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HAMMOCK: Honor fitting for Shiloh's Marley

Sports Editor Will Hammock

Sports Editor Will Hammock

High school football fans had plenty to focus on last Friday night, and not just news from their own team.

Grayson edged Brookwood on a crazy interception for a touchdown in the waning seconds, capping an intense rivalry game that was full of hype after students released YouTube videos challenging the other school.

Upstart Archer dominated longtime Gwinnett standard-bearer Parkview 40-16 to put the program's first playoff game within reach, Norcross beat out Collins Hill for Region's 7-AAAAA's third seed and Dacula's Rocky Capobianco nearly rushed for 300 yards.

Over at Shiloh, Central Gwinnett's Malachi Jones broke the county's single-season record for receptions with his 73rd of the season. And that wasn't even the neatest thing that happened in the Generals' home stadium last Friday.

While it wasn't front-page news outside of a small community in Snellville, Shiloh surprised longtime supporter Tom Marley by naming its new fieldhouse in his honor. The announcement was made at the Central game, which was a secret kept from Marley until it happened.

It was a great honor for Marley, a guy who has done more than his fair share to hold the Shiloh community together over the years. As others have moved in and out of the cluster, he has stayed put and has donated unfathomable hours into Shiloh from the late 1980s, when his son began wrestling for the school, until now.

It would be easy for Marley to do something else with his time -- with Shiloh's revolving door of football coaches and athletic directors over the past decade -- but it's not in his nature. He'd rather do what he can to help the kids who live in the community he's supported for more than 20 years.

The world, and high school athletics, needs more guys like Marley.

Here are some other thoughts as we enter the last week of the high school football regular season:

• The place to be, at least if you're a recruiting guru, is Central Gwinnett on Friday. Under Armour All-American Game scouts, as well as the usual crews from Scout, Rivals and ESPN, will be in attendance to catch some college prospects, most notably two of the state's top juniors in Grayson's Robert Nkemdiche and Central's Trey Johnson, on the same field.

• Speaking of Nkemdiche and the Grayson defense, the scary part is that nearly everyone on the unit is a junior. The Rams have a shot at a great finish this year, but expect just as much from them in 2012.

• Kudos to third-year program Archer for being in the playoff mix in Game 10. And unless something crazy happens Friday (Archer loses to South Gwinnett and Parkview upsets Dacula), the Tigers are headed to the state playoffs.

• The winner or loser of Friday's Region 7-AAAAA championship game between North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge will get drastically different first-round opponents in the state level. The loser gets playoff-tested and defending state champion Brookwood in the opener, while the winner likely gets a first-time playoff team in Archer.

• It's been a great year for turnaround teams, starting with Dacula's rebound from an 0-2 start to the No. 2 seed in 8-AAAAA. But other teams who stayed positive after slow starts include Collins Hill (from 1-3 to the playoffs), Archer (1-3 to possible playoff berth) and Hebron (from 0-5 to a possible 5-5 record with a win Friday).

Will Hammock can be reached via email at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.

Comments

NGHS09 2 years, 5 months ago

@ Will Hammock...wasn't the former single season reception record held by Tyler Jarry of NG in 2007 @ 72 receptions?

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Will Hammock 2 years, 5 months ago

Tyler did have the old record. North Gwinnett's Ryan McDaniel was second with 69.

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NGHS09 2 years, 5 months ago

@ Will Hammock...What you forgot to mention is that the winner of the R7 title game has to beat the #4 seed from Archer or Parkview, then the East Coweta vs Valdosta or Lowndes winner, then Camden in the Qrts, and then Grayson in the semis, and if they are lucky enough to be standing at that point they should win the title. This side of the bracket will hold the two highest ranked teams in the state lol

However, the loser might have to play Brookwood, but you and I both know NG would be more than happy to welcome Brookwood back to Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium for another butt whoopin. The loser of this game has a much easier road to the dome than the winner does.

I would love to know your opinion on how that makes any sense. I know the brackets a set in a specific way, but this draw for the # seed from R7 is a nightmare.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 5 months ago

A first-round draw of Archer would be a very physical game, but is winnable because Archer doesn't have any playoff experience, still wouldn't be a pushover game by any means.

Both Valdosta and Lowndes, while still very competitive, are not as good and as talented as they were last year.

Of course a matchup with Camden in the Quarters would be a big problem, but Camden, while totally dominating and routing teams all season has been only been tested once this year beating an Ohio team 23-14 back in the second game of the season. In all of the rest of their games, Camden has scored no fewer than 55 points and won by no fewer than 42 points against a very soft schedule in a very weak region.

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Will Hammock 2 years, 5 months ago

I hate that the road is so tough for the Region 7 winner. Also hate that the Region 7 and 8 winners are on the same side of the bracket. I'm sure Grayson would much rather operate on the other side as the Region 8 No. 2 seed. I'm sure Camden would rather not play North/Peachtree Ridge and Grayson before the finals, either.

What's really criminal is the state basketball brackets, where two South Georgia schools (or in AAAAA DeKalb schools) get a free pass into the semifinals without having to play a single hoops team from metro Atlanta. So most of the top basketball teams in the state fight it out for two spots in the semis.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Hammock:

"What's really criminal is the state basketball brackets, where two South Georgia schools (or in AAAAA DeKalb schools) get a free pass into the semifinals without having to play a single hoops team from metro Atlanta. So most of the top basketball teams in the state fight it out for two spots in the semis."

Well, not quite...South Georgia AAAAA schools in Regions 1-AAAAA and 3-AAAAA do have to play Metro Atlanta schools in Regions 2-AAAAA and 4-AAAAA in the AAAAA state basketball playoffs, though that might be subject to change with the imminent realignment to six classes at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

I do agree with you that South Georgia hoops powerhouses have a less difficult time getting to the semifinals than North Georgia/Metro Atlanta hoops powerhouses do.

But that just the way it shakes out under an eight-region alignment in Class AAAAA where six of the regions are totally dominated by Metro Atlanta schools because South Georgia schools are just simply vastly outnumbered by North Georgia schools in AAAAA because of the population imbalance between the two parts of the state that tilts most heaviest towards North Metro Atlanta, a fact that doesn't figure to get any better with the realignment to six classes next year.

The population and competition imbalance between North and South in AAAAA basketball (and now football, by the looks of it) has only seemed to help improve the quality of prep basketball in Metro Atlanta as North Georgia teams have dominated the sport winning every state basketball title in the highest classification since 1998.

The Metro Atlanta prep basketball scene has also grown to become one of the most highly-regarded and most talent-laden in the country, being ranked just behind the traditional urban prep basketball hotbeds of L.A., Chicago and, of course, New York.

Colleges and universities don't just come here looking for stud football prospects, they also come here looking for basketball phenoms as well.

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