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Leopards start first week of football drills
It has begun. Regular season football practice has started at Banks County with the Leopards working in helmets and shorts during evening practice.
"We've got a bunch of good kids," Banks County High School coach Rance Gillespie said. "We're going to have to get after it and keep working hard. I'm excited about it and ready to go to work."
The team will add shoulder pads to the gear on Monday, but still have one practice per day in the evening.
The following week, the team will hold its camp week at the school with three practice sessions per day. But before adding full pads, Gillespie said the basics are the key to early practice.
"We're trying to get some things installed early," Gillespie said. "We're going to finalize some things on personnel. But we've really got to teach what fundamentals we can. We want to be able and hit the ground running when we put full pads on.
"We're trying to set a pace. We're trying to develop a mentality of 'we're going to go full speed no matter what day it is.'"
Banks County will host Dawson County and Fannin County in a jamboree Aug. 27. The Leopards will open the regular season the following Friday at home against Jackson County.
During the Leopards' camp week, which starts Aug. 9, the team will practice defense in the morning and offense in the evening.
A shorter period will be held in the afternoon for special teams and the passing game, Gillespie said.

Miolen takes place on staff at BCHS
When new Banks County coach Doug Miolen finished college he entered a life of full-time ministry. Becoming a teacher didn't change is focus.
"Sometimes in church, people get centered and stuck on those four walls," Miolen said. "As far as ministry outreach, some people aren't doing anything with their community. I decided to be a teacher and coach to be an example to the kids. I wanted to work with the backbone of our society, that's what I've always thought our children are. If I could make a difference in one kid's life, then it would be worth it.
"Not many pastors have the direct influence in a young person's life. They may hear him give a sermon, but most of them don't spend a lot of time with their pastor. I get to be around the kids every day at school."
Miolen began his college career at Georgia Southern College, playing baseball and football. After seminary and five years of being a pastor, Miolen transferred to Evangel College in Springfield, Mo. to finish his college degree.
He began a career teaching at several schools. When an opening came up for a physical education coach, BCHS athletic director Rance Gillespie found his man.
"We went out to get the best weight room guy we could find," BCHS head coach Rance Gillespie said. "We wanted somebody who could improve our whole program with a weightlifting program. We feel real fortunate to have found somebody like Doug Miolen."
Miolen said his main focus in instructing young people is making players take responsibility for their actions.
"I'm big on accountability," Miolen said. "Accountability is the key to our prisons. If you get kids to be responsible for their actions, they will be less likely to make mistakes.
Banks County added its newest member of the coaching staff in time for the start of football practice this week. Miolen began working as an assistant football coach after being hired the earlier this month.
Miolen worked most recently at Mt. Zion High School in Jonesboro.

Tigers Begin Football Drills This Week
The summer is over. Though the trees are still green and the sun still shines at full blast, fall has begun for the Commerce High School football team.
Starting this week with just helmets and shorts, the Tigers will start with areas that can't be overlooked, Tiger coach Steve Savage said.
"The first thing we're going to do is get acclimated to the heat," Tiger coach Steve Savage said. "We'll spend some time working on our kicking game. And we'll put in the first phases of our passing game."
Working on the passing game this year will mean finding a new quarterback to replace Dustin Allen, lost to graduation.
Going into regular season practice, senior Daniel Carder and junior Michael Collins are the two front-runners.
"I think they can both do well there," Savage said. "Rob Brown will also get some work in there. We'll just have to wait and see."
Replacing other lost players at other positions will also be a task for the Tiger staff.
"We've got some good folks coming back," Savage said. "Our biggest job is to find people to replace the experienced people we lost."
One of the more solid areas of the team is the offensive line, Savage said.
"I feel good about our offensive line," Savage said. "They're going to be the key to our season. If they stay healthy and do a good job, we'll have a good football team."
Russ Brown, Eric Moore, Josh Crawford, John Harrison and John Martin were the starting offensive line, coming out of spring practice.
The backfield also has several players with playing time under their belts, according to Savage.
"We've got some seasoned fullbacks and about three blocking backs that can do some good for us," Savage said. "Chad Scoggins is working on his fourth year at blocking back"
Commerce will add shoulder pads to the gear next Monday, while adding a morning session to practice. The Tigers will continue two-a-day practices the following week.
The Tigers will host Stephens County and Morgan County for a jamboree Aug. 27. The three teams also met in a preseason affair last year in Commerce.

TigerSharks Send 10 To State Meet
The Commerce Tiger-Sharks will send 10 swimmers to the state meet in Carrollton Aug. 6 and 7. The swimmers qualified for state by finishing in the top three at the district meet July 17 in Roswell.
Stephanie McFadden led the girls' team with a first place finish in the 18-under butterfly.
Kason Glenn was first in the short freestyle. Nick Moulton had the fastest time at district in the back stroke. B. Glenn, Moulton, Kason Glenn and Clint Chester took first place in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
B. Glenn also picked up second place individual marks in the breast stroke and butterfly. Chester was second in the backstroke.
Chester was third place in the breast stroke. Chad Scoggins had third-place finishes in the short freestyle and the butterfly. Moulton added a third place in individual medley.
S. McFadden was second in the 18-under backstroke.
Amber Bell was second in the 8-under breast stroke. Kristina McFadden was second in the short freestyle. Katelyn Nevil was second in the back stroke.
Bell, K. McFadden, Nevil and Casey Teague combined to win third place in the medley relay.
Also competing at the district tournament for the TigerSharks were Ashley Diggs, Josh Swistak, Kolton Pendley, Sean Toney, Anna-Marie Dillard, Sarah Pippin, Linsey Swistak, Kristy Teague, Star Wofford, Ryan Toney, Ashley Bell, Kristen Hill, Laura House and Emily Vickery.

Soccer registration ahead
The Madison County Recreation Department will hold registration for its 1999 soccer season Thursday through Friday, Aug. 26-28.
Registration will be from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday.
Leagues offered this year include Pee Wee boys and girls ages 5 to 7, intermediate boys and girls ages 8 to 10, midget boys and girls ages 11 to 13 and major boys and girls ages 14 and 15.
The age control date for these leagues is Sept. 1, 1999. The registration fee for these leagues is $20 per child. There is an additional fee of $20 for out-of-county participants. Insurance is optional and will be available at registration for an additional $8.50 per child. Call the recreation department at 795-2182 for more information.

Touchdown Club golf tourney ahead
The fifth annual Madison County Touchdown Club Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, Aug. 7, at Whispering Pines Golf Course with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.
The four-man lauderdale tournament costs $55 per person or $220 per team. The fees include a cart, green fees, lunch and cold beverages.
The tournament will include prizes for each flight with a $10,000 cash prize for a hole in one on hole number three. There will also be long drive, closest to the pin and "double your money" contests.
Mulligans will be available for $5 with a limit of two per person.
To register, send a check by Aug. 1 to the Madison County Touchdown Club, P.O. Box 154, Danielsville, Ga. 30633.
For more information, call tournament coordinator Ricky McElroy at 795-3554 or 789-2305.

Aiming to be at the top of the pack
Parnell takes second straight skeet shooting title
Competing in a sport he is relatively new to, Commerce's James Parnell has done what few have done before him. In just his third year in the sport, Parnell has won consecutive high all-around championships at the Georgia state skeet shooting championship, as well as several other honors.
Clay shooting has recently become pretty big in America, Parnell said. Skeet, sporting clay and trap are the three nationally recognized areas of competition in the sport.
According to Parnell, though, competing in all three areas is unusual.
"The three games are totally different," he said. "People told me that it wasn't practical to compete in all three, but I said 'what the heck' and gave it a try."
And despite being plagued by eye surgery, back problems and even cancer, the 50-year-old shooter has done well in all three areas of the sport.
At the Georgia state skeet shoot, Parnell won the gold medal in the doubles, .410 gauge and .28 gauge events as well as a silver medal in the .20 gauge event. A week earlier, he won second place in the .410 gauge and .28 gauge events and second place in the main event at the Georgia sporting clay shooting championship.
Last weekend, Parnell competed in a sporting clay shoot in South Carolina. By the end of the day Saturday, Parnell was in sixth place. However, he came from behind on Sunday to take the out-of-state championship.
In March of this year, he took up trap shooting and was able to shoot enough national registered trap targets to compete in a competition at the Dixie Trap Club in Montgomery, Ala. His performance was good enough to earn him the Novice Championship trophy. Weeks later, he picked up a second-place finish at the Georgia state trap shooting championship in an area of the sport he had begun competing in only a few months earlier.
Last year, Parnell shot in the U.S. Open, a national shooting competition. However, an ejector in his shotgun broke, and he had to borrow an unfamiliar gun from another competitor.
"Most shooters are good guys, and they are willing to jump in and help you out, even if it means you beat them," said Parnell.
Parnell added that the sporting clay side of the sport often sponsors charity shoots in which most of the proceeds go to charitable organizations. He said he often competes in benefit shoots for the American Cancer Society, since he himself is a cancer survivor.
Serious competitors do stand to make some money in the sport. Major sporting clay shoots offer between $50,000 and $90,000 worth of cash and prizes to top finishers. But without a professional sponsorship, making a living off the sport is hard. The costs of ammunition and travel expenses can really add up, Parnell said.
To save money on ammunition, Parnell, with the help of his girlfriend Linda Barnett, reloads the shells he uses at most shoots, except for the bigger competitions which require new factory target shells.
"I would not have been able to do what I've done without her (Barnett)," Parnell said. "She reloads most of my shells, and she really enjoys doing it. It saves a lot of money, plus she is three times better at it than me."
Parnell does most of his practicing at the Cherokee Gun Club in Hall County, where he is the sporting clay coordinator. He says he plans to compete in several more upcoming shoots in South Carolina and Alabama. Yet, next year he said he will try to stick to just the larger shoots and the Georgia competitions.

Synergyn Super Late Model trucks coming to Jefferson
For the first time ever, the Synergyn Super Late Model trucks will be racing in Georgia Saturday night at Peach State Speedway in Jefferson. Qualifying will begin at 6 p.m. for the Super Late Model trucks and Late Model Stock. Local division racing starts at 7 p.m. capped off with a 100-lap truck race.
In addition to the Synergyn Super Late Model Trucks, all local divisions will be in action as well. As the second half of the racing season begins, several battles are heating up the race for the division crowns.
In the Limited Late Model division, Jefferson's Bobby Hill has led for most of the season. However, over the past several weeks, Hill has seen his lead shrink as Greg Pruitt, another Jefferson driver, has narrowed Hill's led to just 16 points. Junior Hardy is close behind the two, only 38 points back from the leader.
Last season's Sportsman division champion Matt Lacey continues to battle with Tim Corbin for the top spot in their division. A mere 11 points seperates the two drivers. Greg Ausburn, Joe McCannon and Alan Frey are struggling with each other to take the three through five spots.
In what has become a fierce rivalry over the past two years, Brent Johnson and Ty Stewart continue to entertain the crowds at Peach State each week in their run for the championship title in the Modified Mini Stock division. Although Stweart is the defending division champion, Johnson, the current points leader, may be headed for the top spot. He has finished first or second in 10 of 11 races this season. Stewart leads the division with six victories, but has had several finishes outside of the top two positions.
The top four in the points standings in the Mini Stock division are separated by a mere 29 points. Kevin Perry, Josh Mattison, Chuck Cooper and Ted Williams are fighting for the top spot in their division. Spots five through seven are separated by only 18 points, making for some very close racing action.
Junior Late Models has been basically a three-car show each week between Jared Smith, the current points leader, Corey Hunnicutt and Chris Wilson. With a 50-point lead, Smith seems to have secured the top spot. However, a few bad finishes by Smith could open up the points race battle.
The most diverse field each week continues to be in the Cruisers Division. Louie Tetreault has managed to take a 62-point lead in the no-rules division over his dad, Lou Tetreault. Ricky Page currently sits on the third place spot, followed by Randy Johnson and Nathan Campbell.

From The Sideline
Adults should be good fans to kids
Covering high school sports for the past seven years, I have seen many things. Some of them were great. I have seen individuals and teams reach the pinnacle of their sport. I have seen high school students and grown-ups alike scream their faces shades of red and blue for a team that had no chance of winning. I have seen many good things.
However, from the first high school sporting events I ever covered, I noticed a lot of bad, very bad things. I have seen players taunt each other. I have seen fights. I have seen a player cuss out his coach in the middle of a basketball game.
High school kids, like all of us, sometimes make poor choices. Some involve throwing a ball out of bounds. Others are more serious and have no connection to sports. Those unfortunate experiences can usually be chalked up to the process of maturing.
But there is one thing for which I find no excuse. I have witnessed grown people-people who should know better-ridicule a 14-year-old kid from the stands for making not making a better play on the field. I will never understand that kind of thinking. It would be great if every child played their game on a level with the world champions. If every corner game was as good as the Super Bowl, World Series or Olympic Games, youth sports would have millions of people watching, too.
But they don't play like seasoned professional athletes, because they aren't. They have hormones and impulses firing through their bodies at such a rate it is a great wonder that any of them are able to get up and go to school every day with two of the same pair shoes and their pants on right.
Watching them play sports is fun because they aren't the best at their sport. A rare few of them may one day be at that level, but seeing them get there is more interesting because they aren't the best. The NBA has the best basketball players, but it is not as much fun to watch as a good college or high school game.
Those kids at pre-puberty age are also different. They have yet to get that burst of energy. Yet, I have heard more than one parent scream "Hit it to him again" after a 10-year-old drops a fly ball that allowed a run to score.
I understand being excited for your team because another baserunner crosses the plate. But supplying joyful ridicule for a child is something I cannot excuse and will never understand.
There are enough bad influences out there for children. Why do some adults have to make what should be a positive activity another source to tear down children?
No one deserves to be belittled. But I do accept that a Major League player must expect to hear complaints if he doesn't measure up. He competes in a business, earning a big paycheck.
It is a disgrace that some adults feel the need to treat kids as if they also earned a $1.4 million signing bonus for playing on the local recreation department team.
It doesn't take a big person to knock down a child. In fact, you have to be pretty petty to want to attack a child with words or any other weapon.
Most parents and adult fans are great supporters. The mature adults who console and congratulate are the ones that keep high school games fun.
I wish that everyone could be nicer. But that is too much to ask for. But I do hope that we can be nicer to children. Let's hold off knocking them down until they've had a chance to climb to something.

Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News. Email Drew Brantley


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