4. Matthew Jones, Eli Huggins, Kirk Daniels, West Forsyth, 15lb, 10oz
6. Jake Hubbard, Mason Quarles, Scott Beard, North Forsyth, 13lb, 1oz
7. Andrew Johnson, Griffin Caracciolo, Jonathan Thompson, North Forsyth, 12lb, 11oz
9. Logan Samples, Ty Black, Travis Samples, North Forsyth, 11lb, 10oz
25. Ben Bales, Max Currie, Davey Bales, North Forsyth, 8lb, 6oz
38. Masson Bond, Trevor Powalowski, Petus Bond, West Forsyth, 6lb, 10oz
T43. Chatham Brooks, Clay Brooks, Scott Beard, North Forsyth, 4lb, 10oz
T43. Hunter Pearson, JT Simmonds, David Pearson, North Forsyth, 4lb, 10oz
50. Dan Praznik, Trey McEachern, Phil Johnson, North Forsyth, 1lb, 14oz
West Forsyth edged the defending champions from North Forsyth for a top-five finish in the Georgia State High School Fishing Championship Sunday.
West’s boat of Matthew Jones, Eli Huggins and Kirk Daniels finished in a county-best fourth place thanks to a five-bass limit weight of 15 pounds and 10 ounces.
West coach Brett Phipps didn’t see his team’s victory as a dethronement of an in-county rival. Instead, he applauded the showcase the two Forsyth County schools made at the event.
“I don’t know about calling it an upset,” Phipps said. “Scott (Beard) has been instrumental in leading us in the right direction with our club and getting us started. We’re really just an extension of them, but from another school.”
North had three boats finish in the top 10, but the Raiders fell short of their third straight state title, finishing in sixth place out of the 68 boat field.
Both West and North had teams qualify to fish in regionals, which will be held at Lake Lanier in September.
“Going into it I really just wanted a team to qualify for regionals. We didn’t win the whole thing, but it went very well and I’m not disappointed by any stretch,” said North coach Scott Beard.
North had 10 boats in the field—the most of any school in the championship—while West was hindered in the early going when the boat captained by Hunter Stewart and Travis Baugaus malfunctioned from a bad engine.
“I really expected to get two boats in,” Phipps said.
Beard was part of the sixth place boat, along with Jake Hubbard and Mason Quarles, while Andrew Johnson, Griffin Caracciolo and Jonathan Thompson finished in seventh place. Logan and Travis Samples and Ty Black finished ninth.
Beard saw more in the numbers of boats than the success of them.
“I think the fact that the event really grew this year is huge,” Beard said. “We’re adding about 16 to 20 boats each year, and that speaks well for the growth of high school fishing. It speaks well for the county.”
Phipps, also the athletic director at West, said he’s excited to see something different bring notoriety to the school.
“We are excited, it’s fun and we’re having a good time. The kids really have done a good job. It’s something different. It’s not a traditional high school sport yet there is a lot of competition,” Phipps said. “It’s fun to watch them do something different than run on a field.”