Area Sports...

November 28, 2001


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Jefferson ­ Jackson County: Time to play
Call it bad blood, hard feelings or just plain spite, Jefferson and Jackson County just can't seem to come together.
The two school systems have certainly had their difficult times in the past, from lawsuits over busing to a proposed merger that never came about to athletes transferring from one school to another. Still, the fact that the two don't meet on the football field for a regular-season game is a disgrace.
Former Jackson County athletic director Greg Lowe reportedly contacted Jefferson folks earlier this fall about the Dragons and Panthers meeting on the gridiron in 2002.
Jefferson head coach Bob Gurley wouldn't comment on Lowe's request, but Jefferson's schedule for next year has almost been secured, and Jackson County is not on the list. That's a shame, because considering the proximity of the two schools, a Jefferson-Jackson County football matchup could become as big as ­ if not bigger than ­ the Jefferson-Commerce rivalry.
The two stadiums are so close, they could play the first half at Jefferson and the second half at Jackson County.
There's no reason these two schools shouldn't face off in every sport possible, including football and basketball.
Both of Jackson County's new head basketball coaches have expressed an interest in playing Jefferson, and have good relationships with Dragon coaches, so we may see a hoops matchup soon. Let's hope so.
Commerce and Madison County are said to be mending their fences and planning a game for 2002, as are Commerce and Banks County. Perhaps in time that good will may find its way to the west side of the North Oconee River.
EDITOR'S CUP?
In the spirit of promoting more competition among our local teams, the Mainstreet Newspapers sports staff is considering adding a weekly feature called the Editor's Cup.
The Editor's Cup would rank the five high schools in our coverage area in approximately 20 competitive athletic events, yielding an overall competitive program ranking for each school.
Primary consideration would be given to team placement at the state level, with head-to-head competition also being a factor. In order to balance the playing field between different classifications, the number of competitive events offered at each school would also be taken into consideration.
The Editor's Cup is not intended to be a measure of how well one school might fare against another, but rather as an indication of the level of success athletes might expect to attain within each school's respective classification.
If you'd like to comment on this idea, stop one of our staffers at an upcoming game and give us your two-cents worth.
Tim Thomas is Mainstreet Newspapers' Sports Editor. He may be reached at the sports desk at (706) 367-2348, or via email at SpeckCh@aol.com



Lady Leopards on a roll
Banks County girls sweep Madison Co. tournament
The Lady Leopards must be happy about the start of their season.
They've won three of their first four games, sweeping the Madison County Tip-off tournament.
"I thought it was real nice," Lady Leopard head coach Mike Gordon said of the team's 3-0 run in the tournament. "I knew what we were capable of. I think we did a pretty good job overall."
But with the first four games behind them, the Lady Leopards have other games to think about.
After nearly a week off, Banks County will host Lumpkin County Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Lady Indians come into town with a new coach.
"They'll be improved," Gordon said. "It's hard to tell about them."
After that, the Lady Leopards are set to open up their road schedule at White County on Friday, Dec. 7.
Banks lost for the first time this year Tuesday night, falling 49-39 to Towns County in Homer.
The Lady Leopards tried to close in late in the game, but Towns held on, controlling the clock well down the stretch to take the win.
Freshman Kayla Duncan continued her double digit scoring streak, picking up 25 points. Twenty-four of her points were from the floor. She was 1-3 from the free throw line.
Duncan is leading the Lady Leopards' scoring attack, averaging 17.8 points in four games. She is also hitting 52 percent from the line.
Also scoring in the Towns County game were: Ashley Freeman, nine; Megan Williams, three; and Jessica Kennedy, two. The Lady Leopards were a combined 5-11 from the free-throw line.
Towns County had two scorers in double digits, one with 11 points and one with 10.
The Lady Leopards took wins in their final two games of the Madison County tournament early last week to complete a sweep. Banks took Jackson County 52-46 Tuesday and downed Apalachee 55-41 on Monday.
"In the last game, we played real well," Gordon said. "Their freshness and the fact that we had played two days in a row got to us in the third quarter. We got behind by the end of the quarter but came back to win."
Freeman led the scoring attack over Jackson with 18 points. Freeman had 15 and Williams scored 11. Kennedy added four and both Martin and Elrod put up two points.
Against Apalachee, Freeman again topped the scoring with 16 points. She was followed by Duncan with 15 and Ashley Campbell with 14. Williams scored four; Martin and Kennedy added three; Jennifer Webb had two and Dana Garrish picked up one point.




Tigers Outlast Georgia Military College
Clutch Defense, Clutch Drive Give Commerce 3-0 Win.
Commerce's 3-0 win over Georgia Military might not look pretty in the scorebook, but for a team in the playoffs, it was a smashmouth work of art.
In the mud and the muck, the Tigers hogged the pigskin for over 17 minutes in the second half to preserve a slim field goal edge and secure their pass to the second round of the Class A playoffs.
"I thought we played pretty well," said Commerce head coach Steve Savage.
The Tigers stayed alive in the playoffs because they found a way to make plays when they had to.
While the Bulldogs' tailback duo of Jarvis Williams and Brandon Smith gained a respectable 171 yards on the ground, the Tigers managed to hold GMC off the board despite allowing them inside the 30 three times.
"We finally made the stops when we needed to," Savage said.
Conversely, Commerce was successful on five out of 10 third down tries and converted two out of three fourth down attempts.
This difference between the two teams was illustrated in the final 10 minutes of the contest.
The Bulldogs moved the ball 62 yards to the Tiger 11, converting three first downs, but on possibly the play of the night, the Commerce defense stuffed GMC on a fourth-and-one.
The offense had the ball back but still had to find a way to burn 10:04 cling to a three-point edge.
And they answered with one of their most impressive drives of the season, considering the timing.
Commerce milked the entire clock by moving 81 yards on 17 plays, ending the game on the eight-yard line.
Taking the team on his shoulders during the drive was Rob Brown who answered the call on three crucial third downs on the ground and picked up late first down runs to the GMC 40 and later the 12.
Brown finished the night with 101 yards rushing on 20 carries, the second time the quarterback has broken the century mark on the ground this year.
"The offensive line played well..," Savage said. "Rob Brown played another great game," He knew exactly where the first down marker was. He played well under pressure."
While the offense secured the win in the end, it was the defense who was clutch all night long.
That much was evident on the first drive of the contest as GMC pushed to the Tiger 39 but where stopped by Commerce on a fourth down try.
The stop set up a Commerce's 49-yard drive that ended in their only points of the night, a 29-yard, first quarter field goal by Tommy Eason.
The game was handed back over to the defense who got in trouble momentarily by allowing a 45-yard run by Williams inside the Tiger 30. But the defensive unit again became stingy with their backs to the wall, slamming the door on GMC on a fourth down try at the 22.
The defense then passed another gut check at the end of the first half with the Tigers fumbling a punt on their own 26. Commerce held them off the board, forcing a field goal try and then blocking it to take the shut out into halftime.
"That was big," Savage said. "There wasn't any of us who thought that 3-0 would win the game. It was a big play."
The second half was all about ball control.
There were only three possessions between the two teams and Commerce got two of them.
Besides the drive that ran the clock out, the Tigers only other possession saw them blow a scoring opportunity.
Commerce drove to the five but killed the chance with two penalties. The Tigers then had to settle for a field goal attempt at the 22 but it never happened as the snap was botched.


JCCHS to host 8th Panther Invitational this weekend
Jackson County Comprehensive High School will host the 8th annual Panther Invitational wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday.
Of the 20 teams expected to participate, 13 placed among the top 10 in their respective classifications in 2001 at the state level, and six finished in the top five. Two - Jefferson (Class A) and Morgan County (Class AA) won state titles.
"We are very excited about it," Panther head coach Phil Thurmond said last week in a press release. "Each year it continues to grow."
Opening-round matches are set to begin at 6 p.m. Friday, with semifinals starting Saturday at 10 a.m. Wrestlebacks are scheduled for 12:30 p.m., and there will be a one-hour break before the consolation finals. Championship finals will follow.
Admission for each round (Friday, semifinals and wrestlebacks, and finals) will be $6 for adults and $4 for students high school age and under. Children 5 and under will be admitted free. A tournament pass is available for $12 for adults and $6 for students.
STRONG START IN DUALS
The Panthers continued their strong start in dual matches by claiming two home wins Tuesday, extending the team's dual match record to 7-0.
Jackson County won 78-6 over Hart County and 78-4 over Gainesville. Twelve of Jackson County's 14 varsity wrestlers won in both matches. They were Jason Powers, Jacob Griffeth, Chris Autry, Rusty Colley, Jared Herrington, Chris Kubiak, Seth Potts, Lee Reece, Adam Ledbetter, Josh Anglin, Casey Berryman and Brian Gower.
Andrew Beauchamp and Casey Odum both split at 1-1 for the night.
In JV action, Chris Kinsey, Josh Poe and Andy Crawford all won twice, with Adam Nichols, Jesse Posey and Chris Holloway each recording one win.
THREE WINS AT GILMER
Jackson County picked up three dual match wins last Tuesday at Gilmer County: 47-30 over Murray County, 50-21 over Gordon Central and 66-12 over the host Bobcats.
The Panthers will host Gainesville and Cedar Shoals Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Gordon Street gym.


Raider wrestlers whip Cedar 62-15
Yes, the finish matters more than the start.
But it never hurts to whip your first foe.
Madison County did just that last Tuesday, Nov. 20, manhandling Cedar Shoals 62-15. The two squads met again this past Tuesday, but results were not available as of press time.
Eight Raider wrestlers won their matches by pin Nov. 20, while one earned a decision victory. Two others won by technical foul or forfeit. "I thought the match would be a little more even-matched," said Raider head coach Steve Mason. "We wrestled really well and stayed focused."
Mason also said he is looking forward to having several football players join the team since the gridiron season is now over.
Those winning by pin last week included: David Giles, 119 lb.; James Smith, 125 lb.; John Poole, 140 lb.; Garrett Rice, 145 lb.; Ray Barnett, 152 lb.; Mark Arnold, 189 lb.; Corey Jordan, 215 lb. and Justin Patterson, heavyweight. Steve Austin also won his match in a 12-5 decision, while Walker Overstreet earned a victory by forfeit and Danny Carter won by technical foul.
The Raiders will hit the mat again Thursday, Dec. 6, at 4:30 p.m. at Oglethorpe County. Mason said Oglethorpe is a perennially tough squad.
"But I feel like we can beat them," he added.
Also last week, the junior varsity Raiders performed well in a tournament at Troup County.
Matt Kittle won the 215 lb. weight class. Mark Arnold took top honors in the 189 lb. division. Corey Jordan was third in the 215 lb. class. Conrad Carey was fourth in the 189 lb. division. Josh Blackmon took second in the 250 lb. class. James Smith was third in the 125 lb. division. Garrett Rice was second in the 145 lb. class. Ray Barnett was third in the 152 class. J.J. Brueshaber took second in the 140 lb. division. Greg Hamilton was second in the 171 lb. class. And Justin Patterson was fourth in the 275 lb. division.

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LOCAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULES/RESULTS


Local Playoff Results
(first round)

Jefferson 14
Lincoln Co. 26

Commerce 3
Ga. Military 0

  Banks County
  (2-8-0)
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

  Commerce
  (7-4-0)
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

3-0

  Jackson County
  (1-9-0)
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

  Jefferson
  (4-5-0)
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
  (8-2-0)
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 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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