Beyond The Game with Rennie Curran

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

July 17, 2019 (Atlanta, GA):  Today on the podcast we are joined by Rennie Curran to hear about his football days and what he has done beyond the game.  Curran was a star linebacker at Brookwood High School and was recently inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame.  His football career continued with All American success at University of Georgia, and into the NFL with the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Bucs.  Curran discusses how he prepared for life after football, and his successful second career as a speaker, author and business coach.

Listen here:  Season 1, Episode 2: Beyond The Game with Rennie Curran

Highlights:

0:55 Impact from Liberian parent upbringing

18:30 Rapid Ten questions on football career

30:40 What is a Gamechanger

36:05 Brand ambassador for BuffBoxx

42:38 Meet his daughter and book co-author

Beyond The Game with Andre Fluellen

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

June 5, 2019 (Atlanta, GA):  Today we spoke with Cartersville High School alumni Andre Fluellen to learn about his football career and life after the game.  Fluellen won a GHSA state championship while playing for the Hurricanes, and then he went on to star for the FSU Seminoles in college.  He was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Lions, and played defensive tackle in the NFL for eight seasons with the Lions, Dolphins, and Bills.  Fluellen talks about his time after the NFL as he has returned to his hometown Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.  He worked as a color commentator for SportalTV for the 2018 season of high school football in Georgia.

Listen here:  Season 1, Episode 1: Beyond The Game with Andre Fluellen

Highlights:

4:18 Fluellen’s time at FSU with Bobby Bowden

13:20 Rapid Ten questions on the NFL

31:53 Motivational speaking

39:34 Broadcast career ambitions

 

GHSA Baseball 2019 Championship Previews

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

May 17, 2019 (Atlanta, GA):  The GHSA baseball championship games are heading to the Atlanta Braves and their minor league affiliate stadiums for the first time this year.  It’s an exciting time for student-athletes as they get to compete where the big league players roam.  Games will run from May 20-23, 2019 at SunTrust Park, Coolray Field, Historic Grayson Stadium, Luther Williams Field, and State Mutual Stadium.  Schedule here.

7A Hillgrove vs Parkview: Parkview has dominated the top classification in the GHSA for many years, tallying seven titles total.  They are the defending state champs and have been strong all season.  They beat a strong North Gwinnett team in the semis and have put up solid defensive performances throughout the playoffs.  Hillgrove has never climbed the GHSA baseball mountaintop, but they enter the title game with impressive wins over state powers Grayson and Mill Creek in the last two rounds.  The Hawks were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs last year by Etowah, and they are looking to complete an incredible step forward this season.

6A Pope vs Heritage Conyers: the Pope Greyhounds have been the team to beat in 6A winning the last two state titles.  They look to complete the Threepeat this season.  They went to three games in their semifinal win over Harrison, recording two shutout victories. Lee County also took the Greyhounds to a third game in the quarterfinals, maybe opening the door for a new champion.  Heritage Conyers might be the team to do it after scoring a three game series win over Effingham County in the semis.  A win here would be the first title for Heritage Conyers and a big step up from their second round defeat last season.

5A Loganville vs Ola: much like Pope in the 6A classification, Loganville has been a runaway train in 5A.  They have won the last two state titles and four overall.  They cruised past Locust Grove and Thomas County in the last two rounds of the playoffs.  Up this year in the finals is Ola.  Ola had a tough road to the finals with a three game series against powerhouse Buford (a revenge game from last year’s quarterfinals) and then a tight battle with Decatur in the semis.  Ola looks for their first GHSA state baseball title.

4A Denmark vs Northside Columbus:  With defending champ Jefferson dropping down to 3A this season, the 4A Classification was guaranteed a new champion.  The Denmark Danes are certainly making their presence felt in their first season at the new school.  Denmark scored a three game win over a tough Blessed Trinity team in the semis and look to set the tone in 4A with a title in their first year.  They will take on the Northside Patriots, who are also angling for their first GHSA baseball title.  They knocked off a strong North Oconee team in three in the semis.  After a surprising first round loss last year to a pesky Spalding team, Northside has already taken 4A by storm this season.

3A Pace Academy vs Pike County:   The Pace Knights won three GHSA baseball titles in a row back in the 1990s but haven’t tasted greatness since.  They snatched the region title this season from the defending champ Lovett Lions and have steamrolled the competition in the playoffs so far. They come into the final game hot, easily beating North Hall in the semis. Pike County has never won a baseball title, and they come into the champ game riding a great defensive streak.  They have already had 3 shutouts in the playoffs and will need their best stuff to keep the Knights in check.  Both these teams were knocked out of the playoffs last year by Morgan County.

2A Jeff Davis vs Rockmart: Jeff Davis won the 2A title back in 2017, their first GHSA baseball state championship. They look to add to the trophy case after a thrilling 13-12 third game win over Bleckley County. Jeff Davis made the semis last season before falling to runner up Berrian.  Rockmart also needed three games to beat Callaway in the semis and Harlem in the quarters.  Rockmart fell in the first round of the playoffs in 2018, and they are enjoying this season’s big run.  Expect a tight series between these two as Rockmart goes for its first GHSA baseball title.

1A Public Schley County vs Gordon Lee: Schley County has captured the title twice in the last four years, the most recently in 2017.  They needed three games to edge Irwin County and Commerce over the last two rounds.  Gordon Lee is the defending 1A Public champ, with three total titles to their name.  They have rolled through their opponents in their run to the finals, knocking off Bowdon in the semis. Bowdon got the better of Schley last year in the quarterfinals.

1A Private Tattnall Square vs Savannah Christian: Tattnall Square is the defending 1A Private state champ, and also took home the title in 2016.  They look to make it three out of four after beating Hebron Christian and Strong Rock over the last two rounds, with both series going the distance.  Savannah Christian got the title in 2017 to break up Tattnall’s run, and they are well positioned to do it again this season.  They edged a strong Wesleyan team in three games in the semis to seal their spot in the title round.  Last year Savannah Christian lost a tough three game series to Prince Ave, the runner-up last season.

 

GHSA Boys Lacrosse 2019 Championship Previews

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

May 16, 2019 (Atlanta, GA):  The boys championship games are set.  Here are the Sportal previews of the action to come this Saturday.

6A-7A Boys
The Lambert Longhorns are back in the championship game for the second straight year, following on their 4th GHSA championship last season. The Longhorns tallied an 8-4 win over Lassiter in the semis behind strong play from Drew Kotanian, Gerard Kane, and Benny O’Rourk. Lambert has been dominant all season, posting a 20-1 record. Their only loss this season came to A-5A championship contender Lovett a month ago. The Longhorns will be tough in the championship game as they look to complete their season long “Drive for Five” championships campaign.

They will face off with the Walton Raiders in the championship game this Saturday. Walton has one GHSA lacrosse championship from 2011, and they are hungry to add a second. Coach Griffin Spotz’s team brought a great defensive effort against Centennial in the semis with an 8-3 victory. Centennial had scored 10 or more goals in their three previous playoff games before the Raiders shutdown their high-powered offense. The Raiders got great contributions from Harran, Floyd, Hellman, Pritts, and more. They bring a 20-2 record into the title game, with losses only to semifinalist Lassiter and A-5A finalist Westminster.

The squads will square off on Saturday at Kennesaw State for the 6-7A title.

A-5A Boys
Building on a successful 2018 season, the Westminster Wildcats advanced to the finals by beating the 2018 champ Blessed Trinity in a 12-10 shootout Wednesday night. In the semis, Dylan Farley controlled the X for the Cats, with goals from Farley, Tristan Ferrari and Denton Shamburger with two assists from Jake Jameson. This season the Wildcats have been on fire, sporting a 20-3 record heading into the final match of the season. Their three losses have come to 6-7A powerhouse squads, and the Wildcats beat their rival Lovett 9-8 in overtime back on April 5th. Last year Coach Souza’s squad fell in the semifinals to runner-up GAC. The Wildcats have won five GHSA championships in lacrosse, the most recent in 2017.

The Wildcats will face off against their Buckhead rival Lovett Lions in the championship. Lovett notched an 11-8 win over 5A Buford in the semis last night. The Lions got multiple goals from Quinn O’Donnell vs Buford and jumped out to a big lead early. Lovett has racked up a 18-4 record on the season, with their losses coming to 6-7A schools and Westminster. The Lions fell in the first round of the playoffs to GAC last year. Lovett has scored three GHSA lacrosse championships, but the most recent was back in 2009.

We will see on Saturday, May 18th which Buckhead programs gets back to the top of the mountain.

Pope Powers to Win over Centennial

By: Cody Butler/Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributors

April 15, 2019 (Roswell, GA):  The Pope Greyhounds are back-to-back state champs in the 6A GHSA classification, and they brought a star-filled roster to battle the Centennial Knights.  The fireworks for the Greyhounds started with the first batter, when FSU commit James Tibbs went yard.  The Knights were not intimidated, as their UGA commit Jonathan Cannon answered with his own lead-off homer to tie the score at 1-1 at the end of the first.

In the third inning, the Greyhounds bats came alive, with a three run bomb by Caden Smith building a 6-1 lead for Pope.  Starting pitchers Gage Vailes and Aidan McConnell settled in for a few innings, before Pope grew the lead to 10-1 in the top of the fifth.  The Knights were not done yet though.  They found their own offensive punch, and cut the lead to four runs entering the bottom of the seventh.  Pope’s pitching held up in the final frame, and the Greyhounds got the 10-6 victory.

See highlights below.

 

 

Decatur Impressive in Region Win over Riverwood

By: Andrew Garner/Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributors

April 10, 2019 (Decatur, GA):  The Decatur Bulldogs scored a strong 4-2 Senior Night win over region rival Riverwood Raiders last night.  The home crowd came out to support starting pitcher Jaylen Paden, who pitched 6+ good innings for Decatur.  He was relieved late in the game by Tucker Jones, who secured the win and first place in the region.

Brett Thomas, a University of South Carolina commit, brought the heat for the Raiders.  However a difficult third inning for Riverwood gave Decatur an early 4-1 lead that they could not overcome.

See highlights from the game below.

Woodward Scores Impressive Road Win at Newnan

By: Rob Grubbs — SportalNews contributor

April 2, 2019 (Newnan, GA): The Woodward Academy War Eagle baseball team (12-6), who is locked in a three-way battle in Region 4-AAAA, went on the road for a non-region game against the 2-AAAAAAA Newnan Cougars (15-7). On a breezy afternoon, the War Eagles broke open the game with six runs in the second, triggered by a two-run double from Khari Gee and cruised behind a strong night on the mound from Will Sanders for the 14-5 win.

It was a tough night for the Newnan defense as multiple miscues gave the War Eagles nine unearned runs. Allen Thompson reached base in all five at-bats and scored four times in the victory while Sanders pitched into the fifth inning, striking out 6 and only giving up four hits. Nicholas Crossing scored two for the Cougars.

See highlights of the game below.