Area Sports...

JULY 31, 2002

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Gym floor getting new look
Two years ago, water leaks resulted in the replacement of Banks County’s new high school gym floor.
Since that time, the floor has been without the graphics orginally painted on it. But for this upcoming season, the gym will have its designs back again.
“We’re glad to get it put back down there,” said boys’ basketball coach Mike Ruth. “For the past couple of seasons, people have been wondering what happened to the floor.”
Superintendent Deborah White said money was withheld from insurance payments in 2000 after the gym floor was damaged. Now, that money is being used to pay for repainting the graphics.
The gym floor’s centerpiece is being painted to match what was orginally done in the gym when it was opened in 1999. The words “Banks County” were also painted at the baseline on the side of the gym nearest the entrance. “Leopards” was painted on the opposite side.
The project is still being completed.

Tigers Put On Armor This Week
The Commerce Tiger football team donned pads and helmets this past Monday to start the second phase of their summer workouts.
Though the team will continue easing into their transition to the gridiron this week according to head coach Steve Savage, they’ll also begin looking at filling spots on both sides of the ball.
“Again, we’re trying to get acclimated to the weather, trying to get everything in,” Savage said of this week’s agenda. “And we’ll look at personnel.”
Specifically, the coach said they’ll start searching for a starting offensive tackle as well as backups for the team’s four returning offensive lineman.
And with the graduation of last year’s starting signal caller, Rob Brown, the team will be taking a look at the quarterback position.
Defensively, Savage said they’d also start evaluating the lineup in the secondary.
The team will now host two-a-day workouts in pads off and on until school starts Aug. 7 according to Savage.
Commerce also has two tentatively scheduled scrimmages for later this summer—Athens Academy (Aug. 15) and Rabun County (Aug. 22).
The team spent last week practicing in helmets and shorts, “shaking the rust off” according to the coach.
While his squad might have been rusty, Savage complimented the team’s work ethic.
“It went well for the first week,” Savage explained. “All the kids came in excited and ready to work.
After Friday, Commerce, which is coming off a 7-5 state playoff campaign in 2001, will have five more weeks of summer practice before their Sept. 6 opener against Franklin County. Most area schools will start Aug. 30 but the Tigers will have an open date that night.

Break out the pads, bring on the heat
A week removed from the first practice day allowed by the Georgia High School Association, area teams turned the intensity up a notch Monday as they took to the field in full pads for the first time this preseason.
Both Jefferson coach Bill Navas and Jackson County coach Brent Brock indicated that although they are eager to “get after it,” keeping players safe in the excessive July humidity is of the utmost importance during this time of year.
“We’re more sensitive now than we’ve ever been,” Brock said. “The last thing we want is to lose a kid.”
The Panthers returned Saturday after a four-day, 10-practice mini-camp at North Georgia College and State University. Brock stated that he was pleased with the effort of his squad while in Dahlonega, but noted that the team may have been a little fatigued after the strenuous stretch of two-a-days.
“I definitely think we had a productive time up there,” he said. “This coaching staff is very pleased.”
Brock pulled back on the intensity slightly towards the end of practice Monday after he felt the Panthers were a little fatigued following camp.
As far as dealing with the heat goes, Brock is encouraging his players to educate themselves about how to deal with the temperatures and is scheduling prac-tices for the evening until school starts up on Thursday.
“We want to educate the youngsters on how to hydrate during the day,” he said. In addition, anytime a player feels he is in need of water he is being given a drink and the Panthers as a team are taking more water breaks.
Jefferson has also been hard at work this preseason and Navas stated that the Dragons have been working on the basics such as blocking, tackling and running this week. “We’re just reinstating the fundamentals,” he said.
Much like the Panthers, the Dragons are doing what they can to avoid any player fatigue because of the heat.
“We’re only practicing for an hour at a time,” Navas said. “...and the longest we’re on the field is an hour and fifteen minutes.”
In addition he added that Jefferson is practicing later in the day as well and is consuming a steady intake of electrolyte replacements, as well as bananas and oranges.
With school starting up Thursday in Jackson County, both programs will look to become game ready by Aug. 30, the date of the first game for both schools.

Raiders pop pads in practice this week
The Madison County football team hopes the preseason picture will become a bit clearer with this week’s move to pads.
After practicing in helmets and shorts last week, the team has been working out in pads since Monday, running through blocking and tackling drills in their second week of summer preparations.
“We’ll know a little better this week,” Hybl said of his team’s progress in the preseason.
Though he said it was “hard to tell a lot” from last week’s practice, the fifth-year coach was still satisfied with how things unfolded.
“Everything went OK,” he said. “We went out and got some conditioning in and worked on the kicking game...Overall, it wasn’t bad.”
One plus so far this summer has been the participation numbers with the team sporting 57 players.
“The numbers are 10 or 12 more than we had last year,” Hybl pointed out.
Next week, the squad will start their summer camp in which they’ll have two-a-day practice sessions that run from the afternoon to the evening.
This camp has been modified from previous years’ camps where players practice three times a day and were kept overnight.
Hybl said he altered the camp this summer because the team will have extended preparation time this year, starting their season week later than they have the past two years.
Also slated for the preseason are two 36-minute scrimmages against Johnson of Gainesville (home) Aug. 16 and Morgan Co. (away) Aug. 23.
“It gives us some more game-type situations,” Hybl said.
After this week, the team will have four more weeks of practice before they kickoff their season Sept. 6 against Franklin County.

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