After storming into the AA state playoffs last week with a 35-28 upset of Greater Atlanta Christian, the Lions to stay alive must beat a tough Carver Columbus team on the road.
Known for producing Georgia Bulldog running backs, Carver sits atop Region 5-AA with only one loss, to defending state champion Buford. After shocking GAC at home on the friendly banks of the Chattahoochee River, Lovett must head to play Carver at a stadium that sits on a road called Victory Drive near a not-so-friendly section of the river.
While the trip some 80 miles south to A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium for the 7:30 p.m. showdown looks daunting for Lovett, making its seventh straight playoffs appearance under Coach Mike Muschamp, the 7-3 Lions showed road toughness early this season with wins at Thomasville and Callaway, the 5-AA runner-up and host of Westminster tonight. To come up with its second straight upset, the Lions will have to produce big plays on offense and defense, as they did last week against the Spartans.
Most of those big plays came from sophomore back Grant Haley, who blazed through the Spartans for 220 all-purpose yards, including touchdown runs of 72 and 47 yards and an 84-yard kickoff return. Haley also snatched a game-clinching interception with time running out. He rushed for 109 yards, averaging 13.9 yards a carry, as the Lions took the victory despite allowing GAC 229 rushing yards and 398 in total offense.
Willie Candler broke loose with a big passing night, completing 10 of 19 for 159 yards, including a game-clinching 56-yard touchdown strike with 1:29 left to John Jameson, who had 91 yards on three receptions. On defense, Julius Holder and Cyrus Wilson stood tall with seven solo tackles each.
For the year, Haley leads the Lions with 770 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. With 288 yards on kickoff returns, he's rung up 1,242 all-purpose yards. - Louis Mayeux
Congratulations to Whitefield Academy's Cameron Thornton who staged a brilliant first-place victory in the 2011 GHSA cross-country state championship last Saturday. Cameron defended his Class A title with a time of 15:58, a four-second improvement over his win last year. Jacob Fikse, Brent Hildebrand, Robby Keough, DK Langford, Holt Merkle, and Taylor Tutt also represented Whitefield in the race, competing strongly and helping push the Wolfpack to an eighth place in the team competition. – Courtesy Whitefield Academy
This week, Whitefield Academy standout basketball player Kenny Gaines chose Georgia over Georgia Tech in inking a scholarship to play for the Bulldogs next season. In this interview with ESPN, the combo guard explains why he decided to play for the Bulldogs.
Justin Seymour, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged 20.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.28 assists last season for , signed with the University of Utah on Wednesday. Seymour will play his senior season at Wheeler High School this year. - Hunt Archbold
lacrosse standouts Cory Palmer and also made college commitments on the NCAA's early signing day Wednesday.
Palmer will play at High Point University and Cunningham at the University of Denver.
Both players were named to All-America and all-state teams last year, as well as the Under Armour South team. Cunningham is nationally ranked by ESPN rise. - L.M.
Madison Barnett, an eighth grader at Whitefield Academy, is already showing signs of being the next Tiger Woods (only in terms of golf) on the green.
The Barnetts signed their daughter up for a local golf program two years ago after hearing that many women’s athletic scholarships go to waste.
Madison, 13, competed on her All Star team at the Junior League Golf World Series at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth against teams from Dallas, TX, San Diego, Tampa and elsewhere.
Not only was Madison one of the only girls on her roster, she was one of the only African-Americans in the competition.
After watching her play in September, award-winning sports reporter Jim Huber wrote about Madison in his column for PGA.com.
When Madison stepped up to swing, “Everyone stopped to watch,” Huber wrote.
“It had been this way for two days as word spread of the remarkable 13-year old's power. Teammates, opponents, parents, coaches, casual observers all learned early that this was something special. Must-see stuff.”
Madison has been tapped to Doral Publix International Golf Tournament in Miami in December. – Kiri Walton
Finally, don’t forget that Saturday is when the Second Annual Spartan Sprint 5K Road Race will take place. This race, a Peachtree Road Race qualifier, begins at 8 a.m. at the Campbell High football stadium and also features a kids’ Fun Run. All participants in the Fun Run receive a ribbon. Registration forms can be completed online. Registration is $30 and proceeds benefit Campbell High School athletics. - H.A.