Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Notebook: Schools taking advantage of two-scrimmage rule

Nearly 50 Georgia teams are playing two scrimmage games this preseason. It is part of a new rule that allows teams to play an extra scrimmage if they forego spring practice. That is an especially attractive option for smaller schools that have many spring-sports athletes. At Westminster, coach Gary Romberg says at least 60 of his 68 players are two-sport athletes.

"We strongly encourage our athletes to play multiple sports, as we have to share athletes to be successful," Romberg said. "Plus, I am the varsity assistant soccer coach. How many head football coaches are also soccer coaches in Georgia?"

GHSF Daily got feedback from other Georgia coaches:

North Oconee's Terry Tuley: "'Dividing your squad up for spring, teams are so watered down, it's not good competition. You can take the scrimmage results and make immediate corrections and possibly move players to other positions and get ready for the first game."

Creekview's Terry Crowder: "I am hoping that two scrimmages will get us in much better playing shape. We did not play well last year in our opener. I think two scrimmages will also give more evaluation time."

Washington-Wilkes' Robby Robinson: "Being a small school, spring practice is a time where we would not be at full strength due to spring sport success and our kids playing two to three sports. Also, having two scrimmages against another school gives us a better chance to evaluate all of our personnel going into game one."

Welsh named Hall of Fame finalist

Former Thomson coach Luther Welsh is among 36 finalists for induction into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Other finalists who were prominent in Georgia high school football are former Chamblee and Auburn player Steve Wallace; former Warner Robins and Georgia lineman George Collins, now head coach at Rutland; former Westminster and Georgia player Pat Hodgson; and former Glynn Academy and Georgia player Willie McClendon. All played in the NFL. Former Georgia Tech and NFL head coach Chan Gailey also is a finalist. He is a former star quarterback at Americus. But Welsh is the most attractive candidate purely from a high school standpoint. Welsh had a coaching record of 333-187, including three state championships. Welsh retired after the 2010 season. He died in July of 2011. Final selections will be made in September. The induction ceremony will take place in February in Macon.

Stadium named for Campbell

Lincoln County honored retired coach Larry Campbell earlier this month with a ceremony to name the high school stadium after him. The event took place on a Friday night, and several hundred fans attended. Speakers included Gov. Nathan Deal and Campbell's most famous former player, Garrison Hearst, who went on to star at Georgia and the NFL. Campbell's 477 victories in a career that began in 1972 rank No. 1 in state history. The new active leader in Georgia is Bowdon's Dwight Hochstetler, who has 337 wins.

Armuchee coach makes Shorter history

Shorter coach Bill Peterson proudly writes us to say thatMuhammad Abdellatif, the new coach at Armurchee, is the first GHSA head coach to come from Shorter's football program. Shorter begins its 10th season this fall and has more than 40 of its former players coaching throughout the state, according to Peterson. "We are excited for Mo and look forward to some of our other graduates joining him in the head coaching ranks over the next few years," Peterson said.

McEachern's schedule ranked eighth-toughest

MaxPreps has released several stories recently with Georgia teams in their rankings. McEachern has the eighth-hardest schedule in the country, according to MaxPreps. The Indians will play North Gwinnett, Buford, Lovejoy and Peachtree Ridge out of region before taking on Region 4-AAAAAA rivals North Cobb, Marietta and Hillgrove. MaxPreps ranks Lovett as the No. 14 team nationally among schools with enrollments of 1,000 or below. Buford is the fourth-ranked team in the middle-sized school rankings. McEachern is ranked 20th in the overall national rankings.

Darlington's Muschamp follows legacy

A couple of readers have asked if Robert Muschamp, the preseason all-state linebacker from Darlington, is related to Mike Muschamp of Lovett and Will Muschamp of Florida. Robert is a nephew of both. Robert's father is Pat Muschamp, the brother of Will and Mike. All three played football at Darlington. Their father, Larry, passed away in May at age 79. Larry Muschamp, a Rome native, was a former head football coach at East Rome (1964-68) and later principal at Darlington's Lower School.

In memoriam: Coaches we've lost since last season

Georgia football lost several memorable coaches in the past offseason. Most recently, former Fayette County and North Clayton coach Clint Burton succumbed to cancer on July 21. Burton was a head coach for 23 seasons (1979-2001). The Fayette Daily News published many touching tributes to Burton, including those from GHSA executive director Gary Phillips and Georgia coaches Mike Earwood and Al Hughes. Other prominent coaches who passed away this year were Buck Cravey, a 270-game winner and coach of Vidalia's 1969 state championship team; Mike Garvin, head coach of Mount de Sales' state championship teams of 1972 and 1973; Hokey Jackson, coach of Bradwell Institute's 1965 state championship team; Albert Matthews, coach of North Cobb's state runner-up teams of 1957 and 1959; and Charlie Brannon, coach of Douglass' 1975 state runner-up.

Former coach awarded settlement

Geoff Pastrick, the head coach hired by South Cobb last March, only to have the offer rescinded by the school system four weeks later, won a $10,000 settlement from the Cobb County School System last week. Pastrick, believing there was racial discrimination, had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Pastrick was head coach at Chapel Hill in 2013. He is now an assistant at McEachern. South Cobb has promoted assistant Sherrod Rainge as its head coach.

Guy graces cover of Thomson book

Longtime Thomson assistant coach and historian John Barnett and former Morgan County head coach Alvin Richardson will be releasing Ghosts of the Brickyard, the comprehensive history of Thomson High football, by the end of this month. On the cover of the hardback book is recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Ray Guy scoring the first touchdown with a broken wrist against Westminster in the 1967 Class A final, won by Thomson 20-0. Barnett remembers the play: "With his receivers covered, he saw an opening up the middle but was tripped. Putting his left wrist down, he regained his balance and powered into the end zone."

Lichtenberg shows 60-yard range

Colton Lichtenberg, the all-state kicker from Savannah Country Day, made a 62-yard field goal in practice recently. He has made a 54-yarder in a game. He's only 5 feet 10 inches, and that's with cleats. Lichtenberg is the younger brother of Harley Lichtenberg, a very good former SCD kicker, but Colton has a stronger leg.

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