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SPORTS SECTION

SPORTS SECTION - SEPTEMBER 29, 1999

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1999 Local Football Schedules

Leopards to visit streaking Wolves Friday
The front end of Banks County High School football team's schedule is packed with tough competition. This Friday will be no exception.
Banks County has already traveled to Greater Atlanta Christian, a Region 8-A playoff team that reached the state semifinals a season ago.
This week, the Leopards will go to Buford, a team that appears headed for a trip deep into the postseason this year.
"I don't know exactly how to compare this team to the one they had a few years ago with Tim Wansley," Leopard coach Rance Gillespie said. "But then, they had a great individual athlete. I don't see that kind of player on the team this year. But from top to bottom, they've got a good player at every position."


TOUCHDOWN TUCK
Banks County's Blakley Crumley takes the ball in for a Leopard touchdown against Wesleyan last Friday.

Two years ago, led by current University of Georgia defensive back Tim Wansley, Buford finished second in the subregion and lost its first game of the playoffs to eventual state champion Manchester.
Last year, Buford dealt with the loss of those players, going 4-6. This year, the Wolves have erased any lingering growing pains.


Banks County hosting Region 8-A softball tournament
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The only thing holding back the postseason is rain. The top four teams of the regular season are decided, but the tournament was delayed due to rain this week.
The event was to have started Tuesday and finished on Thursday at the Banks County Recreation Department fields in Homer in a four-team double elimination tournament.
Jefferson finished as the top seed and was to have taken on the number four seed Banks County Wednesday afternoon.
Commerce and Dawson County were to have squared off in the other game.
The winners' bracket final and the first losers' bracket games were also to have been played Wednesday.
The team with two wins on the first day of the tournament is assured of making the sectional tournament at Lanier Point in Gainesville Oct. 10.
The sectional tournament is a double-elimination tournament with the top two teams from each area in the north half of Class A.
The tournament is not played to completion. Teams play until they win twice or lose twice.
The top four teams at the sectional event move on to the state tournament in Columbus Oct. 16-17, where they are joined by the top four teams from the south's sectional.
All three slow-pitch classifications hold their state tournaments at the Columbus Softball Complex, site of the 1996 Olympic softball games and home to the Georgia Pride of the Women's Professional Softball League.


Commerce Wipes Out Towns County, 51-7

BY DREW BRANTLEY
For the second straight week, an early lead helped Commerce cruise to victory. The Tigers got their first score from the defense and put up 41 points in the first half to topple Towns County last Friday 51-7.
The easy win allowed Commerce to work on some areas of their game, including using their junior varsity for the second half. Getting a chance to try out some new things in a game was good for the Tigers coach Steve Savage said.
"It was good to get the younger guys in the game," Savage said. "But we got to work on some other things. We tried some bootleg passes and some other things. We've been practicing them for a while, but it was good that we could try them in a game."
Commerce got on the board first with a 15-yard fumble return for a toucdown by Kyle Moore.
The Tigers added another first quarter touchdown on a 28-yard run by Monté Williams. Michael Collins caught his fifth touchdown pass of the season for Commerce's first score of the second quarter on a 10-yard pass from Daniel Carder.
Williams scored on his second carry of the game for a 16-yard scoring run in the second quarter.



Commerce's Lee Sorrow breaks away from a tackle attempt by a Towns County player last Friday night. Sorrow had two catches for 35 yards in Commerce's 51-7 romp over the Indians. This week, the Tigers travel to Dawson County. Photos by Travis Hatfield

Chad Scoggins scored from 19 yards out to put the Tigers up 34-0. Williams' third carry of the night was good for his third touchdown in the second quarter to give Commerce a 41-0 lead that held until halftime.
After Daniel Carder set a school record for the longest field goal in Commerce's last home game with a 45-yarder, junior Casey Gary booted a 41-yarder in the fourth quarter to put Commerce up 51-0.
Having two kickers with the potential to kick 40-yard field goals is a welcomed luxury Savage said.
"That is definitely a plus for us," Savage said. "They've both done a good job for us."
The pair have combined for a perfect 17-17 on extra points. The pair has missed on of three field goal attempts, a 52-yard effort by Carder in the Jefferson game. Carder and Casey also have combined for 10 touchbacks on kickoffs.
Towns County added its lone score late in the fourth quarter at the end of a three-play 71-yard drive.
While Commerce finished the night with 51 points, the offense did not compile comparable numbers in yards. The Tigers gained 302 total yards of offense, which comes to six yards per point.


Region Softball Tourney To Wrap Up On Thursday
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The only thing holding back the postseason is rain. The top four teams of the regular season are decided, but the tournament was delayed due to rain this week.
The event was to have started Tuesday and finished on Thursday at the Banks County Recreation Department fields in Homer in a four-team double elimination tournament.
Jefferson finished as the top seed and was to have taken on the number four seed Banks County Wednesday afternoon.
Commerce and Dawson County were to have squared off in the other game.
The winners' bracket final and the first losers' bracket games were also to have been played Wednesday.
The team with two wins on the first day of the tournament is assured of making the sectional tournament at Lanier Point in Gainesville Oct. 10.
The sectional tournament is a double-elimination tournament with the top two teams from each area in the north half of Class A. The tournament is not played to completion. Teams play until they win twice or lose twice.
The top four teams at the sectional event move on to the state tournament in Columbus Oct. 16-17, where they are joined by the top four teams from the south's sectional.
All three slow-pitch classifications hold their state tournaments at the Columbus Softball Complex, site of the
1996 Olympic softball games and home to the Georgia Pride of the Women's Professional Softball League.


Commerce Runners Preparing For Region Meet Early
After reaching the halfway point of the season, it's now time to focus on what waits at the end of the year, according to Commerce cross country coach Mark Hale.
The Commerce girl runners must face three of the state's top Class A cross country teams at the region meet Oct. 28 in Gainesville.
The boys' team will also run against tough competition in their region meet.
The next four meets for the team will give them a good picture of what it will take to advance to the state meet in Carrollton.
"It's not that these meets are huge meets, but they will have people from our region," Hale said. "It will be good to see how we stack up right now against the people we'll have to meet at the region meet."
Commerce will run this Saturday in the Buford Invitational, which should draw Wesleyan, Providence and Greater Atlanta Christian, whose girls' teams were all recently listed among the top 10 in the state.
Commerce's Stephanie McFadden was eighth in the state last year.
"I'm anxious to see how she runs this Saturday," Hale said. "She's been running pretty good this year, but this will be our first look at what the rest of the region looks like."
The team will also run in the White County Invitationals and the Riverside meet in the next two weeks.
Commerce will close out the regular season at the Athens Invitational on Oct. 16. Athens Academy boasts three-time Class A individual champion Kristin Austin. Austin has posted the fastest time by any female runner in any classification at state for the past two years.
Commerce competed in a meet last week against Madison County and host Franklin County.
The girls took first, led by McFadden (22:46) and Christy Westmoreland (22:53), who finished first and second, respectively.
Chris Rhoads, Anna Roller, Stephani Markov and Tabitha Mize took places eight through 11.
Justin Wood (19:37) and Brody Bearden (19:55) were first and second in the boys' meet.
The team was to have run in a meet Tuesday at Rabun Gap, but results were not available.



Jackson Co. hosts area tournament
BY TIM THOMAS
If the weather will cooperate, Jackson County's Lady Panthers will host the region 8-AAA softball tournament this week. Only one tournament game was played Monday, and all Tuesday's games were postponed due to rain. Jackson County earned the right to play host by posting the best regular-season record in the region.
The tournament is scheduled to resume today (Wednesday), and will tentatively conclude Thursday at Lamar Murphy Park. In the event of rain today (Wednesday), the tournament will be held Friday and Saturday.
The top two finishers in the regional tournament will advance to the sectional tournament next weekend at North Central Complex in Conyers. The state tournament will be held the following weekend, October 15 and 16, in Columbus.
After losing at West Hall last Wednesday, the Lady Panthers easily won at Winder-Barrow Friday, 7-2. The team finished the regular season with a 21-4 mark.
At Winder, the Lady Panthers scored two in the first inning, followed by three in the third. Abrielle Varnum had a big bat and quick feet, scoring on an in-the-park home run to left center. Winder did not score until the bottom of the seventh.

Walking on air
Megan Riley leaves the court to make a shot in last week's match at North Hall, while teammate Stacey Finch looks on. Photo by Tim Thomas


Volley Cats near season's end
Last home match Thursday

BY TIM THOMAS
Michelle Gentry's Volley Cats will play their final home match of the season Thursday, hosting Cedar Shoals. Jackson County's senior Volley Cats will be recognized after the match, which is set to begin at 6 p.m. The team will travel to Johnson High School Saturday to close the regular season.
Post-season qualifying will be held October 7, at a place yet to be determined. North Hall will host the area tournament, slated for October 9.
Gentry said senior Monic Stewart's shoulder injury is healing well, and both Stewart and Alex Rudio should be ready to go in the post-season. Both will continue to see little action this week.
In a losing effort last Thursday at Madison County, the absence the two starters was crucial.
"We didn't show up to play," said Gentry. "They had a couple of servers that we just couldn't get a handle on."
Junior varsity players Brittany Compton and Natasha Privett stepped up and performed well with the varsity team Saturday in a tournament at Oconee County. The Volley Cats defeated Stockbridge before falling to Oconee and Holy Innocents.
Jackson County extended its record to 13-7 Tuesday, with wins over Hart County and Brenau Academy. The Volley Cats dominated Brenau, winning in two games, but struggled against Hart County.
"They have a couple of good servers, some good athletes," Gentry said, referring to Hart. The Volley Cats needed three games to take the match.


Lady Dragons top seed in Region 8-A
Jefferson's Lady Dragons will seek the region 8-A softball title this week. Post season play is scheduled to begin today (Wednesday) in Homer.
The Lady Dragons are the top seed in the region tournament, having finished regular season play at 13-3.
The tournament will also feature Commerce, Banks County, and Dawson County. Play was originally scheduled to begin Tuesday, but was postponed due to rain.
Last week, the Lady Dragons trounced Rabun Gap in their last two games of the regular season, 10-0 and 16-1.
Lee DuBose and Melinda Floyd led the Jefferson defense, scoring 15 putouts with no errors. The team committed a total of two errors in the doubleheader, its best defensive performance yet.
Michelle Boring led the charge at the plate, with a perfect 5-for-5 performance. Boring had three triples, three runs batted in, and two runs scored.
Big guns Lara Bridges and Annie Goza were at it again. The pair had only three hits in seven at-bats, but all three were home runs. Stacey Anderson also homered for the Lady Dragons.
Others hitting well for Jefferson against Rabun Gap were Staci Childress (2-4, two doubles, four runs), Jennifer Hanley (2-3, two runs, one RBI), and Brooklyne Marlowe (2-3, two runs).


MCHS looks to spoil Habersham Central's homecoming
BY ZACH MITCHAM
The Raiders from Mt. Airy spoiled homecoming last year in Danielsville, escaping with a 14-8 win thanks to a late Madison County turnover.
But Tom Hybl's squad will look for payback at Habersham Central's homecoming as the two Raider teams hit the field at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Mt. Airy.
Habersham Central seeks its second win of the season; the Raiders sandwiched a 35-9 win over White County between a 21-19 loss to North Gwinnett and a 40-19 setback to Stephens County.
Madison County has yet to make a mark in the win column, posting losses to Commerce, West Hall, Newton and North Gwinnett.
Hybl, whose team has turned the ball over 12 times in the past two weeks, said his squad must eliminate mistakes.
"We've got to play a good game in all three phases - offense, defense and special teams," he said. "Until we do that, we can't win."
Madison County will be without two key players Friday - running back/linebacker Drew Sparks and defensive back/split end Drew Brantley. Both suffered knee sprains against North Gwinnett, but both are expected to return soon.
As usual, Madison County's opponent boasts more numbers. Habersham Central dresses out 65 players, including 15 or 16 seniors, according to third year Habersham coach Theo Caldwell. Madison County began the season with just 35 players on its squad.
Hybl said his team's lack of depth is a disadvantage. But Habersham Central's talent at the skill positions and size on the offensive line also have his concern.
"They're a good, big team," said Hybl. "They'll be hard for us to cover. They spread the ball out and that opens up running lanes."
Habersham Central is led on offense by quarterback Austin York and running back Rolo Brown - both seniors - and receiver Mac Brown. Senior noseguard Clint Sexton and junior defensive back Justin Irvin are the team's standouts on defense, according to Caldwell.
Caldwell said his offensive line, which averages around 280 lbs., is his team's strength. He said his team is well balanced, running the ball and throwing equally, gaining about 400 yards on the ground so far this year and 600 through the air. But he cites his team's inexperience and lack of a kicking game as its weaknesses.
Caldwell, who sports a 13-10 overall record at Habersham, said Madison County knows how to eat up yardage and the clock.
"They keep that ball on offense," he said. "They've got a good power game and control the clock."
Last year, a potential game-tying catch was wrestled out of the hands of a Madison County receiver in the end zone with just 25 seconds left, allowing Habersham Central to escape with the victory en route to a 5-5 season.


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