A deep dive into GHSA esports and Brookwood’s continued success

There’s less than a month to go before GHSA Spring esports playoffs begin and things are starting to heat up. In Spring esports, teams compete for championships in four games — Rocket League, Splatoon 3, NBA 2K24, and Madden 24.

Last Spring’s finals resulted in Brookwood beating Calhoun 4-1 in Rocket League, Discovery beating Northview 3-0 in Splatoon 3 and Carrollton beating Early County 2-0 in Madden 24. Games which had championships in the Fall are still playing in the Spring, but are non-championship titles — League of Legends, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Smash Bros.

The playoffs for spring titles start on April 14 with the finals being held at University of West Georgia on May 1.

Esports joined the GHSA in 2018 and has become a popular avenue for high school athletes to explore. Many kids have had the opportunity to showcase their skills in a competitive scene that is much more accessible than professional play.

This spring, Brookwood is one of the premier teams in all GHSA esports.

They are competing in Rocket League, Madden and Splatoon. The Broncos are looking to win back-to-back titles in Rocket League, with an all-new roster, as every player in their championship winning team from last year graduated in 2023.

“Our team this year is currently undefeated and looking like serious contenders for the title,” said Brookwood coach Jack Branch.

The Broncos are 5-0 overall and are currently leading the standings for 5A-7A Rocket League. On top of the amazing series record, Brookwood is 15-3 in individual games, which is only a half game back from West Forsyth and Innovation Academy, who are tied at 15-2.

In the fall competitions, Brookwood had a team in the state championship for every game title and won the Smash title, the program’s third.

“We would love to make a repeat of that this spring,” Branch said.

Brookwood has three coaches for its esports program, Branch handles Rocket League, Madden, and League of Legends while coach Mick Winzeler covers the Nintendo titles — Smash Bros Ultimate, Mario Kart and Splatoon. Coach Brian Huard is the program as the esports director.

Brookwood has three overall titles – Spring 2022 in Smash, Spring 2023 in Rocket League and Fall 2023 in 5A-7A Smash. The coaches at Brookwood have all worked with the program since its creation three years ago, but they all have many more years of experience with esports games.

“I have played and have lots of experience with the games I coach, Coach Winzeler is extremely experienced with the titles he coaches,” Branch said. “This has been a big factor in our success. Between the three of us, we have a coach who is experienced and proficient in all the esports games offered.”

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