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Are Private schools even winning at sports too?

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Class A Blog: No public schools left in semifinals

6:04 am November 26, 2011, by Prep Zone

By S. Thomas Coleman

For the AJC

Well, it has happened. For the first time ever, all four teams competing in next week’s Class A semifinals (Eagle’s Landing Christian, Landmark Christian, Prince Avenue Christian and Savannah Christian) are private schools — a seismic shift in the wrong direction to some.

Here’s a look at how each made it to Game 14:

Savannah Christian 22, Lincoln County 14. The Raiders (13-0) got 131 yards on 10 carries from senior Nardo Govan, including a game-clinching 47-yard touchdown run on third-and-24 with 45 seconds left in regulation. It was Savannah Christian’s toughest game of the season by far. The Raiders’ next closest shave was a 41-17 squeaker over Effingham County of Class AAAA, back on Sept. 16. They will face Prince Avenue Christian next week. It will be the third consecutive semifinal appearance for the Raiders.

Prince Avenue Christian 20, Bremen 15. The Wolverines advanced to the semifinals for the first time in school history on the strength of two fourth-quarter field goals by Adam Hayden. His 29-yarder, gave Prince Avenue (13-0) a 17-15 lead early in the period, after Bremen had taken a 15-14 lead. Then Hayden made a career-long 42-yarder minutes later to give the Wolverines more breathing room.

ELCA 51, Seminole County 7. The Chargers (12-1) appear to be running on all cylinders at the right time. After dismantling Greenville 54-0 last week, ELCA got three touchdowns from senior Joe Walker en route to a 51-7 romp over a Seminole County bunch that was averaging 45 points per game and had not lost since Week 1. It will be the first appearance in the semifinals for ELCA, who fell to eventual state champion Clinch County in last season’s quarterfinals. ELCA will host Landmark Christian next week in a rematch of their game Oct. 14, which the Chargers won, 35-14.

Landmark Christian 28, Aquinas 21. Sophomore running back Jeremiah Kirkland scored all four of the War Eagles’ touchdowns, the final one coming on a 28-yard screen pass with 13 seconds left in regulation to set up the rematch with ELCA. Kirkland finished with 118 yards on 14 carries, including scores of 10, 19 and 25 yards.

All private school semis. It is a piece of history that will no doubt be decried by those who believe private schools have a competitive advantage over public schools, an advantage they believe is growing greater each year.

The past two seasons two private schools have advanced to the state semifinals – Darlington and Savannah Christian in 2009 and Savannah Christian and Wesleyan last season – though the eventual champions ended up being public schools (Wilcox County in 2009 and Clinch County last season). Prior to that, it had happened just one time in 30 years – in 1998 when Darlington and Greater Atlanta Christian advanced to the final four. Darlington went on to defeat Lincoln County in the finals, 16-6.

However, after 1998, not one private school advanced to the semifinals until Athens Academy went back to back in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, Wesleyan made it and won the title.

But now private schools have earned eight out of a possible 12 semifinal spots over the past three seasons, including a clean sweep this season. It is further evidence, some say, of a growing trend where private schools will dominate football championships as they have in other sports.

Here is a breakdown of the number of championships won by private schools in the nine other most popular sports since 2000, according to the Georgia High School Association website (12 is the highest number of possible championships):

Baseball, 10; Boys Basketball, 5; Girls Basketball, 6; Boys Cross Country, 12; Girls Cross Country, 12; Boys Golf, 11; Girls Golf, 7; Boys Soccer, 10; Girls Soccer 12; Softball (fast pitch since 2002) 6; Boys Tennis, 12; Girls Tennis, 12; Boys Track, 6; Girls Track, 12; Volleyball, 12.

And here are two decidedly differing points of view:

Lincoln County head coach Larry Campbell (earlier this week): “If you don’t think [private schools] have an advantage, you’re fooling yourself. Is it going to take a final four [of all private schools] before people wake up? This is killing Class A [athletics].”

Savannah Christian head coach Donald Chumley (Sept. 3): “There’s a double edged sword here. Our school is called Savannah Christian Preparatory School for a reason. We’re a true college prep school, preparing kids for college. You’ve got to be able to cut it academically here and our teachers are serious. They treat their classrooms like we treat the football field. They demand commitment and effort and you better give them what they want. I didn’t hear all of this crying when we were going 3-7 every year. Everybody loved us then. Now that we’re winning, nobody likes us anymore. But that’s fine.”



"Those people who will not be governed by God

will be ruled by tyrants."

William Penn

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