Prep Zone: High School Sports blog 

AJC updates from the world of high school sports in metro Atlanta and Georgia

Westminster kicks way into rankings

  • 8:00 am Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

Has Westminster become the newest Cradle for Kickers?

Two years ago Harrison Butker was booming kicks out of the end zone and drilling every field goal attempt he tried. Butker was a great offensive weapon for the Wildcats and signed with Georgia Tech, where he’s been starting since his freshman season.

Now it looks like Trey Blasingame has signed up to be the next Butker. The senior kicked two field goals on Friday and booted four kickoffs out of the end zone as the Wildcats upset neighborhood rival Lovett 13-10. The victory was enough to get Westminster into the state rankings at [More]

Peach County, Westside, Calhoun answer questions

  • 8:05 am Saturday, August 30th, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

If the season opener is any indication, it looks like No. 9 Peach County is in store for a bounce-back season.

Not that 8-4, the Trojans’ record in 2013, was horrible. It just wasn’t up to historic Peach County standards. So in the season opener Peach went out and knocked off Class AAAAA Warner Robins 19-0.

That righted a lot of wrongs from last year. Not only did it remove the bitter taste left by last year’s 54-21 drubbing by Warner Robins, it also signalled the defensive improvement for which coach Chad Campbell had craved.

While the defense was standing strong, the offense [More]

Calhoun begins AAA journey vs. an old rival

  • 7:56 am Thursday, August 28th, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

No. 2 Calhoun will make its Class AAA debut on Friday night against one of its oldest rivals.

The Yellow Jackets will play Dalton in the continuation of a series that began in 1925. This will be the 44th meeting between the two regional rivals. Even though Dalton leads the series 34-8-1, Calhoun has won five straight.

Calhoun will unveil a new quarterback in Kaelan Riley, a junior who played some a year ago. He threw three touchdowns in a scrimmage two weeks ago, as the Yellow Jackets compiled 700 yards of total offense.

Calhoun has been one of the state’s most consistent [More]

Jefferson gets answers in opening rout

  • 8:35 am Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

The No. 5 Jefferson Dragons may have answered quite a few questions with a 50-14 win n the season opener at highly regarded Class AA Rabun County.

A year ago the Dragons needed overtime to escape with a 26-20 win. No such stress arose this time as Jefferson scored on two of its first three possessions. Jefferson has won 18 in a row against Rabun County.

Jefferson had only three starters back from last year’s offense, but it didn’t seem to matter. Quarterback Evan Shirreffs and wide receiver Dalton Hill were a daunting duo. The pair hooked up for a 65-yard touchdown, [More]

It’s showtime for Callaway, Ringgold and Jefferson

  • 8:56 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

The No. 3-ranked Callaway Cavaliers will start their championship pursuit tonight against rival LaGrange in a non-region game. Although the Cavs lost record-setting quarterback Tez Parks, there’s no reason to believe coach Michael Wiggins’ team won’t be lighting up the scoreboard again.
Callaway (12-2 last season) has two exceptional backs in Cedric Maynard and Eddie Culpepper, a game-breaker who scored 10 touchdowns in four playoff games last year. Plus, there’s Super 11 pick Terry Godwin, who had 24 catches for 585 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.
Godwin, who has verbally committed to Georgia, is just as good on defense. A lockdown [More]

Newcomers to have impact on AAA

  • 8:54 am Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

OK, Class AAA football fans. You won’t be able to hate on Buford this fall. The Wolves came roaring into the classification two years ago, won two state championships and left. Now they’ve moved up to Class AAA.

And while Buford has left the building, there are several new programs that will be coming into the classification this year that have great pedigrees. These newcomers are likely to create more competition in their respective regions this season.

Here are five newcomers to Class AAA this year that bear watching:

Cook: The Hornets were third in Region 1-AA last year, but have been a [More]

AAA: Maxwell predicts region standings, WL records

  • 11:11 pm Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

The Maxwell Ratings have predicted the region standings and the won-lost records of Georgia’s Class AAA teams. The computer ratings are the work of Loren Maxwell, founder of the Georgia High School Football Historical Association. He has been involved with sports ratings since 1986.

His region-by- region breakdowns are based on a Monte Carlo simulation of the 2014 season. The simulation completed 1,000,000 trials at the rate of approximately 51 seasons per second.

While the Maxwell Ratings reflect each team’s strength, the Monte Carlo simulation highlights the impact of the season’s structure (i.e., schedules, region alignments, etc.).

All out of state opponents were [More]

AAA: Maxwell projects playoff draws, results

  • 11:07 pm Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

The Maxwell Ratings playoff projections are based on a Monte Carlo simulation of the 2014 season. The simulation completed 1,000,000 seasons, approximately 51 each second.

While the Maxwell Ratings reflect each team’s strength, the simulation highlights the impact of the season’s structure as defined by the games, region alignments, and playoff brackets.

All out of state opponents were considered equal to the average of the GHSA team’s classification (i.e., out of state opponents of Class AAA GHSA teams were treated as an average Class AAA team).

Although regions may use different criteria, in the simulation all standings were determined by using recursive head-to-head [More]

State tennis championship roundup

  • 6:57 pm Saturday, May 10th, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

The St. Pius boys sent coach Chuck Byrd into retirement with a state championship, but it wasn’t easy.

The Golden Lions beat region rival Woodward Academy 3-2 in the Class AAA championship match that wasn’t decided until Austin Causey fought back from a 3-0 deficit in the third set to win 7-5 at No. 2 singles and clinch the title.

“It’s really all about the kids, but it sure does feel good,” said Byrd, who is retiring after 35 years. “It does feel good to finish with a state championship.”

St. Pius won with Parker Jones at No. 3 singles and Sean Kelly [More]

Tennis: Blessed Trinity girls seek sixth straight title

  • 9:41 am Friday, May 9th, 2014 by Stan Awtrey

There’s a different set of players, but the results are the same for the Blessed Trinity girls tennis team, which plays for its sixth consecutive state championship on Saturday.

The Titans will play St. Pius for the Class AAA championship on Saturday at the Clayton County International Park in Jonesboro, where state titles in all classifications will be determined.

There are six other teams back to defend their titles from 2013: the Brookwood boys and Walton girls in Class AAAAAA, the Marist girls in Class AAAA, the Westminster boys and girls in Class [More]