Richmond Hill High School’s loss to Pope in the quarterfinals of the girls’ state Class AAAAA soccer tournament on Saturday basically spelled the end of the 2013-2014 prep sports year in Bryan County.
So what better time to hand out a few plaudits to deserving student-athletes and coaches? Too bad there’s no trophy to go with this, but I will happily email each a picture of a trophy on request.
Bryan County High School Male Athlete of the Year: Running back/safety Nick Scott.
This wasn’t as easy a pick as one might think. Scott’s buddy Damion Dixon was a close second, but Scott won out. To me he’s the epitome of what a high school football player fromGeorgiais all about. Works hard, says “yes sir” to his elders a lot and runs like a 6-foot, 215-pound cement mixer with a burst of speed and a lot of heart.
Scott made two All State teams in 2013 and was named the Region 2-AA player of the year while running for more than 1,500 yards and 23 TDs. Oh, and he added 99 tackles and three sacks for good measure. Scott and his buddy Dixonare headed to AlbanyState. The Rams got lucky.
Bryan County High School Female Athlete of the Year: Vivian Moultrie, tennis. Moultrie may be the best girls’ tennis player to come out of Bryan County High School, in well, let’s say in a while. She’s certainly been the best in recent memory. Moultrie went 9-1 in No. 1 singles, losing only one match all season.
Runner up: Keyvona Moultrie. Yep, they’re sisters. Keyvona, a junior, played No. 2 singles all season for BCHS and went 10-0. As the results attest, these girls can play.
Bryan County High School Coach of the Year: David Elmore, boys’ basketball. When you inherit a program that struggled for as long as the Redskins’ program struggled and get it into the playoffs in only your second season at the helm, you’ve done something.
Elmore has done something. He took over a program that went something like 36-154 in the eight seasons preceding his hiring and, after a rough first trip around the block, coached BCHS to a 15-19 mark and a trip to the state Class AA tournament. The Redskins then nearly upset ofNortheast Macon, falling 59-54.
Runner up: Mario Mincey, girls’ hoops. Mincey is no stranger to success at BCHS — his teams have consistently gotten to the playoffs over the season and did so this year after a one-year absence.
Bryan County High School Team of the Year: Redskins football. The Redskins went 8-3 in 2013 and finished third in Region 2-AA with a 7-2 mark. If you don’t think that’s an accomplishment, you don’t knowGeorgia high school football. With regular season contests against Class A private school state runner up Calvary Day, Class AA semifinalist Benedictine and Vidalia, which got to the second round of the state playoffs,BryanCounty arguably played a tougher region schedule than a certain Class AAAAA school.
And speaking of that school, here’s what I’ve got for Richmond Hill High School:
Richmond Hill High School Male Athlete of the Year: Nick Fitzgerald, football. A truly gifted quarterback, Fitzgerald graduated early and went on toMississippiState, where he’s already distinguished himself in the Bulldogs’ spring game. Fitzgerald only started one season at QB for RHHS, but it was one for the books.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder with the look of a pocket passer ran — that’s right, ran — for 1,517 yards and 25 touchdowns in 12 games. He showed he could pass, too, by completing 33 of 78 passes for 11 touchdowns while guiding the Wildcats to the second round of the state Class AAAAA playoffs. Keep an eye out for him.
Richmond Hill High School Female Athlete of the Year: Amanda Elliott, cross country and track. Elliott was Region 3-AAAAA cross country champ and finished eighth at the state meet. But she battled injuries during track season, competing in only three meets. Still, when healthy Elliott was as good as it got in both middle distance and distance running. Want proof? Her time of 11 minutes, 30 seconds in the 3,200 at a regular season meet was the fastest time in the area. And every meet she ran in, she won. Elliott will be is running at the Air Force Academy next year. She plans on becoming a doctor after that. She’ll be a good one.
Richmond Hill High School Team of the Year: girls’ soccer. By advancing to the quarterfinals, they went further in the postseason than anyone else in the county. Enough said.
Richmond Hill High School coach of the year: Steve Kollman, girls’ soccer. The Lady Wildcats had a typically successful year in 2014, going 17-4 and advancing to the state quarterfinals for the fifth time in Kollman’s 13 years coaching soccer. That’s a big deal. Though RHHS is a big school — its enrollment is enough to put it in the state’s largest classification — it’s in a small county. Bryan County has a population of somewhere around 30,000 folks. Pope, on the other hand, is inCobb County, which in 2013 had an estimated population of 717,190. Cobb is also part of metroAtlanta, and metro Atlanta is basically the SEC when it comes to girls’ prep soccer in this state.
Look at the most recent AJC state rankings for Class AAAAA – No. 1 McIntosh, No. 2 Pope, No. 3 Starr’s Mill, No. 4 Northgate, No. 5 Heritage Conyers, No. 6 Northview, No. 7 North Paulding, No. 8 Loganville, No. 9 Villa Rica and No. 10 Villa Rica are all in metro Atlanta. Most of the ranked teams in the other classifications are also from metro Atlanta, and a quick check of girls’ GHSA state champions since 1995 shows only two schools from outside metro Atlanta have won a title in any classification — both were won by Savannah Christian.
So why bring all that up? Because it needs to be said: When it comes to girls’ soccer, everyone in this state is playing catchup to the metro Atlanta schools. But Kollman, who’s always first to credit local soccer associations for their work in developing young players, is usually a lot closer to catching them than many of his peers — as his record of 182-56-9 shows.
Add in his time as a boys and middle school coach and Kollman is 206-58-12 with eight top 10 finishes and a boys’ semifinal appearance in 2004.
In an era of “what have you done for me lately,” you’ve got to respect that kind of excellence over a sustained period. In short, the man can coach.
Runner up: Sarah Brown, girls basketball. Brown had big shoes to fill, stepping in for Elizabeth Bennett, but Brown filled them up pretty nicely. The Lady Wildcats went 19-11 and made it to round two of the girls’ Class AAAAA tournament.
Jeff Whitten writes for the Bryan County News, when he’s not busy posting stuff on the internet or trying to decipher the intricacies of Twitter, like an old dog trying to understand a new trick. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.