This Week’s Games Involving DeKalb County Teams
The 2012 Georgia high school football season kicks into high gear this weekend. By Saturday night, every team in the county will have played their first game of the season – with the possible exception of the Stephenson Jaguars.
Stephenson was originally scheduled to play Pensacola – Pine Forest in the middle game of the National High School Gridiron Challenge at North Gwinnett Saturday afternoon, but the Florida school cancelled earlier this week because of Hurricane Isaac. Event organizers have sought another opponent for the Jaguars, and it looked for a while as though Lincoln High of Tallahassee might step up, but nothing was confirmed as of Thursday.
"It's looking more and more like we're not going to have the game," said Ken Manning, Gridiron Challenge chairman, earlier this week. "I spoke to the Pine Forest coach this morning, and the schools remain closed, and many of his players have evacuated, so it might be next to impossible to get everybody together and up here. The only options that remain would be a very last-second additional team. It's unlikely. I feel awful for Stephenson."
The rest of the county schedule gets going tonight as neighborhood rivals Chamblee and Dunwoody square off at 7:30 PM at Adams Stadium. It’s the season opener for both teams.
Friday’s action features Marist, ranked #3 in Class AAAA, heading to Athens to play Clarke Central, unranked in Class AAAAA. It’s the first meeting between the two traditional north Georgia powerhouses.
A victory by the War Eagles would make coach Alan Chadwick the 11th Georgia coach to win 300 games. Chadwick’s career record is 299-53 – an impressive .849 winning percentage. Chadwick’s been at Marist for 28 years and has led the War Eagles to double-digit wins 18 times, including state championships in 1989 and 2003. No Chadwick team has ever finished a season with fewer than seven wins.
Also Friday, M.L. King, ranked #5 in Class AAAAA, travels to Tri-Cities High to take on Stockbridge in the season opener for both teams. The two schools are geographically close to each other, but have never met on the gridiron in a regular season game.
In another Friday game, St. Pius heads to Buckhead to take on the Westminster Wildcats. The Cats have had the upper hand in this series (23-4), but St. Pius won 28-21 last year, snapping a six-game losing streak.
The Lions, ranked #4 in Class AAA, return five starters to a defense that notched five shutouts in 2011. DB’s Nick Glass, committed to Georgia, and Nick Ruffin are the anchors. Westminster’s Nigel Walker ran for a pair of TD’s in last week’s season-opening loss to Blessed Trinity.
It’ll be interesting to see how Cedar Grove does this week against Columbia (5:15 PM Friday, Panthersville Stadium) in the wake of last week’s loss to the powerful Tucker Tigers. The Saints came out on top 34-0 last year and have won four straight over the Eagles.
Here’s the complete game schedule for this week:
Thursday, Aug. 30
Chamblee (0-0) vs. Dunwoody (0-0), Adams, 7:30 PM
Friday, Aug. 31
Columbia (0-0) vs. Cedar Grove (0-1), Panthersville, 5:15 PM
Cross Keys (0-0) vs. Best Academy (0-0), Grady, 5:30 PM
Clarkston (0-1) vs. Druid Hills (0-0), Adams, 7:30 PM
Lithonia (0-1) vs. Miller Grove (0-0), Hallford, 5:15 PM
M.L. King (0-0) vs. Stockbridge (0-0), Tri-Cities, 7:30 PM
SW DeKalb (0-0) at Pebblebrook (0-0), 7:30 PM
North Atlanta (0-0) vs. Stone Mountain (0-1), Avondale, 7:30 PM
St. Pius (0-0) at Westminster (0-1), 7:30 PM
Marist (0-0) at Clark Central (0-0), Athens, 7:30 PM
Troup Co. (0-0) vs. Redan (0-0), Hallford, 8 PM
Osborne vs. McNair (0-0), Panthersville, 8 PM
Grady (0-0) vs. Decatur (0-0), Grady High, 8 PM
Bye Week: Arabia Mountain (1-0), Lakeside (0-1), Towers (0-1), Tucker (1-0)
Tucker on Top
After last week’s 36-14 defeat of Cedar Grove, Tucker moved to #1 in the Georgia High School Football Daily’s Class AAAAA rankings. The Tigers moved ahead of Northside-Warner Robins which opens its season Friday at Flowery Branch in the Georgia Public Broadcasting Webcast game of the week.
Georgia Takes on the South This Week
The top high school football game in the country this week will be played right here in Georgia on Friday when Grayson gets a visit from Miami Central.
Grayson is No. 1 in ESPN's national rankings. Central is No. 1 in USA Today.
This will be one of thirteen games this week (assuming the Stephenson game is cancelled) in which Georgia teams will play out-of-state opponents. The Peach State was 1-4 last week against out-of-state teams but 29-16 in 2011. It might bode well for Grayson that Georgia's Class AAAAA teams were 11-0 against out-of-state teams in 2011.
Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda
Georgia HS Football Daily ran an article this week profiling ten Georgia high school teams that have won national titles. There was a companion piece listing ten teams that perhaps SHOULD have won a national title, in their opinion, and Lakeside’s 1972 team made the list:
1972 Lakeside: Valdosta's 1971 team won a national championship and is considered by many to be the best team in Georgia history, but Lakeside of DeKalb County won state titles on either side of that Valdosta team and went 36-1 from 1970 to 1972 under Hall of Fame coach Wayman Creel. Nine players off the 1972 team (14-0) signed to play college football, including star QB Mike Johnson (Georgia Tech). Lakeside finished No. 2 to Bristol, Tenn., in the final 1972 National Sports News Service poll.
Tucker QB Schedules Visits
Tucker QB Juwaan Williams has scheduled three official college visits. He’ll go to Notre Dame on September 22 for the Michigan game, to Oregon on October 6 for the Washington game, and to Clemson on October 20 for the Virginia Tech game. Williams also plans to visit Florida State and Vanderbilt. Most schools are recruiting Williams as a WR, but Clemson’s looking at him as a possible DB.
Check back Sunday for a recap of this weekend’s action.
John Becker is a 30-year Atlanta resident, currently living in Virginia-Highland. John’s a freelance writer and an avid high school, college and pro football fan (much to the detriment of most other productive activities during the fall). As the Voice of Adams Stadium (public address announcer), John brings a unique perspective to his analysis of high school football in DeKalb County and he looks forward to sharing his insight with fans through his blog.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter at @JNBecker.