There have been 2,244 high school football games this season. Only seven remain. Here is a closer look at the state championship games coming to the Georgia Dome on Friday and Saturday.
*Defending champions: Norcross (Class AAAAAA) is trying to become the first repeat champion in the highest classification since Camden County (2008-09) and first from metro Atlanta since Parkview (2000-02). Buford (AAA) is in the finals for a record seventh consecutive time and is seeking its 10th state championship and ninth in 13 seasons. None of the other five 2012 champs survived.
*Teams to beat: Four No. 1-ranked teams made it through. They are North Gwinnett (AAAAAA), Tucker (AAAAA), Buford (AAA) and Lamar County (AA). Tucker and Buford have held the No. 1 spot since preseason.
*Unbeatens collide: Two games match undefeated teams – Tucker vs. Creekside (AAAAA) and Buford vs. Washington County (AAA). That’s not uncommon, but those will be the first since 2011.
*Underdogs: Marion County and
Compiled by Score Atlanta
Tuesday, Dec. 10
Archer 53, Brookwood 48
Buford 74, East Hall 66
Cartersville 87, Sonoraville 38
Cedar Grove 75, Towers 32
Central Gwinnett 61, Dacula 59
Decatur 64, McNair 59
Douglas County 83, Alexander 76
Duluth 65, Collins Hill 53
Dunwoody 70, Lakeside-DeKalb 64
Grady 68, Marist 52
Greater Atlanta Christian 62, Hughes 43
Henry County 80, Jackson 60
Marietta 47, Campbell 30
Miller Grove 63, Mays 44
Milton 73, Lassiter 48
Morgan County 70, Hart County 37
Norcross 81, Mountain View 25
North Gwinnett 91, Meadowcreek 69
Pace Academy 59, Wesleyan 43
Pebblebrook 66, Kennesaw Mountain 59
Pickens County 42, Dawson County 39
Pope 52, Kell 51
Putnam County 63, Bleckley County 50
Ringgold 58, Gordon Central 51
Riverside Military 73, Towns County 36
Seminole County 55, Randolph Clay 35
Shiloh 53, Berkmar 50
St. Pius 71, Cross Keys 15
Stephenson 65, North Atlanta 26
Stone Mountain 68, Washington 58
Tucker 79, Clarkston 29
Walton 70, Woodstock
By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Next week we’ll go full blast with basketball blogs three days a week, — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For now, here’s your weekly hoop fix.
Out of the gate quick
Two teams that excelled last season are off to quick starts so far, as is another team that had an average year. George Walton Academy is 5-0 after finishing last season 24-5, including a 15-0 run through Region 8. The Bulldogs lost to eventual private school runner-up Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in the second round of the state tournament. Turner County went 20-6 last season and advanced to the public school quarterfinals before falling to Wilkinson County in double overtime (76-74). The Rebels are 2-0 thus far with junior forward Taylor Daniels and sophomore guard Mylayshia Yancey leading the charge. Meanwhile, Mt. Zion-Carrollton is 4-1 after finishing last season 14-11.
St. Francis, SACA test themselves early
The two private school finalists from last
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
Football season is winding down and we are just days away from a champion being crowned in Class AA. 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.
With basketball season about to kick into full gear, let’s recap last season in Class AA region-by-region on the boys side. Girls will be previewed next week.
Teams: Berrien, Brooks County, Cook, Early County, Fitzgerald, Pelham, Thomasville
2012-13 region champion: Pelham
2012-13 playoff teams: Pelham, Early County, Thomasville, Cook County
How the region fared in the playoffs: Pelham was one of two No. 1 seeds to be eliminated in the first round of last year’s playoffs, falling 56-53 to Macon County. No team from Region 1 advanced past the second round.
Teams: Atkinson County, Bacon County, Benedictine, Bryan County, Jeff Davis, Long County, McIntosh Academy County, Metter, St. Vincent’s Academy,
Corey Tobin, a senior at Cartersville, scored his 1,000th career point in last week’s 89-37 win over Cass.
Tobin scored the basket early in the first quarter. Officials stopped the game and presented him the game ball. Tobin went on to score 21 points.
The 6-foot-5 guard began his career at Woodland and was good enough to be named to the all-county team for two years. He transferred to Cartersville when his father, Mike Tobin, took over the program there. As a junior Tobin averaged 14.2 points and 4.7 assists and was named to the all-state team.
The Purple Hurricanes are expected to be among the contenders again this year in Class AAA.
Tougher schedule takes toll
Playing biggest schools is a great way for Class AAA teams to grow their skills and push their abilities. It can also be detrimental to their record, as some learned recently.
The Buford boys, playing without several of their football players, lost to Region 1-AAAAAA Tift County 65-56 in overtime. Buford’s Rakim
Buford extended its state record this season by reaching the state finals for a seventh consecutive time. Calhoun’s streak of five was ended. Here is a list of schools that have made the state finals three straight times or more:
2003-06 Charlton County
1984-87 Lincoln County
1982-85 West Rome
1984-86 Clarke Central
1989-91 Lincoln County
1955-57 Northside (Atlanta)
2005-07 Northside (Warner Robins)
2009-11 Savannah Christian
1971-73 SE Bulloch
2002-04 Thomas Co. Central
1964-66 Warren County
Charlton County coach Rich McWhorter can become the seventh coach in GHSA history to win five state championships. Who are the six head coaches who have won five or more? (Answer Wednesday)
Answer to Monday’s question:
Keith Maloof, Norcross
High school: St. Pius
College: West Georgia
Record: 142-61 (.700)
State titles: 1 (2012 Norcross)
Background: Maloof coached at West Georgia, Loganville, Meadowcreek and Dacula before getting his first head coaching job at Tucker in 1996. In 1999, he came to Norcross, where he has won four region titles and has a record of 120-50.
Noteworthy: Maloof is the son of George Maloof, St. Pius’ coach for 26 years. Maloof’s brother, Kevin, also was a head coach for 26 seasons, most notably at Dacula, and retired in 2011. Keith Maloof and George Maloof make up one of only three combinations of fathers and sons to win state titles in Georgia.
Bob Sphire, North Gwinnett
High school: Meade County (Ky.)
College: Eastern Kentucky
Record: 237-69 (.775)
State titles: 1
Background: Sphire was head coach at Lexington Catholic in Kentucky from 1991 to 2005 and had a record of 140-39 and won a state title in 2005, the season before coming to North Gwinnett.
Lovejoy, a football region champion the past four seasons and twice a state runner-up, has replaced 13-year head coach Al Hughes with his defense coordinator, Edgar Carson, Hughes confirmed on Monday.
Hughes said he will leave Lovejoy immediately and spend time helping his father, who is ill, in Jonesboro, where he grew up, and did not criticize the move of the school that employed him as head coach since 2001. Hughes’ record at Lovejoy was 104-48 overall, 47-6 the past four seasons and 10-2 in 2013.
‘’Lovejoy was good to me and I had a great career there,’’ Hughes said. “I enjoyed the young men that I worked with and have nothing but positives to say. I had intended to be there for a long time, but this opportunity is here now, and the good lord has a plan for me. I’ll follow his lead. Right now, that’s to be with my dad and help him. God willing, I’ll find my way back into coaching somewhere.’’
Other school officials could not be reached late Monday for
Six of the 14 state finalists have a chance to win their first GHSA state titles. They are North Gwinnett, Creekside, Lamar County, Marion County, Calvary Day and Aquinas. Here are the schools that won state titles for the first time over the past 20 seasons.
2012 (4) – Norcross, Gainesville Jefferson, ELCA
2011 (3) – Grayson, Burke County, Savannah Christian
2010 (1) – Chattahoochee
2009 (2) – Sandy Creek, Wilcox County
2008 (2) – Tucker, Wesleyan
2007 (2) – Carver (Columbus), ECI
2006 (2) – Peachtree Ridge, Northside (Warner Robins)
2005 (1) – Peach County
2004 (0) -
2003 (1) – Camden County
2002 (1) – Screven County
2001 (0) -
2000 (2) – Shaw, Swainsboro
1999 (2) – Oconee County, Charlton County
1998 (2) – Dougherty, Darlington
1997 (2) – Parkview, Manchester
1996 (2) – Brookwood, Macon County
1995 (2) – Josey, Elbert County
1994 (3) – Colquitt County, Washington County, Brooks County
1993 (2) – Dunwoody, Greene County
Which head coach in the 2013 state finals
*Norcross 14, Colquitt County 9: Norcross QB A.J. Bush rushed for 113 yards on 14 carries and threw a 19-yard TD pass to Myles Autry with 6:12 left for the winning score. Norcross outgained Colquitt County 240-181 in a defensive-minded game. Norcross’ 1,000-yard rusher, Josh Boyd, was held to 55 yards on 15 carries, while Colquitt’s 1,000-yard rusher, Sihiem King, was held to 40 on 25.
What it means – Norcross reached the state final with a chance to become the first team in the highest classification to repeat as champion since Camden County in 2008-09.
*North Gwinnett 27, McEachern 21: C.J. Leggett rushed for 279 yards on 33 carries, and his 53-yard run after an interception gave North Gwinnett the lead for good 21-14 with 3:17 left in the third quarter. North was held to 80 yards passing on 21 attempts on a rainy night.
What it means – North Gwinnett is in the state finals for the second time and first since 2007. The victory sets up a rematch with Norcross
Compiled by Score Atlanta
Archer 77, Dacula 25
Banneker 42, Tri-Cities 32
Buford 71, Tift County 41
Burke County 68, Liberty County 67
Carrollton 61, Rome 58
Creekview 51, Cherokee 22
Dodge County 61, Bleckley County 43
East Coweta 62, Woodward Academy 45
Effingham County 74, Screven County 14
Greenforest 63, Cedar Grove 16
Holy Innocents’ 65, Pace Academy 37
Jones County 30, Georgia Military 17
Jonesboro 61, Mt. Zion-Jonesboro 38
Langston Hughes 53, Woodland-Stockbridge 45
Lithia Springs 49, Alexander 48
McIntosh 68, Newnan 52
Mt. Zion-Carroll 36, Bremen 33
North Gwinnett 51, Habersham Central 41
Providence Christian, 52, Athens Academy 20
Newton 51, Cedar Shoals 21
North Paulding 49, Chattooga 39
Rutland 52, Central 32
St. Pius 65, Riverwood 34
Sprayberry 52, Kennesaw Mountain 44
Starr’s Mill 49, Sandy Creek 35
Turner County 37, Wilcox County 10
Washington County 50, Baldwin County
Alexander 67, Lithia Springs 65
Allatoona 54, South Paulding 43
Cedar Grove 34,
By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Here are a few nuggets from Friday night’s semifinals:
In a great indication of parity in Class A, three of the four semifinal games were decided by one point: Aquinas 17, Mt. Pisgah 16; Calvary Day 35, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy 34; and Charlton County 34, Irwin County 33. Marion County blew out Hawkinsville in the other public school semifinal, 40-7.
Three of the four finalists will be in their first state title game: Aquinas, Calvary Day and Marion County.
The regions left standing are Region 2 (Charlton County), Region 3 (Calvary Day), Region 4 (Marion County) and Region 7 (Aquinas). Regions 5 and 6, considered by many to be the most competitive in Class A during the regular season, have been shut out of the finals.
Traditionalist may hate it, but the one-back or no-back spread offense has become the new wing-T when it comes to evening the playing field. For years, teams that were short on size and talent employed the
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
It’s hard to believe, but two of the most iconic high school football programs in Georgia have never met. That will change on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome when Buford and Washington County play for the Class AAA championship.
The dream matchup – No. 1 Buford (14-0) vs. No. 3 Washington County (13-0) – came about when both teams took care of their business on Friday night. Buford was taken to the limit by No. 5 Callaway before coming away with a 24-14 win, while Washington County ran over upstart Ringgold 37-0.
Now the two teams, which have combined to win 12 state championships and put nine players in the NFL, will get a chance to earn bragging rights. It promises to be a fun week for the online message boards.
Buford has won nine state championships and will be making its seventh straight appearance in the title game. The Wolves have won 27 straight games on the field (tossing out two forfeits due to a clerical error) and beat St. Pius in the championship