Category: Sports

Friday Flashback: Football/Baseball Team Names

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Dodgers, Yankees, Pirates, Reds, Cardinals and Giants

Back in the day – like LONG before I was born when the National Football League (NFL) was just a baby sports league, many of the teams shared the names of their Major League Baseball (MLB) counterparts.  Since the NFL was trying to survive in those early years, some teams felt that sharing the name would encourage fans to attend.  Baseball was king in those days.  Today, none of the team names are shared since the St. Louis Cardinals left St. Louis for Arizona.  Here are some of the NFL (or other professional teams) which shared names with their baseball brothers:

  • Brooklyn Dodgers
    • Origin:  Two Brooklyn businessmen bought the Dayton Triangles in 1930 and renamed the team to the Dodgers.
    • Played from 1930-1943
    • Record:  60-90-9
    • Championships:  None
    • Best Finish:  2nd place (1933, 1935, 1940, 1941)
    • Best Players:  Morris “Red” Badgro, Benny Friedman, Frank “Bruiser” Kinard and Clarence “Ace” Parker
    • What happened to the Dodgers?  Team was renamed to the Tigers in 1944 but went 0-10.  They merged with the Boston Yanks for the 1945 season.  The franchise indirectly became the Indianapolis Colts.
  • New York Giants
    • Origin:  One of five teams that joined the NFL in 1925
    • Played from 1925 – Present
    • Record: 711-610-33
    • Championships:  8
    • Best Finish: 13-1-1 in 1929
    • Best Players:  This is a long list but would include Lawrence Taylor, Frank Gifford, Y.A. Tittle, Sam Huff and Charlie Conerly
    • What happened to the Giants? The team has been called the “New York Football Giants” by ESPN’s Chris Berman but the baseball team moved to San Francisco in 1957 leaving the football team as the only Giants in New York.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
    • Origin: Joined the NFL in 1933 and was originally named the Pirates by owner Art Rooney but locals referred to the team as the “Rooneymen” to distinguish them from the baseball team.
    • Played: 1933 – 1939
    • Record: 22-55-3
    • Championships: None
    • Best Finish: 6-6-0 in 1936
    • Best Players: Byron White (would later become Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court).  At the time White signed the biggest contract in NFL history.
    • What happened to the Pirates? The team was renamed to the Steelers in 1940.
  • Cincinnati Reds
    • Origin:  Joined the NFL in 1933
    • Played: 1933-1934
    • Record: 3-14-1
    • Championships: None
    • Best Finish: 3-6-1 in 1933
    • Best Players:  None
    • What happened to the Reds?  The team was suspended by the league for failure to pay their dues during the 1934 season and were replaced by the St. Louis Gunners after eight games.  The Reds have the two lowest officially recognized season scoring totals in NFL history.  They scored only 38 points in 10 games in 1933 and 37 points in 1934.
  • New York Yankees
    • Origin:  Played in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946
    • Played:  1946-1949
    • Record:  35-17-2
    • Championships:  None
    • Best Finish:  11-2-1 in 1947
    • Best Players:  Spec Sanders, Tom Landry, Frank Sinkwich
    • What happened to the Yankees?  Before the 1949 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers football team folded and merged with the Yankees to become the Brooklyn-New York Yankees in the final season of the AAFC.  The AAFC was absorbed by the NFL after the season but did not bring the team into the league and divided the players between the New York Giants and New York Bulldogs (which played at the New York Yanks in 1950).
  • St. Louis Cardinals
    • Origin: NFL team relocated from Chicago to St. Louis in 1960.
    • Played:  1960-1987
    • Record:  186-202-14
    • Championships:  None
    • Best Finish:  11-3-0 in 1975
    • Best Players:  Larry Wilson, Don Maynard, Roger Wherli, Dan Dierdorf, Jackie Smith and George Privateer
    • What happened to the Cardinals?  Owner Bill Bidwill moved the team to Phoenix, Arizona after the 1987 season.

After the St. Louis Cardinals moved to Arizona, no other NFL team has shared a name with their baseball teams.  The only teams who currently have closely-related team names are the Chicago Bears/Cubs and the Detroit Lions/Tigers.  According the team origin information both NFL teams were named to relate to their baseball teams.

 

 

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Predators Seek Elusive Cup in 2018-2019

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Predators Are Stanley Cup Favorites Again

It has been 147 days since Nashville experienced an unexpected end to the 2017-2018 season.  I’m still not over.  I’m still mad about it.

Yes, the Predators were President’s Trophy winners which is awarded to the team with the best record in the regular season.  Which would be okay if the season ended in April.

Central Division champions.  Nice.

Expectations were high last season but failed at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For the first time, my wife and I watched all or portions of every game the Predators’ games last season so it was painful to see them fail to win the Stanley Cup.   Home ice turned out to be a disadvantage in the playoffs at the Predators were 3-4.  Then to watch former Preds coach Barry Trotz take the Washington Capitals to the promised land was just another salt in the wound.  My fellow Preds fans loved it and cheered him on.  Not me.

The Nashville Predators once again begin another NHL season with high expectations.  Two hockey “experts” pick the Predators to fulfill the expectations and win the cup.   I’d like to believe it but I’m not quite ready to embrace it.

Let me begin with my apprehension about the new season.  First, let’s talk about Pekka Rinne.  Most Predators’ fans are in denial about Rinne.  Shockingly Rinne was named the Vezina Trophy winner which is awarded to the season’s best goaltender.   I will say that in the REGULAR season he was pretty good as he posted a record of 42-13-4 with a Goals Against Average (GAA) of 2.31 but he fell apart in the playoffs with a dismal 7-6 record and a horrific 3.07 GAA.  Don’t get me wrong, I want Rinne to do well but my feeling is that he will be a liability this season and will be a glaring weakness to hopes for a Cup.  His partner, Juuse Saros, played well last year and should be ready to take over if he is called upon.  I hate to say this but Rinne chokes when it counts the most.  This season is the time for him to come through for the franchise.

P.K. Subban.   Here’s another concern.  Everybody in Smashville adores Subban.  While he is known for his defense, he has too many lapses at times which makes life difficult for Nashville netminders.  He’s another that tends to fail when you need him the most.  Is he really the defenseman people think he is?

One thing that the Predators lost in the playoffs was scoring from their top line.  Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen did their part but Kevin Fiala, Kyle Turris and Mike Fisher combined for only four goals in the postseason.  When facing teams like the Winnipeg Jets, the Predators needed offense.  Fisher, who came out of retirement last season, decided to retire for good in the offseason.

The Predators will open the season without two key players in the lineup as forward Ryan Hartman has been placed on injured reserve and forward Austin Watson will be serving a 37-game suspension due to a domestic abuse incident in the offseason.

The Predators have a chance to do something special.   It’s a long season ahead.  There is no question that the team has the talent and depth to bring home Nashville’s first professional sports trophy in June it’s just a matter if they can come through in the clutch moments in the postseason.  Notching the best record in the regular season means nothing.  It’s nice but without a Cup residing in Bridgestone with it, nothing else will matter.

The Predators open the season tonight in New York against the Rangers.

SW Florida To Debut New Arena League

ALeagueA new arena “football” league is set to begin play in four Southwest Florida cities in 2019.  I put the word “football” in quotes because one of the unique rules will be no kicking.  No punts, field goals or extra points will be allowed.  The league has been organized by the ownership group of the Lakeland Tarpons.  Other teams will include the Sarasota BigCats, Gulf Coast Fire (Ft. Myers) and Manatee Neptunes (Bradenton).

The Tarpons have bounced around several leagues since they were an expansion team in the Ultimate Indoor Football League (UIFL) in 2012.  They moved to Arena Indoor Football (AIF) in 2016 and then Arena Pro Football (APF) in 2017.  They played this past season in the American Arena League (AAL).

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Lakeland Tarpons will have a league of their own in 2019

The A-League will feature several unique innovations.   There will also be new rules designed to speed up game play and enhance the fan experience. Teams will only carry 16-man rosters, which must include at least two players who play both offensive and defense. Dubbed “The Deuce”, these two way players must play all 60 minutes on both sides of the ball.

There will also be no kicking in the game. The elimination of the kicking game dramatically improves the pace of the game and eliminates many dead ball fouls and timeouts. Teams will scrimmage from their own five-yard line, or if turned over on downs, will scrimmage from that spot.

A totally unique element of the A-League is the scheduled double header game concept. All four teams will host a regular-season doubleheader where all teams will play in the same arena in back-to-back games.

The A-League season will run from May to the end of July, 2019. All teams are owned and operated by A-League Sports with teams located in a tight footprint of local Florida markets including, Lakeland, FT Myers, Sarasota and Bradenton. Plans are in place for the addition of two to four new teams for the 2020 season. Each team will play an eight-game regular season with four home games in each team’s home venue.

The A-League is developing partnerships with regional semi-pro teams to develop talent for their rosters.

The A-League will join the Arena Football League (AFL), Indoor Football League (IFL), Champions Indoor Football (CIF), American Arena League (AAL), National Arena League (NAL) and National Gridiron League (NGL) on the indoor turf next season.

For more information on the A-League you can click here.

 

Friday Flashback: Southern Football League

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The Southern Football League played from 1963-1965.  Jacksonville Robins and Daytona Beach Thunderbirds were most successful teams.

The Southern Football League (SFL) was a professional football league which played from 1963-1965.  The league was an attempt to be a minor league for the National Football League (NFL) with teams located throughout the Southeastern United States.  Cities included:  Jacksonville (FL), Daytona Beach (FL), Chattanooga (TN), Huntsville (AL), Tuscaloosa (AL), Orlando (FL), Gadsden (AL), Rome (GA), Mobile (AL), Columbus (MS), Knoxville (TN), Charlotte (NC) and Atlanta/Columbus (GA).

The Jacksonville Robins played in the Gator Bowl with their roster consisting mostly former college players from the Florida State Seminoles including quarterback Ed Trancygier and running backs Happy Fick and Fred Pickard along with tight end/kicker Possum Lee.  (Isn’t the name “Possum” fitting for a player in this league?)   The Robins won the 1963 title as Pickard dominated the league in rushing, receiving, touchdowns and scoring.  The Robins defeated the Daytona Beach Thunderbirds 13-7 in the championship game in front of 2,000 fans.

The Rome Bisons were coached by Max Bass.  Although the Bisons were winless in their only season in the SFL (1963), Bass went on to compile a 203-103-7 record in Georgia high school football from 1966-1994.

The Chattanooga Cherokees played all three seasons in the SFL but failed to succeed at the gate. Games were played at Chamberlain Field on the University of Chattanooga campus.  Engel Stadium had been considered but was rejected due to the seating configuration for baseball.   One of the Cherokees’ most notable players was Cotton Letner who starred at Meigs County High School and then as a two-year starter at end and kicker for the Tennessee Volunteers from 1958-1960.   The Cherokees lost the 1964 championship game to Daytona Beach.

The Huntsville Rockets were formed as members of the Dixie Professional Football League in 1962 and joined the SFL in 1963 under Al “Monk” Romine as coach.  Romine had been a defensive back and halfback in the NFL, Canadian Football League (CFL) and the American Football League (AFL) prior to becoming a coach.  The Huntsville Rockets folded in 19966 but have recently been resurrected in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL).

The Gadsden Raiders entered the 1964 season loaded with local talent such as Buster Gross, Melton Burgess, Terry Harris and Fred Sington.  The Raiders played a huge game against Mobile on August 8, 1964.  The game was a defensive struggle and the outcome was decided late in an 8-0 win.  Although the Raiders started out strong, they dropped their last four games of the season to finish 6-7-0.

Bud Asher coached the Daytona Beach Thunderbirds from 1963-1964 and when the team moved to Orlando in 1965.  Asher had a record of 31-2-2 in the SFL.  He also coached for high schools in Volusia County and was also the coach for the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League (WFL).  Asher also served as the Mayor of Daytona Beach from 1995-2003.

The Jacksonville Robins and Daytona Beach/Orlando Thunderbirds were the most successful teams in the SFL as Jacksonville appeared in two championship games while the Thunderbirds played in every title game.

The 1965 championship game was played at Cleveland Field in Valdosta, Georgia where the Orlando Thunderbirds defeated the Jacksonville Robins 48-21.

The SFL merged with the North American Football League (NAFL) in 1966.

1963 Standings

  • Jacksonville Robins 12-2-0
  • Daytona Beach Thunderbirds 12-2-0
  • Chattanooga Cherokees 8-5-1
  • Huntsville Rockets 7-6-1
  • Tuscaloosa Warriors 6-8-0
  • Orlando Broncos 5-9-0
  • Gadsden Raiders 5-9-0
  • Rome Bisons 0-14-0
    • League Championship:  Jacksonville 13, Daytona Beach 7

1964 Standings

  • Blue Division
    • Daytona Beach Thunderbirds 12-1-1
    • Orlando Broncos 9-4-0
    • Gadsden Raiders 6-7-0
    • Huntsville Rockets 5-9-0
  • Grey Division
    • Chattanooga Cherokees 9-5-0
    • Jacksonville Robins 8-5-1
    • Mobile Buccaneers 4-10-0
    • Columbus Warriors 1-13-0
  • League Championship:  Daytona Beach 21, Chattanooga 9

1965 Standings

  • Blue Division
    • Orlando Thunderbirds 10-1-1
    • Knoxville Bears 7-3-2
    • Charlotte Vikings 4-8-0
  • Grey Division
    • Jacksonville Robins 5-6-1
    • Atlanta/Columbus Mustangs 4-7-0
    • Chattanooga Cherokees 3-8-0
  • League Championship:  Orlando 48, Jacksonville 21

 

 

 

 

Names/Logos Set For Alliance of American Football Teams

AAF TeamsOkay, the wait is over (if you were really waiting for this).  The newest professional football league has now released their team names and logos.  The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is scheduled to kickoff on February 9, 2019.

So here they are.  These are your 10 teams:

  • Orlando Apollos
    • Stadium:  Spectrum Stadium
    • Coach:  Steve Spurrier
  • Atlanta Legends
    • Stadium:  Georgia State Stadium
    • Coach:  Brad Childress
  • Memphis Express
    • Stadium:  Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Singletary
  • Birmingham Iron
    • Stadium:  Legion Field Stadium
    • Coach:  Tim Lewis
  • Salt Lake Stallions
    • Stadium:  Rice-Eccles Stadium
    • Coach:  Dennis Erickson
  • Arizona Hotshots
    • Stadium:  Sun Devil Stadium
    • Coach:  Rick Neuheisel
  • San Diego Fleet
    • Stadium:  San Diego County Credit Union Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Martz
  • San Antonio Commanders
    • Stadium:  Alamodome
    • Coach:  Mike Riley

I don’t love or hate any of these names/logos for these proposed teams.  They didn’t pick any of the names I had expected such as Memphis Hound Dogs, Orlando Wizards, Birmingham Bulls, San Diego Breakers and San Antonio Outlaws.  Hopefully they will not end up in the graveyard of failed leagues.  Orlando, Memphis, Birmingham and San Antonio have had teams in many of the failed leagues in the past so it will be interesting to see if the fans of these cities will embrace the newest teams or will wait to see their teams fold again.  Arizona and Atlanta are the only teams with active National Football League (NFL) teams in the same city but with the spring schedule, they will not compete head-to-head.  I was a little surprised that the AAF failed to place a franchise in St. Louis.  Maybe that is in their future plans as well as expansion into the Northeast U.S.

So how will the AAF be different than the NFL?

  • AAF will get rid of kicking the extra point.  Instead, teams will go for two.
  • Play clock will be reduced to 30 seconds
  • No kickoffs.  Teams will start with the ball at the 25 to begin play.
  • Instead of an onside kick, a team can keep possession of the ball by attempting a scrimmage play from their own 35-yard line and gaining at least 10 yards.

So will the AAF survive where the USFL, WFL, CFL and other leagues failed?  It seems they are off to a good start and have some legitimate people running the league.  The last sustained attempt at an alternative spring league was the United States Football League which lasted from 1983-1986.  The league folded when the plans were made to move to the fall and compete head-to-head with the NFL.  Maybe the AAF will not repeat the mistakes of the past.  If it works, we may have access to football year-round.  That’s enough to make football haters cringe.

 

Friday Flashback: My Football “Glory” Days

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My football playing days at Villa Rica High School.  I am pictured on the right watching an Oklahoma drill as Head Coach Mac McWhorter (far left) watches intensely.

I have loved football from a very young age. The first football player I ever remember watching was Joe Namath. The first time I ever attended a football game was in 1974 when my dad took me to see his alma mater Clinch County Panthers play the Jeff Davis Yellow Jackets.

I never had the chance to play youth league football but after much asking, my dad finally let me be on the Ware County Gators 7th Grade team. I wanted to play football. I tried really hard to do it. I never realized until I tried to play on how limiting those darn pads were. Shoulder pads simply swallowed me up and the helmet made me resemble more of a bobble head figure than an actual football player. I still tried to play and I stood on the sideline in a real game as our team beat Atkinson County 8-0 in a spring game.

That was the last time I thought I would ever be on a team as we moved to Villa Rica, Georgia a few weeks into the next school year. My dad was a preacher and he was appointed to a church there to fill a sudden vacancy.  The football season had already started so I didn’t bother with it. Villa Rica was your typical small town Georgia and they had a passion for their football team although they weren’t very successful when I had arrived. It seemed that the whole town showed up on Friday Nights. It was also the first time I had ever been exposed to something called pep rallies. I thought they were pretty awesome.

I finally talked my dad into allowing me to play again. I joined the Villa Rica Wildcats’ B-Team in my sophomore year. Now don’t be impressed that I was on the team because everybody made the team. Here I was barely 100 pounds trying to play football. I wasn’t the smallest player but I was definitely in the bottom three on the size list.

So I tried to play – more accurately said, I practiced. I hated running laps at the end of practice. That alone nearly killed me. My body took a beating too. I came home everyday with bruises on my arms and many places on my body. I tried to hide them from my mother because she didn’t want me playing anyway and she would have worried even more.

What position did I play? Running back. Yes I realize how funny that sounds now. Can you imagine a 100 pound running back? I still tried. In one practice, a play called for the quarterback to fake the ball to me then pitch it to another back. After the fake I was leveled and I could swear I landed on a rock on the practice field because that’s how hard it felt to be leveled by someone twice my size. It took me a while to get up.

The coaches always preached to us about volunteering for positions. One day at practice the coach asked for a volunteer to return punts. I am not sure why, in that moment that my hand wasn’t connected to my brain; however, I raised my skinny hand and the coach put me in. The punter booted the football high in the air and I positioned myself under hoping not to drop it. The moment the football touched my hands I was steamrolled. My helmet was spun around where I was now looking out of the ear hole and fluids came out nose and mouth rather involuntarily.

My dad wasn’t always able to attend practice but when he did it seemed I played my worst in practice. Each time he was watching I ended up fumbling the ball a lot and getting yelled at by the coaches.

I still tried.

When our B-Team schedule started I watched from the sidelines. I knew I wasn’t going to stand a chance to play unless our team had a huge lead or way behind in the game. During the middle of the season I got my chance.

“Hooper” the coach yelled out.

“Who me?”

I couldn’t believe it. He was actually putting me in. We were playing Central of Carrollton and we were well ahead. The coach put me in on defense. I joined in on one tackle before I was back on the sideline again.

My next chance came a couple of weeks later when we played at Bremen. I suppose I was some sort of novelty or they felt sorry for me but the coaches had planned to put me in late in the game when our offense was close to scoring but we scored before I had the chance. When we got the ball back again on offense, they put me in and called a running play. It was a counter play where I faked one way and the went the other way into the line. I got the ball and followed the lineman before a mound of players converged on me. After the bodies had been cleared I had gained three yards. The coaches took me out.

VRHS2
Standing on the sidelines (#48) here watching our team play Bremen

I think for me just being on the team was the best experience. Sure, I wanted to play but I believe the reality of my size was too much to overcome. On Fridays we were allowed to wear our football jerseys to school. I loved that although the jersey swallowed me up and could have been a dress. I didn’t care. I still tried. The next spring I did it again.

Our varsity team got a new coach, Mac Mcwhorter. He gave the football team a renewed shot of enthusiasm and got the players motivated. I joined the team again for spring practice. I changed positions from running back to receiver and defensive back. I did pretty well catching the ball but those darn pads still limited me. It’s a hard life being short and lightweight. That weakness was made even more evident when we were scrimmaging in practice. On another occasional I was on defense and the quarterback sprinted around the end. I cut the angle and grabbed his jersey. I didn’t bring him down. Instead he airlifted me. I felt like I was holding onto Superman’s cape. When I finally let go, I was flung like a rag doll into the fence on the sidelines behind the bench.

I still tried.

We had a drill that was called “Oklahoma” where two players, usually a lineman and a back, would go head-to-head against two other players. The coach asked for volunteers.

Yep, you guessed it. My scrawny arm went up once again and I was put in this drill. I was on defense and on the other side was our starting varsity running back, Keith Glanton. Even back then, I think one of Keith’s legs was bigger than me. My job in this drill was to tackle him. When the whistle blew Keith picked his direction to run. I guessed right and attempted to grab something – anything – as I was bulldozed and felt Keith’s cleat imprint into my chest.

I was mad. I pounded the ground.

The coach apparently thought I wanted to do it again so he lined me up with another back but it was sadly the same result.

Our spring practice culminated in a game against the Carrollton Trojans.  The Trojans were our county rivals.  On the night of the game, there was a terrible storm so the game was moved to the following night.  At some point in the game, the coaches put me in the defensive back position.  I had no involvement in any plays and then on the last play I would ever play, the opposing quarterback attempted a pass which went over the receiver.  I sprinted as best as I could on the muddy field to the ball but it landed in the muck at my feet.  I tossed the ball to the referee and returned to the sideline.

That would be the end of my football playing experience.   We moved to Savannah, Georgia during the summer before my junior year.

I learned that playing football was hard.  I also learned that you can only do what your body will let you do.  Football players were big then but they are giants now.  I was very fortunate to avoid any serious injuries.

You won’t see my name in any record book or any stats reflecting the three yards I gained in a B-Team game in 1979.  In fact, you won’t even see my picture with the football team in the high school yearbook.  I think I was absent that day the photo was taken.

It the end, my body couldn’t do what my mind thought it could do but – I tried.

 

Georgia High School Football Kickoff Weekend

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Warner Robins, Villa Rica and Clinch County kick off new season

It’s is hard to believe that the 2018 Georgia High School Football season kicks off this weekend.  I’m not sure I have fully recovered from last year’s Class 5A championship game but I have to shake it off and turn the page to a new season.  For the past two seasons I have had a weekly feature on Georgia High School football.  I’m going to do it a little differently this year but I’m defintely going to be tuned in to high school football games on Friday nights again this fall; however, I will have a few weeks that I will miss here in the early part of the season due to personal reasons.

With each season there are three teams I always follow.  They are Warner Robins, Villa Rica and Clinch County.  Why these three teams?

I’ll start with the first one in my personal timeline – Clinch County.  My father used to play football for the Panthers.  The first football game he took me too was a Clinch County game and that’s something special to me.  Homerville is that typical small, rural Georgia town where they close down the town on Friday Nights to go to the football games.  It is a great atmosphere.  When I started high school, I attended Villa Rica High School where I attempted to play on the football team.  (There may be a blog about this later)   Then, years later, I ended up in Warner Robins and from 1984 – 2010 I spent many Friday nights in the fall at International City (now McConnell-Talbert) Stadium in Warner Robins.  I adopted Warner Robins as my team and I still follow them today.

So, here’s a little preview of the three teams I follow:

Warner Robins Demons

The Demons’ were my surprise team last season as they rebounded from a 3-8 season in 2016 to 14-1 and an appearance in the Class 5A State Championship game.  Warner Robins returns experienced quarterback Dylan Fromm (Yes, his older brother is Jake).  Dylan made his own mark on the high school field last season with a school record 3,505 yards and 35 touchdowns.  His favorite target is his brother – Tyler Fromm – who had 43 receptions for 529 yards and five touchdowns.  The only question mark for the Demons is how they will replace seven starters on defense.  The schedule is going to be interesting as well.  The Demons open tonight against Tift County as well as Colquitt County on September 14.  My gut tells me that the Demons might go 7-3 this season.

Villa Rica Wildcats

The Wildcats finished 5-5 last season and if not for two Paulding County schools (East Paulding and Paulding County), they would have made the playoffs.  In fact, the Wildcats started 4-1 but the second half was brutal with losses to Carrollton, Kell and Rome.  Villa Rica opens the season tonight at Campbell and they still have Carrollton, Rome and Kell to contend with.  Friday Night Football magazine lists Villa Rica as a team on the rise in Class 5A.  I’d like to agree with that but this is a tough region.  I’m thinking a 6-4 record for the ‘cats in 2018.

Clinch County Panthers

The Panthers are looking to repeat as Class A Public school champions this season and they have a pretty good shot at it with All-State Trezmen Marshall in his senior season.  Marshall is the first Clinch County player to be named Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Preseason Super 11.  The Georgia commit can do it all – kickoff specialist, inside linebacker, nose guard, punter, quarterback and tailback.  The Panthers finished second in the region but defeated region champion Irwin County for the state title last season.  The Panthers open at home tonight against Hebron Christian Academy before a challenging three weeks with games against Brooks County, Dooly County and Irwin County but playing these heavyweights at home will help.  I’m expecting the Panthers to roll to a 10-0 record.

As we embark on another high school football season, let me share with you some of my resources I use throughout the season:

  • Georgia High School Football Historians Assocation
    • This is absolutely the best-ever resource for team records, histories and statistical information
  • Georgia High School Football Daily
    • This has been an amazing resource of information.  It is produced and owned by Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye.  I’m not sure what’s going on with it this year as it hasn’t been updated since August 1st.
  • Score Atlanta
    • Another good source of information and stories as well as game reports.  I am usually constantly checking the High School Scoreboard on Friday nights.
  • Tommy Palmer Media Group
    • Tommy Palmer is a legend and I consider him THE expert in Georgia High School football.  He does the Georgia High School Scoreboard Radio Show starting around 10 pm on Friday nights.  Palmer also does a couple of other podcasts such as “This Week’s Top Ten” and “This Week’s Top Games”.
  • GPB Football App
    • Georgia Public Broadcasting has improved this app over the years and it is a good place to go.
  • Sportsmic App
    • This is another app on my iPhone and one I use to listen to Warner Robins broadcasts.

So here are my preseason picks to win state titles in 2018:

  • Class 7A:  McEachern
  • Class 6A: Tucker
  • Class 5A:  Rome
  • Class 4A:  Cairo
  • Class 3A: Peach County
  • Class 2A: Thomasville
  • Class 1A (Private): Eagle’s Landing Christian
  • Class 1A (Public):  Clinch County