GDP Staff Photo -- Former Colquitt County assistant football coach Buzz Payne is seen on the Grayson sideline during the Rams' 35-31 win over the Packers in last year's Class AAAAA state semifinals. Payne is accused by Colquitt County coach Rush Propst for relaying signals in last week's loss to Lowndes.
Colquitt County's accusation that former assistant Buzz Payne relayed signals to Lowndes County coaches during a football game a week ago took steps into Gwinnett on Thursday.
Colquitt head coach Rush Propst told the media in Valdosta and later told the Gwinnett Daily Post that Friday's game wasn't the first he's heard of Payne relaying offensive signals, specifically indicating Grayson and head coach Mickey Conn. Though he balked at a full accusation.
"I also found out that Buzz Payne was at Grayson and that happened during the semifinal game last year," Propst told the Valdosta Daily Times. "I heard that it happened at halftime last year.
"I've lost a lot of respect for Mickey, if that happened. Now, that is alleged."
Photos taken by the Gwinnett Daily Post during last year's semifinal game show Payne gesturing toward the field from the Grayson sideline, something Conn did not dispute, saying his staff used the former Colquitt assistant as a resource in preparing for a state playoff game.
"No (he wasn't calling in plays)," Conn said. "There were a lot of people on our sideline. It's a (Georgia High School Association) game. We use our own coaches, playing our own game. He wanted to go up in the box and I said, 'No, that we weren't going to do that.' In fact, he wasn't even supposed to be on the sideline."
Conn said Payne accessed the sideline using a GHSA pass and that there were "coaches all over the field" during the game.
Colquitt filed an official complaint with the GHSA over Friday's game with Lowndes, but Propst said he doesn't plan to pursue a complaint against Grayson, just that he heard of Payne's involvement from "people he trusts."
"Ever since that came up then I got several emails and texts this week from people that said that Buzz was at the Grayson game last year," Propst said. "Can I prove it? All I am going on is emails and texts that I am getting from coaches inside this state that told me that it went on. That's all I am going on."
Grayson won last year's game 35-31 on its way to an undefeated season and the school's first Class AAAAA state championship.
"I don't want to get drug into this mess," Conn said. "We told Buzz we weren't (going to have him in the press box calling plays). He gave us a scouting report, just like you would with anybody else, calling other schools that played them. Same kind of deal."
Here is the video of Buzz Payne at the Lowndes-Colquitt game last week:
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