McCullers gets back on the sidelines at Union Grove

By Anthony Rhoads, Jeffery Armstrong and Doug Gorman

For long-time sports fans in Clayton and Henry counties, there's familiar face patrolling the sidelines at Union Grove High School.

A.C. McCullers, the long-time head girls' basketball coach and assistant football coach at Morrow High School, is back in the prep ranks as the offensive line coach at Union Grove.

McCullers' high school resume includes four state championships in basketball and he was an assistant when Morrow on the Class AAAA state title in football in 1997. He also was head coach of the women's basketball team at Clayton State and has more than 700 victories in high school and college.

Union Grove head coach Mike McDonald, who played on the 1987 Morrow football team, is thrilled to have McCullers on his staff.

"Coach McCullers is one of the best coaches around," McDonald said. "Coach McCullers has done a fine job with the offensive line. With this being my first year, he's been there and done that; he's already given me a lot of good advice."

Out scouting: Lovejoy head football coach Al Hughes was in the stands for Friday's game between Union Grove and Luella. Lovejoy plays at Union Grove Oct. 8 for a Region 4-AAAAA contest.

Hughes was not only at Friday's game to scout but for personal reasons as well. One of his daughters is a cheerleader and another daughter is a member of the flag corps at Luella.

Thursday, Hughes' squad suffered a disappointing 20-15 defeat against Mt. Zion.

"I wish we could do that one over but there are no do-overs," Hughes said.

He can run too: Lovejoy's David McHone is known for his punting ability and he's a starter on defense as a linebacker but in Thursday's game against Mt. Zion, he was in a few plays on offense as a running back.

He had one carry for two yards but it was an important play. His run was on a fourth down and it gave Lovejoy a first down.

In the house: Just one day after beating Lovejoy, Mt. Zion head coach Jackie Green didn't spend Friday night doing too much celebrating. Green and members of his coaching staff scouted the Jonesboro-Mundy's Mill game, which ended in a 13-13 tie.

Mt. Zion plays Mundy's Mill next week and Jonesboro the following week.

No excuses: Mundy's Mill's two touchdowns could have been set up on Jonesboro miscues. With a steady drizzle falling in the first quarter, the Cardinals had trouble holding on to the football.

Still, Jonesboro head coach Larry Mortonson refused to blame Mother Nature.

"We don't make excuses," he said. "The weather had nothing to do with it."

You make the call: North Clayton head coach Don Shockley said he might not be able to face his peers at school today because of a questionable call he made in the fourth quarter of Friday's win over Riverdale. After Morgan Burnett's fumble recovery and touchdown made the score 31-24, Shockley decided to go for two instead of kicking the extra point and stretching the lead to eight. North Clayton didn't make the two-point conversion and Shockley was furious with himself.

"I got caught up in the game and I wasn't thinking," he said. "We have a great kicker and the extra point would've forced Riverdale to score a TD and go for two. That wasn't smart on my part."

D?j? vu all over again: Riverdale's Kelvin Colbert torched North Clayton in kickoff returns for the second straight year. In 2003, Colbert had 138 kickoff return yards, including a 75-yard kickoff TD. This year, Colbert had 117 kickoff return yards against North Clayton without a TD.

You make the call II: Shockley did make a correct call in light of Colbert's outstanding kickoff returns last Friday. In the second half of the Riverdale game, he instructed his kicker, Shaka Bangura, to squib kick all kickoffs. The ball never made it to Colbert.

"I learned my lesson,"Shockley said.

New duds: North Clayton came into the Riverdale game with a brand new look thanks to Clayton County.

The county decided to help North Clayton get new uniforms and they were quite patriotic looking. The uniforms were white trimmed with red and blue and the design was similar to the uniforms worn by the NFL's Denver Broncos.

"I'd like to thank [county athletics director] Bob Brannon for the new uniforms," Shockley said. "They're nice. The kids love them."

Which way did he go?: The North Clayton defense had a tough time keeping up with Riverdale's efficient offense last Friday. The Raiders threw everything at North Clayton, including reverses, sweeps and fakes and did a great job keeping the Eagles off balance, especially in the first half.

"We decided that we needed to squeeze them on tackles and strip the ball," said Eagles defensive end Jeremy Elder.

"As a defense and as a team, we played with heart in the second half," said linebacker Winston Bowens. "Now we've got to come back harder next week, ?cause we've got to face Lovejoy."