Ridgeland senior linebacker Daniel Johnson was announced this week as Georgia's male winner of the Wendy's High School Heisman Award. The award, first given in 1994, is based on athletic achievement, classroom work and community service and culminates in one male and one female national winner who will be recognized at the Heisman Trophy Award presentation in New York.
Johnson, a three-year starter in football and returning starter in baseball, is now eligible to be one of the 12 region finalists. Wendy's, in conjunction with ESPN, is announcing those region winners over the next week.
"First of all, just to be mentioned as a state finalist speaks volumes about Daniel and his family, but to win the state award is really special," Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis said of Johnson, who has 58 tackles, including eight for loss, through nine games. "He's a multisport athlete who carries a 4.0 GPA and is very involved in his community, so it's a well-deserved honor."
BCBST honors GPS
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee recently gave Girls Preparatory School its BlueCross Championship Series award for for Divsion II-AA's best overall athletic program in 2011-12.
The Chattanooga school gets a banner to hang in the gym plus a $2,500 cash donation for the honor. GPS has 14 varsity sports and won TSSAA state titles in bowling and basketball with runner-up finishes in softball and track and field, and softball and basketball coach Susan Crownover won a recent A.F. Bridges Award as the regional female coach of the year.
The BCBS award "recognizes athletic excellence and sportsmanship, two of the key tenets the TSSAA strives to promote," TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said in a release.
Gable set to retire
LaFayette head football coach Tab Gable submitted a notice of resignation Thursday and informed the team he is retiring as a coach and teacher.
Gable's team is 1-8 this season after going 10-10 in his first two season as the Ramblers' coach. He has a career record of 137-112-6, including 109 wins and five region championships in 16 seasons as head coach at Trion. Gable said the decision to step down was fueled by personal considerations.
"My family needs me right now," he said. "I told the players that coaching is something you can't do properly if your heart isn't completely into it. I have some family members that I need to help take care of right now, and I'm honored to be able to help. This is a great job and community, and I will be around to help if they need me."
LaFayette principal Mike Culberson said the search for a new coach -- which will be the program's fifth in the past decade -- would begin immediately. He said he hoped to have Gable's successor named by the end of January.
Rare Bucs' road trip
When Boyd-Buchanan goes to Oneida tonight for its TSSAA Class 2A football state-playoff game, it will be only the Buccaneers' fourth road trip of the season.
They can only hope things go as well as the others -- 3-0, outscoring their opponents 118-27. Victories over playoff teams Silverdale Baptist Academy and South Pittsburg are among them.
Coach Grant Reynolds said the Bucs will be traveling I-75 to Knoxville, where a stop for a pregame meal is planned. Then it's on to Oneida.
"They don't care where we play," Reynolds said of his players. "We've had the luxury of having eight home games, but I think a change might do us a little bit of good. I think it might help us get focused."