Area Sports...

August 29, 2001

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Banks County 12 - Jackson County 7
The Leopards' defense was able to hold off Jackson County in the final minutes of the game to take the win in season opener. Seth Brownlee scored Banks' first touchdown on a less than one yard run in the second quarter. The Panthers also scored in the second quarter off Brandon Shields' one-yard run. Banks County scored the winning touchdown with seven minutes to go in the game. Quarterback Bill Krause ran the ball in from seven yards out to put Banks up 12-7. A strong defensive stance helped the Leopards hold off Jackson County late to take the victory.


Pigskin teams set to begin Friday
Area teams to start at home. All three of Jackson County's high school football teams will open the 2001 season Friday at home, and all three games are set for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
Panthers look for two in a row over Banks
The Jackson County Panthers will open their third year under head coach Greg Lowe Friday, when the Leopards of Banks County come calling to Panther Field in Jefferson.
Lowe said earlier this week that a win Friday is crucial to his team's efforts in 2001.
"It's essential. It's the opening ball game, and it's the first opener we've had at home since I've been here. We need to have all our supporters come out from all different parts of the county."
Those supporters will find a financial break awaiting them at the ticket booth Friday night. Jackson County has begun offering season tickets at a rate of $20 for adults and $12 for students. The tickets will be available at the gate Friday night, and may also be purchased during business hours at the high school office.
Season tickets are valid for all home varsity, junior-varsity and freshman football games. They will not be honored during East Jackson and West Jackson middle school games.
Single-game tickets are $5 for varsity and $3 for sub-varsity games.
Friday will be South Jackson Elementary and Benton Elementary school nights at Panther Field. Students from the two schools will be recognized before the game, and will be entered in a contest to determine the ball girl or ball boy for the night.
As for the Leopards, Lowe said he's unsure what his opponent will bring to Friday's matchup.
"There's not a real good answer," Lowe said when asked how well Banks County would match up against the Panthers. "They've got a new coaching staff. I've met coach Moore and talked with him, and he seems to be a fine fellow. I think he'll do a good job there. We've seen them on film in their scrimmages. They're real similar to us. They run the Wing-T, and a 4-3 defense."
The Panthers' 4-3 defense held Jefferson in check during last week's scrimmage at Memorial Stadium, and the offense put in a good performance as well.
Quarterback Jerrod Glass completed several passes, including a pair of 20-yarders to Harlan Doremus and Chris McGeary. Travis Parks added some solid rushing yardage to the cause.
"Our quarterbacks are improving every day," Lowe said of the passing game. "Our linemen are doing a good job of giving them time to sit back there and look around."
Jackson County found the end zone late in the scrimmage, with Andy Crawford punching through for the score after a solid drive.
"Our defense played lights out," Lowe said. "Our kids made a few mistakes, but it's hard to be real critical because they were making plays. We had some execution problems on offense as well. We'll tighten things down a little bit this week."

Dragons look to clip Eagles' wings
Across town at Jefferson, head coach Bob Gurley and his Dragons will host the Eagles of Athens Christian School Friday at Memorial Stadium. The Eagles lost to Apalachee 21-0 in both teams' season-opener last week.
"We're expecting them to be a lot better this week than they were last week," Gurley said of ACS. "They had some kids who were playing in their first varsity football game; they won't be quite as nervous this week."
Like Lowe, Gurley said fan support was critical to his team's success Friday.
"I hope we have a big crowd for the home opener," Gurley said. "The kids have worked really hard, and they deserve the support."
Admission at Memorial Stadium is $6.
Gurley said that his team needs to improve in a couple of areas this week, given what he saw in last week's scrimmage with Jackson County. Even so, he said the Dragons did several things well.
"I thought it was a fairly even scrimmage. Both teams had good points and bad points. Our defense was able to hang in there against their size better than I thought we'd be able to. Offensively, they gave us a little trouble, especially in pass protection, with their size.
"We blocked the run good at times, and at times we'd make a mistake. We didn't maintain long enough in certain areas, and we hit the wrong hole somtimes, but overall we did pretty well."
Ben Songer's kicking game was also a plus, according to Gurley.
"He kicked it pretty solid," the coach said of his place-kicker's 42-yard field goal. "If he can continue to improve and hit those things, it will definitely be a plus for us during the season. That's one thing we really haven't had a lot in the past.

Let the pigskin begin
Leopards to take on Panthers Friday. The beginning of football season only happens once each year. And for Banks County, it will happen on Friday.
"I'm real excited and I'm looking forward to the first game," said head coach Greg Moore.
Friday night's game will be Moore's first as a Leopard.
"The kids have responded real well to me and the rest of the new coaches," Moore said. "Everybody has been making me feel right at home."
The Leopards have spent the past several weeks readying for their first game. Their weeks of practice in the blistering heat will finally be put to a test Friday.
"We've been practicing for six weeks," Moore said. "The kids have been going at it real hard."
Banks County will be squaring off against Jackson County in Jefferson for their season opener. The Panthers, who went 1-9 last year and beat Banks 20-6, bring a wealth of size and strength to the field this year.
Under the direction of third-year head coach Greg Lowe, Jackson is predicted to improve on its 1-29 record over the past three seasons.
"They are very big, very strong and well coached," Moore said. "I'm concerned about how big and strong Jackson is, but I think we're ready."
This week's game won't be Moore's first experience coaching against Lowe. When Moore was at Habersham Central, he helped coach his team against Jackson County.
Moore was also an assistant coach opposite Lowe during Lowe's coaching stint at North Gwinnett.
"I've got a good idea of what they're doing," Moore said. "He's a good coach and he does a good job working with the players he's got."
And Lowe does have players to work with. The Panthers return several key starters from last year's team, including quarterback Bradley Wilson.
The Leopards will also be battling the injury of their senior starting center and nose guard Kevin Hall. Hall succumbed to a torn MCL during practice two weeks ago. Moore lists Hall as doubtful to play in Friday night's game and tentative after that.
But Moore said his team is enthused and ready to start the season.
"Everyone is excited," he said. "They're ready to get in there and get their feet wet."

Start It Up
Tigers To Start 2001 Season Against Young Franklin Team. If experience is the best teacher, then Friday's season opener against Franklin County will be day one of class for a host of Tiger players.
Thirteen Commerce players will be making their first starts, with the offensive backfield having the most new faces.
The Tigers will start their fourth different quarterback in as many years when Rob Brown goes under center while the starting backfield has only a combined three carries between them.
Needless to say, Friday will be a chance for the defending Class A state champions to answer some questions.
"We're still in the learning process," Coach Steve Savage said. "We're still trying to see if we have folks in the right spot and if we need to move some people around."
But the Tigers won't be the only ones featuring a young group.
The Franklin program is taking some baby steps now after nearly two decades of stability.
Gone is Jeff Davis, the Lions' head coach of 19 years who resigned after a 7-5 playoff campaign in 2000.
The head man now is Bobby McAllister, who guided AAAA Worth County to a 37-24 mark in five seasons at the Ram helm. McAllister will be trying to fill the shoes of Franklin County's winningest coach with the departure of Davis, who compiled a 109-96-1 record during his tenure in Carnesville.
In addition to a new coach, Franklin County, like Commerce, is an underclassmen-laden outfit. According to McAllister, of his 22 starters, only six are seniors.
Given the team's youth, things still remain unsettled for 8-AAA school - particularly at quarterback. McAllister said the team might have to employ a two-quarterback system and speculated that the starter for the matchup against the Tigers probably wouldn't be named until game day,
The head coach said his young team couldn't have been given a tougher assignment in opening up with the Tigers, adding the team "will find out a lot about themselves" in the matchup.
"They'll be ole Commerce," McAllister said. "Savage always has them ready. They'll be sound. It's as tough an opener as you could have."
Savage has similar respect for the Franklin team.
"Franklin always fields a tough team," the coach said. "It's going to be a tough contest."
McAllister said his squad, which sports 54 players, would give multiple looks offensively, but would lean toward the run.
Though who will run the offense has yet to be determined, McAllister said either Tyler Evanson or Derek Eastwood would get the starting nod.
Defensively, Franklin will also employ multiple set ups.
McAllister said the defensive unit would be anchored by linebacker John Osley, defensive back Amanzo Grant and lineman Scotty Pittman.
The opener will be the 16th matchup between the schools dating back to 1964 with Commerce holding a commanding 12-3 edge in the series and a 6-1 mark at Tiger Stadium.
Though the series is nearly three decades old, the nearby opponents have only recently played each other on a consistent basis, meeting every year since 1996 and eight times in the past 14 seasons.
Franklin County hasn't beaten Commerce since 1996, when the Lions topped the Tigers 35-13 in Carnesville.

On to Apalachee
Raiders hope to rebound Friday from season-opening loss. Madison County's hopes of perfection took a heavyweight punch to the chin in a Friday loss to South Forsyth. Now the Raiders are eager to offer a counterpunch.
Madison County will travel to Apalachee Friday at 8 p.m. in a rematch of last year's 35-0 Raider win.
Apalachee, which downed Athens Christian last week, is in its second year of existence and Raider head coach Tom Hybl said his squad should expect a better team than last year's 1-9 Wildcats.
"Apalachee looks much improved over last year," said Hybl. "They've got all their kids coming back and they have a skilled kid at quarterback."
Second-year Apalachee coach Brian Moore agreed that his team is better than last year.
"I think we've improved some," said Moore. "How much better we are than last year I don't know."
The coach said approximately 45 guys will dress out for the Wildcats Friday. This includes 22 sophomores, 15 juniors and six seniors.
"Our weakness is that we're very young," said Moore. "But even though we're young, we got a lot of young kids, mostly sophomores, who played a lot last year. We're young, but we've got a lot of experience."
Apalachee's top players include sophomore quarterback Mike Odie, who was 5-for-9 for 104 yards versus Athens Christian last week. Other Wildcat standouts are Bobby Duncan, running back; and David Bellew, linebacker.
Moore said Madison County will provide a significant challenge.
"Madison County seems just like last year," said Moore. "They're very physical. They have two good backs that we better tackle or they'll do some damage to you. Defensively, they're well coached."
2001 Madison County football schedule
Aug. 24 South Forsyth home L 17-0
Aug. 31 Apalachee home 8 p.m.
Sept. 7 Jackson Co. home 8 p.m.
Sept. 14 North Hall away 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 Jefferson away 8 p.m.
Sept. 28 Warren Co. home 8 p.m.
Oct. 5 Union Grove home 8 p.m.
Oct. 12 Open
Oct. 19 Wesleyan away 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 Union Grove away 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 Athens Christian home 8 p.m.


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