Buford Wolves

The Contenders

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We are entering the last week of the regular season for Georgia high school football.

At this point we have separated the contenders from the pretenders. Let’s take a look at 6A to see who will bring home the state championship.

#1 Buford: The Wolves (8 – 1) lost to Chaminade-Madonna (FL), 7 – 0. They beat the #2 team in 7A, North Cobb, which is their only loss. Buford has only given up two points in region play. The last game of the season is at Dacula.

Last season was Buford’s first season in 6A after winning the 5A state championship in 2019. They beat Lee County in the championship game 34 -31. Senior wide receiver Isiah Bond is the No. 8 recruit in Georgia for the class of 2022 and he’s a four-star player. He’s committed to Florida.

Senior safety Jake Pope is also a four-star prospect and he’s committed to Alabama. Corner back Ryland Gandy has committed to Pitt. Running back Victor Venn has committed to Colorado. Quarterback Ashton Daniels is a Stanford commit.

The Wolves will win their third consecutive state title this season.

#2 Lee County: The Trojans (9 – 1) are on a collision course to meet Buford in the state championship game again. Their lone loss was a blowout against 5A Warner Robins, 56 – 30.

They beat North Miami Beach 68 – 49 to begin the month of October. It’s alarming that the defense has shown they will give up a lot of points.

Senior linebacker Jaron Willis is a four-star recruit and committed to Georgia Tech.

Offensive tackle Qae’shon Sapp is a three-star player and he committed to Florida State.

Safety Quavian Carter is also a three-star recruit and he committed to Michigan State.

Safety Malcolm Jones is a Virginia Tech commit.

On paper this team is as talented as any team in the state.

#3 Langston Hughes: The Panthers (8 – 1) lost the season opener 7 – 6 to 7A Newton. They reeled off eight consecutive wins after that. They beat crosstown rival, #6 Westlake 31 – 24.

Junior offensive tackle Bo Hughley is a four-star player and committed to Georgia. At 6’7 and 290 pounds he’s one of the most physically imposing players in Georgia.

Safety Terrance Love and wide receiver Robert Lockhart III are also a four-star players.

The final regular season game is Friday against Morrow. Hughes is legit and I expect them to make a deep run in the playoffs.

#4 Brunswick: The Pirates (9 – 0) are a bit of a surprise. Their undefeated and on the verge of winning region 2-AAAAAA. Their last game is at Effingham (6 -2), which will determine the region champion.

Senior OL Kanaya Charlton is a 4-star and is committed to Florida State.

#5 Rome: The Wolves (7 -2) are a perennial contender.

One of their loses was to the #1 7A team Collins Hill, which is expected. Their other loss was 34 – 32 to South Paulding, who is also in region 5-AAAAAA.

They have blown the rest of their opponents out.

The final game of the regular season is at Paulding County and they have a chance to win the region.

#8 Riverwood: The Raiders (8 – 1) are led by head coach Robert Edwards. As a running back at Georgia he’s most famous for leading them to their only victory against Florida while Steve Spurrier was the coach.

Riverwood has a prolific offense. They scored at least 24 points in every game this season.

They end the season at Chattahoochee.


The Last Team Standing

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The GHSA Championships are over and we have champions for each division. Let’s take a look at each one.

AAAAAAA Marietta 17, Lowndes 9:  I said before the season started the Blue Devils are loaded with talent. Despite that, they lost two games during the season. Lowndes (14-1) was undefeated before the game and nationally ranked in the top 10.

Marietta scored all of their points in the first half. Five-star tight end Arik Bailey dropped a pass in the end zone before halftime and the Blue Devils had to settle for a field goal. Bailey had a big game with 11 receptions for 146 yards.

The season is not over though because they will play in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series against Eastside Catholic from Sammamish, Washington.

AAAAAA Harrison 20, Allatoona 7: The No.2 Hoyas (15-0) converted two blocked field goals and an interception into 17 points and turned what otherwise had been a tight game into a win.

Both teams are from Cobb County and in the same region so this was a rivalry game. The two games against Allatoona were Harrison’s two closest games of the season.

The No. 7 Buccaneers, playing in its second state final in five seasons, finished 11-3-1.

AAAAA Buford 17, Warner Robbins 14: The win gave No.5 Buford (14-1) its 12th state championship and first since 2014. It marked the third straight season that No. 2 Warner Robins (13-2) has fallen short in the title game.

The game went to overtime and Jamarius Isaac got an interception on Warner Robbins first possession.

The Wolves ran two plays and advanced the ball to the 7 before calling on Hayden Olsen, who drilled the ball through the uprights for the winning 24-yard field goal.

AAAA Blessed Trinity 17, Oconee County 14: The Titans (14-1) won their third consecutive championship in a very tough game. Tailback Elijah Green, a North Carolina commit rushed 21 times for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came in the final two minutes of the first half.

Green’s most important carry may have been his last. On fourth-and-2 at the 6 late in the game, Green plowed off tackle for a first down, which enabled BT to run out the clock.

AAA Cedar Grove 21, Crisp County 14: The Saints (13-2) defended their 2018 title. This is their third championship in four years. This is coach Miguel Patrick’s first year, replacing Jimmy Smith, who became an assistant at Georgia State.

Running back Chavon Wright finished with 20 carries for 140 yards and two scores.

AA Dublin 42, Brooks County 32: The No. 5 Fighting Irish (14-1) won a slugfest without attempting a pass and scoring six rushing touchdowns spread across three running backs and their QB. This is Dublin’s first title since splitting AA with Charlton County.

A Private ELCA 33, Wesleyan 13: Behind the four-touchdown performance of running back Keaton Mitchell, the No. 3-ranked Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy Chargers won a record fifth straight state championship on Friday, a 33-13 victory over No. 5 Wesleyan in the Class A Private championship at Georgia State Stadium.

ELCA (13-1) became the first GHSA team to win five straight titles, breaking a tie with West Rome (1982-85) and Buford (2007-10). ELCA’s graduating class finished with a 54-2 record and the team’s record over the last five seasons is 65-5.

A Public Irwin County 56, Marion County 14: The Indians (13-0) won their first title since 1975. In six seasons coach Buddy Nobles, who is battling Stage 4 stomach cancer, has led the Indians to the state finals five times.

Round of 16

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The second round of High School Football playoffs approaches this week. Here are previews for the games this round for our area teams in southeast Georgia.

Coffee County Trojans @ Mays Raiders: Coffee County finished with the number 3 seed from the vaunted 1-6A region. That region includes Valdosta, Lee, Houston and Northside Warner Robins.

The Trojans enter the second round at 8-3 and looking to get a shot at the winner of Stephenson and Allatoona in the round of 8.

However, in order to do that Coffee will have to get through Mays, no easy task.

Mays is 10-1 and the region champ from region 5-6A. This game will also be played in Atlanta as Coffee is a 3 seed and Mays is a 1 seed. The Raiders have wins against Creekside, South Paulding and Northgate on the season.

Despite the fact Mays is a region champ, I think the Trojans will win this game and move on to the Elite 8. This will be a war.

            Lanier Longhorns @ Richmond Hill Wildcats: Richmond Hill won region 2-6A and carries a one seed. Most did not expect the Wildcats to win the region, but they did.

Richmond Hill is 7-3 on the season after the first-round win over 4 seed ML King. The Wildcats best win is probably against region foe Glynn Academy, who also is still playing.

Lanier is the 2 seed from region 8-6A. The only loss of the season for the Longhorns is to powerhouse and region champ Dacula.

Lanier’s best win probably came last week against a 6-5 Sprayberry team. The Longhorns schedule was very soft this season. They are currently 10-1. Lanier will be heading to Richmond Hill from Sugar Hill, not a short trip.

This might be closer than most think, but I will take Lanier to move on.

Glynn Academy Red Terrors @ Dacula Falcons: By most standards, Glynn has had a subpar season. The Terrors finished the season 5-4 and a 2 seed in region 2-6A.

The Red Terrors have come to expect region championships and deep playoff runs under head coach Rocky Hidalgo.

The Red Terrors dominated a tough Tucker team in the first round 31-7 at Glynn County Stadium.

Now Glynn will head up to Atlanta to battle with the number 1 seed from region 8-6A, the Dacula Falcons.

The Falcons are currently unbeaten (11-0), and have beaten Lanier, Dalton, and 7A playoff team Mill Creek.

This is tough test for Glynn. Plus, the Red Terrors will have to venture up to Atlanta for this game. I will take Dacula in a close game.

Brunswick High Pirates @ Harrison Hoyas: The Pirates got off to tough start this season, but rebounded and made the playoffs as the 3 seed from region 2-6A. The Pirates are 6-5 on the season and won their first playoff game since 2010 last week against Morrow, 34-13.

This week Brunswick will head to Kennesaw to take on undefeated Harrison (11-0).

The Hoyas are the number one seed from region 6-6A. Harrison is currently enjoying a stretch of success that dates back to when Justin Fields was their QB.

Harrison has beaten Sprayberry, Dalton, Allatoona and last week ended the season of Winder-Barrow.

The Pirates best win of the season came last week with the Morrow win.

This is going to be tough one for the Pirates. I will take Harrison to move on.

Buford Wolves @ Ware County Gators: Ware comes into this game 8-3 and the number one seed from region 2-5A.

The Gators rebounded from a tough start to the season and went through region play to win the region.

Last week Ware struggled with 4 seed Ola but pulled away late to advance. Waiting for them is powerhouse Buford.

Buford is 10-1. That loss was to Clarke County Central, which lost the region for the Wolves. Buford, instead, earned a 2 seed and will be heading to the Swamp in Waycross to take on the Gators.

The wins the Wolves have season reads as a “Who’s who” of high school powers in North Georgia. That list includes Milton, Newton, Archer, Cedar Shoals, and Decatur.

Ware’s best win is Wayne County. Ware may be overmatched here.

I will take Buford to move on to the Elite 8.

            Wayne County Yellow Jackets @ Clarke County Central Gladiators: The Yellow Jackets have been a tough team to figure out this season.

Certain weeks they have looked like a serious state title contender and others weeks not so much.

Wayne is 8-2 on the season and ended up with the 2 seed from region 2-5A.

The Yellow Jackets took down Stockbridge last week in a game I gave them no chance of winning. Yet, they did and moved on the round of 16.

Waiting for them is the number one seed from region 8-6A, Clarke County Central. The Gladiators are 8-3 on the season and beat Lithia Springs last week, 63-34.

Clarke Central will be a tough out for Wayne, but is beatable.  This should be a tough, tight game.

The Yellow Jackets will have to go to Athens to play this game and that could be the difference.  I will take Clarke Central in a nail biter.

Buford Preview

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Buford High School has been a football powerhouse sicen the 2000’s. The Wolves have won a total of 11 state championships. Ten of those are from 2001 to 2014.

They have won over several different classifications starting in A in 2001 and ending in AAAA in 2014. Buford is a fairly small school with an enrollment of 1,150 students. Now they are in AAAAA.

Continue reading

Bringing Home The Hardware


By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The 2016 Georgia state championships are in the books and eight champions have been crowned. This is the last year it will be held at the Georgia Dome before moving next door to the new Mercedes Benz Stadium and there were some memorable games.

The first game was the single A private school championship played Friday morning between Eagles Landing Christian Academy and Fellowship Christian School. The game went to double overtime with the ELCA Chargers winning 34-27.

The Class A public game was very one sided. Macon County beat McIntosh Academy 35-0. Macon County only led 7-0 until the final seconds of the 3rd quarter before scoring on four consecutive possessions. This is their second state championship and first in 20 years.

The AA game was also not close. Benedictine defeated Fitzgerald 49-26. Benedictine scored on its first five possessions to take a 35-6 first half lead. This is their second state title and first since 2014. They are the first Savannah school to win two state championships and this is their first undefeated full season since starting football in 1908.

The AAA game featured two metro Atlanta teams, Cedar Grove from Dekalb County and Greater Atlanta Christian from Gwinnett County. The Saints took a 23-3 lead with 1:09 left in the first half after Tre Shaw returned an interception 34-yards for a touchdown. Cedar Grove beat GAC 30-19 to win their first state title.

Cartersville and Thomson played for the AAAA championship. The Purple Hurricanes destroyed Thomson 58-7. This was the second-most points scored in GHSA finals history. Cartersville has won 30 consecutive games since they have had two consecutive 15-0-championship seasons.

The 5A game saw perennial power Buford match up with Rome. Both teams have the same Wolves mascot. Rome iced the game by scoring on an 18-yard naked bootleg on fourth-and-inches with 1:12 remaining in the 4th quarter. They won 16-7 giving Rome their first title since opening in 1992. Before East and West Rome merged to form Rome High they combined for seven state titles from 1965 to 1985.

Valdosta beat Tucker 17-7 in the 6A championship. The Wildcats scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. This is Valdosta’s first title since 1998 but they did extend their state record to 24 state championships. Alan Rodemaker became the first Valdosta head coach to win a state title in his first season.

The final game was the heavy weight 7A match up between Grayson and Roswell. This is the first year of 7A and it looks like Gwinnett County will continue to dominate the state’s largest classification. The Grayson Rams are ranked in the top 5 nationally.

The Hornets from Roswell were undefeated, ranked No. 2 in the state and appeared in their second consecutive state championship. The Hornets dominated the game and led for most of it. Grayson took their first lead of the game with 1:04 remaining. The Hornets scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Malik Willis to Kentrell Barber on the final play of regulation to tie the game 20-20. The Rams won in overtime 23-20. This is Grayson’s second state title and first since 2011 when they were led by Robert Nkemdiche. Head coach Jeff Herron became the first coach to win state titles at three Georgia schools (Oconee County & Camden County were the others).