Tuesday July 23rd, 2024 10:08AM

Week 5 notebook: State leaders, streaks, and GHSA reclassification

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

We’re a month into the football season and already several Northeast Georgia players are among the state leaders in several offensive categories. In fact, four area players lead their respective classifications heading into this week’s games.

A pair of Rabun County players lead Class 2A as senior and Georgia-commit Gunner Stockton is leading the way in passing with 873 yards and is closing in fourth place all-time in the state. His favorite target in 2021 has been junior Jaden Gibson, who also leads Class 2A in receiving and is fourth overall, with 459 yards.

Dawson County’s Bailey Dameron leads Class 3A with 439 yards and is fifth in the state overall.

Towns County senior Kyle Oakes leads Class A Public in rushing with 487 yards and is 20th overall in the state. White County’s Silas Mulligan is 16th in the state with 508 yards, which is good for third in Class 3A overall.

Simeon Askew of Houston County leads the state in rushing with 752 yards, Aaron Philo of Prince Avenue Christian leads the state in passing with 1,379 yards, and Travis Hunter of Collins Hill leads the state in receiving with 484 yards.

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN...

The Georgia High School Association Reclassification Committee met on Thursday to discuss several recent proposals concerning the possible movement and placement of the state’s nine largest private schools -- Greater Atlanta Christian School, Pace Academy, Lovett, Westminster, Marist, Benedictine, Blessed Trinity, St. Pius and Woodward Academy.

The nine schools are currently scattered from Class 2A to Class 5A. The rest of the state’s private institutions, except for Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, play in Class A Private as a separate classification.

At the heart of the Committee meeting was competitive balance in the lower classifications, where Private schools won 21 state championships. Several proposals in recent days and weeks have been put forward ranging from moving the larger private schools like St. Pius, Woodward, and Blessed Trinity into Class 7A, to increasing the out-of-zone multipliers to as high as 3.0, and to even dropping them from from 2.0 to 1.5.

No votes were taken and in the end GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines, along with the Committee, agreed that another meeting prior to the Fall State Executive Committee was needed.

The next round of reclassification is set to begin with the 2022-23 school year.

STREAKING! Buford has been at its best vs. the top teams. The Wolves have won 13 straight games vs. ranked teams, regardless of classification or state. On Friday, they play host to Chaminade-Madonna (Fla.) which is ranked 9th in Florida, all classifications. Buford’s last loss to a ranked team was against Archer in September 2018. ... Johnson, meanwhile, is hoping to break a pair of long streaks. The Knights have lost 14 straight games and have dropped nine straight region openers going back to a 34-18 win over West Hall in 2007 when both were in Region 7-3A. Johnson did not play a region schedule from 2012-2015.

MADDEN-ING LIKE OFFENSES: Two teams in the area are putting up video game-like numbers on offense to this point. Cherokee Bluff leads the entire GHSA in scoring with 176 points. The Bears still have the highest-scoring offense in the state averaging 55.3 ppg on the young season. ... Lanier Christian in the GAPPS 8-man league is right behind with 174 points. ... The Rabun County offense behind Stockton and Gibson has found its next gear over the last two games scoring 106 points (53 ppg). ... Gainesville’s offense is also finding its groove scoring 86 points (43 ppg) the past two games. ... The Chestatee offense has been the catalyst of its two-game win streak, its first since 2017, averaging 41.5 ppg

DON’T BE SO DEFENSIVE (OH, LET’S): The Lanier Christian defense has been just as dominating as the offense pitching three consecutive shutouts to open the season. The Lightning have forced 16 turnovers in just three games. ... Jackson County is 10th in defense in Class 5A (48 points, 16.0 ppg). The Panthers have recorded 15 TFL, including 6 sacks, to go with 5 INT by five different players.

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