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Best player in school history: Region 2-AAAAAAA teams

Carolina Panthers QB Cameron Newton played high school football and basketball at Westlake High School. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

Cam Newton was a five-star quarterback prospect coming out of Westlake when he signed with Florida in 2007, but it wasn’t obvious at the time that he’d have the career he had at Auburn or in the NFL.

Or it might be that a star quarterback at a school known for basketball just didn’t get his due.

As a junior, Newton led Westlake to a 9-3 finish and a region championship. He passed for 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 638 yards and nine touchdowns. (Antonio Henson of Peach County, and not Newton, was the consensus AAA all-state quarterback that year. Peach won the state title.)

The 6-foot-5 Newton was just as good in basketball and led the Lions to the Class AAA championship game in that sport. Westlake lost to Dunwoody.

As a senior in 2016, Newton didn’t make the AJC’s preseason Super 11 team. Two dual-threat quarterbacks did – Eric Berry of Creekside and Josh Nesbitt of Greene County. He was more highly regarded nationally than in his own state. Rivals rated him the No. 28 senior prospect, No. 2 in Georgia behind Berry and No. 4 among all quarterbacks. Jimmy Clausen was No. 1.

Yet Newton still wasn’t the consensus first-team all-state quarterback in his class as a senior. That honor went to Marques Ivory of Northside (Warner Robins). History is written by the victors, and Westlake was only 6-6 that year. And Ivory, who led Northside to a couple of state titles, was pretty good, too.

Newton graduated from Westlake early, played briefly at Florida and then junior college before resurfacing at Auburn. He won a Heisman Trophy and a national championship.

Here are GHSF Daily’s choices as the best players in the history of the Region 2-AAAAAAA schools.

*Campbell: Mike Rogers (2013)

*East Coweta: Keith Brooking (1993)

*Newnan: Alec Ogletree (2009)

*Pebblebrook: Brent Thomas (2001)

*Westlake: Cam Newton (2006)

*Wheeler: Ed Guthrie (1975)

Best player in school history series

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