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Lamar Co.-Lovett preview

By Walter Geiger for Ken K. Green Lamar County (14-0) will face off with the Lovett Lions (13-1) for the GHSA Class AA state football championship Saturday. The winner brings home all the marbles. When and Where: Saturday 2:30 p.m. at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Tickets: Admission for this week’s game is $20 per the Georgia High School Association. Advance tickets are available for $18 at all Lamar schools and at Slices Pizzeria downtown through Friday afternoon. Weather: It’s gonna rain but in the Dome it will be clear and 72 degrees. Regardless, the Thunder will roll. Last week: The Trojans topped a powerful Benedictine team 10-7 on a 25-yard field goal by Tyler Scandrett as time expired. Lovett manhandled a tough Brooks Co. squad 35-12. About Lovett: The Lovett School is north of Atlanta on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. A private independent, coeducational day school serving children from kindergarten through grade 12, Lovett was established in 1926 and today has more than 1,600 students (630 in high school) from 78 zip codes and 11 counties in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The Lions have been playing football since 1960, accumulating an all-time record of 425-193-7 and won a state championship in 1970 under head coach Bill Conley, father of former Trojan head coach Jeff Conley, an alum of Lovett, who coached the Trojans from 1987-89. The elder Conley had a 14 year career record of 93-49-5 and has his name enshrined as part of Lovett’s home field, Kirkpatrick Memorial Stadium at Conley-Oakley Field. Other notable Lion football alumni include George Lombard, the state’s offensive player of the year in 1993 who turned down several D-1 football scholarship offers to pursue pro baseball after being drafted by Atlanta; Whit Marshall, who played at the University of Georgia and was drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round of the 1996 NFL draft; and Knox Culpepper, a team captain for UGA in 1984 and who holds Bulldogs records for tackles and assists in a career and tackles in a single game. Series, etc.: Lamar beat Lovett 35-28 at Lovett in the 2012 quarterfinals. Lovett scored with just over a minute left to make the score closer than the game was. Trojan offense vs. Lovett defense: Lamar is scoring 42 points per game while the Lions are yielding 14.0. Lovett offense vs. Trojan defense: The Lions are averaging 32 points per game while Lamar yields 11.0. Top Lovett players: Lovett’s marquee player is Grant Haley, a Vanderbilt commitment who has rushed for 1,420 yards on offense and made six interceptions and three forced fumbles on defense. The biggest difference-makers that aren’t so conspicuous are probably LB Charlie Ingram (team-leading 53 solo tackles, 11 for losses), OT Tej Suber (best pass blocker) and OL/DL Patrick Keough (two-way starter) – from Lions Coach: The Lions are coached by Mike Muschamp who is 90-30 in his ninth season at Lovett. His 115-60 overall record (23-11 in the postseason) includes five seasons at Savannah Country Day School. Coach Muschamp is the brother of former UGA standout and current University of Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Rankings: Lamar County is ranked #1 in Class AA. Lovett is #2. Prediction: Lamar County 24 Lovett 21. The Lions are 3 point favorites per Maxwell Ratings but the Trojans win for Big Ken.

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