Area Sports...

NOVEMBER 10, 2004

LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULES/RESULTS

BANKS COUNTY LEOPARDS
(1-8)

8/20 Ogle Co. W 30-27
9/3 Wesleyan L 0-42
9/10 Commerce L 13-40
9/17 GAC L 0-30
9/24 Rabun Co. L 0-17
10/1 Union Co. L 13-33
10/8 Lumpkin Co. L 3-39
10/15 Buford L 0-45
10/22 East Hall L 0-35
10/29 Dawson Co. 7:30

COMMERCE
TIGERS
(6-4)

8/21 Trion W 36-27
8/27 @Frank Co L 21-28
9/3 Morgan Co L 27-41
9/10 @Banks Co W 40-13
9/17 Lincoln Co L 13-18
10/2 @N Oconee W 35-21
10/8 Social Circle W27-13
10/15 @JeffersonW34-31
10/22 Towns Co W 35-14
10/29 @Athens Acad L

JACKSON COUNTY PANTHERS
(2-7)

8/21 @ Cedar Shoals L 0-21
8/27 Winder-Barr L 14-21
9/3 @ Madison Co L 0-21
9/10 Hab. Central L 14-20
9/17 @ Eastside W 21-14
9/24 Rockdale Co. W 15-12
10/1 Loganville L 7-14
10/15 @ Heritage L 7-0
10/22 @ Salem L 0-48
10/29 Clarke Central 7:30

JEFFERSON
DRAGONS
(6-2)

8/20 @ White Co. W 23-8
8/27 Warren Co. W 30-14
9/3 @ Lumpkin Co. W 28-0
9/10 Whitfield W 23-0
9/17 @ Oglet Co W 30-0
10/1 Athens Acad L 19-20
10/8 @ Towns Co. W 42-8
10/15 Commerce L 31-34
10/22 @ N Oconee W 55-0
10/29 Social Circle 7:30

MADISON COUNTY RED RAIDERS
(6-3)

8/20 @Frank Co W15-7
9/3 Jackson Co W 21-0
9/10 Eastside W 24-14
9/17 @Heritage L 0-23
9/24 @Lgnvile W 29-12
10/1 Clrke Cent W 8-7
10/8 @Hab. Cent L 7-14
10/15 Salem L 36-7
10/22 Rokdle Co.W 23-20
10/29 @Cedar Shoals 7:30

Defending sub-region champions returning a lot of talent in 2004
The Banks County Lady Leopards are looking to repeat last year’s successful season with key returning players.
The team finished the 2003-2004 season as north sub-region champs. And they finished third in the region, despite having a losing season, 13-15.
The Lady Leopard’s season ended last year in Norcross when the team fell to Paideia in the first round of the state tournament.
“The girls accomplished four out of their six team goals last year,” said Banks County head coach Jodie Watkins. “Making it to the first round of the state tournament made the girls realize what we had been working hard for all season.”
Watkins said the 2004-2005 team set goals for the upcoming season and she feels they are attainable.
“The girls have set big goals this season, but they are definitely within reach,” she said. “Our biggest challenge is having the confidence to go there.”
Returning from last year’s team are super-scorers Kayla Duncan and Kayla Parks. Duncan returns for her senior year with over 1,000 points already racked up in her high school career. She scored 446 points last year alone. As a freshman, Parks was second in points with 323. Duncan averaged 16.5 points per game and 12 rebounds. Parks averaged 12 points a game and took eight rebounds.
Other key players returning to the 2004-2005 team are seniors Lauren Reiselt and Mandy Slaton and junior Brooke Whitmire.
Also returning is head coach Jodie Watkins who will coaching her second season at Banks County High School. Tammy Kennedy and BCHS alumni Shawn Smith will join the staff.
Newcomers and rising players will have to fill the void left by last year’s senior stars Nicole Powell, Chastico Beasley, Heather Beck and Ashley Dumas. Powell is now playing ball for Agnes Scott College in Atlanta.
Watkins said the team has prepared well and she has high hopes for the upcoming season.
“Over the summer many of the girls stepped up and filled roles on the team,” she said. “I am excited about the upcoming season, as there is a lot of potential for success.”
Watkins said Reiselt has stepped up to play the part as point guard.
“Candas Tyner and Ashley Blevins have put in the extra time over the summer we need,” she said.
She said the teams ability to play inside, the athletes size and their ability to post up as the team’s strength. Shooting from the paint is another strength for this particular team. Duncan and Parks return to the team having scored over 50 percent of the total points earned in the 2003-2004 season.
“They work hard,” Watkins said about the 2004-2005 Lady Leopards. “They put in the extra time and effort to work on the details.”
Watkins said the team is willingly holding practice on Saturdays.


Jackson County to open 2004-05 hoops season Tuesday at Flowery Branch
Believe it or not it’s time for local teams to get back on the hardwood.
Jackson County’s basketball teams will begin the 2004-05 season next week with a trip up Hwy. 29. Both the boys’ and girls’ squads head to Flowery Branch Tuesday for season openers.
In the girls game, Jackson County will be hoping to begin another successful season following last year’s trip to the state tournament.
Head coach Chad Pittman will be gearing up his squad between now and then with tough practices aimed at getting the Lady Panthers into shape for the season, he said.
Although the starters have not officially been named yet, this year’s squad figures to have a lineup with a pair of seniors (Kayla McNeal and Jessica Schwartz) and juniors (Tynshia Berry and Jaimeca Cooper) along with a sophomore (Brooke Hughes) leading the way.
“We’re going to count on them heavily this year,” Pittman said.
The Lady Panthers were 18-11 last season and were eliminated from the first round of the state tournament by Stone Mountain.
On the boys side, second-year head coach Richard Crumley’s team will be looking for respectability following a 2-25 campaign last season. A host of lineup changes from last year’s team are expected when the Panthers take the floor on Tuesday and a quartet of seniors will be relied upon heavily this year
Although no starters have yet been named, those players figure to be in the mix. Daniel Clark, Stephen Bennett and Josh Mundy are all senior guards, while AJ Sibcy is a post player. “We’re going to be very young and relatively inexperienced,” Crumley said about this year’s squad.
Tip-off for the girls is set for 6 p.m., with the boys game scheduled to follow that contest.


Tigers Triumph
Commerce Bands Together To Pull Off Playoff Win Over Trion
It’s one thing to beat a team twice in a year. It’s quite another to win a playoff game with a freshman starting at quarterback.
Commerce managed to do both this past Friday night.
With Reuben Haynes filling in under center for the injured Caleb Jordan, Commerce scaled down its game plan and emerged a winner, throwing only four passes while rushing for 224 yards in an inspired 13-7 win over Trion.
“We had to overcome a lot of adversity,” senior lineman Ben Wilson said. “All you can do is keep on working hard. When you do that, some times good things can happen for you.”
With the win over Trion in the rematch, Commerce, which prevailed 36-27 in the two teams’ season opener Aug. 21, has won all four of its meetings against the Bulldogs.
“It was a super effort from our guys,” Commerce head coach Steve Savage said. “We played like we ought to have played.”
Haynes, the starting quarterback on the Tiger JV squad, did exactly what he was called on to do in Commerce’s latest triumph over the Northwest Georgia squad.
The most important stat of Haynes’ night — no fumbles.
The freshman signal caller got the ball from center to his running backs via handoffs and toss sweeps and the Tiger ball carriers did the rest.
“I’m sure everybody had a little bit of question going in but Reuben, he stepped up real well tonight,” senior split end/defensive back Hank Tiller said. “He came through and did good for us. He got the snap and that’s all we needed him to do — get the snap — and stick in there with us and he did a great job.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers’ senior-laden backfield responded to carry Commerce past Trion.
Fullback David Bray barreled his way to a season-high 122 yards while James Rucker, who was questionable coming into the game, stepped up with 87 yards.
Rucker and another senior, Tristan Daniels, accounted for the two Commerce scores.
Running on a lame ankle, Rucker produced the first touchdown, scoring from a yard out to give Commerce a 7-0 lead with 6:19 in the first quarter.
The big play on the drive came earlier though when Rucker found a hole on a toss sweep on fourth down on the Tiger 41 and took it 21 yards into Bulldog territory.
Rucker wasn’t announced in the starting lineup but lined up in the backfield on the game’s first play and went on to play effectively despite an ankle injury that kept him out of the majority of the Tigers’ previous three games.
“I say I felt about 80 percent,” Rucker said. “(The ankle) hurts, but it’s playoff time.”
Daniels then gave the Tigers a 13-0 lead when he leaped into the endzone on a six-yard touchdown run with 10:46 left in the second quarter. Trion blocked the extra point.
The two touchdowns would hold up, thanks to an equally impressive night by the Commerce defense.
Trion didn’t sustain a first down until the 5:21 mark in the second quarter as Commerce held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard in the first half.
Trion finally scored in the second half — a 19-yard strike from Brent Tucker to Bobby Dover in the third quarter — and drove deep into Commerce territory in the game’s waning moments but Tiller picked a Brent Tucker pass off on the Tiger 16 with 1:03 left to seal the win.
“Coach Savage had told us to play deep at the end of the game and loosen up and don’t let anything in behind us, don’t give up anything in the flats,” Tiller explained. “So that’s what we did. We just happened to be the right place in the night time, I guess.”
Trion’s only other scoring opportunity came in early in the fourth when the Bulldogs lineup for a 27-yard field goal but Yubani Mejia’s attempt sailed wide and the Tigers kept a 13-7 lead.
“I thought we played great in the first half,” Wilson said of the Tiger defense. “Then we came out a little slow (in the second half) which we’ve had a problem doing this year. But we came through with enough in the end.”


Done in by the Devils
Jefferson’s season ends in first round of playoffs. Jefferson’s football season came to an end last Friday night nearly three hours away from home.
Despite a promising start, the Dragons fell 28-14 at No. 8 Bremen in the first round of the state playoffs. The two squads were tied at 7-7 at the half, but the Blue Devils made enough plays to come out on top in the final two quarters.
Jefferson quarterback Wade Johnson was picked off midway through the third quarter and then again late in the fourth while trying to tie things up. The second interception, which came on a fourth-and-18 attempt from the Dragon 7-yard line, was returned for a touchdown by Bremen’s Blake Jacobs to seal the win.
The Dragons pounded out an impressive 10-play, 80-yard opening drive after stopping the Blue Devils to start the game. Johnson found tight end Chris Davis from nine yards out to cap the march and help put the Dragons up 7-0 with 4:12 left in the first quarter.
The effort was part of the junior signal caller’s 125-yard passing night that included two touchdowns. Davis caught four balls for 49 yards on the night.
The Blue Devils responded with a second quarter scoring drive of their own, however, with a 28-yard jaunt up the middle helping to tie things up.
A 30-yard field goal in the second quarter would have put the Blue Devils ahead at the break. However, Rhett Tolleson’s kick sailed wide, and the two teams remained deadlocked after a physical first half of play.
The third quarter looked to be going well for Jefferson until Johnson’s first-and-10 pass was deflected and returned to the Dragons 38-yard line. The Blue Devils quickly capitalized on the short field when Tolleson ran to the Jefferson 18. A late hit out of bounds set up a first-and-goal from the nine. Tolleson then completed a four-yard touchdown on a fade route to help put the Blue Devils ahead 14-7.
The score remained that way until the fourth when the Blue Devils put together an impressive 10-play, 53-yard drive capped by an 8-yard Tyler Hamil touchdown run to help increase Bremen’s lead to 21-7.
Jefferson answered with 4:40 remaining in the game when Johnson rolled right and connected with Adam Rooks for a four-yard touchdown that helped trim the lead to 21-14. Rooks led his team with five catches for 56 yards and a score while also running for 26 yards on seven carries.
A solid Dragon defensive stand led by Jake Gurley pressuring Tolleson on the ensuing Bremen possession forced a Blue Devil punt and gave Jefferson a shot at a game-tying drive.
But, Bremen pinned the kick on the Jefferson 3-yard line and Jacobs’ 20-yard interception returned for a touchdown out an end to the comeback hopes.


Houston has lift off
Raider wrestlers prep for first year under new coach. Perhaps for the first time in the Madison County wrestling program’s history, a new Raider coach has a tough act to follow.
Richie Houston comes to Danielsville after the team enjoyed a successful three-year span under Steve Mason which saw 23 state qualifiers under his watch and a two-time state champion in Mark Arnold.
But Houston, who was an NCAA Division II tournament participant as a college wrestler at Gardner Webb, certainly looks to have the creditials to keep the Raiders program on its assent with a coaching career that’s spanned 12 years and three states.
Houston’s latest stop will see him inherit a Raider team that returns six starters from last year’s seventh-ranked squad — two of which where state qualifiers last season.
Leading the outfit is Walker Overstreet who finished fourth in the 130-lb. division in the Class AAAA meet in Rome after wrestling five divisions lower the year before. Tyler Johnson also wrestled in the state meet in 2003-2004 but will be sidelined for the first month of the season due to an injury on the football field this fall. For the rest of the story see this week's Madison County Journal.

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