Georgia’s newest football-playing high schools have head coaches, mascots, colors and their own interesting stories.
Cherokee Bluff in Hall County has hired Tommy Jones.
Denmark in Forsyth County has tabbed Terry Crowder.
Cherokee Bluff and Denmark are among 41 Georgia high schools that have had openings for head coaches this off-season. That’s roughly half of the typical turnover, so many more are on the way. Only 11 are filled (list below).
The new schools will bring to 420 the number competing in football in the Georgia High School Association.
‘’I’ve always been intrigued with the opportunity to start a program, and I really believe that the ingredients in that community are there for long-term success,’’ said Jones, who won three region titles at his previous school, Dacula. “There’s a very pro-active administration in place. Their enthusiasm for a start-up school is infectious and contagious, and it was something I wanted to be a part of.’’
Jones’ new team will jump right into region play in 7-AAA and face the likes of Greater Atlanta Christian and county rivals East Hall and North Hall.
The school mascot will be the Bears, and the colors will be purple and white.
And its arch-rival – in time – will be Flowery Branch. In an odd twist, Cherokee Bluff will occupy the current Flowery Branch High School building, and Flowery Branch will move back to its original location, Davis Middle School, about 3.5 miles away, nearer the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp. Flowery Branch moved to its new location (the future Cherokee Bluff) in 2009.
Jones is already on the job at the new school, which is still Flowery Branch for now. He's in the same building with current Flowery Branch head coach Ben Hall, who coincidentally was Jones' college football teammate at Furman University.
Cherokee Bluff will be the seventh public high school in the Hall County school system, eighth counting Gainesville High, a city school.
The school name honors Dr. Leila Denmark, who helped develop a vaccine for whooping cough in 1932. Denmark died in 2012 at the age of 114 as the fifth-oldest living person in the world. The new high school is adjacent to where Dr. Denmark lived and ran a medical office.
Crowder has been a head coach for 14 years in Georgia, the past five at Creekview in Cherokee County. He led Chattahoochee to the Class AAAA championship in 2010. His career record is 91-62.
Denmark will be the sixth Forsyth County high school and eventually projects to join the others in the highest classification.