Georgia High School Football Review: First Round State Playoffs

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It was a wild night in the first round of the Georgia high school football state playoffs.  If you are a high school football coach, how can you prepare your team for winning or losing in a game that ends with a basketball score?   The Lowndes Vikings defeated Hillgrove 92-61.  Yes, I had to look at that score more than once and then verify it was not a typo.  The 153 points scored in the game is the highest scoring game in state history.  The previous record was held by Douglas A&M in their 144-0 victory of Ocilla in 1922.

Banks County had the easiest game in the first round as they defeated KIPP Atlanta by forfeit.  KIPP officials decided they would forfeit the game when their players were involved in a huge brawl in their final regular season game.  If you were wondering about this KIPP school, it stands for Knowledge is Power Program which is a tuition-free, public school in West Atlanta with college prep courses designed to push students to college.  It would have been KIPP’s first-ever playoff game.

Of the 14 first-time schools in the playoffs, three were able to claim their first playoff wins:

  • Arabia Mountain 34, Villa Rica 14
  • Hapeville Charter 42, Monticello 0
  • North Murray 28, Jackson County 14

Some of the nail-biting finishes:

Sandy Creek 23, Marist 20 (ot) – The Patriots rallied from a 17-point deficit at halftime to defeat Marist.  Sandy Creek quarterback Bryant Walker connected with Parker Mallett for the winning touchdown pass in overtime.

Westlake 24, Etowah 23 – James Miller kicked a 22-yard field goal with three seconds left for the win.  Westlake advances to play South Gwinnett in the second round.

Woodstock 35, East Coweta 34 – Woodstock overcame a 27-point deficit and scored on a 47-yard halfback pass from Louis Hall to Noah Frith with 2:19 left.

Northgate 20, Centennial 16 – Northgate scored on a 7-yard run by Ton Evans with 1:48 remaining to win the game.  Northgate will play at Valdosta in the second round.

Upsets in the first round:

  • Heritage-Ringgold 37, Stephens County 30
  • West Hall 24, Troup 21
  • Savannah 27, Cook 3
  • Clarke Central 35, Carver-Atlanta 32
  • Northwest Whitfield 31, Oconee County 20

 

 

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Waiting For Due Season To Come


In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton referred to the passage in Galatians 6:9.

“You know, scripture tells us, let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart,” she said.

Waiting for that “due season” is often very difficult.  Patience and waiting isn’t something any of us like to do.  We want to fix it, change it, make it happen now.  Not later.  Not in due season.

I know many times I have been in one of those times when I was waiting for due season.  For two years, my wife and I lived in Tampa, Florida.  After the first month there we knew it wasn’t the right place for us.  Every day I road the bus to work.  It was depressing to board that bus every day.  At times, I got weary hoping for the due season to come.  I prayed and I did everything I could to encourage myself.  I listened to songs that encouraged me.  I downloaded podcasts that spoke to my situation.  Some days, honestly, I wasn’t in the mood for being strong or the whole situation.  At times, it looked like it was never going to end.  Do you know how hard it is to do good when good isn’t happening to you?  

During those times, you keep do what you can do and leave the rest to God.  There are just some things that will only work on His timetable.  Many days during my lunch break I would walk over to the riverwalk along the Hillsborough River and ask God how much longer was it going to be.  I continued to tell Him I believed and trusted Him.  I knew that there was a purpose for me being there and prayed that I would fulfill that purpose.  Almost a year into the time in Tampa, my supervisor fell terribly ill for several months.  I had to pick up the slack and hold things together until she returned.  It was then that I realized my purpose and felt like my “due season” was approaching.  

When you are waiting for that “due season” you can’t just sit down and do nothing.  You have to keep doing what you know to do and keep moving forward.  Sitting and doing nothing makes it worse.  If you keep the right attitude and do the best you can do, it will teach you things and you will grow.  

Eventually, the due season came when a job came open and we were able to move from Tampa.  The time came for reaping and looking back to see how everything fell into place.  You will not always know the why until you get to the reaping time and look back to see your purpose for going through the due season.  Even today – two years later – I frequently look back at that time in Tampa and see what God did in that time.  

Many people are unhappy right now.  They are upset with the election results and afraid of the next four years.  This is a due season for many people.  It is important to continue doing good even when you feel that good isn’t happening in the White House.  Patience is a valuable virtue to have and keep doing good while you are being patient.  

Friday Flashback:  Big Ben Right


The Atlanta Falcons pulled off one of the most improbable wins on November 12, 1978 in a game with the New Orleans Saints at the Super Dome.  This wasn’t the same teams that we see today.  Both had labored through many losing seasons and neither had made a playoff appearance in their history at this time.  In 1978, the Falcons were on their way to their first and were on a four-game winning streak going into their game against  the Saints.  With time running out and trailing 17-13 on their own 43-yard line, Atlanta quarterback Steve Bartkowski called “Big Ben Right” which was basically a desperation play where the offense overloaded receivers to one side and the quarterback threw the ball up for grabs hoping that his teammate would come down with it.

Almost as if they had planned it, Bartkowski launched the ball deep down the right sideline where receiver Wallace Francis tipped the ball to Alfred Jenkins who was trailing on the play.  Jenkins raced the final 10 yards for the game-winning score for the Falcons.  

The miraculous play sealed a comeback that began with 2:23 left with the Falcons trailing 17-6.  

If not for that play, the Falcons would not have made the playoffs.  They lost three of their last five games and got into the postseason with a 9-7 record to qualify for the wildcard game against the Philadelphia Eagles.  The 1978 season was the first season when the National Football League had added a wildcard game.  

I personally remember watching this game.  My dad and I had been watching this game when he had to leave with the Falcons trailing 17-6.  When I saw him later I told him the Falcons had won the game.  He would not believe it as he thought I was messing with him.  It was an amazing game that I will always remember.   

How to Survive the Next Four Years

electionThe election is over and there are a lot of unhappy and disappointed people in our country.  I have never seen it this bad.  Not even when Bush defeated Gore have I seen it so divided as it is now.   There have been protests all over the country.  At first I was critical of these protests, not because of the candidates but wondering what good it did to have protests.  But protests are a good, healthy way to express our voices.   People need to speak their minds and express themselves.   We do still live in a country where there is a freedom to speak in spite of the people saying to be quiet and accept the results.

So how can people cope with having a president that is not their choice?

First, talk about it.  Share your feelings.  Participate in protests if you want to.   Express yourself.  It is our right to do so.

Second, focus on the things in your life that you can control.  There isn’t much any of us can do about the election now and even if your candidate won, there is still nothing that you can do.  We all still have to function in our own world and make our own decisions.  Live the best life you can in spite of the disappointment or who the president is.

Third, use the emotions you are feeling to get more involved as a citizen of this country.   Keep your local representatives accountable for their actions.  Support those who will become candidates in 2020.   If that doesn’t work then consider getting involved in politics yourself.  You may not become a presidential candidate in four years but you can still affect change.

Don’t lose sight of this:  “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Even if your candidate won the election, it is still your duty to hold them accountable.

Throughout my career I have had difficult bosses or co-workers and have learned to remember one thing:  Things change.  The only problem I have with that is many times things do not change fast enough but they do change.

 

 

 

Georgia High School Football Review

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.   It’s playoff season!

Georgia teams finished up their regular season schedules as teams either packed up their gear or got into position for a state playoff berth.

In one of the most interesting matchups with playoff implications was with Houston County.  The previous #1 team and all-world quarterback Jake Fromm needed to beat Valdosta to get into the playoffs.  They were unable to hold on to a 24-7 lead in the third quarter as the Wildcats came back for a 28-24 win.  Fromm was held to only 174 yards passing in the game.

Dalton finished the season at 10-0 with a thrilling 24-22 win over defending 6A champions Allatoona.  Allatoona scored in the final minute but Dalton stopped a two-point conversion to hold on for the win.  One of the amazing stats from the game was that Dalton had minus 11 yards rushing in the game.

Crisp County defeated Worth County 28-20 for the Region 4 championship in 3A.  Crisp County QB Patrick Felton tossed a 62-yard touchdown pass on the first play.  The Cougars never trailed in the game.

This week there were some very high scoring games:

  • Parkview 67, Central Gwinnett 43
  • Alexander 49, Douglas County 42
  • East Hall 71, Fannin County 58
  • Johnson County 54, Hancock Central 36
  • Liberty County 56, Pierce County 46
  • River Ridge 55, South Cobb 30
  • Trion 57, Mt. Pisgah Christian 39

Islands defeated Groves 51-12 to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in school history.   They will travel to Cordele to play Crisp County in the first round.

Lincoln County defeated First Presbyterian 55-27 and may have continued their streak of playoff appearances.   They lead the state with 42 consecutive seasons.  Class A playoff qualifications and pairings will be determined this week.

In a battle of North vs. South, North Gwinnett will playoff South Gwinnett in the first round.  It will be their first meeting since 2005.  The all-time series is tied 6-6.

On a personal note, I will have my eyes on the Class 5A first round matchups Warner Robins at Griffin and Villa Rica at Arabia Mountain.  I attended Villa Rica High School (1977-1980) and lived in Warner Robins and attended several games (1984-2009).   If those teams win, they will meet in the second round.  I would love to see it but both have huge tasks ahead of them.  Warner Robins is 3-7 and travels to Griffin (9-1).   Warner Robins leads the all-time series 3-1 including at 34-0 win in the 1976 state championship game.  Villa Rica (5-5) faces Arabia Mountain (8-2) for the first time.   This is also the first time Arabia Mountain has been in the playoffs.

 

Every Four Years The Electoral College Is More Popular Than The NCAA


Every four years when we vote for our choice for President of the United States we put the Electoral College in action.  This isn’t a college campus located near an Ivy League school, it is the process where a presidential candidate needs that magic number of 270 to win a four-year residency in the White House. 

So what the heck is the Electoral College and why is it so important in electing a president?

Unlike most elections, the candidate with the most votes does not technically win an election.  Not nationally anyway.  Basically it is supposed to be the candidate with the most votes in each state.   The Electoral College was created so that each state would have the appropriate representation in a Presidential election.

So how does this work?

The Electoral College consists of 538 electors.  Each state’s number equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation.  One electoral vote for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.  

When you cast your vote, you are counted for the elector that has been designated in your district.

If I were to vote for Hillary Clinton, I’m actually voting for Andrea Conte.  If I were to vote for Donald Trump, I’m actually casting an electorate vote for Pat Allen.

Tennessee is one of 48 states with “winner takes all” rules, based on which presidential candidate gets the most votes.  Winners in these states get all the electoral votes regardless of whether it’s a majority or a plurality.  Maine and Nebraska are the only states that do not have “winner takes all” rules.  

Most states have laws requiring electors to vote with the results.  Oddly enough 21 states do not have such a law which means there can be a “faithless elector” who doen’t vote the way their state has voted.  Fortunately, this has never affected the outcome of an election.  States have the power to punish faithless electors with fines and possible jail time, but once certified votes are sent to Washington, it’s up to Congress to accept the votes.

If not candidate gets the 270 votes needed, the House of Representatives elects from the three candidates who received the most Electoral votes. That would be quite interesting wouldn’t it?

The electors of each state convene after the election, under current federal law, on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.  They must meet in person at their state’s capitol.  This year, they will meet on December 19, 2016.  Each state sends its official vote count certificates to the Vice President, state officials, the federal court that has jurisdiction over the state capitol area and the federal archivists.  The vote certificates must be received in Washington by December 28.  This is why a president-elect doesn’t immediately take office after an election.  

Even when the media “projects” a state for a candidate, it isn’t officially a done deal until this process has been completed.  News organization can many times project a winner, even with no results, because elections tend to have predictable voting patterns; however, most major media organizations wait until polls are closed before calling a winner.

The 2000 Presidential Election was the most recent election where the popular vote winner was not elected.  George W. Bush won the Electoral College 271-266, with one Gore Elector abstaining.  Democratic candidate Al Gore held a 543,895 lead in the nationwide popular vote but the problems in Florida resulted in Bush gaining the state’s electoral votes needed to win.  

Every four years there is a continuing debate whether or not the Electoral College is necessary but it continues to be used and forgotten until the next Presidential election.  

Friday Flashback: 1947 Chicago Cardinals

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When the Chicago Cubs finally ended their 108 year championship drought, that left the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals as the major sports franchise that has gone the longest time between championships.  The Cardinals are now at the top of this dubious list with 69 seasons since their last title.  They were also once a team in Chicago when they originated as the Cardinals.  In 1947 they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 28-21.

The game was played on December 28 at Comiskey Park in Chicago.  This was the second NFL title game played after Christmas Day.  The temperature at kickoff was 29 degrees.

In the game, the Cardinals jumped out to a 14-0 lead with a 44-yard run by Charley Trippi and a 70-yard run by Elmer Angsman.  Trippi also had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter and Angsman had another 70-yard run for a score in the fourth.   Eagles later got within 28-21 with five minutes to go in the game.  The Cardinals controlled the ball the rest of the game on a long drive to hold on for the win.

Each player on the winning team received $1,132 while the losing team players got a check for $754 each.

The Cardinals have only appeared in two title games since 1947.  The lost to the Eagles in the 1948 NFL Championship and to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008.