Area Sports...

AUGUST 7, 2002


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Moore reports good summer football camp for Leopards
Leopards have scrimmage set next week
With only a few weeks to go before the first game, the Leopards are preparing for their season opener.
Last week, the team participated in four-a-day practices during a camp in Turnerville.
“Camp went extremely well,” head coach Greg Moore said. “We’ve got a few kids banged up, but hopefully not anything serious.”
Moore said the camp helped bring the team closer together as they prepare for their upcoming season.
“Hopefully we’re a close knit unit now,” he said.
Banks County has two scrimmages scheduled before the official start of the season. Moore bills those scrimmages as being learning exercises for the team.
He also said that the team has taken in new assistant coach Joby Scroggs.
“The kids are really responding to Coach Scroggs,” Moore said. “I’m glad, because he’s an outstanding coach.”
With school beginning Friday, Banks County will continue practicing in the afternoons to prepare for the season opener.


Dealing With The Dog Days
A host of tough foes await the Commerce football team this fall, but the opponent the Tigers are looking to beat right now is the heat.
In the face of local and national awareness in recent years to the dangers of August football heat, Commerce head coach Steve Savage said his team has handled the rigorous conditions well as they enter their third week of summer workouts.
A hot practice field is nothing new according to the coach.
“We’re doing alright,” he said. “It’s the same thing as every year. It’s something we have to contend with.”
While Commerce has been fortunate in battling the heat, the issue of dehydration and heat stroke on the practice field became a national concern last summer when three football players died of heat-related illnesses, including NFL star Korey Stringer.
Savage explained that gradual lifestyle changes have made adjusting to the heat a bigger obstacle than it once was.
“We all live in air conditioning,” he said. “It’s just a different life style now. It’s doesn’t mean that kids are any less tougher. It’s just takes a while longer to get acclimated.”
The key part of the acclimation process involves constantly drinking fluids. Savage said his team breaks every 15 minutes for water breaks during practice.
“We try to stay well-hydrated,” he said. “We drink water before, during and after practice...We tell them to drink as much as they want.”
Players can also do their part at home and at school to get their bodies ready for the summer practice field. Savage explained that players need to be drinking eight to 10 classes of water during non-active days and “even more” during active days. The coach even suggested that players carry water bottle with them at school.
“They need to be drinking,” he said.
In addition to stressing the importance of staying hydrated, Savage said they schedule their practices in the cooler parts of the day to reduce heat-related problems.
SYMPTOMS
According to a medical website, some symptoms of heat-related illnesses include headache, dizziness, weakness, disorientation, agitation, confusion, sluggishness, fatigue and hot, dry skin.
PRACTICE NOTES
Savage said the team would be stepping things up a notch this week in workouts, moving to full-pads.
“This week’s practice will be more physical with more contact,” he explained.
The coach said he has been satisfied with the way workouts have progressed over the past three weeks as the team has been working in their offensive, defensive and kicking packages.
“Everybody has been working hard,” Savage said.
Whether or not the team is where they need to be right now is always a question mark this time of the year according to the coach.
However, next week’s scrimmage at Athens Academy should answer some questions.
“That should help us,” he said.


New seasons start with practice
The dawn of a new school year brought with it a slew of fall sports teams eager to begin their seasons soon. Before they can take to the field and compete, however, local teams must first put the necessary work in during practice, which many officially began doing on Monday.
Although the regular seasons in volleyball, fast-pitch softball, cross country and slow-pitch softball are still a week or two away, coaches around the area are wasting little time when it comes to preparing their squads.
With many players having to readjust not only to school, but also to performing athletically after a day in the classroom, coaches are easing into things and allowing their players to “work out the kinks.”
“Basically we went through all the drills this week,” said Jefferson softball coach DeMaris Gurley. “Monday was really our first real day of practice.”
The Lady Dragons, like many of the teams in the area, started unofficial workouts and practice sessions last week.
For example, Friday they ended tryouts and decided on a 17-player varsity roster and then began their first real week of practice Monday.
Likewise, Jackson County Comprehensive High School began drilling their fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball players this week, after holding tryouts last week.
Although the season doesn’t officially start until Aug. 20, JCCHS fast-pitch coach Mark Mahoney will have his team out on the field everyday from 4-6 p.m. he said. Once the season begins Mahoney indicated that he would adjust practice times and frequency accordingly.
“Basically we’re just trying to get a feel for the younger girls,” he said, while noting that his team has a strong returning core from last year. “Things are going real well,” he added, “ our numbers are a little down, but we’re competing with four other sports (at JCCHS).”
Those other sports he spoke about, including slow pitch softball, volleyball, cross country and cheerleading all have been putting in similar work to prepare for their respective seasons.
Saturday marks the earliest date allowed for softball seasons to begin, while Monday is the first day for volleyball. Cross-country meets are set to begin a week later on Aug. 19, while football teams hit the gridiron Aug. 30.


Raiders’ Jeffers helps guide traveling baseball team to World Series title
Ben Jeffers’ crafty pitching helped push the Madison County Red Raider baseball team to the second round of the state playoffs earlier this year.
The rising sophomore’s pitching services were a key part of another tournament run as well this summer.
Jeffers was a member of the Sandy Plains Wildcats traveling baseball team that claimed the USSSA 14-year-old major World Series last week.
Jeffers worked 12 innings, racking up a 1-0 record in three starts in the seven-day, 46-team tournament which was held in Tullahom, Tenn. July 21-28.
The right-hander’s most solid outing came against the San Diego Sting in which he recorded a two-hit, complete game shut out in a 2-0 Wildcat win.
Jeffers also worked the first three innings of a run-rule shortened five-inning affair against the Alabama Valley Reds, scattering four hits and allowing a single run, and pitched two innings against the East Cobb Eagles, allowing one hit and no runs in his team’s 3-0 victory.
The Raider pitcher has also been a part of three other traveling teams in recent years.
Jeffers played on a team that finished in the top eight three years ago in the CABA 12-year-old world series in Nebraska.
Last year, he was part of a traveling team that didn’t qualify for the 13-year-old World Series but was picked up by another squad that ended up finishing third in the AAU world series in Arkansas.


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