In This Issue
CORKY KELL GAME 1 SPRING PREVIEWS; WEEK 5 LACROSSE RANKINGS
Alexander 12, Northgate 1
Aquinas 14, Georgia Military 4
Arabia Mountain 4, SW DeKalb 0
Bacon Co. 7, Toombs Co. 2
Banks County 11, Rabun County 0
Blessed Trinity 12, White County 2
Bowdon 15, North Cobb Chr. 4
Brentwood 16, Windsor Acad. 3
Brookstone 9, Marion County 2
Brookwood 12, Norcross 2
Burke County 7, Hephzibah 0
Calhoun 5, Murray County 3
Calvary Day 19, Portal 0
Campbell 4, Westlake 3
Charlton Co. 13, Clinch Co. 2
Chattahoochee County 16, Mitchell County 7
Columbus 15, Hardaway 4
Dacula 4, Lanier 1
Darlington 19, Mt. Zion, Carroll 4
ELCA 3, Weber School 1
East Hall 4, Lumpkin County 1
East Laurens 18, Dublin 13
Emanuel County Institute 18, Wheeler County 3
Frederica Acad. 4, Trinity Chr. 3
Grayson 13, Newton 4
Harrison 7, Sprayberry 1
Heritage-Conyers 5, Grovetown 4
Houston County 8, Coffee 3
Irwin County 5, Atkinson County 3
Jackson 20, Central-Macon 0
Jackson Co. 14, East Jackson 0
Jeff Davis 9, Metter 5
Johnson County 10, Claxton 0
Landmark Christian 5, Holy Innocents' 5
Lassiter 19, Cherokee 1
Lovett 22, McNair 0
Lowndes 5, Valdosta 2
Manchester 15, St. Anne Pacelli 2
North Cobb 9, Marietta 8
Northside-Columbus 12, Carver-Columbus 1
Ola 4, Eagle's Landing 0
Pelham 11, Baconton Charter 1
Pickens 4, Northwest Whitfield 2
Pinecrest Acad. 11, St. Francis 10
Rome 4, Villa Rica 2
Starr's Mill 16, Riverdale 0
Tattnall Square 4, First Presbyterian 0
Telfair Co. 16, Echols Co. 0
Terrell Co. 16, Pataula Charter 6
Thomas County Central 3, Cairo 1
Thomas Jefferson 1, Piedmont Academy 0
Treutlen 16, Montgomery Co. 6
Vidalia 10, Swainsboro 1
Washington-Wilkes 10, Lincoln County 5
Wesleyan 7, Strong Rock Chr. 5
West Hall 7, Chestatee 1
Westover 10, Americus-Sumter 0
Whitewater 11, Griffin 1
Worth County 18, Dougherty 0
Yulee 6, Camden County 5
Alexander 11, Creekside 1
Carrollton 10, Paulding County 0
Cedar Shoals 5, Buford 0
Coahulla Creek 2, Gilmer 0
Dalton 9, River Ridge 0
Druid Hills 5, Luella 0
Fayette County 2, Woodland-Stockbridge 0
Fellowship Chr. 3, St. Francis 0
Forest Park 2, Lovejoy 1
Gainesville 2, Apalachee 1
Grayson 3, Rockdale County 2
Heritage-Conyers 10, Evans 0
Hillgrove 3, Kennesaw Mountain 0
Holy Innocents' 4, Galloway 0
Jeff Davis 8, Bacon County 3
Jefferson 10, Josey 0
King's Ridge 3, Walker 1
LaGrange 6, Troup 1
Madison County 8, Salem 0
Monticello 2, Social Circle 1
Norcross 1, Meadowcreek 0
Northgate 2, Tri-Cities 1
NW Whitfield 10, Ridgeland 0
Oglethorpe Co. 6, Banks Co. 0
Paideia 10, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian 0
Prince Avenue 2, Lake Oconee Academy 0
Richmond Acad. 5, Cross Creek 0
South Paulding 9, Mays 1
Spalding 5, Howard 1
Strong Rock Chr. 3, Jackson 2
Vidalia 3, Toombs County 1
Weber School 7, Atlanta Jewish 0
Westside-Augusta 4, Johnson-Augusta 0
Apalachee 4, Gainesville 1
Calhoun 7, Murray County 0
Cartersville 5, Chapel Hill 3
Creekview 1, Sequoyah 0
Dacula 9, Winder-Barrow 0
Druid Hills 4, Luella 0
Grayson 3, Rockdale County 1
Holy Innocents' 10, Galloway 0
Houston County 6, Northside-Warner Robins 0
Jackson Co. 10, Franklin Co. 0
Jefferson County 3, Josey 0
Lakeview Academy 5, West Hall 1
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 6, Ringgold 0
Lambert 2, North Forsyth 0
Lanier 1, Habersham Central 0
Lumpkin Co. 4, Fannin Co. 1
Madison County 4, Salem 1
Marist 10, Chestatee 0
Mill Creek 6, Discovery 0
Johns Creek 1, North Atlanta 0
North Oconee 8, Stephens Co. 0
North Paulding 2, Marietta 1
NW Whitfield 9, Ridgeland 2
Pinecrest Academy 8, North Cobb Christian 0
Pope 5, Centennial 2
Roswell 2, North Gwinnett 1
Screven County 9, Laney 0
Sprayberry 2, South Cobb 1
Towns Co. 10, Rabun Co. 0
Walton 3, Starr's Mill 0
Weber School 9, Yeshiva 0
Wesleyan 5, Walnut Grove 1
Whitewater 10, Riverdale 0
Blessed Trinity 12, St. Pius X 6
Cambridge 15, Alpharetta 9
Centennial 22, Meadowcreek 2
Greater Atlanta Christian 12, Fellowship Christian 8
Kennesaw Mountain 18, Sequoyah 3
Marist 10, Pace Academy 8
Mt. Paran Christian 10, Mt. Pisgah Christian 8
Riverside Military 8, Pinecrest Academy 5
Union Grove 22, McIntosh 2
Walker 9, East Paulding 8
Centennial 21, Westminster 5
Holy Innocents' 10, Buford 7
St. Stephens & Agnes 18, Northview 2
Stratford Academy 13, Hampton 0
Walker 10, East Paulding 8
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
CORKY KELL CLASSIC
By Craig Sager
Thursday, Aug. 16 at Barron Stadium (Rome)
5:30 p.m. Ridgeland vs. Calhoun
RIDGELAND SPRING PREVIEW
There is a potent combination of pride and optimism brewing in Rossville, Ga., as the Ridgeland Panthers dive head-first into their offseason preparation.
The program is coming off its best season (11-1) since reaching the state finals in 2013 (13-2) and returns plenty of talent and leadership to its roster.
Both the offense and defense dominated the competition a year ago, posting a 39.4 average margin of victory in the first-ever undefeated regular season in program history. But following an especially promising 63-7 victory to open last year's Class AAAA state playoffs, Ridgeland's 11-game winning streak and magical season slowed to a crawl in a 28-21 loss to Jefferson in the second round. Then, less than two months later, head coach Wesley Tankersley resigned after three years at the helm and accepted the head coaching job at Stephens County, leaving the Panthers hunting for a new head coach.
That coaching search ended on Feb. 21 as Rossville native Cortney Braswell returned to his hometown and was announced the program's eighth head coach. Two of Braswell's siblings and both parents went to Ridgeland High School (Rossville High School and Chattanooga Valley combined to form Ridgeland in 1989), but Braswell attended Baylor School in Tennessee.
"I'm the only one that didn't go to Ridgeland," chuckled Braswell. "But seriously."
Baylor is an athletic powerhouse in Chattanooga and boasts more combined TSSAA state titles than any other school in Tennessee. As a running back at Baylor, Braswell was a TSSAA Mr. Football Finalist and was named first-team all-city four times and all-state twice. He set school records for rushing yards in a game, career rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns scored. He was also a two-time state champion in the 400- and 800-meter relay.
Success has continued to follow Braswell throughout his coaching journey, and at just 30 years old, his achievements from the sideline are just getting started.
Braswell's hands-on approach and "100 percent responsibility, 0 percent excuses" philosophy has quickly caught on with the Panthers. Braswell has instituted other changes as well. This season, Ridgeland will abandon the traditional Wing-T offense it has been using for years, and quarterback Tanner Hill will take on a much bigger offensive role for his senior season.
"We'll go where (Hill) goes this season," said Braswell, "and we've got a special one with No. 1."
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Hill is expected to become more of a game manager this season, and the skill positions will see an increased role in the new system. A believer that discomfort leads to progress, Braswell is anticipating that the installment of a new offense and the other variations being added to both sides of the football will increase the competitiveness, fast-track the evaluation process and set the tempo this offseason.
In the trenches, Ridgeland's Fred Norman Jr. has already had a busy offseason, playing in the Georgia Elite Classic junior game this past December and using his 6-foot-6, 295-pound frame to average a double-double on Ridgeland's basketball team.
The Panthers' work this offseason will be put to the test right out the gate as they square off with defending Class AAA state champion Calhoun in Game 1 of the 2018 MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic on Aug. 16. Ridgeland is 0-4 all-time against Hal Lamb's Yellow Jackets and lost 37-0 the last time it opened the season against Calhoun (2013).
"To quote the great Rick Flair, 'To be the man, you gotta beat the man,'" said Braswell. "We know that we can't call ourselves great until we start beating great teams. And we are going to know where we stand on Aug. 16."
CALHOUN SPRING PREVIEW
After collecting its third state title under head coach Hal Lamb (2011, 2014, 2017) last year, Calhoun's loaded roster gets set to pursue the program's first-ever back-to-back championships this upcoming season.
"We feel like we've got a really good nucleus returning for us," said Lamb. "I'd say we probably have 90 percent of our skill guys back, which is always good. We've got to find a few linemen and some linemen need to step up, but we feel good about our kids coming back. But at the same sense, we can't get complacent and we've got to continue to work and get better both individually, and as a group."
A Commerce High School graduate and multi-sport standout, Lamb uses an approach to spring practice that allows for his players to participate in multiple sports like he did. Lamb never limited his talents to just football, also playing golf, tennis and basketball. His 52 points scored in a game is still a Commerce record. His wide receiver play earned him a scholarship to West Georgia, where he not only became a two-time all-conference football player, but earned MVP honors in tennis as well.
So while some schools organize scrimmages with other teams this spring, Lamb continues to encourage his players to participate in spring sports and uses spring practice (and a controlled Team A, Team B scrimmage) to stress the fundamentals.
"I'm not really a fan of playing other schools in the spring, mainly because I think you lose fundamentals," explained Lamb. "If you've got eight days to prepare for a team, you are going to try to scheme and win the game and you lose the fundamental part, which to me is very important in spring practice, and we're also going to miss a good amount of kids for baseball and track. Our situation is a little bit different at Calhoun, because we do encourage our kids to play different sports. A lot of them are playing baseball, a lot of them are running track. ... It's about fundamentals in the spring and that's what we are going to focus on."
This approach presented a challenge last spring when starting quarterback Gavin Gray was playing baseball and Calhoun had just one quarterback in grades 9-12 to lead it through spring ball. This year, however, Gray will be available after electing not to play baseball.
Star linebacker Davis Allen, however, is another multi-sport athlete on this year's roster and is continuing to play baseball.
"He's one of those three-sport guys," said Lamb. "He's a football player and he started on the basketball team and is a left-handed pitcher on the baseball team so he's a really, really good athlete to be 6-foot-5, 220. I want to say that he's got eight D1 offers already to play football. Some want him as a linebacker and some want him as a tight end, so he's a very special player and a very special young man."
While Calhoun may not be at its full capacity this spring, the Yellow Jackets will be on Aug. 16 as they open up Game 1 of the 2018 MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic against a motivated Ridgeland team.
"We are very honored to be in the Corky Kell Classic," said Lamb. "There is a lot of tradition with the Corky Kell games. We've tried to get in the last several years and finally the door opened for us this year. And it is the opportunity to play a very good Ridgeland team."
Lamb was an offensive coordinator for Upson-Lee when the Knights appeared in the 1995 (McEachern 9, Upson-Lee 7) and 1996 (Marietta 49, Upson-Lee 7) edition of the Corky Kell Classic. The last time Calhoun lost in a season opener was 2008, but still, Lamb is hoping to see his team start stronger than in years past.
"We've got to come out of the gate a little faster than we have in the past and that's something we're talking about," said Lamb. "We did play a really good Dalton team and played really well, but then the next week we played a really good Cartersville team and didn't. Our whole goal here at Calhoun High School is to peak at playoff time, but that doesn't mean that we don't need to play well the first week or two of the season. We have to play better than we have in the past and hopefully we can do that on Aug. 16."
By Craig Sager
Four No. 1s stave off challenges
Top 5 showdowns shook up the Class 6A-7A Boys poll this week. No. 1 Lambert's 15-4 win over Centennial bumped the Knights down to No. 3 and North Gwinnett jumped to No. 2 with its flawless 9-0 record. No. 4 Lassiter swapped places with No. 5 Walton after serving the Raiders their first loss of the season in a 8-7 double-overtime thriller.
In Class A-5A, No. 5 Marist scored a solid 10-8 win over Pace Academy this Tuesday and Starr's Mill scored its 10th win of the season, sitting comfortably at No. 7.
1. Lambert (8-0)
2. North Gwinnett (9-0)
3. Centennial (8-1)
4. Lassiter (4-3)
5. Walton (9-1)
6. Johns Creek (8-1)
7. Grayson (8-2)
8. Roswell (5-1-1)
9. Cambridge (5-5)
10. Milton (5-5)
1. Lovett (6-0)
2. Westminster (8-2)
3. Kell (7-1)
4. Blessed Trinity (9-1)
5. Marist (3-2)
6. Greater Atlanta Christian (7-2)
7. Starr's Mill (10-1)
8. Wesleyan (3-2)
9. Woodward Academy (6-0)
10. Whitefield Academy (7-1)
The Milton girls recently suffered two out-of-state losses, but their 4-0 record against in-state opponents keeps the Eagles safe at No. 1. Centennial, however, made a dramatic climb to take No. 2 in this week's poll. The
||Despite out-of-state losses, Milton's girls remain No. 1 in Class 6A-7A.
Knights (previously ranked No. 9) had a remarkable week, doubling their win total and improving to 8-0 with victories over Kennesaw Mountain (17-6), Meadowcreek (22-1), North Gwinnett (12-9) and Westminster (21-5).
Class A-5A No. 1 Blessed Trinity demolished Kell 16-2 and sent the Longhorns to No. 3 in the poll. Wesleyan, whose only loss of the season was a 12-6 defeat to BT, is the new No. 2. Starr's Mill jumped Westminster for No. 4 after the Wildcats suffered a fourth-straight defeat.
1. Milton (5-2)
2. Centennial (8-0)
3. Cambridge (9-2)
4. Lassiter (9-2)
5. Walton (4-2)
6. Northview (6-2)
7. Kennesaw Mountain (5-3)
8. Mill Creek (7-2)
9. Northview (6-2)
10. West Forsyth (8-2)
1. Blessed Trinity (7-1)
2. Wesleyan (6-1)
3. Kell (5-3)
4. Starr's Mill (7-1)
5. Westminster (2-5)
6. Marist (2-0)
7. St. Pius (2-2)
8. McIntosh (3-5)
9. Pinecrest Academy (4-1)
10. Woodward Academy (4-2)