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MAY 28, 2003

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BCHS Spring Athletic Awards
Banks County High School and the All-Sports Booster Club handed out spring athletic awards Thursday night.
Those who received awards included:
The Leopards golf team was recognized for winning the region 8-AA golf tournament and making a trip to the state tourney in Rome.
Golf coach Chris Colwell also handed out several individual awards.
•Most improved golfer - Josh Miller.
•Bobby Morris coach’s award - Jacob Fountain
•Low medalist at region award - Matt Dale
•Best all around golfer - Matt Dale
•Offensive award - Ben Vang (most goals, second in assists)
•Defensive award - Casey Schmid and Kris Saunders
•Coach’s award - Cory Schmid
•Most improved award - Jeff Creasy
•MVP - Ben Vang
•Team award - coach Kelby Cronic
•Most improved female singles player - Jessi Wiltsie
•Most improved male singles player - Phillip Adams
•Male doubles award - Jesse Major and Kyle Roberts
•Female doubles award - Ashley Gowder and Ashley Scales
•Most improved male doubles - John Payne and Chancey Dorsey
•Most improved female doubles - Haley Banks and Jenni Wiltsie
•Miss Tennis award - Catie Murphy and Brittany House
•Mr. Tennis award - Justin Acker
The Wendy’s High School Heisman recognizes one male and one female junior for excellence in the classroom, on the field and in the community.
Chastico Beasley and Seth Brownlee received the award for Banks County High School.
•Discus record - Seth Brownlee (134’5”)
•100m hurdles record - Charli Bellamy
•Trailblazer award - Cole Morgan
Track coach Butch Bennett also recognized several athletes for setting school records in previous years. Charli Bellamy was honored for setting the 300m hurdles record two years ago.
Jose Medina and Janet Crutchfield, who have both graduated, were recognized for records they set last year, Medina with a 4:58 time in the 1,600m run and Crutchfield for a 99’5” mark in the girls discus.
•Mr. Utility - Jacob Williams
•Teammate of the year - Justin Crocker
•Pitcher’s award - Kyle Duncan
•Most improved - Corey Morris
•Coach’s award - Ross Oliver
•Offensive MVP - Chase Martin
•Defensive MVP - Tyson Baxter

Annual GHSA meeting not expected to impact local high schools much
When the Georgia High School Association reclassification committee meets next week to sort schools into regions for the fall 2004 season, don’t expect the ramifications to be felt all that much in Jackson County.
Although high school football elsewhere in the state will not be as free from change, Jackson County schools appear to be headed in much the same direction as they are now.
Every two years, the GHSA looks at enrollments and assigns schools based on their size into one of five classes, from A to AAAAA, the largest this year with a minimum of 1,700 students. Each classification is then organized into eight regions.
While the rest of the state — particularly the metro Atlanta area — will be faced with the dilemma of trying to group schools fairly and yet retain many of the avid rivalries that make high school football so tradition rich, locally things should remain much the same. That compares differently from many of the Atlanta area schools which are seeing enrollment increases and changes.
According to the new numbers 51 of the state’s 59 largest schools are in metro Atlanta, with 36 of those coming from northern suburbs. All of which has caused many adjustments to begin to be seen.
Meanwhile, new 2004-06 attendance projections have Jackson County’s three high schools remaining in the same classifications that they are currently in with Jackson County Comprehensive High School remaining in Class AAAA, Jefferson in Class A and Commerce in Class A.
JCCHS, fresh off its first season in Class AAAA, is expected to again compete in that classification for the next two-year cycle starting in 2004. An estimated attendance figure of 1,356 ranked 64th out of the 82 schools in the classification.
Class AAAA will have an approximate difference of 430 students from top to bottom according to the new numbers. Etowah (Woodstock, Ga.), the largest projected school at 1,695, falls just under the AAAAA minimum after competing in that classification for this year and next. Meanwhile, Cross Creek (Augusta) was the last school in Class AAAA according to the figures with 1,264.5 students.
Newton, one of the faster growing schools in the state, is the only school from Jackson County’s region (8-AAAA) expected to move up in classification. The Covington-based school’s projected figures far exceed the AAAAA minimum with 2,012 students expected.
On the other end, Winder-Barrow will likely drop down to Class AAA beginning in 2004, with 1,202.5 students. Other 8-AAAA school figures include: Habersham Central, 1,574.5; Cedar Shoals, 1,546.5; Loganville, 1,520.5; Clarke Central, 1,479; Heritage, 1,450.5; Salem, 1,380; Rockdale County, 1,360.5 and Madison County 1,309 (non-region in football).
Local Class A projections
Jefferson and Commerce each will remain in Class A in 2004. Jefferson’s 357 students rank 36th in Class A according to the figures while Commerce’s 340.5 are four places behind at 40th.
Of those schools competing against both the Dragons and Tigers in region play, Athens Academy was the largest school (447). Other 8-A figures include: Social Circle, 388.5; Towns County, 304; and Athens Christian, 252. Turner County figures to be the largest Class A school with 489.5 students. They currently compete in Region 1 of Class AA.

Summer Strength
The Tiger football players won’t see a helmet or pair of shoulder pads for over a month, but it’s a safe bet they’ll see a weight or two during that time.
With the conclusion of spring practice, the Tiger football team will be off the field until its July 15-17 Northeast Georgia Offensive Camp and in the weight room, participating in twice-a-week sessions for the next seven weeks
While the most important strides in strength and conditioning are made during the nine months of the school year, maintaining that bulk in the summer is an important objective as well according to Tiger head football coach Steve Savage.
The coach explained that the summer program is “basically a continuation of what we do during the school year,” featuring three core lifts — bench, squats and power clings — and an assortment of auxiliary lifts — neck press, upright rows, curls, dips and pull-ups.
Players generally do four sets of five repetitions for each lift.
Weights, however, are just one facet of the program with the team also participating in drills geared to enhance agility, quickness and speed.
Workouts are set for Tuesday and Thursday and the regimine is the same for both days. Players can attend an 8:30 a.m. session or a 6 p.m. evening session.
Savage oversees the strength and conditioning program during the school year but assistant football coach Michael Brown is in charge of it during the summer.
The benefits of Commerce’s summer lifting program are two-fold according to Savage.
“We don’t want to lose what we gained during the year,” he said. “Plus our guys are involved in summer basketball and baseball so they want to get stronger for that.
Increased strength is something that has been evident from players over the years thanks to strength and conditioning programs in prep football according to the coach.
“I don’t know if they’re any bigger than they were in the past or not but they seem to be getting stronger every year.”
While he said that the pre-summer practice weight program is valuable, Savage said he and his staff are sure not to give the team an excessive load during that time.
“It’s important but we still feel summer time is for other things as well — going on vacation, seeing relatives, going fishing — so that why we keep it at two days a week.”

Former coach expected to return
The search for a new Jefferson High School baseball coach has turned to a familiar face.
Roughly two weeks removed from their team’s season-ending loss in the first round of the Class A state baseball playoffs, Jefferson is expected to welcome home former coach Thomas Knight to replace Chuck Cook as the new Dragon head coach. Cook stepped down following the season to devote more time to his family.
Knight, who was previously the head baseball coach at JHS from 1993-96, will be recommended for approval at the next scheduled Jefferson board of education meeting on June 11 principal Kevin Smith confirmed Tuesday.
The move will end an interview process that has been in the works for several weeks and involved the consideration of some six applicants for the position according to athletic director Tim Corbett.
Aside from his previous stint as the Dragon coach, Knight brings with him an extensive background that includes head coaching experience in both high school and college, with a knack for success following him at each stop.
Knight’s familiarity especially with the Dragon program, as well as his experience, were key reasons he was given the job Smith said.
“He’s familiar with Jefferson and the community here and he has seven years experience as a head coach at the collegiate level so really we feel very fortunate to have a coach of his experience to come in,” Smith explained.
Knight’s last coaching stop at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga. was one of the more successful coaching stints of his career, as he took a 12 win squad in 2000 and developed them into a 28 win powerhouse club last year.
For Corbett, who was recently named athletic director in April, the hiring would be one of the first substantial changes during his thus far short tenure. As well, in would be a reuniting of sorts as both Knight and Corbett attended Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Ga. at the same time.
With that connection along with Knight’s credentials the move seemed natural to Corbett.
“We knew each other from college and I knew that he would be a good fit for us,” Corbett said Tuesday. “In this search for finding a coach its always interesting when you talk with various people and I can honestly say I have not heard a negative word about him.”
Beyond the playing field considerations also played an important role in the selection process, one that has been on going for several weeks following Cook’s announced resignation.
“He’s a good family man and I know he has the knowledge coaching wise as well because he was by far the most experienced coach we’ve talked with,” Corbett explained.
Jefferson went 19-11 this season, losing in the first round of the Class A state playoffs at Bowdon. The Dragons had been to two final fours prior to this season.
Knight, who has been an assistant football coach as well in the past may also fill a similar role with JHS in the fall, however Corbett stated that no final confirmation could be given currently.
Several attempts to contact Knight were unsuccessful as of press time Wednesday.

The end of the road
In 16-years at the Raider helm, Charlie Griffeth has seen his share of special teams.
Add the 2003 outfit to the veteran coach’s list.
The diamond Raiders were ousted from in the second round of the AAAA state tournament Saturday with a pair of losses to East Paulding on the road, but Griffeth said the overachieving group had a memorable 31-game run with the hurdles it cleared this year.
“We overcame a lot this year with all the injuries and technically we lost a lot of kids from last year,” he said. “For some kids this year it was their first go-round ... They got all they could out of what they had. That’s all you can ask for.”
Inexperience at the beginning of the year along with the loss of key pitchers during the middle of the year and playoffs could have derailed the team at any point this season, but the team proved to be a resilient one at each turn.
Madison County won 10-of-13 games to close the regular season and then surged past the first round of the playoffs despite having three pitchers sidelined to make it to the round of 16 before it came to an end this weekend.
Griffeth said this year’s group embodied the word team.
“Just to see guys get along and play towards to the same goal,” he said, “it wasn’t ‘me’ first, it was the team first. That’s hard to get kids to do that these days.”
With back-to-back showings in the Sweet 16 now after missing out on the state tournament the previous four years, Madison County has injected a bit of momentum into the program as it enters its second year of AAAA competition in 2004.
The future now looks glowing since all but two players — senior starters Trey McCay and Tony Tittle — return next year.
With the bar raised, it’s now time to see if that level of play can be maintained by subsequent teams.
“It feels to good to be back in it for the second year and a establish a little tradition back in the program,” Griffeth said. “It gives the younger kids something to shoot for.”
Griffeth said that the team will have to cut down on its strikeouts and mishaps in the field next year, but was encouraged by the fire power the team showed this past season as nearly all the bats in the lineup will be back in 2004.
“Hitting-wise, I counted 12 games were we scored 10 or more runs,” he said. “That was the biggest surprise.”
If there’s one trait next year’s team will look to take with them from 2003, its the ability to win the close ones. Seven of the team’s 18 wins came by two runs or less this past season.
“It’s one thing to win games 10-2, but if you win games with something clutch, that says something about the character you’ve got on your team.”
With four-to-five freshmen playing summer baseball, Griffeth expects significant competition for some positions next year. But the coach said that replacing a position with someone who can put up better numbers is what makes a championship caliber team according to the coach.
“For us to reach the ultimate goal of a state championship, I hope someone gets beat out,” he said. “With 60 or 70 errors this year and the number of strikeouts we had, everybody’s go to improve.”
Two of the staples of the past season’s success were Raider senior leaders Tony Tittle and Trey McCay. While not vocal, Tittle and McCay set a model example for the younger members of the team with their work ethic and demeanor according to Griffeth.
“They were kind of both quiet and went about their business...,” he said. “...If we asked for something to be done, they were going to be the first ones to go do it. They led by example. It was a pleasure to have them around, not just this year, but the whole time they were here....Both will be missed.”
McCay had a solid offensive season in the five spot in the lineup, batting .347, hitting seven homers and driving in 24 runs, all totals which ranked second on the team. Three of McCay’s long balls came in the postseason.
Tittle had a red-hot bat during the second half of the year, finishing the season at .290 with two homers and 13 RBIs while leading the team with 35 runs scored and 26 steals on 27 attempts.
However, Griffeth said Tittle will be remembered for how he came on defensively this year with his many acrobatic grabs in center field.
“It was unreal. He was always a good outfielder, but he had always taken a bad angle,” Griffeth said. “They way he progressed this year was unreal.”
With 10 homers this year, Travis Calloway become the first Raider since Adam Swann in 1998 to have double figures in the home run department. Calloway, who will be a senior next year, now has 13 career long balls, 11 shy of Swann’s school-record total of 24 homers ... Michael Young’s 11 doubles this year were only three shy of Michael Cook’s school-record of 14 doubles in 1996 ... Brent Burkhalter lead the team with a contact average of .956 over 100 points higher than any of his teammates. The junior only struck out three times in 68 at bats this season ... First-year varsity players Micah Sales, Will Ryder, Brad Osborne, Cody Ferguson and Corey Boswell combined for a .273 average (86-for-314), three homers, 48 RBIs, 25 doubles and one triple ... The Raiders hit 29 homers this season, 22 more than last year.
“They did a lot of good things with two outs.”

Pointed to the fifth inning of the second game where East Paulding got a two-out walk and hit the ball over the head of Tony Tittle.
“It’s just little things like that.”

Likened the loss to that in past contests in state tournaments.
“It’s not that the other team was that much better than us. We’d make a mistake and they’d jump all over it.”

pointed to the number of runners left on base, particularly when they loaded the bases with no outs and scored just one run.

“We had our chances, but it just didn’t happen. We won plenty of games on heroics. We just didn’t have any this weekend.”

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