4DO YOU TAKE SPRING PRACTICES OR THE FALL SCRIMMAGE?
High school coaches have a choice. Take 10 practices in
the spring or schedule an additional scrimmage in the fall.
It may be an easy choice at first glance, given that 10
spring practices sounds like more time to work and get
better than one scrimmage later.
That’s not always the case.
Spring can be tough to schedule with other sports ongoing
for both players and coaches involved in baseball, golf, track,
tennis, etc. The school year is nearly over by the time some
of these sports conclude.
That can water down the talent pool coaches have to work
with. So, many coaches, like Oconee County’s Travis Noland,
elected to take the fall scrimmage, with plans to treat it as
another game for his players to gain experience.
Noland said he instructed his senior leaders what type of
drills to run and put faith in them lead the proper workouts
necessary to get better through the summer.
For most, though, spring practices are too valuable to pass up.
It’s a time for evaluation and fundamentals. And it helps college
coaches who want to get eyes on as many players as possible.
While taking the practices in the spring is still the
preferred choice for most coaches in the state, a growing
number are choosing the fall scrimmage.
There’s merit for both routes.
5WILL THE SOUTH CONTINUE TO RISE? Colquitt County’s win over Archer in the state title
broke Gwinnett County’s strong hold on the state’s highest
classification title belt. Teams from Gwinnett won four
straight championships (Brookwood, Grayson, Norcross
twice) before the Packers finally got theirs after years of
coming up short against teams from the Atlanta suburbs.
Camden County was the last South Georgia bunch to win
it all, back in 2009, and will once again be among the teams
from vaunted Region 1, with Valdosta, Lowndes and Colquitt
County, that once again figure to prop up the South’s reputation as one of the best football hotbeds in the country.
6WILL WE SEE ANOTHER HAWKINSVILLE TITLE DEFENDED?
The people down in Hawkinsville are use to winning state
titles in twos. The Red Devils brought the trophy home in
1953 and ’ 54, in 2003 and ’04. A title in ’ 59 marked the only
time the 1A school didn’t back up a state title with another.
The Red Devils finished 13-1 and beat Irwin County for
the crown last season. If history tells us anything, it’s that
Hawkinsville is a good bet again in 2015.
7WHO’S THE BEST PLAYER IN THE
The consensus among
the recruiting outlets is it’s
Derrick Brown. The Lanier
High defensive tackle has
the size ( 6-4, 305) and
production (101 tackles,
17. 5 sacks as a junior).
lineman Julian Rochester is
another lethal pass-rusher
and Savannah Christian’s
Demetris Robertson is
explosive. An underrated
player due to his geographical
location in the state is Rabun
County receiver Charlie
Woerner is also one of the
best athletes in the class.
The rising junior class
includes Peachtree Ridge
defensive back Deangelo
Gibbs and Mary Persons defensive lineman Malik Herring. Some think Cartersville
Trevor Lawrence is the best
player in the state right now.
8CAN WE EXPECT A DEEP PLAYOFF
PUSH FROM PEACH
The Trojans went undefeated in the regular season
last year, but were upset by
Appling County in the first
round of the playoffs. Peach
County last won the state
title in 2009 and finished
runner-up in 2011. The past
two seasons, though, have
seen early playoff exits. Don’t
count on that trend continuing in Fort Valley for long.
Calhoun Yellow Jackets have plenty of hungry foes to face in their title defense.
Lanier DL Derrick Brown is considered the best player in the state.
9WHAT’S THE BEST MATCHUP IN THE CORKY KELL CLASSIC?
That’s tough to answer.
The early-season kickoff has provided us with high-profile
pairings for years. That’s not changing this time around.
Friday’s games: Sandy Creek-Creekview and Archer-North Paulding.
Saturday’s slate: Carrollton-Kell, Brookwood-Mill Creek, Nor-
cross-Valdosta, North Gwinnett-Colquitt County, McEachern-Tucker.
Take your pick. But don’t miss one.
10WHO CHALLENGES CALHOUN IN 3A? The Yellow Jackets took the state 3A crown with
an undefeated campaign in 2014, earning coach Hal Lamb
his second state title in four years.
The Jackets are here to stay as one of the state’s best
programs as long as Lamb and his ‘Calhoun Way’ remain in place.
Repeating as champs won’t be easy. The class is full of
well-run programs, including Elbert County, Washington
County, Cedar Grove, Westminster, Blessed Trinity, Callaway,
Pierce County, Jefferson and others.
Class 3A may have a sterling reigning champion in
Calhoun. But it’s also one of the deepest classes, in terms of
potential winners in 2015, in the state.
DB Tyrique McGhee must play a major role in Peach County