Inside Sports: Newnan-East Coweta face off in August; other tidbits

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By JOEY HOWARD, Winters Media & Publishing 

The Newnan and East Coweta High Schools’ football schedules will have a different look in 2022. 

The GHSA reclassification process had something to do with it. East Coweta stays in 7-A and will play in Region 2 next season. Newnan drops to 6-A and will play in Region 5. But, the most glaring difference will be when the two cross-county rivals meet on the gridiron. Instead of late in the season, Newnan will travel to East Coweta on Aug. 26 for the 2022 affair. Intensity, a packed Garland Shoemake Stadium and some 90-degree weather will likely make it even more spicy. 

Newnan faces Sandy Creek in the Coweta-Fayette Classic to open the ’22 regular season and later hosts Hardaway, Paulding County, Alexander, Douglas County and New Manchester. The Cougars go on the road to meet East Coweta, South Paulding, East Paulding, and Langston Hughes. 

East Coweta opens play against Starr’s Mill in the Coweta-Fayette Classic, and will host Newnan, Sandy Creek, Lowndes, Lambert and Westlake. The Indians hit the road to play at Hillgrove, Carrollton, Campbell and Pebblebrook. 

GHSA Paychecks 

The 16 prep football teams that competed in the GHSA State Championship games at Center Parc Stadium last December recently received their checks for participating. Todd Holcomb of the AJC reported the 16 schools shares came from the title games earning pool of $179,150. Trinity Christian School, which defeated Prince Avenue in the 1-A Private Championship, was one of four 1-A schools to get a check for just under $7,000. The TCS share was $6,813.86. The 7-A Championship participants, Milton and Collins Hills, got checks in excess of $15,980.

This and That 

• The Atlanta Falcons will have the 8th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, which is set for April 28-29-30. Jacksonville has the No. 1 pick, followed by Detroit, Houston, N.Y. Jets, N.Y. Giants, Carolina, N.Y. Giants and then the Falcons. 

• The former Georgia All-American defensive tackle Jordan Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds on March 5 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. That may not sound very fast, but … it was the fastest time for any player over 330 pounds since 2006. You see, Davis stands 6-foot-6 3/8 inches tall and weighs 341 pounds. That performance, coupled with his on-field play at UGA, should make him lots of money. 

Former UGA defensive lineman Jordan Davis turned heads at the NFL Combine on March 5. (UGA Athletics Photo)

• NFL teams have until 4 p.m. on March 16 to be under the 2022 Salary Cap of $208.2 million. The team with the most cap space and money to spend on March 8, according to website overthgcap.com, is the San Diego Chargers as they are $56,316,690 under. It’s a fluid number until March 16 as teams manipulate the numbers by releasing players or reconfigure contracts prior to deadline to get under the 2022 Cap. The Green Bay Packers have the worst cap situation, standing at $45,844,202 million. The Falcons were some $6-plus million over, but the suspension of receiver Calvin Ridley freed up monies to give Atlanta a figure of $3,375,017 million under as of March 8. 

• Speaking of salary cap, Falcons QB Matt Ryan has the largest cap hit amount in NFL history at $48,662,500. That amount has helped push the Falcons over the cap limit much of the off-season until Ridley’s suspension and has hamstrung the club’s ability to sign free agents. It’s also a bit misleading since Ryan’s salary is only about $24 million, but the Falcons under former GM Thomas Dimitroff, had given him prorated bonuses through the years to create cap space in order to sign other players. Unfortunately for the Falcons, the rent is now due. 

• Signing All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman is the Atlanta Braves’ No. 1 priority when the Major League Baseball lockout is over. The Braves can’t say they don’t have the money. Liberty Media, the Braves owner, disclosed a full-year financial report last month indicating the club had $568 million in revenue in the 2021 World Series year. The report showed Braves Holdings had an operating profit of $111 million. 

• On March 4, Atlanta Hawks play-by-play broadcaster Steve Holman was behind the microphone for his 2,801st consecutive game. He began calling Hawks games some 33 years ago in the 1988-89 season. Just for comparison sake, Cal Ripken Jr. holds Major League Baseball’s longest streak for games played at 2,632. Other longest streaks, the NBA’s A.C. Green played in 1,192 straight games, Keith Yandle holds the NHL record at 975 while Brett Farve played in 297 consecutive games for the NFL’s longest. 

• The NBA announced in mid-January its Top-Selling Jerseys and the Hawks’ star point guard Trae Young was ranked No. 8. The list is impressive with No.1 being Lebron James. Rounding out the top eight was Steph Curry at No. 2, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant and Young. 

Rookie Caleb Wiley made his Major League Soccer debut in a grand way for Atlanta United in their season-opening victory over Sporting K.C. on Feb. 27. Wiley, a 17-year-old from Atlanta, scored his first career goal in the 89th minute to push United to a two-goal lead and secure a 3-1 win before 67,523 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

• Six Coweta County high school basketball teams made it into the GHSA State Tournaments this year. The Heritage School boys (23-8) got the closest to a championship, losing to top-ranked Greenforest Christian in the 1-A Private Final Four. Others appearing in the State Tournament included the East Coweta girls (15-10) and boys (18-11), Trinity Christian girls (24-6) and boys (7-19), and the Heritage School girls (11-10).

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