Prep Football: Coweta's stars shine at GISA All-Star Game

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Seniors, from left, Edwin Rivera (Trinity), Tyler Bean (Heritage School), Candler Rich (Heritage School) and Drew Gibson (Trinity) helped lead the North All-Stars to a 34-6 victory in Saturday’s GISA All-Star Game.

From Staff Reports
sports@newnan.com
For once, The Heritage School and Trinity Christian teamed up on the football field and the result on Saturday may have been another feather in Coweta County’s cap.
A pair of seniors from both state playoff lineups this fall helped carry the North All-Stars to a 34-6 rout of the South in Saturday’s GISA Senior All-Star Game in Macon.
With bruising Trinity Christian fullback Drew Gibson leading the way, Heritage School's Candler Rich rushed for 108 yards on 13 carries including a 49-yard touchdown on offense. The defense, meanwhile, saw Edwin Rivera (Trinity Christian) and Tyler Bean (Heritage School) hold the South to a lone touchdown in the victory.
“It was an awesome week and a lot of fun,” Rich told the Macon Telegraph. “We came out strong and stretched the field with our speed sweeps. The offensive line played great, and we kept rotating fresh bodies in.”
A backfield of Rich and Gibson, who gained 24 yards on five carries, proved potent. Both have received interest from Division I programs, with Harvard and Yale pursuing Rich and Air Force among others eyeing Gibson. Rich completed his senior year at Heritage School with 1,910 yards rushing on 190 carries. He finished with an eye-popping 37 touchdowns (23 rushing, 7 receiving, 5 kickoff return and 2 on interception returns).

Rivera also had “a great game,” according to Heritage School head coach Kevin Prisant while also watching Bean — one of his starting defensive linemen — finish with eight tackles on defense.

Rich opened the scoring on a run down the sidelines untouched off a sweep to the right with Gibson leading the blocks up front. He added 22 yards receiving and accounted for a 2-point conversion.

Both Rich and Gibson also made several tackles at safety and defensive end, respectively, while playing on both sides of the ball.

The South All-Stars included players from all of this year’s GISA state championship teams.

Saturday’s game kicked off a busy month for county football standouts headed to All-Star games both around the state and nationally.

Gibson and Rivera will be among three Trinity Christian players headed to the NUC All-American Game in Myrtle Beach, joining teammate Jay Warner, East Coweta senior running back Dee Godfrey and Northgate running back Michael Willis. Warner, Godfrey and Willis shared a crowded ECHS backfield together in 2011.

Warner and Godfrey both broke the 1,000-yard plateau this year.

Also heading to postseason games are Northgate seniors D’Andre Johnson and Brandon Facyson, who will both play in the Georgia Athletic Coaches’ Association North-South All-Star Game. Johnson has committed to the University of Georgia and Facyson to Virginia Tech.

East Coweta seniors Nigel Gay, Zack Harness and Spencer Smith are scheduled to play in the upcoming Georgia Senior All-Star Bowl at the Georgia Dome.

Newnan senior Tray Matthews caps off the impressive list with his trip to the nationally televised U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Matthews is one of just five players from Georgia making the trip joining Walton seniors Tyren Jones and Brandon Kublanow, Cedar Grove quarterback Johnathon McCrary and West Laurens linebacker Johnny O’Neal.

Matthews, who is expected to enroll at the University of Georgia next month, was visited by Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt on Tuesday. Both were on hand at Atkinson Elementary School where Richt visited with students.



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