Georgia High School Football Weekly (8/23/17)

Granite-Bowl-Elberton
The Granite Bowl in Elberton holds 15,000 fans and is the largest non-shared high school stadium in Georgia.  It was built in 1952.

Here are this week’s top teams in each classification:

  • 7A:  Grayson (0-0)
    • The Rams did not play last weekend.  They have an extra week to prepare for their season opener against Alabama powerhouse Hoover.  The Rams defeated Hoover last year 36-14.
  • 6A:  Tucker (1-0)
    • The Tigers won a thriller against Kell 28-27.  Travon Ford threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Vann with 3:58 left in regulation to tie the game then connected again with Vann from 15 yards in overtime.  Kell missed the extra point on their score to give Tucker the win.  This week Tucker will host Lakeside-Atlanta (0-1).  Tucker is 27-22-1 all-time against Lakeside.  The Tigers won last year’s meeting 48-10.
  • 5A:  Rome (0-0)
    • The Wolves open their season this weekend at home against Harrison (1-0).  The Wolvers were beaten by Harrison 22-20 last year.
  • 4A:  Cartersville (1-0)
    • The Purple Hurricanes picked up where they left off with a big win over Allatoona, 35-14.  Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was 12 of 19 for 230 yards in the game.  Cartersville will play Bertram Trail from Florida this weekend.
  • 3A:  Peach County (0-0)
    • The Trojans kick off their season this weekend at Houston County (0-1).   Although Peach County leads the all-time series 9-2, the Trojans have lost the last two meetings.
  • 2A:  Benedictine (1-0)
    • The Cadets beat Glynn Academy 33-8.  Travis Blackshear had 64 yards rushing and 79 receiving along with two touchdowns in the game.  Benedictine is off this week.
  • 1A (Public):  Clinch County (1-0)
    • The Panthers started slowly but rallied to beat Bleckley County 37-14 as they scored 27 points off of five turnovers.  Clinch County had 283 yards rushing in the game.  The Panthers will host McIntosh County Academy (1-0) this weekend.  The Panthers will attempt to avenge their semifinal loss to the Buccaneers last season.
  • 1A (Private):  Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (1-0)
    • The Chargers jumped out to a 21-0 lead and held on to defeat Eagle’s Landing 21-14.  Nate McCollum ran for 82 yards and Josh Mays had 78 yards in the win.  ELCA will play at Jonesboro (1-0) on Friday.  The Chargers won last year’s meeting 8-2.

Some surprise results from Week 1:

  • Lowndes 45, Valdosta 0.  It wasn’t a surprise that the Vikings won the game but how they dominated the defending state champions in the Winnersville Classic.  This was the most lopsided victory in the 56-year history of the series.
  • Warner Robins 28, Northside-Warner Robins 17.  What a change from last year’s game when Northside demolished the Demons 55-3 which was the most lopsided victory in their series history.
  • South Forsyth 17, Roswell 14.  Roswell was a 27-point favorite going into this game but lost this game in overtime.
  • Thomasville 37, Cairo 8.  In yet another surprising lopsided victory, Thomasville handed Cairo its most lopsided loss since 1997 and biggest loss in the series since 1973.

Largest Margin of victory from Week 1:

  • Mountain View defeated Osborne 71-0.

Personal Games of interest:

  • Villa Rica 41, Central Carrollton 13.   The Wildcats opened the season with a big win to give Coach Rico Zackery his first victory at Villa Rica.  Villa Rica will travel to LaGrange this week.  The Wildcats have never beaten LaGrange.
  • Clinch County 37, Bleckley County 14 (see report above)
  • Warner Robins 28, Northside-Warner Robins 17 (see report above) – Warner Robins hosts Locust Grove this week.

Some interesting facts from Week 1:

  • No team in Region 2 (7A) won a game the first week.  Campbell, East Coweta, Newnan, Pebblebrook and Wheeler lost their openers.  Westlake did not play the first week.
  • Jordan got off to a positive start in 2017 with a 22-14 win after going winless last season.

Games to watch this week:

  • Thomasville at Thomas County Central
  • Harrison at Rome
  • Vista Murrieta (CA) at Colquitt County
  • Cedar Grove at SW DeKalb
  • Bartram Trail (FL) at Cartersville
  • Bradwell Institute at Liberty County
  • Dalton at Calhoun
  • Westminster at Greater Atlanta Christian

Friday Flashback: Macon Knights

Jacques Rumph, Macon, GA, 2003As we get ready for football season, I take us back to the indoor version which played for six seasons from 2001-2006 in Macon, Georgia.  The Arena Football League (AFL) had created a second-tier league known as AF2 and put franchises in smaller markets to increase exposure of the sport.

I know of the Macon Knights personally because I attended many of their games.  I actually entered my submission in the name-the-team contest along with a logo design for my entry.  My submission was the “Macon Possums”.

The team decided upon the Knights and they began play in the spring of 2001.   They played their first game on April 7, 2001 against the Augusta Stallions.  Over 4,000 fans watched the Knights lose a thriller to the Stallions, 64-60.  The Knights were coached by former NFL player, Kevin Porter.  Porter had coached the Pensacola Barracudas the year before.  He was also a local as he had played high school in the area.  He led the Knights to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance.

In 2002, the Knights dominated their division and had their best season at 13-3.  They were stunned by the Florida Firecats at home in the Conference Semifinals.

The Knights had their best season in 2003.  Although they were 10-6 in the regular season, they made an incredible playoff run.  The Knights knocked off the Firecats 42-35 in the wildcard game then won against Albany, NY (59-47) and Tennessee Valley (51-48) on the road to advance to the ArenaCup IV championship game.  Unfortunately, they fell behind early and was unable to catch the Tulsa Talons.

The wildcard game against the Firecats was probably the most exciting game I remember watching in person.  I had a prime seat directly behind the Firecats’ bench and the players heckled me all night.  It took a goal line stand by the Knights to hold on to win the game at the end.

In the offseason, Porter was promoted to the AFL with an assistant coaching position with the New Orleans VooDoo.  The Knights fell hard to a 3-13 record the next season.  They did not have another winning season.

The Knights played their last game on July 29, 2006.  After winning their previous four games, the lost to the Arkansas Twisters 53-33 to finish the season at 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

After the 2006 season, fans were shocked when the team announced they would be shutting down operations.   The team’s owner, Beverly Olson, cited that the team was losing too much money to stay in business.   Although the team averaged 3,161 per game, it just wasn’t enough to compete on a national scale.

The six summers of Knights’ football was an exciting time in Macon and it was sad to see it end.

Kevin Porter is now the head coach at Fort Valley State University in Ft. Valley, Georgia.

 

 

 

Georgia High School Football Season Kicks Off 2017 Season

ga state stadium
Georgia State football stadium (formerly Turner Field) to host Corky Kell Classic games this weekend

 

STARTING AT #1

It’s here.  The 2017 Georgia High School football season kicks off this weekend.  Here are teams starting out at the top of each classification:

  • 7A – Grayson
    • The Rams won the 7A title with a thrilling overtime win over Roswell.  Head Coach Jeff Heron is gone and several starters have been lost to graduation.  I don’t see them repeating in 7A but the so-called experts start them out at the top spot.  Grayson opens their season next week at home against Hoover (AL)
  • 6A – Valdosta
    • The Wildcats surprised everyone by winning the school’s first title since 1998.  The word is that another dynasty is in the making.  Valdosta will be tested from the first game as they face their crosstown rivals at Lowndes.
  • 5A – Buford
    • The Wolves always seem to get ranked higher than they should be and once again the experts put them in at #1 despite losing Head Coach Jess Simpson.  Buford opens at home against Hillgrove.
  • 4A – Cartersville
    • The Purple Hurricanes will have a chance for a three-peat and it is entirely possibly with the team returning all but one starter on the offensive line and, of course, the state’s best quarterback, Trevor Lawrence.  Cartersville won’t have an easy schedule as they play three powerhouses in their first three games.  They open at Allatoona.
  • 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian
    • I’m not sure why the Spartans are ranked #1 but they are certainly a contender for the 3A title this year.  If they can replace their starting quarterback from last season, Davis Mills, they should go a long way.  GAC opens their season at always tough Lovett.
  • 2A – Benedictine
    • The Cadets are looking to repeat and will be lead by senior quarterback Nick Iannone who threw for 1,850 yards and 24 touchdowns last season.  The Cadets open the season at Glynn Academy.
  • 1A (Public) – Macon County
    • The Bulldogs were a surprise last year but they shouldn’t sneak up on anyone this year.  They are loaded with talent but will have to replace K’hari Lane who was the Class A offensive player of the year.
  • 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian
    • The Chargers will have a lot to do with who wins the 1A Private School title this season.  They are everyone’s favorite to repeat.  ELCA opens against Eagle’s Landing.  (No, not themselves but the public school version)

CORKY KELL CLASSIC KICKS OFF WITH 18 TEAMS

The Corky Kell Classic will showcase 18 teams to kick off the season.  The classic will be played on Thursday at Mercer University’s Five Star Stadium and then Friday and Saturday at Georgia State’s Stadium which was formerly Turner Field.  Here’s the schedule for the games:

  • Thursday, August 17
    • Lee County vs. Mary Persons
    • Houston County vs. Jones County
  • Friday, August 18
    • South Forsyth vs. Roswell
    • Buford vs. Hillgrove
  • Saturday, August 19
    • Kell vs. Tucker
    • Archer vs. Brookwood
    • Colquitt County vs. Norcross
    • Mill Creek vs. McEachern
    • North Gwinnett vs. Walton

THE VOICE OF GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

If you are in the State of Georgia, you will want to tune into the Georgia High School Football Scoreboard show with the legendary Tommy Palmer.  Tommy is a seasoned voice of high school football and will give you information on the games played on Friday nights.

TEAMS OR GAMES I AM FOLLOWING

I have my own personal following of teams that I follow during the season.  Here are the games I will be following this week:

  • Warner Robins vs. Northside
    • It’s still very strange for this game to be the first game of the season.  For many years, it was the last game of the season until the schools moved to different classifications.  This will be the 60th meeting.  Warner Robins leads the series 34-25.  Northside has won the last three meetings.  Warner Robins last won 28-18 in 2013.
  • Villa Rica vs. Central-Carrollton
    • Villa Rica will have their fourth new coach in this decade.  The Wildcats opened last year with a 20-13 win over the Lions.  They have won nine straight in the series.
  • Clinch County at Bleckley County
    • Clinch County is playing only their second game ever against Bleckley County.  The Panthers trounced the Royals 47-7 last year in Homerville.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2017

Here are my predictions for 2017 state champions in each classification:

  • 7A – Roswell
    • Surprise Team:  Camden County
  • 6A – Dalton
    • Surprise Team:  Johns Creek
  • 5A – Kell
    • Surprise Team:  Warner Robins
  • 4A – Cartersville
    • Surprise Team:  Cairo
  • 3A – Peach County
    • Surprise Team:  Liberty County
  • 2A – Callaway
    • Surprise Team:  Thomasville
  • 1A (Public) – Clinch County
    • Surprise Team:  Charlton County
  • 1A (Private) – Prince Avenue Christian
    • Surprise Team:  Tattnall Square

The last school to do a “three-peat” was the Buford Wolves.  They won four straight titles from 2007-2010.

LAWRENCE LEADS LIST OF TOP PLAYERS IN GEORGIA

Here are the top five players in Georgia:

  1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Cartersville (Sr)
  2. Justin Fields, QB, Harrison (Sr)
  3. Michael Barrett, QB, Lowndes (Sr)
  4. Adam Anderson, DL, Rome (Sr)
  5. Brenton Cox, DL, Stockbridge (Sr)

GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:

  • Carrollton at Newnan
  • Mary Persons at Lee County
  • Benedictine at Glynn Academy
  • Cartersville at Allatoona
  • Greater Atlanta Christian at Lovett
  • Northside Warner Robins at Warner Robins
  • Stephenson at Cedar Grove
  • Valdosta at Lowndes
  • Norcross at Colquitt County
  • Tucker at Kell

 

 

Obscure Sports News

GDFL
Thunder Tops Crescent City for Impact Conference title 

 

Oklahoma Thunder To Meet Chattanooga Eagles In Gridiron Bowl 8

The two teams to battle in Gridiron Bowl 8 are set in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL).  The defending champion, Oklahoma Thunder, dismantled the Crescent City Kings 48-0 to win the Impact Conference.   The Chattanooga Eagles denied the Georgia Crush with a 22-16 win in the Xtreme Conference.  Oklahoma and Chattanooga will meet for the title on August 28th in Memphis, Tennessee.

Philadelphia Soul Seeks ArenaBowl Repeat

The Philadelphia Soul (14-1) and Tampa Bay Storm (11-4) will meet in ArenaBowl XXX in Philadelphia on August 26th.  Philadelphia defeated the Baltimore Brigade 69-54 while Tampa Bay eliminated the Cleveland Gladiators 73-59 in the Arena Football League (AFL) semifinals.  Philadelphia is looking to repeat as ArenaBowl champions and making their fourth appearance in the past six seasons.   Tampa Bay is playing in their 10th ArenaBowl which ties them with the Arizona Rattlers.

AT&T Stadium To Host 2017 WDFL National Championship

The World Developmental Football League (WDFL) will play on a huge stage for its national championship game.  The game is scheduled to be played at the home of the Dallas Cowboys on November 6th as the East Coast and West Coast Division winners will meet for the title.   The Georgia Cardinals (3-0) currently lead the East Coast Division.  Only three teams (California Sharks, Los Angeles Scorpions and Southern California Coyotes) comprise the West Coast Division and have not begun play at this time.

Orange County Breakers Defeat San Diego Aviators for WTT Title

Teymuraz Gabashvili closed things out with a 5-4 win in the men’s singles match to help the Breakers to a 22-18 victory for their first World Team Tennis King Trophy since 2004.  The Breakers finally broke through after losing the previous two championship games in 2015 & 2016.  Gabashvili was named the Mylan WTT Male MVP.  Yanina Wickmayer, who was named the WTT’s Female Rookie of the Year, started things out with a 5-2 win for the Breakers.

Austin Outlaws Claim Professional Quidditch Title

The Austin Outlaws defeated the Indianapolis Intensity 150-90 to claim the Major League Quidditch (MLQ) title.   (Sorry, no details on this game from the league’s website but you can watch the game on YouTube)

Toronto, San Francisco, Dallas and Madison Advance To AUDL Finals

rush

The 2017 American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) championship weekend in Montreal is set with the four teams who clinched their division titles last weekend.

West Division:  San Francisco FlameThrowers 33, Los Angeles Aviators 22

The FlameThrowers clinched a bid in their first AUDL Championship Weekend with a win over the Los Angeles Aviators.  Joel Schlacht lead the FlameThrowers with eight goals and four assists.  The FlameThrowers fell short in the Division Finals last season when they lost to the Seattle Cascades.

East Division:  Toronto Rush 29, DC Breeze 26

The Rush once again held off the Breeze in the East to advance to their 5th straight AUDL Championship Weekend.  Mark Lloyd lead the Rush with three goals and four assists and two blocks.   The Rush edged the Breeze 23-21 in overtime last season.

Midwest Division:  Madison Radicals 27, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 22

The Radicals and Thunderbirds are no strangers in the postseason as the Radicals won their third straight meeting to advance to their 5th straight AUDL Championship Weekend.  Peter Graffy had four goals and four blocks in the game.

South Division:  Dallas Roughnecks 27, Raleigh Flyers 24

The Roughnecks earned a repeat trip to the AUDL Championship Weekend with their win over the Flyers.   The Roughnecks will be looking to repeat as AUDL champions.

The semifinals games will be played on Saturday, August 26th with Madison facing San Francisco.  Dallas will play Toronto in the other semifinal.

I apologize for the lack of detail in the game reports as the league website and Facebook sites do not do a good job with that.  The league needs to do a better.

Are You Ready For Some Quidditch?

mlq1

Believe it or not this is an actual sport.  No, really.

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) is a professional quidditch league based in the United States and Canada.  The 16 teams play from June to August with each team playing nine games.  The current list of teams are:

East Division:  Boston Night Riders, New York Titans, Ottawa Black Bears, Washington Admirals

North Division:  Cleveland Riff, Detroit Innovators, Indianapolis Intensity, Rochester Whiteout

South Division:  Austin Outlaws, Kansas City Stampede, League City Legends, New Orleans Curse

West Division:  Los Angeles Guardians, Phoenix Sol, Salt Lake City Hive, San Francisco Argonauts

Major League Quidditch was founded in 2014 by Ethan Sturm, who joined with Amanda Dallas in hopes of developing quidditch further.  Sturm and Dallas currently co-commission the league.  The first season took place in 2015 with eight teams. MLQ had an extremely successful first season, picking up a sponsorship with SAVAGE The Ultimate Apparel Company, hosting twelve regular season 3 game series, and putting together a Championship Weekend.

Let me say that I have yet to read the first Harry Potter book or watch a Harry Potter movie but I think I can safely say that the players do NOT actually fly on brooms in this league.    The game incorporates a gender-integrated contact sport with elements of rugby, dodgeball, wrestling, flag football and other sports.  Each team is made up of at least seven players who play with brooms between their legs at all times.  Well, not actually the entire broom.  Mostly a stick without the broom.  Each team has three chasers, two beaters and one keeper in play at all times.  Each team also sends one seeker into the game at the end of the seeker floor.  Chasers and keepers – also known as quaffle players, attempt to score goals and prevent the other team from scoring goals with the quaffle (ball).  Goals are worth ten points.  The seekers try to remove the snitch ball from the snitch to score 30 points and end the period.

mlq2Don’t worry.  You really need to watch a game on YouTube or on the league’s website:  http://www.mlquidditch.com.   Trust me.  You will need to see it to believe it.  I was cringing while watching them play and holding a stick between their legs to play the game.   Honestly it looks like total chaos but somehow these dedicated athletes have made it a sport.   You won’t see the games played in major league stadiums but you can stay informed about the teams and the league on just about any social media network.

The 2017 MLQ Championship will be played this weekend in League City, Texas.  The weekend will feature 12 teams that have qualified after regular season play.  In the first round it will be:  Rochester vs. Salt Lake City, the winner to play Austin.  New Orleans plays San Francisco with the winner playing Boston.  League City faces New York and the winner will advance to play Indianapolis.  Finally, Detroit will take on Washington with the winner moving on to play Los Angeles.  Boston is the defending MLQ champions.

If you’re good with a broom, there may be hope for you to make it to the major leagues.

 

 

Thunderbirds Win Another Playoff Thriller

tbirds

The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds are used to playing these kinds of games in the playoffs.  In 2015, they edged Chicago 24-23 in overtime and last season they beat Minnesota 20-18 in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) playoffs.

On Saturday, they overcame a five goal deficit on the road to once again hand the Minnesota Wind Chill an early exit in the playoffs.

The Thunderbirds won 26-25 to advance to the Midwest Division final this weekend at Madison.

Minnesota had the crowd and the lead on their side for much of the game in what was the first playoff home game in the franchise’s five-year history. The Wind Chill took a decisive 4-0 lead from the get go thanks to their tenacious defensive play, and steady offensive execution. The highlight of the first half came with with seven seconds remaining in the second quarter. Minnesota defender Dylan DeClerck burst on a Pittsburgh pass for a layout block, and then continued his energy into the momentum for the bookends score and the 15-11 Wind Chill lead.

But Pittsburgh continued to hang tough throughout the contest. Despite trailing 18-13 midway through the third quarter, the Thunderbirds offense continued to find their rhythm while the defense dug deep to produce opportunities late in the game.

Following a Minnesota goal that put the score at 23-19, the Thunderbirds went on a 6-0 run during the fourth quarter to take the decisive lead. Max Thorne contributed on three scores during the rally, and finished the game with a team-high four assists and seven goals.

There will be a full slate of playoff action this weekend:

Friday, August 11

  • Montreal at DC

Saturday, August 12

  • Dallas at Raleigh
  • Pittsburgh at Madison
  • Los Angeles at San Jose

Sunday, August 13

  • Montreal/DC winner at Toronto
  • Los Angeles/San Jose winner at San Francisco

(Pittsburgh-Minnesota game story from AUDL website)