Channel 2 WSB-TV game Stephenson at Parkview features prospects galore

Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell is overseeing a powerhouse football program. (AJC photo)

Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell is overseeing a powerhouse football program. (AJC photo)

It’s time to stop talking about who may or may not have football talent and go out and see for ourselves. Or, better yet, just sit back on your couch and flip on the TV and find out.

High school football begins full tilt tonight! I’ll be in Lilburn tonight watch Stephenson face Parkview in the Big Orange Jungle. Can’t wait. You can see it, too.

As you may or may not have heard, somebody conned Channel 2 WSB-TV into letting me be part of their “Channel 2 Sports Zone Friday Live Game of the Week.” The game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., will be broadcast live on RTV (”Retro Television”/Charter Ch. 127, Comcast 248) and will be replayed at 1 a.m. on Channel 2 WSB-TV. I’ll be the “analyst” while Channel 2 sports director Zach Klein hunkers down and does all the real work. Gonna be a blast.

And Zach and I are both really excited about tonight’s matchup, which pits two Class AAAAA traditional powers. Until I researched the game, I never would have believed that these schools, located about eight miles apart on opposite sides of that mound of granite known as Stone Mountain, have only met one other time and never in the regular season.

Their only other meeting came in 2005 when Stephenson defeated Parkview 20-14 in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. It seemed like almost every year before that the two powerhouses were barreling toward each other from opposite ends of the playoff brackets. But one or the other tended to get knocked off before they could meet on the gridiron. And with heavy region commitments in the past, the two teams just never could get onto each other’s regular-season schedules.

Until now. They agreed to a two-year, home-and-home contract this year.

“I don’t know how Coach [Cecil] Flowe feels but I think it’s something that needed to be done a long, long time ago,” Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell said. “Region 5-AAAAA for a long while had a 10-game region schedule and we always tried to play Southwest DeKalb, so there just wasn’t any way to make it happen. But I think it’s great for both communities. I know I’m excited.”

So is Flowe and the Parkview community.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Flowe said. “There was some reclassification and some moving around and we found ourselves looking for non-region contests. DeKalb needed a couple of games and we needed a couple of games and it just looked like a good matchup. Economic times as they are, not having to go a long distance to play seemed like a good idea.”

South Gwinnett plays M.L King in a similar arrangement next week.

There are remarkable parallels between the two programs. Stephenson is now where Parkview was in the mid-1990s before it went on its incredible run of four state championships in six years (1997, 2000, ‘01, ‘02). That is, the Jaguars have been knocking on the door of a state title but have been unable to break through.

“Ron does a great job and he has great kids over there,” Flowe said. “We’ve had our run of kids, but we don’t quite have what they do right now.”

In a word, the No. 6-ranked Jaguars are “loaded.” Or maybe we should make that “re-loaded.”

Stephenson famously had 29 of its seniors off last year’s 11-1 team sign some sort of football grant-in-aid last February. We think that’s a record in the state.

Normally, the loss of that much talent would devastate a football program. But eight of Stephenson’s 2011 seniors already have accepted scholarship offers. And between transfers and junior and senior classes numbering close to 70 kids, the Jaguars have been able to locate more talent in their vast pool.

“This is a team where I don’t see a weakness anywhere,” Flowe said of Stephenson. “If they have one I can’t find it. They have a bunch of athletes over there. From what I can gather they’re loaded.”

Asked if his team had a weakness, Gartrell just laughed.

“Yeah, we can start with coach,” he said. “We have some concerns. We did lose 10 starters off our defense last year. And we have seven starters coming back on offense but we lost our best offensive player (RB Raymond Sanders, Kentucky signee) and our best offensive and defensive lineman (Georgia signee Mike Thornton). So, yeah, we have some weaknesses.”

Some of Stephenson’s players to keep an eye on tonight include QB Jordan Tarver (Kent commitment), running back Willie Davis (South Florida), running back Mike Davis (little brother of Clemson’s James Davis), fullback Jonathan Abrams (several offers), wide receiver Cey-Ron Willingham (Middle Tennessee), center Tarik Cook, cornerback David Stevenson (UConn), free safety Jared Boyd (Duke), linebacker Regis Ball (Memphis), punter/place-kicker Colin Anderson (UAB) and strong safety Kedetrix Marcus (multiple ACC and SEC offers).

In the meantime, the Panthers aren’t devoid of talent. A young team overall, they feature several up-and-coming talents such as junior linebacker/running back Raphael Kirby, junior linebacker/wingback Patrick Flowe (Cecil’s son) and quarterback Jack Esmonde. And they have a strong set of senior leaders, including two-way lineman Walter McGriff, linebacker Kenny Flowers and free safety Joe Anderson.

And then there’s the guy Zach and I are so keen to see: Parkview senior Ike Onike (pronouced Oh-KNEE-kee). Mainly a defensive end last year, No. 28 is playing running back, fullback, tight end and wideout on offense and has been story of preseason camp for the Panthers. “He’s whatever we need him to be,” Flowe said.

Like I said, no sense talking about it anymore. Y’all tune in and watch. Ya hear?

  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Find me on Facebook
  • E-mail specific recruiting questions to me at AJCrecruiting@yahoo.com. I’ll answer them in the “Mailbag” each Friday.

47 comments Add your comment

Warner Robins Demons

August 27th, 2010
12:50 pm

Gotta love some High School football!

no direct tv?

August 27th, 2010
1:06 pm

please tell me we are not shut out of the live broadcast again ?

GeoffDawg

August 27th, 2010
1:06 pm

Sounds like a fun matchup. Is Regis Ball related to Reggie Ball of “fourth down throw away” fame? I think he went to Stephenson.

cattle dawg

August 27th, 2010
1:15 pm

Is there any heat on Gartrell to win a state title? There is a ton of talent to come thru that program.

Cuttysark

August 27th, 2010
1:17 pm

That Stephenson school must have set a high school record by sending 29 players to college on scholarships last season. Quite an impressive job of coaching by Ron Gartrell who must be very proud of his kids. I was hoping that Tarik Cook would come to the Flats as their future center. I wish him well at UCF. He is going to be a solid player for the Golden Knights. Nice article as usual Chip. Thank you! For more Georgia Tech Football articles go to http://isportsweb.com.

RxDawg

August 27th, 2010
1:50 pm

Im going to see the Troup vs. Callaway game tonight. Should be interesting since Quin Bray (sp?) transfered from Callaway to play at Troup.

dogfish

August 27th, 2010
1:50 pm

Maybe he hasn’t won a state title, but he sure sends lots of his kids to college. That is the more important issue if your a HS Coach, In my opinion. So I would conclude Coach Gartrell is doing a great job, title or not.

TXDawg

August 27th, 2010
1:56 pm

Coach Gartrell (my former HS coach before Stephenson existed) shouldn’t be feeling any pressure. Look how long it took Buck Godfrey to win his first state title. Gartrell’s will come and I get the feeling it won’t just be one.
Keep up the good work Coach!!

BigTimeTECHFan

August 27th, 2010
2:25 pm

I’m going to watch Falcons, Plant vs Manatee, then this game at 1AM.( record watch sometime over the weekend)

jermaine's dye

August 27th, 2010
2:27 pm

TexasDawg, what year did you graduate from the rock?

VolinSuwanee

August 27th, 2010
2:35 pm

i get my wife to go to almost every North Gwinnett game, home or away and since North plays a Saturday game this week i was all set to go to dinner and celebrate her birthday tonight. Plans just changed! I think i will be grilling a nice steak and baked potato for her tonight. And darn the TV will be on and guess what channel it will be on? Sounds like a plan to me.

Chip Towers

August 27th, 2010
2:57 pm

cattle dawg: Nobody wants a state title worse than Ron Gartrell. He’ll tell you.

swagg10

August 27th, 2010
2:59 pm

looking forward to setting the DVR to record this game as well as N Gwinnett game. Very good talent in the peach state. I agree that Coach Gartrell is not the best coach in the world but he does gets his athletes to college.

poopdawg

August 27th, 2010
3:20 pm

Too bad only limited people see it on live tv.

Rhall55

August 27th, 2010
3:51 pm

Chip,
What happened to the “Mail Bag”? Every Friday?

What Time....

August 27th, 2010
4:19 pm

Is the Grady/McNair football game tonight??

FAN

August 27th, 2010
4:46 pm

What Time…… is Grady/McNair game tonight?? 5:30

[...] here: Channel 2 WSB-TV game Stephenson at Parkview features prospects … Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ajc, better-yet, couch, georgia, georgia-tech, may-not, [...]

Dawggie

August 27th, 2010
6:51 pm

Wow. So if we dare say anything thats not up to your standards then you delete it? Be glad we don”t have the same ability.

Still@theBAR

August 27th, 2010
7:21 pm

Fun watching Wilder Jr (from plant that told UGA no) play against Manatee. To hell with Comcast I like my Direct so much better. Why doesn’t WSB2 play the game live on ch 2? World news, Et tonight, wife swap, primetime,20/20 are we really missing anything if WSB shows the Game on regular TV?

beatdowns galore

August 27th, 2010
7:41 pm

Late October in Jacksonville will feature beatdowns galore as the Gators will pound the dogs once again.

Slogans

August 27th, 2010
8:17 pm

What No news on (another) UGA running back arrested this AM.
Chip tied the D Myles and D Rogers news into his “recruiting” column.
Why am I not surprised?

we hit and run this state

August 27th, 2010
10:03 pm

The ever forgiving Mark Richt doesn’t want to deprive Wahsaun of his rights so he’s not suspended. There’s a reason the thugs want to go to athens. congrats on the fulmer trophy!

W Boyd

August 27th, 2010
11:24 pm

I played high school football with Ron(ald) Gartrell at Washington-Wilkes. He was a classy guy then and sounds like he is today. Good for him. State championship or not, I would think he would consider himself a success.

mike

August 28th, 2010
6:27 am

You will always have those who sit the sideline and throw barbs, that’s why they are on the sidelines and not playing or coaching. Good luck this season all high school coaches and high school athletes.

RxDawg

August 28th, 2010
8:31 am

Troup got whipped. Bray looks like a fine enough RB, but nobody really looks good when you have zero blocking. Troup’s O-line was pathetic. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they have a losing season this year. Watch, I bet Bray’s numbers go way down too. It might allow him to be a little bit under the radar for a prospect.

Louie

August 28th, 2010
8:53 am

Well, where do I start …………

The beat goes on at Thuga.
So glad CPJ has things under control at Ga. Tech.

We sit back and LOFAO daily watching the Cow Town police blotter.
Want to punish Ealy properly?
Make him sit out the South Carolina game.

Oh no, can’t do that!!!!

CMR learned that from Papa Bowden.

NO MATTER THE CRIME, MAKE EM SIT OUT THE PATSIE GAME !!!!!!!
BRILLIANT !!!

Burdell

August 28th, 2010
9:39 am

Chip…watched portions of the game last night. Thought you and Zach did a pretty good job. You definitely have a face for radio and a voice for print…;)

Coffee Fan

August 28th, 2010
10:00 am

1-5-A Coffee County High Trojans lost again last night to Ware Co. Now have lost 8 in row under there stupid Head Coach and home boy staff. CHS will be luck to win 2 games with these Bozo’s running the team. The kids deserve better.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 28th, 2010
11:09 am

Coffee lost to a school half it’s size….. if Ware goes to state maybe that will be why. I don’t know if it is talent or coaching or both but Coffe should be better than what they have shown lately. Maybe they should go after the head coach at Fitzgerald. He is a winner.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 28th, 2010
11:09 am

Never mind – Fitzgerald lost friday night.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 28th, 2010
11:11 am

UGA should not let ego get in the way of contacting Stephon Tuitt. Maybe he is a lost cause but it’s still worth a try.

Trojan

August 28th, 2010
5:40 pm

Coffee has good players but no direction..The BOE and the fans need to get of their A@@ and get a GOOD COACH.

Sammons1

August 28th, 2010
7:21 pm

QB Justin Worley – Tennessee commit – throws for 5 TDs vs.
a defense led by Rivals #1 player Jadeveon Clowney.

RockbridgeRoadDawg

August 28th, 2010
9:22 pm

Great game last night in the jungle. Stephenson’s Jafar Mann is a beast!!! UGA needs to send him an hand written offer asap. He’s just a junior 6′3 about 270. Stephenson is loaded. They have another kid named Preston Smith at DE that reminds me of Jermaine Cunnigham. 6″6 240. They’re D line is sick.

jag count

August 29th, 2010
12:43 am

Why is it most bloggers on here hate stephenson so much? If there is an article about stephenson someone has something derogatory to say. If there is an article on a past or present player someone has something derogatory to say. If you don’t like the school just don’t respond. I for one am tired of the haters on this blog. Talk about your own squad and keep mine out your mouth. Schools come and go in the hierarchy of AAAAA but Stephenson remains and that type of staying power says alot about the people associated with that program.

The Truth

August 29th, 2010
1:09 am

I caught the Stephenson @ Parkview game last night and I was Great game. It was the first game so hopefully they will improve. But the game had everyone on their toes the whole game! On another note I just wanted to say THE STEPHENSONS BAND IS AWESOME!

RxDawg

August 29th, 2010
8:47 am

jag, I found your comment ironic seeing how it came right after another blogger praised stephenson’s D-line. That said, you better grow some thicker skin if you want to stay around these blogs. Just wait till some Tech fans get in here.

jag count

August 29th, 2010
9:12 am

Louie

August 29th, 2010
11:36 am

Well, where do I start…….

Any count on thuga athletes arrested last night??

Checked Atlanta police dept. NO Ga. Tech players went to jail..
Great job by CPJ.

Louie

August 29th, 2010
9:13 pm

I’m an idiot.

Louie

August 29th, 2010
9:14 pm

I like to post totally irrelevant topics.

Dekalb football fan

August 30th, 2010
1:00 pm

Stephenson looked kind of weak . They are still running that boring offense. The out come will be the same again this year one play off win and out. The coach does not know how to use his talent ,anyone that knows football can see this.

Chip Towers

August 30th, 2010
2:13 pm

DeKalb football fan: I respectfully disagree. Stephenson’s offense definitely didn’t look sharp, which had a lot to do with what I think is a pretty good Parkview D. But I think the Jaguars probably learned something in this game. They may need to throw the ball a little more than they’re used to in the past. When QB Jordan Tarver sticks to the fundamentals, he looks to me like an exceptional passer. And I was probably as impressed with WR Cey-Ron Willingham as I was anybody on the field Friday. Dude hauled in some tough catches in tight coverage. I think if they pass first to set up the run they could be prolific on offense.

MR. 411

August 30th, 2010
9:11 pm

PLAYERS TOO WATCH: EAST COWETA’S TWINS ON DEFENSE!! JARIN FOWLER #13AN BROTHER JARED #23 BOTH ARE FSU MATERIAL…PS. THE INDIANS ARE HOSTING PEBBLE BROOK THIS FRIDAY NIGHT!!

Football

August 31st, 2010
7:28 pm

Chip I watched the game on tv noticed #35 from Stephenson this kid was all over the place he played at least 5 positions who is this kid?

Chip Towers

August 31st, 2010
9:31 pm

Football: Yes, #35 is another one of the very talented Stephenson kid. His name is Dareon Herring and he’s a 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior who played linebacker and running back. Probably should have mentioned him as well. Not sure what his recruitment situation is but, knowing Stephenson, I’m sure they’ll get him in front of some folks.