The Sprayberry Yellow Jackets have a long history of fine kickers. From eventual Georgia Bulldogs Craig 'Golden Toe' Elrod, Peter Rajecki, and Rusty Gillespie to, more recently, Rob Englar (Sprayberry field goal distance record-holder), Josh Foster (current Jackets Assistant Coach and Sprayberry 1984-2004 and Golden Anniversary All-Star), and Cazimon Suri (All-Region and All-County kicker in 2011), there is no shortage of kicking tradition on Sandy Plains. Yet, the Special Teams standouts on the 2012 Yellow Jackets roster are 'special' indeed.
Senior Long Snapper, Holder, Punter, Wide Receiver, and Quarterback Hank Harris is ranked #64 among all Class of 2013 long snappers nationwide (according to ProKicker.com). Due to his multitude of roles, look for Hank to be just about anywhere and everywhere during the course of a game (he posted a 101 NFL Quarterback Rating and caught 22 passes for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns in five Summer 7-on-7 competitions).
Senior Place Kicker, Punter, Kickoff Specialist, and Defensive Back Sawyer Page is ranked #67 among all Class of 2013 place kickers in the nation. Sawyer is not only a reliable Place Kicker (he kicked field goals of 37 and 38 yards, along with an extra point, during the 2012 Spring Black-and-Gold Game), but also a wily and disruptive Defensive Back (he led all defenders with 7 passes defended and 2 interceptions in five Summer 7-on-7 competitions).
Sophomore Place Kicker, Punter, and Kickoff Specialist Rodrigo Blankenship (a recent transfer from Walton High School) is the #1-ranked punter as well as the #2-ranked place kicker among all Class of 2015 kickers in the nation. Rodrigo has competed in several National All-Star games to date.
Once again, the Sprayberry Yellow Jackets find themselves with potent Special Teams assets. It is rare for so much Specialist talent to be concentrated on one team. There is no doubt, however, that Head Coach Billy Shackelford is happy to have so many accomplished Specialists to supplement his already prolific 'Shack Attack' Offense. One thing is certain... stand by for a few Sprayberry kicking records to fall very soon!
To his students and colleagues, Tim Crunk was an educator and coach that stood out. Inside the classroom, he taught science and was a previous "Teacher of the Year" for his school. Outside, he was a winning baseball and softball coach who led his players to success.
Mr. Crunk had been an assistant principal and athletics director for Sprayberry High School for three years.
Before, he spent nine years at Kennesaw Mountain, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 2004 and led state runner-up teams in softball and baseball, respectively, the following two years. Prior to moving to Kennesaw Mountain, Mr. Crunk taught and coached for 10 years at South Cobb High School.
In recent years, Mr. Crunk had stepped aside from coaching and moved into school leadership, Kelly said. "He made the transition into administration flawlessly," Mr. Kelly said.
Beyond his work, Mr. Crunk was very involved with Cedarcrest Church, where he volunteered with the Haiti Education Project. Mr. Crunk and his wife, Leslie Cobb, had recently made two mission trips to Haiti, and Mr. Crunk ultimately hoped to open a school there, Mr. Kelly said.
Mr. Kelly said he last saw Mr. Crunk Monday evening at a meeting for a men's ministry the two were both involved in.
Mr. Crunk left around 8:15 p.m. with plans to go for a run, Mr. Kelly said. Later Monday night, Mr. Kelly said he got a phone call with the awful news.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Crunk is survived by daughters Hillary Crunk and Anastasia Crunk and son Corey Crunk, all of Acworth.
Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Marietta Funeral Home, 915 Piedmont Road. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Piedmont Church, 570 Piedmont Road, Marietta.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Tim Crunk Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank or to the Haiti Education Fund at Cedarcrest Church, 3950 North Cobb Parkway, Suite 201, Acworth GA 30101.
Solon Page III, a rising eighth-grader at Daniell Middle School, was invited to attend Football University’s Top Gun youth camp next month in Williamsburg, Va., after his recent standout performance at the organization’s Atlanta camp.
The Top Gun camp, which runs from July 23-25, brings together over 1,000 athletes representing the top 10 percent of performers from 40 regional camps around the country each year, based on physical and performance-based benchmarks. In his first time attending FBU, Page graded out as one of the top performers.
“I was pretty excited about it,” Page said of his selection. “My hopes weren’t extremely high for the Top Gun Camp, but as soon as I got invited, I tried to keep my composure.”
Page played linebacker at the camp but filled many roles for the seventh-grade Sprayberry Jr. Jackets last fall, contributing primarily at defensive end. He finished with 12 sacks, six forced fumbles, an interception and scored two defensive touchdowns as the Jr. Jackets went 9-3 and reached the second round of the Georgia Middle School Athletic Association playoffs last season. The regional camp gave him an early look at the other high-caliber athletes his age around the state.
“The competition was very fierce,” he said. “It was more precise and more technical than any team that I had faced in the regular season while I was playing in my league.”
The invitation-only regional camp welcomed players aged from sixth grade to high school to Duluth for three days of position-specific coaching. The athletes participated in classroom instruction sessions and on-field training and agility drills as well as 7-on-7 sessions. Players were also assigned playbooks for the 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills to take home and study for the following day of camp, which for Page was a new challenge in preparation that he had not faced on his football teams before.
“Our team (last fall) didn’t give us a playbook, they just told us plays and we just had to memorize them,” he said.
This year, Top Gun athletes will be split into separate High School and Youth camps for the first time to address the event’s growth in its fifth year of existence. Under the instruction of more than 50 former NFL and collegiate coaches and players, participants receive classroom and on-field instruction and the opportunity to hone proper technique against other highly-regarded campers. Former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Sam Wyche is the head instructor for the 2012 Top Gun event.
Page’s linebackers coach for the regional camp was Quentin Coryatt, a second team All-American linebacker at Texas A&M and the second-overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1992 NFL Draft. While Page felt good about using his speed and his 6-1 frame to cover ground on defense, Coryatt told him he could be using his physical gifts more efficiently to maximize his value at linebacker.
“A lot of players would say that their weapons are their shoulder pads,” Page said. “For a guy as lengthy as me, my real weapons are my hands, and I can use them more than I already am.”
Page hopes to build on Coryatt’s instructions and improve his agility and flexibility ahead of his trip to Williamsburg, where he will test his skills against a nationwide collection of talent on a much larger stage.