Area Sports...

SEPTEMBER 25, 2002

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Banks facing powerhouse Buford
The Leopards haven’t played football on a dry field yet this year and that doesn’t seem to be changing soon.
As Banks gears up to travel to Buford Friday, the Leopards will likely be playing in wet weather or at least on a rain-soaked field.
“It’s definitely going to come into play,” coach Greg Moore said. “But if it rains this week, we’re going to practice in it.”
Weather forecasts predict rain for this week’s matchup between Banks County and the Buford Wolves, who the AJC has ranked as number two in the state in Class AA.
Wet weather will likely have the greatest effect on Buford’s game, as they are billed as a speed team. Rain drenched fields usually have a significant impact on a team’s quickness.
Banks will be facing a squad with several highly-touted players, including Division I prospect Trey Chandler at offensive and defensive tackle.
The Wolves did lose 16 seniors off last year’s championship team, but return top receiver Michael Henderson, top tackler Chandler, and fullback Alfonzo Stanley, the team’s leading scorer so far this year.
Though the Leopards may seem out-manned on paper, Moore isn’t throwing in the towel before the game starts, as another region team have done.
“We’re going to go after it like in every other game and try to win it,” Moore said. “We’re in it to win.”
And while the Wolves are favored to win, Buford head coach Dexter Wood said his team won’t look over any opponent, regardless of past records.
“We don’t focus too much on our opponent, who they are and what their record is,” Wood said. “We prepare for each game as if it is a state championship game.”
Wood said he realized the Leopards were working to build their football program, but also said Banks had played well at times this season.
“They are typical of any team that is somewhat young and trying to establish a tradition,” Wood said of Banks County. “They have moments of playing real good and they struggle at other times. They are a competitive football program that has its ups and downs.”
Wood billed the Leopards as a quality team.
“We have respect for any opponent and we know that Banks County is a quality opponent,” he said.
Buford most often runs the ball out of a two back set in the I formation and has stayed on the ground for the majority of its offense this season. On defense, the Wolves line up in multiple sets with a combination of a 4-3 and 5-2 defense.

Tigers Hold On For 10-3 Victory Over Morgan County Fri.
For the second week in a row Commerce dominated the final stat sheet.
And for the second week in a row, Tiger miscues kept their foes within striking distance.
However, a gutsy effort by the Commerce defense turned out to be the trump card the Tigers needed as they grabbed their third victory of the year with a 10-3 win over Morgan County.
Tiger head coach Steve Savage said his defenders, which gave up a scant 165 yards of total offense, did a solid job of limiting the Bulldogs.
“We took 63 snaps and they took 28,” Savage said. “That’s the best defense I know how to play.”
The defense also kept Morgan County’s offense out of dangerous territory, allowing just one drive inside the Commerce 30, while allowing just two Morgan County third down conversions.
For the most part, Savage said he was impressed with his squad’s overal showing in the win over the Bulldogs.
“I thought we played pretty good except for four or five plays,” he said.
However, despite the solid effort, Savage said the final score was a bit too close for comfort.
“I thought we played really hard and I thought Morgan County played really hard,” Savavge said. “We were fortunate to come out ahead. We controlled the entire game and nearly lost it in the end.”
After eating up 303 yards on the ground last week with three turnovers against Banks County, the Tigers moved the ball up and down the field again Friday, racking up 347 yards but held only a shaky touchdown lead in the second half as problems with handling the football resurfaced. However, the Commerce defenders took the team on its shoulders with a host of key second half stops to preserve the lead and the win.
Commerce came out of the locker room up by seven after half time looking to adminster the knock out blow to Morgan County. But three botched potential scoring drives, allowed the Bulldogs to hang around late in the game.
Commerce fumbled on the Morgan County 40 and 32 while a fumbled snap on fourth down ended a Commece march at the 19 with 8:39.
But the Tiger defense came to the rescue each time, forcing Morgan County punts following the two fumbles and giving the Tiger offense a reprieve with a Taylor Massey fumble recovery two plays after Commerce’s turnover on downs in the red zone.
The Tiger defenders then forced a punt on what would be Morgan County’s final possession as the Commerce offense was able to kill the clock with a six-play drive.
Commerce held a firm grip on the ball during the first two quarters, building a 10-0 lead with a 15-play, 89 yard drive capped off by a three-yard scoring run by Haynes and a 27-yard field goal by Tommy Eason to cap a eight-play, 45 yard march.
Morgan County picked up its only score of the night with a 33 yard field goal before the end of the second quarter to cut the lead to seven.
That would be the last score of the night as neither team put points on the board after a combined nine possessions in the second half.
Despite the turnovers, Commerce had its most productive day on the offensive side of the ball, getting 226 yards from its back field, high lighted by a career-high 100-yard outing from fullback David Bray.
However, just as impressive was the Tigers’ air attack which was a perfect 11-for-11 for121 yards. Josh Haynes hit on 9-of-9 attempts. Dennis Wilder completed a pair of halfback passes.
“Miracles happen,” Savage said jokingly of his team’s perfect evening in the air. “There are some days in practice where we can’t complete one.”

Lady Panthers win again, look ahead to potential region title showdown Tuesday
WINDER- While awaiting another try at region leader Madison County, the JCCHS fast-pitch team took care of business against the other contending team in Region 8-AAAA North on Tuesday. The Lady Panthers (12-5, 6-1) pulled out a tightly-played 2-1 road win against Winder-Barrow, thus going a step further toward setting up a potential region title showdown with the Red Raiders next Tuesday.
All eyes were squarely on the Lady Bulldoggs last Tuesday, though, as Jackson County played just well enough to get the win against a solid team from Winder.
Back-to-back doubles by Krista Bess and Lauren Mize set the tone early for the Lady Panthers as the former drove in the latter on the second at-bat of the day for a quick 1-0 lead. Jackson County then loaded the bases later that inning as Lady Bulldogg starter Mia McDaniel struggled with her control early. She then hit Jackson County’s Dianna Robinson with a pitch during the next at-bat to score what was the eventual winning run for the Lady Panthers.
“We led off the game with back-to-back doubles and the girls got excited and that gave us a lot of confidence,” Jackson County coach Mark Mahoney said of his team’s first inning.
Winder struggled at the plate as Jackson County ace Brandi Townsend allowed just three hits all game en route to a complete game win.
Her only trouble arose in the bottom of the seventh inning when she surrendered a two-out RBI single to Winder’s Show Barnes, however she recovered nicely and struck out Catherine Wolf to end the game.
“Brandi lost a little velocity in the sixth and seventh innings,” Mahoney noted. “But Krista Bess did a good job catching and called a good game behind the plate.”
The win was key for Jackson County’s hopes in region play, as they kept pace with first place Madison County, the only team to beat them in 8-AAAA North play.
“The Madison game is going to decide who wins the north region, if everything goes as it should,” Mahoney added after the win.
The Red Raiders defeated the Lady Panthers 4-3 in Danielsville on Sept. 12, a loss they will look to avenge next Tuesday.

Lady Dragons sweep week, win tourney
The Jefferson softball team got their feet wet in area play Tuesday by outclassing Lincoln County in a pair of home games.
Molly Cleveland’s five RBI’s on the day helped lead the Lady Dragons to wins of 17-0 and 20-4 and notched their ninth victory of the year.
The win wrapped up a successful week for the team after they ran the table in the 12th annual Booster Club Tournament over the weekend.
Especially important for the squad was getting back into the swing of things following a layoff of more than two weeks since their last game.
The story of the day at the plate for the Lady Dragons was Annie Goza.
Her team-high 10 RBI’s led the way as she belted two home runs and four singles. Freshman Shae David batted .538 during the day-long tournament and drove in 4 RBI’s while scattering seven singles on the day.
Brittany Caudell and Taryn Gurley also added stellar hitting performances as they each hit .750 for the day.
Caudell’s five singles, four doubles and three home runs produced six RBI’s, while Gurley added a 10-single-day with five RBI’s.

Raiders come from behind in 15-12 win
In a game full of critical fumbles, Madison County appeared to cough up its shot at winning Friday as the clocked ticked down.
Trailing 12-7, the Raiders fumbled the ball on the Monroe 10-yard line with 3:44 to go.
All Monroe needed was a couple of first downs and the Purple Hurricanes could breeze out of Danielsville with their third win of the year.
But storms shift. And so does momentum.
And as the Hurricane offense fizzled, the Raider defense stiffened to force a punting situation.
Then Monroe helped the Raider cause with a couple of unexpected decisions.
Lined up at their own 18, the Purple Hurricanes elected to send the punter back into their own end zone for an intentional safety, cutting the Monroe advantage to 12-9. On the ensuing kickoff, the visiting squad squib-kicked the ball from their own 20, allowing the Raiders to take over on the Monroe 42.
Madison County took advantage of the good field position as Dante’ Montgomery broke free for 24 yards on a sweep and standout back Richard Stowers atoned for a costly fumble moments earlier, carrying the ball the final 12 yards on three carries, including a three-yard touchdown run with just 1:21 to go. The snap on the PAT was mishandled and the Raiders led 15-12.
Madison County then recovered a Monroe fumble with 59 seconds to go to seal the three-point victory.
“I just had to score,” said Stowers after the Raiders stormed the field following the win. “We stayed in the game. We never quit.”
Defensive leader Kevin Cash said he was proud of the way the Raiders kept fighting, despite their struggles.
“We weren’t playing too well in the first half, but we came together as a team in the second half and made some big plays,” said Cash. “We showed a lot of team unity. I’m proud of our team.”
Raider head coach Tom Hybl had similar feelings.
“I’m just really proud of the effort the kids showed,” he said. “There were several times when the kids could have quit and they didn’t...That was probably the best effort we had all year considering we were playing without some leaders.”
Monroe moved the ball into Raider territory on its opening possession, but fumbled the ball into the end zone after a 15-yard reception. Cash recovered the ball and the Raiders marched 80 yards for the game’s first score, a 13-yard touchdown run by Montgomery with 3:56 to go in the opening period. J.J. Brueshaber, filling in for the injured Scott Dills, kicked the point after, and Madison County led 7-0.
But Monroe speedster Jarda Robinson answered soon after, breaking free for a 31-yard touchdown run. The PAT failed and Madison County led 7-6.
The Raiders threatened to score mid-way through the second period, driving the ball down to the Monroe 11-yard line. But the Raiders fumbled the ball and the Purple Hurricanes recovered on their own 19.
Monroe squandered a scoring opportunity in the third period, fumbling the ball on the Raider three-yard line. But the Purple Hurricanes sacked quarterback Michael Allen and recovered a fumble on the Raider 10 to set up a go-ahead score. Monroe took the lead on a 10-yard run by Robinson with 5:38 left in the period. The conversion attempt failed and the Purple Hurricanes led 12-7.
Later, Robinson cut loose for an apparent 98-yard touchdown run down the left sideline, which would have put Monroe up 18-7. But the referees said Robinson stepped out at the Monroe 26.
With running back Tony Freeman out with an injury, Stowers and Montgomery carried the offensive load, tallying 140 yards on 25 carries and 77 yards on 11 carries respectively.
Hybl praised Montgomery’s durability during the game who played on both sides of the ball.
“Dante Montgomery really stepped it up,” he said. “He never left the field.”
On defense, Cash led the team with 17 tackles, boosting his team-best, four-game total season total to 56. T.C. Ledford also had an impressive showing on defense, tallying 13 tackles and a caused fumble.
Others who caused fumbles were Travis Calloway, Tony Tittle and Keldrick Hunter. Tittle and Hunter also had touchdown-saving tackles.
In addition to Montgomery, Hybl said he was particularly impressed with the play of Adam Wynn, Cash and Ledford, who combined for 30 tackles, Kalen Mason, Tittle and Hunter.

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  Banks County
Date Opponent Score
8/30 at Oglethorpe Co 18-21
9/13 Commerce
9/20 Wesleyan
9/27 at Buford
10/04 Apalachee -
10/11 at Dawson Co. -
10/18 Rabun Co. -
11/1 at GAC -
11/8 Lumpkin Co. -
11/15 at Union Co. -

Date Opponent Score
9/6 Franklin Co.
9/13 at Banks Co.
9/20 at Morgan Co.
10/04 Lincoln Co. -
10/11 Madison Co. -
10/18 at Athens Acad. -
10/25 Athens Christ. -
11/1 at Towns Co. -
11/8 Jefferson -
11/15 at Social Circle -

  Jackson County
Date Opponent Score
8/30 Winder-Barrow
9/13 at Clarke-Centl. 12-41
9/20 Eastside
9/27 at Salem 0-21
10/11 at Newton Co. -
10/18 Heritage -
10/25 Rockdale Co. -
11/1 at Habersham Cen. -
11/8 Loganville -
11/15 at Cedar Shoals -

Date Opponent Score
8/30 Apalachee 27-19
9/6 Union County 27-19
9/13 at Lumpkin Co. 28-31
9/20 at Landmark Christian 21-45
9/27 Monticello 42-26
10/11 Athens Christ. -
10/18 Towns Co. -
10/25 at Social Circle -
11/8 at Commerce -
11/15 at Athens Acadm. -

  Madison County
Date Opponent Score
8/30 Franklin Co. 6-7
9/6 at Hancock Cent. 16-8
9/13 at Athens Acad. 7-16
9/20 Monroe Area 15-12
9/27 Jefferson Co.
10/4 Grayson -
10/11 at Commerce -
10/18 Northview -
11/1 Buford -
11/8 Cross Keys -
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