More Jackson County Opinions...

 August 16, 2000

By Tim Thomas
The Jackson Herald
August 16, 2000

The expert's (ha!) keys to a successful season
The most humbling thing about being a sports reporter is the fact that everyone expects you to be an expert. Actually, that's not the humbling part, it's when you say something that proves you're not an expert that is humbling. I for one have known that feeling on more than one occasion during the past year.
That said, I thought I'd wade right out into the surf and prove my ignorance to everyone early in the season by listing what I believe to be the keys to success for some of our local fall sports teams this year.
Nowhere does this reporter's ignorance of the deep technical aspects of a sport show more than on the gridiron. Here, to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt, are what our local football teams need to do in order to have a successful season.
Jefferson. Thanks to good ole boy Tom Murphy, the Dragons are assured of participating in the first round of the class A playoffs. The question is, what can they do to make the second round?
The Dragons must pull out an upset win over either Commerce or Buford in order to avoid the likes of Athens Academy or Lincoln County in round one. In order to beat any one of the above teams, Jefferson must show dramatic improvement on both sides of the ball during their non-region schedule. As is usually the case in high school football, a tight defense is crucial. But also important for Jefferson will be finding someone who can fill at least one of Stephen Sims' shoes.
Though Sims' graduation has left the Jefferson offense without its greatest weapon from 1999, good efforts from a couple of backs could provide a silver lining. Two backs of somewhat lesser but equal talent would be much harder to defend than one back with more talent.
A good passing game would also help keep opposing defenders on their toes, and the Dragons have at least one strong gun in the quarterback arsenal.
Jackson County. This may sound a little too simple, but the key for Jackson County is to get into the win column, preferably early in the schedule.
Head coach Greg Lowe and his assistants looked long and hard for help in the off-season, and the effort resulted in some new faces on the practice field. Still, the football participation numbers at Jackson County are abysmal when you consider the size of their student body.
Nothing attracts attention like a winner, and after losing 19 straight games, the Panther football program would get a serious shot in the arm with a few W's to their credit in 2000.
The coaching staff seems to be solid, but the 11 guys on the field need to step it up a notch early and make people take notice. The season opener against Banks County would be a good time to do just that.
Jefferson. Not taking anything away from DeMaris Gurley, but I think even I could win with the awesome lineup the Lady Dragons bring to the field. Last year's team had little room for improvement, as evidenced by their advancement to the state's Elite Eight. With nine starters back, is there anything that needs work?
Believe it or not, one of the few weaknesses of the 1999 Jefferson team was its incredible power. The slightly shorter field at Jefferson tends to make folks look for the fences, and if you play half of your games there, that tendency could easily affect your road game as well.
The problem with that is that not all fields are that short. Last year's sectional and state games at Lanier Point and Columbus proved that.
Power is a good thing in softball, but the Lady Dragons must learn to hold that power in check at times if they are to reach the state finals this year.
Jackson County. The Lady Panthers could go either way this year. Jackson County lost eight players from last year's team, but a large number of talented underclassmen will be listed on the 2000 roster.
The older players are the key to success for the Lady Panthers. The younger players will be greatly affected by their attitudes. Juniors and seniors can't let early losses or mistakes get to them, or the younger players will get discouraged. And that would make for a very long and difficult season at Jackson County.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald.

By Jana Adams
The Jackson Herald
August 16, 2000

Big Scary of the cow world
Big Scary crept silent and stealthy through the underbrush toward the herd, maybe even crawling on her belly at times to stay out of sight. She paused on the very verge of ambush when one alert cow raised its head, thought it heard a crackling or creaking in the trees nearby and sent out an alarm.
Moo! Cows flew across the pasture, kicking up their heels and bellowing out a warning to the other cows spread across various parts of the field. Not even knowing why they did it, these distant cows joined in the melee, also mooing and running to form a wild pack, shoulder to shoulder, crashing through trees and finally hiding en masse in the dark shadows along the edge of the woods. Their eyes shone big and afraid as they waited to see if Big Scary would follow.
Big Scary gave up the chase, at least this time.
I am Big Scary of the cow world, and I am also on occasion a cow counter. I really don't crawl through the underbrush on my belly, and I don't even try to sneak up on cows. But I am now perceived as the scariest thing on two legs and my appearance in the pastures around my house causes immediate chaos and a general galloping for safety.
I am sometimes called upon to check on the 23 cows and calves and one bull that live in the pastures behind and in front of my house, making sure everyone is accounted for. Never a threatening figure before, I made my mistake one afternoon recently, walking through the garden and past a couple of trees - camouflaged! - via the shortest route to a few of the cows. In the cows' minds, apparently, the above scene played out. They barely escaped Big Scary with their very lives, and they are always on the lookout these days, ready to run, if necessary.
A neighboring cow counter said that if he shows up wearing a different hat, his cows that paid him no mind the day before are suddenly on the move, alarmed by this new and possibly threatening beast.
They are very cautious, at any rate. When I step out the door to walk to the mailbox or to my car, cow heads turn, big eyes wary.
I like to watch the cows when I walk in the evenings. They look at me. I look at them. Sometimes I moo. They are not impressed and never even blink.
Big Scary walked nonchalantly down the road, pretending that nothing was out of the ordinary. Suddenly, with eyes gleaming and letting out a mocking moo, Big Scary leapt over the fence, charging into the unsuspecting herd....
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.





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