Area Sports...

MAY 26, 2004

Blood For Golf
Sandy Creek Offering Free
Greens Fees For Blood Donation
If golf is in your blood, then you’ll have a chance to give some of it this weekend.
Sandy Creek Golf Course is giving golfers the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and donate blood Saturday in exchange for free golf.
The blood drive is being done in conjunction with the Red Cross and will run that day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Those donating will receive a coupon for free greens fees (the coupon won’t cover cart fees) which can be redeemed at any of the Eagle Greens Golf Courses in Georgia which includes Sandy Creek, the Providence Club, The Chimneys, Woodlake, Skitt Mountain and The Southland.
The voucher is worth up to $28 at Sandy Creek which is the course’s weekend rate for 18 holes of golf.
“We’re just trying to help out,” said Sandy Creek head professional Michael Young.
The Commerce course is the first stop of the six Eagle Greens locations. The Red Cross doesn’t want to stop there, though, as it is seeking to hold blood drives at all golf courses across the state.
Young explained that the number of donations given at Sandy Creek this Saturday will be matched against that of other courses participating.
The location receiving the most donations will be awarded a prize by the Red Cross.
“We’re trying to get as many donations we can,” Young said.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Commerce News.


2004 Lady Leopard basketball camp
The Lady Leopard basketball team will hold a “building for the future” girls’ basketball camp June 28 through July 2 and July 19 through July 23 at the Banks County High School gymnasium. Camp is open to all girls in first through ninth grades. First through fifth graders will recieve instruction from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and sixth through ninth graders will recieve instruction from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Instructors will include: Jodie Watkins, Lady Leopard head basketball coach; Kasey Schlutow, Lady Leopard assistant coach; Steven Shedd, seventh and eighth grade girls’ basketball coach; and members of the Lady Leopard basketball team. Fees for camp are $35 for one child, $60 for two siblings or $80 for three siblings, which includes instruction in basketball fundamentals, a camp T-shirt, camp awards for a free throw contest, hotshot and lay-up challenge as well as Gatorade. Registration will take place and fees will be collected the first day of each camp session. Make checks payable to Banks County High School. .


A solid spring
Following highest spring turnout in Brock era, Panthers ready for summer
If football is, as many say, a “numbers game,” then Jackson County can consider its program well on the path toward success. This month the Panthers saw a record number of players participate in spring workouts during the time allowed for high school’s in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) to get gridiron drills in in the spring.
Some 90 players suited up for head coach Brent Brock’s program, with the majority of the focus over the 10-day span centering around fundamentals like blocking and tackling. It was the largest spring turnout in years for Jackson County, and the most since Brock took over in 2002.
“The thing we’re excited about is that we’ve gotten some new faces out there and we incorporated our eighth grade into our varsity squad,” Brock said. “We’re hoping — out of our new guys — to get 10 to 12 upperclassmen that we think can help us.”
With the school year finishing for Jackson County this week, the Panther football program will have roughly three weeks to “be teenagers,” Brock said, before hitting the weight room for the summer.
Jackson County will begin off-field workouts and weightlifting on June 14. The first day of practice is set for July 19, with a mini-camp to follow soon after at North Georgia College from July 21-24.
Jackson County opens the season Aug. 20 against Cedar Shoals.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for high school programs across the state is keeping players in solid shape on a year-round basis, according to Brock. Doing just that has been one of several changes made in the two-plus year’s since he has taken over the Panther program.
“It’s all about staying in tip-top shape (throughout the year),” Brock explained. “The worst thing a football program can have happen is to have kids go AWOL for a couple of weeks and then have to spend two to three weeks on conditioning.”
Brock would rather spend that time focusing more on football, he said, with players being in shape a when practice begins a pre-requisite.
“That’s one of the biggest things these kids have realized, that staying in good shape year-round is important, and we’re excited about the strides we’ve made there,” Brock said.
With that element of the program now headed in the right direction, the next challenge ahead for Brock and his staff lies on the field.
A main focus during spring workouts was developing depth, Brock said, but more precisely experienced depth.
“We mad a concerted effort to make the older kids focus on playing more than one position so that we have some depth and we’re not relying on our younger players so much on Friday nights,” Brock explained. “Our younger guys can then focus on Thursday nights (junior varsity games) and develop.”
This is a key part of the program’s expansion, Brock noted, especially when it comes to having a solid staple of young players ready to step in and fill roles each year.
“We really feel like the program had grown to where we have an ‘older squad’ and a ‘younger squad,’ and that’s important.”


Jefferson City pool to remain closed this summer
When the Jefferson City Council slashed $383,722 from its proposed 2004 budget in October, one of the more recognizable changes the move would spawn had months before it would begin to be noticed by most.
But, now that summer's sweltering temperatures are here, schools are getting out and finding a good swimming pool is becoming a priority, local residents may begin to realize that the Jefferson City pool is closed and the city summer day camp is not being offered this summer.
And, according to Jefferson Parks and Recreation Department officials that's simply the way it is going to be in Jefferson this year, as one of the camp's highlights was the use of the city pool.
After cutting its way through proposed budgets three or four times in October, the Jefferson City Council set its tax rate at 6.49 mills, up from 5.63 mills the previous year.
Included in those cuts were a slashing of funds for the city's parks and recreation department. That department's budget was set at $263,054 for this year. Even with the cuts, Jefferson tax rates still went up 15 percent.
The $4.5 million budget called for $3 million in non-tax revenues with the difference coming from property taxes.
Residents looking for day camp activities this summer can contact the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department for more information on what is offered through the county this summer at 367-6350.


Elbert County wrestling coach takes Madison County post
Richie Houston’s drive to work will be a lot shorter than it used to be.
A resident of Danielsville for the past two years but head wrestling coach at Elbert County High School during that span, Houston is now Madison County High School’s new wrestling coach, taking the spot of Steve Mason, who recently resigned after three seasons to take the head wrestling job at Chestatee.
Houston’s hiring came at last Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
While the close proximity to home definitely was part of Houston’s interest in the position, the 12-year wrestling coaching veteran felt the Madison County job was simply a better situation for him.
“What really attracted me was the group of kids over here,” he said of his new team.
Houston will bring a combined two decades of wrestling and coaching experience into the job.
At the prep level, he wrestled at West Iredell High School in North Carolina where he was a state runner-up his senior year before moving on to Gardner-Webb University where he became a four-year starter for the Bulldogs and an NCAA Division II national tournament qualifier.
Houston then started his head coaching career in North Carolina, working there for seven years and then moving to Knoxville, Tenn. for three seasons before his two-year stint at Elbert County.
The stop in Elberton proved successful as the Blue Devils won their area the past two years and boasted a state champion wrestler in 2003 as well as a state runner-up wrestler and two fifth-place finishers this past season.
Houston’s Elbert County teams faced Mason’s Madison County teams just once in his in his pair of seasons with the Blue Devils with the Raiders winning a Nov. 25 meeting this past year.
Houston said Mason “did a great job” in his three seasons with Madison County and left the program in solid shape. The Raiders had 23 state qualifiers in Mason’s tenure and boasted a two-time state champion in Mark Arnold.
“There’s just some good, hard-nosed kids over there,” Houston said. “It’s just a great community for wrestling.”

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