Dominant Defense: Tigers’ D propels them to region win in Athens



ATHENS -  In a game filled with standouts on defense, the Commerce Tigers needed one offensive series to help out the defense which had given them the chance to seal the win.

The Tigers held the ball for the remaining 4:20 of the fourth quarter to beat Athens Christian, 10-7, in a crucial region game.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to the Athens Christian football team tonight,” Commerce head coach Michael Brown said. “It seems like the last three times we have played these guys it’s been a four-quarter game.”

Senior defensive end Derek Benoit was all over the field, Friday night. Benoit had a crucial sack on Athens Christian quarterback Josiah Brooks late in the third quarter to force a punt.

He also added three tackles for loss.

“I really couldn’t of done anything tonight without my teammates,” Benoit said. “We have been working so hard all year.

“We are headed in the right direction.”

Battle of Jefferson: Dragons fly past Panthers, move to 5-0



JEFFERSON — After a first-possession fumble by the undefeated Jefferson Dragons on Friday night, the annual Battle of Jefferson with cross-town rival Jackson County had all the makings of a great rivalry game: an early turnover, a fired-up crowd and the home team looking to score quick.

By halftime, the annual meeting had turned into the Dalton Hill, Evan Shirreffs and Sammy Williams show.

The three seniors showed how explosive the Dragons’ offense can be, even on an off night.

The Dragons dominated the Panthers, 34-7, despite committing three turnovers and racking up over 80 yards in penalties.

It was also a region-opening game for both teams.

Jefferson’s (5-0, 1-0 Region 8-AAA) Williams rushed for a game-high 143 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns.

Shirreffs passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Offensive firepower: Hawks fall short in shootout against Bulldogs



HOSCHTON — There was no shortage of offense for either Mill Creek or North Gwinnett on Friday night.

Both teams combined for more than 1,000 yards and 92 points.

However, North Gwinnett didn’t blink, matching Mill Creek point for point, picking up a 51-41 win in Hoschton.

“We sure worked our butts off, I am proud of our kids’ effort,” Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said. “They worked hard and the coaches worked hard to prepare for this game.

“We could never get two touchdowns up on them. We would go up and then they’d score. They would go up and then we scored, it was just back and forth the whole game,” Jarvis continued.

He added that his squad had chances with some defensive stops late, but were unable to move the ball out of their own territory.

“Our protection broke down late. We had the routes, but there were busted assignments on the line that led to some sacks,” he said.

Spoiling The Party: Husted, Lady Dragons spoil senior night, sizzle past Lady Panthers to keep region tournament hopes alive



JEFFERSON — It has been a tough 2014 season for the Jefferson Lady Dragons’ softball team. Amidst a coaching change in the past few weeks, a seven-game losing skid and with their region hopes slipping away, the Lady Dragons could have folded.

The operative word being folded. But, they haven’t given up on this season quite yet.

The Lady Dragons persevered through what has been a difficult stretch for the program and kept their region hopes alive by defeating the Jackson County Lady Panthers, 7-0, on Thursday.

The win avenged a 15-5 loss earlier in the season.

With the win, Jefferson (8-17, 3-8 Region 8-AAA) faces the East Jackson Lady Eagles on Tuesday night at home with region tournament hopes on the line.

Jefferson senior Olivia Husted pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing only three hits and recording 10 strikeouts. She went 3-for-4 from the plate, including a two-run home run and four RBIs.

Arynn Baker recorded four singles and an RBI and Emily Dufty smashed two doubles and snagged an RBI.

As a team, the Lady Dragons recorded 15 hits.

“We got our bats going and they started going early,” interim head coach Sam Moore said. “That was a big thing.

“We got seven great innings from Olivia. She pitched lights out tonight. And, defensively, we made plays and executed on defense.”

The Lady Dragons committed no errors in the win.

“That’s what we’ve been working on in practice, hammering, hammering and hammering, and it finally came together tonight. It was a great job, a great win tonight.”

After taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning, the Lady Dragons broke it open in the top of the third inning when Husted connected on the two-run homer to extend the lead to 3-0. Husted drove in two more runs in the top of the fourth. Baker and Dufty each recorded their RBI hits in the inning as well.

“This was probably one of the best nights for me personally and us as a team have had, because it has been rough season,” Husted explained after the victory.

“The way we won in this game was spectacular, just the way we stayed up and the way we kept hitting, because last time, once we got down we were down. We couldn’t go back up. So, when we started hitting, we kept getting hits and hits and hits, and it all just followed through,” Husted continued. “We had spectacular defense. The catcher, she did great. Finally hitting a strike zone, which nice…It felt great because it hasn’t exactly been the best season, but its gotten better, and that right there made me excited for Tuesday, because now I’m ready to come out and put it on East Jackson.”

The Lady Panthers (14-12, 7-4) were led by Alyssa Dasher’s two hits. Peyton Sorrells recorded the team’s only other hit

“It was a disappointing loss,” head coach Chessie Laird said. “Anytime you play at home, especially on senior night, when you play Jefferson, you really want that win.

“But, I’m not going to take anything away from their girls. They came out, they were ready, they were intense, they hit the ball, they did the little things right, and we struggled…Olivia’s a great pitcher. She pretty much dominated us. For us to not do what we needed to at the plate, that was a little frustrating. But, Tuesday’s a new day.”

The Lady Panthers travel to Oconee County on Tuesday. With a win, they clinch the No. 2-seed in the region tournament.


Lady Hawks’ cross country wins Gwinnett County Championship; Boys take 3rd place


From The Paper staff reports

The Mill Creek Hawks’ girls cross country team took first place in the Gwinnett County Championship, last Saturday.

Hannah Petit finished first overall with a time 19:01.59. Sara Scales notched third place with a time of 19:26.16. Camryn Petit finished in fifth place with a time of 19:35.03.

As a team, the Lady Hawks beat out Brookwood, Peachtree Ridge, Collins Hill and North Gwinnett high schools to take the top spot.

The boys’ team finished third overall behind winner Brookwood High School and second-place finisher Peachtree Ridge.

Sam Costa notched a fourth-place overall finish with a time of 16:29.30. Jordan Ashwood came in 13th with a time of 16:49.40. Gavin Childers and Noah Hollis finished 17th and 18th, respectively.