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Murphy: Football season full of highlights

POSTED: December 28, 2007 5:03 a.m.

I’ve seen a lot of great high school football this season. From the flooding rains back on opening night to the Buford Wolves hoisting the Class AA state championship trophy just a couple days ago in a chilly rain, it’s been a season to remember.

But it wasn’t always the game defining play that I remember most. Here’s the top five moments that I remember from this season.

Let’s wrap a bow on the 2007 season.

5). LIL’ FLIP— Flowery Branch kicker Kyle Ellis executed a fake field goal attempt to perfection on Senior Night against Johnson on Nov. 2. Running a play learned by watching LSU this season, the Falcons lined up for a field goal and instead of placing the ball for the kick, the holder flipped it over his shoulder to Ellis who ran in for the 17-yard score. That play really energized the Flowery Branch fans. The Falcons brought out all the tricks that night en route to locking up the Region 7B-AAA title. Earlier in the game, Flowery Branch quarterback Jaybo Shaw appeared ready to try a quarterback sneak for a touchdown and instead did a jump shot motion throw over the offensive line to a wide open Tracey Sykes for the score.

4). STRIKE A POSE— Chestatee High linebacker Chase Vasser was having a monster night against Johnson on Sept. 21. After recording his third sack of the game, Vasser couldn’t help himself and jumped to his feet and did a spontaneous celebration pose for the War Eagles fans. Vasser, a junior, had a phenomenal season with 138 tackles, 36 tackles for a loss, 26 quarterback hurries, 12 sacks and three forced fumbles. He’s already a Division I prospect for next season.

3). TROJANS WIN AT BOBBY GRUHN—After North Hall defeated Gainesville on Sept. 28 at Bobby Gruhn Field everyone was in emotional overdrive in this heated rivalry. North Hall wanted to celebrate. Gainesville wanted to be left alone. But the Trojans student section tried in vain to take a NTH flag and plant it on the "G" at midfield. Some of Gainesville’s coaches were defending their home field with a stern look in their eyes. For a second, I thought we were about to see a scene out of the movie Bad News Bears Breaking Training (Let them play...let them play). The flag bearer charged the field, and was immediately turned around by the sea of red at midfield. I couldn’t help by laugh.

2). WIDE RIGHT—Trailing 12-10 with only seconds left to play, Perry High controlled its own destiny in its Class AAA quarterfinal game with a field goal attempt against North Hall at The Brickyard. I stood on the sidelines nearest the North Hall student section looking at the overflow crowd on both sides, thinking to myself this is about to be the biggest moment in school history for this football program or one of the most disappointing. Two time outs and about five minutes later, the Panthers finally snapped the ball for the kick and everyone knew right away it was no good. The fans at The Brickyard rejoiced unlike I’ve ever seen at a high school football game.

1). TEARS OF JOY— Buford’s mammoth defensive tackle Omar Hunter was totally swept away by winning the state title against Lovett last Saturday night. While the rest of the Wolves team huddled together and started to celebrate, Hunter took a knee away from the chaos and shed a couple of tears with the magnitude of the team’s accomplishment. It marks Buford’s fifth title in school history (1978, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007). In my opinion, this was the best Wolves team since 2001. That says a lot.

And here’s some moments that didn’t crack my top five, but were still pretty cool.

Riverside Military defensive tackle Colton Keig intercepted a pass off of a tip, and returned it 65-yards for a touchdown in a win against Mount de Sales.

Johnson freshman tailback Mantevius Rucker ran for 175 yards against Chestatee. He’s going to be a good one for years to come.

North Hall’s Hunter Wolf ripped the ball from Sandy Creek’s Braxton Lane and went in untouched for the touchdown.

Jefferson receiver Zac Crosby showed off his speed on opening night at Johnson.

North Hall’s Robert Humphrey scooped up a bad snap on a field goal attempt by Cairo, and rumbled in for a 60-yard touchdown in the Class AAA semifinals at the Georgia Dome.



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