The weekly Georgia High School Association/MaxPreps power ratings are not available yet, so here's a look at some teams that traditionally have not been among the favorites but are worthy of being in the championship contender conversation this season.
Calhoun County. The Cougars (18-1, 7-1 in Region 1), No. 7 in the AJC Top 10 poll, moved from No. 7 to No. 4 in the Class A public school power ratings after knocking off the top team in the power rating last week, Region 1 rival Seminole County. Calhoun County has always been one of the most consistent programs in Class A. But the Cougars missed the state playoffs last season and haven’t advanced out of the first round since 2005. Head coach Marcus Shaw and team leaders Reginald Ross, a sophomore forward, and junior guards Sherrod Williams and Quenten Taylor, look to make this year different.
Holy Innocents. In the past, fans usually left the building after the girls’ games. Those days appear to be over. The Bears (17-2, 6-1 in Region 5) are No. 9 in the AJC Top 10, No. 2 in the private school power rating and, after making the state playoffs last season, look to make it back-to-back post season appearances for the first time since 1999-2000. A trio of seniors leads the way for head coach Tony Kelly – point guard Jason Schick (5 assists per game), two-guard Darryl Stewart Jr. (17 points), and forward Josh Ledbetter (11 rebounds).
Mount Vernon Presbyterian. The Mustangs (17-2, 6-0 in Region 5) are still in search of respect as the highest rated team in the private school power ratings, No. 6, not ranked in the AJC Top 10. Mt. Vernon will have the opportunity to do so this week when it hosts No. 3 Greenforest tonight and travels to No. 9 Holy Innocents Thursday. The Mustangs are led by sophomore point guard Jared Harper and senior guard Keon Douglas.
Claxton. The Tigers are looking to make their third consecutive state playoff appearance after ending a seven-year post season drought in 2012. Claxton (17-3, 6-1 Region 3 – Division A) sits atop the public school power ratings and is No. 8 in the AJC Top 10. Senior point guard Devonna Brewton and sophomore forward Keri Brown, who averages 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, lead the way.
George Walton Academy. Lori Hines is crafting a title contender in Monroe. The Bulldogs (18-1, 10-0 in Region 8 – Division B), ranked No. 4 in the AJC Top 10 and No. 4 in the private school power ratings, still have to prove they can play with the elite teams after getting trounced by eventual private school runner-up Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy (57-29) in the quarter finals last season. But George Walton is on course to win its second consecutive region title after moving into the Georgia High School Association in 2011.
Financial Literacy Symposium for High School Athletes
Former University of Alabama defensive back Chris Rogers (2005-2009) is trying to help high school athletes learn how to make proper financial decisions through a series of financial literacy symposiums.
The next C.A.S.H. (Changing Athletes Spending Habits) Symposium is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9 (2-5 p.m.), in the Nabrit-Mapp-McBay Building on the campus of Morehouse College (830 Westview Drive, Atlanta). There is no cost to attend the event, however, participants are asked to pre-register at http://www.tapinc.us.
The C.A.S.H. Symposium series is sponsored by TAP, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to provide young people, athletes and non-athletes, with mentoring programs that help them make positive and productive choices in their lives. For more information on TAP, Inc. and the C.A.S.H. Symposium series contact Rogers at 305-479-3247, or go to Facebook at facebook.com/TogetherAssistingPeople.