Notebook: Pace, Pinecrest take on giants

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

High School FootballThe GHSA limited the highest classification to the largest 48 schools this year (down from 64), the idea being there was too much difference between schools of 3,500-plus students and those with 1,750. So those in the 1,750-2,000 range were excused from the new 7A. So it will be ironic tonight when two schools with Class A enrollment – Pinecrest Academy and Pace Academy – play teams with Class AAAAAAA enrollment. Pinecrest is playing at South Forsyth, and Pace is playing at West Forsyth. Of course, Pace is competing in AAA, Pace’s choice. Pace was the Class AA champion from 2015 and is loaded with some major-college prospects and could give West Forsyth all it wants. Pinecrest made the Class A private-school quarterfinals last season. South Forsyth made the AAAAAA quarterfinals. The schools’ enrollment numbers are: West Forsyth (2,422), South Forsyth (2,948), Pinecrest Academy (285), Pace Academy (451).

Battle leads Mays as Jarvis waits on APS decision

Niketa Battle is the interim coach at Mays for its opener Saturday against Stockbridge and perhaps beyond. Corey Jarvis, who has led the Raiders to a 30-9 record in his three seasons as head coach, remains on paid leave amid Atlanta Public Schools allegations of mismanaged school funds. An APS spokesperson told GHSF Daily on Thursday that the Atlanta Board of Education will review the records from a recent personnel hearing and is expected to announce a decision on Jarvis’s employment at its monthly meeting on Sept. 6. Battle has been an assistant with Jarvis the past three seasons. A Tifton native, Battle also has assisted at Miller Grove and Mount Zion (Jonesboro). In 2010, he was Morrow’s first choice as head coach and led the program through spring practice but was unable to continue in the fall because of a hiring freeze.

Parkview coach speaks out on transfer trend

At least 13 Georgia seniors who have been rated among the state’s top 100 senior prospects have transferred this year. Parkview head coach Eric Godfree says the trend troubles him in ways that transcend football. There are valid reasons to change schools, Godfree said. But improving one’s chances to win a championship is not his favorite. “Mainly, we need parents to grow up and help their children understand that they can make a great situation out of whatever their circumstances in life are and not make excuses,” Godfree said. “Winning in life is helping someone who can’t give you anything in return. That’s being a great teammate, not moving somewhere where you want to take advantage of a situation and be a ‘me’ person.” Godfree returned to his alma mater in 2014 to succeed his high school coach, Cecil Flowe. Godfree was an assistant on Parkview’s 2000, 2001 and 2002 state championship teams.

Going home a winner

Speaking of returning to the alma maters, David Perno of Clarke Central and Michael Woolridge of Hardaway did that this year and got their first career head-coaching victories last week. In football, that is. Perno led the University of Georgia’s baseball teams to three College World Series. He became a football coach for the first time this year, and his Gladiators beat Winder-Barrow 31-0. Hardaway and Woolridge beat Troup 21-14. Perno and Woolridge are among at least five first-year coaches who are at their alma maters. Others are Cap Burnett of North Clayton (lost to Riverdale last week, plays Washington tonight); Will Conner of Hawkinsville (opens tonight vs. Bleckley County); and Antonio Andrews of Griffin (opens tonight vs. Spalding).

Forsyth paper does mini-documentary on team

Sports editor Brian Paglia and the staff of the Forsyth County News have produced a mini-documentary on Forsyth Central’s 2016 football season. “We’re doing a ‘Hard Knocks’-style series on the team leading up to and including their first game [tonight] at Dawson County,” Paglia said. “It’s a really cool project, headed up by our videographer, Paul Dybas, and I think it’s something all football fans around the state would enjoy. Paul did an amazing job on this.” Forsyth Central, which has had a largely mediocre program since its inception in 1970, has high hopes this season with the hiring of head coach Frank Hepler, who is best known in Georgia for starting the program at West Forsyth in 2007 and building it into a winner (six consecutive winning seasons). The narrator is Vince Cardoso, a Spanish teacher at the school. He does the public announcing at games and coordinates the team managers. Click to see Episode 1 and Episode 2.

Letter from McFerrin: Croquet anyone?

GHSF Daily has reached out to some prominent retired head coaches with designs on expanding its Four Questions feature to some of the Georgia legends of the game. Those are coming soon. Meanwhile, in our correspondence, T. McFerrin updated us on his latest adventures. McFerrin won 317 games as a Georgia coach and claimed state championships at Elbert County (1995) and Jefferson (2012). McFerrin, who lives on a golf course in Walton County, says he goes to a game every Friday night. Those are usually at Jefferson, where he most recently coached; Winder-Barrow, where son Rob is athletics director; or South Gwinnett or Mill Creek, where former assistants John Small and Shannon Jarvis, respectively, are head coaches. McFerrin has found his competitive outlet. “I used to play a lot of tennis in the offseason, but I had to have shoulder replacement surgery and that ended my tennis career,” McFerrin said. “Now I’m playing a real man’s game – croquet. We have a Sunday afternoon group that comes over to play in our back yard.”

Wyatt shines in losing effort

Devonte Wyatt, a defensive lineman from Towers who recently committed to Georgia, had perhaps the most impressive game of a defensive player last week. Wyatt had 11 solo tackles, four assists, 4.5 sacks, six total stops behind the line, caused a fumble, blocked a punt and got a safety. Ironically, it came in a 6-2 loss to Forest Park, which entered on a 21-game losing streak.

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