Georgia High School Football Review: Week 8

Hurricane Matthew disrupted the schedule for many of the schools located in the Southeastern part of Georgia but a majority of the games went on as scheduled.  

Houston County teams in Warner Robins might be feeling that a hurricane ripped through their games as four of the five county teams lost this weekend.  In the much anticipated showdown between #1 Houston County and #3 Lee County the Trojans blew past Jake Fromm and the Bears 55-29.  Lee County intercepted Fromm four times.  Northside-Warner Robins was stonewalled by Valdosta 14-6 in a defensive battle.  The Wildcats recovered a muffed punt in the end zone and put together a 79-yard drive in the second quarter.  They Eagles never got on track on offense.  Warner Robins lost at home to Thomas County Central 33-22 and Veterans lost to Bainbridge 31-6.

This was the first time since 2008 that Warner Robins, Northside and Houston County all lost in the same weekend. In 2008 Warner Robins lost to Coffee, 37-20; Tift County beat Houston County 31-24 and Lowndes topped Northside 24-7. It was the first time since Veterans started playing in 2010 that all four teams have lost in the same weekend. 

Carrollton defeated Villa Rica 42-13 in what has been a rivalry game – at least for Villa Rica – but the Trojans have dominated the series 5-42-7 and has won the last eight meetings between the county foes.  It was their first meeting since 2007.  Villa Rica’s last win against Carrollton was in 1998.

Here’s this week’s top-ranked teams:

  • 7A – Roswell (6-0) beat Lassister 45-14.  Next week:  at Walton (3-3)
  • 6A – Lee County (6-0) beat Houston County 55-29.  Next week:  at Northside Warner Robins (6-1)
  • 5A – Buford (5-1) beat Johnson-Gainesville 48-0.  Next week:  at Cedar Shoals (3-3)
  • 4A – Cartersville (7-0) beat LaGrange 52-7.  Next week:  at Sandy Creek (4-2)
  • 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian (6-1) beat East Hall 69-12.  Next week:  Lumpkin County (2-3)
  • 2A – Benedictine (6-0) was off.  Next week:  Toombs County (5-1)
  • 1A (Public) – Clinch County (5-1) was off.  Next week:  at Turner County (4-2)
  • 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (7-0) beat Our Lady of Mercy 49-0.  Next week:  at Strong Rock Christian (3-4)

Friday Flashback:  CFL in the United States

There has been discussion lately about St. Louis getting a franchise in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after losing two National Football League (NFL) teams (Cardinals and Rams).  A CFL franchise in a United States city?  Crazy right?   Oddly enough, it has been tried before when the CFL migrated south in 1993 by adding the Sacramento Gold Miners.  The following season, the CFL expanded to Baltimore, Las Vegas and Shreveport.  In 1995 the league added Birmingham, Memphis and San Antonio (relocated from Sacramento).  Although they expanded into cities without NFL teams (Baltimore had lost the Colts and before the Ravens), American fans were not as receptive to the Canadian version.   Most American football stadiums had problems adjusting to the larger Canadian football field dimensions.  

Personally, I thought the U.S. expansion would work, especially in cities that didn’t have NFL franchises.  The new teams had initial success but the different version and without a major television contract, the teams were not able to survive.  Another factor most think was that the CFL season runs from July to November which forced American teams to play the first half of the season in the heat – especially with most franchises located in the South – and the second half of the season competing with high school, college and the NFL.

Baltimore was the most successful US franchise and became the only American team to win the Grey Cup when they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 37-20 in the 1995 Grey Cup.  

Baltimore was an interesting story as they were initially known as the “CFL Colts” but the NFL went to court and successfully obtained a legal injunction against the team’s use of “Colts” in their name.  Their name was temporarily changed to “Baltimore Football Club” until they changed it to the “Stallions” before the 1995 season.

The “U.S. Experiment” ended when it was announced that the Cleveland Browns were moving to Baltimore to become the Ravens in 1996.  That effectively terminated the most successful franchise along with Memphis and Birmingham folding.  

Many experts think that the CFL could have made it had they expanded closer to the border instead of the locations such as Shreveport, Birmingham and Memphis.  Shreveport?  Really?

It is doubtful that a CFL franchise in St. Louis could work but perhaps in cities like Portland, Milwuakee, Anchorage and Rochester.  

CFL in America

1993 – Sacramento Gold Miners (6-12)

1994 – Baltimore CFLers (12-6), Sacramento Gold Miners (9-8-1), Las Vegas Posse (5-13), Shreveport Pirates (3-15)

Playoffs:  Baltimore 34, Toronto 15 (Division Semifinals); Baltimore 14, Winnipeg 12 (Division Finals); British Columbia Lions 26, Baltimore 23 (Grey Cup Final)

1995 – Baltimore Stallions (15-3), San Antonio Texans (12-6), Birmingham Barracudas (10-8), Memphis Mad Dogs (9-9), Shreveport Pirates (5-13)

Playoffs:  San Antonio 52, Birmingham 9; Baltimore 36, Winnipeg 21 (Division Semifinals); Baltimore 21, San Antonio 11 (Division Finals); Baltimore 37, Calgary 20 (Grey Cup Final)

Team of the Week: Hershey Bears

As the start of ice hockey season approaches, I am featuring the Hershey Bears this week because they are oldest minor league hockey team.  The Bears have played in the American Hockey League (AHL) since 1938-39 making it the longest continuously operating team still playing in its original city.

Chocolate manufacturer Milton Hershey first established the “Hershey Hockey Club” in 1932 to manage pro hockey teams based in Hershey.    The colors of the team jersies are dark brown, medium brown, tan and white and often referred to as “chocolate and white”.

The Bears have won 11 championships – more than any other team.   Their most recent title was in 2010.  Last season, they finished 43-21-5-7 and lost in the finals to the Lake Erie Monsters.  

The Bears are the farm team for the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals.

The latest news for the Bears is that two longtime members of the organization have been elected to the American Hockey League Hall of Fame.  President and General Manager Doug Yingst along with former player and current front office executive Bryan Helmer have both been elected.

Hershey opens their 78th season on Saturday night at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Georgia High School Football Review: Week 7

Most teams are entering into region play where the games really count for the playoffs.  This means the games get bigger and the best teams will rise to the top.  Six of the eight #1 teams in each classification remained at the top while there were changes in Class 2A and Class 1A (Public).   

Benedictine regained the top spot in 2A with a 48-20 win over Bryan County and Fitzgerald’s 35-28 loss to Tift County.

Clinch County beat Atkinson County 49-14 to take back the top spot in Class 1A (Public) with Macon County’s loss to Northside-Warner Robins.

Lowndes trailed Ware County 28-21 at halftime but came out with a 28-0 third quarter as the Vikings went on to defeat the Gators 56-35.   Lowndes had 607 yards of total offense in the game.

The top-ranked team in 6A, Houston County was off this week but will travel to play #3 Lee County in a huge region game.

After a slow start, Rome is getting things together as they knocked off previously unbeaten Carrollton 45-28.  Rome had 470 yards of total offense and 27 first downs. 

Cartersville continues to roll as QB Trevor Lawrence was 11-of-18 for 152 yards and two touchdowns at the Purple Hurricanes rolled over Central Carrollton 59-9.

Brandon Thompson kicked a 24-yard field goal with 12 seconds left to give Crisp County a 16-14 win over Brooks County and remain undefeated.

Lincoln County beat their rivals from Washington-Wilkes 17-14 on a 25-yard field goal in overtime.

Top teams in Georgia:

  • Class 7A:  Roswell (5-0)
  • Class 6A:  Houston County (6-0)
  • Class 5A:  Buford (4-1)
  • Class 4A:  Cartersville (6-0)
  • Class 3A:  Greater Atlanta Christian (5-1)
  • Class 2A:  Benedictine (6-0)
  • Class 1A (Public): Clinch County (5-1)
  • Class 1A (Private):  Eagle’s Landing Christian (6-0)

Alternate Presidential Candidates

Don’t want to vote for Clinton or Trump?  Tired of the lack of choices in this Presidential Election?  There are a number of alternative candidates that will have their name on the ballot in November.  If you’re like me, you haven’t heard of any of these people.  Traditionally, no third-party or independent candidate have come close to winning a Presidential election in recent history.  

Here are the alternatives:

Libertarian Party:  Gary Johnson 

Johnson is the former Governor of New Mexico.  He is the only alternative candidate who is on the ballot in all 50 states.   In August, Johnson’s poll numbers approached the 15% threshold necessary to make him the first third party candidate since Ross Perot in 1992 to become eligible to participate in the fall presidential debates; however, the commission in charge of the debates determined that he only had 8.4%.   Johnson is a former businessman who grew Big J enterprises into a multimillion-dollar corporation with over 1,000 employees.  By the time he sold the company in 1999, it was one of New Mexico’s leading construction companies.   Johnson served two terms as governor.  He has been described as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.  During his terms as governor, taxes were cut fourteen times and never increased them. 

Green Party:  Dr. Jill Stein

Stein is on the ballot in 40 states.  She is a physician and politician.  Stein was also the Green Party’s nominee in 2012.  She ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010.  On September 7, 2016, a North Dakota judge issued a warrant for her arrest for spray-painting a bulldozer during a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.    She was also escorted off the Hofstra University campus  on Monday because she did not have the proper credentials to be there.
Constitution Party:  Darrell Castle

Castle is on the ballot in 20 states.    Castle is a politician and attorney from Memphis, Tennessee.  He has vowed that if he is elected president that he would get the United States out of the United Nations and NATO.   In June 2016, it was reported that Castle’s campaign had raised only $10,289.   Castle is described as pro-life and opposes the federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
Independent:  Evan McMullin

McMullin is on the ballot in less than 20 states.  He is the former chief policy director for the House Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives and a former CIA operations officer.  He is pro-life and opposes a culture that subsidizes abortion on demand.  He opposes same-sex marriage but has been quoted that he would not make appointments to the Supreme Court to overturn it.  
Party of Socialism and Liberation:  Gloria LaRiva

La Riva is on the ballot in Vermont, New Mexico, Iowa, Louisiana, Colorado, Washington, New Jersey and California.  She is an activist who has been involved with politics since her first run as a third-party presidential candidate in 1992.  La Riva supports right to abortion regardless of ability to pay, opposes capitalist banking practices and supports rational social and economic planning rather than market.  As of July 2016, her campaign has raised $25,234.
Reform Party:  Rocky De La Fuente

De La Fuente is a businessman, activist and politician.  He competed unsuccessfully for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President as well as nomination in Florida’s 2016 election for United States Senator.  If elected, his focus is on creating jobs.  His goal is to create 4 million jobs per year.  He also wants to create 100 city parks which he thinks would help give young people a place to play.  He also wants to help the homeless in America by putting able bodied homeless people to work and back into society.  

Other third party candidates:

Socialist Party USA:  Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik

Socialist Workers Party:   Alyson Kennedy

Team of the Week:  Watertown Red & Black

Semi-pro football teams come and go every season.  Some are not able to even finish their first season.  There is not a good stable reputation for semi-pro football teams.  As I was looking at various teams, I wondered which team has existed the longest.   I found that the Watertown Red & Black from Watertown, New York is the longest active semi-pro football team in the United States.  The team was founded in 1896 and over the years they have a record of 565-268-43 and have played the most games (876).

The Red & Black haven’t been overwhelmingly successful on the field with just a win percentage of .670 and have only won league championships twice in their history (1980 and 2009) but they have had a remarkable Green Bay-like attachment to the community.

The team has had periods of being in hiatus over their 120 years from 1909-12, 1930-31, 1943-45, 1952-53 and 1961-68 but the team always came back due to its deep roots in the community where players have a chance to continue playing the game they love after their high school or college careers have ended.  The local military base, Fort Drum, has also supplied players for soldiers who were in between deployments or just an outlet from the routine of military life.

In 2007 they lost one of their coaches during a deployment in Iraq.  Four other players returned home from Iraq and played in the championship game for the Red & Black.

The team has been a member of the Empire Football League since 1969.  They have wrapped up the regular season at 6-4 and will host the Carthage Revolution in a non-league game before they enter the league playoffs.

George Ashcraft is in his 26th as the head coach.

A 50-Year Perspective 

This past weekend we celebrated our grandchild’s first birthday.  The little guy was happy and full of smiles all day.  You couldn’t help but to smile if you were around him.  

One year old.  One year of being on this earth.

I think about the 50+ year age difference between us.  He is yet to make the choices in life which will shape his future.  I have no doubt he will be successful.  His parents are smart and he has a wonderful support system around him.  His future is full of possibilities.

I look at my own life and amazed at how it has turned out but not in disappointment but in how the choices in life guided me to where I am today.  

The earliest age I can remember I wanted to be an astronaut.  I grew up during the NASA Apollo Moon missions and was fascinated by it all.  That stuff was high tech then.  A few years ago I read that the technology in a Nintendo game system was more advanced than the Saturn V rockets.  

Nope, I never became an astronaut.  

Some folks thought I would become a preacher like my father and grandfather.   I did test the waters at some point but quickly learned it wasn’t for me.  Being a preacher is a whole lot more than preaching a sermon on Sunday mornings.

I can’t really point to any one decision that totally set the course of my life.  It was a series of decisions and following the way that laid out before me.  The Bible says:  “Time and chance happens to us all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).   We all follow the destiny of our time and chances and the decisions we make.  It is scary to be an adult and have to make your own decisions. When you lived at home you could easily blame your parents but now the decision is on you and we are all worried about making the wrong decisions.    I learned a long time ago that you make the best decision you can based on what you know and then adapt if you to.   One of the best abilities to have is the ability to adjust to the changes in life.  

One phrase I have heard repeatedly recently is “Trust God and leave the consequences to Him”.

Sometimes that’s hard to do.  But, when you have come through the other side and look back at the days, months or years you can see the path you’ve taken and understand it a little better.  

No, I didn’t become an astronaut or preacher but I am content on the way my path has led me here.