In This Issue
CHEROKEE BLUFF SPRING FOOTBALL; ISLANDS GIRLS SOCCER MAKES HISTORY
Allatoona 12, Gainesville 2
Allatoona 6, Gainesville 5
Alpharetta 12, Alexander 3
Appling County 12, Jackson 0
Appling County 4, Jackson 3
Arabia Mountain 4, Flowery Branch 2
Benedictine 16, Screven County 1
Benedictine 17, Screven County 0
Blessed Trinity 3, Troup 2
Blessed Trinity 6, Troup 4
Brookwood 10, South Forsyth 7
Buford 10, Decatur 2
Callaway 3, Rabun County 0
Carrollton 15, Chamblee 0
Cartersville 11, Marist 1
Chamblee 8, Carrollton 6
Colquitt County 6, Etowah 2
Columbus 8, Burke County 1
Columbus 9, Burke County 0
Cook 1, Rutland 0
Cook 11, Rutland 0
Effingham County 1, Grovetown 0
Elbert County 11, Lamar County 9
Etowah 5, Colquitt County 0
First Presb. 5, Calvary Day 2
First Presb. 9, Calvary Day 1
Flowery Branch 7, Arabia Mountain 6
Grayson 12, North Gwinnett 6
Greenbrier 2, Lee County 1
Grovetown 12, Effingham Co. 6
Harlem 4, Thomasville 3
Harrison at Pope, late
Heard County 23, Dade County 7
Hebron Christian 9, Pinecrest Academy 4
Heritage-Catoosa 6, North Oconee 3
Heritage-Catoosa 7, North Oconee 5
Holy Innocents' 4, Fellowship Christian 2
Holy Innocents' 4, Fellowship Christian 2
Houston County 4, Heritage-Conyers 1
Jeff Davis 6, Westside-Augusta 0
Jeff Davis 8, Westside-Augusta 6
Jefferson 3, Northwest Whitfield 0
Jefferson 5, Northwest Whitfield 1
King's Ridge 8, Wesleyan 3
Lassiter 4, Lowndes 3
Lassiter 8, Lowndes 2
Locust Grove 5, Thomas County Central 0
Locust Grove 8, Thomas County Central 0
Loganville 11, North Springs 1
Loganville 9, North Springs 3
Lovett 11, North Hall 1
Marist 4, Cartersville 3
Mill Creek 5, South Gwinnett 1
Mt. Paran Christian 14, Providence Christian 7
Ola 5, Wayne County 1
Parkview 10, Mountain View 0
Parkview 5, Mountain View 3
Pike County 6, Pierce County 5
Pinecrest Academy 6, Hebron Christian 3
Pope 8, Harrison 7
Prince Avenue 3, St. Francis 1
Prince Avenue 7, St. Francis 6
River Ridge 12, Winder-Barrow 2
River Ridge 13, Winder-Barrow 0
Savannah Christian 10, Strong Rock Christian 1
Savannah Christian 5, Strong Rock Christian 2
Social Circle 11, Jordan 2
South Forsyth 3, Brookwood 2
Southeast Bulloch 10, Worth County 6
Spalding 13, Cross Creek 5
Spalding 5, Cross Creek 1
Starr's Mill 1, Harris County 0
Starr's Mill 2, Harris County 1
Tattnall Square 13, Brookstone 2
Tattnall Square 3, Brookstone 2
Thomasville 12, Harlem 1
Veterans 10, Whitewater 6
Wesleyan 15, King's Ridge 9
West Laurens 7, Eastside 6
Westminster 8, Greater Atlanta Christian 6
Whitewater 15, Veterans 0
Woodstock 11, Camden County 0
Woodstock 8, Camden County 0
Woodward Acad. 7, Hardaway 4
Worth County 6, Southeast Bulloch 0
Hillgrove 10, Parkview 9
Johns Creek 17, Campbell 4
Kennesaw Mountain 18, Brookwood 5
Lambert 19, Creekview 2
Lassiter 25, Archer 2
McIntosh 15, Benedictine 6
Milton 15, Harrison 6
Northview 11, Wheeler 1
Pope 18, Greenbrier 3
Roswell 9, Grayson 8 (OT)
Cambridge 17, Harrison 6
Hillgrove 18, Parkview 3
Johns Creek 21, North Atlanta 1
Kennesaw Mountain 17, Dunwoody 0
Lassiter 20, Evans 0
Milton 19, Sequoyah 0
North Gwinnett 15, Northgate 5
Roswell 18, Grayson 8
By Seth Ellerbee
Hall County's newest high school ready for spring football
Cherokee Bluff, a brand new school in Hall County, is on the eve of its first spring football practice as it prepares for its inaugural season in Region 7-AAA, and there is hope and excitement in the air.
Head coach Tommy Jones and the crew at "The Bluff" have spent the majority of the spring putting together a solid coaching staff. On Saturday it all comes together.
"There's a lot of excitement in the air," said Jones. "We are looking forward to getting on the grass in the morning. We have put together an outstanding coaching staff. One that rivals anybody."
Jones is coming off back-to-back 8-AAAAAA titles with Dacula, where he coached since 2013. His best season was in 2014 when the Falcons compiled a 10-2 record and made it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Colquitt County. Building a program is uncharted territory for Jones, but the coaching staff he has assembled should help the new school glide through the growing pains that accompany first-time programs. The coaching staff list reads like a "Who's Who" of football coaches across the state.
You can sense the excitement when he goes through the list.
"Our defensive coordinator is Chris Griffin, who was the head coach at Flowery Branch for a number of years," Jones said. "He's coming to us from Collins Hill, where he was a defensive coordinator. Miles Martin will coach our receivers. He was a defensive coordinator last year at Cambridge, but he spent most of his career on the offensive side of the ball, as well. My offensive coordinator is Kenneth Czar. He was our offensive coordinator at Dacula, and he's coming with me."
Griffin coached at Flowery Branch from 2012 to 2016 and compiled a 29-23 record. With Czar at the helm of the offense, Jones thinks it will allow for a smoother transition from a solid program at Dacula to an upstart program at Cherokee Bluff.
"Tivris Dixon is our defensive line coach," Jones said. "He was at Habersham Central, where he was a defensive coordinator there. Before that he was at Gainesville and Rome. Our secondary coach and strength coach is Michael May. Michael is coming from Buford, where he served similar roles there. Our inside linebackers coach is Derek Tiller, who's coming from Gainesville, but before there he was at Peachtree Ridge for 10 years. John Russ is coming to us as our quarterbacks coach. John is coming from Georgia State, where he is a current (graduate assistant) right now, but he was a four-year starter at Mercer in the first four years of its program."
Russ, a graduate of Mill Creek, won countless awards during his years, including Mercer's 2016 Offensive Player of the Year Award, the 2016 FCS Bowl National Team Captain and the 2016 FCS Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player, and he was named to the 2016 Academic All-SoCon Team. In 2013, his freshman season, Russ threw the longest touchdown pass in the country, a 93-yarder, in a victory against Valparaiso.
It's safe to say that The Bluff's quarterbacks will be in good hands.
For coaches at an upstart program, certain roles will have to be taken on that some of the crew might be unfamiliar with, but the family atmosphere and a touch of humor seems to take care of the job.
"So we just have a lot of good names, good guys," Jones said. "When you start a football program, your coaching staff has to take on roles that they might not be accustomed to. We laugh and say you need to be able to run a drill, fill up a water bottle and tape an ankle ... all at the same time. That's part of the call of duty in the startup program."
Entering into a region with perennial playoff powers like Greater Atlanta Christian and East Hall would be difficult for nearly any program in the state, especially a program in its inaugural season. But with a quality coaching staff to guide the players through the spring and summer, things are looking bright in Hall County.
"We have guys who are unselfish and are great coaches, but they're better men, and they're excited about being a part of the program."
By Graham David
Islands makes history with Elite 8 appearance, hosts Lovett tonight
The Islands girls soccer team looks at its 2018 season as a journey of many milestones. Former seasons for the Lady Sharks have ended in similar fashion, accumulating records close to .500 and being knocked out of the playoffs early. At the start of this season head coach Tracy Castillo left her team to go on maternity leave, opening up the door for Kim Bynum. Bynum quickly made an impression in her first season at Islands, and with home shutout wins over Peach County and Worth County (10-0 and 8-0, respectively), the team made its first Elite Eight appearance. Islands hosts Lovett tonight in the state quarterfinals.
Bynum is by no means new to the game of coaching. Before solidifying her position at Islands, the University of Louisville grad helped coach at Southern High School in Louisville while acting as a grad assistant at her alma mater. Arguably her most impressive stint came during her time at Coastal Middle School, a feeder school for Islands High. During her eight years as a Seahawk, Bynum led the girls soccer team to consecutive titles and two runner-up seasons. In their 2012 championship season the Lady Sharks went 11-0, outscoring opponents 100-0. Not a single goal was let in by the championship team all season.
"It was amazing," Bynum said. "That particular set of kids are all playing college ball now. As a school, we actually won 13 to 15 championships that year. It was a lot of fun. We had a whole slew of athletes that year."
Her strong record made Bynum the clear-cut choice to steer the Islands program.
"Let's just say, I was a late hire," said Bynum when asked about her arrival at Islands. "I've known principal Kerry Coursey, and she asked me if I was coaching in the spring. It just so happened that I wasn't. I was going to take the season off, but when she said she needed someone to coach, I said yes."
Bynum will also be brought on board to teach ninth-grade health and personal fitness at Islands High.
Helping the new head coach make history is a group of talented athletes.
"We have four or five players score each game," said Bynum. "Savannah Riegner, who was on the 2017 All-Greater Savannah Girls Soccer Team, has tons of experience. She remembers everything and thinks ahead. She keeps other coaches on their toes and works well up front with Olivia White."
Bynum also has several players she knows from her days at Coastal Middle School. Her entire defense, made up of Rebecca Davis, Samantha Tisinger, Caroline Jones and Liz Sierzant, has played for Bynum before and has excelled.
"Mera Kelly and Julia Metzger are new to Islands," said Bynum. "They've got a lot of great Atlanta club experience and they really make us go. Marissa Bodenrader is the only senior. She was actually the kicker of the eighth-grade football team at Coastal Middle. I knew she could punt the ball like crazy being our goalkeeper. I told her to just kick the ball as hard as she could."
There is no shortage of accomplishments that the team has achieved along the way. The Lady Sharks took Savannah Arts into overtime with a score of 2-2 on the hunt for the school's first-ever region title. Six days prior to their region championship meeting, the Sharks fell to Savannah Arts 3-1. Down 2-0 at the half during their rematch, Islands looked as if they would once again fall to the Panthers and be denied their first-ever region title.
White put a ball past the keeper and into the back of the net, providing a much-needed spark to her team's offense. Kelly headed in the tying goal with 20 minutes left in the match, leading to a scoreless overtime and a tense series of penalty kicks. While the Islands shooters made sure to do their job, making all five of their penalty kicks, Bodenrader's quick reactions allowed her to make a great save to put away the game and bring home Islands' first region title.
The return of Tisinger to start the playoffs after she suffered a concussion against Savannah Arts has benefited the team greatly, as she can eliminate space and opportunities to score for opposing attackers. Islands'18 goals in the first two rounds brings it within one goal of the past four playoff appearances combined.
Up next in the Class AAA quarterfinals tonight, Islands will host Lovett, which last year failed to complete back-to-back titles after a 3-2 loss to Pace Academy in the semifinals. A win here for the Lady Sharks would place them in the semifinals for the first time in school history and bring them one step closer to that first state title. Lovett is a traditional power, but Bynum knows exactly what her team is capable of.
"A few weeks back I thought that it was a possibility that we could do this," she said. "We really have a shot. I spent all day looking at championship articles and how to keep things normal. I was going to make sure we didn't do anything different, nothing special and no tricks. We don't need to."