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Sportopia Saturday Smyrna-Vinings Style

Weekends were made for sports and we've got plenty of local updates here.

It’s the weekend so it’s time to look at what’s up on this Sportopia Saturday Smyrna-Vinings Style.

Of course, before their trip to the SEC Championship game next week, the Georgia Bulldogs head to Bobby Dodd Stadium today to . Here's some news and commentary surrounding the game set to kickoff at noon:

  • Coach Mark Richt told the media this week that the team will honor legendary broadcaster Larry Munson with a helmet decal this week: "Some of the guys knew a lot about Larry Munson, and some of the guys didn’t know a whole lot about Larry Munson just by virtue of the fact that they’re young and may not have been a Bulldog fan before they came to Georgia. Our players are very well aware of who he is now. We talked a little bit about him after practice yesterday just to make sure everybody knew .”
  • Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson apologized Tuesday night for calling an apparent Georgia fan "retarded" after the fan called into Johnson's radio show and barked on the air. "[I]t was a poor choice of words on my part and I sincerely apologize," Johnson said in a statement.
  • Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph writes: "Stop if you've heard this before: Georgia isn't sure who's going to get the carries at tailback on Saturday."

On the high school gridiron, a Cobb school is assured of being in the Class AAAAA state championship game as both Walton and Lassiter advanced through the third round on Friday night and will meet in the state semifinals next week. Walton (13-0), which scored a Week 3 win in Smyrna over Campbell this season, Friday night.

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Next year, it appears that will move up to the new Class AAAAAA as the Georgia High School Association recently released the preliminary new classifications. The Spartans will know who their region opponents will be by Dec. 6.

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In other football news, Lovett School eighth grade football player Jay Harris has been invited to play in The Football University National Championship Tournament for the Georgia State Team. Play for Harris, and the Georgia team, begins when they meet Central Florida today in Buford.

The postseason championship event features the nation’s top eighth graders from 32 states playing in a single elimination multi-round tournament. The final round will be in San Antonio’s Alamodome with the top two teams competing for the national championship.

This event is the newest property of All-American Games (AAG), the owner and producer of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on NBC, the nation’s biggest high school all-star football game. The Bowl has featured the nation’s top preps such as Tim Tebow, Adrian Peterson, Mark Sanchez and other NFL stars for 12 years. For the past two years, Football University was featured in a reality show called “The Ride” televised on Fox Sports and MTV2. www.taketheride.tv

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The prep hoops season is underway, too. The Campbell boys opened the season with a 69-60 loss to Mill Creek, but have since won three straight following Friday’s 62-52 win over American Heritage High out of Plantation, Fla. Junior forward Rasheed Merritt led the way with 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Spartans, who face another Florida school, Ponte Verde High, on Saturday in North Palm Coast, Fla.

The Lady Spartans split their first two games of the season as senior Baylee Hawkins led three players in double figures scoring in the team’s recent 64-40 win over Blessed Trinity. Hawkins had 12 points and seven assists, while Princess Forbes added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Simone Spencer chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Lady Spartans are set to play host to Marietta in a non-region game today at 5:30 p.m. Both the Campbell boys and girls will open Region 4-AAAAA play on Dec. 6 at rival South Cobb.

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With University of Georgia signee Kenny Gaines leading the way, Whitefield Academy is again the favorite to win the Region 9A title. The Wolfpack opened its season with a convincing 77-61 win over Class AAAAA school, Peachtree Ridge.

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It will be a homecoming of sorts for former Lovett standout soccer player Molly Lester ’07. By virtue of a 2-0 win over Long Beach State on Friday night, Lester and the Duke women's soccer will be one of the four teams competing next Friday, Dec. 2, at Kennesaw State Soccer Stadium in the 2011 NCAA College Cup. Duke will play conference rival, Wake Forest, in the second semifinal match at 7:30 p.m.

For Lester, a fifth-year senior with the Blue Devils, it is a dream finish, and a chance to play her last collegiate soccer back in the state where she starred for Lovett.

While at Lovett, Lester was the Class AA Player of the Year as a sophomore during the Lions run to a 16-2-4 record and the A/AA State Championship. She was awarded the school's William C. Conley Distinguished Athlete Award after her senior season, joining Pamela Elting '02, as the only soccer players to be so honored by the school.

More on Duke's run to collegiate soccer's semifinals may be seen here.

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Finally, nearly 10,000 runners, joggers and walkers and 200 volunteers filled Square for the ninth annual Gobble Jog on Thursday, setting a record number of participants in the event.

The Gobble Jog includes a 10K, 5K and 1K run/walk as well as the Tot Trot. Read more .

- Athens Patch and The Lovett School Athletic Department contributed to this report.

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