Area Sports...

MAY 21, 2003


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Straight Shooter
In its second year of competition, the Banks County 4-H Archery Team took home several finishes at the state tournament held early this month at Rock Eagle.
Adam Edenfield, shooting in the junior compound bow class (7-8th grades), took first in individual competition and in the 3-D event, a new event at the tournament.
Edenfield, who shot 288 last year, picked up 354 out of a possible 360 points at this year’s competition. All six of the points he lost came on shots from the farthest yardage. He also hit 18 of 36 targest in center.
The junior team of Edenfield, Ricky Henry, Jared Wagoner, Aubrey Wright and Leif Yaple took fifth overall in the tournament.
Chase Martin took third in the 3-D event in the cloverleaf class (3rd-6th grades).
The team of Kayla Garrison, Levi Loggins, Justin Salzman and Jesse Yaple took third overall.
The team of Martin, Richard Bending, Clint Caudell, Jenna Garrison and Will O’Kelley finished fifth.
Banks sent two archers to compete in the senior class (9-12th grades). John Salzman and John Wray both shot in that class.
The archery teams are coached by Jeffrey Jones, Randy Edenfield, Cletus Hatton and Phil Garrison, all professional or former professional shooters.
The recent state event held at Rock Eagle is open to shooters in both the individual and team competitions in 4-H clubs for 4th through 12th graders.
Archers in the compound and recurve bow classes shoot at a 122 centimeter FITA-style target from three different distances, ranging from 20 to 50 meters, depending on age.
Banks County 4-H is the youth program of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
For more information about the program, contact GayLynne Wright, Denise Krieg or Gina Gailey at the UGA Cooperative Extension Service at 677-3386 or 677-6230.


Jackson County’s Samples calls it quits; Roberts named as replacement
Jackson County will have a new bench leader when the Panthers take the field next season on the baseball diamond.
Van Samples stepped down from his position as the Panther head coach last week following a meeting with the team at the end of the season. He stated that the demands of being a head coach have taken their toll on his family life and that relinquishing his coaching duties will allow more time for him to spend with his wife and two children.
“I’ve been trying to step back for a while now,” Samples said Monday. “With both my kids active and involved in sports I just wanted to be able to be more in their lives. I’ve seen too many coaches miss out on their own children because of their schedules.”
A youth-laden Panther team with just one senior struggled mightily on the field this year, amassing a 3-20 record in their first season as a Class AAAA school. They did however manage to defeat one of the four playoff schools from Region 8-AAAA when they knocked off Madison County on April 15. The Panthers also were victorious against Johnson and Cedar Shoals this season.
Samples has been involved in coaching for some 15 years, four of which have been with Jackson County baseball. He has been the Panther head coach for the past two seasons, amassing a 5-42 career record.
Despite the growing pains Samples asserted that the decision to step down was mainly due to his family considerations and that he will continue to be behind Jackson County athletics.
“I’m not going anywhere. I told the kids I’ll still be here supporting them but it’s best for me to do this,” Samples, who lives in Hall County and commutes to JCCHS each day, explained.
Jackson County athletic director Brent Brock was supportive of the decision.
“We’re very much appreciative of coach Samples’ involvement in the program over the last two years and we understand the choice he is making to spend more time with his family,” Brock said. “He’ll be missed.”
Twenty-nine year-old Scott Roberts will replace Samples as the head coach next season. Roberts was not involved in the Jackson County baseball program this season, however he has been a head baseball coach in the past and has college playing experience on the diamond.
“I’m excited about the opportunity, I know I’m taking over a program that has struggled some in the past, but we’re hoping to concentrate on developing those young kids. I spoke with the team last week and I think there excited about the direction we’re headed in,” Roberts said.
Roberts was an assistant on the Jackson County football coaching staff this past season, his first with the school and he has been the head baseball coach at Fitzgerald High School, as well as a coach at Cairo high School.
“The main thing is we’re just looking to build a program and get better,” Roberts explained


Flint 7th, Eason 11th At State
Senior Kenny Flint threw a 130’6” in the Class A discus finals to finish seventh in the state while junior Tommy Eason threw a 43’5.75” in the shot put preliminaries to place 11th Thursday at the Georgia Olympics in Jefferson.
Flint and Eason were the only Tiger track team competitors at state.
Both throws were season bests for Flint and Eason.
Flint, who won the 8-A discus title, qualified for the last spot in finals, throwing a 129’3” on his first throw of the afternoon to place eighth amongst the Class A throwers in the preliminary round.
The top eight advance to the finals.
Flint’s second throw sailed out of the sector while his third went 125’2”.
Flint then recorded his toss of 130’6” on his first throw of the finals.
Eason, Region 8-A runner up in the shot put, improved on each of his three attempts in the preliminaries but failed to place in the top eight, recording throws of 41’10.75’, 43’ and 43’5.75”.


Jefferson takes third, see two leap to state crowns
One repeat state champion, one first-time winner and several near misses highlighted one of the better Jefferson boys’ team track performances in several years last week at the 32nd Georgia Games at Memorial Stadium.
And while the crowds poured in from around the state to cheer on powerhouse teams like those from Carrollton and Cedar Shoals, each of whom repeated as state champions in Classes AAA and AAAA respectively, it was the likes of Jenkins County and Jefferson that proved that not all the heavyweights are unconquerable. But while the Dragons were ahead in team points after two thirds of the events were completed, in the end it was a strong 1,600 relay team performance that lifted Jenkins County past favored Landmark Christian 69-59. The result was the first time since 1995 that someone other than the War Eagles won the Class A meet.
Although not realistically in contention for the state crown by the latter part of the final day of competition, nonetheless the Dragons sent retiring coach James Pinion out in style with a surprising third-place, 43-point finish.
“I thought we could finish in the top five,” Pinion said of his team. “Because there really wasn’t a dominant team this year, but I was surprised that we did as well as we did.”
Helping the Region 8-A champion Dragons jump out to an early 28-21 lead over Landmark after the first day’s field events were the state championship performances of two Jefferson leapers.
On the runway, defending state long jump champion Courtney Wiley
repeated again this year, winning his second-consecutive crown with a 22-6 1/4 jump.
“I pretty much expected him to win it again,” Pinion said of Wiley. “ But the way he did it was impressive. He went out and got one good jump and that’s all it takes.”
One of the more pleasant surprises the Jefferson team saw was the impressive performance of Johnny Quiggle in the high jump. The first-year senior trackster bested his nearest challenger by some two inches to win the high jump with a clearance of 6-2 in his typical aggressive style.
“I didn’t realize we’d have two state champions...(Quiggle) is very powerful with his jumping, he just goes up there and within three or four seconds he’s up to the bar,” Pinion said.
Another Dragon surprise was undoubtedly the performance of Travis Reed in the 110-meter high hurdles. His 15.52 second-place performance was nearly a second faster that his time last year. Pinion says its a sign of just how much the Dragon football program’s weight program (of which Reed is an active participant) can help improve speed and agility. This time last year Reed was clocked at 15.89 in the event, whereas he has been timed as fast as 15.0 this season, according to Pinion.
“I thought he might have an outside shot of winning (the 110-meters), but for him to do what he did in the span of a year is a big step up. He’s improved his time in the 110 time by about a second.”
Stephen Wiley was another big performer for the Dragons as he also brought home a key eight points with his second-place performance in the triple jump.


Lion Tamers
The classification may be a notch higher this year, but the diamond Raiders’ results haven’t wavered.
Madison County, which made it to the second round of the AAA state tournament a year ago, is back in the Sweet 16 in AAAA after taking two of three games from Westlake this weekend, rebounding with 14-3 and 15-5 wins after dropping the opener 7-5.
The Raiders were to face 7-AAAA one seed East Paulding today (Wednesday) in a 3:30 p.m. double header in the second round on the road in Dallas. The teams will play Thursday at 2 p.m. if necessary.
The unusual three-game series with Westlake was marked by frequent Lion pitching changes, multiple mound meetings during innings and an assortment of complex fielding substitutions which included the rare ejection of a Westlake player who illegally re -entered the game.
Griffeth sounded relieved for his team to have the lengthy opening round over with.
“Hopefully, we won’t be involved in another one like that again,” he said.
Averaging almost 10 runs a game in their last seven regular season contests, the Raiders proved to be just as dangerous offensively in the first round of the post season.
After struggling at the plate in the 7-5 series-opening loss, Madison County’s bats trumped Westlake with 29 runs in the final two games.
The Raiders crushed five homers in their two wins while Travis Calloway collected his first grand slam in any level of baseball in the series opener. The squad has hit 26 long balls this season, 19 more than last year’s total.
Griffeth said the Raiders’ offense was able to exploit a mediocre Westlake pitching staff.
“Theoretically, when you’ve got guys out there that aren’t true pitchers, ones that don’t nibble on the corners or over power you, realistically, you should score 10-12 runs,” he said. “That doesn’t always happen though, we saw that in the first game.”
The Raiders advanced past the first round of the playoffs despite being without three of its pitchers and having starter Ben Jeffers under a doctor ordered 90-day pitch count.
Despite being limited, Jeffers worked five innings to pick up the win in the second contest while Thad Pruett filled in to pitch Madison County past Westlake in the rubber game.
Pruett, who started the year at 0-5 and then didn’t pitch for a month, now has two straight wins.
“He continues to get better every time he goes out there,” Griffeth said.
Madison County was also able to limit the amount of pitchers it used from its short-handed pitching staff with Will Ryder being the only other Raider hurler to see action.
Griffeth pointed out that the opening round win wasn’t without its flaws — fielding miscues, missed signs, poor bunting — but added that the team, which has won 12 of its last 16 games, continues to find a way to get the job done.
“I was pleased with the way we hit it, but we still missed some assignments and kicked it around...But we do what we have to do to overcome our shortcomings.”
Griffeth said Monday that he expects things to be tougher in the series with the East Paulding Raiders which feature a solid number one starter who throws in the mid-80s and a quality lineup highlighted by some power hitters.
While East Paulding is the only 7-AAA which advanced to the Sweet 16 this year, Griffeth said that region is traditionally strong, featuring teams like Dalton, Ringgold and Ridgeland.
Griffeth added that outside pressures could surrounding the series, especially with the school year coming to a close.
“It’s going to be tough with final exams and the weather and graduation,” he said.
If Madison County were to advance, it would mark the program’s first trip to the state quarterfinals since 1998 when it went on to a runner-up finish in AAA.


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