HOW DOES TUCKER HANDLE
THE MOVE TO THE HIGHEST
the tigeRs Lost onLY one game in 2013 —
the state final in a track meet full of athletes
against Creekside. It was one of the most exciting games of the season and the for-sure best
match-up of all the state title games. That was
no consolation for Tucker, where the standard
is state championship or bust. That sounds like
an unfair expectation, but that’s what happens
when you win two state titles (2008, 2011) and
lose no more than three region games each season 15 years in a row. Trips to the Dome are routine at Tucker. Trophies are now all that matter.
So how is that yearly goal going to work with
the Tigers moving from classification 5A to 6A,
the highest in the state?
Nothing changes, not if you ask head coach
Bryan Lamar. The Tigers enter Region- 2, where
Lovejoy has claimed the crown four years in a
row. Don’t expect the Wildcats to suffer a down
year, but it is worth noting that long-time head
coach Al Hughes, the most successful figure in
school history, won’t return in 2014. The Wildcats still pose as the toughest competition,
along with Alcovy, Newton and Rockdale County.
Should the Tigers survive their new region
slate (and there’s no reason to believe they
won’t), a long list of challenges await in the
playoffs. The who’s-who of high school football
includes the Gwinnett powers like Norcross,
Grayson and North Gwinnett and South Georgia
traditional foes like Colquitt County, Camden
County, Lowndes and Valdosta.
Are the Tigers prepared for that? Maybe the
better question — is 6A ready for Tucker?
CAN ANYBODY BEAT BUFORD?
DYnast Y Doesn’t Do it JUstice. BUfoRD
is beyond that description. The Wolves have
won nine state titles since 2001 — one at the
Class A level, six at 2A and two at 3A.
Now Buford is moving up to 4A, another step
up in competition. It hasn’t phased Jess Simpson’s program in the past. Simpson took over in
2005, inheriting an already great situation and
pushing it further and to more successful heights.
We ask this every year — can Buford
be beat? Only Calhoun stopped Buford
in the state playoffs since 2007, taking
the 2011 state championship in a thrilling upset.
Buford didn’t get the chance for a
rematch. The move to 3A in 2012 produced two state titles in as many years.
Now the Green and Gold move to 4A,
in Region 8 with the likes of Stephens
County, North Oconee and White County.
Just for fun, the Wolves have 6A power McEachern and the Jacksonville, Fla.
school Trinity Christian on the schedule
Buford doesn’t back down. At this
point, does it matter what classification
the Wolves are in?
WHO IS THE NEXT
not eXactLY going oUt on a LimB
here, but Archer should be the next Gwinnett-based 6A school to watch out for this season.
It’s an easy call to make considering the Tigers
went 11-1 last season, the lone loss coming
at the hands of North Gwinnett, 34-32, in the
second round of the playoffs.
That was Archer’s first real taste of expectations and big boy football. The Tigers should
be ready to make a deeper run in 2014. The
program has only been around since 2009, as
coach Andy Dyer has been in charge every step
of the way.
The progress has been easy to track. A 3-10
record the first two seasons (playing a limited
schedule the first) gave way to a breakthrough
Here’s the scary part — the Tigers
have a massive wave of underclass-
men that are already considered
high-level college prospects. Corner-
backs Dylan Singleton and Jamyest
Williams and athlete Kyle Davis give
plenty of reason to believe Archer
won’t be a one-hit wonder.
It’s an easy call to make. The
Tigers are here to stay.
WHERE DOES LINCOLN
COUNTY GO FROM HERE?
a googLe seaRch of “LaRRY
Campbell Lincoln County” reveals a
list that includes a sad end to what
should have been a glorious ending.
Campbell coached the Red Devils for 42 years,
winning a Georgia high school state record 477
games. Lincoln County won 11 state titles and
went undefeated eight times during his tenure.
Tainting his exit, Campbell was arrested and
charged with battery after an alleged altercation
at a Lincoln County Board of Education meeting.
Needless to say, Lincoln County is going from
four decades of stability and winning to something different. And different isn’t always easy.
Enter Kevin Banks.
An assistant the past 19 seasons on Campbell’s staff, Banks being a long-time figure in
the program should ease the transition. The
Red Devils have won 10 games or more in all
but five seasons since 1982. It’s said true character is revealed when things aren’t going your
way. How does Lincoln County handle this blast
We’ll soon find out.
IS THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC
PLAYOFF MODEL WORKING IN
CLASS A? CAN IT BE IMPROVED?
a hot toPic issUe foR a nUmBeR of
years before the Class 1A playoffs were split into
two, the public and private model has produced
four different champions the last two seasons.
Eagle’s Landing Christian and Aquinas claimed
the last two Private School crowns, while Emanuel County Institute and Marion County took care
of the Public School side of business.
What’s wrong with sharing the wealth? Sounds
simple, but it’s worth pointing out — the more
schools that win, the more winning there is. And
winning makes people feel good.
It wasn’t like private schools were dominating
the scene — public schools won 11 of the 13
state titles prior to the split. But the argument
was worth making. Why not get schools that are
alike, public and private, in the same bracket?
Here’s a thought… Who was better in 2013,
Aquinas or Marion County? Could we add another game after the regular proceedings, a
unification game of sorts?
Both schools could still hang a banner. And
we’d know who the better team was for sure.
Tucker is 24-4 in two seasons with Bryan Lamar in charge. How do
the Tigers handle moving to the highest classification in 2014?
The Archer Tigers led by Coach Andy Dyer and talented underclassmen
Kyle Davis ( 11), Jamyest Williams ( 1) and Dylan Singleton ( 3).
BY FLETCHER PAGE