Alpharetta a ’scary bunch’ for Brookwood in playoff opener

CHANNEL 2 SPORTS ZONE GAME OF THE WEEK: ALPHARETTA AT BROOKWOOD

Brookwood WR/CB Andre Sims, a Michigan State commitment, actually caught this pass last year against McEachern. (AJC photo)

Brookwood WR/CB Andre Sims, a Michigan State commitment, actually caught this pass last year against McEachern. (AJC photo)

The Georgia high school football state playoffs begin tonight and that means some of the finest football talent in the state will be put to the test against each other.

I’m heading over to Snellville tonight to cover the Class AAAAA opener between Alpharetta and Brookwood in the “Channel 2 Sports Zone Friday Game of the Week” (7:30 p.m., Charter 126/Comcast 248; 1 a.m. WSB-2). That game is a perfect example of elite talent being pitted against each other early in the playoffs.

The No. 1-seeded Broncos (9-1) feature a couple of the best players in Gwinnett County. They are led by spectacular two-way star Andre Sims, a longtime Michigan State commitment. Sims starts at both split end and cornerback. And while his offensive numbers are down from last season when he led the county with 921 yards and 16 touchdowns on 55 catches (Brookwood is running the ball more this season), he remains a constant scoring threat (515 yards, 4 TDs). Meanwhile, he has shut down opponents on his side of the field on defense.

Other offensive players I’ll be paying particular attention to for the Broncos include senior QB Ben McLane (1,485 yards passing), junior RB Nick Tompkins (1,236 yards rushing, 14 TDs) and tackle Blake Fussell (6-2, 285-pound Air Force commit).

On defense, I can’t wait to see Brookwood’s Cameron Lynch in action. The 5-11, 220-pound linebacker leads Gwinnett County in tackles (127) for the second consecutive year. He also leads the county in sacks (16) this season. But the kid is an all-around impressive individual. He has a 3.76 GPA in advanced placement coursework and scored an outstanding 4 out of 5 on the AP physics exam. He has long been committed to Syracuse but continues to be recruited by numerous schools.

Any notion that the Broncos are in for a first-round breeze, however, is quickly dispelled by coach Mark Crews. In Alpharetta, Brookwood has drawn an extremely dangerous opening opponent.

The fourth-seeded Raiders (6-4) are led by an under-recruited, dual-threat quarterback named Mikhail Abdul-Saboor. I’ve come to call Abdul-Saboor “Little Cam” after Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton. He’s considerably smaller than the Tigers’ Heisman Trophy frontrunner (5-10, 210) but poses a similar challenge for opposing defenses. He enters the game with 2,668 yards of total offense, including 1,738 passing, and has accounted for 32 touchdowns, 16 passing and 16 rushing.

Abdul-Saboor’s unique talents were on full display last Friday when busted loose for three rushing touchdowns — including two of more than 40 yards — in a dominant 29-13 upset victory over North Forsyth that knocked it out of the top seed in the region. It’s no coincidence that Abdul-Saboor was out with a high-ankle sprain during the Raiders’ three-game losing streak in early October.

“He’s a great running quarterback who is very elusive but throws the ball well,” Crew said. “They’re a scary bunch.”

Alpharetta also features one of the best sophomore play-makers in Atlanta. Wide receiver Carlos Burse (6-3, 195) has 27 catches for 581 yards and seven touchdowns. He scored three TDs in the matter of nine minutes in a 20-point win at Centenniel two weeks ago.

“My kids are excited,” said Alpharetta coach Jason Dukes, a four-year starter on the offensive line at Georgia Tech in the 1990s. “The students are excited, the faculty is excited, the custodians are excited. Our kids believe now if we execute we can contend with anyone. We think we’re a hard nut to crack for anyone.”

The Raiders have believers in Brookwood, which should know better than anybody what can happen in the state playoffs. The Broncos knocked off undefeated and top-seeded McEachern in the first round last year.

“I just remind them of what happened last year, so that resonates,” Crews said. “We know we’ve got to be ready.”

I will be, too.

51 comments Add your comment

Pup Fan

November 12th, 2010
1:03 pm

naganole

November 12th, 2010
1:04 pm

Little Cam? Hopefully pops isn’t little Cecil…

wesleywhatwhat

November 12th, 2010
1:20 pm

“little cam”?

really?

and “heisman trophy frontrunner” is no longer the first phrase that anyone thinks of when cameron newton’s name comes up…

lucky21

November 12th, 2010
1:39 pm

Ben Mclane Sucks!!!!!

Evil Dave

November 12th, 2010
2:42 pm

Chip – Alpharetta did NOT knock North Forsyth out of the #1 seed. Once North Forsyth saw that Roswell was up 28-0 in the first quarter, they knew they had nothing to play for (Roswell would win a tie w/North Forsyth).

Hi

November 12th, 2010
2:43 pm

FYI: Alpharetta is misspelled on the AJC homepage

johnny boy

November 12th, 2010
2:51 pm

Looks like those two Lassiter coaches that came over to Alpharetta this year to call the offense and defense are really making a difference.

Don KeBallz

November 12th, 2010
2:54 pm

Nicky Moore of Brookwood is a one man wrecking crew !! Long long for the Raiders

Say It Aint So

November 12th, 2010
2:56 pm

I think its safe to say the Broncos did knock North Forsyth out of the #1 seed in the Region. If North had won they wouldn’t have ended up tied with Roswell. Ya think.

UGA Teacher

November 12th, 2010
3:05 pm

@Evil Dave- yes, Alpharetta did knock them out of the #1 seed. Hate it for you.

smallweenieGTguy

November 12th, 2010
3:05 pm

None of the guys will come to GT. We stink.

Dfirst

November 12th, 2010
3:22 pm

Well, not exactly. Each of them, Roswell and N. Forsyth had one region loss, but Roswell had the head to head win over N. Forsyth. Roswell had the number 1 seed locked up when they won out.

Alpharetta High School Original

November 12th, 2010
3:46 pm

It’s great to finally see us make the playoffs in our seventh season. I was a freshman at AHS when we opened in 2004. Coach Dukes is the man and a great economics teacher!!!! LET EM’ HAVE IT RAIDERS!!!!!!!! KEEP IT GOING !!!!!!!!

Chip Towers

November 12th, 2010
4:19 pm

I’m here in the press box here at Brookwood Community Stadium. I’m reminded every time I come here to the vast Dave Hunter Athletics Complex what an incredibly impressive facility this is. Nobody does high school football better than the Broncos. They’ll have their hands full tonight with Alpharetta, a 7-year-old school making its first-ever playoff appearance. Conditions appear perfect for a great lineup of playoff football tonight. I’ll check into the blog as often as possible throughout the evening.

Snoopy

November 12th, 2010
4:38 pm

Coverage in the best football playing county in the entire USofA, Gwinnett County!! Brookwood is not overlooking anyone… North Gwinnett & Buford will steamroll into the second round..

Collins Hill is a sleeper.. they have righted their ship & are playing as well as anyone!!

Paddy

November 12th, 2010
4:46 pm

lucky21…..that was a real mature post by you lucky. Now, go back to your Scrabble game and leave the adults alone!

Duh'Quan Poohkraine

November 12th, 2010
6:55 pm

Does Georgia Tech have any verbal commitments yet? I heard they’ve outsourced their football team to India!

how2fish

November 12th, 2010
8:53 pm

Any score yet?

Brook Wood

November 13th, 2010
10:26 am

@lucky 21 I can’t believe you would post such a negative comment about a teenage kid who has achieved his goals and matured into a very good player. You really have no class to not be able to come up with something more positive to say about the game and about the kids playing a sport that they love. Really is that necessary ???

Saint Simons

November 13th, 2010
8:23 pm

(((( 49 – 31 ))))

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Neydermeyer Returns

November 14th, 2010
8:57 am

yes, 49-31 was a scary blowout loss….what is wrong with UGA?

ryan

November 14th, 2010
9:26 am

Saint Simons why do Tech fans put up those stupid scores Jackets are not any better HA HA lost to Miami at least UGA lead Auburn in the first half if Tech played them would been beat a lot worst .

ryan

November 14th, 2010
2:48 pm

Lowndes25 will give us update on Monday were we stand with our commits and targets it sounds like Richt will have one shot at it this class will defined his job .

We beat vandy-- yeah!!!

November 14th, 2010
9:14 pm

Enter your comments here

True DAWG fan

November 15th, 2010
10:26 am

Where’s Lowndes25? MIA

GT Sambo

November 15th, 2010
10:36 am

Chip,
Don’t know if you are posting anything today (HS round up later, maybe?) but I heard Stephon Tuitt was at the Miami/GT game saturday. I know you’ve spoken to him in the past. Can you confirm this?

After that performance on Saturday, it should have been an easy sell to get him to GT by promising him early playing time.

ryan

November 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

Will there be any recruiting news today .

Lowndes25

November 15th, 2010
12:39 pm

FYI, the UGA/GT game is set for a 7:45 kickoff…great news for us…we are going to have a ton of big-time recruits on campus for this game now that it is a night game.

ryan

November 15th, 2010
12:44 pm

Lowndes25 good to here is UGA still in great shape with are targets and commits even though we lost i thought we played decent until the 2nd half .

dawgster

November 15th, 2010
1:00 pm

Hope we here something regarding Murray…worries me that Coach Richt is staying mum on this…sounds to me like they are probably having an MRI on said knee…yea the dawgs played great, but we just couldn’t stop them…Hope Coach Grantham can restore some pride in our defense,..as i see it, we won’t be a SEC contender until our defense can actually stop someone, and to do that we need some playmakers…after watching this season it is quite obvious that we just don’t have consistant playmakers on defense…there have been spurts, but very few….our secondary is cannot seem to cover anyone, of course alot of that has to start up front…We need a Fairley type person and mentality on that side of the ball but without the dirty play…can you we really get someone with that type of ability like a Pollack…thats what the team needs, a leader on defense that actually puts a scare into the other team and you have to always be aware of where that person is lined up…the dawgs do not and have not had that for awhile…until we get a player or two like that to go along with what we have, then we will be watching the SEC championship frrom our TV sets every year…Am i a little down and frustrated, yea, we should not ever be 5-6 at UGA…not ever….i’m still as always and will always be behind my dawgs…I can’t help but recall what Jeff Dantzler who hosts DawgTalk after the games saying, “its about recruiting and getting these in state recruits”…he says it over and over and over….well, why are we not getting them, if that is what we need…i’m not laying all the blame on the coaches, i don’t do that, but it is their responsibility to evaluate the players and convince them that UGA is the place for them…we haven’t done that well enough the past few years, thus a 5-6 season to date…go dawgs…

ryan

November 15th, 2010
1:05 pm

Good News on Murray knee he is OK but has bruised chest right now i would call questionable .

ryan

November 15th, 2010
1:15 pm

Dawgster that Fairley guy played dirty i was stunned that they did not eject him ether now Auburn will be with out 2 players after they ejected .

dawgster

November 15th, 2010
1:16 pm

Great Ryan, haven’t seen info on that…Also, our AD and Coach Richt need to squash any rumors regarding the Colorada job if there isn’t any merit to it…on 790 the zone this morning they had a journalist, i believe who says that Coach Richt is high on the list, but they probably couldn’t pay near what he is getting now…also, he talked about how Coach Richt had alot of friends there and lived there in his childhood…personally, i don’t think he would uproot his family on his own to go there, but if he’s not interested then UGA and Coach Richt need to have it end there..We don’t need this hanging over the heads while we prepare for Tech and are working hard on getting one of the best recruiting classes the dawgs are putting together in years…there are recruits waiting to know what is going to happen to Coach Richt after this season…

Lowndes25

November 15th, 2010
1:24 pm

@dawgster, Coach Richt already squashed those rumors…right after the AU game.

http://georgia.247sports.com/Article/Richt-Georgia-is-my-home-5612

ryan

November 15th, 2010
1:25 pm

Richt will be the coach next year Randy Shannan job is safe after the win over Tech were some rumors about Miami to .

ryan

November 15th, 2010
1:33 pm

Murray will play against Tech they have next weekend off so that should give everyone time to heal up .

Ark Dawg

November 15th, 2010
1:47 pm

Lowndes25 did Auburn’s all around dirty play have a negative impact on any of their potential recruits? Read a posting the other day where someone was indicating it had a negative impact on an un-named recruit. Didn’t know if this was legit or just someone’s wishful thinking.

RxDawg

November 15th, 2010
2:04 pm

How can we keep our instate recruits when you have a rogue program like Auburn paying them? Then the dirty playing was just too much for me to take. I’ve never despised a program more than I do Auburn right now. I hope that place burns to the ground.

GT Sambo

November 15th, 2010
2:04 pm

I can’t believe someone would actually give credence to rumors that Mark Richt would take the Colorado job. What rationale could you possibly have for believing that. Seems like anyone spreading that was just trying to stir the pot up here in Georgia and get some publicity for themselves.

GT Sambo

November 15th, 2010
2:14 pm

RxDawg,
Newsflash! Cam Newton wasn’t coming to UGA no matter how much you paid him. He wanted to be a QB. UGA wasn’t recruiting him as a QB. And I watched that game and I saw some chippiness at the end from both teams. Certain guys got thrown out, and they should have been thrown out. Certain guys played extra hard right up to and perhaps just after the whistle. Is that “dirty”? Some would call that hard-nosed, physical football if it was their team doing it. We can debate this if you’d like, but the rules are set up in such a way to protect QBs, that if you play full-speed, to-the-whistle, on every play you are likely to get a 1 or 2 15-yard penalties called on you every game. However, I would say that I’d want guys like that on my team because at least I know they are playing hard on every play.

dawgster

November 15th, 2010
2:36 pm

GT Sambo..not saying you are not right in your comments, actually agree with most of it, but in the case of Fairley, it has been consistant with him in several games…at some point someone has to address the issue more than just a 15 yard penalty…if he was a dawg player, there would be calls from many and the media also that his rear end should be sat down…David Pollack comes to mind, played extremely hard, never let up, but to my knowledge you didn’t see the cheap shots that have become common with Fariley…of course this is just my opinion, i’m sure others will disagree…i think the one play in the game that i thought was a terrible miscall was the Newton hand to the headgear of our player, not your normal stiff arm, yet no call from the ref…again those things happen, i more than understand but that should have been 15 yards on Newton…the commentaters also pretty much said the same thing…but its over with now, so no use hashing over and over about it…

dawgster

November 15th, 2010
2:42 pm

Hey Lowndes…I did know that Coach Richt addressed the Colorado situation, but 790 the zone evidently didn’t get the memo as they interviewed a journalist or someone with some inside knowledge saying that Coach Richt was high on their list based on several factors, one being that he had grown up some there…I also can’t see him wanting or even interested in the Colorada job, but the rumor is out there, i just hope that UGA can close the door to that rumor quickly and not let it become a distraction…unfortunately, there are many on other blog sites making the absurd statements that he should go and these are so called dawg fans…my fear is that some of the recruits might believe the rumors and you know that the other schools will use that to their advantage….UGA, just needs to let everyone know that Coach Richt will be the Coach here next year and to ignore the rumors…go dawgs

Lowndes25

November 15th, 2010
3:14 pm

@Ark Dawg, yeah, it definitely didn’t do AU any favors…which is why Chizik was so quick to come out and say that the coaches don’t condone that kind of behavior.

ryan

November 15th, 2010
3:14 pm

Well good news is that Crowell and his mom will be in Athens and i hope we know about the status of Ray Drew will he be in Athens do you have any info on that Lowndes25 .

RxDawg

November 15th, 2010
3:45 pm

Sambo, I never said Richt should of recruited Cam Newton…ever. You really think he’s the only player on Auburn’s roster to get some “keep it on the down low cuz” benefits? My post was slightly tongue in cheek (obviously UGA can still pull in some fine instate recruits), but still it was to point out that Auburn has apparantley thrown out any ethics and is stooping to some pretty low levels in the name of winning football games. I’m proud I’m not associated with that “university” on this day.

As far as Fairley goes, as Dawgster pointed out, his extra hits weren’t just limited to the UGA game. This has been going on all year. He’s consistently went after opposing QB’s well after the throw with intent of injury. He has succeeded in injuring QBs too. Some casulties are Ryan Mallet, Jefferson & Lee from LSU, and Murrary. And that’s just what I know about. That tells me the coaches are well aware of his dirty play, and probably do indeed condone it despite whatever chizic likes to say in press conferences.

A lot of the blame can go to the refs for allowing it to happen and continue… but then again they are just probably following orders and protecting the SEC’s undfeated national championship contender for this year (yeh, I’m convinced that happens). That’s why you’ll see UGA start to commit chop blocks and clear the bench. If the refs are going to allow it, then we ain’t and I condone every bit of UGA’s payback because it was done with the intent to protect our exposed QB. Fairly’s type of play doesn’t belong in football and UGA tried to let him know it.

Lowndes25

November 15th, 2010
3:54 pm

@ryan, yes, Ray Drew will be in Athens for the GT game…he is excited about visiting the college that he will be attending for the next 3-4 years…ain’t that right naganole ;)

ryan

November 15th, 2010
3:57 pm

This is great news thanks for info Lowndes25 McGarity said Richt is going no were .

GT Sambo

November 15th, 2010
4:05 pm

dawgster,
On the play you are referring to, I am pretty sure Cam got a warning from the official on that. The hand wasn’t on the facemask, it was the helmet, so they couldn’t call that, and it was borderline unnecessary roughness so I think it was really a borderline call that the official told him would probably be called next time. I think it was good judgement by the official not to flag him but to warn him that that type of play was unnecessary. I wish refs would pull the warning out on some of these borderline late hit calls on QBs. If a guy is moving full speed at the QB and he at least makes an effort to get out of the way, then maybe they should get a warning. I also think their needs to be a penalty for diving like there is in hockey and soccer. I have seen QBs go down when touched to try and get a late hit flag.

dawgster

November 15th, 2010
6:31 pm

You might be right on that play, it could be considered borderline, but you made some good points…probably was the right no call there, but i wonder if Murray or someone else had done that would it have been treated the same…of course we want no and that play was not the difference in the game..

Chip Towers

November 16th, 2010
12:25 pm

GT Sambo: I’ve tried to reach Stephon without success. He usually gets back to me so hopefully I will hear from him.