Fellowship Christian, Telfair County top first power ratings; Tuesday convo with Jeff Herron

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

The first Class A Georgia High School Association/MaxPreps Power Ratings are out for this season and the No. 1 teams on the public and private sides are pretty surprising – Fellowship Christian and Telfair County. Keep in mind that the top 24 teams will make the state playoffs this season.

Also in today’s blog, we visit with another legendary coach who left Class A this season. Last week, we checked in with Mike Swaney, who retired after a stellar 31-year coaching career, the final six as the head coach at Marion County where he compiled a record of 65-10 and won the public school state title in 2013.

This week we’ll hear from future Hall of Fame coach Jeff Herron, who made Camden County a powerhouse, winning 12 region crowns and three state titles in 13 seasons before he took over at Prince Avenue Christian.

Fellowship Christian, Telfair County top season’s first power ratings

The two names at the top of this season’s first Class A Georgia High Schools Association/MaxPreps Power Ratings are not necessarily the ones you would suspect.

On the private school side, Fellowship Christian of Roswell has an overall record of 54-75 since the Paladins began their program in 2004. The last time Fellowship has a winning record was in 2007 when it finished 11-2 and won its only region title. On the public side, Telfair County is 22-29 over the past five season.

Yes, it’s still early …. really early. But both are undefeated this far and sit atop the ratings. Here are the lists:

Class A Private

Rank School Region Record Ranking
1 Fellowship Christian 6-A 2-0 15.83
2 Prince Avenue Christian 8-A 3-0 15.00
3 George Walton Academy 8-A 2-0 14.67
4 Eagle’s Landing Christian 5-A 2-0 14.50
5 Hebron Christian Academy 8-A 1-1 13.50
6 Landmark Christian 5-A 2-0 13.00
7 Mt. Paran Christian 6-A 2-1 12.89
8 Wesleyan 5-A 2-0 12.67
9 Riverside Military 8-A 1-1 12.50
9 Stratford Academy 7-A 1-1 12.50
11 Darlington 6-A 1-1 12.42
12 Calvary Day School 3-A 2-0 12.00
13 First Presbyterian 7-A 2-0 11.50
14 Mt. Pisgah Christian 6-A 2-0 11.25
15 Christian Heritage 6-A 0-1 11.00
16 Aquinas 7-A 1-1 10.50
16 Athens Christian 8-A 1-1 10.50
16 Mount de Sales Academy 7-A 1-1 10.50
16 Savannah Christian 3-A 0-1 10.50
20 Athens Academy 8-A 2-0 10.00
20 Brookstone 4-A 0-1 10.00
20 King’s Ridge 6-A 0-1 10.00
20 Mt. Vernon 5-A 2-0 10.00
20 Strong Rock Christian 5-A 1-0 10.00
20 Tattnall Square Academy 7-A 1-0 10.00
20 Walker 6-A 0-2 10.00
20 Whitefield Academy 6-A 0-2 10.00

Class A Public

Rank School Region Record Ranking
1 Telfair County 2-A 1-0 17.00
2 Gordon Lee 6-A 2-0 15.33
2 Trion 6-A 2-0 15.33
4 Commerce 8-A 2-0 14.67
4 Manchester 4-A 3-0 14.67
6 Lincoln County 7-A 2-0 14.17
7 Greene County 7-A 2-0 14.00
8 Warren County 7-A 2-0 13.50
9 Miller County 1-A 1-0 13.33
10 Clinch County 2-A 2-1 13.28
11 Twiggs County 7-A 1-1 13.00
12 Jenkins County 3-A 2-0 12.50
12 Marion County 4-A 2-0 12.50
14 Terrell County 1-A 1-2 12.22
15 Hawkinsville 4-A 2-0 12.17
15 Irwin County 2-A 1-2 12.17
17 Johnson County 3-A 3-0 12.11
18 McIntosh County Academy 3-A 1-1 11.83
19 Macon County 4-A 2-0 11.67
19 Taylor County 4-A 2-0 11.67
21 Hancock Central 7-A 1-1 11.25
22 Mitchell County 1-A 1-0 11.00
22 Mt. Zion, Carroll 6-A 2-0 11.00
22 Wilkinson County 7-A 0-2 11.00

Jeff Herron, Grayson head coach

For the second time in as many weeks, we spend some time with a coach who has left the Class A ranks.

Last week we chatted with the retired Mike Swaney (Marion County). This week we caught up with a coach who is a Hall of Famer in waiting, Jeff Herron, known mostly for winning state titles at two different schools – Oconee County (1999) and Camden County, where he build a monster program winning 12 region titles and three state titles in 13 season. After spending the last three seasons at Prince Avenue Christian, where he posted a record of 31-6 and won the Region 8 crown every year, Herron jumped back into the ranks of the state’s largest classification, now at Grayson.

He took some time to take a look back at his time in Class A.

How did you wind up at Grayson?

“They contacted me and to be honest I had been pretty frustrated working with fewer kids than I ever had before. I really struggled with the smaller numbers and it was a constant battle. Grayson called and it was a good fit because I didn’t have to move my family.”

So have you gained a new respect for the coaches in Class A for the way they have to manage their rosters?

“Absolutely! An injury or a transfer in or out can make the difference in your season. I had to learn how to coach differently, how to practice differently, how to drill differently. But I can say, coaching in Class A at Prince Avenue has made me a better coach and a better person.”

That’s interesting. Can you explain?

“When you’re the head coach of a 7A school it’s almost like being the business manager or CEO. You’re so busy doing so many things, and a lot of it is dealing with things away from the game, you have to delegate. In Class A, you have to do pretty much everything. You’re around your kids more, coaching more, and it made me go back to how I was in my younger days as a coach. It made me a better person, because like I said, you’re around your kids more and you are more of a factor in their lives and you have to be mindful and aware of that. I learned a lot in that aspect from [defensive coordinator] Richard Bell. He’s a master at that and I’m grateful for the time I was able to spend with him and all the folks at Prince Avenue.”

Now that you’re back coaching in the largest classification at Grayson, have you discovered something that you missed while coaching in the smallest class?

“Well, there were certainly some great team, great coaches and great players [in Class A]. But there were some games where we were heavily favored. In 7A everybody is good. You can’t relax. You have to be on your game at all times.”

What will you miss about coaching in Class A?

“Friday nights are the same. There’s just as much excitement in Class A as there is in 7A. I’m excited and I’m enjoying being at Grayson, but I do miss that small school atmosphere. And the rivalries we had in Region 8 were fun, clean rivalries with a good group of coaches. I’ll miss the kids and all the people I built relationships with. When you pour your heart and soul into something, you miss the people who helped you along the way.”

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