Area Sports...

October 4, 2000


Gary's Last-Second Field Goal Gives Tigers First-Ever Win Over Lincoln Co. Red Devils
Commerce picked up one more first down than Lincoln County Friday night. A personal foul against Lincoln County gave the Tigers yards that were not as vital as one more shot at the game-wininng field goal in a 16-15 Tiger victory.
Commerce had overcome a 15-0 deficit in the fourth quarter to trail 15-13. Down to one play remaining, Commerce coach Steve Savage sent senior Casey Gary out to try a 47-yard field goal. The kick did not go far enough, but the Red Devil rush went way too far. Knocking Gary down after the kick, Lincoln County was penalized for roughing the kicker.
From closer in, Gary got another chance.
Gary was a member of the Tiger team that lost at Rabun County in 1998 when a missed extra-point attempt by former Tiger Daniel Carder left Commerce with a 14-13 loss.
"When I went out there, I was thinking about Rabun County and Daniel," Gary said. "I was thinking, 'Don't miss.'"
He did not miss.
The field goal gave Commerce its first win ever over the traditional Class A power Red Devils. The two teams had met five previous times, including meetings in each of the past two Class A playoffs.
The Red Devils put Commerce out in 1998 with a 47-23 win after the Tigers' Monté Williams had broken his leg in the game before.
Though Williams returned in last year's Class A semifinal in the Georgia Dome to run for nearly 200 yards, Lincoln County beat the Tigers 35-21.
Commerce's win will not figure into the region standings, but the win meant a lot to the players who have suffered through recent Red Devil wins.
"This made up for everything," Williams said. "It made up for every time they ever beat us. I think it means more to the fans than it does to us."
Senior Twion Shealer said he was proud to be a part of the team that broke the losing streak to Lincoln County.
"This is the best feeling in my whole life," Shealer said. "This win means everything

Mistakes lead to Leopard defeat
Take away two turnovers and a blocked punt and the Banks County Leopards' football game against East Hall last Friday night would have turned out a lot differently.
Instead, the Vikings left Homer with a 38-18 win.
Banks County turned the ball over three times in the games. Two of those turnovers led to 10 Viking points. A blocked punt run back for a touchdown gave East Hall another seven points.
But the game wasn't without its highlights for the Leopards. Senior quarterback Drew Gowder threw for two touchdowns and ran for another one.
Gowder, along with backs Hank Jones and Chris Keyros, pushed the ball 79 yards across the field on the Leopards' third possession of the game for the team's first score. Gowder capped off the 13-play drive early in the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown run.
Banks County point-after attempt was blocked, tying the score at 6-6.
East Hall scored several possessions later to jump ahead of the Leopards 14-6 just before halftime.
In the second half, Banks County's luck seemed to go awry.
The Leopards were forced to punt the ball after only six plays on their first possession of the second half. The Vikings blocked the punt and ran the ball back for a touchdown.
The point after gave East Hall a 21-6 lead.
Banks County responded, going 82 yards on eight plays. Gowder capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mike Ivey. The Leopards' point-after attempt failed, setting the score at 21-12 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.
East Hall wasn't able to produce on their next possession and punted the ball to Banks County.
After only three plays from scrimmage, the Vikings stripped the ball from Gowder and took over on the Leopards' 30-yard line.
Six plays later, East Hall went into the end zone and secured the point after to take a 28-12 lead.
The Leopards came right back to score, though.
On the first play from scrimmage, Gowder connected with Ivey again, only this time for a 50-yard touchdown play. Banks County couldn't produce on the point after, narrowing the gap to 28-18 with 8:51 left in the game.
East Hall responded with an eight-play touchdown drive of its own. The point after gave the Vikings a commanding 35-18 lead.
An interception on Banks County's next possession led to a Viking field goal. The field goal put East Hall up 38-18 with seconds left on the clock.
Banks County took the next kickoff as time expired to end the game.

Panthers fall to top team in AAA
Jackson County will host Eastside (4-1/2-1) Friday at Panther Stadium for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
Senior Anthony Collins and his Panther teammates had the Hart County defense reeling early Friday night in Hartwell. Collins returned the game's opening kick to the Bulldog 36 yard-line. The Panthers drove to the Hart County 19 before an interception at the eight ended the drive. The pickoff was returned all the way to the opposite end zone, but the Bulldog thief was ruled out of bounds at the Hart 45.
The Panther defense evidently came to Hartwell ready to play, as they held the Bulldogs on their first two offensive plays before tackle Brian Gower came up with a huge one-arm tackle for a loss on third and short to force a punt.
On the 10th play of the ensuing drive, Panther quarterback Bradley Wilson found Adam Doss for a 20-yard touchdown that gave Jackson County a 6-0 lead over the state's top class AAA team with two minutes left in the first quarter. The big play of the drive was a 43-yard gain by Terriss Hale to the Hart County 31. Yewphang Vanchiasong's PAT attempt was blocked.
The Bulldogs seemed surprised to be facing an early deficit, and they fumbled the ball on the second play of their next drive, giving Jackson County possession at the Hart County 31. Hale moved the ball five yards on first down, but the gain was negated and then turned into a loss by a holding penalty. The Panthers managed to pick up 10 more yards after the penalty, but were forced to punt from the 32.
Hart County finally turned on their game, breaking through to block Collins' punt and return it to the Panther 39. A few short plays later, the Bulldogs found the end zone on a big sweep play for the final play of the first quarter.
Brandon Shields plowed through for a two-yard gain on third and inches, but a penalty and a big hit on Hale by Hart County star defensive end Carlos Bates forced a punt.
The Hart County offense had found its game from that point on. Hale had another big gain in the second quarter and the Panther defense held on third and inches early in the third.
Hart County was plagued by penalties throughout, including four facemasks and three late hits, but still managed to control the game. Though the teams put up virtually identical numbers in total yardage in the first half, the same Hart County team that struggled in the first quarter came alive to score seven times and hand the Panthers their second region loss, 49-6.
"We had our opportunities," head coach Greg Lowe said. "We didn't play as well later in the ball game as we would have liked. The mismatch in overall speed shows itself the deeper you get into a game. You can't feel good after being beaten 49-6, but with the mood of the kids all the way back home, I really felt like there is an emotional healing going on, and we needed that. We're feeling more like family. I think the difference in Hart County and Elbert County was that we came out with a lot more heart than we did against Elbert."
Eastside comes into this week's game off a disappointing week in which they suffered their first loss of the year, a 54-0 blowout at the hands of Elbert County. Elbert defeated Jackson County 51-7 recently.
"They're a good football team," Lowe said of Eastside, "but I think we've got some hope. I think they've had an injury or two that have affected them.
Lowe also said that though everyone wants to win their homecoming game, the season implications are more important.
"You surely like to win. I mean, they put that HC up there for a reason, but in the long list of things, this game is a region game, and would carry no less importance than any other region game."

Jefferson downs Social Circle in OT
The Jefferson Dragons will travel to Oglethorpe County Friday to face the Patriots of region 7-AA. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Dragons' Blake Gooch intercepted a Social Circle pass in overtime last week to lift Jefferson to a 19-13 win, improving their season record to 3-2.
Kyle Potts passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns on an 11-of-17 performance. Ryan Gurley was on the receiving end of both TD passes, and was all over the field on defense, with 17 tackles and an interception in the win.
"The play of our defense in overtime was big," head coach Bob Gurley said of his team's win. "[Social Circle] never really threatened us during overtime, but you're always nervous of the fact that they could break out at any time."
The win breaks a string of two consecutive losses to end the first half of Jefferson's regular season on a positive note.
"Coming off two losses, I thought the kids showed a great deal of determination to come through the adversity we faced in the game. We played with a lot of heart and enthusiasm and determination. It's kind of hard to reach back and find that after losing two in a row. We've had several big tests, but this was a big one as far as trying to contain folks that have good speed."
Potts hit Gurley from 40 yards out for the first of his two touchdown throws with five minutes remaining in the first half, giving Jefferson the lead at 7-0. The Redskins came back with a score of their own to tie just before intermission on a 12-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to play.
Potts and Gurley got together for the second time with five minutes left in the third, to put their team up 13-7 with a 12-yard score. The point-after attempt failed.
A failed Social Circle PAT also kept the Redskins from claiming the win in regulation. A seven-yard score in the fourth quarter tied the game at 13.
The Dragons looked poised to take command early in overtime, as they drove inside the Social Circle five-yard line before fumbling.
Potts rushed into the end zone in the second half of the overtime period to set the final score, and the interception by Gooch ended the Redskins' final chance to mount a threat.
For the rest of this story, see this week's Jackson Herald.

Madison County tops Screaming Devils 20-7, becomes first 6-0 team in school history
After coasting through the North Hall and Jefferson contests without breaking a sweat, football reality Friday night as it found itself in a slobber-knocker on the road.
But, as has been the case all season, the Raiders rose to the occasion, putting away Warren County 20-7 in Warrington.
Aside from keeping their unbeaten record alive, the Raiders' victory carried some historical significance. With the win, Madison County has already clinched its first winning season since 1991. Furthermore, the victory gave the Raiders the best start in school history at 6-0.
Still, it wasn't as easy as the score might have indicated. The Raiders led just 7-0 at intermission and then held a 14-7 edge midway through the final quarter of play. The Raider running attack, which had been averaging nearly 314 yards per game, didn't run over the quick Screaming Devils squad, which suited up only 32 players, like previous opponents. While Madison County managed a solid 239 yards on the ground, the Raiders averaged under five yards per carry.
"Warren County had some great athletes," said Raider head coach Tom Hybl. "We played flat. We've got a long way to go."
Donny Stamper continued to lead the Raider tailback corps in the win, tallying 137 yards on 32 carries, while finding the end zone three times. The Warren County contest marked the fourth consecutive time Stamper has gone over the century mark in rushing yards and the fourth time this year that he has rushed for three or more touchdowns in a game.
As in their five previous contests, the Raiders came out and drew first blood, getting a touchdown with seven and a half minutes left in the first quarter.
The touchdown was set up by a long kickoff return to the Screaming Devil 47. Madison County then punched the ball in nine plays later with a one-yard run by Stamper to take a 7-0 lead.
The offense sputtered the rest of the opening half.
Madison County had chances to put the Screaming Devils in a three-touchdown hole, reaching the Warren County 14 on their third possession and the Screaming Devil 26 on the next. However, penalties wiped out any chances of padding the lead as Madison County turned the ball over on downs on both drives.
Warren County attempted to tie the game at the close of the half, driving to the Raider 13 with the aid of two Madison County penalties and some timely scrambling by their quarterback. However, the Screaming Devils came up empty-handed, missing a 30-yard field goal with only three seconds left in the half.
The wheels on the Raider offense started turning on their first possession of the second half.
Set up by a Jonathon Pou punt return to the Warren County 40, the Raiders punched the ball into the end zone on nine plays, getting a five-yard plunge up the middle from Stamper to cap the drive off with 4:45 left in the third quarter, putting Madison County up by two touchdowns.
The Screaming Devils quickly killed any Raider momentum, answering the Madison County touchdown, returning the kickoff to the Raider 48, then scoring five plays later with a 12-yard touchdown strike with 2:45 left in the third quarter, making the score 14-7.
Up by only a touchdown, the Raiders needed to kill time and add points, which is exactly what they did.
Madison County put Warren County away on their next possession, piecing together a marathon 17-play, 72-yard drive which ate up 9:57.
Stamper added his final touchdown of the game with 5:48 left in the game, capping the drive off with a one-yard score.

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