2012 GDFL Season Approaching Fast

The  Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) is the largest minor professional football league in the country with over 140 teams including teams in Canada. The championship format of the league is set up much like the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournament. 32 teams make the playoffs, 16 per side, with all division winners earning an automatic bid with the next eight spots in each conference going to the teams based on records and tie-breakers where they apply. The Chambersburg Cardinals won their 13th minor league football title and first GDFL title in 2011 defeating the Oklahoma Thunder in Atlanta, GA last October. The loss snapped the Thunder’s 53-game winning streak, their franchise’s first loss since it began operation in 2009. Total Sports Coverage covered the 2011 GDFL National Championship game. The Carolina Warriors out of Charlotte, NC were the 2010 GDFL National Champions.

Gridiron Developmental Football League

The GDFL is embarking on its third season of operation and with that came expansion in 2012. The GDFL went West adding teams in California and Nevada and formed an affiliation with the LCFL. In light of this expansion  the GDFL West/LCFL champion will face the GDFL’s Xtreme/Impact Conference winner to determine the 2012 GDFL National Champion. This will only be for the 2012 season due to the difference in scheduling as far as the GDFL West/LCFL and  Xtreme/Impact Conferences are concerned. The GDFL West/LCFL teams kicked off their season this past weekend, March 24th, whereas the GDFL’s Xtreme and Impact Conferences will not open their season until June 2nd.  Going forward into 2013 the LCFL naming rights will be obtained fully by the GDFL as a member and not affiliation and the schedules will align to begin in June of 2013.

The league office consist of President and CEO Charles Thompson, Vice President of Operations Tracy Harden-Scott , Xtreme Conference Director Reggie Davis and Impact Conference Director Kendrick Johnson. Each division within the GDFL will have a Director of Operations who reports directly to the league office on all matters and will be named at a later date.

President and CEO Charles Thompson said about the outlook on the 2012 season. “I feel pretty good going into 2012, we’ve met all of our current [business] goals and now we are working toward making 2012 a success.” Thompson added, ” As far as football we are strong, we have added several minor league champions from other leagues as well as those teams we’ve added out West through our affiliation with the LCFL. Bringing these teams into the GDFL gives it another dynamic on the landscape of minor league football and we feel we can crown a true minor league football champion.”

So why is the GDFL something people want to be apart of after only three years of operation? “The national presence of the GDFL is a major attraction to our league. Teams and franchises want to be apart of a league with a national presence, organized with goals and have a solid working business plan in place that in turn will allow everyone to succeed in the business of minor league football”, Thompson stated.

With the football competition on the field and business model that was on display by many in the league last season, especially by the National Championship game participants in the Chambersburg Cardinals and Oklahoma Thunder, the future is looking bright for the GDFL.

Dekalb County (GA) Reps As Miller Grove and Columbia Win State Title In Both Boys and Girls

Dekalb County is rich in athletic talent and much of that talent was on display on the basketball floor during the Georgia State Championships. By the end of the championships there were four state champions and  two runner ups from the county in two classifications.

In the Class 4A the Miller Grove Boys and Girls brought home state title each defeating Southwest Dekalb, also from Dekalb County. For the Miller Grove (24-9) boys their 63-57 win over Southwest Dekalb (21-12) gave them their fourth consecutive Class 4A championship. The Wolverine withstood a second half push by Southwest who held a one-point lead with a  little under 4 minutes to play in the fourth quarter 49-48. Moments later Southwest DeKalb star and Memphis signee William “Shaq” Goodwin fouled out and from there Miller Grove would nail it down from the free throw line to seal the win. Miller Grove was led by Tony Parker who finished with 22 points, Justin Colvin added some timely shooting en route to his 17 points.  Southwest Dekalb was led by Jordan Price, an Auburn signee , with 17 points. Goodwin finished with 12 points.The teams, who both play in the rugged Region 6-4A, were meeting for the fourth time this season and in all four meetings the final margin was decided by six points or less.

Miller Grove has garnered nationally attention the past four seasons winning its fourth championship in the school’s seven-year existence (opened in 2005) yet is not currently nationally ranked in due to losing to major opponents and very tough schedule. Miller Grove had losses to  Oak Hill (VA), St. Anthony’s (NJ), Bishop Gorman (NV) and Simeon (IL) this season and all are still currently  highly ranked in several national polls including the USA Today Super 25 and ESPN Powerade Fab 50. The only in state loss for Miller grove was to region foe Chamblee 56-54. It was the Wolverines first region loss since a 82-71 setback to Lakeside, Dekalb during the 2008-2009 season.

The Lady Wolverines won their first state championship with a 46-39 over Southwest Dekalb. It was their second consecutive 20-win season and a school record 25 wins. Miller Grove (25-4) had what seemed to be a commanding 30-13 lead at halftime but would have to withstand a 10-2 run by Southwest Dekalb in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter before they hoisted the trophy. The good news for Miller Grove is they will only lose one player off the squad in Tabitha Fudge, who was vital during an  11-0 first half run that gave Miller Grove a 16-5 lead  they would never give up. Miller Grove was led in scoring by Junior Klarissa Weaver who tallied 16 points (10 in the first half) and was everywhere defensively one could be throughout the contest. Southwest Dekalb  was paced by Shayla Rivers and Jasmine Coleman who each finished with 10 points. The win was the Lady Wolverines 16th straight victory.

The Lady Wolverines did not play a cupcake of a schedule either. Of their four losses two of them came to a nationally ranked Good Counsel (MD) team and unranked Obion Central (TN). Both in-state losses were to region opponents Southwest Dekalb and Chamblee. Southwest Dekalb advanced to the semifinals by defeating Chamblee in the Elite Eight.

Miller Grove became the 12th school in Georgia to have their boys and girls win basketball state championships in the same season.

Dekalb County was not finished however as both the Columbia Eagles boys and girls were playing in the 3A finals. The Columbia (31-1)boys are currently ranked No.23 in the ESPN Powerade Fab 50 rankings and defeated Drew (28-5) 65-46 en route to their fifth state championship in seven seasons. The Eagles would have to withstand an 11-1 run at the start of the fourth quarter but put together their own 12-0 run in the final three minutes to secure the state championship. Tahj Shamsid-Deen led all scorers with 17 points and Jhaustin Thomas finished with 11 for Columbia. Drew, which was making a championship game in only its third season was led by Derrick Frye’s 13 points.

The tough schedule trend remained in order for Columbia whose one loss on the season was to West Charlotte (NC). The Eagles scored out-of-state wins over Lausanne (TN), C.I. Gibson (Bahamas) and  Ridge View (SC). 

On the girl’s side Columbia was seeking revenge as they faced a Washington County (32-1) team that was on a 63 game winning streak which included 57-47 state tournament win over the Lady Eagles last season. The Lady Eagles were not for play as they held the Lady Golden Hawks to five fourth quarter points which all came in the final minute of the fourth quarter. A physical game it was, Columbia got revenge and came away the 57-33 winner. The Lady Eagles did what they have done all season which was come out with their aggressive play shooting them out to an early 8-0 lead and they would never trail in the contest. Columbia had an all important 9-0 run in the second quarter 33-16 halftime lead. Washington County would make its push in the third but it would not me enough as they were held to only five fourth quarter points, all coming in the final minute of the contest. Columbia was led by Miah Spencer who totaled 15 points while  Zuri Frost chipped in with 9. Defending 3A Champion Washington County was led by their star Allisha Gray who finished with 14 points, no other Lady Golden Hawk scored in double figures. The Lady Eagles won their second championship in three seasons.

Columbia became the 13th school in Georgia history to have their girls and boys program win the state championship in the same season. Miller Grove was the 12th with their boys and girls winning both a day earlier.

McEachern Defeats Hillgrove by 33 points, finishes 33-0; Wins 5A State Championship

The McEachern Indians entered the Georgia 5A Championship game with much on the line. They had a shot at the schools first ever championship, undefeated season, and a shot at a national title as they are ranked in the Top 5 in several national polls including the ESPN Powerade Fab 50 and USA Today Super 25 among others.

After the dust settled the Lady Indians would be the 5A State Champion with a 69-36 win over crosstown and region rival Hillgrove. It was their seventh consecutive win over Hillgrove and fourth this season. Two goals have been reached, an undefeated season finishing 33-0 and a state title, now they must await the judgement of the press to see if they will also claim a National Championship.

McEachern jumped on Hillgrove from the opening tap racing out to an 13-0 lead in the opening quarter. At the 2:56 mark  Hillgrove’s reserve center Tiffany Schick scored the Lady Hawks first hoop on an offensive rebound and put back. McEachern would hold tight and finish the quarter with a 20-7 lead after Hillgrove’s Celina Rodrigo would nail a buzzer beating trey from just inside of half-court. Much of the same would ensure in the second quarter as McEachern took a 37-18 lead into the locker room at halftime.

2011-2012 McEachern Lady Indians

In the third quarter Hillgrove was out to prove they were not going to go out without a fight as they held McEachern to only 6 points in the quarter while putting up 13 of their own in their highest scoring quarter of the night while doing their best to shift momentum for a rally.

At the start of the fourth the Lady Indians regained focus and form and used a 9-1 run to race out to  a 20 point advantage with a 52-32 lead with 2:02 gone by in the fourth. The Indians would finish the drill and hold Hillgrove to only five fourth quarter points using their trademark tenacious defense. Both team would begin to empty their bench as the 3 minute mark neared, Hillgrove first in hockey style fashion and McEachern one by one.

After the final horn sounded the Lady Indians embraced their fans, who were the loudest of any student body over the 3 days at the Arena at Gwinnett Center during the semifinals and finals. Dominique Wilson led McEachern in scoring with 17 points, Pachiyanna Roberts tallied a double-double with 16 points and 10-plus rebounds and freshman standout Te’a Cooper who is already committed to North Carolina finished with 11. Senior Celina Rodrigo led Hillgrove with 17 points while sophomore sensation Mackenzie Engram finished with only 7 points a night after tallying 20 against North Gwinnett. McEachern yielded only 16 points in the Final Four to Norcross’ top scorer Diamond DeShields (9 points in the semifinals) and Hillgrove’s Engram (7 points in the finals).

When asked how did it feel to go 33-0 and win the championship game by 33 points, McEachern head coach Phyllis Arthur replied, “Wow that’s awesome, I thought we won by 34 but that’s cool that we won by 33”.

Yes by 33 points in a season where you finished 33-0, fitting to say the least. Can you really hold it against a coach to not know the point differential when they have just won a state championship by so many points, nope you sure can’t. For a coach who believes in her players and has a strong support system  with everything falling into place.

“I believe these players are the best”, Arthur stated.

Phyllis Arthur finished her sixth season at McEachern with a State Championship

Arthur is 146-35 in her six seasons at McEachern with an undefeated season and state championship under her belt.

The reloading period begins now as McEachern will lose stars in Roberts, Wilson, Clemson commit Kayla Montgomery and  Destinie Gibbs (6 points in Title game) . The set of Coopers (Mia and Te’a) and Joclyn Ramos will be back to defend and lead a youthful but talented squad.

Hillgrove will enter next season with a new coach as Sheryl Fowler will step down after six seasons. Fowler built the Hillgrove program from scratch six seasons ago and finishes 141-33 with a Final Four and Elite Eight appearance in her final two seasons, the previous four they competed in Class 4A making the state tournament all four years, losing to Mays and Madison County in the state tournament during those seasons.

Rivals McEachern and Hillgrove To Square Off For Georgia 5A Girls Title

The McEachern Indians and the Norcross Blue Devils were meeting for the second time this season with a ticket to the 5A championship game in the balance. Both programs garner national attention with rosters loaded with Division-I talent and national rankings. McEachern is ranked No.2 in the ESPN Powerade Fab 50 and No.3 in the USA Today Super 25 while Norcross is ranked No.22 in the ESPN Powerade Fab 50. McEachern came from behind to defeat Norcross 55-43 in the season opener for both teams at Norcross in what was a rematch of the 2011 5A State Championship game.

The Lady Indians jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead in the first quarter but had to sustain a furious Norcross rally in the fourth quarter to advance. McEachern, who never trailed in the game, led 57-55 when  Syracuse bound Pachiyaanna Roberts would get an And 1 to push the Indians lead back to five at 60-55 with 1:31 remaining in the game.

McEachern led 64-61 with less than 30 seconds remaining and possession of the ball turned it over in the backcourt when Te’a Cooper lost the ball out-of-bounds off of her leg giving Norcross life. Norcross’ Diamond Deshields, who was held scoreless in the first half, missed a three pointer with McEachern taking over but again would turn the ball over with 6.4 seconds left in the backcourt. Norcross would get another shot but Shayla Cooper’s three-point attempt was blocked by Pachiyaanna Roberts and McEachern would take over with .6 seconds remaining and simply inbound the ball to secure their second consecutive appearance in the sate championship game.

McEachern (32-0) was led by Arkansas signee Dominique Wilson who finished with 21 points, North Carolina signee Te’A Cooper finished with 18 points and Syracuse bound Pachiyaanna Roberts had 11 points. McEachern used the long ball to their advantage throughout the game nailing seven three-pointers in the contest . Norcross (26-6) was led by Shayla Cooper’s 18 points (12 in the first half), Tori Carter had 14, Jasmine Kemp scored 10 of her 12 in the fourth quarter and Diamond DeShields finished with 9 points (6 in the fourth quarter) which was 13 points below her season average of 22 per game.

McEachern will face their crosstown and Region 4-5A rival the Hillgrove Hawks (26-4) in the 5A Championship game. Hillgrove defeated North Gwinnett (26-4) 56-51 to advance. The Hawks were led in scoring by sophomore Mackenzie Engram who finished with 20 points and got 15 from Wake Forest signee Celina Rodrigo. Rodrigo would go 9-11 from the free throw line in the final two minutes of the game to preserve the win for Hillgrove. North Gwinnett, which entered the game ranked No. 35 in the ESPN Powerade Fab 50, was led by Lexie Brown, a Maryland signee, with 25 points while Peyton Whitted tallied 19 points. 

McEachern and Hillgrove are both Cobb County schools located in Powder Springs, Ga and this will be their fourth meeting this season, the latest coming in the Region 4-5A championship game. The average margin of victory in those three games was 23 points. Three of Hillgrove’s four losses this season have come at the hands of region foe and crosstown rival  McEachern. Hillgrove’s only other loss this season was to Lovett (27-5) who will be playing in the Class 2A championship game against Buford (25-7). McEachern defeated Buford during a pre-season scrimmage this season by 30 plus points. Since moving up to the 5A Classification in 2011 Hillgrove has never defeated McEachern as the Lady Indians have defeated the Lady Hawks six consecutive times including a 56-53 lost in the Elite Eight last season.

The 5A championship game will also mark the end of an era as Hillgrove head coach Sheryl Fowler will be retiring at season’s end. Fowler has been the head coach at Hillgrove since the school opened six years ago and coached at McEachern for 16 years prior to taking the post at Hillgrove. Phyliss Arthur is in her sixth season at McEachern, taking over for Fowler and previously coached at Pebblebrook. Fowler is 131-42 in her six seasons at Hillgrove and Arthur is 145-35 in her six seasons at McEachern.

Georgia Girls State Semifinal Has National Implications

The Georgia Girls State Semifinals are underway in all five classifications  for in two locations. The 4A and 5A semifinals and finals are being held at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, GA and the 1A, 2A and 3A semifinals and finals are being held at the Macon Centerplex in Macon, GA.

The action got underway in Gwinnett with the Southwest Dekalb Lady Panthers (21-11) defeating the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals 51-35 to win their 19th consecutive postseason game  dating back to 2008 (missed the postseason in 2011) to advance to the 4A Championship game on Friday. Southwest Dekalb used a 10-4 run in the third quarter to open te game up and outscored the Lady Cardinals 16-9 during the quarter. Jonesboro (25-6) would only score in double digits in a quarter once, scoring 13 in the fourth.

In Macon the Wesleyan Wolves (28-5) ended Taylor County’s (27-2) 19-game winning streak with a 55-40 win and will advance to the 1A Championship game on Saturday. Taylor County’s only other lose this season was to Rutland 44-42. The 15-point margin of victory was the lowest for Wesleyan in the state playoffs. They won by 57, 37 and 54 in the first three rounds.

Later on in Gwinnett, Miller Grove (24-4) scored in the wrong hoop to begin the game yet over came Alcovy (27-5) with a 42-34 win. Miller Grove girls were led by Katie Hunt’s 17 points and calm free throw shooting. A 6-0 run in the third quarter sen the Lady Wolverines on their way while they hung on with timely baskets and key free throws.

The nightcap in Macon featured another public vs private match up in Charlton County (public) going up against Southwest Atlanta Christian (private). The game was never in doubt as Southwest Atlanta Christian (29-3) raced out to an early lead and held on for a commanding 68-39 win over Charlton County (24-5) . Charlton lost therir only out-of-state game to Hillard (FL) 65-51. Keep reading and you’ll find out about Southwest Atlanta Christian’s strength of schedule.

The title games are set in 4A and it’s Southwest Dekalb going against Miller Grove in 4A and Southwest Atlanta Christian going against Wesleyan in 1A.  Stats on the match up read this way… Wesleyan leads the all-time series 2-0 winning both meetings in 2006. Southwest Atlanta Christian is averaging 61.8ppg while giving up 33.2ppg, are on a 22-game winning streak. The Southwest Atlanta Christian Lady Warriors have held seven opponents to less than 20 points this season with the lowest points allowed being six (6). Southwest Atlanta Christian was defeated by the current No.2 (USA Today) and No. 3 (ESPNRise) team in the nation Whitney Young (Chicago, IL ) 72-48 this season, yet defeated Southwest Dekalb 55-33 to open their season. Wesleyan is averaging 65.8 point per game and giving up 36.8 points per game. Wesleyan’s, who is ranked No.30 in the ESPNRise,  four losses this season have come to No.12 Good Counsel (MD), No.4 Bolingbrook (IL), Bob Jones (AL) and St. Francis (GA) .  Miller Grove and Southwest Dekalb know each other well as they compete in the rugged Region 6-4A.  Miller Grove and Southwest Dekalb split their previous two meeting with Miller Grove winning 43-31 and Southwest Dekalb winning the second meeting 55-47 . Miller Grove four losses have come to Southwest Dekalb, Good Counsel (MD)Obion (MD), and region foe Chamblee . 

Hang tight with Total Sports Coverage for all the championship game action. Follow us on Twitter @tsportscoverage and like us on Facebook.