Stephenson, the high school which may have had most talent-loaded roster the state of Georgia has ever seen, was eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs.
Stephenson, which has 11 seniors committed to D1 schools and could add several more before February’s signing day, lost to Lowdnes 7-0 in the Class AAAAA playoffs on Saturday.
It was a heartbreaking end for Stephenson (9-2), which got a bad draw in the first round after losing to ML King 50-49 last week when UGA-bound WR Blake Tibbs returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown with 16 seconds left in regulation. The loss knocked Stephenson down to a No. 2 playoff seed, where it had to face an underachieving but always dangerous Lowndes squad.
The state of Georgia may never see a star-studded roster like Stephenson, which was led by AJC Super 11 DE Jarontay Jones (committed to Virginia Tech). The team’s best player was either WR DeMarcus Sweat (Kentucky) or RB Mike Davis (Florida).
The rest of the Stephenson roster included DL Jafar Mann (Florida), LB Raphael Kirby (Miami), DT Carlos Hood (South Carolina), S Kyle Fleetwood (South Carolina), DB Shawn Blaylock (Kentucky), LB Darreon Herring (Vanderbilt), TE Joshua Parris (Syracuse) and OL Nicholas Gibbons (Memphis).
Back to Saturday’s first-round loss: In fairness to Stephenson, it did have arguably the toughest first-round game in this year’s playoffs. And they did look every bit as good as advertised, winning nine in a row to start off the year, until stumbling against ML King.
Here’s our question: How did you think the 2011 Stephenson Jaguars will be remembered? Will it go down in history as the most talented team in Georgia history to not win it all? Or as the victim of a stunning first-round upset? Or as a team of greatness that simply had an unlucky playoff draw? Or 10 years from now will people only be remembering that this was the program that helped 11 seniors go D1 in a single season? Please post your comments below.