Posted: 9:30 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Stephens to make Ware debut; Creekside to open title defense 

By Chip Saye

Only about half of the Class AAAAA teams will be in action on the first weekend of the high school football season, but there are plenty of good games on the schedule. Eight of the top 10 teams in the classification play in Week 1, and most of those teams should face a decent season-opening test. And one game between unranked teams could go a long way in determining a region champion. Here are some of the stories worth watching this weekend in AAAAA:

- Franklin Stephens will make his debut as the Ware County coach at home on Friday when the fifth-ranked Gators face Class AA #4 Brooks County. Stephens came from Lamar County to replace Ed Dudley, who left for the Carrollton job after leading Ware County to a 50-16 record in five seasons. Stephens was 26-2-1 in two seasons at Lamar County after going 64-6 with two state titles in five years at Tucker. Ware County was 11-2 and reached the state quarterfinals last season.

- Top-ranked Creekside will begin the defense of its first state championship when it hosts Class AAAAAA South Cobb on Friday night. The Seminoles have four potential Division I signees – tackles Venzell Boulware and Marquel Harrell, LB Joshua Moon and WR Jayson Stanley, an AJC Super 11 pick. Creekside was 15-0 last season and won 13 games by at least two touchdowns. South Cobb won at least seven games each year from 2010 to 2012 but took a step back last year at 3-7.

- Seventh-ranked Kell has been successful against higher-classification teams in the Corky Kell Classic, going 3-1 the past four years against Chattahoochee and Grayson. This year the Longhorns will face a smaller school, but it will be a tough test when they meet Class AAAA No. 5 Carrollton at 9 a.m. Saturday. Kell won a school-record 13 games last season and reached the state semifinals for the first time. Carrollton was 13-2 in 2013 and lost to Griffin in the Class AAAA championship game.

- The early lead in 5-AAAAA will be at stake when perennial playoff teams Allatoona and East Paulding meet in Acworth in the only game on the region’s schedule this week. Both teams are among the top 13 in Class AAAAA in the computer Maxwell Ratings. The other top contender, South Paulding, opens against Sprayberry in a non-region game but will get its shot against the Raiders and Buccaneers in the first four weeks of the season.

- Mays reached the second round of the playoffs last year for the first time since 2007, and the Raiders will try to build on that success in Corey Jarvis’ second season as coach. Mays, ranked No. 10, will open the season at 8:30 p.m. Saturday against Class AAAAAA No. 10 Hughes at Tri-Cities High School. Mays has five players committed to Division I schools – DE Natrez Patrick (Georgia), OL Dallas Warmack (Alabama), WR Tyshawn Brown (Purdue), DE Aaron Cochran (Louisville) and LB Charlie Patrick (Georgia State).

8 comments
JABAJC
JABAJC

Formerly "JAB".   Well this is a big week for my Stephenson Jaguars, Tucker Tigers, MLK Lions, and Marist War Eagles.  "THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDERS",  from what I've seen thus far of our Dekalb County teams is a continuation of talent, depth in the skill position and speed, but this time we will be playing teams with the same kind of depth in talent & speed.  The key factors behind each game will be to limit costly penalties, discipline, and who can play 4 quarter football.  Don't think that my JAGS or Tucker will be intimidated by B.T. Washing or Miami Central National rankings, because we both are use to playing in bIg games.


Stephenson & Tucker both have big offensive lines, this was one reason why when they locked horns a week ago at Hallford, in their scrimmage game, it was hard for either team to score upon each other.  Never seen my JAGS with such a flock of RB, which I believe this will be a key factor later on in region & state playoff play, giving my JAGS more options to shuffle the ball around.  The QB does have an arm, he just needs to stop trying to force the ball in there, he had lots of time to pass the ball, because of the big offensive lineman, just need to be more patient.


The defense was solid & sound as usual, still got some secondary issues to workout.  Chauncey Rivers (Super 11 player) is a beast, this guy is certainly one of the best players ever to come through Stephenson, saw him bull rush himself through that interior line and put pressure on the QB all night long.  The key this year for my JAGS is to stay discipline on and off of the field.




GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS IN 2014, QUIT PLAYING AROUND, THIS IS YOUR YEAR......

FridayNightLightsFan
FridayNightLightsFan

I said this basically on another thread.  Both Allatoona/East Paulding played very ugly this game. It was defiantly the first game of the year. Allatoona was the better team. East is VERY young this year. I counted 2 starting seniors on Defense and 3 on Offence (1 of those a 2 side player from D). The roster only has 15 seniors total. Its going to be a long year for us. As Cannon said on a bright note.  Tift won 45-8.  WTG Reid!!

East mode
East mode

THE CANNON RULES, I will agree with you and add a few additional observations. We ran 4 quarters of “pass rush” defense against a team that ran the ball for over 350 yards. 209 yards by their nationally ranked running back. Having small, quick D-Lineman that can rush the outside of the pocket will never succeed against an offense that continuously runs the ball through those huge gaps created when a 190 pound D-lineman is stood up and pushed into his own secondary or is 7 yards into the backfield, rushing the outside route. In my opinion, facing a running game like Allatoona’s, East should have had the beef up front, taking the line of scrimmage, filling the gaps and forcing Toona to bounce to the outside where the free ends and linebackers could crash or daring them to complete passes.

Key opportunities were missed by the offense when a talented running back had over 200 yards rushing, side line to side line but missing the few openings the O-line managed to create. Key blocks were missed. I do not know if a change in tactic or change in roster needs to be made.

Our starting quarter back seems to be far too dedicated to ending a play as it was written on the white board. Forcing a pass to your first check down under double coverage will not work. There were several instances where he scrambled and ran with open space to advance but decided to “stick to the plan” and tried to pass, off balance and into coverage when he could have simply tripped over the first down line. Same 11 players were left to execute a game plan that seemed to fall apart minutes into the first quarter. I’m hoping “adjustment” is a word being repeated among the coaching staff this weekend.

North Paulding is not JUST a passing team. They execute both aspects well and have a history of adapting based on game film. I hope we can do the same.

Raiderfan2
Raiderfan2

Very frustrated with the raiders last night.I was one who supported our coach and asked that people give him a chance.However, after last night not seeing any adjustments made and seeing too many “big guys” stand on the sidelines just because they are young really is leading me down a different path. We needed big guys on the d-line up front. Our defense was playing pass rush on a running team.Our offense missed a ton of blocks and we have a quarterback with no situational awareness.Our coach needs to make some adjustments this week.

THE CANNON RULES
THE CANNON RULES

Well Game 1 is in the books...EAST visited ALLATOONA in an important game for the Region...a good size crowd turned out on both sides.  It should be said at the start that the game was played in weather football probably should NOT be played in...temps in the high 80's and VERY humid. HOT! HOT! HOT!  It was draining on the kids and it was evident from the start as both sides had players cramping up all night.  ALLATOONA took advantage early of EAST mistakes and had a 14 / 0 score early.  EAST has a lot of issues to address and have to do it fast...The "O" line was NOT blocking for the run or the pass, the QB for EAST was the same kid that fumbled to end the EAST / TUCKER playoff game last year and he CAN NOT PASS!  He is good at the run and should be utilized in that capacity but he simply hung the passes up for ANYONE to grab!


The Defense kept EAST in the game all night creating turnovers and several key stops but a blocked punt and wild passes along with missed tackles ALL night long gave "TOONA" to many chances.  EAST came back with good spirit to tie the game then go up 21 / 14 but "TOONA" soon tied the game again and then went up 27 / 21 BUT missed the extra point and EAST had it's chance...Score a TD and kick the extra point they win 28 / 27...but the drive stalled and "TOONA" ran out the clock to win 27 / 21!


EAST next game is against NORTH PAULDING in "THE BONEYARD"...Unless EAST can find a way to fix the missed tackles and the pass coverage (the kids HAVE to learn to look back at the ball while covering the pass) Look for NORTH to light up the scoreboard...they laid 55 points with over 300 yards passing on Creekview last night!  Since NORTH has moved up this is now a game for County Pride as it doesn't count for Region play...BUT we don't want to go to 0 / 2 on the season!


So EAST please work on the tackling, HIT SOMEBODY, get back to that aggressive EAST gang tackling!!!  Practice the pass coverage ALL WEEK!!  NORTH is a passing team!  and let the back-up / JV QB work with the Offense...I hear he CAN pass...and use #13 as an alternate on running plays...I'm not a fan of the 2 QB system BUT if you are determined to keep #13 as a QB at least have a few options for the passing game!


TICK...TICK...TICK...BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!!


Oh Yeah...on another note...TIFT won it's home opener 45 / 8!!!

THE CANNON RULES
THE CANNON RULES

So HERE WE GO...EAST visits ALLATOONA tonight in what should be a battle for the top spot in Region 5-AAAAA, EAST has to step up with last years Senior leader at QB Mitchell Webb graduating...I saw some TOONA posters thru the last few days posting about beating EAST by 3 touchdowns or more...LOL! Don't look for that to happen but it should be a HARD FOUGHT MATCH-UP!  


TICK...TICK...TICK...BOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!

GO RAIDERS!!!!!

JABAJC
JABAJC

Coming out the gate top  AAAAA teams will be tested, it's going to be very interesting to see what Franklin Stephens does at Ware, will Mays be able to capitalize on their playoff appearance from last year, and will Creekside continue it dominance...???