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 Thursday, December 1, 2016

Semifinal Previews
Class AAA
Greater Atlanta Christian at Peach County
4When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Trojan Field at Anderson Stadium, Fort Valley
Records, rankings: Greater Atlanta Christian is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from Region 7-AAA and No. 1; Peach County is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from 4-AAA and No. 2.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: Greater Atlanta Christian QB Davis Mills, injured the first two games, is now playing like the consensus No. 1 senior recruit in Georgia that he is. The Stanford commit has thrown for 2,507 yards on the season but is averaging 298.0 per game with 20 touchdowns over the last five games. Peach County QB Antonio Gilbert is on a roll, too. He's 43-of-55 passing for 689 yards in three playoff wins. WR Devonte Howard and Kearis Jackson have 20 touchdowns receiving between them, and Jackson has run two punts back for touchdowns. Both teams have great kickers. GAC PK/P Brooks Buce has made nine field goals, one a 54-yarder, and put 67 kickoffs in the end zone. Peach County KO/P Omar Cervantes also has 67 touchbacks, and PK Mitchell Fineran has made a 52-yard field goal.
Maxwell Ratings' projection: Greater Atlanta Christian by 3
 
Cedar Grove at Crisp County
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Cougar Den, Cordele
Records, rankings: Cedar Grove is 11-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 5-AAA and No. 6; Crisp County is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from 1-AAA and No. 5.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: Crisp County is one victory from its first state final. Super sophomores Patrick Felton (1,374 yards passing, 589 rushing) and Jammie Robinson (1,320 yards rushing) are the players to watch on offense. LB Ahdarrious Gee, another sophomore, is the leading tackler. Gee, LB/DE Markaviest Bryant and LB Quay Walker have been credited with 76.5 tackles for losses among them. Bryant and Walker are major college prospects, as are Cedar Grove OL Netori Johnson and OL Justin Shaffer, both committed to Georgia. So are QB Jelani Woods (Oklahoma State), DB Korey Hernandez (Arkansas) and DB Tre Shaw (North Carolina). Woods threw for 267 yards in a 47-21 win over Calhoun last week, but Cedar Grove looks to establish the run with Grant Walker, who has 1,634 rushing yards. Cedar Grove has beaten region champions Jenkins and Calhoun on the road, the latter ending Calhoun's 29-game home playoff winning streak.
Maxwell Ratings' projection: Cedar Grove by 2
 
Class AA
Callaway at Benedictine
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, T.A. Wright Stadium/Savannah State, Savannah
Records, rankings: Callaway is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from Region 5-AA and No. 3; Benedictine is 13-0, the No. 1 seed from 2-AA and No. 1.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: Callaway is in the semifinals for the second time in program history and trying to reach its first championship game. The Cavaliers are led by RB D.J. Atkins, who has rushed for 2,041 yards this season, including 151 in a 35-34 victory over Screven County last week. Callaway won its quarterfinal on a 47-yard pass from Dylan Johnson to Braylon Sanders with 17 seconds remaining, capping a 98-yard, two-minute drive. Johnson passed for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Benedictine, a state champion in 2014, has not had a game closer than 14 points this season and outscored its three playoff opponents 158-20. The Cadets average 279.6 yards rushing, led by John Wesley Kennedy (92 carries, 977 yards, 14 touchdowns), Tyleek Collins (82-800-11) and Terrick Smalls (59-571-11). Collins scored on a punt return, a kickoff return and two runs in a 51-13 victory over Pepperell last week. QB Nick Iannone has passed for 1,606 yards and 22 TDs.
Maxwell Ratings' projection: Benedictine by 17
 
Hapeville Charter at Fitzgerald
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jaycee Stadium, Fitzgerald
Records, rankings: Hapeville is 10-3, the No. 1 seed from Region 6-AA and No. 10; Fitzgerald is 12-1, the No. 1 seed from 1-AA and No. 2.
Last meeting: This is the teams' first meeting.
Things to know: Hapeville went 14-29-1 in its first five seasons before having a breakout season this year. The Hornets are led by QB Hajj-Malik Williams (over 2,000 yards passing, 450 rushing) and DE Cameron Merrell, the Region 6-AA offensive and defensive players of the year. The team's highest-profile player is DB William Poole III, a consensus four-star recruit who has committed to Georgia. Hapeville has won nine consecutive games since a 1-3 start that included losses to Pace Academy, Wesleyan and Cartersville. Fitzgerald, the state runner-up last season, is in its third consecutive semifinal and 12th overall. Fitzgerald runs the ball 79 percent of the time and averages 282 yards per game rushing, led by Region 1-AA player of the year J.D. King (200 carries, 1,549 yards, 18 TDs). QB James Graham has passed for 1,489 yards, rushed for 711 yards and had a hand in 33 touchdowns. He ran for 112 yards and passed for 248 in a 35-16 victory over Rabun County last week.
Maxwell Ratings' projection: Fitzgerald by 24

Coming Friday: Class A
 
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In The News
Carver coach King out after one season
Carver of Columbus is looking for a head coach again.
 
Dremail King, who was promoted to the head job last season after just one season on Carver's staff as receiver coach, led the Tigers to a 7-5 finish in 2016. He was not retained Wednesday.
 
King had been an offensive coordinator at Meadowcreek and Tuscaloosa Central and was head coach for a season at Sumter Central in Alabama. He became Carver's choice in March when Reggie Barlow, who had agreed to the job in February, pulled out to take another head coaching job in Alabama.
 
King succeeded Joe Kegler, who was let go despite a 28-7 record over three seasons.
 
Carver thrived from 2005 to 2012 under current Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee, whose record was 88-19 in Columbus with a state championship in 2007.
 
Dutchtown, Villa Rica, Claxton openings
Mark Myers has been let go at Dutchtown after three 5-5 seasons. Myers had been Henry County's offensive coordinator before taking the Dutchtown job.
 
Villa Rica's Chad Frazier has resigned after four seasons with a record of 17-24. The Wildcats were 5-6 this season. Frazier had coached the six previous seasons at Heritage in Conyers.
 
Claxton coach Rodrick Williams is out after three seasons during which his teams were 9-21. The Tigers went 7-4 in 2014 but bottomed out at 0-9 this season. Williams is a Claxton alumnus who has been on the football staff since 2001.
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Watch The Games
On TV
Friday
*Mill Creek at Grayson, 7:30 p.m., GPB
 
1On the Web
NFHS Network
The NFHS Network will present live streaming of all 16 semifinal games on Friday. Kickoff time for each game is at 7:30 p.m., but the start of the broadcasts may vary. To view the games or for more information, click here.
Four Questions
3GHSF Daily asked Georgia head coaches to answer these four questions. We'll report from a different head coach each day.
 
Randy McPherson, Lowndes
1. What is the most memorable game you've been a part of as a player or coach? "Probably two games. My 40th birthday, 2001, we were playing Clewiston at Doak Campbell Stadium. [McPherson was head coach at Madison County in Florida.] We won it 21-14. The game was tied 14-14 late in the fourth quarter, and we just ran a simple buck sweep, and he popped it and went right down the sideline. The next one would be '04 at Parkview, and my son was the starting right tackle. We won 17-14 against a great team. In the fourth quarter, we had a three-point lead and had a nine-minute drive that resulted in zero points but won the game." [The victory over Parkview was the first of three state titles for Lowndes under McPherson.]
 
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why? "That's a pretty easy one for me. Welton Coffey [at Camden County] would have to be one. He's a good friend of mine. We had games against each other when he was at Raines and I was at Madison County, then the competition we've had with him here at Camden County. You know what he stands for and what he believes in. He's a good guy."
 
3. What is your pet peeve as a coach or favorite saying/motto?"What you tolerate, you encourage."
 
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed? "Obviously one hot topic is recruiting and transfers. I think something's got to be done there. It's not like it used to be. But one rule I can't figure out is why my quarterback can't throw the ball away outside the tackle box. It's intentional grounding in high school, but not in college. We're all about safety, so why can't a kid just throw it away?"
 
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Correction
Colquitt County won 24 consecutive home playoff games from 1993 to its loss last week against Grayson and should have been higher in our Daily List of the longest such winning streaks in state history. An error in the GHSFHA's records concerning the venue of a 1999 playoff game led to the mistake and has been fixed.
Classifieds
College football recruiting fair to be held Dec. 6-7
The 2016 Fall Metro Atlanta College Football Recruiting Fair will be held at The Easley Conference Center at Atlanta Metropolitan State College on Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 6-7. Only 75 spots available for high schools. Click here to sign up, or contact Coach Ahmand Tinker at atinker@footballrecruitingexpos.com or 706-412-3556 for more details.
 
Nominations being accepted for GACA North-South game
The GACA North-South All-Star Game will be played Dec. 30 in Columbus. Head coaches will be Travis Noland of Oconee County (North) and Rob Ridings of Thomson (South). Coaches in South regions 1-4 may send player nominations to Mike Swaney at coachswaney@aol.com. Coaches in North regions 5-8 may send player nominations to Noland at tnoland@oconeeschools.org.
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New Coach App from MaxPreps
MaxPreps is excited to announce the new MPCoach App! You now have the ability to enter key data points directly from your phone. Easily enter your game scores immediately following the game. Update your schedule on the fly. Add athletes to your roster and post roster photos straight from your phone. Text and e-mail your team. Get directions to away games. The app is available for download on iOS and Android devices.
Four Questions
Please send all-region teams to GHSF Daily at ghsfdaily@bellsouth.net. We will publish any team that we receive. GHSF Daily encourages those selecting and providing all-region teams to include each player's year in school. All-region players who are recognized as underclassmen have a better chance of being recruited and getting recognition on preseason all-area or all-state teams in 2017.

1-AAAAAAA
Region player of the year: QB Michael Barrett, Lowndes, Sr.
Offensive player of the year: QB Jay Saunders, Colquitt County, Sr.
Defensive player of the year: DT Devon Holmes, Lowndes, Sr.
Special teams player of the year: P John Shenker, Colquitt County, Sr.
Athlete of the year: RB/DB Tyson Harris, Lowndes, Sr.
Utility player of the year: WR/DB Shawn Shamburger, Colquitt County, Sr.
Coach of the year: Rush Propst, Colquitt County
 
First-team offense
QB - Griffin Collier, Tift County, Jr.
RB - Travis Tisdale, Lowndes, So.
RB - Daijun Edwards, Colquitt County, Fr.
TE - Fred Lloyd, Tift County, Sr.
OL - Ian Brinson, Colquitt County, Sr.
OL - Quan Stokes, Colquitt County, Sr.
OL - Tucker Barnes, Lowndes, Sr.
OL - Ches Jackson, Tift County, Jr.
OL - Bryant Walker, Camden County, Sr.
OL - Drew Barnes, Camden County, Sr.
WR - Xavier Jenkins, Lowndes, Sr.
WR - Tory Ponder, Colquitt County, Sr.
WR - Rashod Bateman, Tift County, Jr.
P - Taylor Gebhardt, Camden County, Jr.
K - Roscendo Ramirez, Tift County, So.
K - Ryan Fitzgerald, Colquitt County, So.
LS - Dagen Anderson, Lowndes, Sr.
 
First-team defense
DL - Dy'Narian Wyche, Colquitt County, Sr.
DL - Nelson Louis, Colquitt County, Sr.
DL - Casey McCormick, Camden County, Sr.
DL - Andrew Johnson, Tift County, Jr.
DL - Elgin Griffin, Lowndes, Sr.
LB - Willie Debruce, Colquitt County, Sr.
LB - Ja'Marcus Peterson, Colquitt County, Jr.
LB - Jeffrey Davis, Lowndes, Sr.
LB - Cody Thompson, Tift County, Sr.
DB - Jordan Strachan, Camden County, Sr.
DB - Tirise Barge, Colquitt County, Sr.
DB - Jamarius Walker, Colquitt County, Sr.
DB - Brent Carter, Lowndes, Sr.
DB - Fred Stewart, Lowndes, Jr.
DB - Montreal Henry, Tift County, Sr.
 
Second-team offense
QB - John Jones, Camden County, Sr.
RB - TyQuarius Leggett, Colquitt County, So.
RB - Brenton Jones, Tift County, Sr.
TE - Marcus Gary, Lowndes, Jr.
OL - Hunner Finley, Lowndes, Sr.
OL - Danny Corbett, Lowndes, Sr.
OL - William Rykard, Colquitt County, So.
OL - Kyle Pecko, Camden County, Sr.
OL - Nash Bragg, Tift County, Sr.
OL - K.J. Rivers, Tift County, Sr.
WR - Ty Powell, Colquitt County, Sr.
WR - Tayvonn Kyle, Lowndes, Jr.
WR - Cam Cobb, Tift County, Jr.
P - Tyson Shaw, Lowndes, Jr.
K - Oliver Kellam, Camden County, Jr.
LS - Nathan Chomicki, Camden County, Sr.
 
Second-team defense
DL - Jamie Hill, Camden County, Jr.
DL - Brian Merritt, Colquitt County, So.
DL - Abi David, Lowndes, Sr.
DL - Mike Gentry, Lowndes, Jr.
DL - Juwarren Byrd, Tift County, Sr.
LB - Allen Key, Colquitt County, Sr.
LB - Tommy Owens, Lowndes, So.
LB - Will Tolbert, Lowndes, Jr.
LB - Elvin Coney, Tift County, Sr.
DB - Cole Loden, Camden County, Sr.
DB - Jeremiah Compton, Camden County, Jr.
DB - Tyreke Williams, Camden County, Sr.
DB - Kaleb Dawson, Colquitt County, Jr.
DB - Tymere Moore, Lowndes, Jr.
DB - Eric Atkins, Tift County, Sr.
DB - Dawon Barnes, Tift County, Sr.
 
7-AAAAAA
Player of the year: QB Casen Conway, Centennial, Sr.
Offensive player of the year: RB Kaelin Byrd, Cambridge, Sr.
Defensive player of the year: LB Myles Myers, Johns Creek, Sr.
Punter of the year: Dylan Schorr, Alpharetta, Jr.
Kicker of the year: Jake Friant, Johns Creek, Sr.
 
Offense
QB - Evan Conley, Pope, So.
QB - Matthew Downing, Alpharetta, Jr.
QB - Chase Owens, Chattahoochee, Sr.
QB - Nick Pastrone, Dunwoody, Sr.
RB - Cal Dickie, Centennial, So.
RB - Matthew Taylor, Johns Creek, Sr.
WR - Carlos Carriere, Alpharetta, Sr.
WR - Isaac Kinsey, Chattahoochee, Sr.
WR - Blane Mason, Centennial, Jr.
WR - Cameron Moore, Cambridge, Sr.
WR - Farid Nana-Yeboah, Northview, Jr.
WR - Turner Nims, Dunwoody, Jr.
WR - Zach Owens, Pope, So.
WR - Tyreke Smith, Centennial, Sr.
WR - Andrew Thomas, Chattahoochee, Jr.
TE - Zach Williams, Johns Creek, Jr.
TE/DE - Jackson Davenport, Northview, Sr.
OL - Jacob Brunson, Pope, Sr.
OL - Jack Coco, Johns Creek, Sr.
OL - Mason Mitchell, Centennial, Sr.
OL - Peter Utesch, Northview, Sr.
ATH - Jack Ferguson, North Atlanta, Sr.
 
Defense
DE - KJ Simpson, Johns Creek, Sr.
DE - Caleb Washington, North Atlanta, Jr.
DE - Dylan Zegers, Pope, Sr.
DT - Nick Markus, Alpharetta, Jr.
DT - Kaleb Wenson, Cambridge, So.
DL - Nick Croawell, Centennial, Jr.
DL - Zack Leffler, Cambridge, Sr.
LB - Will Britain, Cambridge, Sr.
LB - Matt Gadecki, Alpharetta, Sr.
LB - Quin Geer, Johns Creek, Jr.
LB - Jack Gregg, Chattahoochee, Sr.
LB - Jacob Gregory, Centennial, Sr.
LB - Majeste Hansberry, North Atlanta, Sr.
LB - Cole Neuber, Johns Creek, Sr.
LB - Jake Oliver, Dunwoody, Jr.
LB - Reid Schulz, Alpharetta, Jr.
LB - Kevin Siatkowski, Northview, Sr.
LB - Logan Tamisin, Chattahoochee, Sr.
LB - Tyler Werth, Cambridge, Sr.
CB - Jaycee Horn, Alpharetta, Jr.
DB - Daquez Crawford, Johns Creek, Jr.
DB - Malcolm Gallagher, Centennial, Sr.
DB - Jack Somers, Johns Creek, Sr.
About Us
GHSFD logoGeorgia High School Football Daily is a free e-mail newsletter produced and owned by Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye. Holcomb is a former lead high school football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and co-founder of the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Saye is a 30-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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I'll flip you for it
Nine of the 12 semifinal games above Class A pit two region champions. GHSA rules call for a coin flip to decide the home team when like-seeded teams play. How significant is the coin toss? Since 2008, when the semifinals were taken out of the Georgia Dome and put back on high school fields, the home team is 26-15 when region champions face off in the final four. Further, the higher-ranked team (using the AJC's Top 10) is 14-4 when winning the toss and playing at home, but only 11-12 when losing the toss and playing on the road. In other words, the higher-ranked teams on average go from being a clear favorite if they win the toss to a slight underdog if they lose the toss. Here are the nine semifinals in which home field was determined by a coin.
 
Class AAAAAAA
#2 Roswell at Westlake*
#3 Mill Creek at #1 Grayson
 
Class AAAAAA
#1 Valdosta at #2 Dalton
 
Class AAAAA
#2 Stockbridge at #4 Rome
 
Class AAAA
#7 Mary Persons at #1 Cartersville
#4 Jefferson at #2 Thomson**
 
Class AAA
#1 GAC at #2 Peach Co.
 
Class AA
#3 Callaway at #1 Benedictine
#10 Hapeville at #2 Fitzgerald
 
*Westlake won the coin toss, but the game was moved to neutral Lakewood Stadium because neither school's stadium met GHSA seating requirements.
**Jefferson won the coin toss, but the game was moved to Thomson because Jefferson's stadium did not meet GHSA seating requirements.
 
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Trivia
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N.C. State center Joe Scelfo, the ACC offensive lineman of the week, registered five knockdown blocks and helped the Wolfpack gain 259 rushing yards in a 28-21 victory over North Carolina last week. Scelfo's father, Chris, was a University of Georgia assistant under Jim Donnan and an Atlanta Falcons assistant while Joe played high school ball. For which Athens-area high school did Joe Scelfo play? (Answer Friday)
 
Answer to Wednesday's question: Charlton County is the school that won playoff games at Buford three consecutive years (2004-06).
 
Jostens is the leading provider of yearbooks, caps and gowns, class rings and championship rings and is the Official Championship Ring of the GHSA. Click here to learn more.
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Maxwell Projections
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Here are this week's semifinal games, with projected margins of victory, courtesy of the Maxwell Ratings. The projected winner is on the left. The projected margin of victory is on the right. The Maxwell computer ratings take into account historical scores, weighing the more recent seasons the most heavily.
 
Class AAAAAAA
Grayson vs. Mill Creek -15
Roswell vs. Westlake -23
 
Class AAAAAA
Tucker vs. Northside, W.R. -6
Valdosta at Dalton -8
 
Class AAAAA
Buford vs. Kell -8
Rome vs. Stockbridge -3
 
Class AAAA
Cartersville vs. Mary Persons -24
Thomson at Jefferson -14
 
Class AAA
Cedar Grove at Crisp Co. -2
GAC at Peach Co. -3
 
Class AA
Benedictine vs. Callaway -17
Fitzgerald vs. Hapeville -24
 
Class A (public)
Clinch Co. vs. McIntosh Co. -15
Macon Co. vs. ECI -6
 
Class A (private)
ELCA vs. Tattnall Square -14
Fellowship Christ. at Prince Ave. -1