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Final Pigskin Thoughts from Valdosta

It's been 10 days since we crowned Savannah Christian, Calhoun, Burke County, Tucker, and Grayson as the 5 football champions in terms of Georgia High School Association classification.
What a two days it was. The BIG Story of the weekend was Calhoun winning its first title since 1952. They defeated ole nemesis Buford in overtime. Coach Hal Lamb, staff, players, administrators, parents, and student body deserve a whole lot of credit. Also recognized were the Tucker Tigers capping their first 15 and oh season ever and Head Coach Franklin Stephens becoming the first African-American head coach to win 2 GHSA titles. Then there was the Grayson Rams led by Head Coach Mickey Conn winning a historic first championship for the Gwinnett County based school and giving the folks in Loganville something to be proud of. Congrats also go out to the runners up Walton, Lovejoy, Peach County, Buford, and Landmark Christian.

As we look forward to the 2012 season among the top stories will be the start of the GHSA reclassification and the fallout from it. New coaches and new places and of course the Robert Nkemdiche watch. The 6-5, 270 pound DE/RB from Grayson will be not only the top player in the GREAT state of Georgia but the country's most coveted senior for the 2012-13 season.

We will now turn our focus to National Signing Day in February.
All eyes will be on Valdosta Lowndes High standout Josh Harvey-Clemons and where he will go. Clemons played linebacker, and wide receiver for the Vikings. The 6-5, 220 pounder has narrowed his college choices to FSU and UGA. Josh will be among the many who have a challenging two months ahead of them. We wish they and their families the very best during the recruiting process. We just want them to make sure they have done their work to qualify academically. The most disappointing aspect of recruiting is when a student-athlete signs a national letter of intent but fails to qualify academically.

This past week I had a chance to participate in In The Game Magazine's South Georgia High School Football Awards Banquet in Valdosta. Our keynote speaker was the former Auburn Tigers, and NFL San Francisco 49ers star offensive lineman Steve Wallace. His son Steven is budding star for Alan Chadwick's Marist War Eagles. Steve Wallace's speech was truly inspirational and wowed the crowd. Among the players honored were Colquitt County's outstanding placekicker Oscar Luna, and UGA-bound wide receiver Ty Smith, Thomasville's Devante Jones, a dual threat QB.

The South Georgia Coach of the Year was Valdosta High's Rance Gillespie. Rance joined us on the GPB Sports Blog.

With this being the final GPB Sports Blog for football. We want to thank all those who participated in our post-game interviews. We really appreciated it. We want to thank the good folks at Score Atlanta who would retweet the blogs on Twitter, and our many followers on Facebook, thank you for your support. We now look ahead to the basketball season and some of the great stories that await. Merry Christmas and ALL the BEST for 2012 from all of us here at Georgia Public Broadcasting. And as we always say in closing, THANK YOU for joining us on the GPB Sports Blog. God Bless you all and the GREAT State of Georgia. Thank you to the wonderful folks at GPB and the SUPER folks at Turner Productions for the AWESOME championships shown on the GREAT GPB & MOST IMPORTANT THANK YOU to YOU OUR LOYAL and PHENOMENAL viewers. Without your support this DOES NOT happen! YOU are the BEST! WE LOVE YOU!