|MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
|SPORTS SECTION - AUGUST 25, 1999|
|1999 Local Football Schedules|
Jamboree Kicks Off Friday Night At CHS
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The time has come to see a different jersey. Commerce will finish the last week of presesaon practice this Friday night hosting a jamboree with Stephens County and Morgan County.
The scrimmage will begin at 7 p.m. Each team will have the ball for two periods, while working on defense for two periods. No score will be kept.
"We don't care about keeping score," Tiger coach Steve Savage said. "It's just a chance for us to work on things with all our guys on the field at the same time. If one team needs to work on something, the other ones will give them the look they want."
NEW WAR PATH FORMING
The three teams met last season for the jamboree, but things have changed a good bit for one of the teams.
Stephens County is now under the direction of former Tift County coach Charles Winslette, who replaced Jay Russell. Winslette has had state championship experience, while coaching at West Rome, Greene County, and Tift County.
He takes over an Indian team depleted from a huge senior class a year ago. More than 11 key players were lost to graduation.
Perhaps the biggest missing player is University of Georgia freshman defensive back Kantrell Curry.
Last year's group went undefeated in the regular season, claiming the Region 8-AAA title. The Indians lost their first-round playoff game 9-7 to Clarkston.
This year's squad returns five starters from a year ago. Quarterback Stephen Sauls and center Ryan Brock anchor the middle of the offense. However, only senior wideout Evans Oglesby comes back with experience on offense.
MORE ON MORGAN
The Morgan County Bulldogs hope a few things will change this year. After losing in the first round of the playoffs in 1997 with a 7-4 record, the squad finished with a 9-2 in 1998.
Morgan County lost in the opening round of the playoffs to Pepperell 21-9. The Bulldogs' only loss of the regular season was to region champion Hart County.
This year, Morgan County returns 17 starters from a year ago.
Quarterback Bo Moore is back to run the offense.
Other returning leaders on the team include running backs Derrick Ballard and Rodney Stephens and linebacker Danny Tillery.
Leopards uncover diamond treasure
BCHS girls top Buford, Jefferson for tourney title
BY DREW BRANTLEY
After last weekend, everyone knows Banks County's softball team can fight with its back to the wall.
The Leopards' run to the Dragon Booster Club tournament title featured two wins in Banks County's last turn at bat. Banks County began the tournament with an 11-10 win over Buford in nine innings. The Leopards followed with their first win over Jefferson 5-1. Glascock County handed BCHS its only loss in six games of the tournament with a 7-5 over the Leopards.
Banks County ended the round-robin portion of play with a 12-2 win against Jasper.
The Leopards avenged their only loss during the single elimination tournament, beating Glascock 20-15. Banks County overcame a five-run surge by Jefferson in the championship game to take an 8-7 win and the first-place trophy.
"To go 5-1, you can't ask for much more than that," Banks County coach Mike Gordon said. "But I'm selfish. I fell like we could have been 6-0. We could have hit the ball better. But I was tickled to death with the way they played." The tone was set in the first game against Buford. The Leopards scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh on five hits with two outs to tie the game 8-8. Megan Williams connected for a triple, one of her team-leading 14 hits in the tournament, to tie the game in the seventh.
Buford took the lead in the top of the ninth with two runs to take a 10-8 lead. Banks came back to plate three runs in the bottom half to grab the win. Michelle Snipes had a home run in the ninth to help charge the rally. Brittany Holcomb, Ashley Freeman and Williams each added hits.
Banks County's unwillingness to give in showed itself again in the final match-up with Jefferson. After taking a 6-2 lead, the Leopards saw Jefferson score five runs in the top of the fifth to lead 7-6.
In the bottom of the inning, Williams led off with a double. Regina Veal drove in Williams to level the score.
The teams stayed even until the bottom of the seventh, when Holcomb led off with a double. Williams came through with a double to win the game.
Coming from behind to win, Banks County showed its coach it can overcome adversity. He would like to see them start with the same intensity.
"We showed that we've got it in us," Gordon said. "We just can't wait until we get behind to be tough. That was a great comeback against Buford. You won't do that every day. That will make them that much more hungry to come back and beat us Thursday."
MCHS grabs Leadoff Classic crown
BY ZACH MITCHAM
They may have been the hosts, but the Madison County Raiders weren't about to let anyone ruin the fun on their own turf last week.
Madison County won five of six games Thursday through Saturday at the Madison County Recreation Department to claim first place in the Madison County Leadoff Classic.
The Raiders defeated Habersham Central, Elbert County, Morgan County, Stephens County and Oglethorpe County en route to the title, outscoring their opponents 37-9.
Raider head coach Doug Kesler, whose team was 6-1 after the tournament, said he was pleased with his team's efforts.
"I've been really pleased with our defense," said Kesler. "And I think we'll be O.K. with our hitting. We're hitting better than last year....This is a great group of girls. They lay it on the line."
MADISON COUNTY 10 HABERSHAM CENTRAL 0
The Raiders pounced on Habersham Central early Thursday afternoon with five runs in the first inning en route to a 10-0 win.
Renee Mathews, who was 11 for 22 in the tournament, led the team with two hits. Tawana Moon smashed a triple, while Heather Jones, Sheena Mason, Valerie Norman, Amanda Lewis and Lauren Stopczynski each had a hit.
Mason picked up her second straight shutout, allowing just one hit, while fanning 10 batters in six innings.
MADISON COUNTY 10 ELBERT COUNTY 0
Madison County kept their foot on the accelerator Thursday evening with another 10-0 win, this time over Elbert County. Mathews again led the team with three hits and three RBIs. Lewis smacked three hits and an RBI. Jones, Moon, Shelley Bates and Jana Ackerman each had a hit.
Freshman Lyndsey Barnette earned the victory, allowing just three hits while striking out nine in six innings.
MADISON COUNTY 4 MORGAN COUNTY 1
The Raiders scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning to down Morgan County 4-1 Friday. Jones was 3-for-3; Norman and Bates each had two hits and Moon had a double and two RBIs.
Mason recorded the win, allowing three hits while striking out seven in five innings.
OGLETHORPE COUNTY 4 MADISON COUNTY 1
Oglethorpe County rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning Saturday to defeat Madison County 4-1. Moon smashed a solo shot out of the park in the top of the seventh for the Raiders' lone run. Mathews had two hits.
Mason took the loss, allowing six hits, while fanning five.
MADISON COUNTY 8 STEPHENS COUNTY 3
The Raiders tallied five runs in the first, two in the third and one in the fourth to top the Indians 8-3 Saturday. Moon and Mason paced Madison County with three hits. Mathews had two hits and two RBIs and Norman smashed two hits as well. Lewis and Bates both had a hit.
Barnette picked up the win, allowing seven hits and striking out five.
MADISON COUNTY 4 OGLETHORPE COUNTY 1
Though the Patriots took the first game, the Raiders had the last laugh Saturday, topping Oglethorpe County 4-1 in the championship game.
Oglethorpe County carried a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning, but Madison County rallied for four runs in the top of the sixth to claim the victory.
Mathews led the team with two hits, while Jones and Stopczynski each had one.
Mason was the winning pitcher, allowing five hits while fanning five.
The Raiders, who were scheduled to face Central Gwinnett Tuesday - results were unavailable as of press time - will travel to Madison Friday and Saturday to play in the Morgan County Tournament. The team will then travel to Oconee County at 6 p.m. Tuesday, before hosting Clarke Central at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The perfect beginning
Lady Panthers off to 5-0 start
Jackson County Comprehensive High School's Lady Panthers softball team is off to a 5-0 start after the first week of the season. After trouncing Washington-Wilkes 21-1 last Wednesday, the Lady Panthers defeated Elbert County, Commerce, and host Oconee County twice in winning the Oconee County tournament last weekend.
The Lady Panthers won over Elbert County 8-2 in the first round of the tournament, then followed up with a 12-6 victory over Commerce. They then sailed through Oconee County 26-2 before defeating the host team again 12-3 to win the tournament title.
Robin Stancil was 10-for-19 in the tournament, including a home run, 2 triples, and 10 runs batted in. Paige Scogin had 8 hits in 16 at-bats with a home run, a triple, and 8 RBIs. Megan Elliot, Jessica Banks, and Brandy Lejeune also batted well, going a combined 29-for-47. Others playing in the tournament were: Krystal Britt, Amy Nelms, Carly Parr, Abriele Varnum, April Cantrell, Carrie Hammond, Brandy Phillips, Karla Rainwater, and Erin Strickland.
The Lady Panthers were scheduled to play at West Hall yesterday (Tuesday), and will travel to East Hall on Thursday. JCCHS will be busy this week as they host a tournament Saturday, then play Washington-Wilkes at home Tuesday at 5 p.m. and Winder-Barrow Wednesday at 4:30.
Lady Dragons finish 2nd in booster tournament
Jefferson High School's Lady Dragons softball team finished second this past weekend in the Jefferson Booster Club Tournament.
Banks County took the top spot by defeating Jefferson 8-7 in the last inning of the championship game. Buford finished in 3rd place.
In round 1 of the tournament, Jefferson took only three innings to blow Monticello away 16-0. The Lady Dragons then went on to beat Buford 21-11 in five innings before losing to Banks County in the final.
Annie Goza led the Jefferson offense by driving in 16 runs on 12 hits, including six doubles and a home run. Goza also scored 11 runs.
Lara Bridges also did well at the plate, going 8-for-19 with a double, two home runs, 10 RBI, and nine runs scored.
Other notable batting performances for the Lady Dragons:
Lee DuBose, 8-21, five doubles, six RBI, nine runs.
Brooklyne Marlowe, 7-18, three doubles, six RBI, four runs.
Shanda McClure, 7-13, one double, three RBI, two runs.
Melinda Floyd, 8-18, three RBI, seven runs.
Staci Childress struggled to reach base, going 5-for-21, but produced well, driving in seven runs and scoring nine.
The Lady Dragons hit .376 as a team for the tournament.
Jefferson will travel to Commerce Thursday for a Region 8-A game.
From The Sideline
By Drew Brantley
Ending On Top Beats Preseason No. 1 Every Time
Does Commerce High School have the best football
team in Class A?
I don't know. But since Sunday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution preview section rankings came out, has there been a hotter topic in town?
I think the Tigers have to be mentioned in any conversation about the best offensive teams in the state. A healthy Monté Williams is enough to make Commerce potent. Near or past 100 percent recovered from a broken leg suffered in the playoffs, his last year's stats were enough to impress any football prognosticator.
Gaining 2,628 total yards, Williams was easily one of the most prolific offensive players in the state last year. His 2,168 yards rushing were the third-highest total in 1998. And no one reached the end zone more times than his 34 touchdown mark.
But that's not all Commerce brings to the table. All-time Tiger receiving yardage leader Michael Collins returns. On offense he caught 19 passes for 516 yards. On defense, he caught five opponent's passes for 100 yards in interception returns.
Collins added 351 return yards. That's 967 yards just for him. His exploits and 6-6 frame draw attention from college basketball and football programs already. He has been listed as one of the top juniors in the state by several college football and recruiting magazines.
Daniel Carder will likely be the primary quarterback this year, so his 410 yards receiving, 121 yards rushing and four touchdowns will be shifted under center.
Don't forget Twion Shealer and Casey Gary, who combined for more than 700 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
Between those five players, the yardage returning comes just shy of the 5,000 mark. The offensive leaders combined for 348 points last season. Who wouldn't be impressed with those numbers.
Defense is a different story. The team gave up nearly 24 points per game last year. The Tigers will likely play the 1999 season without six of their 10 leading tacklers from a year ago.
So headed into the season, scoring should not be a problem. Stopping people will be the key.
The Georgia High School Football magazine also came out last week, listing Commerce as the sixth-best team in the state.
Now I don't have a fancy Bowl Championship Series formula, but using the AJC rankings and the GHSF magazine's list, Commerce comes out in third place in a combination of the two behind Taylor County and Charlton County.
None of that means anything though. Neither preseason poll, nor The Associated Press preseason poll gave any consideration in their top 15 lists to Darlington, who won the Class A championship.
It is a great honor for Commerce to receive this kind of notority around the state.
While the ability to succeed is good to have, nobody gives out trophies or plaques for potential.
Region 8-A should have several good teams this year.
Commerce and Greater Atlanta Christian seem to be the front-runners. Buford, Rabun County and Jefferson seem poised to make a run for the postseason. Everybody's dark horse this year is Dawson County.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News. Email Drew Brantley
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