Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Night Bites: Sterling Shines in Oakwood

I'm sure this headline will surface in the Gainesville Times. It's ok, as it is factually accurate. In the first edition of this years Friday Night Bites we took the trip up I-985 to witness the cross-town showdown of East Hall and West Hall.

With three legitamite D-1 prospects, this figured to be a very interesting game to watch. The afforemention Bailey as well as Tech commit Chaz Cheeks suited up for the Vikings, while QB and human wrecking ball Shunquez Stephens strapped on the pads for West Hall.

To put it lightly, Sterling Bailey dominated this game. Raw talent propelled him through pretty much the whole game, as East Hall's coach was trying to find his way out of a paper bag. Not to take anything away from Mr. Cheeks or succumb to my obvious UGA homerism, but Sterling was easily the best player for East Hall. More on his performance in a minute.

Shunquez Stephens looks to be a very serviceable QB with a pretty lively arm, but what is most surprising is how huge he is coupled with his amazing athleticism. I would estimate he is in the 6'4 range and about 250. On one play, Cheeks was trying to chase him down and he caught second gear and just ran away from him. His mobility was extremely impressive for a big guy. He also threw a rope for a TD over the middle to WR #9, who looked very good in the game. Overall, West Hall wasn't extremely impressive, however.

And now to Mr. Bailey. He got things started off with a bang on the first drive accounting for three tackles a sack, and a tackle for loss. He also forced an obvious fumble which was initially signaled as a fumbled but the umpire overruled. It was a TERRIBLE call. His sixth tackle was about 35 yards down the opposite side of the field which prevented a touchdown. He also chased another guy down about 25 yards down field a little later in the half. At the half his stats were 9 tck, 2 tfl, and 2 sacks, of which probably 4 were assisted. When we left with about five minutes to go in the game, by my count he had 13 tck, 3 tfl, and 3 sacks. He also had a reception for about 25 yards that should have gone for a TD had he not stepped out of bounds.

In all, I was very impressed by Sterling. Cheeks looked solid, but didn't seem to have the raw talent of SB. The coaching and offensive unit for East Hall was atrocious which is why the lost the game. I saw various offensive formations including, but not limited to, I-formation, spread, and option and there didn't seem to be a method to any of it. The one play that Bailey went out for a pass resulted in a 25-yard completion on a drag route. As I said above, it should have been a TD. When you have athletes as good as Bailey and Cheeks and the rest of the team is horrible, they should be involved in EVERY play.

One negative I noticed while watching was SB's lack of energy at times. He almost looks lethargic and, as most high school players do, played very high. He did seem to use his hands well, which will be to his advantage. He also has a great combination of size and speed. Overall, he and Cheeks should be very valuable to the school they attend. They will probably need some coaching up as the Vikings head guy was inept. I also think that some team might get a steal when they sign Shunquez. He does seem to have some potential.

Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable game and a good show by a future Dawg. I think Bailey is going to be a really good get for UGA. Good call Coach Richt.

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