball to Dontravious …

Continue reading AAA: Buford 10, St. Pius 3 »

Class A Private School Final: ELCA 33, PAC 0

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Upsets make for great drama, great books and movies. But the stark truth is this: 99.9 percent of the time, Goliath wins.

Such was the case Friday afternoon in the Georgia Dome, as Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (12-1) finally lived up to the championship level hype that has surrounded the program for the better part of four years. The Chargers dominated an over-matched but feisty team from Prince Avenue Christian (11-2), 33-0, to claim Georgia’s first ever Class A private school football championship.

Each year since the current group of seniors was in ninth grade, when a handful of them were starters or played significant minutes, ELCA inched closer and closer to a title. They lost in the second round as freshmen at Lincoln County, lost in the quarterfinals as sophomores to eventual champion Clinch County, and though they were favored to win it all last season, the Chargers were upset in the semifinals by rival Landmark …

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Norcross, Lovejoy very similar: ‘It’s an evenly matched game athlete to athlete,’ Maloof says

There’s a certain look to Lovejoy and Norcross. They have star running backs, but they also pass well. Their defenses are fast and force mistakes.

“As we’re looking at film of Norcross, it looks like a lot of what we do before our eyes,’’ Lovejoy head coach Al Hughes said. “They’ve got good running back, the quarterback is athletic, and defensively they fly around the ball and make plays.’’

Hughes’ observations are easily supported.

- Travis Custis of Lovejoy has rushed for 2,058 yards with 35 touchdowns. Alvin Kamara of Norcross has rushed for 2,210 yards with 25 touchdowns.

- Alejandro Bennifield of Lovejoy has passed for 2,395 yards with 28 touchdowns and five interceptions. Joseph Wilbur of Norcross has passed for 2,347 with 27 touchdowns and five interceptions.

- Lovejoy’s defense is led by nose tackle Nathaniel Norwood, who has 16.5 sacks. Norcross’ defense is led by Lorenzo Carter, who has 18 sacks.

- Both teams have several major Division I …

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AAAAAA scouting report: Lovejoy’s gambling defense vs. Norcross’ explosive playmakers

Class AAAAAA Title Game (8:30 p.m)

Lovejoy (13-1) vs. Norcross (14-0)

Overview: Neither school nor head coach has won a state title. Lovejoy, which opened in 1990, made the state final in AAAA last year and lost to Tucker. Norcross, which started football in 1957, will be playing in its first state championship game. Lovejoy coach Al Hughes (109-80) and Norcross coach Keith Maloof (129-59) are in their 17th seasons as head coaches.

Lovejoy: The Wildcats returned most major figures from its AAAA runner-up team but were ranked only No. 7 in preseason because of the move to a higher classification. They lost their second game at Colquitt County 14-7 before dominating weak 2-AAAAAA, winning their six region games by an average score of 53-2. They’ve beaten Tri-Cities (51-13), Marietta (36-15), No. 4 North Gwinnett (21-6) and North Cobb (63-42) in the playoffs.

Norcross season: The Blue Devils were unranked in preseason largely because of their first-round exit in 2011 but were …

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Class AAAA Scouting Report

Class AAAA Title Game (5:30 p.m)

Sandy Creek (14-0) vs. Ridgeland (13-1)

Overview: Sandy Creek is looking to win its third state title in four years. The Patriots won the Class AAAA crown in 2009 and the AAA title in 2010. The Region 5-AAAA championship was their fifth straight region title and seventh since 2003. Ridgeland is making its first state finals appearance. The Panthers claimed their fourth region crown in five years by winning the 7-AAAA championship.

Sandy Creek season: The Patriots have been ranked No. 1 since the beginning of the season and has lived up to that billing, running roughshod over 5-AAAA. No team has held them to less than 30 points, and only once have they won by fewer than 22 points, that coming in the quarterfinals against Burke County. The Patriots average 43.9 points per game.

Ridgeland season: After a shootout loss to Class AA power Calhoun in their season opener, the Panthers have reeled off 13 straight wins, none of them close at the end …

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Class AAAA Preview

Sandy Creek has put up long drives for touchdowns, but it’s no stretch to label them a big-play team.

Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker doesn’t dispute the notion.

“I think we can be. I don’t necessarily think we have to be,” said Walker. “I would say that we have big-play capabilities, and we make a bunch of them.”

Indeed, the Patriots have excelled at game-changing plays. Thirteen times in 14 games they’ve had five plays of 20 yards or longer. The five so-called explosive plays per game was one of Sandy Creek’s goals going into the season, the linchpin to wiping away some of the hurt of falling short a year ago.

“As a coach they’re always tougher to swallow when you don’t think you played as good as you could have,” Walker said. “It’s been good for us to get back to that level again.”

So perhaps the key factor in the Class AAAA final will be whether Ridgeland can level off Sandy Creek’s big plays.

Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis acknowledges as much.

“We just …

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Predictions: Norcross, Buford will bring titles to Gwinnett

Last week, I broke my long-standing rule about picking against Buford. It was a pick I came to regret and a mistake I won’t make again. So look for Buford to beat St. Pius in the Class AAA final and win the ninth state championship in school history. Also expect Sandy Creek and Calhoun to continue their dynasties. Norcross, Gainesville and Eagle’s Landing Christian will pick up their first state titles, and Emanuel County Institute will end Dooly County’s run and collect its second championship in six years.

Congratulations go out to Ron Clark of Marietta, who was last week’s winner in the High School Football Pickoff contest. Clark was the only contestant to correctly pick 12 of the 14 semifinal games and earn 24 points. Remember that this is the final week of the season, and each correct pick is worth five points. Click here to participate in this week’s contest.


Last week: 11-3 (.786); Playoffs: 135-43 (.758); Overall: 1,655-364 …

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