Dragons rout Athens Christian, 40-6
The Jefferson Dragons came into last week's game with Athens
Christian as heavy favorites, and it didn't take the Dragon offense
long to show why.
Sophomore running back Courtney Wiley took the handoff from quarterback
Kyle Potts on the Dragons' first offensive play and broke out
on a 58-yard run to give his team the early lead.
But Wiley was just getting warmed up. The fleet-footed Dragon
would go on to pick up 159 more rushing yards and three more
touchdowns in Jefferson's 40-6 blowout of the Eagles.
"There was some expectation for him to do that," head
coach Bob Gurley said this week. "He's still not quite there
as far as picking up his blocks, but he's gotten a lot stronger
and bigger. People are going to start keying on him now. He's
going to have to learn to just take whatever he can get."
Wiley's performance certainly drew some attention, as several
reporters either showed up for Monday's holiday practice session
or tried to contact Gurley, hoping for a chance to talk to the
sophomore sensation. He was named player of the week by both
News Channel 32 and the Athens Banner-Herald.
Even aside from Wiley's running show, the Dragons were a sound
football team in virtually every aspect of the game, at least
in the first half.
Fellow sophomore offensive backs Brandon Vinson and Stephen Wiley
each added 53 yards rushing to Wiley's 217, as Jefferson finished
with 350 yards rushing on 27 carries.
Potts was solid in the backfield as well, completing seven of
11 passes for 78 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to
Blake Gooch in the first quarter.
The Dragon defense swallowed up whatever offensive efforts the
Eagles put forth in the first half, allowing only 51 rushing
yards on 22 carries and 15 yards passing. The Jefferson secondary
caught more ACS passes than the Eagles did, picking off two.
Ryan Gurley grabbed an interception in the first quarter, and
Daniel Love came up with a pick in the end zone to end Athens
Christian's only scoring threat of the first half. Even that
drive was mostly a gift, as ACS recovered a fumbled punt return
attempt at the Jefferson 20. Still, the Eagles could only move
to the Dragon 13 before Love's interception on fourth-and-three
just before the half ran out.
Dragon linebackers spent an impressive amount of time in the
Eagle backfield, particularly junior Jeremy Smith. On special
teams, senior Jason Martin blocked an ACS punt and classmate
Tyler Murphy scooped the ball up for an easy score.
"We had a good team performance," Gurley said of the
win, "but there's still too many kids who don't lay it on
the line every play. Until we do that, we won't be a good football
Up next for Jefferson will be a trip to Banks County. The Leopards
are coming off what could be considered an upset win at Jackson
County, 12-7, in head coach Greg Moore's Banks County debut.
"They're good enough to beat us," Gurley said of this
week's opponent. "We're going to have to play to beat them."
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Homer.
Banks defeats Jackson 12-7 in season opener. Banks' defense was
hitting on all eight cylinders last Friday as the Leopards helped
themselves to a 12-7 victory over Jackson County.
"The defense played extremely well," said coach Greg
Moore, who took his first win as a head coach. "They got
after the ball and hustled."
In the end, it was the Leopards' defensive stance that helped
them win their first game in five tries.
"It was real important to win that game," Moore said.
"I was glad we won, but it was more important that we played
hard and played well."
Jackson County took the opening kickoff in the contest and drove
the ball 54 yards inside Banks' five-yard line. But as they approached
the end zone, the Panthers fumbled and Seth Brownlee recovered
the loose ball to give Banks control.
Several possessions later, Jackson County took a punt from the
Leopards. Two plays into the drive, Tyson Baxter caused the Panthers
to fumble the ball back to Banks County on Jackson's 24-yard
The Leopards went on an eight-play, 24-yard scoring drive topped
off by Brownlee's short run in for the score. He had 20 carries
for 137 yards on the night.
"Brownlee played well on both sides of the ball," Moore
said. "He's a workhorse."
Following Brownlee's touchdown run, Banks County couldn't get
off the point-after attempt, giving them a 6-0 lead with 10:37
left in the first half.
Jackson responded with a nine-play, 56-yard touchdown drive capped
off by Travis Parks' one-yard run. The Panthers sank their PAT
to go up 7-6 with 5:09 left in the half.
But after Jackson's only score, the Leopards would shut down
the Panthers' defense. Jackson County had only two first downs
in the remainder of the game.
The Leopards scored the winning touchdown with 7:18 left in the
game. After forcing Jackson County to punt, the Leopards took
over on their own 42-yard line.
Banks capitalized on the running game to move the ball down within
seven yards of the goal. On second down, quarterback Bill Krause
took the ball to give the Leopards a 12-7 lead. The Leopards
failed on the two-point conversion attempt.
"Krause's leadership skills impressed me the most,"
Moore said. "He took control on the field."
After the touchdown, the Leopards kicked off to Jackson County.
The Panthers returned the ball into Leopard territory and started
Jackson got down to Banks' 31 yard line before senior Nick Baker
stepped through the Panther line and sacked the quarterback for
a nine-yard loss.
Jackson ran a toss sweep then a short screen pass to get up to
the 26 yard line. But the Panthers couldn't produce on a fourth
and five play, and the Leopards took over with 3:14 left in the
Jackson County got the ball back once more with under a minute
to go. The Panthers completed one pass and threw another incomplete
one. On the next play, David Creasy snuck into the backfield
to sack the quarterback. Jackson County threw one more incomplete
pass as the game ended.
"I was real glad we won that one," Moore said. "I
thought we deserved to win."
Turnovers kill Panthers, 12-7
"Our kids know what they want to be, and what we saw Friday
night was not what they want to be."
So Jackson County head football coach Greg Lowe summed up the
Panthers' performance in last week's 12-7 home loss to Banks
"I think we got outplayed," Lowe continued, "but
we have every plan to go over and perform well at Madison County.
I think our kids are a different bunch of kids now."
In order to compete Friday, the Panthers will need to have the
A game they apparently left at home last week.
"Madison County is real physical," Lowe said of this
week's host. "They're going to come off the ball and get
after us. Execution is the main thing. We've got to do what we're
supposed to do."
Lowe said that though Monday's practice session may have begun
with the memory of Banks County fresh on his players' minds,
it ended on a high note.
"I was pleased at the way we finished up practice Monday.
I can handle my mood, but I'm not the one who goes out there
between the lines. I think our kids have a better attitude after
TURNOVERS CRITICAL IN LOSS
A 4-1 turnover ratio destroyed Jackson County's chances against
Banks last week. The Panthers' first possession began on a good
note, with Brandon Shields breaking a 50-yard run deep into Leopard
territory, but a fumble on the next play ended the threat at
the Banks County three-yard line. That fumble would be just the
first of three Panther turnovers in the first quarter.
"That was real big," Lowe said of the early miscues.
"We also had two of three starting running backs go down
early, and those guys also play outside linebacker. We ended
up playing with kids who haven't had very many reps in practice
. . . But we've got to give credit to Banks County; they just
came over here and outplayed us."
Still, the Leopards had trouble converting the Panther fumbles
into points, until the third one, which they recovered at the
Jackson County 24-yard line. Banks County took eight plays to
find the end zone, but missed the point-after and took a 6-0
Jackson County responded with a nine-play, 56-yard drive for
its own score, and the PAT gave the Panthers a 7-6 lead.
The Panther defense that forced Banks County to punt on its first
three possessions came up big near the half, stopping a Leopard
drive inside the Panther one-yard line to preserve a 7-6 lead
going into intermission.
Chris Kubiak picked off Leopard quarterback Bill Krause on Banks
County's second-half opening drive at the Panther 19, but Jackson
County coughed up an interception around midfield on the next
Just as they'd done late in the first and early in the second
quarters, Banks County took 10 plays in the last of the third
and early fourth quarters to drive 58 yards for a touchdown.
The Leopards' two-point conversion attempt failed, setting the
eventual final score of 12-7.
Jackson County was able to reach the Banks County 26-yard line
on its next drive, but would never get closer to retaking the
"We'll learn from it," Lowe said of the loss, "and
go on from there. It's a big disappointment for all of us."
Leading tacklers for the Panthers were Chuck Kubiak (10 first
hits, 7 assists) and Casey Berryman (6 first hits, 3 assists).
In addition to his interception, Chris Kubiak batted another
pass away, caused a Banks County fumble and had two first hits
and one assist.
Care Of Business
Commerce Gets 121 Yds. From Jennings In Rout Of Franklin Co.
No Monté. No Michael. No problem so far.
The Tigers' star tailback-quarterback tandem may be gone, but
the agenda for Commerce was still the same against Franklin County
Friday night -wear down the foe with a strong running attack
and then burn them with the ocassional pass.
The team got 250 yards and two scores out of the backfield and
added another touchdown through the air in a 29-13 home win over
In all, it was a solid way for a young group to begin the 2001
"I was really pleased with the effort we gave Friday night,"
head coach Steve Savage said. "We had a lot of folks in
there for the first time."
In a contest that introduced many new faces, one of most impressive
emerging from the backfield was junior Brandon Jennings.
Though the running back never touched the ball last year, Jennings
didn't seem to be plagued with first-game jitters Friday, responding
with 121 yards on eight carries and breaking the game open with
touchdown runs of 39 and 29 yards.
But the ground game wasn't the only thing that the Tigers brought
to the table in the contest.
The team's new signal caller, senior Rob Brown, also showed that
foes will have to keep an eye on the Tigers' air game, picking
up 77 yards on three completions, including a 30-yard touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive unit had some bright
spots as well, shutting out the Lions for three and a half quarters
while holding the team to only 221 yards in total offense and
creating two turnovers.
"I thought we did all right (defensively) but we had some
first-game problems," Savage said. "But I thought we
While Commerce might have had several new players, the team showed
signs of maturity-in the first half especially. The squad took
control of the contest in the first eight minutes and carried
a three-touchdown lead into halftime.
Offensively, it didn't take long for the Tigers to find their
footing, drawing first blood with a nine-play scoring drive.
Ironically, it was their only mishap of the series that punched
in the intial score.
The Tigers picked up the touchdown after Lamar Daniels fumbled
the ball into the end zone where senior offensive lineman Adam
Bagwell emerged from a pile of Tiger and Lion players with the
pigskin to put his team up 6-0. Brown added a two-point conversion
to put the team up by eight.
Commerce then showcased its passing attack on the next touchdown
drive with Brown hitting a wide-open Jonathan Beasley for 43
yards before going to the air and finding Kyle Moore on a touchdown
strike to give the Tigers a 15-0 lead with 6:29 left in the second
"I think we're a team that can throw the football a little
bit," Savage said of the team's passing game. "We've
to some good receivers. None of them are game-breakers but they've
got good hands."
Game-breaking would be left to the Commerce running attack. After
L. Daniels gave the ball to the Tigers with an interception on
the Franklin 43, Jennings took a handoff three plays later, broke
right and scampered 29 yards down the right sideline to fatten
the Tiger edge at 22 points with four minutes left in the half.
"I thought Brandon did a good job at tailback," Savage
said of the junior who averaged 15.1 yards a carry in the win.
"We were pleased with him."
Jennings pleased coaches a bit more when the team took the field
in the second half.
On the fifth play on the Tigers first drive of the second half,
the untested tailback struck again, again taking a hand off and
breaking right, but this time breaking a pair of tackles and
dashing 39 yards to paydirt.
With the game in hand up 29-0, Commerce inserted the second string
defense and Franklin responded with two scores-a one-yard touchdown
run by quarterback Tyler Evanson and a five-yard score by tailback
The Raiders controlled the trenches, the clock and the score
Friday, earning their first win of the young 2001 season.
Madison County topped Apalachee 35-3 in Danielsville, grinding
out 287 yards on the ground and bouncing back from a 17-0 loss
to South Forsyth the previous week.
Fourth-year Raider coach Tom Hybl said his team showed more grit
against the Wildcats than against the War Eagles.
"The kids played harder and showed a little more effort
and heart," said Hybl, comparing his squad's performance
in the second game to the opener. "That was a big improvement
Leading the Raider charge was junior running back Tony Freeman,
who carried the ball 26 times for 142 yards.
Senior quarterback Jonathan Pou also turned in a strong performance,
completing all three of his passes for 22 yards, breaking free
for a 19-yard quarterback keeper and leading the team on defense
at defensive back with six tackles and five assists.
"That (the tackling numbers) shows he was flying around
the ball," said Hybl of Pou. "He had an excellent game
on both sides of the ball."
The coach also praised the play of Richard Stowers and Chris
"We saw improvement from several of our guys," said
Madison County's scores came on a one-yard Freeman touchdown
run in the first quarter, a 25-yard Freeman run in the second
period and a two-yard Stowers run shortly before the half. In
the third quarter Madison County scored on a one-yard pass from
Pou to Tony Tittle and followed with its final points in the
fourth quarter on a 13-yard run by Stowers.
Apalachee's lone points came with 10:37 to go in the second quarter
on a 24-yard field goal.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Madison County Jouranl.