The upstart Georgia Prep Sports Academy football program opened their 2013 season with a 28-7 victory over LaGrange (GA) College JV team on Sunday. Brandon Thomas had several long runs and led the Lions in rushing with 163 yards on 7 carries and a touchdown. Lloyd Howard rushed for 118 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown, he also returned a punt for a touchdown. GPSA rushed for 322 yards in the win. Rico Johnson caught a touchdown pass for GPSA.
LaGrange’s only score came on a GPSA turnover when they returned a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter.
“We made some mental mistakes and had some turnovers so there are things we need to clean up but it was good to get that first win,” head coach Michael Carson said. “Our defense played lights out especially in the secondary against a heavy passing team. Now it’s onto the next game so we can continue to become more of a cohesive unit.”
GPSA (1-0) will travel to Loretto, PA to take on St. Francis JV on Saturday August 31st at 1pm.
Football and helping young men is in Micheal Carson’s blood. The Buford (GA) and Alabama State graduate compiled a 27-19 record in four years as head coach at Avondale (GA) and Martin Luther King (GA), led Avondale to the playoffs for the first time in 20 years in 2009, won two region titles at MLK, won various Coach of the Year honors and sent over 40 players on to the collegiate level in his last two years at MLK. Since resigning from MLK prior to the 2012 season, he got right to work on his next move. He decided to remain in the business of getting young men into college by way of the pigskin only now at the prep school level. Carson is the founder and first-ever football coach in the history of Georgia Prep Sports Academy football program, a prep school located in Atlanta, GA.
“I just wanted to continue to do what I’ve been doing for the past 17 years and that is impacting young kids lives,” Carson stated. “I’m strictly in this for the kids, it’s my passion. I love the game of football”
There will be no home stadium, tailgating or festive marching band for these Lions, they will play 11 road games in their inaugural season in 2013 with mainly Sunday and Monday game dates. The season opener against LaGrange (GA) College JV is Sunday August 25th. Six of the eleven opponents will be against JV teams from LaGrange College, St. Francis (PA), Point University (GA), Carson Newman (TN), Paine (GA) College and Maryville (TN) College. Also on the schedule is Gary Military Prep, Columbus State (GA) Club, Fort Benning (GA) Club, Greenville (SC) Tech Prep and Fork Union (VA) Military.
“We are trying to get kids exposed through this program, get them where they need to be academically and get them signed to go off to school somewhere and if we are able to do that it’s going to stand out more than winning games. Were just trying to prepare these guys for life,” Carson said about playing 11 road games this year.
Carson recruited all 38 players on the roster so far and oversaw an upbeat and disciplined practice in the shadow of downtown Atlanta at Cheney Park with the same focus, teaching and fire that yielded so much success at his previous stops. He sternly interrupted practice after a rep to get a point across to his players. Pointing to the top of the hill at the film guy to remind them everything they do is on film and when schools come ask about them and want to see their film it’s not going to lie.
GPSA has some recognizable names on the roster this season from around the recruiting world headlined by former Swainsboro (GA) wide receiver Rico Johnson. Johnson did not have two online classes approved by the NCAA preventing him from attending Georgia leaving him with two options, junior college or prep school.
“Coach Carson reached out to me and told me about the program, I went and checked it out online, discussed it with my mother and let my high school guidance counselors know. Once we saw it was approved by the NCAA I came up for a visit, I liked what I saw and made my commitment and came on in,” Johnson said. “I approach this situation as a leader, guys look up to me since I was going to Georgia, highly recruited and all that so I try to do the right thing and become a better leader, win ballgames for coach and get back to where I need to be,” Johnson responded on how he’s using this experience.
Oshay Carter threw for 1,341 yards and 22TD last season at Trinity Christian (FL) and will be looking to hold down the quarterback position. Safety Mike Parker will be the leader in the secondary. Parker held offers from several D1 schools and was a 3-star recruit coming out of Kettle Run (VA) and is considering Miami after GPSA. Lloyd Howard rushed for 1,236 yards and 8TD last season at Palm Beach Central (FL) leading them to their first ever district title and regional semifinals appearance, will see plenty of action out of the backfield, he had committed to Florida Atlantic in high school.
As practice came to an end Carson continued to stress the more important things, academics and manhood. “You have got to get the academic piece together, without that you have no options. You gotta have a mission and purpose for being here. You are not in high school anymore and we are going to treat you like the young men that you are and challenge you to get better,” as he addressed the group that had his undivided attention. He ended practice outlining the study hall and tutoring schedule for the next day, loaded the squad back on the bus for the ride back to campus and is one day closer to Georgia Prep Sports Academy’s first-ever football game.
“This is just my way of giving back to these kids. We have to do a better job of giving them the understanding that education has to be first and foremost. I’m just excited about it and I love doing it. We want to prepare these guys for life and we want all of them to be successful,” Carson stated.
Alabama defeated Notre Dame 42-14 to win their third BCS National Title in our seasons. As many predicted an expected the Crimson Tide won in convincing fashion over the team from South Bend, IN that has a mass national following.
Alabama finished with 264 yards rushing and 265 yards passing to tally a total of 529 yards of total offense. The Alabama defense held Notre Dame to a grand total of 32 yards rushing finishing with 302 yards of total offense, much coming in the second half when the game was well in hand.
Alabama’s win marks their second straight BCS Title and seventh straight for the SEC since Florida pop the seal in 2006.
The state of Alabama has won the BCS title for the fourth consecutive season with Auburn, led by Cam Newton, winning the one year Alabama did not.
Kenyan Drake, a Hillgrove (Powder Springs,GA) native who we covered in high school finished with 8 yards rushing on 3 carries in the championship game as a true freshmen. Drake was one of 19 players on the Alabama roster that played their high school football in the state of Georgia. Dillon Lee (Buford), Austin Sheppard (North Gwinnett), Kurt Freitag (Buford), Geno Smith (Atlanta, GA) are other notable names from the state of Georgia on the Alabama roster.
Florida had 8 players on the roster including wideout Amari Cooper (Miami, FL-Northwestern) who caught 6 passes for 105 yards and 2 TD in the national title win over Notre Dame. Sophomore DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Orlando, FL) was another notable player from Florida on the Alabama roster for this season.
South Carolina was represented by two players Chris Bonds (Columbia, SC) and John Fulton (Manning, SC)
Alabama head coach Nick Saban personally won his fourth national championship as a coach and sits behind former Alabama coaching legend Bear Bryant by only two, Bryant won six overall. Saban has three national titles at Alabama and one at LSU (2003).
Ryan Dillard of Buford (GA) talks about how he kept his options open after signing with Yale and by doing so he will be attending the University of Southern California to play football this fall (Dillard will enroll in summer school in June). Dillard is an under the radar player that did not get the acclaim by recruiting services that he thought his on field, academics and clean background warranted.
The biggest knock on Dillard in recruiting circles and with some schools was his size. When you watch him on film he plays so low that you really cannot detect his true height of 5’10”.
When asked about that Dillard said, “Yea I know. I now realize I didn’t have to play as low as I did and I’ll adjust at the next level, no problem”.
Well there you have it and no matter where you are you can hear Ryan Dillard making plays as a USC Trojan as the school has agreed to a new national radio deal as Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing reports. Dillard and Detroit Lions All-Pro wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, who played his college ball at Georgia Tech and his high school ball at Sandy Creek (GA), are cousins.
We’ll have more on Dillard’s trek to Southern Cal this week. Dillard is a prime example of one that handled their business on the playing field, in the classroom and on the recruiting trail despite all odds.
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