By CHRIS GOLTERMANN
Newnan High will retire the No. 39 high school jersey worn by current New York Giants and former Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Alec Ogletree during its Homecoming game on Friday against Campbell.
Cougars head coach Chip Walker confirmed that Newnan will put two more jersey numbers into retirement this month starting with Ogletree’s No. 9 that he wore as an All-State safety while helping lead his high school alma mater to consecutive semifinal appearances in 2008 and 2009.
With the Giants scheduled for a Thursday night game at home against the Eagles, it allows Ogletree to head back home where he’ll also watch twin brother Zander, now in his fourth year on Newnan’s varsity staff as an assistant. The brothers celebrated their 28th birthday on Sep. 25.
“It’s just life. Our parents raised us the right way. It was eventually going to happen, us going different directions,” Alec said during his annual football camp on June 30 at Newnan High. “We’ve got to put food on the table. He’s doing a good job coaching here and of course I’m in the league doing what I can. We definitely talk, probably not as much as we used to because we’re in different parts of the world, but we’re constantly talking.”
The brothers were both members of a Newnan lineup that held 12 of 14 opponents to 14 points or less while recording five shutouts. Five others were held to single digits including Grayson in a memorable 9-7 state quarterfinal victory where Alec caught a one-handed touchdown pass and blocked a game-winning field goal attempt by the Rams at the finish.
After wearing No. 39 in high school as a starting safety, Ogletree went on to wear No. 9 at Georgia, a number that current Newnan High senior linebacker SanJuan Warner wears in tribute with the Cougars. Ogletree went on to adopt No. 52 for his professional career, first with the Rams and now with the Giants following a trade in March.
Walker also announced that Newnan High will retire the jersey number of former standout offensive lineman Michael Cheever, who went on to play at Georgia Tech and the Jacksonville Jaguars before a back injury ended a promising pro career. Cheever was a second-round pick of Jacksonville in 1996 after playing for legendary Cougars head coach Max Bass at Newnan. The 45-year-old has been a highly successful real estate agent based out of Marietta.
LUTZ AMONG POINTS LEADERS AFTER EARNING NFL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Northgate hasn’t had an opportunity yet to retire the jersey of a former player that has gone on to an NFL career. But Wil Lutz may be making a case while continuing to give the New Orleans Saints a leg up in a strong start to the 2018 season.
Lutz went into Sunday’s games as the NFL’s scoring leader and is currently tied for third with former Ravens teammate Justin Tucker with 48 points following New Orleans’ 43-19 victory on Monday.
The third-year pro connected on a 44-yard field goal and hit 4 of 5 extra-point tries in the victory.
Through a 4-1 start, Lutz is 14-for-15 on field-goal attempts and 15 of 16 among PATs while tied with Tucker with 48 points, one behind Houston kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn and 11 behind NFL leader Todd Gurley of the Rams.
Lutz was named NFL Special Teams Player of the Month for September after leading the league in points. He closed the month with four field goals in one quarter during the Saints’ 33-18 win over the Giants on Sep. 30.
Lutz signed with the Saints as a free agent after walking on at Georgia State. He was both a punter and place kicker for the Panthers while setting a majority of school records among special teamers for the young program.
FORMER PREP VOLLEYBALL STARS NAMED CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: During their respective varsity volleyball careers, Cheyenne Hayes and Karlee Groover took turns getting the better of each other in the birth of a competitive rivalry between Trinity Christian and Heritage School.
They’ve since moved on to create problems for conference opponents en route to earning Player of the Week honors for their respective college teams.
Hayes was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after recording 37 kills and 27 digs during 3-1 conference victories on Friday at Louisiana-Lafayette and Saturday at Louisiana-Monroe.
They included a monster effort Friday where the former Trinity star and All-CowetaScore honoree posted 22 kills and 17 digs in a 25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 25-22 decision by Troy, which has three Coweta County standouts in its regular rotations.
Both Savannah Moore (Northgate) and Jenni Young (Newnan) contributed to both victories, posting 11 and 9 kills in Friday’s win.
Groover, meanwhile, has been just as stellar on the defensive side for Kennesaw State this season.
Having played outside hitter out of necessity at Heritage, Groover has been back at libero as a defensive specialist since signing at KSU out of high school. Karlee earned Defensive Player of the Week accolades for the Lady Owls from the Atlantic Sun Conference after recording 43 digs in efforts at Florida Gulf Coast and Liberty.
She had a career high 24 digs against FGCU and her total of 309 currently rank third in the ASUN Conference.
The duo now join a group of current collegiate players from Coweta County including Jesse Bartholomew (Duke, East Coweta) and Kia Thomas (Northgate, Clark Atlanta) that have earned conference honors during respective careers.
WHITTON NAMED USA SOUTH ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Former East Coweta golf standout Carson Whitton has jumped right into his college career this fall while immediately becoming a key contributor to Huntingdon College’s program as a freshman.
He was named Rookie of the Week by the USA South Athletic Conference after the opening weekend of October following a 12th-place effort in the Gordin Classic among a field that included 11 nationally ranked teams.
Whitton finished seven strokes out of first place with an even-216 in the 36-hole tournament. It began with consecutive rounds of 1-under 71 to help the third-ranked Hawks finish sixth overall.
Heading into last week, he had posted a 71 three times and an even-par 72 on three more among his eight rounds this fall.
Huntingdon’s head coach is former Canongate lead pro Dave Schreyer, who has been Whitton’s swing coach.