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Monday, Aug. 3, 2015


Welcome to opening day of GHSF Daily's seventh season of covering high school football in e-mail newsletter form.


GHSF Daily begins today with a look at 10 outstanding quarterbacks. We'll resume this series on Tuesday with running backs.


In the weeks leading up to the season, we'll have preseason all-state teams, snapshots of some 90 head coaching changes in the offseason and the Maxwell Ratings' predictions of all 48 regions.


And we're still FREE after all these years.


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Projected Top Players Presented By TYGTAL Exposure

QBs: State has five of nation's best

1Five Georgia high school quarterbacks are rated among the top 10 recruits nationally at their positions.


They include traditional quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville (No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports); Bailey Hockman of McEachern (No. 2 in 2017); Jawon Pass of Carver-Columbus (No. 4 in 2016); and Jake Fromm of Houston County (No. 8 in 2017). The list also includes Elbert County's Mecole Hardman, rated the No. 2 athlete prospect among seniors.


"There is no question this is not the Georgia I grew up playing in," said 247Sports analyst Rusty Mansell, a wide receiver on Pepperell's 1990 state championship team. "Even in 1990 we played 15 games and only really faced two teams that threw the ball. ... When you look at the state right now, there are some very talented dudes."


The five blue-chip recruits highlight this list of 10 outstanding Georgia quarterbacks. They were chosen based on the value they bring to their high school teams and not necessarily their status as college recruits.


*Kyle Banks, North Paulding (6-2, 180) - As a junior, Banks was 253-of-430 passing for 3,498 yards, 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for a 4-7 team. His 318-yards-per-game passing average led the state. Banks passed for 568 yards and six touchdowns against Harrison in a 49-35 victory. He is committed to Middle Tennessee.


*Jake Fromm, Houston County (6-2, 200) - As a sophomore, Fromm was 249-of-394 passing for 3,629 yards and 31 touchdowns and five interceptions for a 10-3 Class AAAAA quarterfinal team. He was first-team all-state and the Georgia Sports Writers Association AAAAA offensive player of the year. Alabama, Ole Miss and South Carolina reportedly lead for Fromm.


Mecole Hardman
(Photos by 247 Sports)
*Mecole Hardman, Elbert County (5-10, 175) - Hardman played in only five games last season as a junior because of a knee injury but rushed for 983 yards and 14 touchdowns and passed for 414 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore, Hardman rushed for 1,672 yards and 17 touchdowns and passed for 529 yards and four touchdowns. Hardman plays extensively in Elbert County's secondary and might play there or at wide receiver in college. Georgia and Tennessee reportedly lead for Hardman, who is rated among the top 50 recruits nationally. Mansell on Hardman: "I have not been to any camp this year, no matter where it was, where he was not the best player. He is electric with the ball in his hands and can play CB as well."


*Bailey Hockman, McEachern (6-2, 210) - As a sophomore, Hockman was 187-of-351 passing for 3,551 yards, 42 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a 10-4 team that reached the Class AAAAAA semifinals. He also punted for a 44.1-yard average. Hockman was the AJC's first-team Class AAAAAA all-state quarterback. Rated the No. 2 pro-style quarterback nationally among juniors, Hockman is committed to Georgia.


*Romario Johnson, Newton (6-1, 180) - As a junior, Johnson 183-of-272 passing for 2,750 yards with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 7-4 team that reached the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals. (Newton had two games canceled because of weather.) He rushed for 569 yards. Johnson is a mid-major recruit who might play another position in college.


Trevor Lawrence

*Trevor Lawrence, Cartersville (6-5, 191) - As a freshman, Lawrence was 187-of-310 passing for 3,042 yards and 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 12-2 Class AAAA semifinal team in 2014. He was first-team all-state, perhaps becoming the first freshman quarterback to achieve such an honor. He is rated by 247Sports as the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country among sophomores. Said Mansell, "I am not sure that Trevor Lawrence is not the best out of any [Georgia quarterback] right now as only a sophomore."


*Joe Mancuso, Union County (6-4, 200) - As a junior, Mancuso was 183-of-295 passing for 3,078 yards, 35 touchdowns and only three interceptions for a 9-2 team. Mancuso rushed for 421 yards. He was the AJC's first-team all-state quarterback in Class AA. Mancuso doesn't have reported offers entering fall practice.


*Garet Morrell, Lee County (6-3, 185) - As a junior, Morrell was 175-of-301 passing for 2,702 yards and 26 touchdowns for an 8-3 team that lost in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs to state runner-up Archer. Morrell is committed to Marshall.


*Jawon Pass, Carver-Columbus (6-4, 220) - Pass threw for 2,153 yards and 28 touchdowns with four interceptions and rushed for 398 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. Rated the No 4 pro-style quarterback prospect nationally, Pass is committed to Louisville.


*Kaelan Riley, Calhoun (6-4, 210) - As a junior first-year starter at the position, Riley was 163-of-277 passing for 2,463 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 15-0 team that won the Class AAA championship. Riley rushed for 775 yards and 14 touchdowns. Riley was the AJC's first-team all-state quarterback and the GSWA's AA offensive player of the year. Riley is committed to Mercer.


Coming Tuesday: Running backs


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In The News

Season begins with midnight practices

Several Georgia high school football players were out past midnight last weekend. Saturday marked the first day that Georgia teams could practice in pads, and many head coaches scheduled the big event as early as possible. That meant 12:01 a.m. workouts.


"When those lights came on, you start to get chill bumps. It's really here. It's time," Adairsville coach Eric Bishop told the Cartersville Daily Tribune News.


Grayson coach Mickey Conn scheduled midnight preseason practice for the first time. Conn has coached at the Gwinnett County school since 2000 but decided it was time for something new. "We're going to be the first team practicing and the last team playing - all the way to the [Georgia] Dome," Conn explained to players and fans on the team's Web site. The Dome would be the site of the Class AAAAAA championship game on Dec. 13.


The "midnight madness" practices are credited to Thomas County Central and its former head coach Ed Pilcher in 1991, just before TCC would begin its dynasty of five state titles in seven seasons. Bill Shaver, who took over for Pilcher in 2008, continued the tradition.


"It's kind of like one of the big lures of Thomas County Central football," Shaver told WFXL Fox 31 of Albany. "I mean it is a big tradition. A lot of fans like to come out. It's kind of a social event. And it's always been a big deal. Our kids always look forward to it. It's almost like another ballgame as far as they're concerned."


Several newly hired head coaches initiated midnight practices this season as a way to energize the players and fan base. Those include Larry Harold of Brunswick, Sid Maxwell of Dawson County, Eric McNair at Long County, Rick Hurst of Pepperell and Steve DeVoursney of Cairo.


"Just try to get some excitement going in the community," DeVoursney told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. "Just trying to get a buzz going, something different."


At Brunswick, Harold planned an itinerary that had the team practicing from midnight to 2 a.m. on Saturday, up at 7 a.m. for breakfast and back on the field at 8 a.m. with helmets only. The players were scheduled for fun in the pool from 1 to 4 p.m. but were on the practice field again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Hurst had been doing midnight practices at Eastside. He wasn't planning to make a big deal of it at Pepperell except for the players, but a group of boosters called the Dragon Moms made it a community event, according to the Rome News-Tribune. There were food trucks and pre-game tailgating.


"Coach Hurst told us about the game," Dragon Moms member Stephanie Pearson told the newspaper. "When we asked him about making it an event, he told us to run with it and we did."


The exact number of teams conducting midnight practices is unknown, but others that held them this season included Sprayberry, Harris County, Rabun County, Johnson of Gainesville, Lamar County, Newton and West Laurens.


West Laurens coach Buddy Nobles told the Macon Telegraph that he got the idea from former Bleckley County coach Sam Barrs.


"It was electric at the beginning," Nobles said. "The kids were screaming and hollering."

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active coaches

Dwight Hochstetler, who had the most victories of any active coach with 345 through 2014, retired as a head coach in the offseason. He is now the offensive coordinator at Manchester under his son, Evan Hochstetler. Their roles were reversed in 2014 at Bowdon. Here is the updated list of active head coaches with the most victories in Georgia:


333 - Alan Chadwick, Marist

327 - Barney Hester, Howard

261 - Jeff Herron, Prince Avenue Christian

261 - Rich McWhorter, Charlton County

248 - Ed Pilcher, Berrien

212 - Mike Earwood, Our Lady of Mercy

208 - Bruce Miller, Gainesville

196 - Steve Pennington, Statesboro

195 - Ron Gartrell, Stephenson

188 - Hal Lamb, Calhoun

187 - Ed Dudley, Carrollton

178 - Mark Stroud, Calvary Day

170 - Erik Soliday, Americus-Sumter

169 - Steve Pardue, East Coweta

169 - Gerry Romberg, Westminster


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Two Georgia schools won state championships in 2014 for the first time in their histories. Which schools were they? (Answer Tuesday)

Four Questions Presented By Ga. Farm Bureau Insurance

7GHSF Daily asked Georgia head coaches to answer these four questions. We'll report from a different head coach each day.


Jep Irwin, Lassiter

1. What is the most memorable game you've been a part of as a player or coach? "The 2011 Class AAAAA semifinals vs. Walton. We lost 30-24, but it was a great game that came down to the wire. So many great players in that game on both sides. Stands were full before we took the field for warm-ups." [Perhaps the biggest game in East Cobb history, there were several all-state players on the field, including Walton's Tyren Jones, Brandon Kublanow and Zack Blaylock and Lassiter's Charlie Hegedus and Eddie Printz.]


2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why? "Bob Lord. Bob coached for us [as a Lassiter assistant] from 2010 to 2013. He made sure the players knew he loved them and was a strong man of faith. He is a great leader of men and a great example to us all of how to lead a Godly life."


3. What is your favorite saying or motto? "If something is important to you, you'll find a way. It not, you'll find an excuse."


4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed? "Allow scrimmages versus another school at the end of spring practices. Would make spring practice more meaningful, aid in recruiting for players and help schools financially."


Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance is the presenting sponsor of the GHSA football playoffs/state championships, Georgia High School Football Scoreboard Radio Show and state championship awards. Learn about GFB insurance products and many other services

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OKGeorgia High School Football Daily is a free e-mail newsletter produced by Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye. Holcomb is a former lead high school football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and co-founder and primary researcher behind the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Saye is a 25-year veteran of the newspaper industry who has covered high school sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Athens Banner-Herald, Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail and Gwinnett Daily News.







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Here is a schedule of reported scrimmage games. If you notice errors or omissions, please report them Special thanks to Steve Slay in compiling this list.


Thursday's games

Chatt. Christian, Tenn. at Gordon Lee

Mount Paran Christian at Wesleyan

Signal Mountain, Tenn. at North Murray


Friday's games

Aquinas at Evans

Banks Co. at Hart Co.

Bleckley Co. vs. Rutland

Cambridge at Lumpkin Co.

Creekside at Whitewater

Dougherty at Turner Co.

Georgia Military at Twiggs Co.

Holy Innocents' at Union Co.

Houston Co. at Perry

Johnson Co. at Wilcox Co.

Lambert at Creekview

Marietta at Kell

Morgan Co. at Athens Christian

Mount Vernon at Pinecrest Academy

Norcross at Lowndes

North Oconee at Oconee Co.

Northside, Columbus at Lamar Co.

Notre Dame, Tenn. at Ringgold

Oglethorpe Co. at Warren Co.

Osborne at KIPP Atl. Collegiate (FF)

Ridgeland at Lakeview-Fort Ogle.

Salem at Woodland, Stockbridge

SE Whitfield at Christian Heritage

Treutlen at Baconton

Wheeler at Campbell

Whitewater vs. Creekside

Worth Co. at Cook


Saturday's games

Brookstone at Macon Co.

East Paulding at Walton

Glenn Hills at Elbert Co.

Montgomery Co. at Brantley Co.

Mount de Sales at Sav. Country Day

New Hampstead at Batt. Creek, S.C.

Redan at Irwin Co.

SW DeKalb at Mountain View


Aug. 11

Sequatchie Co., Tenn. at Gordon Lee


Aug. 12

Collins Hill at Parkview

Archer at Mill Creek


Aug. 13

Beach vs. Groves

Benedictine vs. Calvary Day (SS)

Central, Carrollton at Bremen

Coffee at Colquitt Co.

Dade Co. at North Murray

Lamar Co. at Spalding

Northwest Whitfield at Dalton

Peachtree Ridge at Northview

Ringgold at Ooltewah, Tenn.

Rutland at Warner Robins

Savannah Country Day at Bryan Co.

Therrell at Forest Park (T)

West Hall at Jefferson

Whitewater at McIntosh


Aug. 14

Alcovy at Jackson

Alexander at Heard Co.

Alpharetta at M.L. King (PV)

Apalachee at Monroe Area

Arabia Mountain at Carver, Atlanta (L)

Armuchee at Rockmart

Athens Academy at N. Cobb Christian

Atkinson Co. at Bacon Co.

B.E.S.T. Academy at Chapel Hill

Baldwin vs. Jefferson Co.

Berrien at Lanier Co.

Bleckley Co. at Irwin Co.

Brantley Co. at Clinch Co.

Brookwood at Heritage, Conyers

Cairo at Bainbridge

Calhoun at Rome

Carrollton at West Forsyth

Cartersville at Woodland, Cartersville

Cass at Adairsville

Central Gwinnett at Union Grove

Central, Macon at First Presbyterian

Charlton Co. at Pierce Co.

Clarkston at KIPP Atl. Collegiate (AF)

Columbia at Stockbridge

Cook at Brooks Co.

Crawford Co. at Taylor Co.

Creekview at Cherokee

Crisp Co. at Dooly Co.

Darlington at Mount Paran Christian

Dawson Co. at Westminster

Decatur at Our Lady of Mercy

Dodge Co. at West Laurens

Druid Hills at Lakeside, Atlanta (A)

Duluth at Chattahoochee

Dunwoody at North Springs

Dutchtown at Riverdale (TO)

East Coweta at Griffin

Eastside vs. Newton (SH)

Evans at Thomson

Fellowship Christian at Mount Vernon

Flowery Branch at North Hall

Franklin, N.C. at Rabun Co.

Franklin Co. at Commerce

Gainesville vs. Jeff. Forest, Va. (NH)

Gilmer at Pebblebrook

Glascock Co. at Treutlen

Glynn Acad. at McIntosh Co. Acad.

Gordon Central at Coosa

Grayson at Lambert

Greenville at Callaway

Habersham Central at Stephens Co.

Hampton at Ola

Hardaway at Brookstone

Harlem at Jenkins Co.

Harrison at Allatoona

Hawkinsville at Fitzgerald

Hebron Christian at Social Circle

Hephzibah at Richmond Academy

Hillgrove at South Paulding

Hiram at McEachern

Hughes at North Gwinnett

Jackson, Atlanta at Haralson Co.

Johns Creek at Roswell

Johnson Co. at Swainsboro

Johnson, Gainesville at East Jackson

Jordan at Pacelli

King's Ridge at Savannah Christian

Lakeview Academy at Banks Co.

Lakeview-Fort Ogle. at LaFayette

Lanier at Dacula

Liberty Co. at South Effingham

Lithia Springs at Douglas Co.

Lithonia at Salem

Locust Grove at Strong Rock Christian

Loganville at Jackson Co.

Long Co. at Claxton

Lovett at North Atlanta

Luella at Henry Co.

Lumpkin Co. vs. White Co.

Manchester at Harris Co.

Marion Co. at Americus-Sumter

Miller Grove at McNair (GP)

Milton at Centennial

Mitchell Co. at Thomasville

Monroe at Lee Co.

Morrow at Fayette Co.

Mount Pisgah at Holy Innocents' (RW)

Mt. Zion, Jones. vs. North Clayton (T)

New Hampstead vs. Jenkins

New Manchester at Cedartown

North Cobb at Lassiter

North Forsyth at Forsyth Central

North Oconee at St. Pius

Northgate at Veterans

Northside, W. Robins at Peach Co.

Oconee Co. at Cedar Shoals

Oglethorpe Co. at Madison Co.

Pepperell at Model

Pickens at River Ridge

Pike Co. at Starr's Mill

Pinecrest Academy at Wesleyan

Pope at Kennesaw Mountain

Portal at Hancock Central

Prince Avenue Christian at ELCA

Providence Christian at Pace Acad.

Putnam Co. at Georgia Military

Richmond Hill at Camden Co.

Rockdale Co. at Thomas Co. Central

Sandy Creek at Villa Rica

Screven Co. at Effingham Co.

Sonoraville at Union Co.

South Atlanta at Fannin Co.

South Cobb at Osborne

South Forsyth at Winder-Barrow

South Gwinnett at Buford

Southwest at Mary Persons

Sprayberry at North Paulding

Stone Mountain at Riverside Military

Stratford Acad. at Chattahoochee Co.

Telfair Co. at Jeff Davis

Temple at St. Francis

Terrell Co. at Early Co.

Tift Co. at Worth Co.

Toombs Co. at Bradwell Institute

Tri-Cities at Mundy's Mill (TO)

Trion at Chattooga

Tucker at Stephenson (HS)

Turner Co. at Miller Co.

Upson-Lee at Troup

Vidalia at Emanuel Co. Institute

Walker at Landmark Christian

Ware Co. at Valdosta

Warren Co. at Grovetown

Washington at Creekside

Washington Co. at Dublin

Washington-Wilkes at Elbert Co.

Wayne Co. at Brunswick

Westside, Augusta at Greenbrier

Wheeler Co. at East Laurens

Wilcox Co. at Tattnall Square

Woodstock at Sequoyah

Woodward Academy at GAC


Aug. 15

Banneker at Shiloh

Cedar Grove at Eagle's Landing

Chamblee at Berkmar

Christian Heritage at North Murray

Cross Keys vs. Loganville Christian

Dooly Co. at Crisp Co.

Grady vs. Mays (L)

Howard at Mount de Sales

Islands vs. Windsor Forest (SM)

Jeff Davis at Telfair Co.

Jonesboro at Clarke Central

LaGrange at Newnan

Lakeside, Evans vs. Lincoln Co.

Laney at Burke Co.

Lovejoy vs. Drew (TO)

Macon Co. vs. Shaw

Monticello at Greene Co.

Mount Zion at Bowdon

Schley Co. at Wilcox Co.

SW DeKalb at Carver, Columbus (CM)

Tattnall Co. at Metter

Towers vs. Clarkston (HS)

Walnut Grove at George Walton Acad.

Washington-Wilkes at Hart Co.

Westover at Stewart Co.

Westside, Macon vs. Northeast (TH)

Wilkinson Co. at Baldwin


Aug. 16

Heritage, Ringgold at Coahulla Creek


Aug. 20

Cedar Shoals at Monroe Area

Chestatee at East Hall

Pelham at Bainbridge

Russell Co., Ala. at Spencer

Westminster at Eastside (SH)


Aug. 21

Blessed Trinity at Marist

Cairo at Bacon Co.

Clarke Central at Paulding Co.

Dawson Co. at North Hall

Emanuel Co. Institute at Toombs Co.

Fort Payne, Ala. at Chattooga

Greenville at Heard Co.

Hart Co. at Stephens Co.

Hayesville, N.C. at Towns Co.

Heritage, Ringgold at Murray Co.

Jeff Davis at Appling Co.

Locust Grove at Jones Co.

Northside, Columbus at Taylor Co.

Portal at Southeast Bulloch

Riverside Military at Meadowcreek

Schley Co. at Tattnall Square

Swain Co., N.C. at Hapeville

Walnut Grove at Loganville

Westlake at Chapel Hill

Whitefield Academy at Pebblebrook


Aug. 22

Cross Keys at Meadowcreek

Dougherty at Mitchell Co.

Johnson, Sav. vs. Wind. Forest (SM)

Northeast at Dooly Co.

Ranburne, Ala. at Bremen

Seminole Co. at Albany

Twiggs Co. at Chattahoochee Co.


Stadium key

(A) Adams; (AF) Anderson Field; (CM) Columbus Memorial; (FF) Franklin Field; (GP) Gresham Park; (HS) Hallford; (L) Lakewood; (NH) North Hall; (PV) Panthersville; (RW) Riverwood; (SH) Sharp; (SM) Savannah Memorial; (SS) Savannah State; (T) Tara; (TO) Twelve Oaks