This week on the Football Fridays in Georgia podcast, Hannah and Jon are joined by the all-stars to break down all of the 2022 championship matchups.
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor: This was the most eventful, exciting day of finals that I can remember. I mean, you had everything.
Hannah Goodin: Overtime.
Jon Nelson: Uh Huh.
Hannah Goodin: Goal line stands, history made, and records broken.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: GHSA Championship weekend just rarely ever disappoints.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: You get to see these guys without their helmets on and behind the scenes.
Cam Robinson, Mill Creek Running Back: It was ridiculous.
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 device or small. Jon here, Hannah there, and it’s another go-round of the All Stars the post-championships edition, 11 games, 60 hours of real-time, three days on GPB. It was our Super Bowl, our Daytona 500, our World Series, our Stanley Cup Final — all rolled into a three-day period.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. And 35 hours of TV coverage. Have you dried out yet, Jon?
Jon Nelson: No, I have not. And that includes two showers since.
Hannah Goodin: Looking a little wrinkly today.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I am definitely kind of. Yeah, I’m definitely-.
Hannah Goodin: A little prune-y.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, I definitely need to dry on the ironing board. I need to have something happen just to kind of flatten me out a little bit to make sure that my creases are where they’re supposed to be.
Hannah Goodin: All right, everybody. Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to recap all of the GHSA championship games, including the girls’ flag football ones. And we will be bringing in all of the all-stars, like Jon said, to help us do it. It was an amazing weekend. Here is a little sampling of what happened.
Wayne Gandy: This has been a game, big-time players making big-time plays. You just saw another one, right there that is probably going to seal the deal here.
Larry Smith: I got to tell you, all the games I’ve done on GPB, the championship games. First, one where it actually came down to the final one.
Wiley Ballard: Kneel down from Kaylee Haas and that was Do It, No More Snaps needed. Southeast Bulloch state champions, again.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: And the trophy awaits Prince Avenue for the second time in three years. 24 seconds, 23 seconds, 21 seconds. The clock still running. They’re still milling around out there. Talmage, right up the middle. And he is going to score the touchdown 66 yards to put the cherry on top. Tanner Hands off the gardener. Get in, get in. No. Benedict is in a goal-line stand. State champions for the second straight year. Backed de la balance. Philly special, maybe? No. He’s going to run it himself to the park.
Hannah Goodin: We had overtime goal line stand, history made, and records broken, Jon.
Jon Nelson: It’s just, you know, you’re sitting there, and you have to kind of pull yourself back a little bit. And then you hear that montage put together.
Hannah Goodin: Gives you chills.
Jon Nelson: And that’s just a sampling. I mean, on social media, you’ve got five plays in 55 seconds in football time in the 7A championship game, and the plays were 80 yards here, 80 yards there. You’re talking 1100-something yards of total offense in the 7A championship game records for points, and a half points in a game, it records for a freshman in, you know, in a championship. It’s just mind-blowing. What we got to see on a lot of different levels, whether it was tremendous defense or just offense, where it was, it was Nintendo or Arena football, whatever you want to say. We had both sets of extremes to get championships made.
Hannah Goodin: Well, speaking of video games, Mill Creek, Carrollton game, the Hawks won 70 to 35 most points scored in a GHSA championship ever. Here’s Cotton Commission player of the game Cam Robinson following the win.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: And let’s send it back down to Jon Nelson with our Cotton Commission Player of the game.
Jon Nelson: And I know that you got some celebrating to do, Cam, so we’ll make this kind of quick. What was it like out there tonight? It was almost video game stuff.
Cam Robinson, Mill Creek Running Back: It was a- it was ridiculous. I was a nice man to score to be like this coach is a great team. They have a great coaching staff. But Coach Love taught us from day one, we if we play with our heart, we play with each other, we going to get a championship. And that’s what we did tonight.
Jon Nelson: When you look back at this year and the success that Mill Creek has had, it almost seems too easy at times. Talk about the hard work that it took to get to this game. And win the last game of the year.
Cam Robinson, Mill Creek Running Back: All the summer and spring workouts, all the ups and downs we’re through as a team. Find ourselves after that Buford lost really home hit with us, and after that we have been on the roll.
Jon Nelson: When you look at this group of folks that have been around you, I know that family has been thrown around as a word break down the brotherhood for me.
Cam Robinson, Mill Creek Running Back: One of a kind is going to be my best for everything. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t do anything without them.
Hannah Goodin: So, Mill Creek played in its first ever state title in its 19 year history, and in Cam Robinson’s words, it was ridiculous, Jon.
Jon Nelson: Ridiculous. 66 yard touchdown run to start the scoring off. And then he had TD runs a one yard crash in the third in a three yard run in the fourth quarter. And I’m sitting here trying to do the math really quickly. 6 and 1165 total yards of offense 597 from Millcreek 406 on the ground where the extreme for Carrollton Juju Lewis 531 through the air.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Jon Nelson: To get things done for 105 points to be put on the board.
Hannah Goodin: All right. Well, let’s take a deeper dove at that game in every single championship game with our GPB All-Stars, as always, first up is GHSF Up Daily founder and editor Todd Holcomb as Jon makes the batting.
Jon Nelson: He’s the Rickey Henderson for that. And that’s the Google machine reference for the kids today. Todd is our version of Rickey Henderson.
Hannah Goodin: So Todd, three days of championship action. We are going to take a closer look at Thursday with you. So, we had three flag football games and the boys single A’s. Let’s start by talking about Southeast Bulloch beating Harris County 13 to nothing. They go 39 and oh in program history, their second straight championship in two years in division one for the girls that’s a first ever for GHSA flag football 15 shutouts this season seven in a row I’m going to start talking about them now and let Todd talk. What have you seen out of girls like football and how much fun was that game to watch?
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor: Well, first of all, it’s pretty amazing that they get the shutouts like that because, you know, you think of flag football as being what you’ve got, you know, the fastest players. He’s got a good quarterback and but it’s really, really often comes down to pulling those flags, you know, just getting after it that way. And they did that really well. But yeah, I think the growth of it, I mean, I don’t have the exact stats, but but I remember getting this from GHSA last week. I mean, I think it had about 225 teams this year, 160 last year and 90 the year before. I mean, think about that. It’s definitely that it’s the fastest growing sport. And why wouldn’t it be because football is kind of America’s sport, right? But girls have had the opportunity to play, you know, basketball or soccer or, you know, or fast pitch similar to baseball, but they’ve never had a football equivalent. So, this is just kind of amazing that it’s taken this long to think of that great idea because it’s, you know, it’s and the quality of play is really good and the coaching is really good. It’s, you know, my favorite sport to watch.
Hannah Goodin: No, I agree. It’s fantastic. So then in Division two, Lithia Springs beat Central Carrollton 14 to nothing to go 18 and 0 on the year. And in Division three, Blessed Trinity beat Milton 19 to 13 in that crazy double overtime game. And you just named a player on the Titans team as your player of the week, right?
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor: Yeah, two of them. In fact, it was the quarterback, Julia Geis, I believe, seven, Jaclyn Johns. And they hooked up for the winning touchdown in overtime.
Jon Nelson: So let’s get into the games after flag football. It was the single-A classifications, both Division one and Division two. Some really cool stories there. You had Swainsboro, Prince Avenue Christian, you had Bowden and Schley County. You had some real competition. They were top ranked in both divisions for most of the year. When you look at those matchups, what do you see? What are your takeaways?
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor: Well, first of all, in Division two, of course, you know, Division two is a new classification previously to be a class A school year or anything under about 600 students. And this year it was under about 400, maybe give or take 50. I can’t remember exactly where the cup was, but it really opened up an opportunity for a lot of those really smaller schools that were always good. Like Bowdon and Schley County that had a tough time breaking through. And so, yeah, that was their first state title since 1992. It would have been Schley County’s first. So, that was the coolest thing, first of all, about these two schools getting that opportunity because it was the first state final appearance for Schley County and Bowdon, the first in a little while. And it was a great game. I mean, back and forth, you know, high scoring game 39-31. And yeah, one of the things people forget how, how much scoring took place in these class A final.
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor: Crazy happened Saturday a couple of days later but yeah really good offenses and in the case of Bowdon Schley they really run the ball well. And Schley can throw it, so yeah really good game.
Jon Nelson: Jake Kanazawa for another year and then Prince Avenue and Swainsboro.
Hannah Goodin: PAC business as usual.
Jon Nelson: Well that but at the same time, we saw the fast start that Swainsboro had, and where Coach Vandegrift said after the game it’s a four quarter game. And, we knew that we could, you know, get to Swainsboro and their lack of depth probably say third and fourth quarter and they did exactly that, Todd.
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor: Yeah, but you know, I think is it halftime? You know, I interviewed Coach Vandegrift and he sounded almost not cocky but really confident that, you know, that they would have the more gaffes in the end. And that’s exactly what happened. But again, two awfully good teams. Swainsboro was undefeated. Prince Ave Christian was our number one ranked team from wire to wire, the battle of heavyweights there. And yeah, I mean, Aaron Philo just throws the ball so well I mean we receivers go over a hundred yards receiving they had three of over 1000 yards on the sea of course one of them was playing with a broke collarbone, barely started and again in their final through four. What’s my number here? I’ve got it 477 yards and that was a state record which would be broken three years later. I mean, two days later, you know, by Carrollton, freshman quarterback Lewis. But he had six touchdown passes, which is the state final three record. So.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor:Yeah. And that was a pretty, pretty exciting game. Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: So just to recap our scores there and boys single-A Division two Bowden in beat Schley County 3931 and in single-A Division one PAC beat Swainsboro 52 to 34 for their second championship in three years. Well, Todd, thank you so much, as always, for all of your great insight. We appreciate you joining us on the podcast and breaking down day number one of our championship coverage for us.
Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily Founder and Editor: Yeah, you’re welcome. And just one last quick thing, because you’ll have fun reviewing all these games with your other guests. But I think this was the most eventful, exciting state finals that I can remember. I mean, you had everything so high scoring games, goal line stands, you name it.
Hannah Goodin: Next up, WMAZ’s sports anchor Marvin James and Marvin.-.
Jon Nelson: Leggo! That always goes.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Hello, Jon. How are y’all?
Jon Nelson: That always gets Hannah.
Hannah Goodin: I truly just can’t work through it yet.
Jon Nelson: Show me what you got.
Hannah Goodin: I can’t work through it. Okay. So we know you were on the sidelines for a lot of these big games. The one we want to talk to you about 5A Ware County taking down the two time defending champs, Warner Robins 38 to 13 for their first title win in history. 64 year program finally getting their first championship. Recap that game for us. What fell apart for the Demons?
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Uhh… the Gators showing up. They were just a great team. I mean, take no credit away from them or the Demons. It’s just that you got matchups, their matchups that, you know, outdid the matchups of the demons and they just were the better team, and it was their time. I mean, you think about a lot of times when you’re cheering for a team, you’re cheering for your own individual program. You don’t think about the other things. Well, here’s a little story about Ware County. They lost to the Demons in 2004, semifinals, headed to the Demon State Championship that they won that year. And then in ’06, they lost to North Side, same city, different school, but they lost to a team from Warner Robins. So, this was their time. They were ready for the big moment. And they came out there. They just exploded for it. And it just it was just an awesome sight to see. It was one thing that Demons really couldn’t put their heads down because they were playing without money, but they just ran to a better team that day.
Jon Nelson: Well, and I mean, considering the rough start that Marquis Westbrook and Warner Robins had, I mean, a lot of folks and we said it on the weekend, a lot of folks were kicking dirt on Warner Robins when they were one and four.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Mmm…Hmmm
Jon Nelson: But they got everything figured out. And you got to see what a lot of folks saw in Warner Robins the previous five years as they steamrolled their way from the bottom half of their regular season through the playoffs to get to the last game of the year against an old region rival.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: That’s right. I mean, nine straight wins to start off, one in four to enter the state championship ten and four is nothing to scoff at. And I think a lot of times, you know, we’re in this business where we see this stuff happen occasionally. But, you know, as an occasional fan, I mean, it’s. Imagine it six times in a row. That means it’s not just one class. It’s through several different classes that come together. And to be able to do those six different times and still be able to be at the top of the class. And at the end of the day, you say, oh, I’m number two in the 5A. I mean that’s just a great thing to talk about the program or what Coach Westbrook is doing. He’s 50 and 9 is his record through four years. But you know but again take your hat off to Ware County. Waycross brought the crowd. They just were very in it from the beginning. We have some speedy, speedy talent out there. And it was just exciting for me, you know, halfway through. I mean, I get excited for any program that is trying to push, you know, or make history for themselves. And that’s what they did. It just was a great game. I heard one of the biggest talks earlier about just being a great weekend of football, a great week of football, and I agree it was just a great week of football.
Hannah Goodin: Well, Coach Westbrook has proven year after year to rebuild the team and maintain that level of play. Whom will they be graduating? What areas are the Demons going to be focusing on in the offseason?
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: I know one that they’ll be focusing on because they do not have the Burley Man coming back next year.
Hannah Goodin: Yes, he is gone.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Yeah, the big of the Big, big, big, big burly has been playing. I think he played in all of those games.
Hannah Goodin: The past ten years.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: And yeah, he’s. Been playing forever, man. I mean, I think they’re going to have to take the key from him to lock up the gym and, you know, and all the stuff that he did so much, putting up the vending machines and all that stuff in the school. He just I mean, what a great guy, what a legacy, and what he’s been able to do. And he even came over to the offensive side of the ball because the offensive line was struggling a little bit and he ran some tight in and he blocked his butt off and still went out there and put his hand in the dirt. They play fourth down on defense. So yeah, that’s the big plus right here for them. But on the opposite side of the ball, they got both quarterbacks coming back. Isiah Canion, who came in in relief of Chase Reese, who tore his ACL in the first round of the playoffs? Those two are coming back. Malcolm Brown is leaving. He’s a big-time recruit running back. But they got a guy named William Trey Gunnings that was going to be his replacement number 14 who played a little bit. So, they got some pieces coming back. So, it’s not going to be altogether a rebuilding year. They said this year was going to be kind of a rebuilding year. And so, it was if it’s anything like it was this year I guess we’ll take that, too, right?
Hannah Goodin: Yes.
Jon Nelson: Now, now, for the record, I went inside our our our little bullpen area, and I bent down because I had to tie my shoe. There was water that had accumulated in my hood and the water came over both sets, both ears, and literally poured out onto the floor. That’s how that game ended for me, was in our bullpen, tying my shoe and having water cascading back over my head that had accumulated in the hood of my raincoat.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: It made you question, why am I doing this again? Why am I doing this?
Hannah Goodin: I love it.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: We all have those moments. It was good. It was good. Was that after all the Benedictine game?
Jon Nelson: Yes, it was after the Benedictine game when I went upstairs, and yeah, we were down at that point.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: But yeah, man.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, no doubt about it. But as always, it’s great to have you as a part of the Football Fridays in Georgia All-Stars. It’s great to see you and Frank and Ben and everybody down there at Football Fridays. And obviously, you know, we cannot leave the segment without shouting out Mr. Collins or because without him.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Absolutely.
Jon Nelson: We could not get to the next stages of everything when it comes to everything. And I mean, John Milledge had a fantastic year, 50 wins in a row down there in middle Georgia as well.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Fantastic fellowship. The Fellowship Christian Academy went back-to-back. I mean, it was just great, man. And thanks a lot. All you guys do as well. I mean, Hannah, I know your cheeks were hurting literally from smiling those 20-plus hours. You guys just did a great, fantastic job.
Jon Nelson: She was dry the entire time.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Y’all don’t get enough credit. Yeah. All right, y’all get enough credit for what goes on behind the scenes to keep coming back up there day after day after day. And that’s just awesome. So, I appreciate you to salute you, too, as well.
Hannah Goodin: Well, thank you. We appreciate it.
Jon Nelson: Be good, my friend. We’ll catch up with you soon.
Marvin James, 13WMAZ Sports Anchor: Oh, yeah. Let’s go.
Hannah Goodin: Joining us now is WRBL TVnColumbus sports director, Jack Patterson. And Jack, I can’t wait to get your take on the three days of championship coverage. What were your biggest observations from the crazy weekend?
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: Man, well, I got to start with the game that I was personally there for, which is Bowden and Schley County, which I think was one of the games of the weekend.
Jon Nelson: No doubt.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: When you got that, when you talk about those two teams, they just went back and forth. There was no punts in that game, you know, but yet you still had incredible offensive plays, defensive plays when they needed to be made and their special teams plays coming through as well. So that game had everything you could have wanted in a state championship game. Unfortunately for our area, the Schley County, Schley County couldn’t come out on top, but that was just a heck of a game. And then the rest of the games as well, you know, we saw a lot of offense this year, which is kind of different from years past. We saw a ton offense especially in that 7A state championship game. My eyes were open when I saw Mill Creek put up 39 in the first half and 70 total against a team like Carrollton. So absolutely crazy. And yet a whole bunch of other different crazy games as well. Cedertown Benedictine was a fantastic game. You know, that’s one of the games I was looking forward to. So just, you know, just GHSA Championship weekend rarely ever disappoint.
Jon Nelson: And at the same time, Jack, I know that for for sports anchors and sports directors, it’s always fun when there’s a lot of offense going on because you’re sitting there and you’re talking to your producer. It’s like, look, I need an extra 45 seconds. And they ask, asking why? And they’re like, No, you don’t understand.
Hannah Goodin: You don’t get it.
Jon Nelson: I need an extra 45 seconds. There was a lot of highlights here.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: My highlight for that game ran a minute long.
Hannah Goodin: I was about to say, Jon, you need more than 45 seconds for that.
Jon Nelson: I know.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: But a minute long highlight and then 30 minutes for the post-game.
Jon Nelson: See, that’s strong. That’s strong. That’s good stuff. And what a lot of folks may not necessarily understand or remember, Jack, is Jay Kanazawa is a junior. He’s coming back for another season. And Darren Alford’s bunch is probably going to be, you know, right up there again at the top of the rankings in single-A. When we come back, next year.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: Its not just Jay Kanazawa, Jon. It is, you know, Joe Louis Solomon, also a junior. Yeah. Xavier Walker whos a sophmore.
Jon Nelson: GPB all state. Yeah.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: I talked to Coach Alford after the game. He’s got seven. You’ve got eight offensive players coming back and seven defensive players coming back. Schley County is not going anywhere.
Jon Nelson: Wow. When you look, I know that you you’re you’re kind of camped out with this on the entire weekend. Look at the look at the season on the hole from 30,000 feet. Obviously, we have our champions. We have flag football, which, you know, once again led the weekend off 11 title games and like 60 hours of real clock time. But when you look at the season on the whole, what sticks in your brain from the western frontier?
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: I really think it’s the rise of certain teams. Schley County, one of those teams, you know, that always, always be on the cusp of making it to Atlanta and finally getting there. I know it didn’t work out the way they wanted to, but that was a big deal. Now, you have Troup County as well, having another fantastic season with Tanner Glisson and Taeo Todd and all those guys. That’s another guy that’s a junior that’s going to be coming back for one more shot at it. They have a lot of juniors on that team as well, so it’s going to be a same deal for Troup County and then I’ll look at other programs. Carver in their first year with Pierce, Coffee making it back to the Elite Eight and they’re going to be a team that’s going to be building as well. So, I’ll say it was a year of change in a year of rise for teams in our area is a lot to look forward to in 2023 for our area.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. And there was a lot excitement of excitement coming out of Ellisville. So did the entire town show up to Center Parc Stadium? What was the atmosphere like?
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: I mean, basically, I mean, there’s not a ton of people in Ellisville.
Jon Nelson: 1500, 1500.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: I mean, i feel like if the entire city wasn’t there, I would venture to say at least 90% of it was amazing. I mean, it was packed. That side of Center Parc Stadium was packed. The Ellisville people showed up and showed out, as we like to say. And, you know, as I said, man, this is just the beginning for Schley County. I think you’ll be hearing a lot more from the Wildcats. What Darren Alford has done in his time there is simply remarkable. We’re talking about a program before he got there that was a no-win team, a one-man team, a two-team. And now they are firmly on the state radar as a contender for a state championship. Year in, year out. This is just the beginning. So, keep the names of Schley County in your mind as we go into 2023.
Jon Nelson: Well, Jack, as always, is great to have you as a part of our Football Fridays in Georgia All-Stars. I guess you are. You’re the Intercontinental Champion when it comes to title belts now, considering that-.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: You know, they say that the workhorse well, Nellie. And you know, anybody that knows me knows that I don’t let anybody outwork me, so I guess that’s it.
Jon Nelson: The Intercontinental Champion for Football Fridays in Georgia with the All Stars, Jack Patterson, Sports Director, WRBL TV in Columbus. Thanks for hanging out with us and letting us know what’s going on at the Western frontier all year long. We’ll catch up before you know it.
Jack Patterson, WRBL TV Columbus Sports Director: Any time. Any time.
Hannah Goodin: Up next is the host of Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia, Phil Jones. Phil, how are you after the championships?
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Oh, I feel so satisfied with that great football that we had.
Jon Nelson: Have you recovered, sir?
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: What was that?
Jon Nelson: Have you recovered, sir?
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Well, I have, but, you know, it’s like eating a great meal. You feel satisfied, but you’re kind of sad at the same time that it’s over.
Hannah Goodin: I agree. That’s a great way to put it because, you know, football season is mostly over for Jon and I. Now-
Jon Nelson: I’m just going to go back to the restaurant and bang on the door handle and tell them to open up.
Hannah Goodin: We still have the recruiting show. But it is of sad. But, man, those championships were awesome. Well, let’s spring you in for the Cedartown Benedictine game. That last second goal line, stand five plays it. The one cadets win it 14 to 13. What were your thoughts on that one?
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: You know, guys, I’ll be honest with you. When you’re, you know, when you’re looking from a defensive standpoint, when you’re looking at having to defend the goal first and goal to go from the one.
Jon Nelson: In downpour.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Yeah, exactly. That’s pretty bleak, you know, I mean, what are the odds, you know, not scoring and then, you know, so yeah, if you can get it to just one down at a time, one down at a time, and that’s what Danny Britt defensive unit was able to do. And I was a little surprised and I really don’t know why this does happen again. Who am I to second guess? But, any idea why they, Cedartown, chose not to try a field goal?
Jon Nelson: I can tell you because-.
Hannah Goodin: I was asked the same exact question. Jon told me to wait till the podcast. Here we go.
Jon Nelson: So here’s the deal. I was on the sidelines for the last handful of minutes in the downpour, getting every stitch of my clothing and all of my rain gear soaked. They call the timeout. They bring the kicker into the huddle and they’re trying to determine, okay, you will probably kick the field goal literally the second that they get in the huddle and start talking about it 15, 20 seconds into the huddle discussion, it opens up and I mean, it is downpour and a half. And so with everything that can go wrong, with a snap on a field goal attempt in those conditions, I understand why, at least from my perspective, I think it was because the skies opened up and it’s better to sit there and as a quarterback perhaps hand off to a to a running back in that situation and just power it in as opposed to snap spot kick that late. That’s like you said, that’s just my perspective. But the skies opened up literally in that timeout.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: And I think that makes a lot of sense, guys. You know, to be honest with you, that the art of going through really an extra point, but even more so a field goal, there’s a lot of moving parts to it just kind of laid out for us, Jon. So that certainly clarifies that. And to be honest with you, I probably would have done the same thing.
Jon Nelson: All right. So the other thing that we focused on last week is ITG Next is behind the scenes with Gainesville and the first season of Josh Niblett up there. They get to the last game of the year, they take on Hughes. They were hanging with them, but it was that one little stretch at the end of the first half to score is lightning quick and the game opened up from there.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, you want to look at it really. That was probably the difference in the game. But wow, what a great coaching job. Not, you know, all season long for sure, but especially in that game, because, guys, let’s face it, Hughes had been just rolling over everybody with ease and, you know, Josh Niblett give them credit. They came up with a game plan to try to stifle as much as it is possible to do so. Air Noland and they did about as good a job as you get. They gave themselves a chance to win the game, guys. And that’s really all you can ask for, you know, going up against any team, but especially a team like Hughes.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. First championship victory in school history and the emotion on Coach Boone Williams face after the game and the players breaking down. That was just what high school football’s all about so.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Well, guys And so let me add this, too. So you know you had last year and funny you we’ll tie in our previous discussion with this one so it was kind of funny that, you know, last year it was Langston Hughes who, you know, was going to try a last second field goal, despite not having kicked a field goal or attempted a field goal all season long, did try to win last year. And of course, we know that did not work out. So, you know, kind of interesting that we were just talking about that, but they obviously didn’t they didn’t have the need for, you know, to do that, although they did the first point of the game I believe came on a field goal then.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. And one other team that I wanted to talk to you about was the Fitzgerald Thomson game. Fitzgerald trying to go back to back. They’ve got more than two dozen juniors coming back for 2023, Fitzgerald and Thomson. And you got to see some of the great talent down there that we know about in South Georgia and also in East Georgia.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Yep. So just as we were with kind of doing a behind the scenes with Gainesville a couple of weeks ago two and two, we were actually with Tucker Pruitt and the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes and you guys will be able to see that coming up shortly.
Jon Nelson: Excellent plug, sir. Nicely Done. Yes, nicely done.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: But kind of the same thing. But we’re going to you know, when you do that, you get to know these guys. You get to see these guys without their helmets on and behind the scenes. And it’s a great group of individuals. But coach is players and listen, tough game, hard fought game. You know, I love Tucker Pruitt’s comments at halftime. Speaking of the rain, “hey, we play football in the rain down here at Fitzgerald.”
Jon Nelson: Fantastic.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: And, you know, just it was two, two teams going at it battling. I love Fitzgerald straight ahead. You know, three, literally three yards and a cloud of dust, cause there was no dust lined up in the rain.
Jon Nelson: But yeah, chucks of tires. Yeah.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Yep.
Hannah Goodin: So we just-.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Give Thomson credit and they just running back and his name escapes me right now. But what an incredible young man and running back his.
Jon Nelson: John Davis Curry. I mean, that was just woof. John Davis Curry 243 and 4, three of them on more than 50 yards.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Please tell me that the college is going to snatch this young man up..
Jon Nelson: Make that kid, an Offer.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Their you go.
Hannah Goodin: So we just recapped all of Friday and let me give everybody these scores. In case you weren’t following perfectly, Thomson beat Fitzgerald 32-27, Benedictine beat Cedartown, 14-13, and Hughes took down Gainesville 35 to 28. So Phil, thanks for going through all of Friday with us of championship coverage and it’s always a pleasure to have you on.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Guys, thank you so much for having me. I really have enjoyed it this year. And again, it did not disappoint. I thought this was going to be a great year of football and did not disappoint. It was.
Jon Nelson: Be well, my friend.
Phil Jones, Extra Point for ITG Next Georgia Host: Thanks, guys.
Hannah Goodin: And last but not least, voice of GPB Sports Football Fridays in Georgia and co-host of Recruiting 2022, Matt Stewart who called 5 of the 11 championship games.
Jon Nelson: I mean, I imagine meant that that our pipes, meaning yours and mine, are probably feeling about the same right now and on as we’re talking on a monday.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: No, I’m fine because a couple of years ago.
Hannah Goodin: I remember.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Move me on to throat coat.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. He lost his voice and I had to step in. I mean, I was there for that.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah. I been drinking Throat Coach tea, honey with religiously every time I have to do a high stress event or events and it works.
Jon Nelson: Brought to by-.
Hannah Goodin: The voice sounds great.
Jon Nelson: Brought two boxes with me on the weekend, and so I know exactly what you’re talking about. So you know.
Hannah Goodin: Let’s talk to him about that 7A Game.
Jon Nelson: Okay. Well, that hang on. All right. So from a from a play by play guys perspective. You had some of the most ridiculously exciting games that a play by play guy could ever have, regardless of sport. I mean, you had you had goal lines. You had five plays at the one for a goal line stand. You had a record setting game in seven a on a bunch of different levels. You had history with your other ones. I mean, there were this was this was like a holiday for you, man. This was like Christmas call. It was it was like Christmas. All the gifts you got, man.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah. Really? From start to finish. The Thursday night game, Prince Avenue and Swainsboro, the Bailey Stockton. Remarkable, you know, story playing with a broken collarbone. And then the reincarnation of Michael Vick playing quarterback, Ty Adams, for Swainsboro. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen quite that kind of performance. Yeah, well, I take that back. We saw a lot of great performances in a losing never Juju throwing for over 500 yards in the 7A game and ever the 55. The five touchdowns in 55 seconds, though has to go down as the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen in football, much less called in football. And I got the opportunity to do that. In fact, if folks want to go to my Twitter account right now, I posted all five plays. So, it’s getting I think I’m up around 36,000 hits now on that, that.
Jon Nelson: Is that all?
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: People are going nuts over that. So, yeah, you can go see the, you know, the five plays that happened in 55 seconds. I got them edited together, but it was nuts, you know, that’s just unto itself. Just unbelievable. So and then Benedictine, you know, with the legendary goal line stand with the game on the line to deny Cedertown all those things. I mean, there’s just so many things that happened over that three day period that were just unbelievable. It was it had to be our the greatest collection of state championship games, I think we’ve ever done certainly since I’ve been doing it over the last ten years.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah. I mean, Mill Creek not only playing in its first ever state title in its 19 year history, but comes up with a 70-35 win over Carrollton making that GHSA championship history. What was going through your mind with all of those back to back touchdowns and in 55 seconds? Because my jaw was on the floor. You know, if you watch the broadcast, we have to pick a play of the first half or halftime. And I was lost after the blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. My head was spinning. So, Matt, what was going through your mind?
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: I mean, it was just it got to the point. It was almost kind of ridiculous. I mean, you know, touchdown after touchdown after touchdown. And you just kept wondering, at least Wayne and I did, when’s this game going to settle down and be like a real football game? Because right now it’s not like a real football game. That doesn’t happen. Yeah, but yeah, like Coach Josh Lovelady, you know, said it was like a track meet is really what it was. And I think somebody on Twitter referred said the game was drunk.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: That might be the best thing I’ve ever heard said yeah was like the game was drunk.
Jon Nelson: I mean all right so here’s the rundown. Block field goal return for a score 88 yards 88 seconds later coach for 27 yards from Juju Lewis ensuing kickoff return for a score 14 seconds later after the ensuing kickoff, Bryce Hicks 80 yards from Juju Lewis, then 11. Later after the kick off. So this is like literally ensuing kick off. If they don’t score, it’s the next play after the kick off. Then it’s Justin Content, 80 yards from Hayden Clark. Then, Caleb Downs has a six yard run and an 80 yard pass within 14 seconds of each other. Caleb Odom and Caleb Downs back to back within 14 seconds, one score each on the board. Then, Downs has two. Takare Lipscomb scores, and you’re at the half and there’s 73 or set with 77 points on the board at the half.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah, it was nuts. I mean it was on 105 points. As you brought up, Hannah was the highest scoring state championship game ever, topped it by two touchdowns, beat the record by two touchdowns. The previous record had been 91. Total points. Carrollton and Griffen.
Jon Nelson: Called that game Jack was Park yeah.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: In 2013 and you know they scored two plus more touchdowns in this game so.
Hannah Goodin: So, we interviewed our all stars and we’ve been following, you know, recruiting and all of these talented players all season long. Did did anybody just outperform expectations or what what is your overall take on all of the talent on the field this weekend?
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Well, yeah. I mean, I would say, yeah, when it you know, it’s hard to you know, it’s hard to imagine that a freshman would throw for 520 something yards in a state championship game and lose.
Jon Nelson: Mhm.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: But he did. But he’s going to be back, Carrollton. Back. You know, Carrollton is going to be a we want, like I said, on the air Saturday night. We won’t miss on him this time. This past year we didn’t, but we weren’t the only ones. I went back and looked at Georgia High School Football Daily. They didn’t have them ranked either, so we weren’t the only dummies not to have them ranked in the preseason top ten. But we won’t miss them. We’ll miss them this time. I’d say they go into the year, you know, Buford is going to be in the mix and Colquitt, you know, just off the top of my head, those are the three probably the top three teams in the rankings in one way come back around for 2023. So but yeah, look, Juju Lewis and Cam Robinson goes for, you know, over 200 yards rushing in the state championship game you know.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah. I mentioned Ty Adams, you know, he, you know, he rushed for like 250 something yards as a quarterback and scored four touchdowns. All of them, you know, he had the 20 and 27 yard touchdown after that. Everything else was like over 45 yards. Yeah, I mean, he really did. He looked like a right handed Michael Vick out there. And, you know, that’s extraordinary. And, you know just Bailey and only forget about Aaron Philo. Philo threw for four-.
Jon Nelson: Seventy-seven. Yeah
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: I mean he was right there, too, you know, and everybody kind of forgets about that because it happened ThursdayNight.
Jon Nelson: By the way.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah. I mean, just yeah. So, yeah, so many things, just so many individual performances that just, you know, blew out, blew away expectations. You know, I don’t know how you how can you anticipate bodies not throw for 500 yards? And then you had some extraordinary defensive efforts as well. Trey Hargrove’s had a super game for Ware County.
Jon Nelson: Recruiting is open for Trey Hargrove. I guarantee you that.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Well, did you see Bailey Stockton got offered by Georgia State? So on the you know the team that played.
Hannah Goodin: No way.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah, yeah. He got, he got his first FBS offer from Georgia State yesterday.
Hannah Goodin: Wow.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: So yeah that was, that was super cool. And Haden Clark picked up an offer from-.
Jon Nelson: West Georgia.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: West Georgia. So that, you know, he gets himself in an op, his previous offers had been NAI schools so yeah. So and that’s just a that’s just a sampling. I’m sure there’s plenty of other kids who got contacted after that because, you know. Coaches around the country are watching this thing. So, yeah, so it’s great. And I thought it was really cool that Bailey Stockton got offered by the team that plays there in that stadium. So, you know, that would have, you know, hard to miss out that when they happened on your own field. But. All right. So I was super excited for you.
Jon Nelson: Last question for you from us on Recruiting 2022, and we’re about a week away from the early signing period for the games that you called on the weekend. Give me a make that kid an offer or make that kid more offers from any of the ones that you saw that really blew you away.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Oh, well, you know, just, you know, those those two kids right there, Bryce Hicks, too, although he’s a junior. I would definitely say. I mean, he’s only got four offers and I don’t know how that’s even possible. Nobody else has offered that. Well, I don’t understand how that kid doesn’t have 40 offers. I mean, he’s the most underrated player in the state, so I don’t know. But he should have 40 offers. The Trey Hargrove’s kid should have a bunch of offers. Just so many guys out there that should have more below. Philo, his recruiting is probably going to pick up, but he only has three offers right now. You know, UCF is probably in the lead right now for him and he’s just a junior and Coach Vandegrift said he felt like his, you know, it’d pick up in the spring. But I just don’t understand, you know, the recruiting process some time and how some of these kids just simply don’t have offers. I know you know, so much of it’s the measurables. I get that. But when you watch these kids play and and do what they do in a state championship game, they’re not doing this against, you know, Backwater High School. They’re doing it in the state championship game against, you know, the best team in the state, the two best teams in the state. And when they perform like that, I guess, you know, what is at some point you got to you gotta throw out the measurables and look at what the guy does against, you know, pure competition. So.
Hannah Goodin: Well, we still have a lot of undecided talent out there. So everybody, a reminder, we will be doing early National Signing Day coverage on December 21st, coming up in just a little bit. And to see if any of these guys have some surprises or some flips and early nationals is-.
Jon Nelson: Merry Flip-mas, that’s the favorite holiday of the year.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: So, I mean, it’ll be it’ll be hard to top what happened last year with Travis Hunter. Yeah, I don’t anticipate anything quite like that this year, but you never know.
Jon Nelson: Until Travis flips to Colorado.
Hannah Goodin: Mm hmm.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah, that won’t be a flip. That’s just going to be a trend.
Jon Nelson: He’s going to be Portal-ing to Colorado. That’s going to happen.
Hannah Goodin: All right, Matt. Well, thank you, guys, for your thank you so much for your time today. And break it down. The games and your calls were were great to listen to, as always. And it was a fun weekend of coverage.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: But, I just thought everybody on our team top to bottom, you know, certainly everybody sees us as we’re on the air. But just the whole team top to bottom, just did an extraordinary job. I mean, I was really proud of our work a as GPB Sports team. I was really proud of what we were able to do.
Hannah Goodin: I second that, Matt. So we’ve recapped Thursday and Friday. So here are the final scores for Saturday, Ware County beat Warner Robins, 38-13. Mill Creek beat Carrollton 70-35. And Jon, Sandy Creek beat Cedar Grove 21 to 17 to get their first title in three A since 2012.
Matt Stewart, Voice of FFIG and Host of Recruiting 2022: Yeah.
Jon Nelson: And Garvin family always prevalent there at Sandy Creek with Brett, the head coach, Cole Garvin, the quarterback that was there. You can see Cole on the sidelines wearing his Garvin Letterman jacket. And it was it was pretty funny in the postgame interview where I wanted to try to have Coach Garvin discuss all of the deep ties, having been there for as long as he has all the family elements, he goes, Jon, you’re not going to get me.
Jon Nelson: And so, then he talked about it a little bit, and I made that the last question, but it was just fun to see Sandy Creek win a title. Cedar Grove, tremendous work from them with a national schedule. And you’re talking about region rivals here with Sandy Creek and Cedar Grove. Cedar Grove won the shootout between those two 49-34 during the regular season. Remember, it’s a 14 Region. So, you had only three region games. Three of the four teams out of Region five made it to the Final Four in that classification. So, it speaks to how tough that region is. And then for Cedar Grove playing national schedules because of the respect that they have garnered. I mean, they went to Washington, D.C. to play.
Hannah Goodin: They went through it this year.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. And so, you had.
Hannah Goodin: They had a team cancel on them.
Jon Nelson: Yeah. And so, you have all of that stuff from Cedar Grove that they have gone through to try to recap and try to I think it’s three titles in the last five years, I think now for Cedar Grove. So great work by Region 5 to get to the last game of the year and be almost of the Final Four in the class as well.
Hannah Goodin: Yes. So congratulations to Sandy Creek and their fans. Okay, Jon. Well, I think that we have officially recapped.
Jon Nelson: Yeah.
Hannah Goodin: Championships.
Jon Nelson: Everything, everything.
Hannah Goodin: Everything that happens.
Jon Nelson: So before we go once again and I’m going to turn this way, shout out to everybody there on the other side of the glass team. And Jake the Snake, the King James for Ambassador Jeremy and for Commander Sandy for putting up with me specifically, but for putting up with both of us on one of the wildest high school football seasons that we’ve had in recent memory here in the state of Georgia. We could not do this without you guys every single year. So before we go, I want to hear from each one of you one last time. Where are you on your holiday shopping? Now that football season is over.
Hannah Goodin: Your decorations better be up.
Jon Nelson: Where are so who’s on the mic first? Just go ahead and jump in. I need to. I just need four responses before we go. So where is everybody in their-? Snake, are you up? Okay, so we get, Jake’s got, Jake has to do is audio.
Hannah Goodin: They weren’t ready. You know what showed up in our yard yesterday?
Jon Nelson: An inflatable llama.
Hannah Goodin: An inflatable Grinch.
Jon Nelson: I was close.
Hannah Goodin: I came home from the broadcast, the last one. And my husband, John, had put up an inflatable Grinch.
Jon Nelson: That’s awesome. That’s-.
Hannah Goodin: I’m ashamed.
Jon Nelson: Why?
Hannah Goodin: We’ve become those people.
Jon Nelson: Know John is. John made it. I think John made a holiday statement. He wanted to get that reaction out of it.
Hannah Goodin: Even makes like the buzzing noise. It’s like buzzz.
Jon Nelson: Yeah, that’s the air going into- that noise. Exactly. That is exactly correct.
Jon Nelson: See Snake
Hannah Goodin: Exactly that noise.
Jon Nelson: Snake. In fact, he didn’t know it in that work.
Jake Cook: All right, that was perfect.
Jon Nelson: Where are you? Where are you on your your shopping and decorating, snake?
Jake Cook: Unfortunately, I haven’t done any shopping.
Jon Nelson: Atta boy. Right there with you.
Jake Cook: It’s going to be a real cheap Christmas for me this year. I think everybody’s getting pickled okra and jams and jellies and stuff like that.
Hannah Goodin: I would take that.
Jon Nelson: I would have said-.
Hannah Goodin: Homemade?
Jake Cook: Yeah, yeah.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, yeah.
Jake Cook: I think would be fine. It’s a cheap.
Hannah Goodin: Great gift.
Jon Nelson: All right. Assembly line. Who’s next?
James Turner: James.
Jon Nelson: All right. King James, where are you? On shopping and stuff.
James Turner: I’m pretty much basically just like Jake. I haven’t done anything yet.
Jon Nelson: Yes. Awesome.
James Turner: Trees going up tonight, though.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, no, it’s- oh no.
James Turner: It’s a little late, but better late than never.
Jon Nelson: No, I never know. It’s never too late. It’s late on the 26th. It’s not late until then.
Hannah Goodin: It’s too late.
Jon Nelson: Ambassador Jeremy.
Jeremy Powell: Actually, all the decorations are up at my house. I didn’t do it. I was out of town all weekend and then.
Jon Nelson: And always rely on the handy work of others.
Jeremy Powell: So that was fantastic. And as for Christmas gifts, I got the majority of them, but I have the idea for everybody. I take a look at the list. I mean, I did start buying it in October.
Jon Nelson: The orbit motion arrow would be your friend.
Hannah Goodin: I’m happy. I’m happy with that. Happy with that.
Jon Nelson: Smartly played Commander Sandy?
Sandy Malcolm: Well, the tree is not up yet.
Hannah Goodin: Sandy! No!
Sandy Malcolm: But it is late this year, I will admit. But shopping, I’m about halfway there. I’m a last minute shopper anyway.
Hannah Goodin: Yeah.
Jon Nelson: Right there with you.
Sandy Malcolm: I’m a little ahead.
Hannah Goodin: Okay. All right.
Jon Nelson: Okay, but well done.
Hannah Goodin: No matter what holiday you celebrate. Your decorations need to be up, people.
Jon Nelson: I feel like I’m next to a holiday drill sergeant.
Hannah Goodin: Oh, man.
Jon Nelson: They need to be up. Well, what if they’re not?
Hannah Goodin: Then that’s just not acceptable.
Jake Cook: She’s passionate.
Jon Nelson: That’s the word to use.
Hannah Goodin: I am. I’ve always loved Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. My girls were born.
Jon Nelson: Then you celebrate ten months out of the year.
Hannah Goodin: My girls were born around Christmas. They are one years old tomorrow. One years old. Today is the last day.
Jon Nelson: I would hope that they’re one year old.
Hannah Goodin: Well, they’re plural. That’s two of them.
Jon Nelson: They are each one year old.
Hannah Goodin: They’re one years old.
Jon Nelson: This isn’t the poet laureate, poets laureate, brothers in law discussion. They are each one year old.
Hannah Goodin: One years old.
Jon Nelson: What?
Hannah Goodin: I think it’s time to wrap this up. Hey, we have a reminder, everybody. We do. This is our last show of the year podcast of the year.
Jon Nelson: On a weekly basis.
Hannah Goodin: On a weekly basis. The last one of the year.
Jon Nelson: True.
Hannah Goodin: We’ll be back next month. So in another podcast-.
Jon Nelson: Signing day.
Hannah Goodin: We will be recapping early signing day, previewing regular National Signing Day, and just fill you in on.
Jon Nelson: Stuff.
Hannah Goodin: How we survived the holidays.
Jon Nelson: And Hannah’s decorations will still be up, or she will have taken them down already and started posting next year’s holiday decorations.
Hannah Goodin: They’ll still be up by the time we come on air and guarantee they’ll still be up.
Jon Nelson: For the Fab Four, for Hannah, I’m just Jon. Play it safe. Everybody enjoyed it once again for another year, the Football Fridays in Georgia Podcast. Thanks to the All Stars, Todd Holcomb, GHSF Daily. Please get well soon. Mary Alex Ander’s at WSWG. Jack Patterson of the WRBL Columbus, Marvin James WMAZ TV, and Making Loud. Phil, Phil Jones ITG Next, thank you. ITG Next then the Extra Point Show and our own Matt Stewart here, GPB, we’re out! We’ll see you later.
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