Colquitt County coach Rush Propst has had the displeasure of playing both Grayson and Roswell this season. Roswell defeated Colquitt 34-3 on Sept. 9 in the regular season, and Grayson beat Colquitt 49-21 in the quarterfinals on Nov. 25.
Propst is now guaranteed of having played every state champion in the highest classification since 2009, except for 2014 and 2015, when he was the coach of the state champion. In other words, he’s seen every high-class Georgia champion up close for eight straight years now, not to mention quite a few pretty good teams while winning five state titles at Hoover, Ala.
Propst talked by phone Monday about the Grayson-Roswell championship that will be played Saturday night in the Georgia Dome. Both teams hold multiple top-10 national rankings.
Here are excerpts from that interview.
‘’I think Grayson athletically has probably got a little more from a prospect perspective, but Roswell has been there, and they’re loaded too.’’
‘’There’s a ton of good football players on that field. I don’t know that I’ve seen two more talented teams [playing against each other]. Not saying the best teams I’ve ever seen, but both are top-10 national teams. I told that to [Jim] Halley of USA Today and to the MaxPreps people. Somebody said there were 33 D-I prospects on that field? That says a lot or Georgia high school football.’’
‘’It’s hard to analyze. Both played in the semifinals last year, and Roswell won on a Hail Mary.’’
‘’But here’s what it goes back to. I was told this 30 years ago. In the largest classification in each state, which quarterback plays best is usually who is going to win. In my opinion, the Grayson quarterback vs. the Roswell quarterback, whoever takes care of the football and plays better is going to win.’’
‘’Secondary-wise, Roswell is better, even though Grayson has the best secondary player [DeAngelo Gibbs].’’
‘’At linebacker, I’ll say Grayson.’’
‘’Defensive line, I’ll say they’re equal.’’
“Offensively, I think they’re pretty close, but I have to think Grayson has the slight edge.’’
‘’Backfield-wise, where Roswell has one great back [Sheldon Evans]. Grayson has two with [Jamyest] Williams and the kid going to Michigan [Kurt Taylor]. They’ve got one more athlete.
‘’Receiver-wise, Roswell’s outside receivers are better, but as a collective group, Grayson is better.’’
At quarterback, the Roswell kid [Malik Willis] is more a dual-threat, and with Grayson, he’s [Chase Brice] is a prolific drop-back guy who can extend plays. They’ve both got good kickers.’’
“Should be a great football game. If Brice, if he can live in the moment and don’t let the pressure get to him, I think Grayson wins. If Roswell pulls from their experience of being in the [championship] game last year and they handle the moment better, I think Roswell wins.’’
‘’The two head coaches equal out. Jeff [Herron] has more experience, but [John] Ford was in the state-championship game last year and will learn a ton and tweak some things.’’
“I’ll say 55 percent Grayson, 45 percent Roswell at this time.’’
Propst talked a little more about Grayson in particular.
‘’Gibbs is the kid that probably is an automatic NFL player. Breon Dixon [linebacker] has all the tools if he can more disciplined. [Tony] Gray [offensive lineman] is going to be a great player and has a chance to play in the NFL. Williams, I don’t know how big he’s going to get, but he’s dynamic.’’
Propst went on to say that Grayson’s best defensive player is sophomore linebacker Owen Pappoe, even more significant than Gibbs.
‘’Gibbs is a ball hawk. He sits back and plays center field and he’ll knock you out, but you’d better stay away from No. 7.’’
Propst also liked Chase Brice’s performance against Mill Creek, when he threw for 275 yards and four first-half touchdowns. Brice didn’t pass much against Colquitt County, as Grayson had some 370 yards rushing that game.
‘’Brice really impressed me Friday night throwing the ball. I thought he was a good player, but he looked the part against Mill Creek. If he plays that well Saturday, Roswell is in trouble. But now he’s throwing into the teeth of the best secondary he’s ever seen.’’