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.

Westlake Downs No. 9 Wheeler

By: Brian Zwerner/Robert Hydrick — SportalNews contributors

January 23, 2019 (Marietta, GA):  The Westlake Lions visited the 7A No. 9 ranked Wheeler Wildcats for a rare Wednesday night game.  The Lions (13-9 overall, 3-4 region) badly needed a win to keep pace in a very competitive 7A Region 2, and Chase Hunter delivered. The Clemson signee notched 29 points in a thrilling 80-74 victory.

The Lions were running early and often in this game.  Senior Kaleb Wallace came up early with a number of big buckets.  Wheeler’s star PG, Denver signee Jaire Eastmond kept the game close with 15 points and a number of impressive dimes on the evening.  The Wildcats also had big contributions from Cal signee Charles Smith IV, who scored on all three levels.  However the Lions pulled away late and help on for the six point win to stay in the fourth spot in the region.

Check out highlights of the action here.

Westlake Edges Campbell in Region Battle

By: Brian Zwerner/Andrew Garner — SportalNews contributors

January 15, 2019 (Smyrna, GA):  The 7A #1 team Westlake (16-0) traveled to meet Campbell High (13-6) in a region match-up.  The Lions jumped out to a big lead early, led by stars Raven Johnson and Brianna Turnage.  Westlake’s defense led to offense all throughout a blistering first half, and they held a 35-15 lead at the break and were up 50-29 at the end of the third quarter.

The home team Spartans would not give up in this contest.  They battled back behind strong defense and clutch shooting. The final score was 59-53 in favor of the Westlake Lions, but the Spartans showed they can hang with the best in the state.

Check out highlights of the action below.

Chattahoochee Hoops Tops Centennial

By: Brian Zwerner/Cody Butler — SportalNews contributors

January 11, 2019 (Johns Creek, GA):  The 6A #5 ranked Chattahoochee Cougars came out hot in a regional battle versus the Centennial Knights. The home team was spurred on by a big student section that showed up for this Friday night clash.  The Cougars were led by electric point guard A.J. White who had 30 points on the night.  They also got key contributions from Franklin Bailey with 18 points and Cam Sheffield with 17.  The Cougars showed why they are one of the top teams in the state with a 86-55 victory.

Check out highlights of the action below.

Midseason Stat Leaders

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

December 26, 2018 (Atlanta, GA):  As we reach near the midpoint of the basketball season, we check in on the leaders across the GHSA in boys basketball.  Stats are from MaxPreps and require a minimum of 7 games recorded.

Points

Name School Class PPG
Keundre Campbell Webster County 1A Pub 29.4
Malik Foston GA Military College 1A Pub 26.5
Terrell Burden Campbell 7A 26.1
Chris Parker Bowdon 1A Pub 25.4
Jervon Morris Paulding County 5A 24.9

Rebounds

Name School Class  RPG 
Shontavian Manuel Bleckley County 2A    14.0
Justin Jackson Doughtery 4A    13.4
Zac Cole SE Whitfield Co 4A    12.4
Felix Uadiale ELCA 1A Priv    12.2
Trevon Stanford Manchester 1A Pub    11.9

Assists

Name School Class APG
Jordan Brown Westover 4A 7.9
Omar Cooper Walker 1A Priv 7.7
Dwon Odom St. Francis 1A Priv 7.5
Donovan Shipp Sequoyah 6A 7.4
Michael Whitmore Woodward 4A 5.8

Do you have bigger numbers than the people listed above? Tell your coach to get your stats into MaxPreps so you can be recognized in the future.

Five Hoops Midseason Revelations

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

December 22, 2018 (Atlanta, GA):  With the holiday break underway across Georgia, we wanted to highlight five boys basketball teams that have been revelations thus far this season.

In order to qualify for this list, a team needed to start the season unranked and currently sit in the Top 10 in the state in their classification.  We found 25 teams that met this definition.  Second, a team had to miss the playoffs last year.  Out of the group of 25 teams that climbed into the rankings, only 10 fit this criteria.  Third, a team had to earn a signature win, defined as beating a team that is currently ranked in the Top 10 in the state in any classification.  Only five teams across the state matched all three criteria.

Please note all references to rankings refer to Sandy’s Spiel boys rankings from December 16, 2018 here.

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East Coweta: 7A #8 ranked.  Current record 13-1, last season 13-13.  Signature wins over 4A #2 Sandy Creek 68-62 and 6A #3 Fayette County 86-73.

South Paulding: 6A #5 ranked.  Current record 12-3, last season 9-17.  Signature win over 6A #6 Alexander 63-61.

Jones County: 5A #9 ranked.  Current record 10-3, last season 10-15.  Signature win over 5A #4 Eagle’s Landing 64-62.

Lithia Springs: 5A #10 ranked.  Current record 11-2, last season 13-11.  Signature win over 4A #9 Chapel Hill 82-72.

Chapel Hill: 4A #9 ranked.  Current record 5-2, last season 5-24.  Signature win over 1A Private #7 Mt. Pisgah 85-77.

Best of luck to all these teams as the calendar turns to 2019.

Georgia Football Players Lead Early Signing Day

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

December 19, 2018 (Atlanta, GA):  The state of Georgia continues to supply many of the top college football programs in America with talent at all positions.  This year Georgia produced seven 5-star players, and 4 of them celebrated their signings at the 680 The Fan/247 Sports signing day event at Sport & Social in Battery Park.  It was a great day with 50 players from 10 schools participating, MC’ed by Rusty Mansell and Doug Konkel.

The day kicked off with a star-studded group headlined by UGA commits WR Dominick Blaylock (5-star Walton) and TE Ryland Goede (Kennesaw Mountain).  Both will have a chance to make an early impact for the Bulldogs.  Another 4-star in the early group was DT Christopher Hinton (Greater Atlanta Christian) who will be heading to Michigan next year.

After the big announcement that Justin Fields was transferring from UGA, they made a late push to get QB Zach Calzada (Lanier) to switch his commitment, but he stayed true to Texas A&M.  Watch his announcement below.

Two players from Riverdale High were in the next group, headlined by TE Jaelyn Lay who is off to Clemson.

Then it was time for the champs to make their announcement.  7A Milton High had four players in attendance, after shocking the GHSA world with a huge title win over nationally ranked Colquitt County.  Milton QB Jordan Yates is heading to Georgia Tech and DB Joseph Charleston will join a big group from Atlanta at Clemson.

Creekside High was represented by Taj Dodson, who will head to SEC upstart Kentucky next season.

A huge group from Grayson attended the event.  The Rams had two 5-star players signing their letters of intent today, OT Wanya Morris (Tennessee) and DE Owen Pappoe (Auburn). They were joined by others including Kevin Harris II (Alabama), Kenyatta Watson II (Texas), and Jakai Clark (Miami).

Tyrone Hopper from Roswell High made an appearance to sign his letter to join the Florida Gators. Listen to him explain his decision here.

The next big group was from the Buford Wolves, who were led by 5-star OL Harry Miller (Ohio State).  He was joined by RB Derrian Brown (Texas), Jalar Holley (Miami) and a pair of Ole Miss offensive linemen in Reece McIntyre and Carter Colquitt.

The day’s final signee was RB Tahj Gary from Woodward, who will play for the Virginia Tech Hokies next season.

SportalTV Teams Get Ready for 2nd Round

By: Brian Zwerner — SportalNews contributor

November 15, 2018 (Atlanta, GA):

SportalTV was live for 12 exciting football games of the week throughout this fall season.  We covered 21 teams and saw great action from across the state of Georgia.  15 of those teams made the GHSA playoffs, and 8 advanced to the second round.  As these teams kick off their quest for the Sweet 16 tomorrow night, here is a preview of each game and links to watch their action from earlier this season.

7A Playoffs

No. 3 Grayson hosts Norcross: The Rams played at Westlake on September 14th, winning by a score of 21-16.  The two could meet again if both win on Friday night.  The Rams were led that night by senior WR Kenyon Jackson who had over 100 yards receiving and 2 TDs. The Grayson D swarmed all over the field, with Kevin Harris II leading the charge.  Grayson takes on a tough Norcross team in the second round after easily beating South Forsyth by a score of 38-6 in the first round.

No. 10 Westlake hosts Lowndes: The Lions gave a scare to Grayson in the game back on September 14th. QB Jalyn Williams was sensational that night and will need to be sharp when they take on a battle tested Lowndes team this Friday.  Lowndes put the hurt on Cherokee in round one with a 54-14 victory.  Westlake edged North Paulding 28-24 in the first round.

6A Playoffs

No. 3 Harrison visits Lanier: The Hoyas took on Allatoona on SportalTV on October 5th.  The Buccaneers came into Harrison and left with a 23-7 win in a game that was closer than the final score indicated.  The Hoyas bring a tough defense and a passing game led by Gavin Hall and Micah Davis into their second round match-up with Lanier.  The Hoyas edged John’s Creek by a score of 23-20 in the first round, while Lanier beat another SportalTV team Mays 20-12.

No. 7 Allatoona visits Dacula: Allatoona won the game against Harrison behind great running by Daniel Parsons.  Parsons had 140 yards and a TD in a hard fought game for the Bucs.  Allatoona drew another SportalTV team Centennial in the first round.  The Knights were missing their star QB Max Brosmer, and they fell hard to Allatoona 38-7 in the first round.  Dacula had an easy 28-0 first round win over Northgate.

No. 6 Sequoyah visits Creekside: The Chiefs were live on SportalTV on October 19th on the road at Sprayberry.  Sequoyah brought its patented Wing T offense led by Collier Pecht and Cole Jacobs. The Chiefs came away with a big road win 35-28 that night.  Their first round playoff game against Alpharetta (also a SportalTV team) came down to the last minute, with the Chiefs pulling out the 34-30 victory.  They take on Creekside Friday night, who easily bested Gainesville 47-12.

5A Playoffs:

Kell visits No. 2 Buford: The Longhorns were live on SportalTV on August 31st against their Cobb County rival Lassiter.  The two schools are only separated by a few miles and know each other well. Kell blasted the Trojans by a score of 29-3 that night, with QB Evan Conley throwing dimes and a big pick six by Nick Ross.  Kell easily beat Carver Atlanta 48-8 in the first round, but they have a huge battle ahead of them Friday.  The travel to face a Buford team that has been a favorite all season to take on Rome High for the 5A championship.

3A Playoffs:

No. 1 Cedar Grove hosts North Hall: The Saints were live on SportalTV on September 21st vs Lovett, and they easily won that contest 45-0.  RB Chavon Wright had 3 TDs that night, and 5 Star WR Jadon Haselwood was spectacular in limited action.  The defense led by Rashad Cheney Jr was stifling.  Cedar Grove had an easy first round win 49-0 over Hart County. They take on North Hall, who won their game over Lakeview 41-6.

Lovett visits No. 2 Calhoun: The Lions had a tough time with Cedar Grove on SportalTV, and it won’t get any easier in the second round of the playoffs. They visit defending state champ Calhoun, who won their first round game against Fannin County 55-17.  The Lions come in with momentum, having beaten their rival Westminster two weeks ago before getting a huge 40-7 win in the first round vs Morgan County. They will need big performances by KJ Wallace and Nick Johnson if they are to upset Calhoun Friday.

Atlanta Braves honor GHSA baseball/softball at Champions Day

By: Chuck Jones — sportalspace contributor

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June 24, 2018 (Atlanta, GA) — The Atlanta Braves recently recognized the accomplishments of the Georgia High School Association’s 2017-18 softball and baseball teams at SunTrust Park. The Champions Day parade began just before first pitch versus the Baltimore Orioles. Many teams were invited, which included state and region champions as well as quarter and semifinalists. However, a few teams were unable to make it to the event, but the teams that did participate were treated to a fantastic day at the Braves “Chop-Shop”.

Legendary Pope Greyhounds head coach and Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Famer, Jeff Rowland and his Back-to-Back Class AAAAAA state champions were present to take in the big league atmosphere. The Greyhound coach never takes credit for the success of his teams, but instead praises the players’ hard work and the “Greyhound Village.” Pope is now the state title leader in Cobb County with four crowns in a baseball-rich county.

Sportalspace was introduced to the R4-AAAAA Jones County Lady Greyhounds by the collective question, “are you hungry sir?” The Lady Greyhounds told sportalspace that they were hungry; and what exactly were they hungry for, one might ask? “We are hungry for a state championship!!!”

The quarterfinalists were extremely excited that the Braves organization extended an invite and want to show their appreciation for it, as they seek to improve on their 28-10 record by winning the 2018-19 title. Team MVP and graduated centerfielder, Shelby Fontenot, expressed extreme gratitude to the Braves for the invite with, “this is truly awesome to be a part of this!”

The Georgia Military College enrollee, who has been playing since the days of tee-ball, is just as excited for her former teammates potential success as head coach Blake Lyons is. Coach Lyons is returning 15 players from a roster of 19 and has a very optimistic outlook on the upcoming season.

“We have to replace three starters, but I’m confident that there will be players ready to step up to get the job done,” Lyons told sportalspace.

The R8-AAA Lady Panthers of Jackson County were also thrilled to take part in the festivities at SunTrust Park. Rising senior third baseman Brooke Simmons said that her team is poised to win state this upcoming year and said, “we have a great chance to win state, due to our chemistry that’s been developing since the age of six; as the majority of us have played together since that time. Our team has plenty of experience mixed with talent, as two of our seven returning seniors are committed to Georgia Tech.”

Jackson County head coach, Chad Brannon, is ready to hit the field and cannot wait to get to work with his 18 returning players from last year’s team. “We’re a small-town AAA school that’s seeking to make a strong run at this year’s title and I believe we have the talent to do it,” said Brannon.

Altogether, the Atlanta Braves organization did an excellent job of recognizing the GHSA athletes. An Orioles fan stated that he thought the Braves to be a very classy organization, to honor the local high school athletes and he hopes that other organizations will follow; if they haven’t already.

It was obvious that the honorees brought a touch of luck for their professional counterparts, as the Braves avoided a sweep by the Orioles and won 7-3.

Atlanta Braves Senior Coordinator of Community Affairs, Jarrod Simmons, explained that the Braves organization takes pride in connecting with the Georgia community, which is right in line with sportalspace’s connecting communities through youth sports” motto.

 

Participating Teams

Stratford Academy Softball
Eagles
Class 1A Private Elite 8
Mount de Sales Academy Softball
Cavaliers
Class 1A Private Elite 8
Marion County High School Softball
Lady Eagles
Class 1A Public Elite 8
Bleckley County High School Softball
Lady Royals
Class 2A Elite 8
Rutland High School Softball
Hurricanes
Class 3A Elite 8
Jackson County High School Softball
Panthers
Class 3A Elite 8
Madison County High School Softball
Red Raiders
Class 4A Elite 8
Jones County High School Softball
Greyhounds 
Class 5A Elite 8
Houston County High School Baseball
Bears
Class 6A Elite 8
Pope High School Softball
Greyhounds 
Class 6A Elite 8
Irwin County High School Baseball
Indians
Class 1A Public Final 4
Dodge County High School Softball
Lady Indians
Class 2A Final Four
Carrollton High School Softball
Trojans 
Class 5A Final Four
Woodstock High School Baseball
Wolverines
Class 7A Final 4
Cook High School Softball
Hornets
Class 3A Runner Up
Pope High School Baseball
Greyhounds 
Class 6A State Champions