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FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
 
 In preparation for the Falcons' Kia Motors Friday Night Lights scrimmage this week, Craig Sager II sat down with WR Harry Douglas to reflect on his high school career at Jonesboro. Check out that story and more below. 
 

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In This Issue
Trivia
2014-16 Class AAAA Regions 1-4 Alignment
Friday Night Lights
GHSA Reclassification
Top Stories
Trivia
Question: 
How many points per game did Harry Douglas average in basketball his senior year at Jonesboro?

Today's answer can be found in the newsletter!
 
Last Week's Answer: 
Stephenson's Ron Gartrell has been the Jaguars' head coach since 1996.
GHSA 2014-16 REGIONS

 

CLASS AAAA

 

 

REGION 5

 

Carrollton
Fayette County

Sandy Creek
Troup
Whitewater

Woodward Academy 

 

 

REGION 6

 

Arabia Mountain

Chamblee

Columbia
Cross Keys

Grady

Lithonia
Marist
Redan
St. Pius X
Stone Mountain 

 

 

REGION 7

 

Cartersville

Gilmer

Heritage-Catoosa

LaFayette

Northwest Whitfield

Pickens

Ridgeland

Southeast Whitfield 

 

 

REGION 8

 

Buford

Chestatee
Johnson, Gainesville

Madison County

Monroe Area
North Hall
North Oconee

Stephens County

White County 

 






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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
By Craig Sager II
Former Jonesboro star grows with Falcons 

 

The phrase "Friday Night Lights" means a lot in the sport of football. After all, high school football is the root of the sport and the pipeline to the pros. It is where every NFL player's dream to make it in the league began to form. The lights at the varsity level are the stage where every professional football player stepped into football's spotlight for the first time.

 

Friday nights are also about community in addition to football. Harry Douglas is one of four Falcons that played high school ball in the Peach State and he understands how important

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his days as a Jonesboro Cardinal are to his success on the NFL gridiron. There are 32 different jerseys  in the NFL, but the jerseys each pro wore in high school take the field with them each NFL week whether or not it is on their back. Douglas puts on his Falcons jersey and he is still a Cardinal to a proud Jonesboro fan base. Julio Jones is still a Foley Lion and Steven Jackson is still the former Eldorado High School running back that led the Sun Devils to the Nevada state championship his senior year.

 

FOUR-SPORT STAR ...

 

High school was both a memorable and busy time for Douglas. The four-sporter was balancing football, basketball, baseball and track, and found ways to excel at all of them. On the hardwood his brother Toney, a point guard for the Miami Heat this past season, made a dangerous one-two combo with Harry. Toney was a year younger than Harry and averaged 34 points-per game his senior season. The previous year, Harry posted a solid 20.5 points-per game average.

 

Louisville was one of the many schools that noticed Harry's wide range of athletic skills and ended up landing the speedy six-foot receiver after high school.

 

"Oddly enough, Louisville never came to watch me play football," said Douglas. "They only watched me play basketball, but they offered me and I went up to visit and committed. It's the only visit I took where I didn't have fun, but it felt like a home away from home. I just wanted to go somewhere that I could focus on football."

 

Douglas had two All-Big East seasons at the college level and the level of pride from his former high school fans continued to keep Douglas focused and provided him with confidence to do bigger and better things after his collegiate days.

 

Since arriving in Atlanta, Douglas has been a productive receiving threat in the slot and his versatility mimics his days as a high school star. Throughout his role with the Falcons, his teammates, himself and the Jonesboro community knew he was capable of being a starting receiver in the NFL. This past season when Julio Jones and Roddy White were sidelined with injuries, Douglas got to fill in the starting role. He went on to post career highs of 1,067 receiving yards and 85 receptions. The 85 catches last season are the most receptions Douglas has ever had at any level.

 

"It definitely meant a lot to my former schools," said Douglas. "They've been waiting for it and it was good for me to show everyone I could do it. You never want an opportunity like that to come from two people you are so close to getting hurt, but at the same time, besides my family, there weren't two people (happier) for me than Roddy and Julio. They also knew the whole time what I could do."

 

Douglas is a playmaker that instills confidence in his teammates and he has carried this trait since high school. His three years of starting in high school resulted in 1,539 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns and earned him a special nickname he wore throughout his varsity days.

 

"One of our linemen actually gave me the nickname Mr. Friday Night Lights," said Douglas. "That's one of the reasons I love doing Friday Night Lights each year with the Falcons. It brings me back and it brings the team back to that high school atmosphere. Taking us all back to our roots at this stage of the offseason is something we can all enjoy and benefit from."

 

There is no better way to spend the Friday night before the first preseason game than in a high school football atmosphere right in the Falcons' backyard. The annual event continues to grow into its ninth year and has become a highlight of each offseason. Last year, the fans packed a record crowd of 14,250 people into Gainesville's Bobby Gruhn Field to watch it.

 

"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." 


 

2014 KIA Motors "Friday Night Lights"

Archer High School 6:45 - 9:10 p.m.


RECLASSIFICATION RUNDOWN
By Craig Sager II
Buford, St. Pius X arrive in Class AAAA

 

As we continue going region by region with our reclassification rundown, we take a look at Region 5-8 in Class AAAA. This group of teams holds some of the biggest storylines created with the region shuffling heading into the 2014 season. 

 

Reclassification caused Region 5 to shrink from a eight-team split region to a six-team non-split region.

Photo by Craig Sager II

Carrollton, Fayette County, Sandy Creek and Troup are the four holdovers, while Whitewater moved in from Region 4-AAAAA and Woodward Academy jumped in from Region 6-AAA. Columbus, Shaw and Alexander were classed up into AAAAA after spending the previous two seasons in the region.

 

Region 6 saw massive shifts as five teams left and three teams entered the pool of teams. Carver-Atlanta, Therrell, Washington, Banneker and South Atlanta left the region and Arabia Mountain, Cross Keys and St. Pius X entered. The St. Pius and Marist rivalry will be reintroduced this season and Chamblee, Columbia, Grady, Lithonia, Redan and Stone Mountain make up a solid group of schools.

 

Region 7 was split with 11 teams last season and will enter 2014 competition with a newly formed eight-team structure. Cartersville's jump from Class AAA is the notable addition and Dalton, Cass, Cedartown and River Ridge were the departures.

 

Region 8-AAAA is highlighted with the arrival of Buford from Class AAA. North Hall, North Oconee and White County also made the jump with Buford into Class AAAA after the reclassification. 

 

SEE LEFT PANEL FOR REGION REALIGNMENTS



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