Area Sports...

October 23, 2000


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Washington-Wilkes Wins Battle Of Tigers
Going into Friday night's game between Commerce and Washing-ton-Wilkes, it was clearly going to be the night of the Tigers.
But unfortunately for Com-merce, the Tigers of Wilkes County took a 49-27 win on the back of seven touchdowns from Daccus Turman. The W-W runner had 370 yards and seven touchdowns, including his final score on the Tiger junior varsity defense.
Commerce received a successful rushing attack from Michael Collins and Monté Williams, who combined for 228 yards rushing and four touchdowns against a run-oriented Washington-Wilkes defense.
Commerce was not as outmatched as the score and rushing statistics show at a first glance. Late in the fourth quarter, Commerce was driving, while trailing 34-21.
An interception by Commerce ended their scoring threat and set up a quick touchdown for Washington-Wilkes.
Each team added fairly quick scores to close out the game.
Commerce will be open this Friday before opening its region schedule at Wesleyan on Oct. 28.
Williams gained 122 yards and one touchdown against Washing-ton-Wilkes Friday.
Williams stands at 7,540 career rushing yards, leaving the Commerce back 327 yards away from claiming the state rushing record.
For more on the game, see this week's Comerce News



Lady Dragons win state softball title
It's been 20 years in the making, but the Jefferson High School Lady Dragons claimed their first-ever state slow-pitch softball championship Saturday with a thrilling 10-inning win over Bryan County.
Jefferson went in to the bottom of the 10th down by two, but a triple by Staci Childress tied the game. With two out, freshman Kenyotta Beasley lined a single to right field to score Childress for the win.
"It feels good," the soft-spoken Beasley said of her game-winning hit. Childress was a bit more animated.
"It feels dadgum good," the junior left-fielder said emphatically.
Cross-county rival Commerce, the only team to beat Jefferson this year, was eliminated after an opening-round loss to Calvary Baptist and another in the consolation semifinals. The Lady Tigers claimed fourth place.
In other state softball news, Jackson County was eliminated after losing their first two games, Banks County won their first before losing two, and Madison County's fast-pitch team finished fourth in class AAA with wins over Savannah Christian and Eastside.


Leopards run over Apalachee, 32-10
Banks County ended five games of frustration Friday with a 32-10 win over Apalachee.
The Leopards amassed more than 300 yards of total offense on their way to the victory.
Chris Keyros led the team rushing attack, which was good for 136 yards. Keyros had 87 yards on 15 carries for one score.
Drew Gowder completed nine of 14 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown.
Bray Maxwell led the receiving corps with five catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Chris Ivey had three receptions for one score.
David Creasy was the standout on defense with 10 solo tackles. Steven Caudell, Seth Brownlee and Hank Jones each added seven tackles.
Jones also forced a fumble that Keyros recovered.
Scott Garner had a sack. Alex Cruce added an interception for the Leopards.
Banks County will travel to Lumpkin County this Friday.
The Lumpkin County Indians have been the surprise team of the year. The team already has wins over Rabun County and Union County.
Last week, the Indians downed White County 35-7.


Dragons soar past Eagles, 27-0
The Jefferson Dragons wrapped up the pre-region part of their 2000 schedule last week with an impressive 27-0 win over Landmark Christian.
"We had a short week," head coach Bob Gurley said, "and our offense wasn't quite as in sync as the defense was. But we did well on both sides of the ball."
Though it took a while for the team to warm up, the Dragons scored first in the second quarter, to take a 7-0 lead into intermission.
Shane Wilburn took off on a 35-yard scoring run on Jefferson's first play from scrimmage in the second half, after the Dragon defense held Landmark to start the third quarter. The next time down the field, the Dragons were stopped while going for it on fourth down. Still, Landmark could not capitalize, and Jefferson got the ball back.
The Dragons also couldn't take advantage of the opportunity, and were forced to punt. Shortly after, Michael Newton picked off a Landmark pass and raced 70 yards for Jefferson's third score of the game early in the fourth period.
After another Landmark drive stalled, Montray Riley took a turn at the scoring trough, dashing for a 35-yard touchdown to set up the final score. Jeremiah Wilson picked off a pass in the end zone to stop the Eagle's final drive.
"Our defense has been seeing the Wing-T all year," Gurley said, "so it wasn't like they had to learn how to stop a totally different offense. They ran a 50-D on defense with the tackle stunting all night. I think that hurt our offense, because we didn't get much of a chance to practice against it."
The two teams amassed only 400 yards of total offense in the game, with Jefferson accounting for 250.
Looking ahead to next week's region matchup with the Buford Wolves, Gurley said his team will have its hands full.
"They've got a lot of guys back from last year. They have a wide receiver who's committed to Florida State, and a quarterback who has a chance to play for Army. It's going to be interesting. We're just going to have to make up our minds we can play with them. It's more of a mental thing. If we believe we can play with them, we'll have a better chance."
Gurley also indicated his appreciation for the many fans who made the trek to Landmark last week.
"We appreciate everybody that came down to watch us play. It's a pretty good trip down there."
BABY DRAGONS 3-1
Jefferson's eighth grade team improved to 3-1 with recent wins over Athens Christian (22-14) and GAC (26-0)
"We're guaranteed a winning record," coach Chuck Cook said. "We've had a good season. We started with around 50 boys, and we'll finish with around 50. I'm real pleased with that."

Mistakes cost Panthers again
The Jackson County Panthers fell to 0-4 in region 8-AAA play last week, with a 28-7 loss in Loganville. Of the team's 10 posessions in the game, five ended as a direct result of Panther miscues.
On the game's opening drive, Jackson County put five strong rushing plays together and was nearing midfield when a fumble gave the ball to Loganville. The Red Devils responded quickly, reaching the end zone in less than two minutes to take the early 7-0 lead.
The second Jackson County drive ended in disaster when a low punt snap gave Devil defenders just enough extra time to penetrate into the Panther backfield and block the kick. Chris Johnson and Jordan Breit combined for a good stop on Loganville's first play of the ensuing drive, but the Devils crossed the goal line again on second down to go up 14-0.
An out-of-bounds kick gave Jackson County good field position at their own 35, and Terry Blackwell caught a pass from quarterback Bradley Wilson on the first play to move the ball close to the midfield mark. But the drive stalled from there, and Anthony Collins was forced to punt.
The Panthers finally got the ball to bounce their way, as a Loganville player touched the ball and Travis Parks came up with it at the Devils' 21. Brandon Shields took three plays to move the ball to the 10, but a holding penalty gave Jackson County third-and-13 from the 24. A short gain and an incomplete pass later, what had begun as a promising opportunity ended almost exactly where it started. The first-quarter horn sounded with Loganville up 14-0.
Casey Berryman and Chuck Kubiak teamed up on a crucial sack on the following Loganville drive, and the Devils punted. Jackson County moved the ball 11 yards in five plays before a fumbled handoff gave the ball back to Loganville.
Berryman and Breit found the Devil quarterback in the backfield again on the next play, and the Panther defense recovered a Loganville fumble on the second.
Wilson then led his troops on an impressive drive from the Jackson County 34 to the Loganville 16 before throwing an interception at the eight. The Devil defender returned the turnover 92 yards to stretch Loganville's lead to 21-0 at intermission.
Blackwell came up with a steal on Loganville's opening drive of the third period, but the Panthers went three-and-out. The Devils drove to the Panther 20 before Blackwell nearly grabbed his second pick of the night.
On third and five, Breit chased the Loganville quarterback out of bounds to force fourth and long. The Devils then came up with a huge play, a 14-yard completion that put the ball inside the Panther 10 and set up Loganville's fourth score of the game with 4:11 left in the quarter.
The Panthers mounted a 13-play drive that covered 78 yards and culminated in the team's only score of the night, a one-yard dash by Blackwell at 10:03 in the fourth. Yewphang Vanchiasong's PAT set the final score of 28-7.
The big play of the drive was a 21-yard jaunt by Parks, though it was nearly in vain. Blackwell followed Parks' run by advancing the ball 30 yards to the Loganville five, but a holding penalty brought it back to the 42.
"Our kids played pretty hard," said head coach Greg Lowe Monday. "We're not a terrible football team, but when you're struggling, you find things to take you out of the ball game. We've got to get our punting game fixed. That's going to be the real focus of our attention today."
Lowe went on to bemoan the Panthers' propensity for giving up points early.
"We get into a 14-point hole like we did against Elbert County and Eastside and Loganville, and we struggle valiantly trying to get out, but 14 is a big hole to get out of."
As for this week's opponent, Lowe said the Franklin County Lions have made a name for themselves with some surprising play of late.
"They're a good ball club. Right now, I think they're in the driver's seat for the fourth spot [in region 8-AAA]. They raised some eybrows last week by going to overtime against Elbert County, but if we can avoid getting stuck in the mud early, I think we'll be in the ball game."
Lowe said the injury suffered by Adam Doss two weeks ago was not as serious as first thought. Doss was in the active lineup last week at Loganville. Chuck Kubiak's back injury still hampers him from time to time.
"He's showing an awful lot of courage," Lowe said.
Kickoff at Panther Stadium is set for 8 p.m. Friday.

Raiders bound for Columbus after two wins in state sectionals
The reservations are made, the bags are being packed. And the adrenaline is rushing.
The Raiders are bound for Columbus with one goal in mind - bringing home a state fast-pitch softball title.
The 24-9 team turned heads this past week at the state sectionals in Rome, winning back-to-back games over Villa Rica and Eastside to earn a berth in the state final eight in Columbus.
"Nobody knew much about us going in," said Raider head coach Doug Kesler of his team's performance in the state sectionals. "The talk was about Loganville and Eastside. But it will be tough to sneak up on anybody now. They all know about us."
Kesler's team will face the 11-10 Savannah Christian Raiders in the opening round of the tournament at 4 p.m. Thursday on the main field of the Columbus softball complex.
The winner of that game will play Friday at 3 p.m. versus the winner of the Dublin/Lovett matchup. If Madison County loses, they will play against the loser of the Loganville-Effingham County game at 11 a.m. Friday. The other two teams in the tournament are Harris County and Eastside.
SAVANNAH SCOUTING REPORT
Savannah Christian coach Kevin Wetmore said his squad is a "Cinderella story."
"Whatever happens we know we've accomplished a lot," said Wetmore, whose team moved from slow-pitch to fast-pitch softball this year.
Savannah Christian is led by five seniors: Marie Adams, right field and catcher; Haley Miller, center field; Whitney Lane, left field; Beth Gainer, third base and pitcher; and Brooke Darley, second base.
"They've played with one another since middle school," said Wetmore.
But the coach said he will put a freshman, Ashley Clements, on the mound against the powerful Raiders.
"She's not going to beat teams with her velocity," the coach said. "We'll beat teams with execution."
The Savannah coach said he expects Madison County and other state final eight teams to bring the heat.
"We've turned our pitching machine way up this week," said Wetmore.
SECTIONAL RECAP
Madison County advanced to the state final eight with a 5-0 win over Villa Rica and a thrilling 3-2 victory over Eastside in extra innings Saturday.
Against Villa Rica, the Raiders got RBI singles from Shelley Bates and Valerie Norman in the first inning. Bates smacked an RBI double in the third, then smashed a two-run single in the fifth to cap off the Raider scoring. Bates finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs.
Other leading hitters were Candace Shubert and Heather Jones, who had two hits apiece. Renee Mathews, Valerie Norman and Sarah Owen each had a hit.
Sheena Mason, who has two perfect games on the season, allowed no hits and one walk. Mason fanned 13 batters in seven innings.
Mason took the mound again against Eastside. And Madison County found itself in a dogfight with the two-time defending Class AA state champions.
Mathews doubled home a run in the top of the fifth, but Eastside answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. The squads finished the seventh inning knotted at one run each.
In the top of the eighth, Madison County opened the inning with Jones on second - extra innings in high school softball begin with a runner automatically placed in scoring position.
Mathews bunted Jones to third. Bates then hit a groundball between first and second and Jones beat a throw to the plate to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead. Taylor Sapp was then brought in as a courtesy runner for Bates. Norman bunted Sapp to second, bringing Mason to the plate.
Mason had struggled to reach base all day, going 1-for-6, but Kesler said the senior was swinging the bat well and he felt "the odds with her." His premonition was right.
Mason smacked the ball up the middle to score Sapp, a run that eventually clinched the win and the state final eight berth.
In the bottom of the inning, Madison County held on - but just barely.
Eastside bunted its mandatory runner to third to open the inning. Mason walked the next batter. And with runners on first and third and one out, Kesler gave the go-ahead to Bates, Madison County's catcher, to gun down the runner at second if Eastside attempted to steal. This may have opened the door for the runner on third to score, but Kesler said his team could trade a run for an out since it led by two.
Eastside did try to swipe second and Bates threw a strike for the second out of the inning. Eastside's runner on third base never moved. But she came home a batter later when her teammate crunched a double to left field to cut the lead to one.
However, the Raiders held on, as Mason got the next batter to pop up to Shubert to end the game. Mason gave up five hits and three walks, while striking out seven.
Kesler said his team has earned respect from opponents, parents, fans and coaches.
"Everybody in the county should be proud of these girls," said Kesler. "Whether it was their mommas, daddies or the fans, they were all proud to be associated with these girls Saturday."


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