The Perfect Game Preseason Top 50 high school baseball poll was released this week with two Georgia teams landing in the Top 10. North Gwinnett, which has never won a state title in school history, is the highest ranked team at No.4 while Parkview comes in at No.10.
Buford at No.31 and Houston County at No.37 round out the Georgia teams in the preseason rankings giving the state a total of four teams. North Gwinnett, Parkview and Buford are all in Gwinnett County.
Cobb County, which is rich in baseball and high school baseball history, did not have any teams in the preseason rankings. Pope (4), Walton (2), Harrison (1) and Lassiter (1) have all won state titles since 2001.
Parkview is the back-to-back defending 7A state champion and has won three of the last five titles in the highest classification and seven titles since 2001.
Buford won a state title in 2015 in class 4A and a 2A state title in 2011.
Houston County won state titles in class 5A in 2014 and 2016, both teams included former University of Georgia quarterback Jack Fromm.
The high school baseball season officially starts in Georgia for GHSA schools on Monday February, 10th.
Other Notable Bordering States Notes:
Florida led the way with 10 schools in the preseason poll led by No.1 Tampa Jesuit.
No.8- Bob Jones (AL), No. 25- Russell County (AL) and No. 32- Hoover (AL) are the Alabama representatives and No.43- Chapin (SC) is the lone team from South Carolina in the preseason rankings.
The High School football season cranked up with a full schedule in Georgia on the final Friday in September. Here are some notes and scores from around the state.
In a battle of state champions from the highest class in Georgia (Grayson) and Alabama (Hoover), host Grayson jumped out a 14-0 lead and held on late for a 35-26 victory over the Buccaneers. Hoover (0-1) pulled to within two points, 28-26 on Larry McCammon’s third rushing touchdown with just over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Grayson answered quickly when DJ Irons hooked up with Keynon Jackson for 71-yard touchdown pass to give Grayson (1-0) the 35-26 cushion which they held for the victory. Ronald Thompkins rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns while DJ Irons passed for 200 yards and touchdown and rushed for a touchdown. Hoover falls to 2-4 all-time against Georgia opponents and 0-2 all-time to Grayson.
In Moultrie, GA the Colquitt County (2-0) Packers won their second straight game with a 26-7 victory over Vista Murrieta (CA). Daijun Edwards rushed for two touchdowns, Cam Singletary scored on a 46-yard touchdown reception and the Colquitt County defense held their second straight opponent under 150 yards of total offense. It was the Packers first-ever game against a team from California.
Lowndes (2-0) shutout its second opponent in a row with a 56-0 victory over International School Of Broward (FL). The Vikings have outscored their first two opponents 111-0 to open the season including a 45-0 victory over rival Valdosta in the season opener. Valdosta (1-1) defeated Woodland-Stockbridge (1-1) 26-0 to earn it’s first victory of the season while handing the Wolfpack it’s first loss.
Walton (2-0) under first-year head coach Daniel Brunner withstood Brookwood (0-2) 42-35. DJ Soyoye rushed for three touchdowns, quarterback Austin Kirksey passed for over 260 yards with a touchdown while highly-touted receiver Dominick Blaylock caught a touchdown pass for Walton. Brookwood was powered again by its rushing attack from Matthew Hill (rushing and receiving TD) and Dante Black (3 rushing TDs).
Defending 5A state champion Rome (1-0) defeated 6A Harrison (0-1) 33-21. Rome score the final 16 points of the contest after Harrison scored 14 unanswered points to take a 21-17 lead in the second half after trailing 17-7. Knox Kadum passed for a pair of touchdowns- both to Xavier Roberts, while Jamious Griffin rushed for a touchdown and defensive lineman JaQuon Griffin returned a fumble for a touchdown. Highly-touted Harrison quarterback Justin Fields passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another while finishing with over 300 yards of total offense.
Clarke Central (1-1) rebounded from a season opening loss to Winder-Barrow by defeating Oconee County (0-1) 27-11. Leading 14-3 in the third quarter, Jonathan Sewell caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Jack Mangel. Kapres Forbes put the game away by returning a punt 51 yards for a touchdown giving Clarke Central a 27-3 lead later in the third quarter. Mangel and Nadarrius Smith each had rushing touchdowns against the Warriors.
Stockbridge (1-0) used a Gabe McKensize touchdown run, a short field goal and a stout defense to defeat Mays (0-1) 9-0 for the second consecutive season. It marked the first time Mays was shutout in 64 games.
Mill Creek (2-0) scored 31 unanswered points enroute to a 31-13 victory over class 6A Stephenson (0-2). The Hawks, who overcame a deficit for the second consecutive week (defeated McEachern in season opener after trailing), rushed for over 200 yards and four touchdowns as a team.
Cartersville (2-0) won their 32nd consecutive game with a 52-45 victory over Bartram Trail (FL) (0-1). Rico Frye rushed for a one-yard touchdown with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to break a 45-45 tie and give Cartersville the 52-45 lead. Bartram Trail moved to the Cartersville 11 yard line after a pass interference call in the end zone however on the next play Riley Smith’s pass was incomplete as time expired. Cartersville’s highly-touted quarterback Trevor Lawrence passed for over 400 yards with three touchdowns while Rico Frye rushed for over 125 yards and two touchdowns. Bartram Trail rotated Smith and Gatewood at quarterback most of the day. Gatewood passed for over 160 yards and a touchdown while rushing for over 115 yards.
Cedar Shoals (1-0) overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Discovery (0-2) for the second consecutive season 22-12. Trailing 12-7, Cedar Shoals’ Cameron Hudson returned a lateral for a touchdown for a 15-12 lead after a successful two-point conversion. The Jaguars sealed the deal with a 19-play drive capped by a Jephari Colbert 7-yard touchdown with just more than three minutes remaining in the game. Colbert rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns for the Jaguars.
Other scores of interest:
Tucker (2-0) defeated Lakeside-Dekalb (0-2) 54-0; Tucker travels to Colquitt County this week.
Cedar Grove (2-0) defeated Southwest Dekalb (1-1) 37-7
North Gwinnett (1-1) defeated Milton (1-1) 31-28
Langston Hughes (2-0) defeated Westlake (0-1) 16-13; Langston Hughes is off this week before hosting Mays on Sept. 8th. Westlake will host Shiloh this week
Venice (FL) (1-0) defeated Camden County (1-1) 35-3; Camden County does not have a passing touchdown through two games this season in its new spread offense.
Redan (1-1) defeated Lithona (0-2) 18-9
Dutchtown (1-0) defeated Ola (1-1) 39-7
Central Gwinnett (2-0) defeated Dacula (0-1) 36-33
Valdosta (1-1) defeated Woodland-Stockbridge (1-1) 26-0; Woodland-Stockbridge travels to Tri-Cities this Saturday
Buford (2-0) defeated Melbourne Central Catholic (FL) (0-1) 34-17; Buford hosts International School of Broward (FL) this week
Lovejoy (2-0) defeated Mundy’s Mill (0-2) 33-14; Lovejoy faces Stockbridge this week at Tri-Cites on Saturday
Total Sports Coverage continues to strive towards providing you with high school football from across the southeastern United States. We are pleased to announce that we will have our traditional live audio only broadcast for the North Marion (FL) Colts against the Hoover (GA) Buccaneers on tonight Thursday October 29th.
This will feature our first game in the state of Alabama and our first game featuring teams from Alabama and Florida. In our seventh season, Total Sports Coverage continues to apply its mission statement…” Our quest is to bring premium sports broadcast to the internet covering the sports landscape that normally would not receive optimum coverage.”
North Marion will be playing its first-ever varsity football game outside of the state of Florida. Prior to this season, North Marion rarely played outside of the north central Florida area. The Colts opened their season at Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, FL) marking the farthest south the Colts had ever played a varsity football game. North Marion is 8-0; 2-0, 2015 District 6-5A champions and have made the playoffs the last 16 seasons, the last two under second-year head coach Stephen Field.
Hoover is nationally known and respected. Despite limping in to the contest winners of only 2 of its last 4, the Buccaneers are 7-2 and currently in a three-way tie for the runner-up spot in Region 3, which carries a first round home playoff game. Hoover has faced a team from Florida this season defeating 8A Manatee 42-21.
Our live broadcast coverage will begin at 7pm central time with kickoff following at 7:30pm. Catch all of the action here via your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
The North Marion Colts continue to up their marquee value. Months away from breaking in a newly upgraded football and track facility, the Colts, on Sunday revealed new threads that they will wear this fall.
North Marion will wear Nike uniforms after previously wearing Under Armour.
North Marion has made the state playoffs 15 seasons in a row and will be entering its second season under head coach Stephen Field, replacing Craig Damon now with the FHSAA. Damon was recently promoted to the position of Assistant Executive Director for Eligibility and Compliance Services.
North Marion, which is in Sparr, FL despite being listed as Citra, FL nationally, will play their first-ever out-of-state game this fall when they travel to Hoover, AL to take on nationally known and respected Hoover October 30th.
North Marion wide receiver Freddie Swain and Hoover defensive back PJ Hall will highlight the matchup. Both are being recruited by multiple colleges despite not being household names.
Hoover is the defending Alabama 7A state champions, North Marion bowed out in the regional quarterfinals last season in Florida.
The Warren Easton Eagles from New Orleans, LA made their first-ever appearance in the National Selection 7-on-7 National Championships in Hoover, Ala a memorable one.
The talent-laden squad posted a 12-1 overall record, including a 6-0 mark in tournament play on Saturday, to win the National Championship. Warren Easton defeated Spanish Fort (AL)- Alabama’s Class 5A champion last season, 28-19 in the championship game.
“This program has come a long way. Five or six years ago we could barely win a game and now we’re talking about winning a national tournament with a bunch of elite talent. My heart is filled with joy, we are just extremely blessed and we’re going to keep working,” Warren Easton head coach Antonio Hull said.
The Eagles only loss was to defending National Select 7-on-7 champion Kenton (OH) in its second game of pool play on Friday. After that, it was all Warren Easton Eagles. Easton did not lose again, winning their final eleven games to bring home the title.
Texas A&M commit Deshawn Capers-Smith lead the way for the Eagles at quarterback. Capers-Smith had plenty of help on offense with five-star wide receiver Tryon Johnson, three-star wide receiver Darrell Clark and Tulane commit Devin Glenn on offense.
Warren Easton scored 343 total points- an average of 28.5 points a game. In National Select events the defense can score however the scoring point breakdown was not available.
Defensively, Warren Easton allowed a total of 197 points- an average of 16.4 per game. Tulane commit Jeremie Francis, Arthur McGinnis and Clyde Leflore anchored the defense. McGinnis and Lefolre will begin to pop up on recruiting service website by regular season’s end.
Hull acknowledged his squads defensive efforts. “I’m ecstatic about the way our defense played. We’ve never had a defense to play like this since I’ve been at Warren Easton. Our offense did some great things but defensively we did a lot of good things.”
The Eagles will turn their attention to the regular season where they will look to improve on a 10-4 record last season which included a trip to the quarterfinals in Louisiana’s class 4A.
“We’re going to use this as a stepping stone. This is something to show them if you work hard and have a burning desire to perfect your skill good things happen,” Hull said.
The Grayson Rams became the first team to navigate the entire loser’s bracket to win the National Select 7-on-7 Georgia Qualifier hosted by Lassiter in Marietta.
Grayson is known to make runs in 7-on-7 events in previous summers however this run stands alone by itself. Grayson entered the tournament portion of the event with a 2-1-1 pool record and drew Lovejoy in the opening round of the tournament. Lovejoy won in thrilling fashion 22-21 after scoring a touchdown with less than 10 seconds remaining to send Grayson to the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
The Rams went on to defeat Jackson County, Alpharetta (undefeated in pool play), Rabun County, Northview (undefeated in pool play), Villa Rica, North Cobb, Hillgrove and Hoover (AL) (undefeated in pool play) to advance to the championship against Valdosta.
Valdosta entered the tournament with a 2-2 pool play record and won the winner’s brackets by defeating Alpharetta (undefeated at the time), Jonesboro, North Cobb and Hoover meaning Grayson had to defeated them twice to win the championship.
The Rams continued to ride their momentum making a defensive stop with less than a minute remaining to win the first championship game 18-17. In the winner-take-all championship, Grayson wouldn’t need any late-game heroics as they jumped out 15-0 and never looked back, defeating Valdosta 31-9 capping the historic tournament run.
“I take full ownership in the Lovejoy loss. We were up with 10 seconds left and we went prevent and it was a terrible thing to do,” defensive coordinator Lenny Gregory said. “We have great kids and I should have had more confidence in them. I told the guys that (loss) was on me now the rest of the day I’m begging you to make it right. They fought and played lights out the rest of the day”
Gregory along with offensive coordinator Richard Gillespie ran the Grayson team after head coach Mickey Conn left earlier to attend his son’s youth baseball game.
Coming through the entire loser’s bracket is no easy feat. Teams must play back-to-back games with very little, if any rest in between. Grayson played and won seven straight games over a three and-a-half hour span from 1:00pm to 4:30pm. Gregory admitted that he was concerned with fatigue as the day wore on but turned to his seniors.
“I asked my seniors if I should rotate them or keep them in and they said ‘coach your not taking us out’,” Gregory said. “If they tell me they can go and they can suck it up and get it done then I’m going to win or lose with them.”
Win they did. Grayson finished on a 10-game winning streak, went 12-2-1 overall and clinched a spot in the National Select 7-on-7 National Championships next week in Hoover, Al.
Valdosta (7-4 overall GA Qualifier record), North Gwinnett and Lassiter will join Grayson as representatives from Georgia in Hoover next week. Valdosta was invited and accepted after finishing second at the Georgia Qualifier while North Gwinnett and Lassiter did not win a qualifying event, earned invites by hosting qualifying events. Kenton (OH) is the defending champion and was the first team from Ohio to win the National Championship last year defeating Byrnes (SC). No team from Georgia has ever won the National Championship.
The McEachern Lady Indians completed a stretch of games that could easily be taken for a professional teams schedule. McEachern defeated Hoover (AL) 75-53 for their 16th victory of the season capping a five game in nine-day stretch. The Lady Indians won 16 games last season and exited in the first round of the playoffs after winning a state title in Georgia’s highest classification the previous season.
Ranked No. 21 nationally after wins over Nazareth (NY) and Capitol Christian (MD) in the Rose Classic Super Jam last weekend in Brooklyn, NY, McEachern took care of their final national opponent prior to their late season region schedule that awaits in their home state of Georgia.
Hoover (AL) is nationally known for its football program that has won multiple state titles in recent years, including this past 2013 season. Add the girls hoop squad to that. The Lady Buccaneers are winners of back-to-back titles in 6A Alabama and breaking in a new squad this season under head coach Tiffany Fredrick.
Hoover opened up strong with a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The Lady Buccaneers held McEachern without a point until the 1:30 mark of the first quarter and without a field goal until 21 seconds remained in the quarter.
The Lady Bucs took a 10-6 lead into the second quarter and led again 11-10 after splitting a pair of free throws. It was all McEachern and Te’a Cooper after that. Cooper helped McEachern overcome their slow start by draining a three-pointer giving them a 13-11 lead they would never relinquish with 6:20 to play in the second quarter. McEachern’s fatigue showed throughout the contest yet they overcame it by using their talent, great effort and an experienced coaching staff.
Cooper’s triple was part of a 23-1 McEachern run over a nine-plus minute span covering the end of the first quarter into the second quarter, sending them on their way. McEachern used it’s pressure defense to force multiple turnovers which they converted for easy baskets during the run and led 37-18 at halftime.
Hoover opened the second half fighting with a quick 4-2 spurt forcing a McEachern timeout. After the timeout Caliya Robinson found Cooper for an easy layup followed up by a Taylor Gordon three-pointer and Hoover never challenged again.
Cooper- who is being heavily recruited by North Carolina, led all scorers with 31 points, 6 assist and 6 steals. Sophomore Jada Lewis finished with 19 points, 4 assist, 4 steals and Taylor Gordon (Wake Forest) had 10 points, 5 assist accounting for the double-figure scorers for McEachern. Caliya Robinson continues to stuff the box score finishing with 8 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals and 6 blocks.
McEachern (16-2 overall; 9-0 region) finishes their national schedule 5-2 with wins over teams from Florida, New York and Maryland and have yet to lose a game to a Georgia team. Their losses came to Blackman (TN) and Marian Catholic (IL). Blackman (TN) is ranked No. 3 nationally.
“We’ve been sluggish and lazy our last couple of games and the schedule is what we scheduled. We’ll take some time off and get some rest, we’ve played teams that will have us ready for postseason play,” McEachern head coach Phyllis Arthur said. “I’m proud of the girls.”
The Lady Indians were whistled for 28 fouls in the contest.
McEachern is the overall No.1 ranked girls team in Georgia and will face South Cobb, Harrison and Campbell this week before closing the regular season in two weeks against Kennesaw Mountain (7-11; 2-9), Campbell and South Cobb. The Lady Indians have yet to face South Cobb (4-15; 1-10) and Campbell (15-6; 8-4) and have victories over Harrison 72-42 and Kennesaw Mountain 85-23 in region play previously this season.
The Kenton Wildcats used a slowed down and deliberate offense to win the 11th Annual National Select 7-on-7 Championships presented by Under Armour in Hoover, Al. The Wildcats went 12-1 overall going undefeated in the tournament defeating the Byrnes (SC) Rebels 22-4 in the championship game becoming the first team from Ohio to win the championship.
Kenton quarterback Grant Sherman may have had the most unusual delivery of the football from any quarterback in the nation however it was good enough for him to be named tournament MVP. During the 2012 season Sherman passed for over 4,000 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Kenton posted a 6-1 record in pool play earning them the four-seed entering the tournament. The Wildcats only loss was to Dutch Fork (SC). Dutch Fork was the No.1 seed entering tournament play and defeated the only win-less team Civic Memorial (IL) (0-9) in the opening round of the tournament, before losing to Jefferson County (GA) in the next round sending them to the losers bracket where they were eliminated by Valdosta (GA) to finish 8-2 overall.
Despite missing the final two games with a hip flexor, Byrnes’ Sheadon Meadors won the Daktronics Top Receiver award, Travonne Hobbs of Landry-Walker (LA) won the Neff Top Defender award while Alabama 2012 Class 6A runner-up Opelika won the Team Sportsmanship award.
Defending champion and host Hoover finished 4-5 overall and did not record a win in tournament play.
North Cobb (GA) finished 10-2 overall winning their first 10 games before being eliminated in back-to-back tournament games to Byrnes and Oxford (MS). The Warriors were 7-0 in pool play and were the two-seed entering tournament play.
Nine-seed North Gwinnett (GA) finished 8-4 overall, fifteen-seed Valdosta (GA) went 6-5 overall losing both tournament games by a combined 2 points. Seventeen-seed Jefferson County (GA) defeated Dutch Fork in the second round of the winners bracket before falling to North Gwinnett and Oxford (MS) to finish 5-5-1. Tenth-seeded Lassiter (GA) was the only team from Georgia to not win a tournament game finishing 5-4 and eighteen-seed Alpharetta (GA) was eliminated in double overtime by Spain Park (AL) 37-36 and finished 4-5-1 overall.Combined all six teams from Georgia went 38-25-2.
South Carolina was represented by Dutch Fork and Byrnes; both went 7-0 in pool play and were seeded No.1 and No. 3 respectively in the tournament. They combined to finish 20-4 overall.
The Palmetto Showdown gained national attention in its early years for its level of competition. Byrnes (SC) host the event and have won multiple South Carolina State Championships. The Wildcats from south Georgia became the second team outside of South Carolina to win the tournament in its six years. Region 1-6A opponent Brunswick (GA) is the other. Byrnes (SC) won the rest. Brunswick (GA) did not make the playoffs last season in the region, those spots went to Camden Co., Lowndes, Valdosta and Colquitt Co.
Valdosta opens their regular season against GA Class 5A Thomas County Central on August 30th in Valdosta,GA.
The lines are painted, scoreboards are in place, Gatorade is on chill and the city of Duncan, South Carolina is set for another weekend of high-flying 7-on-7 passing tournament action. The annual Palmetto State Showdown hosted by Byrnes Rebels Football will commence this weekend for the sixth consecutive summer. No matter what day of the year you travel through downtown Duncan you’re bound to see a Byrnes Rebel flag flying on almost all streetlights. The city supports their Rebels as much as any elite high school football fan base and small town in America . In all respects the Rebels are Duncan, where eleven South Carolina state football championship trophies are displayed in the trophy case. It’s the summer now and it’s the time of year Duncan shows its true colors. They open the city to all comers, so long as your game for some competitive passing tournament football.
“Oh yes Rebels football is serious around here even in the summer. They have the tournament and everybody talks about it at work and around town because you know there are some good teams in it. They do a good job with it,” one resident responded while leaving a local store.
Seventeen high school football teams from four states will be vying for a spot in the National Select 7-on-7 Championships presented by Under Armour in Hoover, AL July 24-26. The winner and runner-up earn spots to the National Tournament if they elect to take it. Sixteen of the seventeen teams made the playoffs in their respective classes in their respective states in 2012. Byrnes (SC), Bergen Catholic (NJ) and Valdosta (GA) will each field an “A” and “B” team in the event for twenty teams total.
Gainesville (GA), winners of Georgia’s Class 5A, is the lone state champion in the field and are led by highly touted quarterback and Clemson commit Deshaun Watson. Bergen Catholic (NJ), Jack Britt (NC) and Union County (SC) were state runner-ups in their respective classes in their state.
Joining Watson will be other key prospects including Watson’s future teammate at Clemson ATH Jae’lon Oglesby of DW Daniel (SC). Oglesby has rushed for over 4,000 yards in his career. Byrnes (SC) will feature a pair of players in quarterback an Old Dominion commit Shuler Bentley (106 TD passes the last two seasons) along with teammate wideout Sheadon Meadors. Bergen Catholic has a pair in tight end Garrett Dickerson and linebacker Cameron Querio (Northwestern). Other prospects include Southern Durham (NC) wide receiver Maurice Trowell, Wren (SC) quarterback Jacob Clary, North Gwinnett (GA) wideout Nate Brown and running back CJ Leggett, Louisville commit JT Foster of Union County (SC) and a pair of 1,000-plus yard rushers from Jack Britt (NC), Eric Carter and Marquis Foshee, will be among scheduled to join their teams.
Bergen Catholic out of Oradell, NJ will have the longest trek to Duncan. The Crusaders will be making their third consecutive appearance and in past years fly in for the showdown. The Crusaders were the runner-up last season posting a 13-1 record losing only to Byrnes in the title game. Byrnes went 13-1 also losing to Bergen Catholic in pool play on a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game. Safe to say the Rebels got their revenge winning on their last offensive possession of the title game on a Shuler Bentley touchdown pass in the back of the endzone.
“We’re excited about this year. This event keeps growing, we have great people working with us and we have a tough competitive field again this year. We plan on continuing to grow it,” tournament director Tony McAbee said.
7-on-7 passing tournaments are becoming more and more popular from coast to coast. The Palmetto State Showdown receives national recognition yearly because of the teams and prospects that participate. This will be the second consecutive year the showdown has been apart of the National Select 7-on-7 Championships, which has crowned a champion every year since 2001.
In the previous five years, Brunswick (GA) is the only team from outside of the state of South Carolina to win the showdown, winning in 2011. Host Byrnes (SC) kept the title at home winning in 2008, 2009 and 2012 while Wren (SC) won in 2010.
The complete field by state is listed below.
South Carolina: Byrnes (2 teams), Berkeley, DW Daniel, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Union County and Wren
Georgia: Brunswick, Gainesville, Jefferson County, Lakeside (Evans), North Gwinnett and Valdosta (2 teams)
North Carolina: Erwin, Southern Durham and Jack Britt
New Jersey: Bergen Catholic (2 teams)
Pool play games will begin Friday morning at 8:30am EST and continue into Saturday morning before the single-elimination tournament begins Saturday afternoon. Follow the action on Twitter by following @Byrnes7on7 and @select7on7.
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