THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Successful Coach Unites
with Successful Program —
Stephens to Ware County
WARE COUN T Y HAS HAD A SUCCESSFUL FOOT-
ball program for quite some time. The Gators reached
state championship games in 2007 and 2012, though
they fell short of bringing home titles. With Ed Dudley moving on to Carrollton, Ware County needed to
find someone with a solid track record to continue the
school’s recently established winning tradition.
The person the Gators athletic department zeroed
in on was Franklin Stephens, a coach that posted a 90-
8-1 record in seven combined seasons as a head coach
at Tucker (five years) and Lamar County (two years).
Stephens said he’s bringing a patient approach
with him to Ware County, something that’s paid off
during the fast start to his young career.
“We’re going to focus on the overall process and
But Stephens is inheriting a group that’s used
control the things we can control,” Stephens said.
“That’s our attitude, effort, physical toughness and
On offense, though, there will be an adjustment
his players have to make. Moving away from the
pro-style offense his players grew accustomed to,
Stephens will have his team run the Wing-T. Ste-
phens acknowledged there will be an adjustment
period to the new offensive concepts.
to success. This year’s senior class holds a 34-7
record entering the 2014 season.
“One thing about this team is they have a desire
But it’s a challenge he embraces as he hopes to
to get over the hump,” Stephens said. “They played
for a state championship, had some success, and
they want to work toward being champions.”
Stephens said that he hopes to turn this opportu-
nity into a long career at Ware County. He’s cogni-
zant of the expectations placed upon by him by a
community starved for repeated football success.
build upon Ware County’s foundation.
“Hopefully we’re one of the teams that has the pos-
sibility of winning a state championship,” Stephens
said. “Will it happen every year? No. But we want to be
one of the teams with a legitimate chance every year.”
Scott Hamilton Honored
FOR PAULDING COUNT Y COACH SCOT T Hamilton, football means much more than the game played on Friday nights. Since taking over at Paulding County,
Hamilton has instituted a program called, “The
Player of the Day,” which incorporates special
needs students to his football team. On game
days, he presents a special needs student with
a team jersey and has him or her go through
the pre-game routine with the other players.
The student is then welcomed on the sideline
for the entire game that Friday night.
This has earned Hamilton the honor of being
named the winner of the National High School
Spirit of Sport Award for Section 3 by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Section 3 includes the states Georgia,
Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Corky Kell Classic Bounced
From Georgia Dome
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 23 YEARS, THE
Corky Kell Classic will not host games at the Georgia Dome. Due to the Atlanta Falcons hosting the
Tennessee Titans in a preseason game on Saturday,
Aug. 23, the high school football showcase will be
moved to McEachern High School.
It’s not too much of a big deal for the Corky Kell
Classic promoters, as the slew of games on Aug. 22
are taking place at the same location.
“The Falcons have always had the right of first
refusal,” Corky Kell executive director Dave Hunter
told the Gwinnett Daily Post. “It was kind of the perfect storm. It’s never happened to us in 23 years. …
We’re extremely disappointed not to be in the Dome,
but we’re going to have a great event at McEachern.”
North Paulding-Creekview and Archer-Sandy
Creek are the two matchups to be played on Friday. On
Saturday, there will be five games: Carrollton-Kell,
Mill Creek-Colquitt County, Brookwood-Valdosta,
Norcross-Tucker and North Gwinnett-McEachern.
Lorenzo Carter Stays
In-State at Last Minute
THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA STRUCK gold by landing Norcross defensive end/ outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter. But he Bulldogs almost saw the top-rated
player in the state leave for an SEC West school
for the second year in a row.
In 2013, former Grayson defensive end Robert Nkemdiche chose to leave his home state
for Ole Miss. Carter was extremely close in bolting the Peach State for LSU.
“That was my biggest secret — how much
I liked LSU,” Carter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I never really told people that,
that LSU was leading. LSU led all the way up
But after speaking with his family before he
was set to sign, he changed his mind and decided to stay in-state.
“I had some long conversations with my sis-
Former Norcross five-star recruit Lorenzo Carter,
ter and my parents,” Carter said. “They helped
me realize how big it would be if I stayed home
and played at Georgia. I think LSU did a great
job. Georgia just edged them out at the end.
The in-state school just took over.”
Carter helped lead Norcross to two con-
secutive state championships over the past two
years. The Bulldogs will hope he can step in and
help provide a pass rush in defensive coordina-
tor Jeremy Pruitt’s scheme.
featured on the 2013 FNF cover, flirted with LSU
late before signing with Georgia in February.
Grayson’s Justin Young breaks through the Colquitt County
line during the 2013 Corky Kell Classic. The event will not
be held in the Georgia Dome this season.