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Banks County starts wrestling season
Building a program is the key for Banks County High School's first-year wrestilng coach Matt Miller.
"I don't have a lot, but the ones I have are working hard and making a lot of progress," Miller said. "The kids are real excited about being on the team. Coach Sam Baxter is my assistant coach and is doing a lot to help out. He does a good job with motiviation and handling the conditioning.
Eight varsity wrestlers are ready to pick up the gauntlet.
Senior captain Jamie Voll (145 pounds) is one of the experienced grapplers back in the program.
"He's been in the program for four years," Miller said. "He seen a lot of changes. I think he's got a chance to some good things at the state qualifier."
Jesse Lewallen (171) is the other senior on the team.
"Jesse has good balance," Miller said. "He's just starting out. He's learning a lot."
Freshman Justin Bonds will handle the 112 spot.
Yoric Erb-Summers (125) and Matt Smith (130) are making each other better in practice, Miller said.
"They're practicing well together," Miller said. "Yoric's dad wrestled in Pennsylavania, Yoric comes in with a good idea of what it's all about. He's helping Matt also."
Richad Howards and Clint Jacks are both at 160.
"They're getting a lot of competition in practice," Miller said. "Howard was out last season with an injury. Jacks is new to the program, but is learning a lot."
One of the strengths to the program is the middle school wrestlers, Miller said.
"We've got a lot of good kids," Miller said. "A few of them have a chance to go on to big things."
Seth Brownlee (152) and Caleb Herrin (160) are shining early, Miller said.
The team was able to turn a vacant facility into their own personal space.
"(Middle school principal) Ms. (Kay) Rogers has let us use the auto mechanics shop as a wrestling room," Miller said. "We appreciate her letting us use the room.
"It makes a difference not to have to roll up the mat every night. We're fortunate to have a place to workout and train and call our own. We've got a chance to work on technique, and hopefully buile for the future with our younger bunch."
All of the wrestling team's matches will be on the road this year.
"We're hoping that we'll be able to have some home matches, and hopefully host the area tournament," Miller said. "But that won't be this year. That will be down the line."
Banks County open its season Monday night at Jackson County, but results were not available by presstime.
The team was to have traveled to Lumpkin County Tuesday afternoon for its second match of the season.
The Leopards can anticipate tough competition from their area opponents.
Jefferson, Dawson County and Commerce have each finished in the top 10 at the Class A state meet each of the past two years.
The area meet will be held at Dawson County High School on Feb. 5.

Seems Like Old Times
CHS Tigers To Host Former Region 8-A Foe Athens Academy Friday
Seeing Commerce and Athens Academy on the same field has been a common occurrence for the past 15 or so years.
While the two teams did not play every year, they were both members of Region 8-A from 1984 to 1997.
Under the present realignment, the Spartans were moved to Region 7-A, supposedly ending any rivalry.
But two successful seasons later, the two squads are poised to eye each other Friday night in the second round of the Class A football playoffs.
Athens Academy (10-1) turned in its first-ever 10-win season last year, advancing to the second round of the state playoffs for the first time. This year, the Spartans defeated Lincoln County 23-21 to capture second place in Region 7-A.
A win last week gave the Spartans their second straight 10-win season and berth in the second round of state.
The Spartans bring a dual attack with a rusher with more 1,000 yards on the ground and a thrower with more than 1,000 yards through the air.
"I would classify them as a running team that will throw the ball about 10 or 15 times a game," Commerce coach Steve Savage said. "We've got to be ready for both the run and pass just like we have for the past three weeks. They've got a good football team."
Under center, Athens Academy is lead by sophomore quarterback Joe Tereshinski, whose father is the assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Georgia.
The younger Tereshinski has thrown for 1,283 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Spartans.
Spartan senior John Pettee has 1,164 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground for Athens Academy.
Tereshinski beat out junior Mixon Robinson for the starting spot at quarterback. Robinson remains an integral part of the Spartan squad, leading the team with 71 tackles.
The Spartans have 13 seniors on this year's team, many of whom started last year.
Last year, Athens Academy beat Washington-Wilkes to claim the runner-up spot behind Lincoln County.
This year, the Spartans topped Lincoln County, but lost to Washington-Wilkes.
That left Athens Academy in the two spot again this year from Region 7-A.
Athens beat Northgate 24-14 last week in the first round of the playoffs.
Northgate had a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. Senior Spartan kick Billy Bennett had a personal-best 42-yard field goal late in the second period to narrow the lead.
Tereshinski and Junior Patrick Garrard each scored on short runs in the second half, as the Spartans held on for a 24-14 win.
Athens had 360 total yards on offense, holding Northgate to 189 total yards.

Tigers Throttle Armuchee 38-20 In Playoff Opener
The final score did not tell the story. A 38-20 tally appears to show that the Armuchee Indians were in the game with the Commerce Tigers.
But all of Armuchee's points came in the final 15 minutes of the game against a defensive unit comprised of junior varsity players.
The real story came in the third quarter, where the Tigers opened up a 31-0 lead midway through the quarter.
Monté Williams ran 55 yards, cutting and dashing any chance for the Indians to mount a comeback.
From that point on the Commerce defensive starters were slowly snatched off the field. Armuchee scored its first touchdown against a Tiger squad that had about half the starters on the field.
As Armuchee moved down on its next possession, top-line players exited the field on almost each play until the unit was complete made up of junior varsity players.
Armuchee managed two more touchdowns, the second coming after recovering an onside kick.
But Armuchee's quick burst ended when their next onside attempt went out of bounds.
Two runs by Williams came before a 32-yard scoring rumble by junior fullback Twion Shealer to end the scoring at 38-20.
Michael Collins had two catches on the night, including an 80-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
Daniel Carder eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season in passing with 127 yards on three completions.
Carder had 45 yards and two scores rushing. Collins added a 41-yard run for his only carry.
Shealer had 46 yards rushing on the night.
Williams finished with 158 yards and one touchdown rushing. Williams' offensive efforts Friday earned him school career records for total yards and yards rushing.

Panthers swept by N. Gwinnett in opener
By Tim Thomas
Jackson County's basketball teams will take most of this week off after being swept at home Friday by North Gwinnett. The Panthers' next games are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 30, at home against region 8-AAA foe Dacula.
The Lady Panthers lost a close and exciting game, 61-58.
North Gwinnett led by 11 with two minutes left in the first half, but Jackson County scored six in a row to close to 30-25.
The Lady Bulldogs stretched the lead to nine in the third period, to 48-39. Jackson County ruled the fourth, as Abrielle Varnum and April Cantrell combined for seven unanswered points to lead the Lady Panthers to within three with two minutes left. Three missed free-throws in the final minute were crucial, and the Lady Panthers took a hard-fought loss in the season opener.
"I was well pleased with the team effort," said coach Annette Watts. "We never gave up, and we played hard to the last second."
Monic Stewart led the Lady Panthers with 26 points and 10 rebounds. She was also 10 for 12 from the free throw line.
It was a rocky start for Jackson County's boys, as they were hit with two technical fouls in the opening minute of the game.
North Gwinnett followed up with an 11-point run to take a 14-4 lead. The Bulldogs dominated the floor, controlling the ball most of the first period. But they were quiet late in the period, and Jackson County fought back to 16-12 going into the second.
North Gwinnett used an overwhelming press to pick off a number of passes in the first half, and took a 42-31 lead into the locker room.
"I was disappointed in the way we played early," said Panther coach Ron Garren. "We played the same team with the same personnel in the region tournament last year, and we only had seven turnovers in that game."
Foul trouble hurt the Panthers in the third period. North Gwinnett outscored Jackson County 21-10 in the period.
"It was a real frustrating night," Garren said, "because we couldn't keep our front line people on the floor due to the foul situation. Plus we were playing one of the best teams in the state."
The Panthers made up some ground in the final period, but the deficit was too great to overcome. North Gwinnett took the game by a final of 78-57.
Free throws and turnovers were key to the Bulldogs' victory. North Gwinnett created 25 turnovers against the Panthers, and hit 26 free throws, compared to only seven for Jackson County.
"We're a much better team than we showed," Garren said. "I'm still encouraged that this team is
going to be a region competitor before it's all over."

Panther wrestlers to host four teams Tuesday
Jackson County will host a five-team match Tuesday at the school's Gordon Street complex.
Habersham Central, North Hall, Monroe Area and Gainesville all are scheduled to compete. Middle school and junior varsity matches are slated to begin at 5 p.m., with varsity action following.
In Saturday's junior varsity tournament at North Hall, the Pathers finished 11th out of 15 teams competing.
M. Potts took second at 125 and A. Murphy (171) took fourth.
Others participating in the tournament were J. Jackson (112), R. Richardson (112), J. Jackson (135), Z. Smith (140), T. Chapin (145), A. Ledbetter (152), B. Bishop (171), J. Anglin (171), J. Talbert (189), J. Davis (189) and J. Terry (215).
late score
The Panthers eased past Banks County 84-0 Monday, scoring the maximum number of points possible in a dual match.
Banks County fielded wrestlers in only six of 14 weight classes. All six were pinned by their Jackson County opponents, five in the first period. Freshman Jordan Breitt took three periods to pin his adversary in a hard-fought match.

Lady Dragons roll; boys win in thrilling comeback
By Tim Thomas
The 1999 Sonny's Smokin' Shootout got off to a roaring start for the Jefferson Dragons. The Lady Dragons led the way with a 71-50 shellacking of Morgan County, and the boys overcame an 11-point third-period deficit to defeat West Hall, 75-65.
Jefferson and West Hall swapped the lead 11 times in the first half, with the Spartans taking a slim 39-37 lead at intermission. A seven-point run to start the second half put West Hall up by nine, and minutes later, they had stretched the lead to 11. The Spartans pulled down several offensive rebounds to lead the charge, and they led throughout the third period. Going into the fourth, the score was West Hall 61, Jefferson 52.
The Dragon defense tightened in the fourth, ending West Hall's domination under their goal. The Spartans were held to only four points in the quarter, while Jefferson racked up 23.
In the midst of an exciting series of non-stop action, Buzz Wehunt's shot with just over two minutes to play gave Jefferson the lead for good. The Dragons finished the game with a flurry, scoring 17 unanswered points.
Jefferson had four men in double figures - Wehunt (25), Daniel Goza (16), Dantonio Chandler (13) and Ryan Gurley (13).
At press time, Jefferson was next scheduled to face Franklin County Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.
The Lady Dragons' game was not nearly as close as the boys' game, but was just as exciting. Jefferson played an all-out pressing defense, and a high-scoring fast-break offense.
Morgan County took an early 6-4 lead, but Annie Goza gave Jefferson the lead for good just moments later. The Lady Dragons earned a number of steals in the game, and Morgan County was called for traveling often. Jefferson had three streaks of seven unanswered points during the game.
Goza led the scoring with 15 points, followed by Lee DuBose (13), Staci Childress (7), and Brooklyne Marlowe (7).
At press time, the Lady Dragons were scheduled to take on Collins Hill at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Jefferson wrestlers to start next Tuesday against Johnson
Although the Dragons begin the season ranked second in the state, the strength of Jefferson's wrestling team this season is anybody's guess. The picture should be much clearer after next Tuesday's home match against Johnson High School, set to start at 6 p.m.
Most of the Dragons' probable starters have wrestled before, but only four have won medals at the state level.
"We won't be nearly as good as we were last year," remarked coach Jack Keen. "We won seven of nine tournaments last year, and were 16-0 in dual matches. We finished third in the state." Keen said he would rank his team fifth or sixth in the state.
Gone from last year's team are five seniors: Carter and Cody Cain, Will Bryan, Calvin Lyles and Chris Martin. Cody Cain, Bryan and Lyles combined last season for a remarkable 131-9 record.
Returning are former state medalists Justin Gooch (second last year at 125), Eric Wilburn (second at 135), Steve Green (fourth at 160), and Michael Albea (fourth at 112 two years ago). All are seniors. All are planning to return to the same weight classes in time for the state tournament, though they will likely begin the season one class heavier.
Other likely starters include seniors Chad Hemphill (171-189) and Clint Bryson (215), and junior Brendan Kemp (275). Bryson and Kemp are virtually guaranteed starting spots, as they are the only Jefferson wrestlers in their respective weight classes.
Potential starters include freshmen Hunter Garner (135-140) and Jeremy Smith (130), who both were successful in eighth grade, twin freshmen Nathaniel (103) and Jeremiah (112) Wilson, and sophomore Joel Thrasher (112).
Cousins Blake and Chris Gooch will probably compete for the 119-pound slot if Albea drops to 112.
Others who may compete for starting spots include sophomores Braxston Pittman (145-152) and David Boring (145-152), junior Zack Evans (160), and senior Jon Veldhuis (160). Junior Jesse Posnansky (130 to 145), a transfer, will hope to find a spot when he becomes eligible after his family's new home in the Jefferson school district is completed in January.
Other Dragon matmen who will see action this year are freshmen Aubrey Shirley (103), Casey Wilkins (125), Brandon Seabolt (130), Scott Nix (140-145) and Ricky Waters (140-145); juniors Ryan Crane (103) and Brian Ferguson (130); and seniors Cha Thor (112), Tarren Butler (125) and Joseph Carter (140-145).
JV tournament results
Several Jefferson wrestlers took part in a junior varsity tournament Saturday at North Hall.
Though only four of the team's 18 entrants had previously wrestled at the ninth-grade level or above, the Dragons finished second out of 15 teams, only 11 points behind Loganville. The next-highest ranked class A team was Riverside, at eighth.
"This was an excellent start for our 1999-2000 season," Keen said, "and all of our wrestlers should be congratulated for their performance."
Smith (135) and Garner (145) took first place in their respective weight classes, while Nix (140) finished second, and N. Wilson (103), J. Wilson (112), Waters (145), Evans (160) and Kemp (275) all finished third. Thrasher (112) and Pittman (145) took fourth.
Others competing in the tournament, several of whom won two or more matches, were: Shirley (103), Crane (103), Thor (119), Wilkins (125), Seabolt (130), Boring (152), Hill (171), and Shreve (171).
The Dragons' total of 10 medal winners was more than any other team in the tournament.

MCHS girls top Brookwood in season opener 51-43
Madison County boys fall to Broncos 71-41
The Madison County girls knew how to start and how to finish against Brookwood Saturday, overcoming second and third quarter shooting woes to top the Lady Broncos 51-43 in their season opener.
The Lady Raiders, who trailed Brookwood by one point after three quarters, outscored the Lady Broncos 20-11 in the final eight minutes to secure the win.
Tawana Moon, who had the hot shooting hand for Madison County, leading her team with 28 points, posted nine points in the final eight minutes and six in the final 100 seconds. The senior star also opened the game on fire, scoring her team's first nine points on a three-pointer, a layup and two put-back baskets.
While Madison County pulled away in the final moments, their Class AAAA opponent was no pushover.
Madison County trailed Brookwood 16-13 in the opening moments. But Sheena Mason countered with a bucket for the Lady Raiders and Renee Mathews knocked down a three-pointer at the first period buzzer to give Madison County an 18-16 edge after one quarter.
Both teams went cold in the second period, neither team scoring for the first 4:23 of the quarter. Madison County went up by five shortly before the half, but Brookwood knotted the score at 23 with 23 seconds left before intermission. The teams traded baskets and headed to the locker room tied at 25.
Madison County managed just six points in the third quarter - four from Moon and two from Brittney Escoe - but five Lady Raiders got on the scoreboard in the final period. And the team was solid from the line down the stretch to wrap up the win.
Others scoring for Madison County included Mathews, nine points; Escoe, five; Aiyana Hunter, five; and Ashley Myers, two.
While the Madison County boys started strong, Brookwood possessed too much offensive firepower Saturday, downing the Raiders 71-41 at North Gwinnett.
Chris Lattimore, who finished with 11 points, put on a highlight-reel first quarter performance to lead the Raiders to a 15-11 edge with 2:40 left in the opening period. Lattimore tallied nine points in the opening eight minutes, scoring his fifth point of the night on a three-pointer to knot the score at 11, then stealing the ball from the Broncos and scoring on two consecutive possessions, slamming the ball into the basket after the first steal, a play that brought Raider fans to their feet.
But things unraveled quickly for Madison County in the second quarter as the Broncos got hot from the perimeter, knocking down four three-point baskets before intermission and taking a 41-21 lead into the second half.
Brookwood upped that lead to 62-33 after the third period en route to the 30-point win.
Others scoring for Madison County included Trellis Appling, 10 points; Chad Gillespie, seven; Josh Chandler, four; Chad Youngblood, three; and Trevelle Heard, Ben Baker and Jamaris Mattox, each with two.

Raider wrestlers take third in Newton tourney
Madison County wrestlers took third place in a six-team tournament at Newton High School in Covington Saturday.
Habersham Central won the event, while Newton finished second. Other teams participating included Gainesville, Oconee County and Eastside.
"I thought we did well," said Raider wrestling coach Greg Gaines. "Some of our younger guys held their own and there were some nice surprises."
Gaines said he was especially proud of senior Tony Patterson, who won five matches in the 145 lb. weight class, though he usually wrestles in the 140-lb. division.
"Tony is an awesome wrestler," said Gaines of the wrestler who had one pin in 15 seconds Saturday. "He's the kind you just sit and watch and can't believe it. With some work, he could be a state contender."
Others with strong performances for the Raiders included Gary Evans, who also won five matches; Adam Thompson, who won four matches; and Matt Cleghorne and Steve Austin, who Gaines said wrestled "really well."
The Raiders were scheduled to hit the mat again Tuesday at Riverside versus the hosting Blue Devils and Weslyan. Madison County will host its first matches of the year Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. versus Jackson County and Stephens County.

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