With graduation Friday and Saturday the Class of 2012 moved on from both a high school career and final year of memories and achievements.
The 2011-12 school year was filled with plenty of both, not only in the classrooms but also on the athletic fields and courts of Newton, Alcovy and Eastside High Schools.
Alcovy shined the first part of the school year both on the football field and basketball courts, and Eastside soccer and baseball ending it in the state playoffs.
Devon Edwards had a banner year for Alcovy football in 2011. After sitting out nearly the entire 2010 season with a broken collarbone, Edwards came back with a vengeance to lead the Tigers to a regular-season divisional title and state playoff berth. Alcovy fell 51-28 in the first round to Elite Eight qualifier Tri-Cities in the opening round.
As a result, coaches throughout Region 3-AAAA agreed he was one of the league's best players and voted him Offensive Co-Player of the Year. Northgate's Alex Lakes shared the honor.
Edwards roared into Alcovy's record books. He set a school record for all-purpose yards with 1,917 yards and scored a school-record 20 touchdowns as a running back, receiver and kick returner. His four kickoff returns for touchdowns is also a school record.
Edwards became the school's third 1,000-yard running back and second straight after finishing the year with 1,009 rushing yards. He joined Tre Sorrells, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark last year and Malachi Outlaw as Alcovy's only 1,000-yard backs. Outlaw became Alcovy's first 1,000-yard rusher in 2009.
Edwards averaged 7.5 yards per carry and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also hauled in 11 receptions for another 251 yards and found the end zone three times as a receiver. Perhaps Edwards' most explosive stats came in the return game though.
Alcovy's quarterback wasn't the only area player to receive All-Region honors during the fall season as Eastside had two representatives at the top of Region 4-AAA.
Amanda Hawkins, Eastside's catcher on the softball team, was named the region's Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year.
Hawkins led Eastside with a .406 batting average and a .823 slugging percentage while compiling a .551 on base percentage. She hit seven home runs, while leading the Eagles with 39 hits, 17 doubles, 36 runs and 27 walks. Hawkins earned All-State honors, along with teammate Erin Steele in Class AAA.
The Lady Eagles clinched a second seed in the state playoffs and defeated Harlem 2-1, 1-0 in the first round at Eastside. The Lady Eagles then fell to No. 1 seed West Laurens 4-1, 0-2, 4-0 in the second round.
Newton also reached the state playoffs in softball, as a fourth seed, but fell to Lowndes 6-1, 9-1.
Eastside volleyball standout Katie Johnston was also named Region 8-AAA Player of the Year for the second straight year. Johnson finished with 218 kills, 97 aces and 86 digs.
While Johnston was starring for Eastside, Newton reached the state playoffs, but fell to the top seed and state runner up Harrison 3-0.
The Alcovy basketball teams had most of the exciting playoff runs of the year with the girls' team reaching the final four and the boys' falling in the quarterfinals. Both teams made Alcovy history in earning the school's highest amount of wins and going further than any of Alcovy's previous basketball teams.
The Tigers earned the Region 3-AAAA title by defeating the state's top seed Fayette County 73-60.
The win earned Alcovy a No. 3 ranking in the state and defeated Forest Park 78-65 in the first round and Bainbridge 74-65 in the second round, with both games being at home. The victories gave Alcovy a record 18 straight wins.
The Tigers then moved on to the Elite Eight at Fort Valley State, where they fell 84-62 to North Clayton.
The Lady Tigers made it one round further, defeating Forest Park 51-40 to reach the school's first ever basketball final four.
Alcovy reached the state's last four teams as a second seed. The Lady Tigers defeated Mundy's Mill 60-48 in a home game during the opening round. Alcovy then defeated No. 1 seed Warner Robins 51-40 on the road before traveling to Fort Valley State where it beat Forest Park 51-40.
Before the Tigers came out of the locker room against Forest Park Holtzclaw told her players then what they needed to do to win.
"Number one, we needed to cut the head off the snake," Holtzclaw said. "Ashlee Cole is a great player. We knew she was the heart of the team and the leader. The last thing we talked about was we had to cut the head off the snake with our defensive error and I think we did that."
Alcovy held Cole without a point in the first half, finishing with 11.
They went on to pull out the victory behind Meagan Tucker's 19 points, stretching her career total to 1,022, and the Lady Tigers would go on to face Miller Grove at the Gwinnett Arena. Miller Grove, the eventual state champions defeated Alcovy 42-34.
Eastside's girls' team also reached the basketball state playoffs but fell to Washington County 65-25 in the first round.
In the spring, Eastside remained state playoff representatives.
The Eagles reached the baseball playoffs, but fell in the opening round 12-2 and 3-1 to Harlem.
Eastside finished the year with a 22-6 mark overall and 14-2 in Region 4-AAA. The Eagles three times won five straight, including a stretch to end the regular season with nine straight victories.
In soccer Eastside's boys' and girls' teams both advanced to the second round of the state playoffs.
The boys' team finished 11-7-2 and earned a third seed in the playoffs in coach Champ Young's first season. The Eagles went on the road to beat Richmond Academy 4-1 behind a hat trick by Trip Taylor. The Eagles, however, then fell 7-1 to Woodward, which went on to win the state title.
The Lady Eagles soccer team also reached the second round but did it as a No. 2 seed.
Eastside won its playoff opener with a 3-0 win over Westside at home. The Lady Eagles then ended their season at Columbus, the eventual state runners up 10-0.
Lafond led the Eastside offense by scoring 30 goals and recording 18 assists.
Junior forward Sarah Gaddis would net 27 goals and five assists.
Junior defender Kari Dylong made a habit out of serving up great balls that resulted in goals scored off her corner kicks, accounting for most of her seven assists.
Harrison would add five goals and finish with 14 assists, many by-passing midfield and going straight to Lady Eagle forwards.
Senior Savannah Hill had four goals and eight assists. Fellow senior Emily House notched five goals and six assists. Sophomore Alex Morvik and freshman Alli Coberth also contributed on offense.
Defensively, junior keeper Carly Farrow was credited with 141 saves and ten shutouts during the regular season and first round game.