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Miller Grove Middle captures 2011 All-Sports Award
Miller Grove Middle All-Sports
Miller Grove Middle School Principal Thaddeus Dixon (far left), his administrative staff and athletic coaching staffs accepted the 2011 DeKalb Schools Middle School All-Sports Award. The award recognizes the best all-around middle school athletic program. (Photo by Mark Brock)

The 2011 DeKalb Schools middle school athletics season proved to be one of the most competitive in the past four years with Miller Grove Middle winning the closest race in the history of the DeKalb Middle School All-Sports Award.

Miller Grove won county championships in football and girls’ basketball and finished as the county runner-up in boys’ track on the way to compiling 86 points to win the All-Sports Trophy for the second time in the four-year history of the award.

This year marked the first time for the winner to capture the trophy by less than a 10-point margin as well as the first year the final points standings had five schools with 70 or more points for the year.

Miller Grove also won the award in 2009 with a then record of 94 points which Stephenson Middle broke in 2010 with a 94.5 total. The Wolverines won the county football championship in both 2009 and 2011.

Champion Theme Middle School has made a steady climb up the rankings moving from 13th in 2008 to second in 2011 with a total of 77 points including county championships in boys’ basketball and girls’ track.

Champion had totaled 41 points in 2008, 47 in 2009 and 46 in 2010 before this year’s breakout season with the two county titles.

Chapel Hill and Columbia were tied for third in the points’ standings with 76 points each. Columbia claimed the runner-up spot in the county football championship.

Henderson Middle was fifth overall in the standings with 71 points on the back of the county championship in boys’ track.

Champion, Henderson capture Middle School Track Championships
Champion MS Girls Track
The Champion Theme Middle School girls' track team dethroned two-time defending champoin Chamblee 53-50 to capture the 2011 DeKalb Co. Middle School Track Championships. (Photo courtesy of Unforgettable Moments)

2011 Middle School Track Championships Results

The DeKalb County Middle School Track Championships crowned new champions on Monday (March 14) as the two-reigns of Chamblee (girls) and Chapel Hill (boys) were ended by Champion and Henderson.

Eighth grader Jasmir Spearman captured gold medals in the 800- and 1600-meter runs to lead Champion to a 53-50 victory over two-time defending champion Chamblee in the girls’ championship.

Spearman ran a 2:33.33 in the 800 and teammate Promise Clark took second in the 800 in a time of 2:35.15 to give Champion a one-two finish in the event. Spearman followed up her 800 performance with a time of 5:50.07 in the 1600 to win by five seconds.

Chamblee made it close to a three-peat led by seventh grader Venida Fagan who took gold in the 400-meter dash with a new meet record time of 56.97. She broke the previous record of 58.96 set by Miller Grove’s Amina Cox in the 2007 championships.

The Lady Bulldogs also set a record in winning the 1600-meter relay with a time of 4:09.79 eclipsing the old record of 4:11.66 set by tucker in 2006. Another win in the 400-meter relay (51.40) aided Chamblee’s total of 50 points in the meet.

Chapel Hill finished 7.5 points behind Chamblee in third place fueled by eight-grader Neka Stephens’ first in the long jump with a leap of 15 feet-seven inches.

Columbia set a new meet record of 1:54.15 in the 800-meter spring medley relay to help secure a fifth place finish in the team standings. The time broke the 2009 record of 1:55.29 set by Chamblee.

Stephenson seventh grader Demeri Smith swept the 100- and 200-meter dashes to account for 20 of Stephenson’s 30 point total at the meet. Smith ran a 12.83 in the 100 and a 27.23 in the 200 to capture the gold medals.

Freedom eighth grader Keyanna Peeples won the shot put with a toss of 31 feet-two inches to round out the gold medal winners in girls’ action.

Henderson eighth grader Brian Song led the charge in Henderson’s run to the boy’s 65-63 title victory over Miller Grove that ended Chapel Hill’s two-year run at the top of the standings.

Song set a new meet record in winning the 1600-meter run in a time of 4:54.85 to finish 10 seconds ahead of teammate Connor Keisling as Henderson pulled in 18 points in the one event. Song’s time bypassed the previous record of 4:57.54 set by Lithonia Dejon Devroe in the 2010 championships.

Song also added eight points to the Henderson total by taking silver in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:13.90, just off the pace of 2:12.45 set by winner Jason Harrell of Bethune.

The Miller Grove runner-up finish was led by wins from a pair of eighth graders in the 400-meter dash and the long jump. Jerico Carmicheal won the 400 in a time of 52.79 and Raylon Richardson leapt 19 feet-10 inches to capture the long jump.

Columbia collected four gold medals on the way to a third place in the team standings with a total of 50 points in the meet.

Eighth graders Antonio Mason and Denzel Franklin took the gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, respectively for Columbia. Mason ran a record setting time of 11.37 in the 100 to break the time of 11.44 set by Chapel Hill’s Jayquan Johnson in 2010. Franklin came up just .22 of a second short of setting a record in the 200 with a time of 23.43.

Columbia set a pair of records in winning the 400- and 1600-meter relays. A time of 45.05 in the 400 was .52 of a second faster than the mark of 45.57 set by Cedar Grove in 2007. Columbia followed with a time of 3:41.70 in the 1600 relay to again knock Cedar Grove out of the record holding slot they held since the 2007 meet.

Sequoyah set the final record on the second day of the championships in the 800 spring medley with a time of 1:41.78. The time was .59 of a second faster than the previous record of 1:43.37 set by Henderson a year ago.

Eighth grader Natari Caldwell of Redan rounded out the gold medal winners by taking the shot put gold with a toss of 45-feet.
Henderson MS Boys Track
Henderson Middle School's boys' track team won their second DeKalb Co. track title in four years. (courtesy photo)
Champion defeats Lithonia for tournament title
Middle School -- Basketball Champs Boys 2011
The Champion Chargers won their second Tournament of Champions title in three years with a victory over Lithonia. The Chargers finished 17-0 on the season. (Photo by Janet Francis)

Chapel Hill beats Chamblee for third

The Champion Middle School Chargers (17-0) won their second Tournament of Champions title in the past three seasons as they handed the Lithonia Bulldogs (13-4) a 31-19 defeat in the boys’ championship. Champion defeated Freedom in the 2009 title game.

Both teams struggled to score in the first quarter as the Chargers took a 6-3 lead into the second quarter following a basket by Jaylon McMillan.

Eric Isom came off the bench in the second quarter for Champion to score a basket and Kamaran Calhoun would add a pair of free throws to push the lead to 10-3 before Lithonia got rolling behind Micah Burch.

Burch scored on consecutive trips down the floor to help the Bulldogs pull within 13-9 at the half.

The game was tied 15-15 in the third period before the Chargers put together an 8-0 run to push the lead to 23-15.

Champion was able to keep the Bulldogs at a distance in the fourth with help from free throws as the Bulldogs four woes and poor shooting continued.

Champion’s Kamaran Calhoun who had 10 points in the championship game was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Lithonia’s Alterique Gilbert hit for six points to lead the Bulldogs scoring.

Boys’ Consolation
Chapel Hill 45, Chamblee 38

Chapel Hill’s Adam Ellis and Tobias Howard combined for 32 of their team’s points to lead Panthers to a 45-38 win in the boys’ consolation round of the Tournament of Champions.

Chamblee (12-4) had entered the tournament as the defending champions from 2010 and jumped out to an early lead before Adam Ellis would hit a basket with time running out in the first quarter to give Chapel Hill an 11-9 advantage heading into the second period of play.

Ellis would again beat the buzzer to end the half giving the Panthers a 23-20 lead at the break.

Howard and Ellis powered Chapel Hill to a 37-28, but Thomas Oglesby hit for 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as Chamblee rallied.

Chapel Hill held of the late charge to secure the 45-38 victory for their second third place trophy in three seasons having finished third in 2009.
Middle School -- Boys Basketball MVP 2011
Champion's Kamaran Calhoun took home tournament MVP honors. (Photo by Janet Francis)

Lady Wolverines defeat Stephenson for basketball championship
Middle School -- Basketball Champs Girls 2011
The Miller Grove Middle School Lady Wolverines finished the season 17-0 and as the 2011 Tournament of Champions title holder. (Photo by Janet Francis)

Lithonia defeats Champion for third place

The Miller Grove Lady Wolverines capped off their perfect 17-0 season by upending the defending Tournament of Champions title holder Stephenson Lady Jaguars 45-37 to capture the 2011 girls’ title.

Miller Grove’s Chrystal Ezechukwu scored 10 of her 17 points in the game during the first quarter to provide Miller Grove with a 13-8 lead heading into the second period. Six of the 10 points came in the opening minutes of the game as Ezechukwu opened quickly in helping the Lady Wolverines to an early 8-2 lead.

The defending champions took control in the paint during the second quarter as Terrianna Cave and Natalie Williams powered the Lady Jaguars (15-2) to a 15-13 lead.

The lead see-sawed between the two teams as Miller Grove’s Damyera Herbert nailed a three-pointer for a short-lived 19-18 lead which was answered by Stephenson’s Cave to give the Lady Jaguars another one-point lead.

Herbert’s late first half basket sent Miller Grove into the half up 23-22.

Despite a rough start to the third quarter, Miller Grove pulled out to a 30-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Early fourth quarter baskets by Cave and Kayla Holmes cut the lead to two at 30-28, but Miller Grove answered the call with a 9-1 run to take a commanding 39-29 advantage.

Jayla Morrow, Herbert and Imani Richardson combined to hit seven of 12 from the free-throw line down the stretch to preserve the 45-37 championship victory.

Chrystal Ezechukwu hit for 17 points, Damyera Herbert 12 and Imani Richardson, the tournament MVP pitched in with eight points to lead Miller Grove.

Stephenson’s attempt to defend their title was led by Terrianna Cave’s 19-point effort that could not overcome the Lady Wolverines’ run to the title.

Girls Consolation
Lithonia 44, Champion 25

The Lithonia Lady Bulldogs handed the Champion Lady Chargers their second consecutive defeat and finished third in the Tournament of Champions for the second consecutive season with a 44-25 victory.

Champion was coming off its first loss of the season after dropping a 38-36 double overtime battle with Stephenson the night before and struggled early. Lithonia’s Davion Wingate and Kala Davis got their team out to a 13-5 lead in the first quarter.

Wingate, who hit for 14 of her game-high 24 points in the first half, and Davis, who hit for 10 of her 13 points in the first half, continued their onslaught against Champion to extend the lead to 23-15 at the half.

The Lady Bulldogs benefitted from another big quarter from Wingate as she knocked down seven more points and the Lithonia lead ballooned to 36-18 and Champion could not answer in the fourth quarter.

Ashlyn Edwards hit for 10 points to lead Champion.
Middle School -- Girls Basketball MVP 2011
Miller Grove's Imani Richardson (left) accepts the 2011 Tournament of Champions Girls' MVP award from Tournament Director Tyrone King. (Photo by Janet Francis)
Miller Grove captures third Trail to the Title Championship
Miller Grove MS Meco Jackson
Miller Grove running back Meco Jackson runs for a two-point conversion during his MVP performance against Columbia in the 2010 Trail to the Title middle school championship game. (Photo by Mike Cammack)

Columbia's game ending drive comes up just short

Meco Jackson rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns and ran a kickoff back 85 yards for another touchdown to lead the Miller Grove Middle School Wolverines to a 24-18 victory over the Columbia Eagles in the DeKalb County Middle School Trail to the Title football championship on Saturday (Nov. 6) at Hallford Stadium.

Jackson’s heroics won him the Team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player award and the Trail to the Title Championship MVP trophy, but it was almost not enough as the Eagles rallied late in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles entered the Trail to the Title undefeated at 8-0, including a 24-14 victory over Miller Grove on the opening weekend of middle school football play. In the championship game for the second consecutive year, Columbia was not going to quit after dropping the 2009 championship game 6-0 to Stephenson.

The Eagles’ defense stopped Miller Grove and took over on the Wolverine 44-yard line with 3:30 to play in the game. A 19-yard run by #27 to the Wolverine 25 put the Eagles within striking distance with 2:20 to go.

Facing a third and goal at the Miller Grove 17, Columbia quarterback Sedric Jefferson found receiver Shadell Bell for 10 yards to the seven to set up a fourth and goal with 32 seconds remaining. The pair connected again for a seven yard scoring pass, but it was nullified by an illegal procedure call on the Eagles to force a fourth down and goal from the 12.

Jefferson saw Juwan Cabbil open in the end zone and lofted a pass that just got away and Miller Grove ran out the final 20 seconds to seal its third championship in the past five seasons to tie Stephenson with three championships. The Wolverines won titles in 2006 and 2008 and finished 8-1 on the season.

Miller Grove got on the board first on a seven-yard run by Jackson and a two-point conversion by quarterback Jonathan Mitchell to take an 8-0 lead with 3:14 to play in the first quarter. The Wolverine defense had set up the score after pinning Columbia at its own three-yard line and forcing a short punt.

Bell gave Columbia a momentum boost with an interception and return to the Miller Grove 31 and the Eagles took advantage. Jefferson connected with Cabbil for a 24-yard pass play with 14 seconds to play in the half to pull Columbia within 8-6 as the teams went to the locker rooms.

The Wolverine defense set up another score in the third quarter by stopping Columbia on a fourth and two at its own 35. Following an illegal motion penalty, Jackson ripped off a pair of 20-yard runs to put Miller Grove in the end zone once again and then added the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 16-6 in favor of the Wolverines.

The teams traded turnovers and the Eagles begin a 61-yard drive for a score with 5:48 to play in the third quarter. Jefferson found Bell for a 35-yard gain on a pass and concluded the drive with a 10-yard scoring toss to Bell to cut the lead to 16-12 heading into the fourth quarter.

Jackson took the ensuing kickoff at his own 15-yard line and raced 85 yards for the touchdown. Devonte Griffin added the two-point conversion on a run for a 24-12 Miller Grove advantage.

Columbia’s Antonio Manson answered Jackson’s touchdown return with one of his own covering 79 yards to keep the Eagles in striking distance at 24-18.

Jefferson was 7 of 16 passing for 134 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Eagles while Bell had four receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown. Cabbil finished with three receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown to go with seven carries for 40 yards rushing.
Miller Grove MS coaches/trophy
Miller Grove Middle School head football coach Mark Evans with plaque and his staff celebrate their 2010 championship and Evans selection as the Middle School Football Coach of the Year. (Photo by Mike Cammack)
Stephenson Middle School captures 2010 All-Sports Award
Stephenson Middle School All-Sports
The Stephenson Middle School Athletics staff accepts the 2010 DeKalb County Schools All-Sports Award. Stephenson set a record of 94.5 points to win the third annual award. (Photo by Mark Brock)

Chamblee finishes second with 84 points

Stephenson Middle School was recognized as having the best all-around athletics program out of the 20 middle schools in the DeKalb County School System for the 2009-10 school year.

The third annual award was presented to Principal Obelia Hall and the entire Stephenson Middle School coaches at their homecoming pep rally on Friday, September 24 in the Stephenson Middle School gym.

Stephenson won the award with a new point total high of 94.5 points to outdo Chamblee which finished 10.5 points behind with a total of 84. Stephenson’s total was one-half point better than Miller Grove’s 94 in 2008-09.

County championships in football and girls’ basketball along with a runner-up finish in boys’ basketball brought in 72 of the 94.5 points tallied by the Jaguar athletic programs.

Chamblee finishes second on the strength of county championships in boys’ basketball and girls’ track that contributed 51 of the school’s 84 points in the standings.

Chapel Hill which won the inaugural award in 200-08 finished third with 68 points, Miller Grove was fourth with 65 points and Columbia rounded out the Top 5 with 64.5 points.

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