Prep Zone: High School Sports blog 

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

Q&A with state’s leading rusher: Pickens’ Shannon Brooks

  • 9:00 am Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by David Purdum

Pickens running back Shannon Brooks’ last three games:

-274 yards on 13 carries with 4 touchdowns and 1 65-yard touchdown pass in a 69-34 win over LaFayette on Oct. 17.

–301 yards on 30 carries with 6 touchdowns and 4 receptions for 98 yards and 1 touchdown in a 62-40 win over Southwest Whitfield on Oct. 10.

–246 yards on 22 carries and 4 touchdowns in a 35-7 win over Northwest Whitfield on Oct. 3.

To recap, that’s 16 touchdowns in three games. Not bad.

On the season, Brooks has rushed for 1,729 yards, averaging 12.1 yards per carry, with 26 touchdowns. Four of his seven [More]

AAAA Friday rewind: State’s leading rusher explodes again

  • 9:50 am Saturday, October 18th, 2014 by David Purdum

–Pickens running back Shannon Brooks is on an amazing run. Brooks accounted for 384 yards and five touchdowns in the Dragons’ 69-34 win over Lafayette on Friday. The Minnesota commitment scored four rushing touchdowns and threw a 65-yard touchdown pass. Brooks has scored 12 touchdowns in his last two games and leads the state in rushing with 1,729 yards.

–It hasn’t been a good idea to kick the ball to Woodward Academy’s Elijah Holyfield. The son of boxing great Evander Holyfield, Elijah returned the opening kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown, jumpstarting the War Eagles’ 35-7 win over Fayette County on [More]

Huge South Georgia showdown highlights Class AAAA Friday slate

  • 6:09 pm Thursday, October 16th, 2014 by David Purdum

There’s a giant rivalry showdown with massive playoff implications Friday in South Georgia.

No. 5 Thomas County travels to No. 8 Cairo in a game that likely will decide the winner of Region 1-AAAA, Sub-region B. The top seed out of Region 1 ultimately will be determined by region play-in games, but the loser of Friday’s game would all but be eliminated from a chance at the No. 1 or No. 2 seed.

That’s especially bad news since the 3-seed out of Region 1 will be placed in the same quadrant of the Class AAAA playoff bracket as No. 1 Buford and [More]

Class AAAA playoff glance: Buford, Griffin would meet in quarterfinals

  • 3:32 pm Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by David Purdum

No. 1 Buford and No. 3 Griffin, the defending Class AAAA state champion, seem destined to meet in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.

Barring a stunning turn of events, Buford will be the top seed out of Region 8-AAAA and will be placed in the same bottom-left corner of the playoff bracket as the top seed out of Region 4-AAAA, which almost certainly will be Griffin.

The Wolves won back-to-back Class AAA state championships in 2012 and 2013 and have won 31 straight games overall. In its first season in Class AAAA, Buford (6-0, 3-0 Region 8-AAAA) has won its first [More]

Friday rewind: St. Pius stunner; Running back explodes for monster game

  • 9:16 am Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by David Purdum

Marist, St. Pius X renew intense rivalry

  • 8:45 pm Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by David Purdum

St. Pius X coach Paul Standard’s hype game is in excellent form heading into tonight’s showdown with archrival Marist.

Some examples:

“They (Marist) don’t need to get fired up. They look like the second coming of the Green Bay Packers.”
“They’re ‘ginormous,’ and we’re small and slow.”
“We have deceptive speed – we’re slower than we look.”


Standard’s assessment, while slightly exaggerated, rings true in a lot of ways – Marist has been impressive this season. The War Eagles (6-0) have shut out three of their last four opponents, allowing only a second-half touchdown run to Lithonia in last week’s 33-6 win. Senior quarterback Sam [More]

Unsportsmanlike penalty on coach sparks program’s first win

  • 12:45 pm Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 by David Purdum

It was quite the way to earn the first win in program history.

New Hampstead, a fledgling AAAA school located outside of Savannah in Bloomingdale, began its first varsity season with five straight losses. On Friday, the Phoenix, which has only six seniors on its 63-man roster, trailed Glascock County 20-0 early in the third quarter. That’s when New Hampstead coach Bernard Gaither got angry.

“I got a penalty, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for yelling at the refs,” Gaither said.

What happened next, though, inspired a dramatic comeback win.

“After I got the penalty, the players turned to me and said, ‘Coach, you don’t [More]

Friday rewind: 3 teams claim first wins; Buford wins 30th straight game, and stage set for St. Pius-Marist showdown

  • 8:49 am Saturday, October 4th, 2014 by David Purdum

Three teams picked up their first wins of the season Friday.

New Hampstead defeated Glascock County, 27-20. It was the first win in program history for the new school located in Bloomingdale.

Pike County knocked off Riverdale, 21-19, ending the Pirates’ six-game losing streak that date back to last season.

Redan topped Chamblee, 18-13, for the Raiders’ first win. Redan went 1-9 last season.

Setting the stage: First-place in Region 6-AAAA will be on the line, when Marist hosts St. Pius X this week. Both teams are undefeated in region play. St. Pius won the last two meetings in 2009 and 2008, but Marist has [More]

Friday high school football preview: Class AAAA

  • 6:26 pm Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 by David Purdum

Upstart Upson-Lee is the biggest surprise of the six remaining unbeaten Class AAAA teams.

The Knights (4-0) host West Laurens tonight in a battle of two hopeful contenders in Region 2-AAAA. Upson-Lee, under first-year coach Tommy Parks, is off to its first 4-0 start since 2000. They squeaked out a 14-12 win over region rival Baldwin last week and appear headed for only their second winning season in the last seven years. West Laurens (3-2) also won its Region 2 opener and has already matched last season’s win total.

No. 1 Buford, No. 2 Sandy Creek, No. 3 Griffin , No. 4 [More]

Coaches handle tricky situation at end of game

  • 10:38 am Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 by David Purdum

Two coaching staffs did a good job preventing a tricky situation from escalating at the end of Griffin’s 27-6 win over Jonesboro on Saturday.

Jonesboro tested the defending-champion Bears early on, before fading in the second half. Leading by three touchdowns, Griffin was taking a knee to run out the final seconds. The Bears are a shotgun team and took the final snap out of the shotgun. The quarterback caught the snap but didn’t kneel immediately, and Jonesboro defenders rushed in to make sure he went down. Griffin’s players didn’t like the contact with their quarterback. According to both coaches, there [More]