Area Sports...

SEPTEMBER 15, 2004

LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULES/RESULTS

BANKS COUNTY LEOPARDS

8/20 Oglethorpe Co. 7:30
9/3 Wesleyan 7:30
9/10 Commerce 7:30
9/17 GAC 7:30
9/24 Rabun Co. 7:30
10/1 Union Co. 7:30
10/8 Lumpkin Co. 7:30
10/15 Buford 7:30
10/22 East Hall 7:30
10/29 Dawson Co. 7:30

COMMERCE TIGERS

8/21 Trion 7:30 p.m.
8/27 @Franklin County 7:30 p.m.
9/3 Morgan County 8 p.m.
9/10 @Banks County 7:30 p.m.
9/17 Lincoln County 8 p.m.
10/2 @North Oconee 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 Social Circle 8 p.m.
Oct. 15 @Jefferson 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 Towns County 8 p.m.
Oct. 29 @Athens Academy 7:30 p.m.

JACKSON COUNTY PANTHERS

8/21 @ Cedar Shoals 7:30
8/27 Winder-Barrow 7:30
9/3 @ Madison Co. 7:30
9/10 Hab. Central 7:30
9/17 @ Eastside 7:30
9/24 Rockdale Co. 7:30
10/1 Loganville 7:30
10/15 @ Heritage* 7:30
10/22 @ Salem* 7:30
10/29 Clarke Central 7:30

JEFFERSON DRAGONS

8/20 at White Co. W23-8
8/27 Warren Co. W 30-14
9/3 at Lumpkin Co. W 28-0
9/10 Whitefield W 23-0
9/17 at Oglethorpe Co. W 30-0
10/1 Athens Academy 7:30
10/8 at Towns Co. 7:30
10/15 Commerce 7:30
10/22 at North Oconee 7:30
10/29 Social Circle 7:30

MADISON COUNTY RAIDERS

8/20 @Franklin Co. 7:30 p.m.
9/3 Jackson Co. 7:30 p.m.
9/10 Eastside 7:30 p.m.
9/17 @Heritage 7:30 p.m.
9/24 @Loganville 7:30p.m.
10/1 Clarke Central 7:30 pm.
10/8 @Hab. Central 7:30 p.m.
10/15 Salem 7:30 p.m.
10/22 Rockdale Co. 7:30 p.m.
10/29 @Cedar Shoals 7:30 p.m.

Leopards head to Norcross Friday to battle GAC
The Leopards will travel to Norcross Friday to take on the Spartans from Greater Atlanta Christian. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Leopards are undefeated on the road and GAC’s loss to Westminster came on Spartan territory.
GAC is 2-1, having lost the season opener against Westminster 27-15. The red and gold Spartans defeated Dawson County 31-6 and blasted the Wesleyan Wolves, 34-7, last week.
Last year, the team went 8-2. They lost to Wesleyan and were shut out by Buford.
Banks County faced GAC at home last year, on Halloween. GAC won the game, 28-10.
“GAC is loaded this year,” said Banks County head coach Greg Moore. “They may be the biggest we’ve seen, I know they are the best.”
Moore said the “injury bug” is still biting his team, having put three more players on the sidelines after Friday’s match-up with Commerce.
“We’re still working on fundamentals, all we can do is what we can do,” he said.
Moore said he is looking for senior leadership from his team, hoping to turn things around at this point in the season.
“When you’ve lost two in a row, it is a good time for the seniors to step-up, we really need their leadership right now to keep the wheels from falling off,” he said.
Banks County is 1-2 after beating Oglethorpe, being shut out by Wesleyan and falling to cross-town rivals Commerce.
Lumpkin and Union counties are also 1-2. Rabun County lost three so far this season. Banks is scheduled to see Rabun at home Friday, September 24.


Will this be the week?
Two teams with losing streaks set to meet Friday
When Jackson County travels to Eastside this Friday night someone's losing streak is going to end. The Eagles (0-3 overall, 0-2 Region 8-AAAA) are in the midst of an eight-game skid that dates back to last year. Jackson County's 28-game losing mark, the longest in the state, has come close to ending this season but to no avail.
Last week's 20-14 loss to Habersham Central was another frustrating night for the Panthers and their followers.
The squad play well in the first half, but then sputtered offensively for much of the second half. A late touchdown drive was as close as the Panthers got to rallying from 14 points down in the final quarter.
This week's challenge is a familar one for Jackson County head coach Brent Brock. He's got to get his players to continue to work toward earning a victory despite a close setback the week before.
Much like the Panthers, the Eagles are a running oriented team that looks to go to the air sparingly.
Eastside is coming into Friday's match up on the heels of a 24-14 loss at Madison County. Jackson County may be able to exploite the Eagle defensive front if last week's performances are any indication.
While the Panthers rushed for 168 yards of their 197 yards of total offense, the Eagles allowed 180 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in Danielsville.
That statistic could prove telling if Jackson County is able to get running backs Bo Bonds and Kevin Jarrells going this week.
The duo combined for 175 yards and a touchdown on the ground against the Raiders.
“That’s the personality of our team. We’re pretty much hanging our hat on the rushing game," Brock said. "Bo is a bruising back, he needs to touch the ball 20 to 25 times and K.J. has really responded well in the last few weeks."
Jarrells had what would have been Jackson County's biggest play of the game to that point (a 56-yard touchdown romp down the right side at the 9:11 mark of the fourth quarter) called back because of holding. Bonds gave his usual workman-like effort, carrying the ball 25 times and averaging 4.1 yards per touch.
Last year's meeting in Covington was one of the closer games played by either team in 2003. The Eagles won that one 27-23 after a furious contest full of big plays on offense.
Despite his team's recent scoreboard failures, Brock remains optimistic when talking about a group of players that he says are extremely fun to coach.
“With the hard work we’ve done for the past three seasons and the way our kids have responded to our coaching staff about what we need to do to get better, we expect to win every Friday night. If our young guns aren’t thinking that way, then, honestly, we don’t have any business playing the game.”
Defensively the Panthers were solid for much of the game against Habersham Central, before fatigue appeared to set in during the fourth quarter.
Brock has been pleased with the defensive showings throughout most of the year so far. It's just the preventing an opposing team's big plays here and there that needs some work.
“We feel good about our defensive football team. The thing that we were excited about going into the season was that we thought we had closed the gap on our defense allowing big plays. But there seems to be one or two letdowns in the course of the game that seems to be our nemesis right now,” Brock said.
Last weeks was a prime example and the Raiders Tavaris King burned the Panther secondary on two big pass plays. The first, a 54-yard touchdown pass, helped tie the game at 7-7. The second, a 35-yard touchdown strike, gave Habersham the lead for good early in the fourth quarter.


Small Town Football At Its Best
Success Pitted Against Success When Commerce Faces Lincoln Co.
College football paired its two winningest programs against each other this past weekend when Michigan squared off against Notre Dame.
The same will happen for Class A football in Georgia this Friday when Commerce and Lincoln County continue their unique rivalry.
“We’re playing the school that’s got more wins in Class A than anyone in the state and (Lincoln County) coach (Larry) Campbell has more coaching wins than anybody in the state,” said Commerce head coach Steve Savage, who owns a 4-4 record against the Red Devils. “So you’re playing a program that’s at the top. It’s fun to play them. You don’t always win. But its fun to play.”
Recent statistics only illustrate what everybody’s already come to know when Commerce and Lincoln County get together — it’s small town football at its best.
According to the latest research compiled by www.footballfridaynight.com, the two winningest programs in the state’s smallest classification will meet in Commerce when the Tigers host the Red Devils for the 11th installment of the series.
For the rest of this story see this weeks Commerce News.


Jefferson boys post team record time
The Jefferson cross country team competed in a 24-team field comprised of mostly Class AA and AAA schools at the first annual War Eagle 5-K at Chestatee High School this past Tuesday. Jefferson was the lone class A school in the meet.
In the girls race Gabby Yates was the top Jefferson finisher placing 40th in the field of 147 runners. Blake Nelms was the only Lady Dragon to establish a new personal best time on the day, running 30:02 for the 5-K race. The JHS top five also included Vanessa Guzman, Annie James, and Hannah James. Central Gwinnett won the girls meet and Jefferson placed 17th in the 21-team field.
In the boys race, Cameron Blinn placed 40th in the field of 168 runners, pacing the Dragons with a new personal best and JHS 5-K record of 19:32.
Other JHS runners who had personal best times were: Shawn Blinn 21:07, Britt Cantrell 22:22, Richie Guzman 25:26, BJ Richardson 24:51, Austin Wilson 25:27, Casey Winkle 24:38, and Enrique Zavaleta 22:23
The top five boys combined times of 1 hour, 44 minutes,12 seconds was the best a JHS boy's team has recorded since the cross country program was restarted three years ago. Jimmy Garrett, Kyle Baird, and Brandon Burnett rounded out the JHS top five. Greater Atlanta Christian won the boys meet, with the Dragons placing 16th in the 24-team field.


Changing sides
Owens trying to beat Heritage program he helped turn around
If you want an example of familiarity breeding a desire to win, look no further than the Raiders’ electric brother tandem of Marcus and Metric Shivers says Randell Owens.
“They compete harder against each other than they do the opponents,” the Madison County head coach said. “You don’t want to lose to your brother. You sure want to bring your A game.”
It’s that kind of brotherly rivalry that Owens, whose team is off to a 3-0 start, feels he’ll be in Friday night when he turns around to face a Heritage team that he coached for three years and will know as well — or maybe even better — than his own.
“It presents different challenges,” Owens said. “I think it brings more intensity to it.”
Owens surely left his mark on the Patriot’s program during his stay at the Conyers school.
He turned a 1-9 doormat in 2000 to a winner by 2002, going 8-2 and reaching the first round of the playoffs. The team then missed the postseason by a hair in 2003, going 6-4, and Owens took the Madison County job in March.
Since then, Owens has jump-started the Raiders in their return to region football while Heritage has thrived lately, winning its last two games by a combined 87-14 margin under new head coach Al Pellegrino. Heritage is coming off a 44-0 pasting of rival Rockdale County this past Friday where it steamrolled the Bulldogs behind 430 yards rushing.
Owens will know the Patriots’ personnel better than anyone else in the state while the coach points out that his former team has carried over several aspects of his old system to this year. But then again, Heritage will be in tune to Owens’ system more than anyone else since he taught it to them for three years. Madison County has been learning it for just three months.
“They’ll know my system better than the kids I’m coaching now,” he said. “They’ll know what we’re doing before we do.”
Other than Heritage trying to anticipate Owens’ X’s and O’s, Madison County will have to contend with a team that will have more in its arsenal that it latest victim, Eastside, which the Raiders beat 24-14.

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