From 1966 through 2005, when Dan Pitts retired as the winningest coach in Georgia history, Mary Persons averaged 9.7 wins per season. Much of that occurred during a time when only region champions made the postseason. Cheap playoff wins rarely existed.
The stereotypical Pitts team would outcoach and outhustle the opponent until it just couldn't withstand the talents of a bigger, faster foe. Seven times that was the semifinals or later.
Only one of Pitts' teams won a state title. Only one had a senior named Alvin Toles. The biggest star in Mary Persons history, Toles rushed for 1,663 yards in 1980, and that included 149 with two touchdowns in the Class AA championship game, a 34-6 victory over Duluth.
Toles went on to Tennessee and ended up a first-round pick in the NFL Draft as a linebacker in 1985. Toles would play for four years in the league before a career-ending knee injury.
These are GHSF Daily's picks as the best players from the current schools in Region 2-AAAA.
*Howard: Alphonso Stephens (2015)
*Mary Persons: Alvin Toles (1980)
*Perry: Casey Heyward (2007)
*Spalding: Brodarious Hamm (2015)
*Upson-Lee: David Marshall (2015)
*West Laurens: Demaryius Thomas (2015)
Best player in school history series
Produced by Georgia High School Football Daily, a free e-mail newsletter. To join the mailing list, click here.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.