Area Sports...

 March 29, 2000

CHS Athletic Program Third In Class A Race
Region 8-A Boasts Five Of State's Top 20 Schools
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 rewards.
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 region playoffs.
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 class' cup.
The state championship in competitive cheerleading paced the point total.
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 11
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 Thursday.
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 County.
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 Thurs.
Even though spring break is coming up next week, the Commerce baseball team will not take the week off
The Tigers will travel to Jefferson Thursday before hosting Providence on Friday.
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.
Commerce lost two games to Athens Academy last week.
The Tigers lost 9-7 on Wednesday. The Spartans won Saturday's game 11-3.
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 innings.
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.

Swinging into spring
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.

Subregion race 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 season.
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 season.
"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 2-0 lead.
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 for Smith.
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 the southwest.
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 6-AA.
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.

Football playoff spots decided in April?
Jefferson, Commerce may earn automatic entry
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.

Jefferson faces Brenau before break
The boys can rest a while. The girls have a little farther to go.
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 rain.
Lara Bridges was the lone winner for Jefferson Tuesday against GAC, and Coda Carloss earned the only victory last Tuesday over Wesleyan.
Jason Lee and Misty Lance earned #1 singles wins last Wednesday over Gainesville, and Bridgett Davis scored a junior varsity win.
The Dragon boys defeated Commerce 4-1 Thursday, in spite of Carloss' default at #2 singles due to illness.

Jefferson second in Bryan Invitational
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 spring break.
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 field.
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.

Panthers' slide ends in Monroe
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 runs.
"Everybody decided to come up hitting," said head coach Rusty Hendricks, "and we played good defense most of the game."
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.

Jackson County closes soccer season
Coach Ron Garren can breathe a sigh of relief.
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 County.
"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
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 center field.
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 Mattox.
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 double play.

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 the season.
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 inning.
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 eight-run edge.
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'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 at first.

Track teams topped by Stephens Co.
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 not.
"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 third.
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.
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