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Read Craig Sager's recap of last night's Cobb County Touchdown Club meeting and also check out our softball cover age and the Children's Healthcare Girls Athlete of the Week. 

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How tall is Mount Paran center Zach Strong?

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Monday's Answer: 
All six teams in Division B, Region 4-AAAAA are 1-1 in region play. 




1. Lassiter
2. Collins Hill
3. Brookwood

4. Lambert                               
5. Pope
6. Harrison
7. Hillgrove
8. North Cobb
9. Archer
10. South Forsyth


1. Greenbrier

2. Northgate
3. Ola
4. South Effingham
5. Woodland-Henry
6. Cambridge
7. Effingham County
8. Creekview
9. Union Grove
10. Allatoona


Class AAAA

1. Buford
2. Heritage-Catoosa
3. Walnut Grove
4. Wayne County
5. Whitewater
6. Marist
7. Madison County
8. Veterans
9. Mary Persons
10. Perry

Class AAA

1. Central-Carrollton

2. Ringgold
3. Calhoun
4. Pierce County
5. Rockmart

6. Blessed Trinity
7. Morgan County
8. Dodge County
9. Westminster
10. Jackson County


Class AA
1. Gordon Lee

2. Harlem
3. Heard County
4. Wesleyan

5. Armuchee
6. Bacon County
7. Jeff Davis
8. Berrien
9. Social Circle
10. Vidalia


Class A-Private

1. Prince Avenue Christian

3. Mount Vernon Presbyterian
4. Athens Christian
5. Tattnall Square Academy
6. First Presbyterian Day
7. Brookstone

8. Stratford Academy
9. Calvary Day
10. Strong Rock Christian

Class A-Public

1. Georgia Military
2. Schley County

3. Echols County
4. Hawkinsville
5. Charlton County
6. Wilcox County
7. Treutlen
8. Commerce
9. Baconton Charter
10. Telfair County 


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

By Craig Sager II
Cobb standouts honored at mid-season banquet

All 20 Cobb County football teams met at Marietta High School on Monday for the mid-season Cobb County Touchdown Club banquet. Each of the 20 schools picks an offensive and defensive player of the week after each game and these recipients are recognized at the banquet. While the banquet honors the first half of the season, the minds of all the players and coaches is directed towards the crucial backend of the 2014 season.


No school in the state played a more challenging first half of the season than McEachern High School. The Indians sit at 3-2 at the halfway mark, despite dropping the first two games of the season. A 52-49 loss to North Gwinnett was followed by a 27-20 loss to Buford in the second game of the season. Since the 0-2 start, McEachern has closed out wins over Peachtree Ridge, Lovejoy and Marietta.

"We are 3-2, but I would not change anything about this first half of the season," said McEachern head coach Kyle Hockman. "We very well could've made it out of there undefeated with those two close losses and been the No. 1 ranked team in the state right now, but we learned from this and could be better off from it in the end."

McEachern's biggest obstacle this season has been filling in for five-star running back Taj Griffin, who tore his ACL in the opening week loss to North Gwinnett. Griffin was named Offensive Player of the Week from his performance in the season opener, but couldn't make the banquet after recently having surgery to repair his knee. Teammate Cameron Magee was in attendance in place of Griffin and accepted his award.


McEachern, Hillgrove and North Paulding remain unbeaten in Region 4-AAAAAA and North Cobb looks to get back in the race for the region title after a 28-7 region loss to Hillgrove last week. North Cobb hosts McEachern on Friday and this is one of the biggest Cobb County matchups of the year.


Within the matchup, head coaches' sons quarterback the two schools. Auburn-commit Tyler Queen has started since his freshman season for North Cobb and led the Warriors to a 28-26 road win over the Indians last year. Bailey Hockman is a sophomore starter for McEachern and saw his first starting action last year in the playoffs. Watching Queen navigate through Region 4 from a young age and seeing the level of success Queen has achieved is something that the younger Hockman has used to help mold his game.


"Seeing what Tyler has done throughout his career has certainly helped Bailey," said Hockman. "Tyler was a guy that was recruited early on and he's done a fantastic job as a leader and teammate. He is a great kid and competitor."


In Class AAAAA, Cobb County's Allatoona, Sprayberry and Kell have had fantastic first halves of the season. Allatoona and Kell remain unbeaten, while Sprayberry is off to a 3-2 start, including a 3-0 start in region play. The Yellow Jackets face Cambridge this Friday and it's a game both sides of Region 7 will have an eye on. Cambridge sits at 4-1 with a last-second loss to Kell two weeks ago. Kell has a bye this week and the coaching staff will split up to scout Sprayberry taking on Cambridge and Riverwood taking on North Springs this Friday.




Each year when the teams meet for the mid-season Cobb County banquet, 1967 is a year that everyone in attendance is aware of. That season marks the last time Cobb County won a state championship in football. The players and coaches can look around and wonder if this will finally be the year. 

McEachern is the highest-ranked Class AAAAAA team right now, and Allatoona and Kell are each in the Class AAAAA top 5. However, Class A could be Cobb's best chance for a state crown this season.


Mount Paran Christian has dominated Class A and climbed its way to No. 2 in the Class A-Private poll during its 5-0 start. The Eagles have outscored their opponents by 31.6 points per game and are led by a talented group with the size and speed to outmatch opponents.


The Eagles brought all 10 of their players of the week to Marietta and the standouts were visibly bigger than even the Class AAAAAA schools. Allen Cater is a 6-foot-5 defensive end and tight end that received his award alongside 6-foot-9, 290-pound center and offensive tackle Zach Strong. Look for this team to continue building after a near-perfect first five games. 

By Ricky Dimon
Region tournament action underway


Brookwood's Amanda Ablan won two more games last week, extending her impressive 2014 record to 19-0-1. Ablan tossed a complete game in a 5-2 victory over Grayson during Region 8-AAAAAA tournament action last Thursday. She struck out a whopping 17 batters while allowing just one hit. The Broncos' offense was paced by Hannah Mason, who had a double and two RBIs.

A winner's bracket battle on Tuesday will pit Brookwood against Parkview. The Panthers edged Archer 2-1 last Thursday as Sami Rosa picked up her 12th win of the year. Rosa gave up only one run on five hits while striking out two in seven innings of work. Josey Rogers and Jada Lake drove in Parkview's runs.

In Region 4-AAA, Westminster swept visiting Decatur in two straight games on Monday to book its spot in the final. The Wildcats will go up against No. 1 seed Blessed Trinity for the title, with two contests to be hosted by the Titans on Thursday before a third game on Friday if necessary.

Buford powered its way into the Region 8-AAAA final by crushing White County in two games last Saturday. The top-ranked Wolves finished off the opening contest after a mere three innings by powering their way to a 19-1 lead. Jordan Deep hit a home run and
Breanna Gutierrez went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs scored. A more competitive second game lasted all seven innings and ended 7-0 in Buford's favor. Kennedy Kotula hurled a complete game that included just two hits allowed as she improved to 9-0 and the Wolves pushed their record to 28-1.

Next up for Buford is a three-game series against Madison County beginning on Thursday. Madison County slipped past North Oconee in a decisive third game on Monday. Elizabeth Nix led the Red Raiders to a 6-3 triumph by going 3-for-4 with an RBI.

With the postseason heating up, drama is not necessarily limited to the playing field. In Region 4-AAAAAA, the two berths in the championship series were decided by a tiebreaker between
Harrison, Hillgrove and North Cobb. All three teams finished with 9-3 region records and after plenty of controversy, Harrison and Hillgrove were named the respective top two teams. Harrison had the best head-to-head record among the three tied teams and tournament directors had to go all the way to the records against the lowest seed in the region standings tiebreaker in order for Hillgrove to beat out North Cobb.



By Ricky Dimon
Streaking Greenbrier finally passes Ola


Ola had been managing to hold off Greenbrier and Northgate in a tight three-team race for the No. 1 ranking in Class AAAAA, but that has finally changed. Greenbrier is now No. 1 and Northgate is second, in part thanks to Ola's sixth loss of the season that came last Tuesday to Northgate. Greenbrier is 22-3 on the year and has posted six shutouts in its last seven outings. 


A red-hot Pope team continued its trek up the Class AAAAAA rankings and now registers at No. 5. The Greyhounds blanked Harrison 2-0 last Wednesday and the two teams swapped spots at fifth and sixth. North Cobb, which made its debut in the top 10 last week, is now up to No. 8. New arrivals to the rankings include Veterans (eighth in Class AAAA) and Vidalia (10th in Class AA). Vidalia swept former No. 10 Bryan County in two straight games last week.


By Lauren Goldstein

Marist's Ilse closing out spectacular career

Marist's dual-threat cross country and track superstar Morgan Ilse is the

Photo courtesy of The Marist School

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Girls Athlete of the Week. Since her freshman year, Ilse has continued to excel in both cross country and track.


"Even when she runs with the boys, she is the first to push the last repetition and challenge herself and those around her," said Marist head cross country and track coach Eric Heintz. "She has been able to stay healthy for the better part of four years and such consistency in her training has strengthened her."


"Morgan has been the top girl I have ever coached. She has already won six state championships and has set multiple school records. She will go down in history as one of the best runners Georgia has seen," said Heintz. "Beyond performance, she is a very committed young lady who has no problem training with the boys to get a better workout or doing extra mileage on her own.  She really models exemplary behavior."


She holds state titles in the track and field 1600- and the 3200-meter runs. She has owned the 1600-meter run and 3200-meter run over her career, after finishing first place 10 straight times and eight out of nine times, respectively.


Ilse exemplifies what it means to work as a team, as she works with her teammates everyday to help them improve too.


"Competition brings out the best in her week in and week out," said Heintz. "Morgan is always willing to try a workout and doesn't usually second guess what is planned.  She is a great teammate always willing to help another runner or to lead a group." 


Heintz's most memorable moment coaching the now senior came when Ilse finished second in the 3200-meter run at the state meet in Albany. 


"She was accidentally (and temporarily) on the front page of, one of the largest running websites in the country with a headline that was intended just for our team page," said Heintz. "It was hysterical and certainly one of the best races I have ever seen, but to have it be a 'national headline' was just remarkable. That, and of course watching her win all of her individual state championships as part of a team state championships."


The senior finished ninth amongst the best runners in the nation at Great American Race of Champions on Oct. 4 with a time of 18:06. Over the course of four years, she has 14 career wins in cross country, including the Coach Benson Double Dip Invitational this season in which she broke the course record at 18:43. After setting her career best time in cross country at the Warpath Invitational on Sept. 13 with a time of 17:28, the Marist runner is only improving and, thus, leaving her opponents in the dust.




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