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Today, we catch up with Locust Grove safety Cortez McDowell, a member of the AJC's Super 11. Also, we look at the record crowd that came out to Bobby Gruhn Field in Gainesville on Friday which welcomed the Atlanta Falcons for a scrimmage. 
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In This Issue
Preseason Rankings
Super 11 Spotlight
Friday Night Lights Record Crowd
Score Poll
Best Stories From Around the State
What team did Locust Grove lose to in the first round of the 2012 state playoffs?

Today's answer can  
be found in the newsletter!

Friday's Answer:
Camden County won 94 region games in a row before falling to Colquitt County 13-12 last season. 





1.    Norcross 
2.    Colquitt County
3.    North Gwinnett
4.    McEachern
5.    Lowndes
6.    North Cobb
7.    Mill Creek
8.    Walton
9.    Lovejoy
10.  Peachtree Ridge


1.   Gainesville
2.   Northside-WR
3.   Thomas County Central

4.   Stephenson

5.   Flowery Branch

6.   Tucker

7.   Kell

8.   ML King

9.   Whitewater

10. Ware County





1.   Sandy Creek

2.   Burke County

3.   Carrollton

4.   Cairo

5.   Marist

6.   Griffin

7.   Statesboro

8.   Westside-Macon

9.   Stockbridge

10. Monroe Area





1.   Buford

2.   Peach County

3.   Thomson

4.   Carver

5.   St. Pius X

6.   Cartersville

7.   North Hall

8.   Washington County

9.   Blessed Trinity

10. North Oconee





1.   Calhoun

2.   Brooks County

3.   GAC

4.   Fitzgerald

5.   Lamar County

6.   Jefferson

7.   Cook

8.   Washinton-Wilkes

9.   Lovett

10. Vidalia





1.   ELCA

2.   George Walton Academy

3.   Price Ave. Christian

4.   Savannah Christian

5.   Landmark Christian

6.   Brookstone

7.   First Presbyterian Day

8.   Darlington

9.   Athens Academy

10. Holy Innocents'





1.   Lincoln County

2.   Wilcox County

3.   Irwin County

4.   Wilkinson County

5.   Seminole County

6.   Emanuel County Inst. 

7.   Marion County

8.   Miller County

9.   Charlton County

10. Dooly County





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Monday, August 5, 2013

Comcast Sports Southeast
announces expansion of high school TV/Digital platform

CSS is getting together with Score Atlanta and PlayOn! Sports to offer one HD TV broadcast every week as well as two exclusive games on the web. The season will start in Atlanta on Aug. 30 with CSS televising "Battle of the Big Chicken,'' a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. at McEachern's Cantrell Stadium featuring Walton vs. Hillgrove followed by Lassister vs. McEachern.  Every Friday night, high schol football fans will also be able to watch two digital games from around the south and will also feature live chat, social media interaction and live score updates. CSS will also televise the Mill Creek-Norcross game on Sept. 27. 

Click here to read the official release from CSS.


By Lauren Goldstein
McDowell taking his talents to Knoxville



A member of the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Super 11, Locust Grove's Cortez McDowell has committed to playing at Tennessee. He is a talented safety that has the ability to disrupt the running game, cover well, and also has the size (6-1, 200) and quickness to have made him arguably the state's top prospect at his position. Due to his smart instincts and intuitions to read the opposing offenses, McDowell stands out as a well-balanced safety with potential to become an even better player in college.


"I'm going to take my senior year to prepare myself for college ball," McDowell said. "I plan to play faster than how I have been playing in high school by playing at a faster pace. I'm going to try getting every look I can. It's going to be different in college. That's why I'm going to try using my senior year as practice for college ball."


McDowell has been considered the No. 1 safety prospect in the state of Georgia. After declining offers from, Auburn, Georgia, and many other schools, a series of elements aided in the Locust Grove safety's choice to become the 20th committed senior from the class of 2014 to become a Tennessee Vol.


"The chemistry of the coaches is one that many year teams starting out new do not have, they know each other inside and out," said McDowell of how he came to commit Tennessee over his other offers. "That's what interested me in the school the most, was the coaching staff. Also, the school has great academics. It's a great place to play college football and it's some place I know I'll be happy for four or five years of my life."


"Just going to see every different school. That was probably the best part," said McDowell of the excitement of the recruitment process. "The good people I met, that was also great part of the recruiting process."


McDowell chose Tennessee over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson Georgia and Florida State, among several others. Locust Grove finished 6-4 last season, and fell in the opening round of the state playoffs to Riverdale 20-10. 



By Craig Sager II

Gainesville brings record crowd to Falcons scrimmage 


The packed house at Bobby Gruhn Field on Friday is clear indication that the expectations are high for the star-studded 2013 Falcons. It was a competitive day of practice for the team, but the record crowd of 14,250 was the big story. 


Eight months ago the Gainesville Red Elephants had one of the more impressive seasons in recent memory. Gainesville made the jump from Class AAA football to Class AAAAA heading into 2012 and conquered one of the most competitive classifications in the state. Despite losing three games in the regular season, quarterback DeShaun Watson and the team rallied were driven by a historic playoff run. Watson was one of the several Gainesville players that were ball boys during the scrimmage and he got to chat and take pictures with Falcons QB Matt Ryan. 


Excitement has spilled over into this season, and hosting the Falcons was the next big event for this football hungry community.This was the eighth year that the Falcons have done their annual Friday Night Lights scrimmage and this was the biggest turnout to date.


The gates opened at 6:00pm for the 6:45pm start of practice and thousands were lined up beforehand. Bobby Gruhn Field was in NFL condition with a perfectly groomed field complete with the Falcons logo and "RISE UP" painted in the end zones. The crowd cheered on the practice and the players thrived off the energy, much like they do in the Georgia Dome on game day.


"I think it is very important to change it up for the players and for the coaches and get back to our roots," said head coach Mike Smith. "There is nothing like playing on Friday nights."


Tony Gonzalez was excused for family reasons, but the rest of the roster was present. The night started with a long warmup and practice, and the scrimmage finally gave the fans what they have been waiting for since January, tackling.


"This was probably the longest practice session we have had this offseason," admitted Smith.


The team put on a show and many under the radar players were able to rise to the occasion. Smith says that the linebackers, secondary and offensive line are still in an open competition and in terms of roster positions the battles equally intense. Backup left tackle Terren Jones is a rookie out of Alabama State. Jones saw his reps during the team drills and dominated the rookie defensive ends for much of the night. The 6-foot-7 backup has come a long way since mini-camp.


Joplo Bartu is going to have a big preseason ahead of him as one of the main guys providing depth to the thin linebacking corps. Bartu is a rookie from Texas State and will get a lot of reps in the preseason. This scrimmage was very controlled and fundamentally based in order to avoid injury and the rookie impressed by passing the cognitive test. Being in position to make the play is what the coaching staff was looking for and Bartu did a great job.


The Falcons enter 2013 with five straight winning seasons under their belt, and the chance to continue seeing history be made in the franchise was reason enough for the Falcons' faithful to come out. Dating back to realignment in 2002, the NFC South is the only division in the League that has not had a team win the division two years in a row. 


Keeping his players healthy for week 1 against the division rival Saints is the number one priority for Smith. The team has been working hard all offseason and will finally get to line up against some opposition this week when the Bengals come to Flowery Branch for combined practice. The thousands of fans that came out were given a glimpse at the Super Bowl hopeful Falcons and welcomed them into their storied varsity stadium. 






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