Area Sports...

OCTOBER 8, 2002


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Leopards looking for win at home
Banks County football coach Greg Moore believes his team is doing what it must to be successful—it’s just got to get better at doing it.
“There’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing,” Moore said. “We’ve just got to get better at doing it. Buford and Wesleyan both run the same type of offense we do.”
Banks County (0-4, 0-2) will get a chance to try and resurrect the same offensive power the Leopards had in their opening game when they host Apalachee Friday.
The Wildcats (1-3, 1-1) come to town with a team that got its first win of the season last week, a 37-21 victory over Rabun County.
“Their skilled people are very good,” Moore said. “They are very talented.”
Apalachee has an explosive backfield and returns nearly every starter from last year’s 4-6 team. Most of the Wildcat’s players also started two years ago as sophomores and freshmen.
Apalachee head coach Brian Moore said he expects Friday’s game to be a tough one.
“Even though Banks has not won a game yet, they have played hard and should’ve beat Commerce,” B. Moore said. “They played Commerce real tough. We had a couple of coaches there watching that game. We know we’ve got a tough game ahead of us.”
B. Moore said his team will be looking out for the Leopards’ defense line and for quarterback Tyson Baxter and fullback Seth Brownlee.
“Those are two kids to be aware of on the field,” he said.
As for Apalachee, the Wildcats run a multiple offensive set, though B. Moore said his team will get into a double slot and the I. Defensively, Apalachee uses an eight-man front mixed up between a 5-3 and 5-4.
He says running back Bobby Duncan (30) and fullback Shannon Allen (32) are two players to watch on his team.
The Leopards will be looking to get their first win of the season and score their first points since the opening loss to Oglethorpe County.
“There’s not been but one game I didn’t feel like they really wanted to win,” G. Moore said of his Leopard players. “I’m proud of the effort they’re giving.”


Tigers Looking To Postpone History
Commerce head football coach Steve Savage is all for Lincoln County head coach Larry Campbell breaking the state’s all-time win record.
He just doesn’t want it to happen Friday night.
Campbell, currently tied with former Mary Person’s coach Dan Pitts for the all-time wins record amongst Georgia high school coaches, will gun for win 347 against Savage’s Tigers Friday night in Commerce in the fourth meeting between the schools over the past three seasons. The Tigers have won the last three times by a combined five points.
“We’d like to keep him from doing it,” Savage said last week. “Either way, we’ll go down in the record books as the team he got it against or the team that held it off a week. There ought to be a lot of excitement around the game.”
The game was originally set for last Friday but anticipated rains from tropical storm Isidore moved the game back to this week.
Whenever Campbell does accomplish the feat, Savage thinks it’s a mark that will be set in stone, explaining that later starts in head jobs amongst today’s coaches have resulted in shorter tenures. Campbell has been at Lincoln County for 31 seasons.
“This won’t ever happen again,” Savage said. “They say records are made to be broken but these kinds of records won’t be broken.
However, the man chasing history is reluctant to step into spotlight. And if there is a spot light he says it shouldn’t shine on one person.
“To tell the truth...the coaching record is not that important,” Campbell said last week. “That’s back page stuff. It has nothing to do with an individual. It’s a community thing.”
Commerce will be trying to postpone history against a program it has become well acquainted over the years.
Besides playing Lincoln County in the regular season the past two years and facing them on several occassions in the postseason, the Red Devils annually attend Commerce’s summer offensive camp while Savage said he and his staff often attended games in Lincolnton in the past whenever they’ve had an opportunity.
“We have a lot of respect for their program,” he said. “We know the coaches well. We enjoy the fellowship and we enjoy the competition.”
In fact, Savage has so much respect for Campbell that he thinks that Campbell deserves his shot at history at home.
“The game should be in Lincolnton, but we’re proud to have it in Commerce,” he said.
However, Campbell said the game’s location makes for an intriguing match up given Commerce’s football tradition.
“Now, if I had to pick a place to try to get the record—and this has nothing to do with any bad feelings or anything—Commerce would be a great place because of the program they’ve had and the respect I have for both coach Lamb and coach Savage...I have tremendous respect for the two guys that have ran that program there since I’ve been here.”
The match up pits two Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class A top ten teams against each other. The Tigers currently rank second in the pole. Lincoln County, coming off a sub-par 6-6 campaign in 2001, is third.
However, Campbell isn’t sold on the notion that his outfit is that good, explaining that the Red Devils have shown the signs of youth this year.
“We’re an extremely young team and have had trouble hanging onto the football,” Campbell said, pointing out that his team has turned the ball over 16 times in four games, seven of those coming in a loss to Washington-Wilkes. “That comes from youth...We’re basically playing with a sophomore-oriented team.”
Savage, on the other hand, thinks Lincoln County will be just fine.
“He can poor-mouth with the best of them,” Savage joked. “Folks will see the same kind of Lincoln County team that always comes out of Lincolnton. They’re highly talented and they play some good ball.”
Specifically, Savage praised the Red Devil linebacking tandem of Terrance Norman and Octavious Andrews as “the best we’ve seen in some time” and added that junior defensive end Josh Baird is another skilled player.
Offensivley, sophomore David Williams has impressed Savage out of the backfield Lincoln County’s multi-set, but, I-formation based offense.
“The kid is pretty good,” he said.
Campbell said that Savage has done his own share of down-talking his team as well.
“Coach Savage told me about several preseason concerns he had but I don’t know where they came from,” the coach said with a laugh.
Campbell said that several Commerce players have caught his eye, pointing to quarterback Josh Haynes; split end Jonathan Beasley, tailback Dennis Wilder, tightend/linebacker Casha Daniels, linebacker/fullback Nick Slayton, linebacker and blocking back Nick Cox and offensive linemen Kenny Flint and Taylor Massey.
Campbell said Commerce’s win last week is proof enough of the Tigers ability and quality personnel.
“You don’t go to Morgan County and beat them and not have a good football team,” he said.


One step closer
The championship horizon became decidedly clearer for the JCCHS fast-pitch team Tuesday as they pulled out a clutch win over Madison County in 8-AAAA North play. The win ties the two teams atop the sub-area with a pair of games remaining for each team.
Jackson County (13-5, 7-1) appeared to be headed down a familiar, but unwanted path against the Lady Raiders (17-7, 7-1) early in the game. After they manufactured a run in the second inning when Melanie Elrod laid down a bunt that brought home Casey Allen, the Lady Raiders appeared to be headed for their 30th straight win in sub-area play.
Jackson County returned fire in the fourth inning, however, when pitcher Brandi Townsend helped out her own cause by stroking a one-out double to set up a scoring opportunity.
An error by Madison County second baseman Jennifer Stone would tie the two teams soon after and set the stage for a thrilling late-inning moment for the Lady Panthers.
Madison County starter Sarah Tippins struggled late in the game and was relieved by Lindsey Barnette with one out and a runner on first in the seventh.
Jackson County then proceeded to load the bases to set the stage for Hannah Freeman’s RBI single down the first base line to win the game for the Lady Panthers.
“The main thing for us was just to put the ball in play and put some pressure on them,” said Jackson County coach Mark Mahoney after the win.
Although struggling at times with her control, Townsend battled the Lady Raiders and held them scoreless the final five innings, giving up just three total hits, striking out five and lowering her ERA to an astounding 0.38 on the season.
The win was a sweet one for the second-year program, one that had never defeated the perennial powerhouse team from Madison County. The two played earlier this year in Danielsville with the Lady Raiders claiming victory 4-3.
Thoughts Tuesday were of a possible 8-AAAA North title though.
“We just won the biggest game of these girl’s careers and no one can take that away from us,” said Mahoney.
With two games to play for both teams the Lady Panthers will look to close out the season with wins over Cedar Shoals today and at Clarke Central on Thursday. Madison County plays at Cedar Shoals on Thursday and at home against Habersham Central on Monday.
Should both teams win out, the area title will be determined based on how many runs each allows in area play, since both teams are tied first.
“We’re confident enough,” said Mahoney of his team’s chances at winning the title. “We just have to shut (Cedar Shoals and Clarke Central) out because of the runs allowed (situation).”
Madison County coach Dough Kesler echoed Mahoney’s sentiments.
“We really need to go out and get two shut outs. We really don’t want to give up any runs (in the next two games),” he said.


Seniors lead Dragons to homecoming win
Homecoming is supposed to be a guaranteed win, or so they say. But Jefferson’s homecoming game did not appear to be a guaranteed victory by any means. With an impressive air attack and impressive size up-front, the Monticello Hurricanes were anything but a push-over. And between the weather, which had left the field soaked and sloppy, and the distractions that come with homecoming week, the Dragons’ fifth game of the season appeared to be nothing that resembled a guaranteed win.
Still, there was a solution to assuring a victory. “We just need to come out and get ahead early,” defensive coach Sam Moon said before kick off.
The Dragons did just that.
Jefferson came out fired-up and ready to play, unconcerned with the weather and the supposed distractions. On the game’s opening drive, Brantley Gilbert intercepted a Monticello pass and returned it 67 yards for six easy points. Ben Songer, who would be a perfect 5-5 for the night, converted the extra point, and the Dragons lead 7-0.
Two series later, on Jefferson’s opening drive, the Dragons drove 61 yards for their second score of the evening, as senior Jeremy Smith pounded through the slop and the mud, as well as the Hurricane defense. Hunter Garner punched the ball into the end zone to finish off the drive.
Monticello, though, was not dismayed by the score. Hurricane quarterback Damian Tripp completed a deep post to split end Orlandos Grier late in the opening quarter for a touchdown. After a failed extra-point, the Dragon lead was cut to 14-6.
Jefferson then sustained another impressive drive. Mixing some miss direction in with a sharp passing attack, the Dragons marched 83 yards behind an impenetrable offensive line and Smith capped off the drive with a one yard score. Monticello put another score on the board after Tripp air-mailed another deep pass that was brought in by a diving T.J. Glawson on the Dragon 2-yard line. Hurricane fullback Marcus Davis blasted his way across the goal line for the two-point conversion to make it 21-14 at the half.
Jefferson came out strong in the third quarter as Gilbert rolled out on a waggle pass and, after reversing his field, scrambled 36 yards for another score. Songer then recovered his own onside kick and Jefferson seemed unstoppable. But, the Hurricane defense stepped up and shut down the Dragons drive. On fourth down with 28 yards to go, a poor snap on an attempted punt gave the Hurricanes the ball on the Dragon 36-yard line. Marcus Davis then seemed too much to handle up the middle as the Canes scored in five plays. The lead for the Dragons was now 28-20.
On the ensuing drive, Smith broke a play 67 yards up the visitor sideline for a touchdown, and the Dragons improved their lead to 35-20 with 2:41 left in the third. Monticello would not be able to recover.
One last nail was hammered into the Canes’ coffin when Gilbert tucked the ball and ran for another score midway though the fourth quarter, making the game 42-20.
Monticello hit a deep bomb as split end Wes Tanner hauled in a 65-yard touchdown reception. It was the last score of the night, and the game ended 42-26 in favor of the Dragons.
Jefferson coach Bill Navas was pleased with a performance that saw his team rake in 386 yards in total offense, including 136 by Smith.
“It was a big win for us,” Navas said. “We had some players step up. The offense was crisp. I’m very pleased.”
The 3-2 Dragons host Athens Christian Oct. 11 following an idle week.


Madison County to face rising Grayson program Friday
Grayson may still be a fledgling football program, but Madison County head football coach Tom Hybl warns that the Raiders are taking on a team teetering on the brink of bigger things.
When the 8-AAA Rams, which are only in their third year of football, come to Red Raider Stadium Friday night at 8 p.m., Hybl said his team will see a squad that already looks more like a Classs AAAAA outfit.
Hybl described Grayson as having “good players everywhere” as well as being big, strong and fast across the board on both the offensive and defensive fronts.
The Rams will also sport a 95-man roster.
“You can see that they’re a fraction away from being a big-time program in the state,” Hybl said.
Like Madison County, Grayson played a non-region schedule the past two years, posting an impressive 8-1 record in 2001 with the team’s only loss coming to Kennesaw Mountain. The team went 3-1 in 2000 in an abbreviated non-region schedule.
Rams’ head coach Mickey Conn, who’s been at the helm of the Grayson program each of its three years of existence, said building a team from the ground up has presented its challenges but he said he thinks his group is heading in the right direction.
“I think we are,” he said. “Anytime you start something from scratch you’ve got to be patient. We’re trying to be competitive.”
Now in their first-ever region slate, the Rams carry a 1-2 mark into Friday’s action. The team trounced Apalachee 45-7 in its opener before falling to unbeaten 8-AAAAA South Gwinett 31-10 and 5-AAA Westminster (2-2) 21-14.
“We’ve played pretty good,” Conn said. “We lost two tough ball games to two pretty good football teams. We’ve just got to keep plugging along.”
Conn said his team’s schedule won’t get any easier Friday night with Madison County.
“I think they’re a good football team,” Conn said. “They’re well-coached and well-disciplined. They do what they do and they do it well. Their offensive line comes off the ball as good as I’ve seen and their defense is stingy.”
Despite Grayson being a game under .500, Hybl said his team will face an opponent that’s very dangerous—especially on offense.
The coach said that Grayson’s Wing-T attack will throw a lot different things at the Raider defense—a lot of misdirection, inside traps and motion on every play.
“They’re very multiple,” he said.
Hybl also pointed out that the Rams signal caller junior Mason Bass is a threat through the air and on the ground.
Conn agreed that Bass does give Grayson some options on offense.
“We can mix it up pretty well with our quarterback situation,” he said. “We’re able to throw it as well as run it. Ideally, we’d like control the ball and run it but that all depends on our offensive line.”
Other offensive threats for the Rams include running back Jared Menenhall and Wide receiver Austin Gaines.
Defensively, Conn said John Russell and Nic Negron achor their front line while Brian Agan is the team’s key linebacker. Gaines and Jack Sawyer highlight the secondary.


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LOCAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULES/RESULTS

  Banks County
  (0-5-0)
Date Opponent Score
8/30 at Oglethorpe Co 18-21
9/13 Commerce
0-13
9/20 Wesleyan
0-28
9/27 at Buford
0-42
10/04 Apalachee
6-20
10/11 at Dawson Co. -
10/18 Rabun Co. -
11/1 at GAC -
11/8 Lumpkin Co. -
11/15 at Union Co. -

  Commerce
  (4-0-0)
Date Opponent Score
9/6 Franklin Co.
23-15
9/13 at Banks Co.
13-0
9/20 at Morgan Co.
10-3
10/04 Lincoln Co.
28-6
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
  (0-4-0)
Date Opponent Score
8/30 Winder-Barrow
0-34
9/13 at Clarke-Centl. 12-41
9/20 Eastside
2-42
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 -

  Jefferson
  (3-2-0)
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
  (3-3-0)
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.
14-13
10/4 Grayson
14-17
10/11 at Commerce -
10/18 Northview -
11/1 Buford -
11/8 Cross Keys -


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