Area Sports...

 September 13, 2000

Commerce To Travel For Matchup With Bulldogs
Commerce will have several obstacles to look past when it plays in Madison this Friday.
Not having head coach Steve Savage for the week, after being hospitalized, losing the first home game in five years and playing a Class AA team that reached the playoffs last year is enough.
But improvement has been the watchword this season for the Tigers.
"We played pretty well," offensive coordinator Rex Gregg said. "The improvement from Game 1 to Game 2 was much better. We've still got some people who need to play better than they have been showing. Our aces have to go play well."
Gregg said the new starting offensive line has shown it can get better.
"Our line made a big improvement," Gregg said. "We played well on defense. We'd stop them for two plays and then they would make a big play. But we never got the ball enough in the second half to get any rhythm going."
Commerce ran 17 plays in the final two quarters.
The Tigers will want to hold the ball more or else they will get more Moore - Bo Moore.
Son of Morgan County coach Kenny Moore, Bo Moore is the starting quarterback. Last season he threw for 436 yards.
"We know that Morgan County is going to spread it out and throw all over the place," Gregg said. "We're going to have to execute on offense and score some points."
Morgan County had participated in the jamboree at Commerce for the past two years, but the two teams have never met in the regular season.
FORSYTH 16, Tigers 15
Despite scoring on their opening drive, the Commerce Tigers were not able to muster enough offense to defeat the Forsyth Central Bulldogs Friday night.
The Bulldogs utilized a strong running game and capitalized on a crucial turnover to edge the Tigers 16-15.
Commerce started off stong, moving the ball 78 yards on 15 plays to open the game. Monté Williams scored for the Tigers on the drive, taking the ball seven yards on a pitch with just under five minutes left in the first quarter.
Dustin Martin hit the point after to give Commerce an early 7-0 lead.
Forsyth Central went deep into Tiger territory on their first possession before settling for a field goal to set the score at 7-3.
But the game turned sour for Commerce on its next possession. On their first play from scrimmage, Wes Massey's pass was picked off by the Bulldogs, who took over on Commerce's 18-yard line.
Four plays later on fourth down and inches from the Tiger nine-yard line, Forsyth Central ran right through the Commerce line to the end zone to go ahead 9-7. The point-after attempt failed.
Commerce scored for the final time when it got the ball back from the Bulldogs.
Massey hit Michael Collins on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage for an 80-yard touchdown reception to put Commerce back on top 13-9 with 9:21 left before the half.
Williams took a pitch in for the two-point conversion to give the Tigers a 15-9 lead.
The Bulldogs quickly responded to Commerce's scoring effort.
Five plays into their possession, the Bulldogs took a handoff and ran around and over several Tiger defenders for a 38-yard touchdown play. Forsyth Central's kick split the uprights, giving them a one-point 16-15 lead.
The two teams traded possessions once more before halftime.
Forsyth Central threatened to up their lead on the Tigers early in the forth quarter. But Collins intercepted a pass at the goal line to stop the Bulldogs' drive.
However, Commerce's offense wasn't able to capitalize on the turnover. The Tigers' offense was never able to get out of their own territory in the second half of the game.
Commerce put up one more attack late in the fourth quarter. The Tiger defense held Forsyth Central on four straight plays and got the ball back on their own 40-yard line. But two plays later, the Bulldogs intercepted a pass to seal the Tigers' fate and take a victory in the game.

Banks County tools up for 8-AA slate
The first two games of the season have ended in losses for the Banks County football team. The down side is easy to see.
The positive aspect of two losses is that the team will not play this week, giving the team a chance to work on some areas that were exposed in a 20-6 loss to Jackson County and a 48-21 loss last Friday to Jefferson.
"Obviously we have to get better on defense," Banks County coach Rance Gillespie said. "We're going to spend some extra time to get headed in the that direction."
The time off will also let one of the key players for the Leopards heal a little longer before Banks County opens the Region 8-AA schedule in Dawson County Sept. 22.
Suffering a sprained ankle in the Jackson County game, senior Mike Ivey did not suit up for the Jefferson game.
"He's still day-to-day," Gillespie said. "We're hoping he can play against Dawson County. He should be able to play by then. Mike is a tough kid. If anybody will be able to come back he will."
While both teams were slow to put their offenses in gear, the two teams did combine for 69 points and more than 750 yards before the night was through.
Banks County fumbled on their opening drive, but forced the Dragons to punt on their ensuing possession.
The Leopards got the ball back at their own 20 after Jefferson punted into the end zone. Banks County's drive stalled around midfield, forcing a Leopard punt.
Jefferson's Ryan Gurley faked a reverse on the return and raced down the sideline for the game's opening score with 5:29 left in the first quarter.
Banks County could not move the ball on its next possession, punting down inside the Dragon 30. But an unsportsmanlike foul charged against Banks County moved the Dragons out to near midfield.
Jefferson put together a 10-play drive to score its second touchdown with 11:28 to play.
The Leopards responded with a 10-play scoring drive of their own. Chris Keyros and Hank Jones carried the ball on the ground for most of the march, including Jones' four-yard dive for six points. Jones added the kick to cut the lead to 14-7.
Jefferson took just four plays to get that score back. Joseph Laird caught a 59-yard pass and raced toward the end zone before Bray Maxwell saved a score at the Banks 7.
Two dives up the middle and a two-point conversion put Jefferson up 21-7.
Chris Ivey took the kickoff down to the Jefferson 18 to set up a quick score by the Leopards. Jones ended the three-play drive by catching a pass in the flats and running 16 yards for the score. The point after was no good, making the Jefferson lead 21-13.
Jefferson took the ball at the 50-yard line after the kickoff return and another unsportsmanlike call on Banks County with 3:32 left in the half. Jefferson mounted another 10-play drive that ended with Shane Wilburn's two-yard dive with 12 seconds left.
Jefferson took the opening kickoff in the second half and fumbled at the Banks County 35. But Banks County turned the ball back over on its next play.
The teams traded possessions before Jefferson added another touchdown with 2:44 left in the third quarter to take a 34-13 lead.
Jefferson scored twice more in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Ivey carried in a 32-yard pass for Banks County's final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"They had good team speed," Gillespie said. "They played really well. We've still got a chance to be a good football team. We just came out flat, and you can't do that. We've got to come back and play with more enthusiasm."

Raiders rout Jackson County 21-6
The Raiders could get used to this.
For the third week in a row, it was Madison County enjoying a post-game victory celebration in the locker room, basking in the glow of a hard-fought 21-6 win over border opponent Jackson County in Jefferson Friday night.
With the win, Madison County remained perfect on the year, becoming the first Raider team to post a 3-0 start since 1992. The Jackson County win added to the success of Madison County's non-region experiment.
The team has already eclipsed last year's win total with Friday night's victory. Another victory this season will equal the team win output for the past two seasons.
However, Madison County's third win in three years over the Panthers wasn't a cake walk as in the previous two seasons.
The Raiders found themselves in a battle with a beefed-up Jackson County squad.
"It feels great to get this win," senior defensive back Drew Brantley said after the game. "It was a fight out there."
The Raiders picked up the win over the Panthers using the same formula that has worked well in their recent gridiron success: playing timely defense, finding a solid running game and committing minimal turnovers.
"We played hard Friday night," said Raider head coach Tom Hybl. "We didn't play a great game, but we had a lot of intensity. And the defense flew around pretty well...We responded well to the challenge."
Jackson County looked to pose a threat to Madison County's unbeaten record, bringing a big, physical football team into the contest.
And the Panthers looked to have the momentum early on, shutting the Raider running game down while pushing inside the Raider 25 twice in the first half.
Panther fullback Sam Veal, who picked up 118 yards in the game on 20 carries, was finding the holes in the Raider run defense, eating up significant chunks of yards picking up a run of 30 on Jackson County's first possession and then 40 yards the next time they had the ball, pushing the Panthers deep into Raider territory.
However, Madison County's defense played when it counted as they forced Jackson County into fourth down situations with the Panthers failing to convert each time.
As the first half came to a close it was the Raider offense that finally started to step up, wearing down the big Panther defensive front.
Madison County broke the scoreless tie near the end of the second half. The team ran the ball right down Jackson County's throat, putting together an eight-play drive capped off with a five-yard strike from Jonathon Pou to Josh Ferguson with 12 seconds remaining before intermission.
The touchdown pass was the Raiders' first since they went to the air for a score in 1998 against the Panthers.
As the second half started, the Panthers looked to snatch the momentum, appearing to have a 56-yard touchdown run to start the third quarter. However, the run was called back due to a hold and that's where things went downhill for Jackson County.
The Raiders got a defensive stop and then Donny Stamper, who had a career high 137 yards on 20 carries, sent the Panthers reeling, scampering 57 yards down the left sideline on a run highlighted by a big stiff- arm from the senior running back on a Panther defensive back, putting the Raiders up 14-0.
"I saw the guy coming and I knew I was stronger than him and that I could get by him," Stamper said of the stiff-arm near the end of his touchdown run.
Jackson was able to keep themselves afloat as they picked up a fourth-quarter score, piecing together an 11-play drive capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass. The Panthers missed the extra-point try, keeping the score at 14-6.
However, the Raiders sank the Panthers' ship late in the contest, going on a seven-play march, getting a four-yard score on a quarterback sneak from Pou for Madison County's third score of the game.

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