Stephens, Academy Visit
Commerce's football team will get a chance
to hit a different-colored jersey this Friday night when Stephens
County and Athens Academy visit for a jamboree.
"It's about time we go against somebody else," Commerce
coach Steve Savage said. "We should get a real good look
from them. They are both ranked teams."
The teams will run scrimmage-type situations during the time
allotted at the jamboree. Each team will get a chance to work
on offense and defense.
Stephens County (8-3) finished third last year in Region 8-AAA
and was among this year's Class AAA teams receiving votes for
the top 10.
Commerce downed Athens Academy (10-2) in the second round of
the state playoffs last year.
The Spartans will be on the regular season schedule for the Tigers
as well this year with the Oct. 6 game set in Commerce. The Tigers
will kick off the regular season Sept. 1 at Franklin County.
Banks County opened the softball season
with a third-place finish in the Dragon Booster Club Tournament
in Jefferson last weekend.
Banks County finished third overall in the tournament with a
The Leopards beat Glascock County 19-5, Apalachee 19-4 and Temple
Bryan County downed Banks County 10-5. Host Jefferson beat the
Leopards in the final pool game of the tournament to move to
the championship game. Jefferson downed Bryan County 8-7 to win
Ashley Freeman led Banks County getting, 12 hits in 15 at-bats.
Her hits included three home runs and five doubles. Freeman scored
11 runs and drove in 20.
Danielle Couch had 10 hits, including two home runs and four
doubles. Couch's nine RBIs came hitting behind Freeman in the
order all tournament.
Megan Williams added seven hits in 14 at-bats for a .500 batting
Taffy Carruth, Ashley Gowdy and Regina Veal each had six hits.
Maggie Elrod and Haley Crumley each added five hits.
Banks County played a doubleheader against Commerce on Tuesday,
but results were not available at press time.
on display Friday
The 2000 high school football season will kick off Friday night,
with a short slate of early games. Additionally, a number of
area teams will participate in football jamborees.
Jackson County will welcome Jefferson and Lumpkin County to Panther
Field Friday at 7 p.m. for a jamboree. In jamborees, each team
is allowed to play a total fo 36 minutes, and no official score
Commerce hosts Stephens County and Athens Academy beginning at
7 p.m., and Banks County will be at Fannin County, along with
Northwest Whitfield and Dawson County.
Madison County is the lone area team beginning its schedule this
week. The Red Raiders will travel to South Forsyth.
The Jackson County offense will feature what head coach Greg
Lowe has said is a large, physical offensive line against Lumpkin's
defense during their jamboree's opening session. The night will
also close with the Panthers in possession, this time against
"It's been a long, hot summer," Lowe said earlier this
week. "We're ready to go hit on somebody with a different
colored jersey on. We're tired of beating on each other."
Admission to the jamboree is set at $5. Jackson County will claim
the home sideline for all their sessions, and Jefferson will
be on the home sideline against Lumpkin County. Both local teams
will wear home jerseys.
Offensive possessions will start at the offensive team's 30 yard
line, and will progress until a turnover, a score or a punting
situation. After any of those situations, the ball will return
to the 30 yard line for another drive until the nine-minute session
has expired. Each team will participate in four of the six sessions,
two each on offense and defense.
"Friday will be good for us," Lowe said, "and
we need to get a lot of people out there."
Red hot Lady Dragons
blaze through tournament field
With a blazing performance out of the gate in last weekend's
Jefferson Booster Club tournament, the Lady Dragons have served
notice that they will be a considerable foe on the softball field
If there is a weakness in Jefferson's lineup, it did not show
itself in the tournament. The Lady Dragons batted .552 at the
plate, outscoring their opponents 91-12 in the six games. The
team managed 96 hits, including seven home runs, two triples
and 23 doubles.
As strong as the bats were, the gloves were even better. In six
games, Jefferson committed only six errors, a tremendous improvement
over last year's tournament, when the Lady Dragons made 33 errors.
After easing through their first five games, Jefferson defeated
Bryan County 8-7 in the tournament's championship game. It was
Bryan County who eliminated Jefferson from last year's state
tournament in Columbus, 3-0. Both teams have been mentioned as
being in contention for the 2000 state title.
Annie Goza started the final game with a bang, belting her third
home run of the tournament to give Jefferson the early 1-0 lead
in the first inning. Bryan was not to be taken lightly, though,
and stormed back with three runs of their own in the second to
take the lead.
The bottom half of the second inning was a big one for Jefferson.
Brooklyne Marlowe led off with a single, the first of five consecutive
hits. Lara Bridges followed Marlowe with her second tournament
home run. Melinda Floyd, Sunny Bush and Molly Cleveland all hit
safely before the first out was recorded. Taryn Gurley and Goza
each drove in runs after that, to give the Lady Dragons a 6-3
lead after two.
Staci Childress put on a defensive show in left field to deny
Bryan in the third, with a pair of diving catches to save extra-base
hits. In the fourth, the Redskins' bats came alive, as Bryan
County recorded four hits to put four runs on the board and take
a 7-6 lead.
The score remained unchanged until the sixth, when Jefferson
again came out of the dugout swinging. Marlowe, Bridges and Floyd
all singled to load the bases. Bush then singled in the tying
run, but the next runner was tagged out at the plate. Stacey
Anderson then drove in the go-ahead run with a hit to left field.
Jefferson's defense held on to win in the seventh, with Lee DuBose
recording the final out unassisted.
DuBose led the offensive effort in the tournament, going 15-for-19
with six doubles, a triple, 12 runs scored and 11 batted in.
She also recorded 26 put-outs at shortstop, with only one error.
Michelle Boring was 9-for-14, with two doubles, six RBIs and
Others batting over .500 for Jefferson were Floyd (10-15, 6 RBI,
8 R), Bush (10-15, 4 RBI, 7 R), Bridges (9-14, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 8
R), Cleveland (6-10, 4 RBI, 4 R), Marlowe (10-17, 4 RBI, 10 R),
Gurley (6-11, 6 RBI, 7 R) and Goza (8-16, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 9 R).
The Lady Dragons were scheduled to face East Hall at home Wednesday
at 5:30 p.m., with a junior varsity game preceding. Next up for
the team is a double-header at home against Washington-Wilkes
Thursday at 5 p.m., and a game Tuesday in Monticello against
Jasper County at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday's game will also be preceded
by a JV game.
Raiders hope to turn
program with first non-region season
This opinion is generally accepted in
these parts: The problem with Madison County football isn't what's
on the field; it's what's off the field.
Low turnout usually puts the Raiders at a disadvantage against
like-sized schools. And when football Fridays roll around, Madison
County often seems to need a slingshot to accompany its helmets
and pads. Throw the talent out of the equation, when 30 kids
try to take on 100 guys, such as at Oconee County, there is a
clear David-versus-Goliath situation.
So this season, third-year Raider coach Tom Hybl has tried to
keep the Goliaths out of his team's path. He adopted a non-region
schedule to pair his squad against less established programs.
Madison County will face two first-year football teams this season:
Apalachee and Union Grove - the Raiders will compete with Union
Grove twice, both at home and on the road.
The Raiders' seven other opponents combined for an 18-52 record
last year. These schools include South Forsyth, 4-6; Jackson
County, 0-10; North Hall, 1-9; Jefferson, 5-5; Warren County,
1-9; Wesleyan, 5-5; and Athens Christian, 2-8.
Hybl said his team would have faced a murderer's row of opponents
in Region 8-AAA this year.
"We could not have competed in the region we would have
been in," said Hybl, whose squad would have played teams
like Hart, Stephens and Elbert County in Region 8-AAA.
Ultimately, Raider followers hope the change to a non-region
schedule will lead to more wins and greater turnout on the field
next year. Hybl, who noted slight improvements in participation
in his three years on the job - from 32 players in 1998 to 43
this year - said turning around the Raider program goes beyond
the gridiron. What's imperative is building a football community,
"This (involvement in football) has to start early in life
and it's not happening now," said Hybl of Madison County.
Hybl said he doesn't know how long the Raiders will stick with
a non-region setup, though the team is committed to play a non-region
schedule next season. This schedule only effects football at
Going non-region will probably improve the Raiders' competitiveness,
but Hybl doesn't believe this season's lineup will prove a cakewalk.
For example, South Forsyth, who the Raiders will face Friday
in Cumming at 8 p.m., fields a team of around 80 players, though
about 45 of them are freshmen, Hybl added.
"They're not a powerhouse, but they'll be decent,"
The coach noted that even Class A Jefferson suits up over 50
All cautions aside, Hybl said he's ready for his team to hit
the field and pleased with the effort his players have shown
in the brutal pre-season heat.
"The bottom line is our guys have done a good job preparing,"
said Hybl. "We're as ready to play as we can be."
Here's a look at who the Raiders will put on the field this season:
Probable starters on offense include Jonathan Pou, quarterback;
Drew Brantley, split end; Brad Kirk, running back; Tony Freeman,
fullback; either Donny Stamper or Preston Fortson at running
back; either Josh Ferguson or Stephen Tippins, tight end; Chris
Wiley, center; Robert Geiger, guard; Adam Wynn, guard; Dustin
Wiley, tackle; and Brandon Hayes, tackle.
Probable starters on defense include Richard Steyers at noseguard;
Dustin Walker and Matt Collins at tackles - Brandon Hayes and
Billy Huntsinger will also get time at that position. Donny Stamper
and Michael Allen will line up at defensive end; Brad Kirk and
Tony Freeman at linebacker; and Tony Tittle, B.J. Johnson, Drew
Brantley and Jonathan Pou in the secondary.
Kirk will handle punting duties and Scott Dills returns as the
Hybl says Matt Baker and Justin Crider are out indefinitely with
injuries...Madison County may play a junior varsity game in September
and one in October. Hybl said he still isn't sure whether there
will be enough players to put a JV team on the field.