CHS Athletic Program
Third In Class A Race
Region 8-A Boasts Five Of State's Top
Last year, Commerce High School's athletic
teams reached the state level in nine sports.
This year, continued success by the Tiger teams is getting tangible
In its first year, the Gatorade-Balfour Director's Cup honors
schools with the best overall athletic programs.
Schools are awarded points for advancing in the state and certain
The points through the winter sport championships have been totaled,
leaving Commerce in third place in Class A with 260 points. Spring
sports totals will be added to determine which schools win their
The state championship in competitive cheerleading paced the
The football team reached the semifinals.
The Lady Tiger softball team took third place at state. The wrestling
team finished the state tournament in fifth place.
Landmark Christian leads Class A with 300 points. Lovett is second
with 270 points.
Commerce is the leading scorer in Region 8-A. The region's five
teams in the top 20 is the most of any region in Class A.
Jefferson has the second-most points in the region with 140.
Greater Atlanta Christian has 130 points.
Buford and Providence are tied for 18th in Class A with 110 points.
Only 10 of the teams in the Class A race will return to the smallest
class next season.
Lovett, Pace Academy, Darlington, Greater Atlanta Christian,
Paideia, East Laurens, Irwin County, Wilkinson County, Calhoun
and Charlton County will all move up next season.
The Class AAA race is over. Marist has 660 points, which leads
its closest competitor, Woodward Academy, by 280 points.
Westminster leads the Class AA race with 530 points. St. Pius
X is second with 470 points. South Forsyth is the next closest
team with 260 points.
Six schools are within 80 points of the Class AAAA title.
Commerce Cheerleaders Named To All-State Squad
Two Commerce cheerleaders were recently
named to the all-state squad.
Seniors Beth Davis and Brandon Glenn were tapped for the honors.
Both performers were members of the 2000 Class A state and Region
8-A champion squad.
The duo were also members of the team in its first year of competition
in 1999. That year the squad took runner-up honors in both the
state and Region 8-A compeitions.
Commerce Netters Get Back April 11
While Commerce High School takes a week
off from classes, the Tiger tennis teams will be off from action.
Commerce took two losses to Jefferson last Thursday.
The Dragon teams won the boys' and girls' matches 4-1.
Heather Stockton won her singles match for the Commerce girls.
Aaron Talbot won the only match for the boys in his singles match.
Commerce will host Wesleyan April 11. The region singles tournament
will be held April 13-14 at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville.
The region team tournament is scheduled for April 18 at Buford.
Commerce was scheduled to play Providence Tuesday, but results
were not available at press time.
Track Team Breaks From Action Until April
The Commerce track team will take the
week off from competition during the spring break next week.
The team opened its season last Tuesday at Habersham Central.
The team also competed in the four-way meet at Oglethorpe County
The team was scheduled to compete at a meet in Franklin County,
but results were not available at press time.
At Oglethorpe County, the girls' mile relay team of Elizabeth
Roller, Anna Roller, Crystal Rainwater and Stephanie McFadden
beat out the teams from Jackson County, Athens Academy and Oglethorpe
McFadden also turned in a triple jump of 30 feet one inch.
The team cut six seconds off their opening time at Habersham
Central, even though the baton was dropped during one exchange.
Twion Shealer took second in the discus, losing by six inches.
The team will compete in four meets after spring break before
the region meets begin.
The Region 8-A girls' meet will be April 24-27 at Greater Atlanta
Christian. The boys' region meet will be May 12-13 at Jefferson.
CHS To Face Jefferson
Even though spring break is coming up
next week, the Commerce baseball team will not take the week
The Tigers will travel to Jefferson Thursday before hosting Providence
Commerce's baseball team plays two games next week during spring
break. The Tigers travel to Greater Atlanta Christian next Wednesday.
Riverside will visit Commerce April 7.
LAST WEEK'S ACTION
Commerce lost two games to Athens Academy last week.
The Tigers lost 9-7 on Wednesday. The Spartans won Saturday's
Commerce led Wednesday's game 5-1 after their turn in the third.
Athens Academy tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the inning.
Commerce took a 6-5 lead that the Spartans leveled in the bottom.
Athens Academy scored three runs in the fifth to lead 9-6. Commerce
scored one run in the sixth to end the scoring.
Charlie Epps had two hits and a walk to lead the Tiger offense.
Adam Stephenson opened Commerce's offense in the first inning
with a three-run homer.
In Saturday's game, Athens Academy scored five runs in the sixth
inning to break away.
Wes Massey started the game, allowing five earned runs in five-plus
Daniel Carder had three hits, including a two-run homer.
Wesleyan took a three-run lead early to edge Commerce 3-2.
Epps and Wes Smith each had two hits.
Boys, girls take edge over area teams
Banks County will face Rabun Gap Thursday
before taking a break from action for spring break.
The Leopard teams will return to action April 10 at Franklin
County. Banks County has a match scheduled at the Athens Country
Club against Athens Academy. The next home match for Banks County
will be April 18 against Rabun County and Union County.
Banks County was to have played a tri-match at Madison County
Monday, but the event was rained out.
Banks County's boys took third place in the Madison County Invitational
tournament Saturday at Whispering Pines in Colbert.
The 18-hole event featured 10 teams from northeast Georgia. Banks
County was one of two Class A teams in the event.
Junior Leopard Brandon Brown finished his 18 holes with a score
of 72 tied with Gainesville's Stuart Moore. Moore won in a playoff
to take the low medalist.
Banks County swept a match with Jefferson, Commerce and Jackson
County Thursday at Sandy Creek Golf Course in Commerce.
Banks County's boys shot a 162 to pace the crowd. The Lady Leopard
linksters shot a 108 to win the girls' match.
Jefferson's boys were second with a 166. Commerce followed with
a 184. Jackson County rounded out the scoring with a 186.
Commerce and Jackson County each shot 121 in the girls' match.
Jefferson's girls' team did not compete.
Brown led the Leopards again with a 38. Jason and Drew Sparks
each turned in scores of 41. Brandon Crumley added a 42.
Bree Whitlock and Haley Crumley each shot 54 for Banks County,
the lowest individual score of the match.
to clear after Dawson, Rabun showdowns
With a record of 15-2, Banks County will
have a chance to win as many games this season as they did in
the past two combined.
Sitting on a 5-1 Region 8-A North record, the Leopards have a
clear shot at making the postseason.
Going into subregion play this week, Banks County was tied with
Dawson County and Union County for the 8-A North lead.
Dawson and Union were to square off Wednesday. Dawson County
topped the Panthers in their first meeting.
Friday Banks County will host Dawson County, a team they beat
in Dawsonville 6-1 earlier in the season.
Next Wednesday, Banks County travels to Union County. The Panthers
are the only subregion team to hand the Leopards a loss this
If Banks County sweeps the season series with Dawson County,
it could take a firm handle on a spot in the region playoffs
with a win at Union County.
Last season, Banks County went 10-12. The year before, the Leopards
won eight games. The team has six games remaining on its schedule.
The Leopards kept pace with the subregion leaders with three
wins in the past week.
Banks County topped Towns County 11-1. Tallulah Falls fell 19-4
in four innings. A rule adopted for the 2000 season states that
"a game will end anytime that a team is 15 or more runs
behind and has completed three or more turns at bat."
Banks County took a lead, lost the lead, regained the lead and
held off Rabun County for an 8-6 win Monday.
Tuesday's game with Commerce was canceled. Commerce called off
its game Monday with Buford. That game was played Tuesday.
The wins over the past week assured the Leopards of a winning
"That gives our kids something to be proud of," Leopard
coach Michael Williams said. "It's the first winning season
for me as a coach. I think it's the first one they've had in
a while. I think it's been at least since 1992. We've got a chance
to win 20 games."
Paced by a Joseph Whitlock home run, Banks County jumped to a
Rabun County countered in the third inning with three runs.
In the bottom of the third, Banks County turned seven hits into
six runs to grab an 8-3 lead.
Starting pitcher Justin Smith stared the inning with a double
to right field. Whitlock followed with a double to left field.
Hank Jones hit a check-swing bloop single over second base that
scored Bray Maxwell, who had entered the game as a courtesy runner
Eli Cooper followed with a ground-rule double that scored Whitlock.
Clint Angel slapped a double to center to
score Jones and Cooper's courtesy runner, Casey Murray.
Steven Cruce knocked a single through the middle to bring in
Angel. Drew Gowder connected for the seventh hit to score Cruce,
who had moved to second on a balk.
Rabun County scored one run in the fourth and two in the sixth
before Whitlock closed the game out for the save. Rabun County
had runners at second and third when the final out was recorded.
Smith picked up the win with nine strikeouts. Whitlock got the
save, recording two strikeouts.
Whitlock and Murray combined for the win on the mound. Whitlock
had five strikeouts in four inings pitched. Murray pitched one
inning, picking up two strikeouts.
Whitlock had three hits and three RBIs at the plate. Ross Oliver,
Jones and Angel each had two hits.
Cruce had two strikeouts in three innings pitched to record the
win over the Indians.
8-AA to have 11
GAC, Apalachee included in new region
Banks County will be one of 11 teams in
Region 8-AA under the proposed alignments for next season.
The Georgia High School Association has released the proposed
regions after the shuffle that increased the number of classes
from four to five.
Schools will have two weeks to request a move to another region.
The final approval for the alignments will come at the GHSA's
executive committee meeting April 17-18.
Banks County will join Apalachee, Dawson County, East Hall, Greater
Atlanta Christian, Lumpkin County, Rabun County, Riverside, Towns
County, Union County and White County.
The north regions have 44 teams. The south regions have 30 schools.
Three of the five regions have more teams in the north. Class
AAAAA is south-heavy 46-40. Class AAAA has 32 in the south and
31 in the north.
At 11 teams, Region 8-AA is the second-largest in Class AA. Region
5-AA has 16 teams, including several schools inside I-285 and
schools to the southeast of Atlanta. The region runs from Decatur
at the northeast corner down to Manchester and Greenville to
No other region in any classification has as many schools as
5-AA. Regions 1-A and 1-AAAA have the fewest schools, with six.
Towns County's numbers put them in Class A, but the school opted
to move up to Class AA.
GAC in Norcross and Apalachee in Barrow County were inlcuded
in Region 8-AA.
GAC's longest trip in Region 8-AA is to Rabun County. The distance
between the two schools would allow GAC to reach every school
in the north of Class AA except Dade County, Manchester, Washington-Wilkes
and Han-cock Central.
Region 7-AA includes seven schools south and southeast of Athens.
The region runs from Oglethorpe County to the north, Morgan County
to the west, Washington-Wilkes to the east and Putnam County
to the south.
The 10 teams in the northwest corner of the state make up Region
The largest region in the south in Class AA has eight teams.
Regions 1-AA and 4-AA each have eight. The other two south region
each have seven teams.
The suspense has been taken out of the football season for several
Class A football teams.
Three regions in Class A will have four teams. Region will still
send four teams to the state playoffs.
Regions 1-A, 5-A and 8-A will have four teams.
Commerce, Buford, Jefferson and Wesleyan are the only Region
8-A teams that played football last year.
playoff spots decided in April?
Jefferson, Commerce may earn automatic
BY TIM THOMAS
The latest aftershock from this month's monumental Georgia High
School Association reclassification is a big one. Without playing
a single game or even conducting a single practice, football
teams from both Jefferson and Commerce may qualify for the 2000
state class A football playoffs.
The GHSA executive committee took less than three hours Tuesday
to divide its five classifications into 40 proposed regions.
Schools that wish to change regions may request to do so until
April 7. Final region alignments will be issued April 18.
With only four of its proposed 10 members fielding football teams,
region 8-A would automatically send Jefferson, Commerce, Buford
and Wesleyan to the state's 32-team playoff tournament if the
proposed region alignment stands.
The other proposed members of region 8-A are Brenau Academy,
Lakeview Academy, Providence Christian, Rabun Gap, Tallulah Falls
and Woody Gap.
In region 8-AAA, Jackson County has been matched up with Eastside,
Elbert County, Franklin County, Hart County, Loganville, Madison
County, Monroe Area, Stephens County and Winder-Barrow.
Brenau before break
BY TIM THOMAS
The boys can rest a while. The girls have a little farther to
Jefferson's girls' tennis team will face Brenau Academy Thursday
in the team's last event prior to spring break. The boys' team
will be back in action April 11, when they host Riverside, and
both teams will wrap up the following day against Jackson County.
The season-ending event was rescheduled two weeks ago due to
Lara Bridges was the lone winner for Jefferson Tuesday against
GAC, and Coda Carloss earned the only victory last Tuesday over
Jason Lee and Misty Lance earned #1 singles wins last Wednesday
over Gainesville, and Bridgett Davis scored a junior varsity
The Dragon boys defeated Commerce 4-1 Thursday, in spite of Carloss'
default at #2 singles due to illness.
in Bryan Invitational
BY TIM THOMAS
Jefferson Middle School track teams will take on Banks County,
Madison County and East Jackson Thursday, in a meet postponed
from Monday due to rain. The teams will then be off until after
Jefferson finished second in Saturday's Bryan Invitational, for
the second straight year. The Dragon boys scored 117 points,
second to Indian Creek's 140 and ahead of Chestatee, Banks County
and Commerce. Jefferson's girls finished second to Chestatee,
with Indian Creek, Commerce and Banks County rounding out the
Courtney Wiley led the boys' team, setting a JMS record with
a 19-foot, 5-3/4 inch long jump and finishing in first place.
Wiley also took the top spots in both the 100- and 200-meter
sprints, and ran on the fourth-place 1600-meter relay team.
Wade Lamb (pole vault) and Tierre Shields (triple jump) also
won their events, as did the 1600-meter relay A team. Taking
seconds were: David Dyer, high jump; distance medley relay team;
Forrest Garner, 400 meters; Michael Hartsock, 100 meters; and
Shields, 110 meter hurdles. Both the 400-meter relay A team and
1600-meter relay B team finished fourth.
Shenita Moon (long jump), Brook Coley (discus) and Kate Stringer
(triple jump) all finished third for the girls' team. Moon also
took second in the 200 meters and third in the 100 meters. Stringer
was fourth in the high jump and second in the 400-meter race,
and a member of the second-place 4X400 relay team that also included
Tylia Hunter, Karen Roberts and Renita Appleby.
Heather McEver finished fourth in two events, the 100-meter high
hurdles and long jump. Roberts was third in the high jump.
The girls' B-team 1600-meter relay team, consisting of Shea Johnson,
Cierra Watson, Dallas DuBose and Brandy Ellington, finished second.
slide ends in Monroe
BY TIM THOMAS
The Jackson County Panthers ended a three-game skid Tuesday night
with a 14-5 non-region win over Monroe Area. Prior to the win,
Jackson County had lost eight of their last nine games.
Next up for the Panthers will be a make-up game at Central Gwinnett
today, top-10 North Gwinnett Thursday, Newton County Monday and
a rematch with Habersham Central next Wednesday.
Trey McConnell went the distance for Jackson County to pick up
Tuesday's win, giving up only two earned runs in seven innings.
Michael Savadge had the hot bat, going 3-for-4 with two home
"Everybody decided to come up hitting," said head coach
Rusty Hendricks, "and we played good defense most of the
In addition to the win, Hendricks said a number of things are
turning in the right direction for his team this week. Cody Fortson
(hand) and Michael Hill (ankle) were both scheduled to visit
doctors Wednesday, to determine if they were ready to return
to the lineup.
In their absence, Hendricks has been able to give several younger
players some much-needed experience. What remains to be seen
is whether the positives will be enough to get the Panthers back
into playoff contention.
An eight-run sixth-inning explosion sparked by Panther errors
led to a 12-1 loss Friday to Oconee County. Savadge had a single
and a pair of doubles in the game, and was hit by a pitch.
Blake Wilson drove in Jackson County's only run with an infield
hit in the third inning.
Dacula defeated the Panthers 8-1 last Wednesday. Savadge and
Tim Whisnant had two hits each, Hill a double and a stolen base,
and Wilson a single, stolen base and run scored. Jeremy Smith
had a single and a stolen base, and pushed Wilson across the
plate for Jackson County's sole run.
closes soccer season
Coach Ron Garren can breathe a sigh of
Filling in as the boys' soccer coach at Jackson County, Garren
guided the team to the first two wins in the history of the school.
Garren's successor will inherit a squad with much more experience.
"We've got 11 of 17 coming back," Garren said. "If
we can get a soccer coach, we'll be alright." The school
is already actively seeking a coach to take over the program.
Last week, the Panthers wrapped up their season against Madison
"We played pretty good in the second half," said Garren.
"We got down 3-0 in the first 20 minutes, but came out in
the second half and dominated the game. We just couldn't get
a goal." Garren said Carl Atwell played well in goal, as
did Justin Gee, Chou Yang, Josh Bottoms, Josh Spivey and Josh
Davis further out in the field.
The Lady Panthers gave up a pair of goals in the first half of
their game Friday, and another in the second to also finish the
season with a 3-0 loss.
Homer lifts Raiders
over Oconee, 6-5
BY BEN MUNRO
Madison County bounced back from two straight losses Tuesday
with a little help from the long ball.
Chad Gillespie's two-run homer in the fifth inning boosted the
Raiders to a 6-5 win over Oconee County in Watkinsville.
After the Warriors took a 5-4 edge in the fourth inning, the
Raiders, who squandered an early four-run edge, battled back
and reclaimed the lead with Gillespie's blast.
Dustin Dinsmore started the fifth inning with a walk, followed
two batters later by Gillespie, who tattooed his shot to left
With the Raider lead in hand, Dinsmore then came in to pitch
in the bottom half of the inning and provided excellent relief
the rest of the way as he baffled the Warrior hitters, setting
down all nine batters he faced in the final three innings to
nail down the Raider win.
Early on in the contest it looked as if it was going to be an
easy night at the ball park for Madison County as the squad struck
for four runs during the first two innings of the contest to
give them a commanding 4-0 edge.
The Raiders got their first run in the first inning as Bo Williamson
sent a shot sailing over the right center field wall.
The team then loaded the bases in the next inning and took a
2-0 lead after Andy Coile grounded into a fielders choice, bringing
home Daniel Smith from third. The Raiders then picked up their
third and fourth runs of the night as Williamson smashed a two-run
single to center field, bringing home Kurt Cooper and Jamaris
However, things came unraveled for the Raiders as Oconee struck
for five unanswered runs, pushing four scores across the plate
in the third inning and adding another in the fourth.
Oconee got on the board in the third as Blake Williams slammed
a two-run homer to cut the edge to 4-2. Then a misplayed fly
ball in right field cost the Raiders another run as Oconee's
Stacey Bennett, who was on second, was able to score as he slipped
past the tag at home, making the score 4-3. With a runner at
third, Oconee tied the contest up a batter later as Zach Smith
hit into a fielders choice, bringing home Ben Elder.
Oconee appeared ready to break the game open in the next inning
as the Warriors loaded the bases with no outs. However, the Raiders
escaped the jam with minimal damage as Oconee only got one run
out of the situation.
After Williams brought home a run with an infield hit to make
the score 5-4, Madison County got a strikeout, then turned a
MADISON COUNTY 9
With the help of two seven-run innings, the Newton County Rams
manhandled the visiting Madison County squad Thursday night in
a 16-9 rout, handing the diamond Raiders their fifth loss of
It was a long evening for the Raider club, which had a three-run
lead at one point in the contest but allowed Newton to erase
the deficit and then go on to claim a lopsided win.
Madison County held an early lead in the loss as the team took
a 1-0 edge in the first inning after Stephen Seagraves scored
after a wild pitch.
The Raiders then led 4-1 in the next inning, pushing three runs
across the plate. Seagraves ripped a single to left field, scoring
both Kurt Cooper and Jonathon Pou to give the Raiders their first
two runs of the inning. Bo Williamson then followed with a base
hit to left to bring home Jeremie Strickland, giving Madison
County a three-run edge.
The lead evaporated quickly though, as Newton broke the game
open in the bottom half of the inning. A two-run single cut the
lead to 4-3. Then a Raider throwing error at first base a batter
later allowed the Newton squad to push another run across the
plate to pull even at four. The Rams' Jeremy King ripped a two-run
double to give Newon their first lead of the night at 6-4, and
Sam Peatry then followed with a two-run blast to center field
to push the squad out to an 8-4 edge.
The Raiders cut the lead to three runs in the third inning with
an RBI double from Kurt Cooper, scoring Nick Mattox, but Newton
countered with a run on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the
Down 9-5 in the fourth inning, Madison County clawed their way
back into the game as they picked up three runs to slice the
Newton edge to 9-8.
The Raiders loaded the bases, then got their first run of the
inning on an error on a Cooper ground ball. Pou hit a sacrifice
fly a batter later to bring home Jamaris Mattox, cutting the
lead to 9-7. Madison County picked up its final run of the inning
on another defensive miscue from Newton as N. Mattox scored on
a wild throw on a pickoff attempt.
Newton went to work in the fifth inning with their second offensive
explosion of the night. The Rams picked up their first two runs
as Joey Pittman ripped a bases loaded single to right center
field, making the score 11-8. An RBI double from Chris Hayes
brought home the 12th run of the night for Newton while Peatry
picked up two more RBI's with a single to center field. A wild
pitch a batter later brought home another run, increasing the
Ram's lead to 15-8, and then a suicide squeeze gave Newton an
Down by eight, the Raiders picked up their final run of the night
in the seventh inning as Cooper ripped a double down the left
field line, cutting the deficit to seven.
MADISON COUNTY 2
Madison County's bats were mostly silent Friday in an 8-2 setback
to Dacula in Danielsville, the team mustering only three hits
on the night.
Dacula took the early lead on a second-inning homer, adding another
run in the top of the third on an RBI double. Madison County
knotted the score in the bottom of the inning on a solo home
run by Chad Youngblood and a single by Jeremie Strickland that
drove in Adam Nash.
Raider starter Dustin Dinsmore shut down the Falcons until the
sixth inning, when the visiting squad scored three runs on a
bases loaded walk, an RBI single and a sacrifice fly. The Falcons
scored their fourth run of the inning on a wild pitch, but the
runner was called out for failing to step on home plate.
Dacula scored three insurance runs in the top of the seventh
inning on an RBI single, an RBI triple and a wild pitch. Raider
reliever Bo Williamson retired the side in the seventh inning,
taking over for Dinsmore with the score 6-2, no outs and a runner
Track teams topped
by Stephens Co.
BY ZACH MITCHAM
The Madison County boys' and girls' track teams opened their
season Thursday with losses to Stephens County in Toccoa.
Raider coach Mike Haynes said he was proud of his boys' squad
in the meet, noting that his team would have taken the upper
hand in the tight competition if the pole vault had been included
- Madison County has pole vaulters, while Stephens County does
"I was extremely pleased with the results," said Haynes.
"We won a lot we weren't supposed to."
The Raiders did pull off a surprising win against the speedy
squad in the 4 X 100 meter relay. Madison County team members
included Preston Fortson, Donny Stamper, Jason Chappell and Brad
Kirk at the anchor.
"I was thrilled with their performance," said Haynes.
"This builds confidence."
Other Raiders with notable performances included Jonathan Smith
and David Martinez, who finished first and second in the 3,200
meter race. Josh Miller won the 800-meter race, while Josh Ferguson
finished third. Demarkeo Mathis tied for first in the high jump
in his first track meet. Stamper, who placed second in the long
jump, won the triple jump, while teammate Steve Austin placed
Fortson finished third in the long jump. Chappell, Austin, Miller
and Ferguson placed second through fifth in the 300-meter intermediate
hurdles. Kirk took second in the 100-meter race. Freshman Richard
Stowers took third in the 110-meter high hurdles in his "first
time running a full flight of hurdles," according to Haynes.
Mathis, Fortson and Chappell placed second through fourth in
the 400-meter race.
Austin, Matt Kittle, Robert Geiger and Matt Baker finished second
through fifth in the 1,600-meter race.
Paul Collins took second in the shot put and Kyle Roper was third
in the discus.
On the girls' side, Madison County's Aiyana Hunter won the triple
jump, placed second in the 800-meter race and third in the long
jump. And the mile relay team of Wintre Hubbard, Sara Owen, Hunter
and Tiffany Skelton won first.
Girls' coach Elaine Johnson said she expects her team to improve,
but she said her squad will suffer due to a low turnout. The
squad only includes seven girls.
"Numbers are our problem," said Johnson.
Others on the Lady Raider squad include Jasmine Gilliam, Ashley
Collins, Medina Moon and Keke Laverette.
Madison County's next track meet is against Jackson County and
Lumpkin County Thursday at 4 p.m. in Jefferson. The Raider squads
will then travel to Carnesville Tuesday to face Franklin County
at 4 p.m.