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BCHS / CHS / JCCHS / JHS / MCHS / Drew Brantley

Mariah Yates practices her follow-through during a girls' basketball camp at Jefferson High School this week. About 35 future hoopsters are attending the camp. JHS girls' basketball coach Kevin Jacobs and several JHS players are conducting the Future Stars camp.

Hale's Rejection Of Banking Sound Investment
(Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories about the people who coach Commerce High School's students.)
Just because Commerce High School teacher Mark Hale didn't have a future in banking, that doesn't mean he hasn't cashed in.
Graduating from college with a business degree, Hale learned in a hurry that he would not make banking a career.
"During college I worked at Y as a youth coach," Hale said. "In the summer's, I was always working at camps. Working at the bank was drudgery. During that time, I knew that I wanted to be a coach.
He worked while he got his teaching certificate and got a job as a special education teacher's aid at Jefferson High School.
"That year I got to coach basketball," Hale said. "I worked under Boling DuBose for a year. The next year I applied for an opening at Commerce. Next year I'll start my eighth year here."
Hale teaches geography, American and World history at CHS and is the school's teacher of the year for 2000.
He coached basketball at Commerce until last season when he took over the running program.
"I had never had any experience in distance running," Hale said. "I still feel a little ignorant about it. But I loved it. I was shocked at how much I loved it. Usually, you get people who want to do it. If you don't like running, you're probably not going to come out for cross country."
Hale has also been the assistant varsity baseball coach every year he has taught at Commerce. In 1996, the Tigers advanced to the semifinals of the Class A playoffs after winning the Region 8-A title.
"In the years leading up to that, Commerce had not had a lot of success at baseball," Hale said. "That bunch kind of came out of nowhere. It was a lot of fun to see them win. And to play against some teams from around the state that we don't get to see much of."
Hale will return for his eighth year, teaching history and coaching cross country and baseball.
"I like where I am," Hale said. "If I could choose, I'd choose what I'm doing."

Nicholson man finishes 113th in Peachtree race
Not everyone can say they finished the Peachtree Road Race in the top one percent of runners. But Nicholson's Scott Brooks can definitely say he did.
Brooks ran in his fifth Peachtree race Sunday, finishing 113th out of 55,000 with a time of 35 minutes and 30 seconds.
"It was a fun race to get in," Brooks said. "The race was pretty different from last year because they changed the ending of the race. Instead of ending in the park, the route went straight down 10th street."
Brooks might have been able to finish the race a little earlier, but he and a fellow racer stopped to help a man who had passed out.
"I had to stop near the finish line because a guy in front of me passed out," he said. "Another racer and I stopped and picked him up until the medics came and got him."
This year's Peachtree race was a training run for Brooks. He said he never trains specifically for the race, but instead uses it as a part of his training regimen. Brooks, a senior cross country runner at Georgia State University, Atlanta, is in the middle of his summer training season.
"I ran 10 miles on Saturday morning before the Peachtree," said Brooks. "Sunday I ran at about 90 percent. It was really more of a training run."
When not in school, Brooks resides in Nicholson.
Two other runners from Jackson County also finished among the top racers Sunday.
Douglas Cassiday, Commerce, placed 260th with a time of 37 minutes.
Jefferson's Robert A. Webb finished just under 50 minutes in 2,255th place.
Andrew T. Wilkes, a Jefferson High School graduate who now resides in Norcross, came in 595th with a time of 41 minutes and 8 seconds.
Sunday's 6.2 mile race was the 30th Peachtree Road Race. There were 55,000 runners in the annual event.

Davis already in place as Banks County coach
(Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories about the people who coach Banks County's students.)
Even though Derrick Davis began his coaching career far away, he didn't forget about coming back closer to home.
So after graduating from Commerce High School, playing college baseball and beginning his coaching career in south Georgia, Davis has come back to the area as a coach at Banks County High School. Davis joins new athletic director and football coach Rance Gillespie.
"I always wanted to come back to the Northeast Georgia area," Davis said. "Rance had always talked about getting a head job. He told me he had been offered the job here and asked me to come along with him."
Playing football, basketball and baseball in high school, Davis was determined to stay involved with sports his entire life.
"The way I saw it, I wanted to play it or coach it," Davis said. "When I got to the point where I couldn't play it anymore, I wanted to become a coach. I came from an athletic family. (Coaching) was the only thing I had in mind."
Davis did continue a praiseworthy baseball career at Truett McConnell College. He was honorable mention all-state his two years in Cleveland. He was the most valuable infielder as a freshman and a team captain his sophomore year. He finished his bachelor's degree at the University of Georgia. He worked for one semester at Elbert County High School before coaching at Peach County High School.
As he entered his career in coaching, Davis remembered many of lessons he learned from his high school football coach Ray Lamb.
"I learned a lot playing under Ray Lamb," Davis said. "The way he coached and handled kids. The respect he got means a lot. I wouldn't give anything for the time I played under him."
As an assistant football coach in Fort Valley, Davis helped the Trojans get to region championships for three straight years from 1996-98. Last year, Peach County was the Class AAA state runner-up.
Davis worked with the team during spring practice and this summer in preparation for next season, though he will not technically start working for Banks County until August.

Madison Co. All-Star Roundup
·11&12-year-old National League all-stars: defeated Toccoa National 1-0 Friday, defeated Franklin National 7-2. Faced Toccoa Tuesday for Area Championship (Madison County had to lose twice).
·Junior League National all-stars: defeated Franklin National 38-0 Thursday, lost to Toccoa National 10-4 Saturday, defeated Habersham 12-0 Monday. Played Toccoa American Tuesday night.
·Senior League all-stars: defeated Habersham 5-0 Thursday, lost to Franklin 9-8 Saturday, defeated Hart 14-6 Monday. Rematch versus Franklin for District Championship (Franklin had to lose twice).
·Senior League fast-pitch softball all-stars: defeated Hart 7-4 Friday, lost to Hart 8-2 Monday, faced Hart for district championship Monday.
·Madison County's slow-pitch softball teams begin action Thursday, July 8 in Forsyth County. The 12-and-under girls will face Forsyth #2 at 6 p.m. The 14-and-under squad will play the Forsyth #2 team at 7:15 p.m. And the 10-and-under Madison County squad will face the winner of the Forsyth #1/Jackson County game at 8:30 p.m.
·9 & 10-year-old National League all-stars: lost to Franklin National 7-5 Thursday, lost to Hart National 9-8 Friday.
·9 & 10-year-old American League all-stars: defeated Toccoa American 12-4 on Thursday, lost to Habersham 8-4 Saturday, lost to Franklin American 5-1 Monday.
·11 & 12-year-old American League all-stars: lost to Franklin American 5-0, defeated Hart American 10-1 Friday, lost to Franklin American 9-7 Saturday.
·Junior League American all-stars: lost to Franklin American 7-4 Friday, lost to Habersham 18-10 Saturday.
·9 & 10-year-old fast-pitch softball all-stars: lost to Franklin 13-3 Thursday, defeated Hart 16-11 Friday, lost to Habersham 16-0 Saturday.
·11 & 12-year-old fast-pitch All stars: defeated Hart 10-0 Thursday, lost to Toccoa 13-1 Friday, lost to Habersham 19-17 Saturday.

Presidents Would Have Made Good
Drew Brantley
With all the fireworks displays and patriotic songs of Independence Day weekend, I was left with one pressing question: Which presidents would have made up the best athletic teams?
Now I suppose weightier topics should occupy my thoughts, but I was stuck on this. The first sport that came to mind was basketball. But there was also a good golf team out there. Several of the presidents would probably have been good chess players, as well.
Abraham Lincoln was the tallest president. I remembered learning that fact on a restaurant place mat. That got me to thinking about the presidential basketball team. Lincoln at center, easy. If he were able to wear the stovepipe hat, he would be even more imposing.
Now for most athletic teams, we have to look at John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton as prime candidates based solely on their youth, if we only consider presidents at the age they were at the time they served.
Many of the presidents in the 19th century would be tiny people by today's standards. Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore-these are not tall men. But stature is not the only measuring stick for a basketball player nor a president.
Any of the military presidents would seem to make great athletes. Their determination and ability at strategy should have made them great in the clutch. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, and the others would have been welcome additions to the team.
William Howard Taft would have taken up some space in the lane, weighing in at more than 300 pounds back in the first decade of the century. He could still be a force today.
As a pilot in World War II and a Yale first baseman, George Bush would probably have been a good outside shooter.
Former U.S. senator Bill Bradley is running for the Democratic nomination for president. If he were to win the general election, he would definitely be a welcomed addition to the hoops squad. But, I will admit that his basketball talents would not be a good enough reason to vote for him, even if he did help take the New York Knicks to two NBA titles in the 1970s.
Now the best sport to make a team out of presidents is clearly golf. The country club's Kennedy joined with Eisenhower, Clinton and Gerald Ford make a fearsome foursome indeed. We could also have plenty of good boxers, I'm sure. Kennedy and some of the early 19th centurians would have made up good crew and sailing teams.
The military commanders in chief would also be the front line of any rifle, horse riding or fencing squads. If we could include vice-presidents, second-ever number two Aaron Burr would be good for any firearm competition, as he mortally wounded Alexander Hamil-ton in a dual about 200 years ago. But we would need to let the vice-presidents have their own team, if nothing else to have a practice team for the top guys.
Whatever teams were created, some things about the athletic teams would be set. The team colors would be red, white and blue. The team song would be "Hail to the Chief."
One of the problems with putting together a team like this is deciding who our team would play. Now if they took on heads of state from other countries around the world, I think our guys could hold their own in most anything other than soccer. The Scottish could probably put together a golfing force, as well. But I think our guys would be all right.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News.

Paper football and pencil fighting
Adam Fouche
Middle school days were nothing great.
There weren't very many things to do at all. I couldn't drive. None of my friends were old enough to drive. Basically, it was just a time period between the nap days of elementary school and the freedom of high school.
But sometimes, I did have fun in middle school. Paper football and pencil fighting, two of the greatest sports of the middle school era, were in full swing during that time.
My friends and I played paper football a lot. During every break in class time we would turn our desks around and set up our own gridiron. After lunch, we would play on the lunchroom tables, dodging leftover ketchup and spilt milk.
I was good at paper football. My strategy was near perfection. I wasn't too big on long, exciting scoring drives. My game plan was much more complicated than that.
I was more of a defensive player. I would always let my opponent get close enough to my edge of the desk that he would break down and knock the football into the floor. Then I would jump on him with a field goal.
I could knock in some field goals. I practiced enough so that every thump of the football split the uprights. I had my angle perfect; too little of an angle and the football sailed straight up, too much of an angle and the ball skipped across the table. But I had it down perfect.
I won many a game of paper football by field goals. Seldom did I pull out a victory because of an actual touchdown.
I could even fold a near-perfect paper football. I always used yellow paper because it stood out more against the white desk tops. But, the paper had to be letter sized; paper footballs made out of legal paper were much too thick.
I tried making a paper football the other day. It seems I have lost my once-valuable skill. All I could create was a crumpled mass of paper. But at least I tried.
I also liked pencil fighting in middle school, though I wasn't as good at it. The sport of pencil fighting depended more on the quality of the pencil than it did on skill.
Pencil fighting was a punishable act at my middle school. Many of my classmates lost their cherished pencils to a teacher who discovered a pencil-fighting match in progress.
I used to try to make a "super pencil," as I called it. My idea was simple: remove the lead from inside a pencil and replace it with a piece of coathanger. I knew if I get a piece of coathanger inside a pencil I would have an indestructible pencil. No one would have been able to beat me.
But I could never get it to work. Every time I grabbed the pencil lead with the pliers to pull it out, the lead would crumble. I tried a countless number of times anyway. Call it cheating if you like, but I was only doing what I thought I had to do.
Now that I am retired from both sports, I have thought about holding a paper football camp. I could teach kids the basics: field goals, kickoffs, defensive strategy and even finger strength conditioning. In fact, that's what I'll do. I'm going to host a paper football camp.
Adam Fouche is a staff writer for Mainstreet Newspapers.


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