Sports

Fri
15
Sep

By Jake McMillian

The Gatewood Gators left the friendly confines of Sammons Field last week to travel to Loganville Christian Academy for their first road contest of the season. LCA won the coin toss and elected to receive, and their opening possession gave Gatewood fans a few minutes of life on the edge. The Lions came out firing against the stout Gator defense, connecting on two straight passes for a first down. On the third play of the opening drive, the Loganville quarterback lofted a pass to a receiver angling toward the away sideline. Senior defensive back Reid Sasser was playing tight coverage, but the pass barely evaded his outstretched fingertips. The talented Loganville receiver took full advantage of the miscue, and the Gator faithful watched in silence as he streaked 45 yards to the goal line. For the first time all season, Gatewood trailed by a score of 7-0. However, Gatewood needed only 2:33 to respond.

Tue
29
Aug

By Brandon Bush

Gatewood Academy’s football program began the 2017 season with domination. The Gators hosted Brentwood in the new-and-improved “Swamp” and completely routed the Eagles in a 34-0 performance. “It starts with our seniors,” Gator head coach Jeff Ratliff said. “They’ve been in our program and working together for a long time, and they’ve brought our team together with their leadership and guidance. They played well, thus the team played well.” The Gators found most of their success in the legs of senior quarterback Reid Sasser, who broke out a strong run in the first play of the game for a first down. Another hard run from running back Yale Stapp put the Gators in a position for Brandon Belans to score Gatewood’s first points. The Eagles began to put a solid drive together in their first chance on offense, but a fumble recovered by Cody Kauffman gave the ball back to Gatewood.

Tue
29
Aug

Putnam football opens season with big win at Warren By Justin Hubbard

Freshman tight end KadenCorbitt is brought down by a Warren defender, but not before he hauls in a catch.

War Eagles head coach Kyle Gourley calls out instructions to his players during Putnam’s opener at Warren County.

After a year of struggle and misfortune on the football field, Putnam County’s suffering finally paid off on Friday. The War Eagles opened the 2017 season with a 21-6 win at Warren County. They didn’t get their first win last year until Sept. 30 at Oglethorpe County. Putnam’s defense led the way, allowing only 96 total yards. The War Eagles’ offense flashed potential for greatness at certain moments and picked up 276 total yards. Their head coach, Kyle Gourley, said he was happy with his players’ performance despite some moments of weakness. “We played well at times,” Gourley said. “There were some missed opportunities. We could've put a lot more points on the board. We've got room for improvement. If you're the best you're gonna be in game one, it's not a real good sign, so we've got a lot of room to improve.” Tyrique Mathis, a senior defensive back, joined his coach in saying the War Eagles still have work to do.

Tue
29
Aug

PCHS Cross Country needs community’s help By Brandon Bush

Putnam County High School’s Cross Country team is reaching out to the community help them prepare for the season. The team is holding a “run-a-thon” fundraiser on Aug. 26 from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. at the track at Putnam County Middle School. The main goal of the run-a-thon is to acquire enough funds to help the team with things they will need for the season, such as equipment and accommodations for overnight trips. “Cross country is not a revenue sport,” cross country coach Andrew Grodecki said. “So we have to find other means of funding, and donations help us greatly.” During the run-a-thon, each student will be pledged a certain amount of money for every lap they can run in the span of an hour, with a maximum of 30 laps. Alternatively, those wishing to support the team can make a straight donation rather than pledge to a runner. Now in his second year coaching the War Eagles’ cross country team, Grodecki brought years of experience to the team, which has helped them grow.

Tue
29
Aug

Brandon’s column: Sports media should leave the drama to TMZ

If you keep up with the National Football League in any capacity, then between the annual preseason speculation and yet another player kneeling for the national anthem, you’ve probably found the news of Ezekiel “Zeke” Elliott sandwiched somewhere in-between. For those who don’t shoulder the optional stress of following sports, the 22-year-old Dallas Cowboys running back has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season. The suspension follows a yearlong investigation into an incident that occurred at Ohio State University, Elliott’s alma mater, in which a former girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence. The ruling has been seen as controversial and has created strife between the NFL and the NFL Players Association due to the fact that the charges against Elliott have been dropped and no legal action was taken.

Fri
18
Aug

Putnam softball falls in season opener By Justin Hubbard

Peyton Roth is the new head coach of the Putnam County softball team. She takes over after playing the past four years at Armstrong State University.

The Putnam County softball team kicked off a new phase of the program’s history last Thursday with its season opener. Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, they dropped their first game of the season to Mount de Sales Academy, 9-1. It was the first game for the team’s new head coach, Peyton Roth. Roth said the Lady Eagles were clunky at times, but that was expected since it was the first game of the new campaign. “For our first game, I liked that we picked each other up for the most part,” Roth said. “We have some room to improve and I think that's what a lot of [it] is the first game: you're learning, as far as where to go. That way, we have a good baseline to go for the rest of the season. I think we got a good, solid base to go from and we’ll do nothing but learn from that game.” Defensively, Putnam could have certainly had a better outing.

Fri
18
Aug

By Brandon Bush

The first look at two middle Georgia football programs was met with a large crowd and flashes of lightning. The War Eagles of Putnam County High School traveled to Milledgeville for a scrimmage against the Georgia Military College Prep Bulldogs on Friday, and supporters of both schools were in abundance to catch a glimpse of what they could expect from each program this year. The neck-and-neck contest concluded in a low-scoring 6-0 victory for the War Eagles. The Bulldogs were the first to go on offense, putting together a solid drive with the help of a Putnam County personal foul penalty, but the effort was not enough and GMC’s Walker McDade punted the ball to the War Eagles’ 5-yard line. Putnam County’s response was held back by the Bulldog defense, who regained the ball on the 33. GMC’s second drive did not prove fruitful either, as a failed field goal attempt kept the Bulldogs off of the board.

Fri
11
Aug

Mercer Football getting its “bear”ings Pt. 1 By Jake McMillian

The 1898 Mercer Football team picture.

It’s Thanksgiving Day, 1941. A Mercer University football player slowly walks off of Chamberlain Field in Chattanooga, Tennessee, reeling from the painful game he just experienced. He removes his leather helmet and shoulder pads, reliving every second of the 40-13 loss that his team just suffered to the University of Chattanooga. Little does he know that, in just 12 days, 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft will ambush the U.S. Naval Feet at Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i, and massacre 2,403 innocent, American soldiers. In an attempt to cripple the United States Navy and prevent the Americans from entering World War II, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto will unintentionally bring the Sleeping Giant into the deadliest conflict in the history of mankind. In just 13 days, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt will declare war on Japan, and the landscape of modern history will change dramatically.

Fri
11
Aug

Slate finishes second in Thursday Thunder points By Justin Hubbard

Hudson Halder (front) followed by Rafe Slate drives out of a turn onto the backstretch. The duo paced the field during last week’s Thursday Thunder Semi-Pro division race.

Rafe Slate drove his car the best he could last Saturday during the finale Thursday Thunder race of 2017, but he was unable to match Hudson Halder and finished second in the race and the series standings. Slate, who lives in Eatonton, entered the finale third in the points and 30 points behind the leader, Christopher Clanton. His second place finish Saturday only moved him up to 25 points back, but he did earn the second spot in the standings as he and Halder both leapfrogged Clanton. “I was going to wait until near the end to make a move and try to get up to his bumper and try and win that race,” Slate said. “We definitely had a shot at it if it hadn't been called short.” Because Thursday Thunder officials struggled to reset the order of the field during one of the race’s cautions, the Semi-Pro division race reached its 15-minute time limit before its 25-lap maximum.

Fri
11
Aug

Sports excellence a ‘family tradition’ for the Hearn’s By Jake McMillian

Billy Hearn dons a UGA football helmet with a red stripe and a single-bar facemask.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon the history of William Waller “Tiny” Hearn while searching for a topic for my weekly sports column. Fascinated by the athlete, I began to delve into his story, and I discovered a man who earned prominence as a multi-sport athlete. Whether participating on the gridiron, the baseball diamond, or, most notably, the basketball court, Tiny was a dominant physical presence, for he towered over his opponents at 6’9”. “The Jacket Giant” was also a pioneer in the early years of professional basketball, competing in two championships in the ABL (the first professional basketball league in the United States). With both my research and my column complete, I assumed my involvement with the Hearn family legacy had ended. However, this would not be so, for I soon learned that athletic prestige within the family did not end upon Tiny’s retirement from athletics in 1938.

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