Jefferson's Kevin Jacobs bound for Buford
Just six weeks after his Lady Dragons won the state Class A basketball
championship, head coach Kevin Jacobs is headed down Interstate
85 and across Region 8-A to assume the head coaching post at
Buford. The Buford school board voted to hire Jacobs Monday evening,
but the coach said he didnít make up his mind about the
job until late Monday night.
"I really hadn't decided until late Monday that this was
the thing to do. It was tough telling the girls [Tuesday] morning.
If there was any way I could have gotten out of that, I would.
I'm really going to miss them."
In seven seasons at Jefferson, Jacobs' teams posted a 113-77
mark, and reached the state playoffs three times.
"I think Coach Potts and I have built a pretty good program
here," Jacobs said. "We took a program that was struggling
and won a state championship. Whatever they decide to do from
here on, the pressure is definitely going to be there. They're
going to be expected to perform at that same level. It's going
to be an interesting situation. They've got a bunch of young
kids here who are very good athletes. It ain't going to be fun
coming back here next January 13 and playing them, but we'll
show up, and we'll be playing one of the best teams in the state,
if not the best."
Buford superintendent Sue Morris spoke with enthusiasm about
the board's hiring of Jacobs.
"We're excited about having him on board. We feel like it's
going to be a great move for our girls' program. We enjoyed watching
what he did at Jefferson."
Jacobs acknowledged he was stepping into a challenging situation.
"I'm going from a program with a state championship and
everybody coming back to a place where they've traditionally
been good in basketball, even though they weren't last year.
I know there's going to be a lot of pressure on me to perform,
and that's fine. I'm going to do the same things I've always
done, and hopefully the kids will be enthusiastic about it."
Jacobs stressed that his decision had not come about as a result
of any ill will or hard feelings toward players, parents or Jefferson
"I told the kids that this was simply a family decision,
and it had nothing to do with them. I'
ve got no hard feelings here. This was just a good opportunity
financially . . . and for my family."
Leopards sit at the top
Win over GAC puts Leopards first in region.
The Banks County Leopards have perfected the recipe for success.
A pinch of smart coaching. Two cups of power. A dash of solid
pitching. A little melted defense on the side. And a few cloves
of experience marinated in good old-fashioned in-your-face baseball.
They combined it all for a 7-4 win over Greater Atlanta Christian
Friday night-a win that put the Leopards on top in Region 8-AA.
"I told the guys all year long that we have a lot of potential,"
Leopard head coach Mike Williams said. "But potential is
not any good unless you put it into action. We've been playing
up to our potential. The kids are excited. I'm excited. The fans
are excited. And the parents are excited."
Banks County carried their excitement over into Monday afternoon,
as they put White County down 11-4 in Cleveland.
"We played pretty good defense," Williams said. "We
made a couple of mistakes, but the defense has gotten a little
Banks gave up four runs on eight hits against White County.
Leopard senior Casey Murray took the start, going four innings
and giving up four runs, one of which was unearned. Murray also
bagged four strikeouts.
Clint Angel came in to relieve Murray and pitched three scoreless
Offensively, Duran Bellotte led the Leopards, going three for
four from the plate.
"Duran has come on hitting it pretty good," Williams
Eli Cooper and Joseph Whitlock both went two for three against
White. Hank Jones and Ross Oliver were two for four. Jones and
Whitlock also each had doubles.
BANKS 7, GAC 4
GAC was able to jump ahead 1-0 on an error in the top of the
first inning. But after that, the Spartans had a hill to climb.
The Leopards came out in the bottom of the inning with winning
on their minds. Leadoff man Joe Krause set the tone with a solo
shot to left field, his second in as many games.
"He hit it a mile," Williams said. "It got everybody
Cooper followed Krause, reaching on a grounder that went off
the shortstop's glove. Bray Maxwell came in to run for the catcher
and scored on a Whitlock shot to right field that rolled under
a Spartan's glove all the way to the fence. Whitlock was able
to settle into third.
A batter later, Oliver squeezed out a perfect bunt to score Whitlock,
putting Banks ahead 3-1. Drew Gowder singled and moved to second
on a Bellotte single to centerfield.
Murray sent Gowder home as he put a grounder through the gap
into center field. The Leopards went up 4-1.
In the top of third, GAC knocked a three-run homer to left field,
tying the game. But pitcher Corey Sims settled in and would finish
the game, shutting out the Spartans in the final four innings
to finish the game.
"Corey threw over 100 pitches," Williams said. "He
The Leopards would come back in the bottom half of the third
to take the lead again. Oliver beat out a grounder to reach first
and moved to second on a passed ball. He moved to third on a
ground out and tagged up on a fly ball to centerfield to score.
Banks picked up another run in the fourth inning. Krause was
walked to put a runner on first. Cooper followed with a pop fly
to shallow rightfield on a hit and run. The ball fell in front
of the rightfielder and rolled toward the fence, allowing Krause
The Leopards picked up their final run in the fifth inning. Oliver
led off the inning with a walk and stole second. Gowder lay down
a perfect bunt to squeeze Oliver around to third. Oliver tagged
on another fly ball to score another run and put the Leopards
"Sitting in the dugout, Tyson (Baxter) said, 'This is why
we play baseball,'" Williams said. "Well, this is why
I coach. We did all the little things. We scored on the fly and
bunted people over. Overall, it was a good game for us-the kind
BANKS 11, DAWSON 1
The Leopards were able to put the Tigers out of playoff contention
"It was a big game for us," Williams said. "We
went up and there and took it to 'em. It was a big feeling. We're
excited about it."
Krause had a solo shot to rightfield against Dawson.
"It shot out of there like a rocket," Williams said.
Wednesday was also the return of starting catcher Eli Cooper,
who had missed two games due to an ankle injury.
"He stepped back in like he hadn't missed a beat,"
Williams said. "He threw one guy out against GAC and threw
two out tonight (against White) on a steal. When you've got somebody
back there that can do that, it helps."
Tigers Defeat Wesleyan
The Tigers' baseball team continues its fight through the top
of the division this week. The team will face Providence Wednesday,
April 25 and Buford Thursday, April 26. These two teams are third
and second in Region 8A respectively.
Commerce just came off losing to Jefferson, the first place team
in the region.
When Commerce comes off this stretch it get a break when they
face Tallulah Falls Monday, April 30.
Commerce at Wesleyan:The Tigers opened last week's competition
with a pivotal game against Wesleyan. The Tigers are fighting
Wesleyan in the middle of region 8A for the fourth playoff position.
Wednesday, April 18, Commerce played their best defensive game
of the season in Wesleyan, beating the Wolves behind a tremendous
pitching performance by Freshman Casha Daniels.
Commerce scored first when Charlie Epps singled and stole second.
Adam Stephenson, who is second on the team with 11 RBIs, hit
a single bringing Epps home from second, and Commerce led 1-0
after one inning.
Daniels sat down the first three batters in the Wesleyan half
of the first by recording a strikeout against the lead off batter
and then getting the next two batters to pop-up.
Commerce struck again in the third with the same play as in the
first but with different actors.
Chad Jordan led off the inning with a single. Jordan, the catcher,
then stole second to put himself in scoring position with no
outs. The next two batters struck out, and with two outs and
a runner waiting on second Dane Cotrell stepped up and singled,
driving in the run.
The Tigers are averaging over seven runs a game but two is all
they would need on this evening, and that is all they would get.
That is the fewest the Tigers have scored in a victory this season.
Commerce played solid defense at every position, committing only
one error on the day . The game ended with Kevin Wilson making
a spectacular diving catch in right field. "There were two
excellent catches in left field," Coach David Cash said.
Despite Commerce having played shaky defense at times during
the season, the surprise of the day came from Daniels. "Brody's
(Bearden) arm was hurt, we were without him. (Craig) Henderson
had pitched at Lakeview (Monday, April 16). We went with Casha.
It was an unknown how he would react in an important game. We
are fighting them for a playoff spot. He pitched beyond our expectations.
He convinced us he deserves another start," commented Cash.
Daniels is the probable starter against Providence Wednesday,
For the rest of the story, see this weeks Commerce News.
Kubiak, Birdette qualify for state meet
Jackson County qualified two members of its track and field team
for next week's Georgia Olympics during this week's Region 8-AAA
meet at home.
Chuck Kubiak's throw of 141 feet, 9 inches was good for second
place in the discus. Kubiak's toss was just five inches past
that of Monroe Area's Anthony Jackson, and nine inches beyond
Loganville's Dustin Ferguson. Kubiak also finished eighth in
the shot put with a throw of 42 feet, 2 inches.
Tim Birdette won the region crown with a long jump of 20 feet,
9.5 inches, just one inch ahead of second-place Kevin McFarland
of Franklin County and 2.5 inches better than third-place Frank
Brooks, also of Franklin County. The top seven participants were
within one foot of first place.
Birdette also ran sixth in the 100-meter dash and third in the
200 meters, just hundredths of a second shy of a second-place
state qualifying run.
Other placers in the region meet were: Kelly Parr (3rd, 3200
meters and 6th, 1600 meters), Chris Kubiak (5th, 300-meter hurdles)
and John Hardie (3rd, pole vault). Hardie's vault of 12 feet
even tied for second, but he needed an extra attempt and finished
third, just short of qualifying for the state meet.
The Panther girls will travel to Winder-Barrow High School Saturday
and Monday for the Region 8-AAA girls' meet. Saturday events
begin at 9 a.m., and Monday's finals are set for a 5 p.m. start.
Raiders ride six-game winning streak into this week's curcial
Just a few weeks ago, the diamond Raiders postseason hopes were
as solid as the team's hitting.
Thoughts of the state tournament were in serious doubt as the
team stood at 3-4 in the region 7-8 overall and their offense
was in serious need of a trip to the mechanic.
But nothing cures ills like a six-game win streak which the Raiders
will ride into a crucial week of region play as their post season
aspirations lay in the balance.
The team followed up wins last week over Eastiside, Hart and
Franklin with victories over Monroe Area, Elbert and Jackson
County, moving their record to 13-8 overall while improving their
mark to 9-4 in the region moving them into third place in Region
8-AAA, bringing hopes of a state tournament apperance in May
closer to reality.
"They (the players) could probably explain it better than
me," Griffeth said of the streak. It's like a couple of
years ago in 1998 (the Raider turnaround after a 4-8 start).
I really didn't have an answer then."
Griffeth said the fact that four teams, and not two, from each
region will qualify for the playoffs gave the Raiders hope when
times were tough this season.
"If it was just two teams (going from each region), I don't
know if we would be where we are....Even though we were struggling,
we were still in fourth or fifth place. So there was still hope
for a playoff spot."
And this could be a make-or-break week for the squad.
If the team wants to make nab one of the top four spots in the
region and make it's first state tournament apperance since 1998,
it will have to overcome some foes who have already chalked up
wins this year against the Raiders.
The team is set to take on first place Loganville, who downed
Madison County 8-2 on April 2, Winder-Barrow, who beat the Raiders
5-4 on April 4, and Stephens, who handed Madison County their
last loss on the diamond, 2-0on April 6.
"This is a tough stretch," head coach Charlie Griffeth
said. "Loganville is the best team in the region. They have
three quality pitchers. But they have two losses. They can be
gotten. Winder is capable of beating you. They're kind of a sleeper-type
The Raiders will look to carry their recent hot streak with the
bats into these key region contests. Madison County has been
potent at the plate as of late averaging 8.6 runs over the course
of their six-game spurt, reviving their offense from an early-season
The club, who was injury-ridden early in their year continues
to get healthy. After getting Tony Tittle, Brent Burkhalter and
power-hitter Andy Coile back from the disabled list recently,
Kurt Cooper rejoined the team this past week after a lenghty
absence due to a broken wrist in the third game of the season.
For the rest of this story, see this weeks Madison County