Final-second thriller: Tigers survive Athens Academy

COMMERCE — Going into halftime of Friday night’s game, the Commerce Tigers held a 15-point lead.
Little did they know it was going to come down to a goal-line stand to secure the victory.
The Tigers held on in the final seconds to defeat the Athens Academy Spartans, 27-20, in Commerce.
Commerce (3-1, 2-0) jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead 15 minutes into the game behind a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs by Cole Chancey and Caleb Brooks, followed by a 10-yard pass from Brooks to J’Varius Wood.
The Spartans scored on a 16-yard run by Drew Richardson in the second quarter, but a blocked extra point kept the score at 21-6.
The Tigers had one more chance to score before halftime, but Brooks couldn’t connect with Wood as time expired.
Richardson found the end zone again on a 23-yard run midway through the third quarter. He then found Eric Williams in the end zone for a two-point conversion that slimmed the margin to just a seven-point game.
Williams then hooked-up with Connor McCleary in the end zone during the fourth quarter, but a missed extra-point attempt kept Commerce on top 21-20.
The Spartan defense forced the Tigers to punt on the ensuing possession, however, a bad snap kept Wood from getting the punt off and the Spartans took over at the Commerce 16-yard line.
On the next play, Williams threw an interception to KJ Jones, who turned the turnover into six points, going 90 yards to the end zone to extend the Tigers’ margin back to a touchdown.
The Tigers lined up for the extra point, but a high snap forced Brooks to try for two points but they were stopped just short of the goal line, keeping the score at 27-20.
The Spartans went on one more long drive, but Richardson was stopped just short of the end zone as time expired, preserving the Tigers’ win.



Road Woes: Eagles go down in Franklin County

CARNESVILLE — On Friday night, the East Jackson Eagles’ defense had no answer for the Franklin County Lions’ duo of quarterback Tyrique David and running back Bud Woods, who combined for 321 yards and four touchdowns.
All East Jackson head coach Gary Hughes and the team could was watch.
Behind the duo, the Lions downed the Eagles 27-7 in Franklin County.
With the loss, the Eagles (1-3, 0-0) moved to 0-2 on the road this season.
“We can’t stop ourselves; ask Paul Johnson, head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets,” East Jackson head coach Gary Hughes said. “You can’t move the football 35 yards, and have a 15-yard penalty.
“Our offense isn’t built that way. We just have to grind it out consistently.”
East Jackson star running back/linebacker Taylor Murphy was the lone bright spot for the Eagles’ offense. He averaged four yards a carry on 14 touches, totaling 60 yards on the ground. Murphy alone rushed for more yards against the Lions than the entire offense did in last week’s loss to Banks County.
The Eagles’ lone touchdown came on a season-long 14-play drive, totaling 68 yards. Quarterback Cody Hardwick snuck in from less than a yard away on fourth-and-goal to cut the lead to 14-7.
But, 11 plays later, Franklin County put the game seemingly out of reach, scoring two rushing touchdowns, one a 53-yard run by David late in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we executed well, just too many mental errors and penalties got the best of us” Hardwick stated. “I sprained my ankle pretty bad in practice this week, so I wasn’t 100-percent healthy out there tonight.
“It’s disappointing, but we defiantly took a step in the right direction.”

Hawks soar into region play with big road win over Wildcats

DULUTH — After starting the season 1-2, the Mill Creek Hawks weren’t nervous because they were what head coach Shannon Jarvis called “region ready” more so this season than season’s past
The Hawks opened Region 7-AAAAAA play with a dominating 42-0 victory against the Duluth Wildcats.
Quarterback Daniel David led the Hawks’ (2-2, 1-0) offense, which struggled out of the gates, committing two early turnovers. But, David and the offense settled in and he finished the game with three touchdowns, two throwing and one running.
Running backs Johnathan Hawkins and Malik Turner each rushed for a touchdown.

The Hawks’ wide-receiving corps had a big night as well, spearheaded by seniors Joseph Hull and Micah Pulley. Both were on the receiving end of David’s touchdown tosses.

The defense did its job, too, led by defensive end Tyler Vernon’s five-sack performance, they smothered the Wildcats’ (1-3, 0-1) offense.
“I was so proud of our defense all night,” Jarvis said. “They played fast the entire night. (The offense) kept putting them in bad positions in the first half.
“There were a couple of plays, you had the fumble on the first play, the interception on the first play and you had the punt-return fumble where they (Duluth) got it (back), so you had three turnovers where they were immediate turnovers,” he continued, “and the defense goes out there and shuts them out, I just could not be more proud of what our defense was able to do.”
Mill Creek hosts North Gwinnett next Friday.




Pouncing Lady Panthers: Jackson Co. hands Morgan Co. first region loss

 Jackson County’s Peyton Sorrells delivers a pitch during the Lady Panthers’ win against Morgan County on Tuesday. See more scenes below.

Jackson County’s Peyton Sorrells delivers a pitch during the Lady Panthers’ win against Morgan County on Tuesday. See more scenes below.


The Jackson County Lady Panthers’ softball team has maybe found its stride.
Even with several errors, their confidence was on full display against Region 8-AAA leader Morgan County on Tuesday night.
The Lady Panthers defeated the Lady Bulldogs 4-1 at Jackson County. The Lady Panthers (10-9, 6-3) are riding a three-game region-winning streak, and three-game winning streak overall.
“That was a very big win,” Jackson County head coach Chessie Laird. “Morgan (16-5, 7-1) is  a great team. They have a lot of experience, a lot of potent hitters. Their defense works well. They are a good, solid team. They are sitting (in) first (place) right now, so for us to capitalize on a good win, it will be good for us. To know and have that in the back of our mind, it will be fresh when we start the region tournament.”
Jackson County senior Alyssa Dasher led the offense, racking up two hits and an RBI. Junior Shelton Kendrix added two hits and an RBI.
Senior Jessica Baker and junior Madi Pecht each had a hit and an RBI as well.
Senior pitcher Peyton Sorrells gave up one run on six hits, and recorded four strikeouts.
Baker got the Lady Panthers on the board first, knocking in Dasher on an RBI single in the bottom of the first to give them a 1-0 lead.
They added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth, behind five singles in six batters, Dasher drove in sophomore Jessica Burke. Then, Pecht sent Kelsie Gassner across home plate to extend the lead to 3-0.
And, Dasher scored on an error by the Lady Bulldogs’ defense before the inning ended.
The Lady Bulldogs managed to get on the board in the top of the fifth after two singles and an error was committed by the Lady Panthers’ defense, but Sorrells got them out of the inning, recording a strikeout to leave two Lady Bulldog runners on base.
“It was a whole team effort, from pitching with Jessica and Peyton was great,” Laird explained. “In the field, I think we made four or five errors, but we made them at times where they (Morgan County) weren’t able to capitalize on them.
“They (Jackson County) were a little frustrated that we did make those errors, but a lot of times we let them roll over and roll over and then they (the other team) scores runs, and even though we made a few, they weren’t repetitive. For us to be able to put four runs up and hold them to only one run and know in the back of our mind that we still made errors, that’s a good sign for us,” she continued.
She added her squad is peaking at the right time.
“Our region is not an inexperienced or a cupcake region, every game counts,” she said. “So, for us to come through right now, starting the second half of our region play, doing as well as we are, I think that’s important for us going into the region tournament.”
Jackson County plays Jones County and Lanier on Saturday; next region game is Sept. 23 at East Jackson.

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Dragons fly to good finish at cross country meet

JEFFERSON—The Jefferson Dragons’ cross country has been busy, competing in six events since Aug. 23, the Dragons (both boys and girls) are getting better with each meet.
The improvement was on display on Tuesday as Jefferson hosted the 12th annual Mainstreet News meet at Crow’s Lake.

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