Georgia High School Football Review: Week 10

The games get bigger as the schedule winds down.  Don’t look now but I think Valdosta is for real.  The #1 ranked team in Class 6A kept their place on top with a 27-7 win over Lee County which had that position just two weeks ago after their big win over Houston County.  The Wildcats are one win away from their first region title since 2011.

Also in the same region, Northside-Warner Robins defeated Coffee County 17-14 and will face city rivals Houston County this week.  

All of the #1 teams in each classification won with Roswell needing a 6-yard run from Sheldon Evans with a minute left to edge Etowah 17-14.

Islands beat Windsor Forest 20-13 for their first homecoming victory while also giving the Sharks their first three-game winning streak.  The turning point of the game came when Islands held the Knights on a fourth-and-one from the Sharks’ 6-yard line with the scored tied at 13-13.  The Sharks are now 3-4 overall and 3-1 in the region.  The Sharks need one more win to qualify for the playoffs.

The biggest upset of the week was Greene County’s 42-14 win over Lincoln County.  It was the most points Greene County has ever scored in the series.  

Top Teams:

  • Class 7A:  Roswell (8-0) beat Etowah 17-14.  Next:  Woodstock (5-3)
  • Class 6A:  Valdosta (7-1) beat Lee County 27-7.  Next:  Coffee (5-3)
  • Class 5A:  Buford (7-1) beat Walnut Grove 38-6.  Next:  Loganville (7-1)
  • Class 4A:  Cartersville (9-0) beat Chapel Hill 48-7.  Next:  Troup (7-1)
  • Class 3A:  Greater Atlanta Christian (8-1) beat North Hall 42-14.  Next:  at Dawson County (6-1)
  • Class 2A:  Benedictine (8-0) beat Bacon County 65-7.  Next:  Metter (2-5)
  • Class 1A (Public):  Clinch County (7-1) beat Lanier County 52-0.  Next:  at Charlton County (2-5)
  • Class 1A (Private):  Eagle’s Landing Christian (8-0).  Next:  Mount Vernon Presbyterian (5-3)

USA Today Top 10  – Southeast Team Rankings

  1. IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
  2. McGill-Toolen, Mobile, Ala.
  3. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  4. Roswell, Ga.
  5. Mill Creek, Hoschton, Ga.
  6. American Heritage, Plantation, Fla.
  7. Dutch Fork, Irmo, S.C.
  8. Oakland, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
  9. Grayson, Loganville, Ga.
  10. Apopka, Fla.

Listening To God:  How does He speak to us today?

There have been numerous books and classes taught on how to listen to God.  I have often said that the main obstacle with prayer is that God doesn’t talk to us like you and I talk to each other – in an audible voice.  I have been puzzled by that many times and no one has been able to adequately explain why.  When you read in the Bible, you will see that he very much spoke to people but that gets explained away by the experts that when Jesus Christ went back to heaven that He sent the Holy Ghost.  Well, aside from those who think the practice of “speaking in tongues” is the way He speaks to us today, the Holy Ghost He sent back to us is also silent as well.

So DOES God – or the Holy Ghost – speak to us really?

He can and he will but once again not in an audible voice.

In my experience, the best way to listen to God is when I am quiet in a quiet place.  Silencing our minds and our environment around us.  Do you know how hard that is to do?  Try sitting in silence.  Our world is obsessed with noise and distractions.  No wonder people have a hard time hearing from God.  Noise is a part of our lives.

The only way we can hear from God is when He has our undivided attention.  Sitting still.  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”   It is difficult to hear from God when we are going in a million directions and have noise filling our ears.

It would be so easy for us if God spoke to us audibly but when God speaks in the quiet of our souls, it forces us to pay attention.   Being still is a lot of work and requires time and effort on our parts to get to the place where God can speak to us.

So when we get quiet and still, how does God speak?  When you clear your mind and open yourself to want to hear for God he will speak to your mind.  This isn’t something we can do rather flippantly either.  It takes work to separate your own thoughts from God speaking to you.  One rule of thumb to remember is that if you think God is speaking to you and it is against his character then it is not from God.  So what does this mean?  It means it takes practice to discern the voices in your head.  You have to build a relationship with God.  Yes, reading the Bible is a huge part of it but necessary if you are going to learn about God’s character.  You can’t let a preacher, church or writer in a blog tell you this.  You have to experience it yourself.  

In recent years I have gotten more quality time listening to God when I have been sitting quietly in a park or enjoying nature than sitting on a church pew.  I spent years sitting on the pew and have never experienced God like I do now.  I can only speak for myself.  I can’t speak for you.  

It is too easy to constantly ask God for things but don’t stop to listen or be still.  The act of being still and getting quiet is a challenge in our hectic world.  God wants us to be still so that we can have a relationship with him and so that we can have peace and receive guidance.  

Silence scares us.  When we are silent we are often forced to face ourselves and issues we might be avoiding.  We can easily block it out by turning on the television, surfing the Internet or texting.  When we are silent before God, we can turn from us being in control to allowing God to guide us.  It makes room for God’s presence when we aren’t doing all the talking or wanting to have our own way.  

It takes practice.   Isn’t having peace in our lives worth it?

Friday Flashback: 1992 National League Championship Series – Game 7

Ask any Atlanta Braves fan and they will get that warm fuzzy feeling in their stomach they experienced when they witnessed Sid Bream score the game-winning run to win the 1992 National League Championship Series and advance to their second consecutive World Series appearance.

The Atlanta Braves had risen from obscurity in the 1991 season when they won the NLCS against the same Pittsburgh Pirates but came up short to the Minnesota Twins in the World Series.  The Braves and Pirates met again for the 1992 National League pennant.

Atlanta took a 3-1 lead in the series but Pittsburgh came back to tie the series at 3 to force another seventh game.

In the deciding game, the Pirates scored first as Alex Cole led off with a walk, advanced to third on a double by Andy Van Slyke, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Orlando Merced.  In the sixth inning, Jay Bell scored on a single by Van Slyke which the Pirates took the lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Terry Pendleton led off the ninth inning with a double.  David Justice followed with a sharp grounder to Pirates’ second baseman Jose Lind, who misplayed the ball which allowed the runners to reach base at the corners with no outs.  Sid Bream was walked on four pitches from Doug Drabek.  Drabek was replaced by Stan Belinda.  Ron Gant hit a deep fly ball to Barry Bonds which allowed Pendleton to score.  Damon Berryhill was walked to load the bases again.  Belinda was able to get the next batter, Brian Hunter, to pop out for the second out.  Braves’ manager Bobby Cox sent a seldom-used utility player named Francisco Cabrera to hit for Braves’ pitcher Jeff Reardon.  Cabrera hit a line drive which allowed Justice to score.   Bream was given the green light and scored in a close play at the plate to give the Braves an improbable win.

Unfortunately the Braves went on to lose the World Series to the Toronto Bluejays.

In an interesting tidbit that I read about this game was during Cabrera’s at-bat when he hit a line drive foul before his game-winning hit, Van Slyke and Bonds got into a brief argument as Van Slyke signaled Bonds to move in closer so that Bonds could cut off a potential single and keep the runners from scoring.  Bonds gave Van Slyke the finger and refused to move then on the next swing Cabrera lined the pitch which dropped in front of Bonds.

Cabrera played one more season for the Braves and finished his career with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan.  He later managed the St. Louis Cardinals’ Dominican League affiliate.  He is the only player in Major League Baseball history to win a postseason series with a hit during an at bat in which he could have lost the series with an out.

Bream played for the Braves in 1993 then signed with the Houston Astros in 1994 and seeing limited action as a pinch hitter.

The Pirates never recovered from their loss to the Braves.  They would not have another winning season for the next 20 years and did not make another postseason appearance until 2013.

Until 2008, the Braves were the last team to win a seventh game after blowing a 3-1 series lead.

At least for one cool night in October, Braves fans will remember it warmly.





What is Litigation Support?


When I was working in Tampa one of the younger attorneys came up to me and asked:  “What is it that you do here?”

There is a danger in trying to explain to someone what I do of the listener’s eye glazing over and zoning out if the explanation gets too technical.  One attorney once said that getting him coffee was a part of “litigation support” but I quickly educated him that it wasn’t.

When I started in this job is was described as “Automated Litigation Support” or “ALS” but over the years and with the increase of litigation specific technology, it has evolved into “Litigation Support” or “Litigation Technology”.

Basically, someone in this work is assisting their attorneys in using technology to help them identify, organize and present their cases in court.  I used to say that I was a hybrid of a paralegal/information technology specialist but it has gotten increasingly technical since the changes years ago in the rules of electronic discovery.

In most offices, litigation support/litigation technology is broken down into three main areas of expertise:

  1. Trial Graphics
  2. Data Management
  3. Courtroom Presentation

Trial Graphics is often the fun and creative part of the job when attorneys need help taking an idea or argument and making a graphical representation of it.  This is helpful when they have a complex issue to explain to a jury.  Many times this will involve the use of Microsoft PowerPoint.   In my opinion, PowerPoint is widely over used.   It works effectively at times but not as something that becomes a crutch for making a presentation.  Attorneys like to use a PowerPoint presentation for their closing arguments and I have seen it used successfully many times.  There are some who will use it in their opening statements but it can be very tricky to maneuver if you use evidence that you expect to come into trial.  I always caution attorneys that they need to be sure the evidence is coming in or they will have some consequences if it doesn’t.  Aside from that, I have seen the overkill in using a PowerPoint when it was routinely used for opening statements with no fewer than 100 slides.

Data Management is the management of data that we receive such as discs, flash drives or hard drives.  We analyze the data and determine the best way to process it and make it available for the attorney to use.  I used to call this area “document management” but the fact is that we don’t get as much paper anymore that requires us to scan and put into a database.  Perhaps the issue I deal with on a daily basis is helping the staff with various audio/video formats.  When I started, we only had tapes so we knew how to play those but today it could be in any kind of format.  We must also assist the staff in getting the discovery out to opposing counsel.

Courtroom presentation involves getting the software and equipment together for attorneys and paralegals to use in the courtroom.  When I started, I had to bring all the equipment such as projector, screen, cables, computers, etc.  Today we usually only need to bring a laptop to plug into the court’s presentation system.  We have software that allows us to show documents, photos, play audio and video from one software program for presentation to the jury during witness testimony.  The original is admitted into evidence and their review during deliberation but in using presentation software we are able to direct the attention of the jury especially since society now get most of their news from a screen.  It is a very effective way to communicate.

So as you can see, it is more than getting coffee.

As the practice of law gets more technical and digital, lawyers graduating from law school are becoming more tech savvy and independent on how they use it.   I would predict that in the next 10 years or so that offices will no longer need a person who specializes in litigation technology.   The software is getting more user-friendly and the technology is getting better.  Years ago I mocked people who said the law office would one day be a paperless office.  Although it isn’t totally without paper, I have to admit that it is paper-less.






Team of the Week:  Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs

One of this season’s newest hockey teams will be in Roanoke, Virginia as the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Mississippi Surge relocated there from Biloxi, Mississippi during the offseason.  

The Rail Yard Dawgs will be the fourth professional hockey team to call Roanoke home.  The Roanoke Valley Rebels played in the Eastern Hockey League/Southern Hockey League from 1970-1976.  The Roanoke Express were in the East Coast Hockey League (1993-2004).  The last team to play in Roanoke were the Roanoke Valley Vipers in the United Hockey League (2005-2006).

Roanoke will open their season on Friday night when they host the Knoxville Ice Bears in the first hockey game in ten years.  Fans have been buying up tickets to the opening game at the Berglund Center with 6,000 of the arena’s 8,000 seats have been sold. 

Sam Ftorek is the head coach.  Ftorek played 17 years in the minor leagues with 10 different teams and transitioned to assistant coach with the Kalamazoo Wings last season.

The nickname was a result of the owners wanting a unique identity and logo for the team.  The name comes from Roanoke’s train history.  

Driving 101:  What to do when you are stuck in the intersection

With the crazy way the traffic flow is designed in downtown Nashville, you will eventually be stuck in “no man’s land” as I call it.  The most awkward place you will ever find yourself in the traffic patterns when you are stuck in the intersection when the light changes.

Aside from enduring the angry drivers honking and flipping you off, what are your options when you are in that place?

This is more commonly called “blocking the box” and causes gridlock during rush hour commutes.  Some cities enforce harsh penalties for blocking an intersection.  

First, it is good driving practice to not enter the intersection unless you will be able to exit it regardless if the light is green when you enter or not.  Here’s the official rule:

“Notwithstanding any official traffic control signal indication to proceed, a driver of a vehicle shall not enter an intersection or marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or marked crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle driven without obstructing the through passage of vehicles from either side.”  

Second, look for options to get out of the intersection but do NOT back up as there may be vehicles behind you or pedestrians crossing.  Try to change lanes or move out of the intersection as safe as you can.  Even if you miss your turn by doing this, you can always re-route yourself.

If you’ve driven in Nashville and exited off of I-40 to turn left onto Broadway, sometimes the left turn can stop without any notice and leave you stranded.  The most important thing is to be patient and scan ahead to assess traffic conditions in front of you.  Which means to stop texting and stay off the phone.  Also, don’t feel any pressure to enter the intersection just because there are other cars behind you – those drivers can wait and they won’t be lining up to pay your fine if you get ticketed.  

If you ignore the situation and get stuck with nowhere to go, just sit there and endure the ire of other drivers.   Enjoy the melody of horns and drivers telling you that you’re #1.

Let me say that all of these rules sound nice if you can follow them but not always easy to follow.  Yesterday, I drove from downtown via West End home after work and even with being alert and following these rules, I nearly got stuck in the intersection four times.  It’s very difficult to follow the rules when the traffic patterns and other drivers are against you.

Georgia High School Football Review: Week 9

Remember the scene in the movie “Jurassic Park” when you could hear the T-Rex coming and the water was vibrating on the dash?  

That sound you hear in Georgia High School football is the Colquitt County Packers.

After starting the season 0-4, the Packers have won four straight after winning their region opener in total domination of Camden County 56-10.  If they win their next two games against Tift County and Lowndes, they will be the top seed in their region.

Lee County spent one week at #1 in Class 6A but Northside-Warner Robins handed the Trojans their first loss, 26-7.  For the third week in a row, there is a new #1 team in the classification.  Valdosta claims the top spot this week for the first time since September 1999.   

Previous #1 Houston County lost their second straight 42-35 to Coffee County in spite of 325 yards passing from Jake Fromm.  The Bears could not stop Coffee’s Demetrius Davis who rushed for 224 yards and scored five touchdowns.

In what was supposed to be a huge region battle in Ashburn, the Clinch County Panthers had 348 yards rushing and the defense sacked Turner County quarterbacks seven times as they completely dismantled Turner County 66-20.  

Some other interesting scores from this past weekend:

  • Southwest Macon 48, Dublin 28 – The Patriots beat Dublin for the first time in team history.  Southwest is now 4-3 and a surprise team in their region.
  • Islands 13, Beach 7 – Islands improved to 2-4 with their first win over Beach.  They have already exceeded their win total from last season.  
  • Veterans 33, Thomas County Central 28 – The Yellow Jackets were derailed by the Warhawks who were 19-point underdogs in the game.  
  • Cedar Grove 49, Pace Academy 0 – Georgia High School Football Daily ranks this as the biggest upset of the weekend as Pace Academy were the defending state champions.  It is the first time that Pace Academy has been shut out since 2012 when they lost 55-0 to Eagle’s Landing Christian.

Top Teams:

  • Class 7A – Roswell (7-0) beat Walton 55-10.  Next:  at Etowah (4-3)
  • Class 6A – Valdosta (6-1) was off.  Next:  at Lee County (6-1)
  • Class 5A – Buford (6-1) beat Cedar Shoals 56-14.  Next:  at Walnut Grove (3-4)
  • Class 4A – Cartersville (8-0) beat Sandy Creek 35-21.  Next:  at Chapel Hill (3-3-1)
  • Class 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian (7-1) beat Lumpkin County 49-21.  Next:  at North Hall (5-3)
  • Class 2A – Benedictine (7-0) beat Toombs County 42-13.  Next:  at Bacon County (1-5)
  • Class 1A (Public) – Clinch County (6-1) beat Turner County 66-20.  Next:  vs. Lanier County (1-6)
  • Class 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (7-0) was off.  Next:  at Strong Rock Christian (3-4)

National Top Ten Teams:

  1. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
  2. IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
  3. Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, CA)
  4. Allen (Allen, TX)
  5. McGill-Toolen Catholic (Mobile, AL)
  6. Dematha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
  7. Desoto (Desoto, TX)
  8. St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
  9. Roswell (Roswell, GA)
  10. St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)