DeKalb gathers for 14th Annual Football Media Day

Photo by Craig Sager II

DeKalb County held its 14th Annual Football Media Day on Wednesday and broke the 13-year run of holding the event outdoors at Hallford Stadium. Tucker was the host of this year’s media pep rally and coaches and star players from each of the DeKalb schools took the stage to talk about the much-anticipated 2014 season.

The veteran of the bunch is Stephenson head coach Ron Gartrell, who has been at the helm of the Jaguars’ program since 1996 and at the podium for all 14 media days. Stephenson has not posted a losing record since Gartrell’s first year at the school and the Jaguars have won at least nine games the last six seasons. Leading this year’s team is UGA-commit Chauncey Rivers, who stands 6-foot-3, 247 pounds and plays tight end and defensive end.




One of Gartrell’s favorite players this offseason has been linebacker Darius Brown, a former Tucker Tiger that transferred into neighboring Stephenson this offseason. Stephenson’s biggest rival the past few seasons has been Tucker has been Stephenson’s biggest rival the past few seasons but reclassification placed Tucker in Class AAAAAA while Stephenson remained in Class AAAAA

“He [Darius] is an aggressive player and a smart player and he fits well into our scheme,” said Gartrell. “With what we do on defense, I think he is going to be one of those guys that gets over 100 tackles this season.”

Stephenson and Tucker are set to scrimmage on Aug. 15 at Hallford Stadium and this is one of the most anticipated exhibition bouts in the state this season. DeKalb County has 14 scrimmages this August. Druid Hills and Lakeside are scheduled for their annual preseason battle at Adams Stadium on Aug. 15. Druid Hills is dropping to Region 6-AAAAA while Lakeside is moving up to Region 2-AAAAAA to join Tucker in the state’s highest classification.

Reclassification was not kind to Dunwoody in 2012 and head coach Jim Showfety has built his team through the adversity. The Wildcats were bumped up into Class AAAAA as one of the smallest schools in the classification and were housed in a region with powerhouses like Tucker, Stephenson and M.L. King. Dunwoody went 1-9 the first season and improved to 3-7 this past year. According to Showfety, the two hard-fought years paid off and this year’s team has been growing since the 2012 season.

“We were a team of sophomores in 2012 and two year’s later we’re expecting great things from these guys,” said Showfety. “They have truly paid their dues.” This year we want to take that to a different level.”




DeKalb County features some big-time games this year and it begins with the Battle of the Borders at Hallford Stadium Aug. 30. DeKalb powers host Florida’s top programs in the annual must-see Georgia vs. Florida clash.

Stephenson faces Miami Central and Tucker hosts Booker T. Washington. M.L. King opens the event with a 2:30 pm kickoff with Norland, Fla. Before the Battle of the Borders, Tucker represents DeKalb County as it takes on two-time defending Class AAAAAA state champion Norcross in the 2014 Corky Kell Classic.




Last year’s graduating crop of DeKalb County college signees was headlined by Nick Ruffin (Auburn), Bryson Allen-Williams (South Carolina), Wesley Green (South Carolina), Detric Dukes (UGA), Dominick Sanders (UGA) and Kendall Baker (UGA).

The Class of 2015 boasts some of the state’s top senior prospects. Tucker defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter stands 6-4, 265 pounds and is committed to Alabama. Natrez Patrick of Mays committed to UGA May 16 and is ranked as a top 10 weak-side defensive end in the country. Patrick’s teammate, Dallas Warmack, is a 6-foot-2, 306-pound guard and is committed to Bama.

Columbia is led by Clemson commit Shadell Bell, who is one of the highest rated receiver prospects in the country. Bell will enroll early with the Tigers in January and will hold his signing day celebration on Aug. 2 at Columbia. Bell is one of the Top 400 as designated by the US Army/Under Armour committee, giving him All-American Status.


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