Area Sports...

November 26, 2001

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Dragons, Tigers enter football playoffs Friday
Commerce hosts Georgia Military; Jefferson travels to Lincoln County
The Georgia High School Association will begin its 2001 state football playoffs Friday, and two area teams are eligible to participate.
Jefferson's Dragons will travel to Lincoln County to battle the Red Devils, a perennial Class A football powerhouse that struggled early but rallied to take four straight wins to close the regular season. Jefferson finished third in Region 8-A, and Lincoln County second in Region 7-A to set the meeting.
The defending state Class A champion Commerce Tigers will host Georgia Military College, the third seed from Region 7-A.
Jefferson and Lincoln will square off at 7:30 p.m., with the game in Commerce starting half an hour later.
The fourth seed from Region 4-A was finally decided Friday. Wheeler County, which held the fourth spot on a three-way tie-breaker going into last week's contests, lost to Emanuel County Institute, opening the door for Montgomery County.
The Eagles took over the three-way tie-breaker with a win against Stewart-Quitman Friday. If the Eagles had also lost, Wheeler would have retained the tie-breaker advantage.
In other Class A playoff news, due to incorrectly reported early-season scores from various sources, playoff spots for Region 3-A were incorrectly listed in the state playoff bracket in last week's edition of The Jackson Herald. A corrected version may be found on in this weeks Jackson Herald.

Hoops teams split opener in tourney
Lady Leopards open the season with win. Saturday night couldn't have been a better beginning for Mike Gordon's final season.
The Lady Leopards were aggressive, they fought hard, and they shocked Madison County with a 53-40 victory over a team that finished in the Elite Eight in class AAA.
Banks County had two more games scheduled in the Madison County Tipoff Tournament after their opener Saturday night.
Due to an early deadline because of Thanksgiving, those results were not available for publication.
The Lady Leopards stand to open their home season Tuesday against Towns County at 6 p.m.
The Lady Raiders started off Saturday's game taking a 17-12 first quarter lead. Banks was moving the ball around well but had trouble getting it inside.
In the second quarter, though, the Lady Leopards found the basket and pushed ahead to take a 26-25 halftime lead.
Banks County went on a 9-1 run in the closing seconds of the first half to take the lead.
All the while, the Lady Leopards were aggressively attacking the Lady Raider offense. Their defense and fast-paced offense allowed the Lady Leopards to take control of the game but also forced a lot fouls.
"Banks is a young and scrappy team," Madison County head coach Tim Cook said. "They really got after us and might have played a little harder than we did."
In the second half, the Lady Leopards continued their aggressive runs and pushed farther ahead of Madison County.
The Lady Raiders, who hit only eight free throws despite going to the line 27 times, could never find their inside shot.
Banks outscored Madison 16-7 in the final quarter to take the win.
Ashley Freeman led the offensive attack for Lady Leopards with 23 points.
Freshman Kayla Duncan put 16 on the board in her Lady Leopard varsity debut.
Also scoring were: Megan Williams, four; Joni Martin and Ashley Campbell, three; and Maggie Elrod and Jessica Kennedy, two.

2001 Class A Playoffs
Commerce Hopes To Out-Flank Georgia Military Friday Night
This is usually the time of year that all eyes are on Commerce.
After all, entering the Class A playoffs the past four seasons with a combined record of 37-3 has made the Tigers a perennial contender come post season time.
But 2001 has a different twist.
Seeded second with a 6-4 record, the defending Class-A state champions will be looked on more as a possible spoiler than a front-runner to the throne.
However, Commerce head coach Steve Savage said one can never really predict what the post season could hold.
"If we could get past the first round then some things could happen for us...You never know what's going to happen...," he said. "It's like we're starting over now."
The Tigers' first contest of the "new season" is against an opponent still looking for some breakthrough success in the playoffs.
Georgia Military College coach Derrick Allen said luck hasn't been on his team's side when it comes to the post season.
"We made the playoffs for the first time since God knows when last year and we had to play Buford and we make it this year and we've got to play the defending state champions," Allen said with a laugh.
But Savage doesn't laugh when it comes to talking about GMC, saying the Tigers will have their hands full against their first-round foes.
"They're fundamental, they block and tackle really well, they've got some good defensive ends...We'll have to go out there and have our best game," Savage said.
The Milledgeville military academy sported a 7-3 record this year but were possibly a few plays away from being 9-1, dropping two ball games in overtime.
Allen, who's turned a 1-9 program in his first year into an outfit that's posted three straight winning seasons, said his squad has been a resilient one in 2001 despite the loss of some key seniors from last year's team.
"We're pleased with what we've done, considering what we lost," said the coach. "I think we've recovered pretty well."
Part of what has helped them recover is a dangerous tandem of Bulldog backs in 215-lb senior Brandon Smith and junior Jarvis Williams.
Allen said both have good speed but added that Smith is more of an inside runner while Williams is more dangerous on the outside.
Savage said the pair of backs who lead GMC the I-formation/Wing-T/Wishbone attack "will be as good as we've seen all year."
On the defensive side of the ball, Commerce will have to contend with linebackers Reginald Mosely and Calvin Atkins who anchor the Bulldogs' "Shade 50" attack.
As far as Commerce goes, Allen said the Tigers will present problems for his team on both sides of the ball.
"I'm impressed with how their line comes off the ball," Allen said of Commerce. "I'm impressed with the running backs, especially the fullback (Nick Slayton)...Defensively, they're probably the best we'll play all year."
Allen added that he had an overall respect for the Commerce program.
"I'm really impressed with how hard their kids play," Allen said. "Commerce has an absolute first-class program."

Lowe resigns as Panther football coach, A.D.
Jackson County head football coach and athletic director Greg Lowe resigned from both posts Monday, according to high school principal Dr. Robin Hines.
"Coach Lowe has officially tendered his resignation as head football coach and athletic director," Hines said. "We certainly appreciate the efforts of Coach Lowe and his staff in attempting to move the program forward, but we feel it's time for a change in direction. We certainly wish him the best."
Neither Hines nor Lowe would comment on whether the resignation was requested, but several sources close to the team have indicated that was the case.
During Lowe's tenure on the sidelines, Jackson County managed only a 2-28 record, but the team did see a significant increase in participation numbers during that time.
Lowe indicated he currently has no plans for the future, but Hines expressed his wishes that Lowe remain with the system as a teacher.
"We hope he continues to be a part of our school," Hines commented. "He can stay as long as he wants; he's a quality individual and a quality teacher."
Lowe has received numerous honors during his teaching career, including being named Star Teacher several times.

Raiders routed in final game
North Hall rolled out no Trojan horse, no sneak attack.
The Trojans simply outmanned Madison County Friday in a 35-12 win, handing the Raiders only their second loss in as many years while erasing a 762-day, 22-game winless drought.
"My kids weren't prepared to play mentally," said Madison County head coach Tom Hybl, whose team finished the season at 8-2. "And it was my fault we didn't have them ready."
North Hall, 1-9, opened the game with a bang as 5'9" senior David Brock returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a score. The Trojans added two more touchdowns before the half, a 34-yard jaunt by Lee Spillers and a three-yard run by Corey Hutchins, to take a 21-0 lead into intermission.
North Hall, a AAAA school, continued its dominance in the third quarter, scoring on a six-yard run by Brock and a two-yard run by Hutchins, which put the Trojans up 35-0.
"They (North Hall) were a good football team," said Hybl. "They are very physical and used to playing a couple of levels up from where we are....They played with great intensity and we stood and watched."
Hybl said he was pleased his team "didn't roll over and absolutely quit." The Raiders added two late scores to cut into the Trojan lead.
Tony Freeman, who broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season, scored Madison County's first touchdown of the night on a three-yard run with 8:33 left in the game. The PAT was blocked and the Raiders trailed 35-6. Quarterback Jonathan Pou carried the ball in from 12 yards out with just over a minute to go. The 2-point conversion attempt failed.
Despite being disappointed with the season finale, Hybl was proud of his squad's effort this year.
"Overall it was a really good, solid season," said Hybl, who surpassed Larry Milligan this season as the football program's all-time leader in coaching wins. Hybl has a 22-18 record at Madison County. Milligan had led the program with a 19-21 mark.

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Local Playoff Results
(first round)

Jefferson 14
Lincoln Co. 26

Commerce 3
Ga. Military 0

  Banks County
Date Opponent Score
8/31 at JCCHS 12-7
9/7 Jefferson 7-35
9/21 Dawson Co. 0-28
9/28 at East Hall 0-28
10/5 GAC 0-48
10/12 at Apalachee 0-30
10/19 Lumpkin Co. 0-20
10/26 at Union Co. 0-35
11/2 Rabun Co. 21-18
11/9 at White Co. 10-33

Date Opponent Score
8/31 Franklin Co 29-13
9/7 at Forsyth Ctrl 14-35
9/14 Morgan Co ppd.
9/21 at Walhalla, SC 35-24
9/28 at Lincoln Co 13-12
10/5 at Ath Acad 7-34
10/12 Wash-Wilkes 26-49
10/26 Wesleyan 24-15
11/2 at Jefferson 14-0
11/9 Buford 0-41
11/16  Morgan Co. 27-10
 11/23  Ga. Military


  Jackson County
Date Opponent Score
8/31 Banks Co 7-12
9/7 at Madison Co 7-35
9/14 at Elbert Co ppd.
9/28 Hart 3-51
10/5 at Eastside 7-47
10/12 Loganville 0-47
10/19 at Franklin 21-14
10/26 Winder-Barrow 0-35
11/2 Stephens Co 3-34
11/9 at Monroe Area 0-27
 11/16 at Elbert Co. 7-14

Date Opponent Score
8/31 Athens Christian 40-6
9/7 at Banks Co 35-7
9/14 at Johns-G'ville ppd.
9/21 Madison Co 11-14
9/28 at Social Circle 21-28
10/5 Oglethorpe Co 21-6
10/12 Lndmrk Christ 23-14
10/26 at Buford 0-41
11/2 Commerce 0-14
11/9 at Wesleyan 31-14
 11/16  at Johns-G'ville 7-23
 11/23 @ Lincoln Co.  14-26

  Madison County
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 ppd.
9/21 at Jefferson 14-11
9/28 Warren Co 14-7
10/5 Union Grove 35-6
10/19 at Wesleyan 14-0
10/26 at Union Grove 14-10
11/2 Athens Christian 49-6
11/16 at N. Hall 12-35
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