Podcast: The Dean Of Leesburg
On the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, hosts Hannah Goodin and Jon Nelson talk with Dean Fabrizio, the head football coach at Lee County High School in Leesburg. Fabrizio discusses his recent big win over Valdosta, his time coaching in Leesburg, and what this season has been like for his staff and players as the top-ranked team in 6A.
Jon Nelson: Welcome to another round of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast here at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thanks for accessing us, however you are doing so, large devices or small: GPB, GPB.org, the GPB Sports app, your favorite pod catcher and there's like eleventy billion of them. So whichever one you subscribe to, make sure that you subscribe to ours as well. And you get the notifications every single time this season that there is a new Football Fridays in Georgia podcast up. Alongside Hannah Goodin, I’m Jon Nelson. Hi.
Hannah Goodin: Wow. Hi. That was quite the introduction. Happy Week 11, everybody.
Jon Nelson: I just abused the daylights out of my papers, too, like pounded them. I bent my papers.
Hannah Goodin: Everyone heard.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I know. That was meant for emphasis, but I ended up bending all of my papers that were — that I have for my notes here for this week's show.
Hannah Goodin: The emphasis is on. It's the last week of the regular season.
Jon Nelson: Crazy.
Hannah Goodin: Unbelievable.
Jon Nelson: I mean, and considering everything that the state of Georgia has gone through, I cannot tip my hat enough to the GHSA, to executive director Dr. Hines, to each and every single school in the GHSA to get us to where we are right now. Decisions were made by schools to either play region schedules straight up. That's it. If we're going to play non region schedules, we're going to have nine games. We're going to have 10. You've got to do things on the fly. And I just tip my hat to everyone who has made this football season what it is so far.
Hannah Goodin: Less than four months ago, I started a photography business because I was so convinced we were not gonna have football and I needed to have a backup plan to bring in some income and just stay busy. Keep your mind right. It's been really successful and I've added way more work for myself than I needed to be this fall.
Jon Nelson: That’s a good thing.
Hannah Goodin: But I'm just so happy that we've gotten this far. We're about to talk about brackets, not in this show, but brackets will be finalized soon. I'm just I'm just elated.
Jon Nelson: Well, and this is — this is Bracketology Week where you get to get your brackets out.
Hannah Goodin: Your pencil out.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, that's the thing. Well, there are some pens that can be used and I'll count the number of pen teams that we can use: 7, 11, 16, 27, 33, 35, 40. We know, we know one quarter. We know one — almost a quarter of the teams that are already locked in place because of region championships. And this is where the fun starts because then it's positions, it's figuring out tiebreakers. Are there mini games that, you know, mini games and tiebreakers and coin flips and all that kind of stuff. And if you have a question involving your particular region, catch up with your favorite team, their coach, or the school. I'm sure they'll have all the answers for you, all your local — your local scribes and things like that, because each region is different. You just have to double check to make sure that all the guidelines that you know are the guidelines that are still in place because this is the first year of reclassification; things might have changed. So just double check with your local teams to figure out what those tiebreakers are.
Hannah Goodin: We've got a lot to preview coming up. So let's take a look at the week that was our Football Friday in Georgia Game of the Week. We were at College Park for No. 7 Lovejoy versus No. 8 Westlake. A big Region 4-AAAAAA showdown that, to everyone's surprise, ended up being completely lopsided. Lions quarterback RJ Johnson was 17 of 18 passing — that's pretty darn good — for 273 yards and two touchdowns. Running back, Zina Mulbah carried most of the load on the ground, helping Westlake to a 30 to nothing lead at halftime. The Lions scored 21 more unanswered points in the second for a final score of 51 to nothing. Good enough to clinch the region title for the seventh year in a row. Head coach Bobby May’s team moves to 8 and 1 on the year and will play Tucker on Friday. Lovejoy moves to 7 and 2 and will face North Atlanta on Thursday for its final game of the regular season, Jon.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, an emotional night at Westlake obviously, paying tribute to their principal, Jamar Robinson, and his wife, AnnMari, tragically lost to us in Puerto Rico while they were on vacation. Very emotional night. A lot of tributes from both teams. And I give Coach Carson and Lovejoy and their community a lot of credit. Bobby May talked about after the game how everyone at Langston Hughes was catching up with him, everybody at Lovejoy's checking in on him. So a lot of — a lot of love by the Fulton County schools. Dr. Steven Kraft was there as well. And to just kind of show support for Carl Greene, the athletics director, and everybody there in the Westlake community. Very emotional night. And AD Greene, he caught up with me second quarter and I'm sitting there watching the game and it's in front of me. And he — he's like he goes, “Jon!” you know? And I'm looking around trying to figure out who goes. He goes “Behind you.” I look and it's and it's Carl. And he says that they're really playing it for him tonight, aren't they?
Hannah Goodin: Gives you chills.
Jon Nelson: And it was — it was a fantastic effort. And I also think that having three games in less than two weeks also caught up with Lovejoy. We talk about schedule compression and Lovejoy was a part of that. Chattooga is still going to be a part of it heading into the sprint here in the finish. And I know that is part of what you wanted to talk about as well. But a lot of — a lot of folks think that that was also part and parcel to it. That it also caught up with Lovejoy. Coach Carson is not going to use that as an excuse. But, you know, sometimes when you're playing three games in less than two weeks, it catches up with you.
Hannah Goodin: I mean, and Matt Stewart said it best on the broadcast: This was supposed to be a close game.
Jon Nelson: This was a one-point game.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. This is one of the top games in the state. And for them to win 51 to nothing for Principal Robinson was outstanding. You did a great job covering that story all night, Jon. Described some of the ceremonies that happened at halftime. And pregame.
Jon Nelson: Well, you had some pregame, it happened pregame where you had the band for Westlake come out onto the field and both teams took a knee and they had a special presentation there. And they laid wreaths at the Westlake line in the south endzone. And then at halftime, you had another: The Westlake band comes out onto the field and the band was static except for the — the dance team and the drum major, considering Mr. Robinson was a drum major at Florida A&M. And so there was some symbolism there as well. And everybody — you saw all the T-shirts hashtag Robinson strong with the Westlake logo and things like that. And then after the game, they had another another processional out — out of the stadium, too. So it was just a well-rounded night, celebrating lives lost to us too soon.
Hannah Goodin: Everyone here at GPB’s thoughts and prayers are with the Robinson family, friends, Westlake community. What a tragedy and heavy hearts. We've been thinking about it all week. Thinking about you all game.
Jon Nelson: I just want to send our love your way and know that we're thinking about you, too.
Hannah Goodin: Well, let's take a look at what happened around the rest of the state.
Jon Nelson: What happened around the rest of the state last week?
Hannah Goodin: Their regular season wrapped for many teams. Although we got this week, it was a wrap.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: For some of them. You want me to tell you?
Jon Nelson: Yeah. What's on your list? What's on your list and we'll go from there.
Hannah Goodin: I'm just going to make you guess. I just —
Jon Nelson: Yeah. What's — what's on what's on your list?
Hannah Goodin: All right. I'm going to do some rapid fire today.
Jon Nelson: There you go.
Hannah Goodin: Lowndes moves into the two seed behind Colquitt in Region 1-AAAAAAA. They defeated Camden County 28-21.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, that one was tied early on. And then Lowndes got the duke. They had a 28-14 lead with 7 and a half to go and they held on. But that was a back-and-forth game in the first half.
Hannah Goodin: Collins Hill clinched its first Region 8-AAAAAAA title since 2013 by defeating Mill Creek 28-17.
Jon Nelson: And we saw Collins Hill on Football Fridays in Georgia. You know, a lot of folks were stunned about the win over North Gwinnett. And this right now with Collin Hill at 8 and 2. They've got ten games in. They've got the week off and the next game for them is the playoffs.
Hannah Goodin: Lee County clinched its fourth Region 1-AAAAAA title in a row. We talk to Coach Dean Fabrizio later in the show. So we don’t have to get into that one too much. The final score: Trojans 41, Valdosta 7.
Jon Nelson: Next. Well, you said you didn't want to — you didn't want to get too in-depth with it because we got Coach Fabrizio coming out.
Hannah Goodin: I know. I'm sorry.
Jon Nelson: Next game!
Hannah Goodin: Carterville won the Region 7-AAAAA championship, defeating Calhoun 31-14.
Jon Nelson: Carlos Del Rio Wilson got his first start of the year just in time for them to play their ninth game. They're going to have this week off and the next thing for the Purple Hurricanes will be the playoffs.
Hannah Goodin: Athens Academy will take second place in Region 8 Single A Private after defeating George Walton Academy pretty handily, 56 to 31.
Jon Nelson: Yep, that one was a shootout. And, you know, you look at the teams at the top of the ladder in Class A Private, everybody's looking at Prince Avenue Christian, the one loss for Athens Academy this year. And Prince having to go to Athens Christian this week. But you look at the top four teams in Class A Private: PAC, Eagle’s Landing, Christian Fellowship, and Athens Academy.
Hannah Goodin: And the last game on my list: Cedartown clinched its first region title since 2011 with a win over Central Carrollton 34-7.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, and you look at a good football town like Cedartown, and it's good to see how things have cycled through, you know. You know what, Nick Chubb, you heard of him?
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. Name sounds familiar.
Jon Nelson: You could tell when he was a senior at Cedartown that he was going to be doing what he's doing in the NFL and to — to see a town like Cedartown that's had history in the past with Doc Ayers and Everett Kelly making championship runs in the ’90s as well. It's just — it's good to see Cedartown back finishing right now. They're at 6 and 2 and they're at Heritage Ringgold to finish out their regular season.
Hannah Goodin: All right, Jon, what games did you have on your list?
Jon Nelson: Clinch and Irwin. Clinch and Irwin for me was right at the top of the list. And Irwin loses 13-nothing. The top ranked team in Single A Public gets bumped off.
Hannah Goodin: What happened?
Jon Nelson: That was — it was — I want to say it was 6-nothing or 7-nothing. It was 6-nothing or 7-nothing. I can't remember if the first score had the PAT or not, but you had Irwin County driving — oh, it had to have been the game-winning score so it was 6-nothing. And so Irwin's driving for the possible game-winning score. Then it's a pick six the other way and then so Irwin loses 13-nothing.
Hannah Goodin: Oopsies!
Jon Nelson: Irwin loses 13-nothing in the region of doom. They can still win the region title with a win over Turner County this week. So I think that Casey Soliday and everybody down there at Irwin County, they're going to have a rather intense week of practice before they get ready for the game against Ashburn coming up on Friday.
Hannah Goodin: I can only imagine.
Jon Nelson: And then you've got Marist who knocked off Miller Grove in Quad A. You know, you look at Marist and Jefferson and Carver Columbus. Carver Columbus was in a back and forth with Hardaway. And Hardaway had a great season to date there in Quad A as a part of the discussion. I know we have to talk about Cedar Grove, too. They had to forfeit four victories, but no one knew about this publicly until last Friday night. And so right now, their record officially stands at 1 and 4. So they self-reported using an ineligible player in wins over Milton, GAC, Calver, Atlanta and Redan. So they're now at 1 and 4. They have to win this week against Sandy Creek to make the playoffs in Region 5-AAA. They would go in the region’s three seed; GAC is now the region champ because of it and their region win streak now at 43. Milton's record now goes to 8 and 0 and so that's big news there in Triple A. It'll be interesting to see how that shows up in the polls because we know what Cedar Grove can be as a team. How big of a drop do they get from being the top ranked team in Triple A? Are they still a top ranked — Are they still a top 10 team in Triple A? Do they fall out completely or do we sit there and look at the body of work? And I think it's going to be interesting to see how it shows up in a lot of the top 10s around the state.
Hannah Goodin: I guess it depends on who the player was.
Jon Nelson: And — and do you sit there and do you — do you look at Cedar Grove and what you anticipate from Cedar Grove or do you look at that win-loss record? I think that's going to be the big indicator. Colquitt got the big win over Tift to go to 7 and 0 at AAAAAA. Let's see, who else? Buford also gets the win. Allatoona is undefeated, they’re at 8 and 0, River Ridge still 8 and 0, they had their game canceled. Richmond Hill finished their regular season at 8 and 2. 5A, Blessed Trinity got their fifth game of the season and they're at 5 and 0 at the top of the rankings.
Remember Warner Robins and Coffee, that was canceled. So we've got to figure out region standings with that and tiebreakers and all that stuff. So let's see, Quad A: Bainbridge got a win over Thomas County Central, 37 to 14. We talked about Triple A with what's going on there at the top with Cedar Grove and GAC. Appling County had their game with Brantley County canceled. 7 and 0, they get 7 and 1 Pierce County this week. That one's going to be a fun one. Fitzgerald at 9 and 0. Raybon County finishes their season at 9 and 1, regular season. Gunnar Stockton, another day at the office, otherwise known as Friday, 380 and six through the air, 120 and two on the ground. So 500 total yards of offense from Gunnar Stockton up at Rabun County. Wow. So that is just a small version of what happened in the week that was. Before we get into the week that will be, we got a guest.
Hannah Goodin: We do. We are getting the thumbs up that Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio is on the line.
Jon Nelson: And the first question comes from Hannah Goodin.
Hannah Goodin: Coach, Lee County is a top-ranked team in AAAAAA. You're coming off a big 41-7 win over Valdosta to not only clinch your fourth consecutive region title, but you also got your 100th win with the Trojans after that win. How big of a game was that for you and your team?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, you know, we played a lot of big games here. And I said this, you know, the week leading up to the game. And as people asked, you know, we played a lot of big ones here in Leesburg and over these last several years. But that was probably as big a regular season game as we've had here. You know, you had the No. 1 ranked team in the state playing the No. 3 ranked team. Region title was on the line. You had teams that had won the last four region titles and three of the last four state championships in this division. So it was about as big as it gets. And, you know, fortunately, we were able to come out on top.
Jon Nelson: When it comes to this particular season, how tough of a coaching job has it been for you and the staff down there on — on a couple of different fronts? Obviously, the COVID-19 front and also the fact that you're in a mini-region for lack of a better word and you're having to schedule 98 non region games before you get into your region schedule. How tough a coaching job has this been for you this year?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, the non region slate is tough when you have to find 7 non region games, especially here in south Georgia, just because of the proximity of schools, there's not a lot that are close by that would easily play. So it's very, very difficult to find that many. And then, of course, all the coaches have been dealing with the COVID situation. The uncertainty that brings and, you know, coaches in general are creatures of habit and like — like normalcy and like things they're comfortable in, and this has certainly made all of us uncomfortable with the constant change. And, you know, from not having the spring practice or the summer OTAs to, you know, having to every week see what the rules were and how you could bring your team in throughout the summer. It's certainly been a season like we've never experienced before. And you had to adjust on the fly.
And of course, we got hit really bad early. You know, we missed the first three weeks of pads. You know, we started three weeks later than everybody or most — most people because people were hitting worse, but because of a COVID shutdown. But knock on wood, since then, we've — we've been very lucky in that regard. But like I said, it was — we were — we were behind the eight ball from the get-go because we missed those first three weeks at pads.
Hannah Goodin: I want to talk about some of your playmakers. Caleb Mcdowell rushed for 111 yards and two scores on ten carries against Valdosta. Chauncey Magwood also rushed for 86 yards and passed for 100. What do those guys mean to your team and who else stands out?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, you know, you start with Chauncey, who is a four-year starter for us. He, you know, selflessly has moved to quarterback. You know, Smith Benson was our starter. And, you know, he tore the ligament in his throwing hand on his thumb after the Tift game. And Chauncey went in there as quarterback and, you know, took him a little bit to adjust and our — and our team to adjust a little bit. But he, you know, he really hit stride Friday night. He’s a very selfless player, you know, committed to the University of Kentucky as a receiver. And, you know, he just wants to end his career on a great note here in Lee County.
And then, you know, Caleb, of course, is such a dynamic athlete. You know, he's — he's got that “take it to the house” speed. But most guys who have that speed are straight-line guys. He's also got the ability to make people miss in closed space. And it's a rare combination for a guy.
And then you've got Preston Simmons, who's got over 30 career touchdowns here at Lee County, we're going on 40 now, as another running back. And, you know, those guys have just stepped their game up and really done a great job this year. And are — and are great players for us.
Jon Nelson: Nine games in, 8 and 1. You've got a week off before you get into the playoffs. Where do you think you are as a team right now heading into the bye week? And then season three?
Dean Fabrizio: We feel like there's still a lot of things we can improve on. You know, we obviously played probably our best game last week versus Valdosta. But, you know, earlier in the year, we felt like we played our best game. We're hitting stride against Warner Robins. And then, you know, we kind of didn't play well for — for the next couple of weeks. And, you know, a lot of that had to do with, you know, Smith Benson's injury at quarterback early in the Tift County game, the next week after Warner Robins. But, you know, without the spring practice, without the summer OTAs and with missing those — those first three weeks of fall practice and pads, you know, we've kind of, like a lot of people, it took us a while to kind of find our team and find the identity of this team and get the pieces in the right places. And, you know, we're — we're — while we feel like we've got that, there’s still certainly a lot of things we can — we can work on. And it's different than other years when you're this late in the season.
Hannah Goodin: Your regular season is over and after this week, brackets will be completed. What are your expectations through the playoffs?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, you know, like we talk every year, you know, we're just going to, you know, we want to play as long as we can. And you know, how long that is depends on us and how well we play. And then, of course, how our opponents do. So, you know, our you know, we've always got high expectations here at Lee County. And, you know, we have to embrace those, you know. But by the same token, we can't lose sight of the fact that, you know, we gotta take it one game at a time and we can't get all caught up in state championship or bust because a lot of things have to fall into place for that to happen.
Jon Nelson: So then let me ask you this. When you're in a bye week, are you guys going to spread yourself out as a coaching staff to the four winds and try to do some advanced scouting? Is it going to be done at home virtually in front of a rather large television in a very warm home in Leesburg? What are you guys going to do this week?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, you know, we're going to discuss that. We'll probably go watch some games Friday night of potential playoff opponents. But, you know, this week we're really focused on ourselves and — and just getting better, getting better at our fundamentals, continuing to get better at certain things and correcting mistakes. And that'll be our main focus this week is ourselves.
And then, you know, when it turns out and everything’s settled and we see who we got to play, we'll turn our attention to them. But — but right now, like I said, this is a good opportunity for us to — to just work on ourselves and get better this week. Correct some things, because, you know, there's always room for improvement.
Hannah Goodin: Jon touched on the coronavirus pandemic and how different this season has been. But what have you learned about yourself as a coach with these moments that — of uncertainty and slowdown almost — what have you learned about yourself and the team during this crazy year?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, I've learned first that — that I've gotten really comfortable here during my 12 years and the natural rhythm of things and how we had things set up. So it was certainly different, certainly different this — this year. Like it — like it was for all coaches. You know, the resiliency of our team and our players and also the great job they've done following the protocols and staying — knock on wood — COVID-free since that first shutdown has been big. And, you know, you know, we talked to the staff earlier in the year as it goes. You know, this is just going to be a year like no other. We're going to have to adjust to change constantly. And that's something that we've had to do. Our assistant coaches have done a great job with that, our players have done a great job of that. And, you know, hopefully we, like everyone else, can stay COVID-free for the rest of this year.
Jon Nelson: Dean Fabrizio, the head coach of Lee County, hanging out with us here on the Football Fridays in Georgiapodcast here on Georgia Public Broadcasting. This past win was your 100th. Two-part question: Let me give you the first part first. Do you remember your first win?
Hannah Goodin: Ooooooh.
Dean Fabrizio: At Lee County?
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Dean Fabrizio: Yes, I definitely remember our first win because it didn't seem like it would ever come here. I took over and inherited a long losing streak, and then I added to it for several games. It was actually our homecoming game, my first year over Americus High School. So that was a big win. And, you know, I tell people all the time when they ask, well, you know, “What are the state championships? You know, how did you build this?” is — guys — we — we didn't start to win when I got here. We didn't start talking about state championships right away. We were just trying to literally win a game. And then it got to be, “Can we have a winning season?” And it got to be, “Can we make the playoffs again?” Can we have back-to-back winning seasons, which they've never done before? Can we play to Thanksgiving? And the next thing you know, before you look up, it’s “Hey, can we defend the state title?” And so that's kind of been the way here. We've kind of you know, this was definitely not a quick fix. And we've kind of — it's kind of been one step at a time in building this thing.
Jon Nelson: And you mentioned that word “build,” and that was my follow-up question. What has it been like for you and the staff there to build this program to where it is? Because you had to have a lot of patience, A) you and your staff had to have a lot of patience. The administration had to have a lot of patience there in Lee County. And the fans there in Lee County who had not experienced winning had to have a lot of patience as well. And now this is something that has permeated everything from the high school down through the middle school and now it flows. What's it been like to see that patience come to the fore in all these different fronts?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, to see what we've been able to build here is — is tremendously satisfying for me. And I say “we”because so many people were involved in all this. And the neatest thing is seeing the alumni come back. You know, this is, like I said, is my 12th year here. And to see our former players when they come back and the pride that they have in everything we do and just how they keep track of us and how much it means to them still even though they're not playing, how it's kind of bonded and tied everything together here in this community, it's really been special.
Hannah Goodin: What is it like to coach in Leesburg? What's your — I know these communities are so tight knit and we love high school football. We love the energy. What is it — what is that community like? You mean what is it like down there?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, you know, we're a little unique in that we’re not your typical, I guess, south Georgia town. There really is no town here. We're kind of a bedroom community to Albany. And so we're kind of a suburban/rural type town, you know, probably more suburban. You know, where — you know, most 80 probably 85 to 90 percent of our people in Lee County work in the Dougherty area. Where we're truly a bedroom community and, you know, most people live here for the schools. And so it's unique. And then, you know, the other thing that's unique and which makes us a suburban-type community is, you know, a lot of our parents aren't from here. You know, they — we do have a sizable amount that they went to Lee County and their kids are going here. But — but a lot of them are from other areas. And they got transferred to this area that work at Phoebe, the Marine base, Procter & Gamble and M&M Mars and one of the places in Albany. And, you know, they chose to live, you know, right over the county line and send their kids to school here in Leesburg and make the short drive into work. And — and so that's unique.
So while we are a — you know — a south Georgia school and a south Georgia town and our kids take tremendous pride in that they play football here in south Georgia. They take a lot of pride in it. But on the flip side, you know, we're — we're really almost like a suburban-type community more than maybe anywhere else in south Georgia.
Jon Nelson: One of the cool things that I've always loved about Football Friday in Leesburg are the motorcycles. And not a lot of folks know about this tradition. It's one of the loudest traditions on a Football Friday for sure. But I think it's also one of the coolest ones when it comes to the introductions of the player. When — when everything is hopping and hummin’ and the place is full, what's it like to hear those engines as a part of the procession, knowing that that is distinct to Lee County?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, that was pretty awesome, but we actually had to discontinue that a couple of years ago. It was pretty awesome but they — they discontinued it just for safety reasons. But, yeah, that was a longstanding tradition we had here. I think my second year here, that used to be a big Harley-Davidson dealership in Leesburg, and they sponsored a game and they came out on those motorcycles and our administration saw it and started having a fit.
And then— after — then after it happened, they said, “Man, that's pretty cool.” So they started doing it every game. And we did that for about eight years. And it was really, really neat. Boy, that's loud when they crank those Harleys up.
And, you know, after we discontinued a couple of years ago, just because of the potential safety issues and litigation things that we just couldn't chance it anymore. But it was — it was a really neat thing. But it's still a pretty, pretty special atmosphere on game night here in Leesburg.
Hannah Goodin: All right, Coach, we do this thing on our new Recruiting 2020 show where we Make that Kid an Offer or Make that Kid a Better Offer. I know we've talked about some of your top playmakers, but who's someone on your team that is overlooked, that needs to be featured and in the spotlight a little more than they are?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, you know, we've got a lot of good players on this team. And I think you take a kid like Jeffrey Bryan who was an offensive guard force, or Anthony Mcgrady, who's a linebacker for us. You know, they're not the — the typical huge prospects. Jeffrey was a starter nose guard last year. He selflessly moved to offensive guard this year. You know, he's a kid that's 5’11”, 265 pounds but is just a great high school football player. And possibly he'll get a chance at a smaller level to play in college. But, you know, while he's not one of the major prospects you hear about, he's certainly a kid that — that — that's an impact player for us on the offensive line.
Jon Nelson: All right. So then as a follow up to my motorcycle question, let me ask you this. When it comes to — and you mentioned how special Football Fridays are there in Leesburg — for someone who's never been — when the crowds are what they are and what they can be — for someone who's never been how would you describe it? And what are they missing out on by not seeing a Lee County home game?
Dean Fabrizio: Well, I think it's — it's an electric atmosphere on Friday night, but it's also a really neat and respectful atmosphere, too, for visiting fans and just for fans in general. You know, we do have a track around the field, so they're not right on top of you. But it's a, you know, we have plenty of space here. It's — and while and we like to think it's a good family environment for — for high school football games as well. We worked hard at that. So while it's definitely an electric atmosphere here, it's, it's certainly one that's also a family-friendly environment that we've tried to work really hard to make sure that people can bring their families out on a Friday night and really enjoy a great experience.
Jon Nelson: Coach, as always, it's great to catch up with you and it's great to find out what's going on there with one of the top-ranked teams in the state, regardless of classification. Thanks for hanging out with us here in the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast.
Dean Fabrizio: Guys, thanks for having me. I appreciate everything you all do to promote high school football.
Hannah Goodin: Thank you, Coach.
Jon Nelson: As always, it's great to catch up with Coach Fabrizio and find out about everything down in Leesburg. You want to talk about what — last time I went down there into Leesburg, there was a Mexican restaurant that had chicken and cheese nachos. Amazing.
Hannah Goodin: I thought you were going to say something — I mean, chicken and cheese nachos are just chicken and cheese nachos.
Jon Nelson: But it's the portion size, the portion size that you got when you went to this particular restaurant. And it was — it literally was like two meals worth of meal when you ordered this particular plate.
Hannah Goodin: Did it come with all the accouterments?
Jon Nelson: Yes. Yes it did.
Hannah Goodin: OK. OK. That’s different.
Jon Nelson: And also, Lee’s — and Leesburg — also the home of Luke Bryan and Buster Posey.
Hannah Goodin: Oh!
Jon Nelson: So I'm still waiting for Luke Bryan to reach out to us here at Georgia Public Broadcasting to show his support for Lee County.
Hannah Goodin: Well, he was supposed to be on the sidelines. What was that — three years ago?Jon Nelson: For the championship game, two years, I think it was two years ago. Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: Two years ago? I did my — I was a sideline reporter and I did my opening hit that he helped pay for the state championship rings.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. So he needs to — he needs to reinforce it. We need an appearance from Luke Bryan.
Hannah Goodin: Let’s get him on the podcast. You know what? I'm just going to get with his team and just bring him on the podcast.
Jon Nelson: That would be epic to have him talk about Lee County football. That'd be tremendous.
Hannah Goodin: It would be cool.
Jon Nelson: All right. What else?
Hannah Goodin: If anyone knows Luke Bryan.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. Hey, anybody know how to get in touch with Luke Bryan? Can we figure that out for next week?
Hannah Goodin: That is so funny.
Jon Nelson: Lee County Football! Hey, anybody know how to get in touch with Luke Bryan? We want to have him on the podcast.
Hannah Goodin: All right. We will be anxiously waiting for that. Yes. In the meantime —
Jon Nelson: In the meantime, you got games.
Hannah Goodin: We got games. Let's do a preview of this week. Our Football Friday in Georgia broadcast will feature No. 3 Norcos — Norcross.
Jon Nelson: Norcost.
Hannah Goodin: Norcost. No. 3 Norcross versus Archer. This one will determine the Region 7- AAAAAAA championship. Norcross is 9 and 0, 5 and 0 in region play and has sailed through the season with little resistance. The closest call for the Blue Devils came on Oct. 23rd when they defeated Mill Creek 23-20. Archer is 6 and 3, 5 and 0 in region play, has been equally dominant within the region. The Tigers lost their first three non region games against all ranked teams Lowndes, Warner Robins and Grayson. Wow, talk about a hard schedule.
Jon Nelson: We were at Warner Robins for that game.
Hannah Goodin: We were, and they bounced back with six straight wins in a row. So that's saying a lot. Archer leads the series four to one, the Tigers won 31 to nothing in 2019 when both teams were state ranked. This is going to be an exciting one.
Jon Nelson: I think this one will be a good one.
Hannah Goodin: We said that last week.
Jon Nelson: Yeah we did. We say it every week because it applies.
Hannah Goodin: It does apply.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: This one is going to be a good one.
Jon Nelson: Recruiting 2020 leads everything off at seven o'clock on your Friday with Hannah, Matt, and myself and kick off about seven thirty seven or so. So Football Friday's in Georgia remember it's Bracketology Friday. It is Decision Day 2020 for Georgia high school football. You've got to get your brackets, get your pencils, get your pens, because both apply. Figure out what your team is going to do and obviously keep an eye on everything big in the football section. In the sports section, in the football section and on the app. We'll keep you posted on all the brackets, all the matchups going forward.
Hannah Goodin: Besides Norcross-Archer, what are the biggest matchups to keep your eye on?
Jon Nelson: Well, the biggest one. East Coweta, Noonan. That's another one, because a lot of folks are saying and Scott Sickler, who helps us out with keeping it smart over there on the Western frontier, probably the biggest game in Coweta County in decades. East Coweta ranked No. 5 in some polls, 7 and 1. Noonan ranked at No. 7 at 9 and 0. That's going to be a big one there in Coweta County. You're looking at — as I buzz through — Milton and Cherokee's probably going to determine a region positioning as well. Milton at 8 and 0 at Cherokee at 8 and 1. You're looking at Buford and Dacula, 7 and 1 and 6 and 2 and six and both teams ranked in the top 10.
I'm buzzing through: you got Carrollton and Douglas County. That's another one for region position, the region of doom. And 5A, you've got to sit there and figure out who isn't going to make the playoffs. Warner Robins is scheduled at Veterans. Ware is at Wayne. So which one of those teams will not make it to the postseason? That's a big one there as well.
Let's see. Scanning, scanning quickly. St. Pius in Decatur in 5A is another one to determine region titles, region positioning. Jones County, Dutchtown is another one, two teams at 6 and 3 to determine who's going to make it to the positioning for the postseason there. Let's see. Continuing to scan: Islands and Windsor Forest, trying to figure out region positioning there. Because remember, the Savannah schools — we had Frank Stokowski on last week from WJCL-TV. Things are a little different with Savannah and Chatham County public schools in figuring out region positioning for the postseason. So keep an eye on that as well.
When you're looking at Triple A, it's Oconee County, Franklin County that's going to determine region positioning as well. Pearson, Appling, we talked about that one before the interview.
Cherokee Bluff. Can Cherokee Bluff have an undefeated regular season right now? 9 and 0. They play White County, who's 6 and 2. So that's another stellar matchup there. In double A, let's see, I think we've talked about pretty much everything in play. You've got Callaway in Heard County, 6 and 1 and 6 and 3. Class A Private — we talked about what life is like in Class A Private.
Can Metter have an undefeated regular season right now, 9 and 0? They're going to be at ECI. Brooks County in the region of doom. That's tomorrow, that’s a Tuesday game to get things squared away for Brooks County in Charlton County Commerce and Lincoln County, also Irwin County. Remember, we talked about them. They can clinch a region title in Region 2 playing in Ashburn against Turner County. Chatco at Macon County as well. So that is a quick rundown of games. And remember, you've got games on Tuesday to lead you into Decision Friday. So it's going to be a busy bracketology week.
Hannah Goodin: More Thursday games as well as there any games on Saturday?
Jon Nelson: Probably so once that master list pops out, then we'll let everybody know. But there's — you've got to get through the games early part for the week, Friday and Saturday for scheduling.
Hannah Goodin: Don't forget to join us on Countdown to Kickoff every Wednesday. Now our new time, 5 p.m., we get into these games even more in depth and the best part of the show as we get to talk to you guys while we're live on air in the comments section. So join us for that.
Jon Nelson: Always fun. What else is on your mind before we go?
Hannah Goodin: Ummm. I’m hungry, yeah, what are you eating for lunch?
Jon Nelson: That's that's the question we've got to figure out what's for lunch. So as we're talking so let us know what's for lunch and what's for dinner. We get to do that on countdown to kickoff as well. So once again, reminder: Wednesday, five o'clock, Countdown to Kickoff on the GPB sports Facebook page, Recruiting 2020 seven o'clock and also replays after the original airing of the Football Fridays in Georgia game. So your Fridays are set: at seven o'clock Recruiting 2020, 7:30 Football Fridays in Georgia Game of the Week. After the game is over the re-air of GPB sports Recruiting 2020. Then the re-air of the Game of the Week on Football Fridays. For all the coaches who always reach out to all of us and sit there and say, look, “we get home, we can't sleep after our games are over.” So all around the state, coaches reach out to us and sit and say, “Yeah, we watch Recruiting 2020, we watch the Game of the Week after we get home because we got to watch something because we always want to have — we still got football on our minds.” And so all around the state, folks are watching games after we're done.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. And it's really cool. I didn't know this. We are putting all of those Recruiting 2020 shows on demand GPB.org/Sports. So if you missed any of them you can go back and watch them. I don't know who my interview is this week. I'm just going to surprise everybody.
Jon Nelson: Who was your interview last week?
Hannah Goodin: Well, you know, just like an OK quarterback named Jake Garcia.
Jon Nelson: I heard of him.
Hannah Goodin: So he's all right.
Jon Nelson: He’s aight.
Hannah Goodin: He was actually a really great interview
Jon Nelson: In the rain, in the car.
Hannah Goodin: He was — I know — he was in the car with his dad. So I was — I was nervous because these interviews, you just never know about the connection. So at first it was breaking up. There was no audio and they were pulled over on the side of the road, pouring down rain. Then I was like, I'm never going to get this interview. This is — this is going downhill really fast. But they drove up a little bit more, got service. Audio is actually great. So the interview went well and had some really good things to say. I did ask him your question. If he was warming up to Miami or and SEC school —
Jon Nelson: Miami’s warming up to him, you can say whatever you want, but until you sign on the line which is dotted….
Hannah Goodin: He has an early enrollment date, though he said he is all USC. He's not changing. I know, John. I know. But he said he said he's — he's got his date. He's ready to move in.
Jon Nelson: A, always. B, be. C, closing. ABC. Always Be Closing. Always be closing. And this is where Sean would put in the drop from Glengarry Glen Ross and he'd sit there and go, What's that? It's a movie, Alec Baldwin, one of the best soliloquies in all of movie history, A: always. B: be. C: closing. Always be closing.
Which is what I'm going to do right now. It's another edition of the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast here at Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thanks for hanging out with us however you are doing so, large device or small or on your favorite podcatcher. GPB, GPB.org, the GPB Sports App, and once again, your favorite podcatcher. Have us in your favorites, so that way when we have a new show pop up, then you'll know when that exactly happens. She's Hannah Goodin, I'm Jon Nelson for the irreplaceable Sean Powers. Play it safe, everybody. Enjoy the games. We'll see you next time.