Time to say goodbye to the 2016 football season. Be on the lookout for the AJC All-State teams in the next few days. Also, we here at Class A Football Central Command must give a huge shout out to the folks at the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website – www.ghsfha.org. If you haven’t visited the site, please do so soon.
Before we transition to basketball, a few thoughts:
-- We will begin featuring two basketball blogs per week, Tuesdays and Fridays, at the beginning of the new year. Tuesdays will be a look back at what occurred over the previous weekend, while Fridays will be a preview of big games over the coming weekend. Send any outstanding performances (individual or team, boys and girls) and story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Congrats to the state champs, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy and Macon County. Here are a couple of tidbits about them, as well as the runners up, Fellowship Christian and McIntosh County Academy:
ELCA, now the two-time defending private school champion, has won 22 consecutive games. The Chargers went undefeated this season without perhaps their best player, DB/RB/WR Khaleb Hood, who sat out the year after he underwent knee surgery late in the summer. ELCA head coach Jonathan Gess said Hood, who already has tons of interest from Division I recruiters, will be good and ready for the camp circuit next spring and summer, and will be back on the field in the fall. He will join a talent-laden group of returning players who will look to extend ELCA’s winning streak to 36 games and three consecutive state titles.
While Macon County was considered the heavy favorite to win the public title after the Bulldogs dropped down from Class AA, the team fought through its share of adversity. Because the high school is undergoing a major renovation project, classes are being held at the middle school. So, since the first day of summer workouts, players and coaches walked nearly a mile from the middle school to the high school field house, and then another half mile to the football practice field. Head coach Dexter Copeland said in order to save money, the players and coaches opted to walk all season, as opposed to taking on the cost of buses during the week. “It helped us build a lot of team chemistry and camaraderie,” Copeland said, “and it helped with our conditioning, too.”
Fellowship Christian nearly became the first Class A team to defeat ELCA since the Chargers were throttled by Mt. Paran Christian in the 2014 title game, 49-7. ELCA edged the Paladins 34-27 in double overtime in this season’s private school final.
McIntosh County Academy is back. After going 0-10 in 2014, head coach Robby Robinson returned to Darian to rescue the program. Even though he led the Buccaneers to the public school title game, Robinson said there is still a lot of work to be done. “There has to be a total commitment from everybody,” he said as he walked off the field at the Georgia Dome, following his team’s 35-0 loss to Macon County in the public school final. “For us to get back here and be a consistent program, there has to be a serious commitment from our coaches, our players, our community and our administration.”
-- And finally, even though we will be transitioning to basketball this week, be on the lookout for some quick hits in reference to Georgia High School Association rules and policies and their impact on Class A, particularly in football. For instance, can anything be done about what appears to be a growing competitive gap between the larger schools and smaller schools within the public and private divisions? Some coaches are beginning to be concerned about this issue. Stay tuned!