TY SHROPSHIRE HAS NEVER BEEN ABLE TO
enjoy a high school career with a sport he’s loved.
In 2010, as a freshman at Apalachee High School
in Winder, Shropshire was playing quarterback on
the scout team when he attempted to make a cut
and someone clipped him from the side.
He tore his ACL that day, but worked his way
back and was in the same situation a year later,
working on the scout team as a quarterback
when his high school football career took a
familiar but more tragic turn.
This time a helmet hit his opposite knee, and
the outcome was far worse when Shropshire
looked down. Think Marcus Lattimore against
Tennessee last season.
“I knew it [was injured after] the first one,
when I had seen my knee I looked at it and it
was all out of place and I knew that something
was going on,” Shropshire said.
Shropshire decided to take his junior season
off, fearing for his health.
But he stayed active, joining the weight lifting
team and competing for it last season, using it
as both a means for rehabilitation and as an
outlet for his competitive nature.
“He’s worked really hard the past couple years to
get himself back to where he is and he was a part
of our state weight lifting team this past year and
just did really good,” head coach Shane Davis said.
Shropshire will be back for his senior season
and Davis will look to him to be the team’s
middle linebacker. While he readily admits the
decision to return wasn’t easy, Shropshire just
wants to be back on the field.
“I have big hesitations and I am kind of
scared that I might do it again, but my pride is
too strong for me to quit and I’m just going to go
ahead and go for it,” Shropshire said.
The Scott Family
MILTON HIGH OFFENSIVE LINE COACH MI-
chael Scott thought it was just acid reflux in
October of 2012. After a couple weeks when it
wasn’t better, CAT scans revealed that it was far
worse as results showed that he had pancreatic cancer. In the blink of an eye, everything
changed for the Eagles.
“He texted all of [the coaches] after he talked
to the doctor and it came up on all our phones
that they had only given him six months to live,”
Milton head coach Howie DeCristofaro said.
More than Milton, however, the world turned
on its head for Scott’s wife, Mary Jane, and kids
Anthony and Abby.
The school began selling “ScottStrong”
bracelets for $5 apiece, and friends, family, local schools, rival schools and even the Denver
Broncos pitched in to buy the bracelets. Overall, the fundraiser accumulated over $100,000,
with all the proceeds going to Scott’s family for
bills and mortgage payments.
Scott passed away in early December, around
three months after the diagnosis of his cancer.
Michael might be gone, but the Milton community has certainly not forgotten his family.
“We told Mary Jane that we want her here
on Friday nights,” DeCristofaro said. “We have
a big tent set up in the end zone for all of the
coaches’ wives and we told her that she was
still a part of this thing and we want them here.”
And though Michael won’t be there to see his
kids grow up, the Milton booster club is glad to
pitch in to see that they have a bright future.
“Our booster club has gotten together and
we’re going to donate a portion of the concession stand to the two kids so they will have a
scholarship fund put away for them for when
they go to school,” DeCristofaro said.
MANCHESTER HIGH SCHOOL
Continuing the same success
Eventually, there comes the time when the torch
must be passed, and that time has come at Manchester
High School. After 17 seasons, long-time head coach
Greg Oglesby has turned the football program over to
former assistant coach Tanner Glisson, although Oglesby
will remain the school’s athletic director. It’s now up to
Glisson to maintain the strength of the program, which
had a record of 129-59-2 under Oglesby, the winningest
coach in school history.
“The administration has allowed me to hire 10 coaches, so
there will be quite a few things that are different,” said Glisson, who graduated
from Manchester in
the spring of 1997,
just months before
the Blue Devils won
their only state title in
the fall of 1997.
Glisson, who served
as defensive coordinator at Manchester for
six seasons leading up
to his promotion, said
the offense will change to a triple-option, split back formation
under new offensive coordinator Mike Kelshaw. Senior Quinn
Prather, the son of Manchester’s’ defensive line coach, will
run the new offense from the quarterback position.
“He’s been raised in a football family and he is a very
smart kid,” Glisson said. “I think he will do a good job for us.”
Glisson turned defensive coordinator duties over to
coach Stephen Holmes, who is going to update Glisson’s
4-3 base defense to a more aggressive 4-3.
“We will do more blitzing, more scheming, and giving
multiple looks,” Glisson said. “We lost nine starters on
defense, and we will be a little smaller.”
Coming off a 9-3 season in which the Blue Devils lost to
Lovett in the second round of the playoffs, the new coaching
staff will hope to build on all the progress the program made
“They let me hire a head JV coach which we have not
had in the past, and we are going to try to dip down into
the middle school and JV program and get that organized,” Glisson said. “But a lot of things will be the same.”
– Kent McDill
ST. ANNE PACELLI
The Culture is Changing
THE LUELLA (GA.) LIONS
have a video system in which
their players can watch game
tape on their home computers –
and middle linebacker Steve Osondu has taken full advantage.
“He watched more film than
half my staff,” Lions coach Nic
Vasilchek said. “I’ve coached
high school for 10 years and I’ve
never seen a player who studied
That’s not just hype. Vasilchek
said the computer system tracks
how much film each player
watches, and the coaches follow up with pop quiz-
zes to make sure the kids weren’t just “cheating the
system by hitting play and then going on T witter.”
Osondu admitted he initially started watching
film because he enjoyed watching himself play.
But that initial curiosity gave way to studying for-
mations and players he was due to face.
“Certain teams run only a couple of plays out of a
given formation,” the coach said. “Steve saw that,
and he would sprint toward that side of the field be-
fore a play had even shown itself. There were times
when he would get to a screen
pass before the receiver.”
What makes Osondu’s story
even more amazing is the fact
that he only played two games as
a freshman on the junior varsity.
Changing a losing culture is not easy, but Randy
Grace sure seems to have a handle on it.
The St. Anne Pacelli head coach took over a program
mired in the cellar and now has the Vikings poised to
compete in Region 4 of Georgia’s Class A division.
“It started in December of 2010,” Grace says. “The program was just coming off an 0-10 season, had a 23-game
losing streak, they were down to about 19 players, the
weight program was pretty much non-existent and the
morale was beat down; it was low.”
Since then, Grace
and his staff have
from the weight room
to the size of the roster to the enthusiasm
and pride that surrounds the program.
“There was excitement all three years,
just because you
could tell change
was happening. The football program started becoming
important again and the excitement has grown every
year. The big thing is the kids are gaining confidence with
their bodies and with their abilities. We’ve just got some
kids that are willing to put in the work.”
After a 1-9 season in 2011, the Vikings improved to 4-6
last year and because 14 of the starters (five on offense,
nine on defense) on Grace’s first team were freshman,
this year’s lineup is loaded with experience.
“The big thing is going to be how we can handle success
and how we handle the adversity,” says Grace. “When you
try to turn around a program that hasn’t had a lot of success,
learning how to win may be the most difficult thing; getting
over those mental blocks, pushing through and finishing
games. We started doing that towards the end of last year.”
– Adam Lazarus
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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL GEORGIA 2012