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Mike Phillips

Stories by Mike

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Porter paces Herald No. 1 Monroe boys past Crisp, keeps Tornadoes unbeaten

Hakeem Porter comes off the bench and comes up big Friday to lead Monroe past Crisp in a nailbiter, 40-39, to keep The Herald No. 1 Tornadoes perfect.

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Ball night!

Football season is all but over and it’s time for basketball to take center stage as the first big weekend of area action is here, including games between Monroe vs. Crisp County, Westover vs. Terrell County and Mitchell vs. Calhoun the next two days.

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Monroe boys, girls debut on top of first Fab 5 Polls

The Herald’s first Fab 5 Polls for prep basketball are out, and it’s all Monroe as the Tornadoes and Lady Tornadoes start the year on top. (ADDS: Boys, girls polls)

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State Champs!!!

In a wild game that comes down to the final play, Deerfield hangs on to win the GISA Class AAA State Championship against Heritage on Friday night at Webb Memorial Stadium in one for the ages, 27-19. (UPDATED: 1 a.m. with additional details, reaction, quotes)

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Westover football celebrates historic season with ‘Breakfast of Champions’

Following their historic football season --- which included a second-place region finish, the school's fifth winning season ever and the hosting of the program's first-ever state playoff game --- the team is honored Thursday with a "Breakfast of Champions" at school.

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PREVIEW: Deerfield, Heritage set to face off for state title at 'The Webb' tonight

Deerfield-Windsor has waited all season for one game, and it’s tonight at Webb Memorial, where the Knights meet Heritage in the GISA Class AAA state championship game.

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PREVIEW: Bobcats hit to road to face GAC, one win from state semis

Early County learned a lot from close losses a year ago and has marched all the way to the Class AA Elite 8, where the Bobcats face Greater Atlanta Christian tonight.

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PREP FOOTBALL PREDICTION COLUMN: Time for another victory party at Deerfield

Herald High School Writer Mike Phillips selects his winners in what could be his final prediction column of the season if Seminole and Early County can't extend their magical runs.

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HERALD DYNAMITE DOZEN PROFILE #11: Jacori Taylor, Early County

Early County senior leader Jacori Taylor knows all about scrambling and finding time on the run, but the best option he ever made was last year when he moved from linebacker to quarterback, where he and the Bobcats are deep in the state playoffs in the GHSA Class AA Elite 8 — and still soaring.

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PREVIEW: Westwood one win from capturing 3rd straight GISA state championship

Westwood will be the underdog Friday when it tries to avenge an earlier loss to a big, talented team from Valwood in the GISA Class AA state title game in Valdosta.

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PREP FOOTBALL PREDICTION COLUMN: Seven left — and each with a shot to win it all

Herald High School Writer Mike Phillips breaks down who he likes to win in the seven area playoff teams still alive --- and there's more than a few surprises.

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PREVIEW: Westover enjoying dream season, state run — with no plans for it to end

Following a historic first-round state playoff win at home — and then benefitting from No. 4 South Effingham knocking off No. 1 Westside Macon last week — Westover is ready to rock Hugh Mills again Friday.

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PREVIEW: Westwood one win away from third straight state title game appearance

Westwood needs to win one more time — Friday night at home against Brentwood in the GISA Class AA state semifinals — to make its way to a third consecutive state title game.

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COLUMN: Say it ain’t so, Marlins — not again

Herald staff sports writer Mike Phillips, who spent nearly 20 years in Miami covering the Marlins before coming to Albany, rips the organization over its head-scratching trade it made earlier this week, sending all of its stars to Toronto and gutting the franchise's roster yet again.

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PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Deerfield’s Forrestal commits to Navy; Westover, Jonesboro coaches renew friendly rivalry

Shortly before the Knights romp in their state playoff opener, DWS big man Patrick Forrestal tells The Herald he’s headed to Navy after the program’s latest title run is through.

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PREP FOOTBALL PREDICTION COLUMN: It ain’t over for Westover

Herald prep sports writer Mike Phillips writes about this weekend GHSA and GISA playoff football games.

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PREVIEW: Monroe not scared of playing on road — or vs. No. 5 Griffin

Monroe knows all about playing on the road in the playoffs, and the Nadas are confident going to Griffin to face the No. 5-ranked Bears tonight in the opening round of the playoffs.

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PREVIEW: Westover set to write next chapter in historic season

The Patriots will host the first state playoff game in school history Friday when Jonesboro — a team they’ve already faced in the regular season — comes to town for Round 2.

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SUNDAY PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Bearcats use makeshift offense to survive wild game against Lee County

Bainbridge coach Ed Pilcher was forced to piece together his offense with star RB Terry Lewis sidelined with an injury, and it worked for the Bearcats, who edged Lee County, 49-42. (ADDS: Seminole County wins region; Lee County still stunned; Monroe, Worth thinking playoffs)

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New playoff format gets low rating with area coaches

The new GHSA power rating format to decide which Class A football teams qualify for the playoffs is anything but popular with area coaches.

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Westover AD Calhoun named top in the region

Westover’s Harley Calhoun is named the GHSA Region 1-AAAA Athletic Director of the Year.

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Bainbridge jumps to No. 2; Lee reigns again in Herald's Fab 5 Poll

Bainbridge jumps past Westover and Monroe in the Herald’s Fab 5 Poll, but Lee County stays on top for another week after dropping 70 points on Northside Columbus on Friday.

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PREP FOOTBALL PREDICTION COLUMN: Cairo is Cairo — but it’s Monroe’s night tonight

Herald High School Writer Mike Phillips calls Monroe's shot tonight against Cairo for the Region 1-AAAA title, despite the fact the Syrupmakers have won 38 of their last 39 region games.

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Oh, my!: Dougherty tops Americus, 16-7, for monumental first victory of Joyner era

Dougherty snaps a 15-game losing streak Thursday night that spanned two seasons as the Trojans top Americus-Sumter, 16-7, for first-year coach Corey Joyner's first win. (UPDATED: 11:40 p.m. with quotes from Joyner)

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PREVIEW: Miller, Seminole face off in huge rivalry game with title on the line

Seminole and Miller meet tonight in the annual “Backyard Brawl/Family Feud” game that's one of the best rivalries in Georgia — and this time first place in the region is on the line.

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In just 2nd year of football, Life Christian Academy reaches postseason

Life Christian Academy went winless last year in its first season of 8-man football, but a year later the Warriors are in the playoffs, which begin tonight, with plans of winning it all.

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A sticky situation

The Tornadoes meet the Syrupmakers tonight at Hugh Mills Stadium with a chance to win the Region 1-AAAA championship, but to pull off the feat Monroe will have to win the game by at least 10 points — not to mention beat a Cairo program that has won 38 of its last 39 region games.

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HERALD DYNAMITE DOZEN PROFILE NO. 9: Charles Stafford, Monroe

Charles Stafford had his doubts about moving from South Florida to Southwest Georgia, but now that he’s here, he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else — and the Tornadoes are happy to have the kid with the golden arm on their team that everyone's chasing.

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Lee County, Westover remain top 2 in Fab 5 Poll

The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll is unchanged after Friday’s games, which saw No. 1 Lee County and No. 5 Early County lose nail-biters, No. 2 Westover avoid getting upset and No. 3 Monroe and No. 4 Bainbridge win lopsided region contests.

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DWS pounds Pinewood, now one win from region crown

The Knights just need to win one of their final two games to wrap up the GISA Region 1-AAA title after routing previously perfect region foe Piedmont. (UPDATED: 12:27 with quotes, additional details)

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Worth wins wild one vs. Albany, 35-27

Worth County’s Zytavious Anderson’s big night is enough to overcome the big night from Albany’s Emanuel Byrd as the Rams hold on, 35-27, late Thursday night at Hugh Mills Stadium. (ADDS: detail, quotes, reaction)

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DYNAMITE DOZEN PROFILE #8: Marlin Hall, Worth County

Marlin Hall is that rare kid who comes along every once in a while, an honor student who hits the books as hard as he hits tailbacks — a two-sport star and leader at Worth County on the baseball diamond and the football field, where everyone knows he’s just a natural.

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Three area Class A teams still vying for state softball championship

The Baconton Charter, Seminole County and Miller County softball teams all continue their state title quests today in the Class A Elite 8 in Columbus.

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Lee stays No. 1 in Fab 5 Poll despite loss

Lee County’s loss to state powerhouse Thomas County Central didn’t hurt the No. 1 Trojans in the Herald Fab 5 Poll, while Westover, Monroe, Bainbridge and Early County round out the Top 5.

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DYNAMITE DOZEN PROFILE #7: Juwon Young, Albany High

Albany High School star linebacker Juwon Young is only a junior, but he is already getting interest from several major Division I programs and has a dream of playing in the NFL one day — a dream he hopes to fulfill to honor thy father.

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Fabrizio: Focus is on TCC, not arrested, angry parent

Lee County head football coach Dean Fabrizio tells The Herald on Tuesday that while he has plenty to say about a parent who stormed the practice field to complain about his treatment of her son — and was subsequently arrested — he’s been asked by administrators not to address the situation as the legal process runs its course and to keep his focus solely on a big region duel with TCC on Friday.

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Statement win

Former Herald No. 1 Monroe makes a case it should return to the poll after knocking off the No. 3 Panthers on Friday in Americus.

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Lee County takes over No. 1 in Fab 5 Poll

At 6-0, Lee County is off to its best start in school history and leaps past Bainbridge in The Herald’s weekly Fab 5 Poll.

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ASU’s offense comes alive in 36-14 win

The Rams gain a season-high 457 yards of total offense and beat Lane in the Music City Classic to improve to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference.

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Makin’ history

The Herald No. 2 Trojans rush for 501 yards, including 381 yards in the second half, to beat Hardaway, 36-21, and become the first team in Lee County history to start a season at 6-0.

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PREP FOOTBALL PREDICTION COLUMN: 1-AAAA takes the week off — and I like it

Herald High School Writer Mike Phillips isn't used to Region 1-AAAA's teams all being on a bye at the same time like they are this week, but he thinks the move to give everyone the same off week if the fairest thing to do.

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HERALD DYNAMITE DOZEN PROFILE NO. 5: Emanuel Byrd, Albany High

There’s a fire and spirit burning in Albany High quarterback Emanuel Byrd that pushes him and drives him toward excellence in and out of the classroom, and it comes from his heart — a heart that beats for his aunt Claudia, the woman who has undoubtedly made Byrd Albany High’s driving force.

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Try to stop them

Lee County’s high-throttle, non-stop offense has produced 47.2 points per game and a 5-0 record, and the Trojans show no sign of slowing down as region play begins this week.

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Stafford leads Monroe past city rival Albany, 12-0

Monroe bounces back from its 17-14 loss to Westover and shuts out Albany High, 12-0, to get back in the title hunt for the Region 1-AAAA crown.

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How sweet it is

Just like when Deerfield hoops coach Gordy Gruhl reached his career milestone win No. 1,000 last season against rival Sherwood, Knights football coach Allen Lowe hits his own milestone Friday with win No. 200 — also against SCA, 42-9.

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They meet again

Sherwood meets Deerfield tonight at Webb Memorial in the highly anticipated annual rivalry game between Albany’s two private school GISA teams.

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Stakes raised

Albany High makes its debut in the Region 1-AAAA opener tonight against an Americus-Sumter team without its coach, Michael Pollock, who will miss his second straight game for disciplinary reasons.

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DYNAMITE DOZEN PROFILE NO. 3: Hakeem Porter, Monroe

Whether he’s protecting his quarterback in the pocket and throwing de-cleater blocks for his running backs on the field, or assuming the role of gentle giant and man of the house when it comes to looking after his grandmother and siblings off of it, Monroe big man Hakeem Porter has a bright future as the ultimate caretaker.

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Monroe stays No. 1; Americus back in Fab 5 poll

Monroe’s overtime win against Fitzgerald keeps the Tornadoes atop The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll, while Americus-Sumter bumps out Westover to move into the No. 5 spot.

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Westover finally gets embattled RB back

Westover junior running back Shannon Saunders has been cleared to play football again after facing recent legal troubles.