Notebook: Clash of champions is rare in state history

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

FootballThe Cartersville-Allatoona game tonight will be the 22nd meeting in history between reigning GHSA champions, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

The rare pairing will happen again on Oct. 7, when Westminster (AAA champion) will play Pace Academy (AA champion).

The champion from the larger classification is 10-7-3 all-time in these matchups. In one instance, the two reigning champions came from the same classification. In 2007, Roswell and Peachtree Ridge were defending co-champions of Class AAAAA after their memorable 14-14 tie in the 2006 title game. They played again in the 2007 playoffs. Roswell won.

Here is the list, courtesy of Loren Maxwell:

1961 – Washington-Wilkes (B) 19, Lincolnton (C) 0

1962 – Valdosta (AAA) 48, Waycross (AA) 13

1964 – Lincolnton (C) 6, Washington-Wilkes (B) 6

1965 – Carrollton (A) 14, Douglas County (AA) 7

1967 – Statesboro (A) 20, Washington-Wilkes (B) 20

1968 – Washington-Wilkes (B) 11, Putnam County (C) 6

1968 – Thomson (A) 34, Washington-Wilkes (B) 12

1968 – Dalton (AA) 33, Marietta (AAA) 7

1972 – Carrollton (A) 25, Bowdon (B) 0

1976 – Americus (AA) 46, Irwin County (A) 14

1987 – Central-Carroll (AA) 3, Villa Rica (AAA) 0

1994 – Lincoln County (A) 6, Greene County (AA) 6

1995 – Thomas County Central (AAA) 14, Colquitt County (AAAA) 7

2000 – Charlton County (A) 33, Cartersville (AA) 9*

2002 – Buford (A) 38, Americus (AA) 12*

2005 – Charlton County (AA) 25, Clinch County (A) 13

2007 – Roswell (AAAAA) 23, Peachtree Ridge (AAAAA) 20

2008 – Northside-Warner Robins (AAAA) 7, Carver-Columbus (AAA) 6

2008 – Lowndes (AAAAA) 24, Northside-Warner Robins (AAAA) 7

2010 – Sandy Creek (AAAA) 35, Peach County (AAA) 17*

2013 – Buford (AAA) 38, Gainesville (AAAAA) 14

2016 – Cartersville (AAAA) vs. Allatoona (AAAAA)

2016 – Westminster (AAA) vs. Pace Academy (AA)

*Playoff games

GHSA bylaw blocks games vs. IMG Academy

The GHSA this week tweaked a bylaw that will prevent Georgia teams from playing IMG Academy, the Bradenton, Fla., boarding school that has bolstered its roster with a handful of Georgia’s best players. IMG’s ESPN-televised game at Grayson on Aug. 27 won’t be affected.

IMG’s roster includes Georgia commit Robert Beal, formerly of Norcross; and Ohio State commit Isaiah Pryor, formerly of Archer, and at least three other Georgia players.

The new bylaw reads: “Member schools shall compete, practice or scrimmage only against other member schools or against schools who are full members, with no restrictions, of the State Association in their respective states.”

IMG is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association but does not participate in state playoffs and is not bound by the same rules.

Norcross athletics director Kirk Barton, whose school lost Beal, was candid with the Gwinnett Daily Post in his motivation for lobbying against IMG. “We’re trying to protect our kids and keep them here throughout their high school careers. … We just explained [to the GHSA] what happened. They’re coming up here and recruiting our kids, and I just don’t think we should turn around and showcase them on ESPN.”

Southwest DeKalb names Salter as interim coach

Longtime assistant Fletcher Salter will be the interim head coach for Southwest DeKalb, which opens its season Saturday against Redan at Buck Godfrey Stadium. Salter has coached at five DeKalb schools, and his tenure at SWD dates to previous coach Buck Godfrey. Salter was a head coach at McNair (1991-96) and had a 38-28 record. Southwest DeKalb head coach Michael Tanks died Aug. 3, days after suffering a stroke at his home.

Dual-threat all-state: Keep Shiflett in mind

Like every other quarterback in Class AAAA, Northwest Whitfield’s Luke Shiflett would need a really big year to make all-state ahead of Cartersville’s Trevor Lawrence. Northwest Whitfield coach Josh Robinson suggested a solution: “Pocket-passer all-state: Trevor Lawrence. Dual-threat all-state: Luke Shiflett.” Robinson notes that Shiflett was the unanimous choice as offensive player of the year in Cartersville’s Region 7-AAAA last season. Well, except for Lawrence, who was overall player of the year, but it’s still a nice honor. Shiflett, rated the No. 16 dual-threat junior QB nationally by 247Sports, threw for 1,915 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 358 yards in only nine games last season. “There is no doubt if you talk to other coaches in our region that he is at least an all-state player for AAAA,” Robinson said.

Special sophomore: Bertrand

Some coaches don’t want young players to get preseason recognition for fear of inflated egos, but Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin conceded that LB/TE J.D. Bertrand was worthy of all-state consideration. “I’m always hesitant to give a sophomore too much hype at such a young age, but J.D. may can deal with it,” Blessed Trinity coach Tim McFarlin said. “He will be an SEC/ACC recruit and is the total package. He’s big, fast and carries a 3.8 GPA.”

High praise for S.C. move-in RB

Some media don’t want out-of-state players to get preseason recognition for fear that they should prove it in Georgia first, but GHSF Daily conceded that Central Gwinnett RB Joshua Samuel is one of Class AAAAAAA’s best. “Josh has a chance to be one of the, if not the, top back in the state,” Central coach Todd Wofford said. “Kid is a beast.” Samuel, who is committed to Minnesota, led South Carolina in rushing last year with 1,796 yards.

Lost and found: Hodges and Brown

Our coverage of offseason coaching changes wrapped up today with the Class A hirings. We documented 79 new head coaches and – in 77 of 79 cases – we reported the whereabouts of the former head coaches. Here are the two we missed: Scott Hodges, former head coach at Bremen, is the assistant principal at Bremen Middle School. A Bremen alumnus, Hodges is no longer coaching. Jim Brown, former head coach at Jordan, is on Alpharetta’s staff as special teams coach. Thanks to Ahmand Tinker for his help in locating many of the former coaches.

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