Joe Delaney

The Portal

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As the Bulldawg nation slides into 2024 there is so much to look forward to.

The past few years have firmly stationed Kirby Smart as one of the best college football coaches in the country. Probably THE BEST with the recent retirement of the GOAT, Nick Saban from Alabama.

And while Kirby prefers to build his Dawgs through the traditional means of recruitment of the best high school players throughout the country, he is also dealing with the here and now, and that means NIL and the Portal.

The Dawgs have used the Portal in the past to great success.

Players such as Derion Kendrick, Lawrence Cager, Tre McKitty, J.T. Daniels, Tykee Smith, Dominic Lovett, and Ra Ra Thomas all found their way to Athens through the Portal.

In 2024 the Bulldogs will welcome several pieces to the puzzle in Trevor Etienne the great RB from the lousy stinking Gators, Colbie Young a 6’5” WR from Miami, and Xzavier McLeod a highly recruited 325 lb defensive lineman from the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Add in London Humphreys, a speedy WR from Vanderbilt, who reminds me of our own great Ladd McConkey, and Jake Pope a former 4-star DB from Alabama and the Dawgs got just what they needed.

And while the portal giveth………. The portal also taketh away. If you put all the former Georgia players who have left the program in the Kirby era on one team, that team would compete for a national championship. Think I’m kidding?  Check out this list.

 

QBs……………………  Justin Fields, JT Daniels, Brock Vandagriff

 

RBs……………………. Sevaughn Clark

 

WRs and TEs………. Demetris Robertson, Arik Gilbert, Dom Blaylock, AD Mitchell, Luke Ford, Matt Landers, Jermaine Burton, Justin Robinson. Brett Seither, Mekhi Mews

 

O-line………………….. Clay Webb, Cade Mays, Jacob Hood, Joshua Miller, Aliou Bah, Austin Blaske

 

D-line………………….. Bear Alexander, Marvin Jones Jr., Jonathan Jefferson, Brenton Cox, Jermaine Johnson, Bill Norton

 

LBs…………………….. Trezmen Marshall, C. J. Madden, Darris Smith, Xavian Sorey, Jamon Dumas-Johnson,

 

DBs…………………….. Latavious Brini, Jalen Kimber, Ameer Speed, Major Burns, Otis Reese, Jaheim Singletary, A.J. Harris, Nyland Green

 

Heck let’s just throw in a kicker also………… Jared Zirkel

And I won’t even get into the coaches! Fran Brown, Dan Lanning etc etc.

It’s amazing how much talent has gone in and out of Athens in the last few years.

While some will pine for the good old days when high school recruiting was the end all be all, the NIL and portal are here to stay. It will always be fluctuating as players seek greener pastures for numerous reasons whether it be money, playing time, coaching changes, grades, etc etc.

Georgia will win some and lose some just like the Caleb Downs sweepstakes. But through it all, Kirby and the Dawgs will continue their recent run of success.

Why will the Dawgs continue to win? Because they are being built to last. Look at that list above. It’s incredible the amount of talent that has left Athens.

But the kicker is that the Dawgs will bring in the #1 ranked recruiting class in the nation again this year. And with Nick cooling his jets at his new multimillion dollar pad in Florida, the one guy that could recruit with Kirby is now sipping a pina colada.

Its next man up in Athens and the next man might be better than the one he is replacing.

Yes, the Portal and NIL will continue to affect college football in ways we haven’t seen before. The combination of recruiting number one and the portal use as needed is what will keep the Dawgs on top………… You don’t believe me………just watch!

 

Terror Town 2023

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, as we head toward the holidays, it’s time to take a look back at the 2023 Red Terrors football season.

The Terrors rolled to a successful 8-3 campaign, claiming the second seed in the region, and barely missing out on another playoff win. And while the Red and White southsiders would have loved a few more W’s, it was all and all a great season capped off with an overtime sinking of a Pirate ship. Any season with a city championship win over the Brunswick Pirates is considered a successful campaign for the Red Terrors. Trust me, I know!

So, let’s do a quick recap of another fine season for the Terrors and take a quick look at what’s coming back for the 2024 outfit.

8/18  Glynn Academy vs Statesboro Blue Devils. Terrors roll in the opener 21-0.

8/25  Glynn Academy @ MCA Buccaneers. The Red Terrors cruise up Highway 17 and take out the always tough Buccaneers in a close one 14-6. McIntosh Academy always plays bigger than they are and this one was no exception.

9/1 Glynn Academy vs Camden County Widcats. The Terrors find out on this Friday night that they aint the biggest boys on the block as the Wildcats rough up the homestanding Terrors 44-13. The Wildcats and Jeff Herron go on to the Final Four of the 7A playoffs.

9/7 Glynn Academy vs Baker County (FL) Wildcats. Glynn grounds out a tough 27-20 win over the Wildcats to bounce back into the win column and all eyes turn to the Pirates, who have already taken out a Camden team that ripped Glynn the week before.

9/22 Glynn Academy vs  Brunswick High Pirates. Ahhhhhhhhhhh lets enjoy this one again. The Red Terrors sink the Pirates in a 22-15 overtime thriller.

The City Championship once again resides in the Glynn Academy trophy case. In this one the Terrors and Pirates find common ground from the top down to the 3rd stringers. We don’t like them and they don’t like us. Agreed……. Once again GLYNN 22 Brunswick 15.

9/29  Glynn Academy @ Effingham County Rebels. What goes up…………  The Red Terrors play like they have a hangover that a whole bottle of aspirin won’t help. 49-3 Rebels, who go on to win the region championship.

10/6  Glynn Academy vs South Effingham High School Mustangs. The Terrors regroup and pulverize the Mustangs 35-0.

10/12 Glynn Academy @ Grovetown Warriors. Glynn has a nice trip up north and walks and runs all over Grovetown 43-3.

10/20 Glynn Academy @ Evans Knights. Another road trip and another win as the Terrors take out a tough Evans team 22-14.

11/3 Glynn Academy vs Lakeside Panthers. The Terrors get tuned up for the 6A playoffs with a 50-7 pasting of the Panthers at Glynn County Stadium.

11/10 Glynn academy vs Jonesboro Cardinals. Let’s see, what do you get when you fumble 3 times and have 2 punts blocked? It doesn’t matter who you are. 98% of the time you lose.

Well, the Terrors did their absolute best to be in the 2% but fall short in a heartbreaker 32-31.

Too many mistakes to overcome against a team that took advantage of them.

The Terrors lose at home in the final game of the year and end up with an 8-3 record. Not what Coach Rock and the Terrors wanted but another successful campaign for the Red and White.

The Terrors graduated some real leaders in 2023. Kids that worked their tails off and stuck with the program.

Among them were Peyton Parker, who earned Region Defensive Player of the Year, and David Prince Glynn’s great wide receiver.

The all-region team was well represented with Jayden Ellis at QB, Parker, Prince, RB Willie Butler, Max Poysky OL, Quay Evans DL, Da’Vontae Lang ILB, Trent Tankersley OLB, Ryan Young DB, Marshan Turner DB and Tuck Tucker P all First Team selections.

Second teamers included Deuce Hidalgo TE, Harrison Knight OL, Camden Wilson DL, Gavin Wells OLB and T.Y. Chisom DB. Honorable Mentions were Michael Torello FB, Zeb Jackson WR, Sean Wallace WR, Caziah Alston, Benton Dyal and Josh Baker all on the OL, Tae Green DL, Chandler Owens LB, Bruce Edwards DB and LS Jeb Carson.

Quite a list and a testament to the consistent work ethic put in by the Terrors and the coaching staff.

As the Terrors look forward to 2024, they do so with a great nucleus to build on. The Offense has 3 linemen and 4 of the best skill players in southeast Georgia coming back. If the young line develops the Terrors will be very dangerous next year.

Defensively it’s the same story, 3 seasoned linemen, a linebacker, and a very good DB form a solid group to build around.

Tuck Tucker returns to kick and punt also. The coaching staff has a lot of work to do but a great core to work with.

Look for Rocky Hidalgo and the Terrors to build on the success of the young 2023 outfit and fight for more in 24!

Take The Money And Run?

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, I wanted to be writing this article about Brock Bowers and his push to win a Heisman Trophy. The big, fast Georgia Tight End had all the parts in place to be the first true Heisman candidate in decades and the first Tight End to win the award since Leon Hart in 1949.

Brock’s statistics are off the chart. He is the reigning Mackey Award winner and his team is ranked #1 and coming off 2 National Championships. Pretty heady stuff.

Add in that he has been putting up award winning stats since he walked on the field as a freshman and the rising junior was definitely in the mix with all the QBs and RBs.

I mentioned in my last article about Bowers that barring injury, he had a real shot. All that changed in Nashville, Tennessee on October 14th against the Vanderbilt Commodores when that injury happened.

An ankle sprain that required a follow up surgery will sideline the Georgia great for 4 to 8 weeks. That could take Brock out for the remainder of the regular season or maybe the entire year. There is also a possibility that the Bulldog Nation has seen Brock Bowers in Red and Black for the last time.

Georgia will still have one of the best TE groups in the country. Oscar Delp would start for 90 per cent of the teams Georgia play. He will step into the starting position with speed, athletic ability and experience. He is very good. But he aint Brock.

Pearce Spurlin and Lawson Luckie back him up and are solid young pups that are coming on. Some pundits have compared the young Luckie in many ways to Brock.

Some going as far as calling him Brock 2.0. Very high praise but they aint Brock.

Add in the upgrades, experience and athleticism of the current Georgia wide receivers and Carson Beck will have plenty of options to throw to. He and the Georgia offense will continue to have success. But he aint got Brock Bowers.

In Georgias first 7 games Brock had 41 receptions for 567 yards and 4 scores for a 13.8 YPC. Add in 6 carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Then take into account that in some of those games he rarely played in the second half and you get the picture what Georgia is losing.

The inevitable question is where do we go from here. The best scenario is Brock is back for the playoffs, not missing a beat, helping and leading Georgia to a “3 in 23”.  The other end of that is that he is done as a Dawg.

Brock Bowers was and is still a lock as a first round pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Some have listed him as a “generational talent” and expect him to go top 5.

Either way he is looking at a payday for life as a first round NFL pick. With all he has done for the University of Georgia and the Bulldog nation, should he even think about coming back? He will.

He will think long and hard about it and try his best to rehabilitate that ankle. That’s the type of young man he is.

Kirby Smart has long said that Brock Bowers is the hardest working Dawg around. Bowers has a deep love for the school, his teammates, coaches and the Bulldog Nation.

If he can comeback and it makes sense then he will. He has all the support he needs and Kirby will shoot him straight. If he dons the Red and Black again it will be for the right reasons.

I lean toward him not coming back. My heart says yeah he’ll be back but my mind says no.

He has the opportunity to set himself and his family up for life. To jeopardize that and get reinjured would be the worst thing imaginable.

Brock Bowers has done everything he can for his University. He is the best tight end and one of the top 5 players to ever play for the Dawgs. He has done his part. I hope I’m wrong on this, but it may be time for Brock to take the money……and when he can…RUN.

Brock Bowers is a Unicorn

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Brock Bowers is a GOAT.

Yeah everyone knows what a GOAT is. Most people say Tom Brady is the GOAT of Pro Football. Pretty hard to argue with that. There is always spirited conversation between this guy and that guy being the best and that’s what makes it fun.

My GOAT is Ali. In his prime he was simply above everybody and the great thing was HE TOLD YOU SO! “I’m the greatest!” “I’m so petty and you ugly Joe Frazier.”

It was wonderful and the man backed up everything he said. In a time of great division in our country, Muhammed Ali said “I aint got no fight with no Viet Cong.” It cost him several years of his prime to do what he thought was right. He didn’t just say it, he lived it. Yeah, he was my GOAT. Pretty rarified air up that high on the mountaintop.

GOATs also generally have certain standards that they have to live up to. That means championships and carrying teams on their backs when needed. That makes me think of 2 GOATS,  Michael Jordan in basketball and Herschel in college football.

Michael won championship after championship and sometimes carried the team when he had to. He also made clutch shots when needed. Ask Craig Ehlo and the 1989 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Herschel on the other hand had a much shorter career but burst on the scene like an Atomic Bomb. Whether it was stomping on Bill Bate’s chest in the opening game of the 1980 season or routinely running away from 180-190 lb DBs.

Herschel made the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs. They absolutely don’t win the national championship without him. “MY GOD A FRESHMAN” were the words of the GOAT of all college football announcers, Larry Munson.

So how in the heck could we think some tight end of all people could be a GOAT? Because he is. Brock Bowers is simply the best tight end to ever play college football.

Sure, there is a crowded room with the likes of Tony Gonzalez, Kyle Pitts, Keith Jackson, and others. But Brock just has something different. He has been tabbed as “generational” by pundits and he is one of the reasons the Dawgs are back-to-back National Champions and going for “3 in 23”.

Has he had to carry a team, no. Would the team win without him, probably. But the guy comes to work every day, does his job, and outworks everyone. Kirby calls him a “machine.”

Bowers is out of Napa, California. His game highlights tape included videos of him running up and down the California hills. The Georgia staff was impressed. They offered, and Brock thought he’d look great in Red and Black. The rest is history.

The 6’4” 240lb tight end made a mark the first week he was on campus. Especially when he began running away from DBs in practice on one of the best defenses ever in college football.

By the season opener it was apparent that he was special. That chiseled frame moved along at a 4.5 40 clip. He was one of the fastest dawgs right out of the gate.

Brock’s 2021 season was amazing. He racked up 56 receptions for 882 yards for a 15.8 avg. and 13 TDs.

Add to that, 4 carries for 56 yards and another touchdown.

In 2022, he was just as good if not better. As a focal point of the offense, he was often double teamed and bracketed by DBs and LBs.

It didn’t matter. Sixty-three catches for 942 yards. A 15.0 avg and 7 TDS. Nine carries for 109 yards and 3 TDS. And let’s not forget that the man blocks like a maniac.  He won the John Mackey award as the best TE in the nation along with first team everything! The pro scouts are drooling.

Barring injury, 2023 will be a repeat and then most likely it’s on to the NFL where many have him listed as the number two overall player in college football behind only last year’s Heisman winner Caleb Williams.

Enjoy this year Georgia fans and make sure you appreciate what you have in number 19. Throw in his ‘team first’ attitude and first guy in and last guy out of the football facility at Georgia and it’s easy to spell his name. Brock Bowers is the GOAT.

GO DAWGS!

It’s Good!

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It just a PAT right? Point after touchdown……easy peasy.

The team scores and the kicker comes in and tacks on another point.

Tuck Tucker, the kicker for the Glynn Academy Red Terrors, has hit 10 of them so far in this short season.

I was lucky enough to coach Tuck when he was 11 and 12 years old. I coach the kickers and QBs and he was our kicker on the 2019 State Championship Glynn County Broncos U-12 rec department team.

Head down, drive through Tuck! You lift your head, your running another lap! I don’t know if he was extremely coachable or hated running laps. Probably a little of both! Just a great kid with a great attitude.

Fast forward to today and while Tuck is kicking for the Red Terrors, he’s stepped into something much bigger. He has become a part of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to researching and finding cures and assisting children with pediatric cancers.

Alexandra “Alex” Scott was born in 1996, the second of 4 children in the Scott family. At the age of 1 she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly type of childhood cancer.

At the age of 4 Alex asked her parents if she could open a lemonade stand to help with the fight against the disease. Out of this wooden Lemonade stand, selling cups of lemonade with the proceeds going to Cancer research, grew the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that has raised millions of dollars for pediatric cancer research.

The Foundations motto is “Fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time.” The mission statement is “Our mission is to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.”

You can donate by going to the Foundation site online or at the lemonade stand at the Red Terrors home games.

And while you’re on the website, look for Tucks page.

Just type in Tuck Tucker on the ALSF search bar. His page is KICK! Cancer with Tuck Tucker.

It reads the following, “Im holding a fundraiser to help Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation move one step closer to finding a cure for all children with cancer. Ill be dedicating my season to kids with cancer by turning my stats into life-saving research dollars”.

“Please make a donation of any amount toward my fundraising goal. The money you donate will pay for research to find better treatments and cures for childhood cancer. You can help kids and their families by providing desperately needed hope!”

The Foundation has funded more than ONE THOUSAND Medical Research Grants since 2005.

According to Dr. David Poplack, “The ALSF grant program is helping researchers throughout the country move closer to the day when a cure is a reality…”

The ALSF is the only childhood cancer research organization that has been given the National Cancer Institute peer-reviewed funder designation for rigorous selection of research grants.   That’s how donations are helping.

I’d love to say that Alex Scott is alive and well and working with the Foundation. She would be 27 years old now. Sadly, that’s not the case.

Pediatric cancer is a killer and it took Alex’s life in 2004 at the age of 8. Before she died, Alex had raised over a million dollars for cancer research and inspired all around her. And it all started with a front yard lemonade stand and a girl who cared. So does Tuck. Give if you can.

As I was talking to Tuck, our conversation naturally went to kicking and I asked the junior kicker about the season.

He said he had made 10 out of 12 PATS with one of those being a block.

Well, what about the first one that you missed I asked? He said he saw the rush and clanked it off the crossbar. I said yep, you raised your head……..I didn’t make him run a lap.

On The Plains

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Well, let’s get right to the Grits…….The Auburn Tigers stunk it up last year.

Only a 13-10 win over a woefully underachieving Texas A&M team kept them out of the cellar of the SEC West.

They came limping into the 2022 season after a bowl loss the previous December to HOUSTON…..yes HOUSTON.

Head coach Bryan Harsin needed to make it happen. It didn’t and he was soon long gone. The powers that be in the loveliest village on the plain have routinely had issues getting the coaching staff act together.

And that includes the fat cat alumni, who, while well intentioned, contributed to the coaching carousel that has been Auburn football lately.  The record proves it.

Hopefully, a seasoned and revitalized Hugh Freeze can give the Tigers stability. Hugh needs time to get things into place. The Auburn family need to think progress, progress, and progress. Tiny steps in the right direction every day. It can be done. Let’s look at the first baby steps.

The roster at the end of the 2022 season was subpar to SEC standards and it showed.

Sure, Auburn had some very good players but overall the gap between the Alabamas, Georgias, and LSUs was widening.

In steps Hugh Freeze, who is no stranger to the ins and outs of SEC recruiting and the transfer portal, was able to bring in a top 20 rated recruiting class and maybe just as important a top 10 rated transfer portal group. The man means business and it showed immediately. Baby steps, baby step.

Next, Freeze brought in Phillip Montgomery to OC the offense and Ron Roberts as the DC but KEPT Cadillac Williams as Associate Head coach and running backs coach.

Cadillac served as the interim head coach at the end of 2022 and he is loved on the Plains. Keeping him was key. No one loves their school more than the Cadillac and the Auburn fan base knows it. He rallied the team and the town when they were at the lowest point last season.

Freeze knows how to turn a program into a winner. He’s done it before and can surely do it at Auburn. Give him a couple of years and he will close the gap with the big boys. He’s that good of a coach. Just keep your nose clean Coach and the sky is the limit.

So, let’s look at what’s happening in the ‘here and now’ with this group of Tigers starting with the offense.

Auburn brings back 2 starters from an offense that ranked near the bottom of the SEC with a 24.8 PPG.

One of those starters is Robby Ashford, who may or may not start under center against Massachusetts.

He was 123-250 for 1613 YDS and 7 TDS and 7 interceptions. He also rushed for 710 YDS and 7 TDS. Compare those statistics with most of the SEC QBS and its easy to understand a 5-7 record.

My money is on Payton Thorne, the former starter at Michigan State who transferred in. He gives the Tigers a true arm back there and while he’s not the RPO threat that Ashford is. He doesn’t need to be with the Auburn running back room in good shape.

That running back room is led by Jarquez Hunter who averaged 6.5 YPC last year. Looks like a play action duo with Thorne and Hunter to me.

And when the Auburn QB, whoever it is, pulls that ball out and wants to spin it, he will have some veteran wideouts to throw to in Camden Brown, Ja’Varrius Johnson, and Koy Moore.

Then line up portal TE Rivaldo Fairweather and hey, we got something here! This offense has all the tools with the skill positions to be much better this year.

The offensive line will be revamped and should be better. Kam Stutts returns at RG and veteran O-linemen Dillon Wade, Avery Jones, and Gunner Britton came over in that great portal class and should make this line SEC solid.

On the defensive side the Tigers have a ton of returning starters including Marcus Harris, Jayson Jones Jr., Cam Riley, Nehemiah Pritchett, D J James, Zion Puckett, Donovan Kaufman, and former Frederica Academy standout Jaylin Simpson.

The defensive line for the Tigers should be solid. And transfers Justin Rogers, Lawrence Johnson, and Mosiah Nasili-Kite should either start or add needed depth.

The backers need to help Riley out a little more. He was the one stud in the lineup for Auburn. He gets portal help and veteran assistance from 5 or 6 more backers. Once again Hugh Freeze stepped in and got the Tigers either starters or depth here.

The defensive backs should be one of the better units in the league. All 5 of the DBs have started at one time or the other. Pritchett and DJ James return at the corners while Kelonte Scott and Donovan Kaufman return at the STAR. Throw in Zion Puckett and St. Simon’s Jaylin Simpson at the safeties and it’s on.

This unit should play much better this year. With the returning starters and incoming talent there is no reason for the Tigers to give up 29.5 PPG. Ron Roberts has got some great pieces to the puzzle. He just got to put it together.

Special teams are just that at Jordan-Hare. They are always solid and this year should be no different. Alex McPherson was ranked as the best high school kicker in the country in 2021. His older brother is doing the kicking for the Bengals……..Cincinnati not LSU. Oscar Chapman returns to punt and had a 43.8 average last year.

And remember one more portal addition to the team in Brian Battle. The transfer is an electric return man.

The schedule is daunting as usual. Texas A&M, LSU, and Arkansas on the road. Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, at home.

And 0hhhh I almost forgot, the year-ender with Bama.

This is a transitional year for Auburn. Will they give Hugh Freeze the time needed to right the ship? I hope so. A great year would be 8 wins and a nice bowl.

It’s doable if some things fall into place. Do that and watch the recruiting and portal go nuclear for Hugh and the boys next year.

The guy is a good coach and has what it takes to bring back the Tigers. But it will take time and baby steps, baby steps.

WAR DAMN EAGLE!

It’s Another Gimme

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

In 2022 the Glynn Academy Girls Golf team led by senior Maria Barr, junior Chandley Box and freshmen Elyse Burney and Emma Hill took home Glynn’s first state girls’ golf championship since 2011.

As one of the preeminent golf programs in the state, it had been quite a drought for the girls.

As for the 2023 outfit, you felt Kip Hall’s Lady Terrors would be good, very good. And they didn’t disappoint.

With all that returning firepower the Glynn girls led the GHSA 6A Girls Golf Tournament on Jekyll Island from day one. Starting hot and staying that way, the Red Terrors walked away with a 480 total and another addition to the trophy case.

Second place Alpharetta was a distant 16 strokes back. Glynn lead by 5 after day one and stretched it out even more on day two.

As with their fellow state champion Red Terror Boys team, the girls had to fight through some adversity with injuries. Senior team leader Chanley Box had to deal with strained ligaments in her hand which was injured shortly before the tournament.

She felt the pain everytime she swung the club. And she played through it. The North Georgia signee shot an 86 on the first day but roared back with a 78 on day two to finish with a 164 total and a tie for sixth on the overall score. That’s how you spell TEAM.

Sophomore and rising star Elyse Burney matched Chanley with a 164 of her own. That consistency gave the Red Terror ladies a tremendous advantage over the field with three players placing in the top six overall scores.

That’s because Emma Hill blistered the Jekyll course for a final round 73 and a two day total only 1 shot off being low medalist. This was a VERY good Glynn Academy girls squad.

Senior Charley Podlesney shot a 198 to round out the scoring in the tournament and finished her career with two state titles.

Much like the boys outfit, the girls team was built and molded with effort and character.

Coach Hall spoke on numerous occasions about the work effort of the girls and the extra time and effort they all put in. While he was lavish with his praise for the girls and what they had accomplished, he was quick to point out that they all earned what they got.

And they did it with excellence both on the course and in the classroom. This was the narrative for both Kip Hall’s Lady Terrors and Mike Zito’s Terrors.

It was never in doubt where this trophy was heading after Day One. The win gave the Red Terror ladies golf team 9 state titles since the year 2000.

And with the returning talent and effort that coaches Pete Irby and Kip Hall put in, the threepeat is not out of the question.

The Lady Terrors will roll into 2024 as favorites to repeat with the returning 1,2 punch of Burney and Hill. They will probably be the most seasoned juniors in the state next year.

Remember Elyse shot a 77 to lead the Terrors to LAST year’s title, while Emma went low this year. Quite the returning combo. Elyse and Emma will be a Double E Terror as they look to defend and repeat in 2024.

GHSA 2023 AAAAAA Girls Golf State Champions

GLYNN ACADEMY LADY RED TERRORS

 

It’s A Gimme

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Glynn Academy Golf has long been a perennial power in the state.

And while it’s been over a decade since the Glynn Academy Boys Golf team has won a state championship, it couldn’t have been soon enough for Mike Zito and the Senior laden 2023 Red Terror outfit.

Meanwhile over on the ladies’ side, the very young Lady Terrors of Kip Hall waltzed through the AAAAAA tournament again to become back-to-back state champs for 2023.

With the old adage of age before beauty, let’s take a look at the boy’s side today.

The Glynn boys have won multiple state championships in Golf. The lineage goes back decades with great teams and great individuals.

However, as talented as Glynn has been, 2011 was the last time they had hoisted the trophy as the best team in the region and state.

I got to sit down and talk with coach Mike Zito about this year’s outfit and how the 2023 Glynn outfit was different.

Mike has headed the Red Terrors for the past decade and he has had teams as talented as this one. He will tell you that. Some very good players have come through the old school down on the south side of Brunswick. But the recurring theme of our conversation was that this team “jelled” at the right time.

He spoke of how it wasn’t easy with this group. They had ups and downs throughout the early part of the season. Some of it being injuries. Try a broken leg to one of your best players! And some of it was just young men being young men!

Through it all, Zito said these guys never lost sight of the team and the prize. And about a month before the state tournament, they jelled. They became a senior led team, which wanted it.

The result was 5 shot win for the Terrors and Red Terror Williamson Mosher taking home the individual title with an outstanding -3 (141). It was Coach Zito’s first title and a week later he was still smiling ear to ear.

“These guys were a close-knit bunch and jelled at the right time.” He said. In the weeks leading up to the tournament it was all business. The maturity and realization that it was the last shot time hit home for the boys and they responded. Let’s take a look at the 2023 State Champs and how they fared in the tournament.

I guess we should start with Williamson Mosher, who led the Terrors and won the individual trophy. His 141 over two days in subpar weather carried the Terrors. Zito noted his overall game and focus. “When he’s on, he’s just tough to beat.” And he was on!

The leading junior on the team, Hank Holcomb, finished tied for fourth at 147. Coach Zito mentioned that he was the team’s most consistent ball striker and had that “confidence in his game.” He will be back to lead the 2024 outfit.

Seniors Shep Davenport and Ellis Long rounded out scoring with a 151 and 158, respectively. Zito said Davenport had “all the shots and was uber competitive.”

While Long was “long off the tee with a great short game and demeanor.

Senior Grady Sanders, who was 3 months removed from breaking his leg in a car accident, shot a 159. Before his accident, Grady was maybe the team’s best player. It was a testament to the team concept that he fought his way back and contributed.

Seniors Michael Cook and Walker Larkin provided the depth needed and were integral members of the team.

Drew Harrison and Hayden Couturier were the young guns, having recently picked up the game and Zito spoke of how they all had steadily improved during the year, were consummate team players, and their best golf being in front of them.

Back for another shot next year are Juniors Chris Reddini and Jake Dancy, whom Coach Zito said worked hard and their time is coming.

He’s looking for them and Hank Holcomb to step up and fill some big shoes next year. I can’t express how proud Coach Zito was of these young guys and who they were and what they had accomplished.

He mentioned that ALL of the seniors would be heading to the University of Georgia next year with the exception of Ellis Long, who will head to Harvard.

Next year’s Terrors will be talented and young. But with Tim Hall churning out players from the Junior Varsity and the returning core, Zito is excited about the future.

But today, lets enjoy what these guys and this team accomplished.

GLYNN ACADEMY BOYS AAAAAA STATE CHAMPIONS.

And next issue we get to look at the burgeoning dynasty that is Glynn Academy Girls Golf.

Farewell, George

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It’s been an incredible time of ups and downs recently.

This world has lost some fine people; Vince Dooley, Charley Trippi, Mike Leach, Devin Willock, and Chandler LeCroy all in just the last 3 months. Just a crazy time.

But to me, this one hurt worse than anything. We recently lost the great George Rose.

Not only was he one of the top athletes to come out of South Georgia EVER, but he was one of the nicest and most genuine people you would ever want to meet.

Throughout our latter time together whenever we saw each other it was……….” Hey Coach!!!!!”  “Hey Joe!! How’s Kim doing?” The guy was just solid gold.

When I learned of his passing it brought tears to my eyes. He was my coach but through everything he was my friend.

If you know anything about Glynn Academy Red Terror football, then you know who George Rose was. I’m not going to list everything here that he accomplished as a player at Glynn, Auburn and the NFL. It would take up the whole column and more.

Just a few superlatives were, he was a team captain at Glynn, and Auburn. He was the 34th overall pick in the NFL draft and played for Minnesota, New Orleans and San Francisco. He gave up ONE pass completion in his senior year at Auburn as a defensive back, ONE! He was that damn good and just purely fast as hell.

After the pros he came back to Glynn County and coached the Red Terrors during my senior year. I played QB that year for the first time and the truth be told I was pretty good and terrible. George got handed a mediocre bunch of Jimmys and Joes with a few good players sprinkled in that year.

But we worked hard and had a lot of fun. I remember one day at the end of practice we were doing extra passing drills and were all needling coach about playing DB and got him to go over and cover a couple of guys.

We were all laughing and having a good time and I went over to the receivers’ line and got lined up with George and he started laughing. I said come on Coach I’m gonna burn you! Well, I looked over at Coach Hudson, who was throwing and nodded my head. Coach Hudson goes “HUT ONE” and I take off……. huh wait a second……. I take one step and all of a sudden, I’m looking at the sky on my back. I don’t think they called it bump and run back then but I guess I’d call it bump and dump because I didn’t run anywhere!

Next thing I know George is looking down at me laughing, Coach Hudson is about to fall out laughing and next thing you know I’m laughing with everyone else.

I’d love to say we won all the close games and had a great year, but we didn’t. But what we did do was get better. Our last game of the year was against Brunswick High and they were the sub region champs and everyone from Murray Poole to my 12-year-old little brother said they were going to beat the snot out of us. And probably badly.

Well, between George, Marvin Hurst, Herman Hudson and the other coaches, they got us ready.

We beat the Pirates 26-21 at old Lanier Field in front of a standing room only crowd, coming from behind in the fourth quarter. We were the city champs.

After the game I went over to George and hugged him and told him thanks for everything he had done for us that year. He looked me straight in the eyes, smiled and said “Joe you played your best game tonight.” I’ll never forget that……. It brought tears to my eyes then……….and it brings tears to my eyes now.

God bless you coach, War Damn Eagle! Rest easy.

 

 

Sometimes

By: Joe Delaney

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

SOMETIMES it just all comes together…… For the 2022 Georgia Bulldogs that was the case.

They started the 2022 season ranked third in most polls.  While the Dawgs consistently played winning football throughout the year, they set the stage for a great season beginning on September 3 with a 49-3 pasting of the Oregon Ducks at the Benz in Atlanta.

There’s an old saying “Ducks on the Pond”. Well, the Georgia offense and defense just sat on the bank and picked em off one by one. The country then knew that the Dawgs weren’t back……. they had never left.

With all the talent that had gone off to the NFL, the Dawgs had simply reloaded and Dan Lanning and the Ducks got in the way and got blasted.

From there, it was like Amtrack blowing through Nahunta…… Saturdays throughout the fall the Dawgs would show up. The warning lights would go off, the gates would go down and that Red and Black bullet train would blow through at 60 mph running over anything in its path.

Then, whoosh they were gone. The gates went back up the warning lights went off and all that was left for South Carolina, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Tech and the others was a big L……. Only once in the season did the train even slow down.  That was in Missouri and all it taught those Dawgs was to keep going and going FAST.

By the end of the regular season the entire country knew who was number ONE and the Dawgs did too.

It showed again in the SEC championship game when Georgia rolled LSU to the tune of 50-30. BUT……. that great Georgia defense gave up 500 yards passing in the game.

Forget that most of those yards were gotten after the game had been decided. Could the train get derailed in the playoffs?

Well, the one team that could match up talent wise with the Bulldogs got to take their shot on December 31st in the Peach Bowl at the Benz.

Ohio State had talent and a great future NFL quarterback in C. J. Stroud. Combine that with great overall team speed and a chip on their shoulder from getting their butts handed to them by hated rival Michigan and the Buckeyes came in and played flawlessly.

They almost derailed the Athens Express. After Stetson Bennett led the Dawgs back out of a 14-point hole in the fourth quarter, the Dawgs held a slim one-point lead 42-41 scoring with under a minute to play.

From there, the Buckeyes and Mr. Stroud went to work. With a combination of passing and Stroud’s scrambling, the Nuts drove down the field and lined up for a game winning field goal with seconds left. Looked like the train was about to run outta track.

BUT SOMETIMES things just go your way and a duck hooked 50-yard field goal attempt later the Dawgs were headed to Cali and another shot at the Natty.

Everyone knows what happened next. The Dawgs ran all over TCU like they were a Frog on the train track. It was ugly, fast and ruthless. The largest blowout in the CFP ever, 65-7 and it wasn’t that close. The starters were eating chicken wings on the sideline in the fourth quarter.

So back to Athens with another Natty in hand. Time for curtain calls and happy endings…….

BUT SOMETIMES……. This life doesn’t go the way we feel it should. At 2:45 am on Sunday January 15th, mere hours after thousands of Dawgs rejoiced in the streets of Athens with the team, coaches, and staff, 2 players and 2 support staff were involved in a terrible accident in Athens.

It claimed the life of Chandler LeCroy a recruiting staffer and OL Devin Willock. It left Victoria Bowles in serious condition and our own Warren McClendon with less than serious injuries.

The joy throughout the Bulldog Nation quickly turned to sorrow with everyone associated with the program stunned by the turn of events. It was just horrible.

Dawgs everywhere will relish and savor this run with Kirby and the Dawgs but there will always be an asterisk placed on the championship parade of 2023.

Two wonderful young people taken too soon. A stark reminder of what is really important to us all.

SOMETIMES……. It just doesn’t seem fair.  Rest in Peace Devin and Chandler.