Area Sports...

November 1, 2000


Wesleyan No Match For Williams, Tigers
The Wolves were at the door last Friday night, but the Tigers booted them out, 34-10.
Behind a 246-yard night from senior Monté Williams, the Commerce Tigers handed the Wesleyan Wolves their second consecutive defeat and first region loss. This keeps the Tigers apace with Buford, which beat Jefferson, 49-6, at 1-0 in the region.
The Tigers toyed with Wesleyan, driving 51 yards on 11 plays in the opening drive, only to turn the ball over on downs at the Wesleyan 30. The Tiger defense stopped Wesleyan in three plays, forcing a punt, and then Williams showed why he's in a position to become the leading rusher in Georgia high school football history, taking a handoff and running 70 yards to put the Tigers up 7-0.
By the time the night was over, Williams had closed to within 83 yards of Robert Toombs' Georgia high school career mark of 7,866 yards, scoring two more times on runs of 16 and 60 yards. Michael Collins and Rob Brown also added scoring runs as Commerce amassed 397 yards of offense, all of it on the ground.
"I thought our offensive line played better, maybe as good as they've played all year," Coach Steve Savage stated.
The line, consisting of Kenny Flint, Taylor Massey, Adam Stephenson, Tommy Eason and Chris Wilkie, "has improved every week," the coach added.
Williams ran 16 yards in the second quarter to put Commerce up 14-0, and then Collins rambled in from 33 yards out in the third quarter, completing a drive that started on the Tigers' 23 and put Commerce up 20-0.
A 31-yard field goal put Wesleyan on the board midway through the third period, but Commerce tacked on a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, the first on Williams' 60-yard run and the second on Rob Brown's eight-yard carry that came after a 51-yard gain by Dennis Wilder.
Wesleyan scored a meaningless touchdown with a late 80-yard drive to close out the scoring at 34-10.
Savage pointed out the play of linebackers Nicholas Cox and Kyle Moore on defense. Cox had 10 tackles and Moore nine plus an interception. Casey Gary led the defense with 14 tackles, including a quarterback sack. Evan Crawford had a dozen tackles and Scott White made 10 stops for the Tigers. Lamar Daniels and Jonathan Beasley also had interceptions for Commerce.




Leopards look to tame Wildcats
Two weeks ago, the Banks County Leopards went into the mountains of North Georgia and nearly came away with a win. In fact, they played one of their better games of the season against Lumpkin County.
Hopefully, the mountains are where Banks County plays best. This Friday, they will look for their second win of the season as they travel to Tiger to take on the Rabun County Wildcats.
"They have a good line of scrimmage," Banks County head coach Rance Gillespie said. "They play real hard."
The Leopards will be without senior running back Chris Keyros.
Keyros injured his knee late in the third quarter last Friday against Union County.
"He's definitely out this week," Gillespie said. "He could be gone the rest of the season."
Gillespie said Keyros was scheduled to have an MRI Wednesday. He said Keyros could have a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Keyros is the Leopards' leading rusher so far this year. He has carried the ball 100 times for 501 yards and four touchdowns. His absence will no doubt be felt in the Leopard backfield.
Banks County will probably look to fullback Hank Jones to carry the brunt of the weight from Keyros' absence. Jones has amassed 315 yards on 60 carries with four touchdowns in the Leopards' eight games this year.
Rabun County (4-4) runs a Wing-T offense and will be looking to improve their playoff chances with a win over Banks County.
Last week, the Wildcats defeated White County 28-7.
The teams' other three wins came against East Hall, Apalachee and Towns County.
"If we play hard, it ought to be a real good game," Gillespie said.



Rivalry 2000: Jefferson-Commerce Friday
The Jefferson Dragons and Commerce Tigers will play out the latest football game in their long-standing rivalry Friday night at Tiger Field in Commerce. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
The meeting is the 55th between the two teams since the series began in 1947. Commerce holds a 31-15-5 record during that time, and is currently riding a five-game win streak that dates back to the rivals' faceoff in the state playoffs in 1995. Jefferson won the regular-season matchup earlier that year.
In last year's game, then-junior Michael Collins returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown to spark a 56-27 Commerce win. Jefferson's Stephen Sims racked up 235 yards and three touchdowns on the night, but the Tigers' Monté Williams added 215 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries to propel Commerce to victory.
"Basically, our chances are going to rest on how well we are able to defense them," Jefferson head coach Bob Gurley said. History validates Gurley's opinion about keeping the Tiger offense in check. In 25 games, Commerce is a perfect 25-0 when scoring 20 points or more against the Dragons.
WILLIAMS HAS RECORD IN SIGHTS
Though the team is well-rounded, one Commerce player in particular will present a serious challenge to the Jefferson defense.
The Tigers' Monté Williams will likely become Georgia's all-time leading career rusher during the game. With 247 yards in last week's blowout win over Wesleyan, Williams needs only 83 to break Robert Toomer's career mark of 7,886 yards to become the most prolific rusher in Georgia high school football history.
If Jefferson manages to keep Williams from breaking the mark, it will be the first time this season the Tiger back has been held under 100 yards in a game.
"That's something that may not ever happen again, particularly for a small school like Commerce," head coach Steve Savage noted. "It's a big accomplishment not only for him, but for the program as well. It speaks for both of them."
"I could care less about a record," Gurley said. "There's a lot of other teams he ran the ball against to get that 7,800 yards against, so 80 against us is not that big a deal. There's a lot of other teams he's picked up yards against."
PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS
Since only four schools in region 8-A sport a varsity football program, both Jefferson and Commerce are already assured a spot in the state playoffs, but Friday's game could go a long way toward assuring the winner of staying in the playoffs longer.
With Buford considered the best team in the state and Commerce among the top 10, the race seems to be between Jefferson and Wesleyan for the third spot. But don't try telling that to the Dragons, who will certainly not yield to Commerce Friday without a fight. Friday's winner will likely claim the second seed from region 8-A, which will earn the crucial home-field advantage in the playoffs.



Freeland, Parr qualify for state cross country meet
Jackson County High School senior Sara Freeland dominated the field Saturday to claim the region 8-AAA girls' cross country crown. Along the way, Freeland established a new personal best time, finishing at 20:49. That time is only 12 seconds slower than Carly Parr's fifth-place finish in last year's state meet.
"It was my feeling for the past month that Sara had a shot at winning the region championship," head coach Brent Mikel said after the event, "but I did not expect her to dominate it so convincingly." Freeland established a 24-second lead over her nearest competitor by the halfway point of Saturday's race, and stretched it to 40 seconds during the last mile.
"Sara is one of those surprise athletes who kind of sneaks up on you," Mikel added. "I knew she had the potential to do well, but I never would have picked her to qualify for any state meet in either track or cross country." Freeland finished second with a new school record time in the 800 meters at last spring's region track meet, an accomplishment that earned her the right to run in that event's state competition as well.
Megan Lerette (14th) and Nicole Rizzo (40th) also ran for the Panther girls in the meet, and both set new personal best times. A minimum of five runners is required for a team to be eligible
Also qualifying for the state meet Saturday in Carrollton was Kelly Parr. Parr finished second in the region meet, with a time of 16:43. Parr's time is only 33 seconds shy of brother Matt's school record of 16:10, set in the 1998 Clemson Invitational.
Chris Kubiak missed a state pass by inches with a new personal best time, good for a seventh-place finish. The top six individuals and top two teams in the region qualify for the state meet.
Chris Autry finsihed the season as the most consistent number-three runner for the boys, finishing 29th in the region meet. Michael Rudio (34th) and William Butler (39th) both reached new personal-best times to finish the scoring for the Panther boys. Jackson County was fourth in the event, behind Monroe Area, Elbert County and Winder-Barrow.
Daniel Elder (41st) and Adam Hughes (43rd) also ran for the Panther boys. The region meet marked the first time in school history that the team had six runners finish in less than 20 minutes.
"This team effort ties the best ever, which was done two weeks ago," Mikel said. "This boys' team has had the fastest October of any team in school history, and none of them graduate until 2002." The 2000 boys' team holds the top five spots on the all-time Jackson County overall performance list, and all five marks have been reached during the past month.
Parr's state race is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, with Freeland's following at 12 p.m.

MCHS to take on Athens Christian in season finale
After Madison County's season-opening 14-10 win over South Forysth in Cumming, the Madison County football team, along with parents and fans, gathered around Raider coach Tom Hybl on the field.
"You can't go 10-0 without going 1-0," Hybl told the crowd.
Thoughts of perfection may have seemed far-fetched to some even after the big win that night. The Raiders had, in fact, gone 4-26 the past three seasons.
But there are few, if any, doubters left.
With one game remaining this year - an 8 p.m. showdown Friday night at Athens Christian off Hwy. 29 - Madison County is poised to go 10-0 for the first time in school history.
The unthinkable is now just a few good plays away.
"It's been a great year for these guys," said Hybl. "We have a chance to finish up an unbelievable season for our school."
Hybl said the win over South Forsyth set the tone for the season.
"That started us on the road of confidence," said Hybl. "And we got better each time out."
Madison County's final opponent is 3-6 on the year. Sixth-year Athens Christian head coach Van Beacham said his 25-member team has depth problems. Athens Christian also struggles to match up with opponents physically.
"We're not a big squad physically," said Beacham, who also said his team lacks experience.
Beacham praised the play of senior running backs Zach Reddish, Ryan Ginn and Josh Dickey. He said offensive tackle Jeff Faw has performed well. The coach added that Ginn and Faw are from Madison County.
Athens Christian has a win over Towns County and two victories over Glascock County. The squad has lost to Apalachee, Jefferson, Aquinas, Temple, Riverside and Georgia Military Academy.
Beacham admits his squad is in for a real test against Madison County.
"Madison County looks awfully good," said Beacham. "They do their jobs very well."


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