Area Sports...

September 12, 2001


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Dragon machine rolls over Banks, 35-7
Fresh off a pair of huge wins to open the season, the Jefferson Dragons will rumble on to the Johnson High School campus Friday hoping to improve to 3-0. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
The 7-AAA Knights come in to the game at 0-2, having lost overwhelmingly to Dawson County and West Hall. Jefferson will be looking to avenge a one-point home loss to the Knights last year, 21-20. In that game, Jefferson turned the ball over four times and missed an extra point in the closing minutes that would have sent the game to overtime.
WIN OVER BANKS COUNTY
Banks County's Leopards were able to keep Jefferson to only six points during the first half of last week's game, but the Dragons scored on four of their first five possessions in the second half to take a 35-7 win.
Courtney Wiley continued his amazing early-season rushing performance, picking up 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns on only 12 carries. The sophomore sensation currently has racked up 488 yards rushing and six touchdowns in Jefferson's first two games, despite carrying the ball only 21 times.
The Dragons, who likely expected Banks to be strong on the ground, were able to shut down the Leopards inside, but Jefferson's concentration on the line opened up the Leopards' outside game early.
The Leopards kept the ball for more than 16 minutes in the first two quarters. Banks was also able to hold Wiley at bay in the first half. Wiley broke a 68-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the game, but the score was called back on a holding call.
After that, Wiley wouldn't break another long one until late in the first quarter. He took off on a 92-yard run to put the Dragons ahead 6-0. Jefferson missed the point-after attempt.
The Leopards missed an opportunity to tie up the game late in the second quarter. Banks went on a 12-play, 56-yard drive down to Jefferson's 1-yard line. But in two plays, the Leopards weren't able to put the ball in, turning possession over to Jefferson on downs.
In the second half, the Dragons broke several big plays to take control of the game. After Jefferson quarterback Kyle Potts found Blake Gooch for a four-yard touchdown strike, Banks County fumbled the ball back on its first play from scrimmage of the second half. Wiley reached the end zone for the second time just two plays later.
Just before the third quarter ended, Wiley sparked another Jefferson score with a big run deep into Leopard territory. Potts sneaked in for the score shortly thereafter.
Brantley Gilbert came on to relieve Potts near the end of the game, and scored from two yards out to complete Jefferson's scoring.
The Leopards' only score came late in the fourth quarter. After taking a kickoff from the Dragons, Banks drove 77 yards on 12 plays to take the score.




Lady Leopards fall to Washington-Wilkes, to face Elbert
After an area loss to Washington-Wilkes last week, the Banks County Lady Leopards will look to get back on track this week.
Thursday, Banks will travel to Elbert County for a 5 p.m. game. Banks' game with Elbert will be the first of the Lady Leopards' final four games.
The Lady Leopards were scheduled to take on Jackson County Tuesday, however, that game was canceled due to Tuesday's terrorist events.
Last week, the Lady Leopards fell 11-1 to Washington-Wilkes.
The Lady Tigers scored one run in the each of the first three innings. They added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 5-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth, the Lady Leopards picked up their only run of the game.
With one out, Nina Jordan grounded to the shortstop. The first-baseman dropped the throw to first, allowing Jordan to stand safely on first. One out later, Maggie Elrod singled to right field.
Kayla Gragg followed with a single to right field that allowed Jordan to come around and score, setting the score at 5-1.
In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Tigers capitalized on several fielding errors to go ahead 11-1 and win the game.


Panthers fall to Madison County, 35-7
The Jackson County Panthers will travel to Elberton Friday for a game in one of the most reknowned and easily recognized football stadiums in the state, Elbert County's Granite Bowl. The game will be the first region contest for both teams.
Panther head coach Greg Lowe indicated that visitors to such storied sports venues often struggle simply because they allow themselves to be intimidated.
"There's a certain myth that goes along with places like that," Lowe said. "A lot of it is self-fulfilling."
Elbert County comes in at 2-0, having barely gotten by teams from Harlem and Richmond Academy. After a loss last week at Madison County, Jackson County is 0-2.
Elbert has had a problem familiar to the Panthers during its first two games: holding on to the ball.
It didn't take long for the ball to roll the wrong way for Jackson County. After returning the opening kickoff to the 26-yard line, the Panthers fumbled the ball away on their first play from scrimmage.
Two Panther offsides penalties later, Raider fullback Tony Freeman rumbled in for a touchdown to put his team ahead for keeps.
Jackson County fought back with a solid drive of its own, getting big runs from backs Brandon Shields and Travis Parks before a holding penalty stalled the effort. The Panthers were forced to punt the ball away. The punt was perfect, pinning Madison County on its own 1-yard line.
Chuck Kubiak came through with a crucial open-field tackle to force the Raiders into a third-and-six situation, and Madison eventually had to punt.
The Raiders would not punt again until late in the third quarter.
Madison continually hurried to the line out of the huddle all night, wearing down the Panther defense. Freeman went on the prowl, breaking out for a number of big runs and scoring again in the second quarter.
Jackson County's other two first-half possessions both ended in punts, one of which was blocked by Richard Stowers and returned by Robert Geiger to the Panther 1-yard line. Quarterback Jonathan Pou took the ball in on a sneak play to put the Raiders up 21-0.
The Panther defense came up big on Madison County's final drive of the half, sacking Pou and knocking the ball loose around midfield. Jackson County recovered, but officials ruled the play an incomplete pass. Moments later, the Panthers' Vernon Brown picked off a Pou pass in the end zone to end the drive.
Just as with the first half, the opening play of the second half was a huge one for Madison County. Freeman eluded the Panther defense for a 64-yard touchdown run on the Raiders' first play from scrimmage to make it a 28-0 game. After a Panther punt, Danté Montgomery went in from 44 yards out for Madison County's final score of the game.
Madison continued to sweep left for big gains as the game wound down, but Casey Berryman contributed a huge hit behind the line of scrimmage to help end the threat. The Raiders punted, and Jackson County was pinned inside its own 5-yard line.
Despite the long 95-yard stretch that lay before them, the Panthers mounted a long, sustained drive that took up nearly two-thirds of the fourth quarter and culminated with a short touchdown run by Shields at 4:22 to set the final score. Brown and Shields both contributed big runs during the drive.
Shields finished the game with 96 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
"They [Madison County] had the long run early in the second quarter, the blocked punt and the turnover," Lowe said. "Other than that, I think they only scored on one legitimate drive . . . We're just not making the plays right now, and we've got a hard row to hoe the next three games."
Over the next three weeks, Jackson County will face some of the better teams in Region 8-AAA, including Elbert County and Hart County.



Commerce Faces Another Bulldog Opponent; Looks To Get Back On Winning Track Friday
Commerce looks to fare better against this week's breed of Bulldog when it tangles with Morgan County at Tiger Stadium at 8 p.m.
The Tigers are trying to rebound from a three-touchdown loss to the Bulldogs of Forsyth Central this past Friday-their first in nine games.
Protecting the football will be among the main items on this week's agenda for Commerce. The team committed three first-half turnovers in the loss to Forsyth Central, leading to 21 Bulldog points.
Commerce head coach Steve Savage said the defeat should serve as a wake-up call to the squad.
"Our kids will take from that game that we need to work harder because we might not be as good as some of us thought," he said.
But the coach said the team has seemed to respond well to the adversity so far.
"The kids came out Monday and had a good practice," Savage said.
When Commerce takes on 7-AA Morgan County Friday night, it will face opponent that looks similar to the Tigers on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Savage said the Bulldogs were an option-oriented team but operated out of the flexbone or double-slot set.
"They run an offense similar to what Georgia Southern runs," the coach said.
Defensively, the coach said that Morgan County will show a "shade weak 50" look while also lining up in a 4-3 set-up occasionally.
Savage added that Morgan County, which sports 67 players and eight seniors, "has a good mix of size and speed" and was "a well-coached, sound football team."
"They're a good football team," the coach said. "Their kids play hard."
Morgan County is also attempting to rebound from a setback last Friday, falling to Jackson High School 19-7. The team picked up a 21-14 win over Monroe Area to open the season.
Eighth-year Bulldog head coach Kenny Moore said that his team expects a to run into a "hard-nosed" Commerce football team.
"They're well-coached, hard-nosed kids," said Moore, who coached the team to a 4-6 mark last year.
The Morgan County coach said he looks for the Tigers to enter the contest fully recovered from last week's loss.
"I know they lost by a large margin last week, but they'll be a lot better this week," Moore said, whose team lost 35-14 to Commerce last year. "Steve will make some adjustments. They've got a hard-nosed offensive line. They don't have any home run hitters like they had with Michael and Monté, but they're just a hard-nosed football team."


Boys' cross country team breezing by competitors
The Madison County boys' cross country team continued its run of dominance this past week.
The squad improved to 11-0 with wins in home matches Wednesday and Monday. The Raiders defeated Elbert, Stephens, Franklin, Hart and Washington-Wilkes Wednesday and topped Prince Avenue, Washington-Wilkes and Oglethorpe County Monday.
Cross country coach Kathy Drake said she has been elated with the guys' performances.
"They were awesome," said Drake Monday. "I couldn't have asked for them to do any better."
Drake said opposing coaches have also offered glowing praise for her boys' squad.
Madison County's Matt Seawright won the race Monday with a 19:39 finish, followed close behind by teammate Jonathan Hardy, who took second with a time of 19:40. Patrick Bryant took sixth in the 37-man race with a time of 20:40. Bryan Bird was seventh with a time of 20:54 and Josh Booker took tenth with a time of 21:17.
Hardy led Madison County with a fourth-place finish and a 19:31 time in the 63-man race Wednesday. Seawright took fifth with a time of 19:58. Bryant was 13th with a time of 21:15. Booker's 21:20 earned him a 14th place finish and Bird was 15th with a time of 21:28.
"We've got really high hopes for our boys in the region meet this year," said Drake, whose squad will participate in the region meet Oct. 27 in Winder. "We've already beat four of the teams in our region."
GIRLS' ACTION
The girls' team has been led this season by Debbie Ebalobo, who finished second Monday with a time of 24:57, an improvement over her 25:54 time Wednesday which earned her a third place finish.
Drake said she was pleased that three girls, including Ebalobo, improved from Wednesday to Monday. Megan Holloman shaved over a minute off her time, finishing sixth Monday with a 26:18, compared to a 13th place showing and a 27:38 time Wednesday. Amy Beck finished 10th Monday with a time of 30:08, down from a 30th place finish and a 32:38 time Wednesday.
Other girls' runners this week included: Melanie Costyn, 31:20 (Wed.) and 30:53 (Mon.) and Heather McDonald, 32:43 (Wed.)
The cross country teams were scheduled to travel to Cedar Shoals today (Wednesday) for a six-team meet with Cedar, Athens Academy, Athens Christian, Monroe and Hart County. The Raiders will then travel to Cateechee Golf Course Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. to face Hart, Prince, Stephens, Elbert, Franklin and Commerce.




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LOCAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULES/RESULTS

  Banks County
  (1-1-0)
Date Opponent Score
8/31 at JCCHS 12-7
9/7 Jefferson 7-35
9/21 Dawson Co. -
9/28 at East Hall -
10/5 GAC -
10/12 at Apalachee -
10/19 Lumpkin Co. -
10/26 at Union Co. -
11/2 Rabun Co. -
11/9 at White Co. -

  Commerce
  (1-1-0)
Date Opponent Score
8/31 Franklin Co 29-13
9/7 at Forsyth Ctrl 14-35
9/14 Morgan Co -
9/21 at Walhalla, SC -
9/28 at Lincoln Co -
10/5 at Ath Acad -
10/12 Wash-Wilkes -
10/26 Wesleyan -
10/2 at Jefferson -
10/9 Buford -

  Jackson County
  (0-2-0)
Date Opponent Score
8/31 Banks Co 7-12
9/7 at Madison Co 7-35
9/14 at Elbert Co -
9/28 Hart -
10/5 at Eastside -
10/12 Loganville -
10/19 at Franklin -
10/26 Winder-Barrow -
11/2 Stephens Co -
11/9 at Monroe Area -

  Jefferson
  (2-0-0)
Date Opponent Score
8/31 Athens Christian 40-6
9/7 at Banks Co 35-7
9/14 at Johns-G'ville -
9/21 Madison Co -
9/28 at Social Circle -
10/5 Oglethorpe Co -
10/12 Lndmrk Christ -
10/26 at Buford -
11/2 Commerce -
11/9 at Wesleyan -

  Madison County
  (2-1-0)
Date Opponent Score
8/24 South Forsyth 0-17
9/1 Apalachee 36-3
9/7 Jackson Co 35-7
9/14 at North Hall -
9/21 at Jefferson -
9/28 Warren Co -
10/5 Union Grove -
10/19 at Wesleyan -
10/26 at Union Grove -
11/2 Athens Christian -


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