Area Sports...

AUGUST 25, 2004

Leopards get first win of season
Leopards defeat Patriots, 30-27
Bolts of lightning lit up the sky Friday night and the Leopards lit up the scoreboard, defeating the Patriots 30-27 to open the season.
Banks County put the first points on the board, and the score was 7-0 after the first quarter.
Coach Greg Moore said: “The Leopards won the game with constant defensive pressure and a smash-mouth ground attack. “
Full-back Wayne Coker led the offense with 21 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns. He was followed by running-back Bradley Angel with 17 carries for 78 yards. Quarterback Chancey Dorsey ran for one touchdown and threw for another. Dorsey connected with Jazz Hulsey for a 45-yard touchdown strike. The offense had seventeen first downs and Pengee Yang was four for four on extra points.
The defense thwarted Oglethorpe County’s offense all night. The score at the half, was 14-6, with Banks still in the lead.
Gusts of wind sprayed the field with spirit banners painted by the cheerleaders with six minutes and 17 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter.
The game was close, 16-13, with Banks County on top when the game was postponed due to weather. Officials said it was the first time in 24 years that a game had been postponed.
After about 45 minutes of stormy weather, the game resumed in the rain.
Oglethorpe County took the lead , scoring a touchdown and making the extra point count. The score was 20-16. Banks County countered with a touchdown of their own, 23-20.
Jazz Hulsey caught a pass thrown by Dorsey and ran it in for six points, making the score 30-20, after the extra point.
Oglethorpe scored again, but it was too little too late and the Leopards recorded the first win of the season.
“We knew they had tremendous team speed so we wanted to control the clock and grind it out,” said Moore.
“I thought our players showed a lot of character when Oglethorpe went ahead with less than four minutes to go. We didn’t quit. We stepped it up and took it to them,” said Moore.
John Payne led the defense by keeping constant pressure on the Patriots’ quarterback. The Leopard defense pursued well and recorded a safety.
Banks County is open this week, with the next game scheduled for Sept. 3 against Wesleyan, at home.


Panthers hope infamous streak ends vs. Winder
When the Jackson County football team opens up its home season Friday against Winder-Barrow, the Panthers will be playing a squad that mirrors them in many ways.
“We’re pretty much a carbon copy of each other, the difference being that they’ve got some confidence because they’ve won some ball games,” Panther head coach Brent Brock said Wednesday. “Our guys have got confidence too, but we’re not where they are as a program yet.”
Jackson County has now taken over the infamous title of having lost the most consecutive games in the state, thanks to a win by Druid Hills last week rid them of the mark. The Panthers have dropped 25 games in a row, dating back to 2001. According to Brock though, his team pays little attention to the streak.
“Our first approach is that we don’t talk about it,” he said of the losing streak. “This is a new team and a new era and we’re focused on staying positive and winning games and that’s what we feel like we’re going to do. I’ve been proud of our young people, they don’t worry about that and what people are calling it.”
Winder-Barrow enters Friday’s contest on the heels of a close loss to Johnson-Gainesville in the opener. The Knights held on for a 17-10 victory last Friday night.
“They had a heartbreaker,” Brock said. “Winder had their chances there, but kind of like in our (opener) it was just a few early season mistakes that made the difference.”
During Jackson County’s opener last week at Cedar Shoals the Panthers gave the heavily favored Jaguars all they wanted before falling 21-0. Cedar led 7-0 at the half, but Brock said just a few critical miscues by his team and some big plays by Cedar Shoals made the difference.
“It was a tough one, we made a commitment to schedule Cedar early in the season to see where we measured up,” Brock explained. “To make a long story short, really three critical early season-tye mistakes cost us.”
Most impressive to the Panther head coach last week about his team’s performance was the energy and ferocity the defense played with.
“Defensively we feel good about our defensive football team,” Brock said. “We thought they were tougher and played with more enthusiasm.”
Offensively Brock praised Daniel Clark for running the offense well during his first start at quarterback. Clark took the majority of the snaps and was solid, he said.
“We made a commitment to possess the ball and take the air out of the ball and we did that,” Brock said. “We were able to manage the clock and we held the ball longer than (Cedar Shoals) did. The difference was they were able to make some big plays.”
Brock said he expects the Bulldoggs, who feature a pair of talented senior running backs (Glynn Perkins and Jeremy Jackson), to employ a similiar strategy against his team this week. Jackson County will likely do much like they did last week against Cedar Shoals on offense. Bo Bonds, the Panthers senior running back, will be relyed on heavily.
This year Winder-Barrow is dealing with the loss of a talented linebacking core from last season due to graduation.
“They may be new, but they’re players,” Brock said of the replacements.


First Region-Play Games Upon Fast-Pitch Team
Prior to the start of her team’s inaugural season, Pam Canup pointed to the 12-game region stretch as time she’d naturally like to have her squad start pulling things together since those contests dictate the postseason picture.
After consecutive weeks of multi-game tournaments, region play is now upon the first-year varsity program.
Commerce (1-8) opened its Region 8-A slate this week with a Tuesday night game against Hebron Academy (results weren’t available) and will play again Thursday against Towns County.
“We had a whole lot of improvement from the first weekend to this past weekend,” Canup said Tuesday, prior to the Hebron game. “Our goal is to slip into a playoff spot. We’ve just got to keep improving and learning from each game.”
The team prepared for the start of the region schedule by taking part in a two-day tournament held on Wednesday and Saturday held at both North Georgia College and North Hall High School and squaring off against a host of larger schools.
The team fell to four Class AAAA programs in the event — South Forsyth (10-1), probably the best team in the tournament according to Canup, Habersham Central (10-0), Clarke Central (6-5) and Rockdale County (10-2).
Commerce led Clarke Central 5-2 before the Gladiators mounted a comeback to deny the Tigers their second win of the season.
Commerce also lost to Class AA Lumpkin County 12-1.
The coach noted improvements in the plate during the five-game stretch, pointing out that the team but added pressure on opposing defenses this time around by putting the ball in play more than it did in the season-opening tournament at Gilmer County.
“Some of our outs were hit very well and the fielder had to make a great play,” Canup said. “We made much better contract this weekend than last weekend.”
Those standing out offensively in the tournament were Megan Lord, who hit .357 (5-for-14); Jennie Allen, who batted .300 (3-for-10); and Jena Fields, who hit .272 (3-for-11).
Canup also noted that Katelyn Nevil went 2-for-4 in one game.
While the team failed to get into the win column, Canup said that several saw a lot of potential Commerce’s young fast-pitch program.
“The two comments I heard by several people were that if we stick together with the young freshmen we have, there’s a lot of ability and talent. And then ‘Oh, your pitchers are freshmen? If they keep working at it, they’ll be good.’”


Warren Co. expected to give Dragons a firm test
After an impressive road win in their season opener, the Jefferson football program will be opening up the home schedule Friday night against Warren County.
For the Screaming Eagles, coached by Antonio Hill, the game will be the first this season. Last year he led the Region 7-A squad to a 4-6-1 overall record and a trip to the first round of the Class A state playoffs.
With five returning starters on each side of the ball, Warren County will be trying to fill some holes Friday night, but according to Hill there is some young talent waiting to show what they can do.
Boasting some 13 players with sub 4.8-second 40-yard dash speed, the Screaming Eagles strength appears to be in that department.
That will be something Jefferson will be concerned with containing this week, much like they did in last Friday’s 23-8 win at White County.
During that contest, the Dragons were able to win the battle at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and contain the Warriors offense especially.
Warren County is expected to start freshman Tommy Seals at quarterback on Friday and despite his inexperience, Hill said he has looked good so far in the preseason. “He’s made all the right reads and has picked up the offense well for a first-year player,” he said. The strength of the offense is undoubtedly at running back, where they possess several talented backs. Quadrez Reese (5-8, 180 pounds) will see the ball at fullback, and Vuncle Ivey (5-8, 170) is expected to start at running back.
Defensively the Screaming Eagles will be led by a solid linebacking core led by Ivory Story (5-10, 230 pounds). Hill noted the units quickness and solid size as the best attributes.
That side of the ball was the team’s strength a season ago, as Warren County allowed just 7.1 points per game in 2003.
Jefferson will hope to ride the momentum it gained from last week’s win in Cleveland. The Dragons saw a solid offensive performance from Travis Martin who led the team with 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns. In addition, quarterback Wade Johnson threw the ball well and Adam Rooks, and Chris Davis were effective receiving.
Defensively the Dragons were strong, especially up front.
Jake Gurley and Kalan Mason were solid for Jefferson, with Mason picking up a key fumble recovery and returning it at a critical juncture early in the game.


Short, but enough
Raiders win rain-shorted, three-quarter battle with Franklin Co.
Owens: ‘Given the alternative, we’ll take it’
Randell Owens has yet to coach a full game in his new job but he already owns one win.
In his Madison County debut, Owens watched his Raiders trump a second quarter Franklin County score by parlaying a pair of third quarter Lion turnovers into two touchdowns before rain and lightening ended the game very early in the fourth quarter, giving Madison County a hard-fought, but abbreviated 15-7 victory.
Owens said the night felt like “business left unfinished” but at the same time, he wasn’t going to complain about the outcome.
“Given the alternative, we’ll take it,” he said of the unusual win.
For the rest of the story see this weeks Madison County Journal.

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