Star suffers massive defeat … then defects to other sideline

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

What do you do if your school just lost its season-opening football game 69-6? If you're anything like the leading rusher for one Georgia team who found himself in that precise situation, you immediately leave your school and go try to play for the team that just whipped you.

Lincoln County running back Craig Jones
Lincoln County running back Craig Jones

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Augusta Chronicle, Harlem (Ga.) High sophomore running back Mike McIntire had enough after rushing for a team-leading 60 yards during his squad's 69-6 drubbing at the hands of Lincoln County (Ga.) High on Friday. Days later, he decided that his future was better served at Lincoln County, and he is already attending classes at his new school while he waits to find out if the Georgia High School Association will sanction his move in time for him to play during the 2011 season alongside stars like running back Craig Jones, pictured picking up some of his 122 yards against Harlem.

McIntire's new coach, Lincoln County veteran Larry Campbell (he's coached at the Georgia contender for the past 40 years), told the Augusta Chronicle that McIntire has yet to practice with his new teammates, as doing so might compromise Lincoln County's eligibility. Until McIntire's availability is determined by the GHSA, he will continue to attend the school and sit through classes without an immediate football future.

That's a steep price to pay for a sophomore star who had already earned a starting spot at his former school.

On the other hand, when you consider the prognosis of the Harlem program offered up by the school's head football coach, Jimmie Lewis, after the massive loss, it's hard to find too much fault with McIntire's decision, if only for his long-term potential at a stable power like Lincoln County.

"We looked decent the first quarter, like we knew what we were doing," Lewis told the Chronicle. "But then we got fatigued, we got little minor injuries, and players going out of the game and not telling their position coach they're out.

"We just fell apart."

Now Lewis has to pick up the pieces after losing his most dynamic offensive threat, too, in a defection that could only be described as shocking.

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