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Georgia High School Football Daily-09/09/11

September 9, 2011
By Calvin Scandrett of Lamar County Trojans

In The News

Blocked punts carry Lovejoy to 24-0 win

Lovejoy took advantage of three big plays on special teams and rolled to a 24-0 victory over North Clayton in a Region 4-AAAA game at Tara Stadium on Thursday.

Lovejoy blocked two punts in the first quarter to take a 9-0 lead. Less than three minutes into the game, Lovejoy blocked a punt and recovered at the North Clayton 3-yard line. Travis Custis scored two plays later for a 7-0 lead. Later in the quarter, North Clayton had another punt blocked that went out the back of the end zone for a safety.

Kaylon White made it 17-0 late in the third quarter when he returned a North Clayton punt 31 yards for a touchdown.

Lovejoy, the defending region champion, is 2-0. North Clayton, the 2010 runner-up, is 2-1.


Here is a complete list of scores from Thursday night:

Benedictine 17, Windsor Forest 16 (overtime)

Carver, Columbus 46, Hardaway 14

Drew 34, Spalding 9

Lovejoy 24, North Clayton 0

North Augusta, S.C. 38, Lakeside, Evans 22

Buford to face one of nation's top backs

One of the nation's top running backs is visiting Buford tonight in a nationally televised game (8:30 p.m., ESPNU).

Yulee junior Derrick Henry, who has committed to Georgia, rushed for 2,788 yards and 39 touchdowns as a sophomore and 2,475 yards and 26 touchdowns as a freshman. Yulee is playing only its sixth varsity season and isn't expected to win, but stopping Henry will be a challenge to a Buford defense that features four all-state players and six FBS (formerly Division I-A) recruits.

"Buford is definitely the better team, but Henry will likely be the most talented player on the field," said Stephen Spewiak, the national football editor of MaxPreps. "He's dominated at running back the past two seasons - was our national sophomore of the year - but is big and athletic enough to play a number of positions at the next level. Henry running against the Buford defense will be worth the price of admission."

Buford, ranked No. 1 in Class AA, has allowed seven points in three games against respectable competition in Carver of Columbus, Gainesville and Blessed Trinity. Buford has allowed 160 yards rushing total, and 87 came on one play in the fourth quarter when leading 35-0.

Lithonia's Veale leads state in rushing

Lithonia's claim to fame this season had been its all-state lineman, Joe Harris, who has committed to South Carolina.

Now, the DeKalb school has two more things to brag about -- the state's leading rusher and the first 2-0 start since 1998.

The star running back is Denzel Veale, who has rushed for 529 yards (264.5 per game) and scored seven touchdowns in two games.

"He's a scatback kind of guy, real quick,'' said Lithonia coach Marcus Jelks. "He breaks a lot of tackles. The first guy never tackles him.''
Veale is 5-7, 190 pounds and waiting for his first scholarship offer. Coaches from Georgia Southern, Wofford and Savannah State have shown interest.

''Denzel is our emotional leader,'' Jelks said. "It's kind of funny to see that, one of the smallest players on the team to have that kind of impact on his teammates.''

It doesn't help having Harris block, either. Harris is starting at guard on offense and tackle on defense. He's rated the top offensive lineman in Georgia by some recruiting services.

Banneker takes its show on road
Banneker, a south Fulton school that joined the Class AAAA rankings at No. 10 this week, has the longest road to the title in Region 4-AAAA. That's because Banneker is renovating its school and stadium and playing its home games in Clayton County.
Banneker first-year head coach Tony Slaton said he's trying to use the inconvenience as motivation.

''It allows us to remain focused and not get relaxed because every game is an away game,'' Slaton said. "We try to sell it to the kids as 'Here comes Banneker. We're taking this show on the road.' ''

Banneker originally thought about having its home games at nearby Creekside, but the idea of playing at an arch-rival's stadium didn't seem right.

"Our kids and community didn't agree with having homecoming at Creekside,'' Slaton said. "Considering we beat them this year, we'd probably be getting heckled over there. With Creekside being a rival school, we decided just to keep down on a lot of the ruckus.''

Banneker's remaining ''home'' schedule is Sept. 9 vs. Riverdale (Southern Crescent Stadium), Sept. 23 vs. Lovejoy (Twelve Oaks Stadium), Oct. 7 vs. Morrow (Twelve Oaks) and Oct. 28 vs. Mount Zion (Southern Crescent). Southern Crescent is seven miles away. Twelve Oaks is 20. The Morrow game might be moved to Clark-Atlanta to accommodate homecoming.

Third-year schools growing up fast

Lambert, the newest school in Forsyth County, is state-ranked in its third season as a school. The Longhorns head an impressive Class of 2009 - when 12 new high schools opened in Georgia, the most in a year since 1970.

Here's a look at five third-year schools that are moving up fast in 2011:

1. Lambert: This school is on the Forsyth side of Suwanee, a city that also claims Peachtree Ridge and North Gwinnett. Lambert defeated defending Class AAAA champion Chattahoochee 24-7 last week, and it wasn't an upset to those paying close attention. Ranked No. 8 in AAAA this week, Lambert returned most everyone from a team that made the playoffs in its first full varsity season in 2010. The coach is Sid Maxwell, a coach with a 111-70 record who helped build Sequoyah of Canton into a winner, but he's moving quicker this time. And he's got six of his former Sequoyah players on his coaching staff.

2. Johns Creek: Don't be surprised if Johns Creek is hosting a state playoff game out of Lambert's Region 6-AAAA this season. This is a north Fulton school that blasted Rome 38-14 on Aug. 26, overturning a 10-0 loss from the year before. Then the Gladiators routed Sequoyah 34-0 after winning only 24-21 in 2010. The coach is Mike Cloy, who built the Centennial program (opened in 1997) and won before that at North Springs (state semifinals in 1981).

3. Grovetown: The Warriors are 2-0, reversing an 0-2 start from 2010, with first-ever victories over Columbia County rivals Evans and Greenbrier. This is a team that could be 8-0 entering the Thomson game on Oct. 29. The coach is Rodney Holder, the one who had the nerve to schedule Buford and Northside of Warner Robins in his school's first year of existence (lost 51-0 and 47-7). Holder is the son of legendary Greenbrier and Evans head baseball coach Terry Holder.

4. Drew: The newest school in Clayton County, Drew got a little statewide attention for its near upset of Cairo, which came away with a 7-6 victory on Aug. 26. Drew followed that with a 56-28 victory over Episcopal, Fla. On Thursday, the Titans opened region play with a 34-9 victory against Spalding and have stamped themselves as playoff contenders in tough Region 4-AAA (think Sandy Creek). Coach Jarrett Laws was the coach who led Mount Zion to the Class AAAA quarterfinals in 2008 and a one-point playoff loss to Marist.

5. Langston Hughes: Hughes, from Fairburn in south Fulton County, is 2-0 to match its win total of the previous two seasons. Hughes, along with Archer and Mountain View of Gwinnett County, had to jump into the highest classification as a second-year school. The results were predictable - a 2-8 finish in Region 2-AAAAA. Hughes' head coach is Willie Cannon, who made a name on defense at Creekside and helped develop Eric Berry.

Honorable mention: Walnut Grove of Walton County is 1-1 and beat Jackson County 37-0 last week, overturning a 21-3 defeat from 2010.

Others in the Class of 2009: Arabia Mountain (1-1), Archer (1-1), Locust Grove (0-2), Mountain View (0-2), North Murray (0-2) and River Ridge (1-0)

Five fast risers in history

Here are five of the quickest success stories for new schools:

*Brown (1947): In 1947, the Atlanta school system broke up its four all-white high schools - Boys, Tech, Commercial and Girls - and formed seven co-eduational "neighborhood" schools. The only one that still exists is Grady. Brown was the best of these, as the Rebels of coach J.E. DeVaughn won region titles in 1947 and 1948 and then a state title in 1949. Several Brown players signed with Georgia Tech, including its star quarterback, Pepper Rodgers.

*Redan (1977): Redan won a state title in 1979 in its third season of football, its second season of a region schedule. Kevin Butler, later of the University of Georgia and the Chicago Bears, made the winning field-goal in a 17-14 victory over Marist in the Class AAA title game.

*Peachtree Ridge (2003): The Lions won a state title in their fourth season of football in the famous 14-14 tie with Roswell in the Class AAAAA final. Kevin Butler's son, Drew, was Peachtree Ridge's punter. The Lions' best-known player was Cameron Heyward, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

*Greenville (1978): Dwight Hochstetler got his start at this Class A school. Greenville went 5-4-1 against a region schedule in its first year. In 1980, the Patriots won their first state title on a Hail Mary pass against Clinch County, 12-10. They got another state title in 1984.

*Lakeside, Atlanta (1964): Lakeside finished an unbeaten regular season in its third full year (9-0-1) and won state titles in 1970 and 1972. Lakeside won 91 games in its first 10 full years and went without a losing season from 1965 through 1997.

Projecting The Playoff Field

These are projected first-round pairings for the state playoffs. It's still early September, so don't take them too seriously yet.


(R3 #1) Camden County vs. (R4 #4) South Cobb

(R5 #2) Lassiter vs. (R6 #3) Alpharetta

(R7 #1) North Gwinnett vs. (R8 #4) Dacula

(R1 #2) Colquitt County vs. (R2 #3) Newnan

(R8 #1) Grayson vs. (R7 #4) Collins Hill

(R2 #2) M.L. King vs. (R1 #3) Valdosta

(R4 #1) McEachern vs. (R3 #4) Windsor Forest

(R6 #2) West Forsyth vs. (R5 #3) Etowah

(R6 #1) Roswell vs. (R5 #4) Woodstock

(R4 #2) Hillgrove vs. (R3 #3) Bradwell Institute

(R2 #1) Stephenson vs. (R1 #4) Coffee

(R7 #2) Norcross vs. (R8 #3) Central Gwinnett

(R1 #1) Lowndes vs. (R2 #4) East Coweta

(R8 #2) Brookwood vs. (R7 #3) Peachtree Ridge

(R5 #1) Walton vs. (R6 #4) Centennial

(R3 #2) Groves vs. (R4 #3) Harrison

Class AAAA

(R3 #1) Starr's Mill vs. (R4 #4) Creekside

(R5 #2) Kell vs. (R6 #3) Southwest DeKalb

(R7 #1) Lambert vs. (R8 #4) Loganville

(R1 #2) Thomas County Central vs. (R2 #3) Brunswick

(R8 #1) Flowery Branch vs. (R7 #4) Rome

(R2 #2) Ware County vs. (R1 #3) Warner Robins

(R4 #1) Banneker vs. (R3 #4) Northgate

(R6 #2) Marist vs. (R5 #3) Pope

(R6 #1) Tucker vs. (R5 #4) Hiram

(R4 #2) North Clayton vs. (R3 #3) Whitewater

(R2 #1) Statesboro vs. (R1 #4) Lee County

(R7 #2) Chattahoochee vs. (R8 #3) Clarke Central

(R1 #1) Northside-Warner Robins vs. (R2 #4) Glynn Academy

(R8 #2) Heritage-Conyers vs. (R7 #3) Johns Creek

(R5 #1) East Paulding vs. (R6 #4) Mays

(R3 #2) Griffin vs. (R4 #3) Lovejoy

Class AAA

(R3 #1) Burke County vs. (R4 #4) Stockbridge

(R5 #2) Cedar Grove vs. (R6 #3) Troup

(R7 #1) Allatoona vs. (R8 #4) Oconee County

(R1 #2) Americus-Sumter vs. (R2 #3) Mary Persons

(R8 #1) Gainesville vs. (R7 #4) Cartersville

(R2 #2) Baldwin vs. (R1 #3) Worth County

(R4 #1) Sandy Creek vs. (R3 #4) Grovetown

(R6 #2) LaGrange vs. (R5 #3) Grady

(R6 #1) Carrollton vs. (R5 #4) Stone Mountain

(R4 #2) Eastside vs. (R3 #3) Washington County

(R2 #1) Peach County vs. (R1 #4) Crisp County

(R7 #2) Dalton vs. (R8 #3) Stephens County

(R1 #1) Cairo vs. (R2 #4) Westside-Macon

(R8 #2) North Hall vs. (R7 #3) Ridgeland

(R5 #1) St. Pius vs. (R6 #4) Shaw

(R3 #2) Thomson vs. (R4 #3) Henry County

Class AA

(R3 #1) Dublin vs. (R4 #4) Southwest-Macon

(R5 #2) Callaway vs. (R6 #3) Greater Atlanta Christian

(R7 #1) Calhoun vs. (R8 #4) Hart County

(R1 #2) Fitzgerald vs. (R2 #3) Tattnall County

(R8 #1) Elbert County vs. (R7 #4) Dade County

(R2 #2) Appling County vs. (R1 #3) Thomasville

(R4 #1) Putnam County vs. (R3 #4) Laney

(R6 #2) Lovett vs. (R5 #3) Heard County

(R6 #1) Buford vs. (R5 #4) Manchester

(R4 #2) Lamar County vs. (R3 #3) Swainsboro

(R2 #1) Vidalia vs. (R1 #4) Brooks County

(R7 #2) Pepperell vs. (R8 #3) Jefferson

(R1 #1) Cook vs. (R2 #4) McIntosh County Academy

(R8 #2) Fannin County vs. (R7 #3) Rockmart

(R5 #1) Carver-Columbus vs. (R6 #4) Westminster

(R3 #2) Jefferson County vs. (R4 #3) Morgan County

Class A

(R3 #1) Savannah Christian vs. (R4 #4) Dooly County

(R5 #2) Wesleyan vs. (R6 #3) Bremen

(R7 #1) Wilkinson County vs. (R8 #4) Prince Avenue Christian

(R1 #2) Mitchell County vs. (R2 #3) Charlton County

(R8 #1) Athens Academy vs. (R7 #4) Aquinas

(R2 #2) Wilcox County vs. (R1 #3) Miller County

(R4 #1) Brookstone vs. (R3 #4) Calvary Day

(R6 #2) Bowdon vs. (R5 #3) Landmark Christian

(R6 #1) Darlington vs. (R5 #4) Pace Academy

(R4 #2) Marion County vs. (R3 #3) Johnson County

(R2 #1) Clinch County vs. (R1 #4) Randolph-Clay

(R7 #2) Lincoln County vs. (R8 #3) Commerce

(R1 #1) Seminole County vs. (R2 #4) Turner County

(R8 #2) George Walton Academy vs. (R7 #3) Warren County

(R5 #1) Eagle's Landing Christian vs. (R6 #4) Trion

(R3 #2) Emanuel County Institute vs. (R4 #3) Greenville

Weekend Predictions

Each week, GHSF Daily's Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye pick which teams they think will win in some of the bigger games around the state.


Holcomb's Picks

Last week: 12-8

Overall: 30-10

Saye's Picks

Last week: 11-9

Overall: 29-11

Calhoun at Pepperell



Clinch Co. at Wilcox Co.

Wilcox County

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