Falcons stink up the joint

By Dave Brown / Staff

PUTNAM COUNTY -- We like to keep it real in Lake Country, sports fans, so when the Falcons snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Super Bowl LI, it made me want to purge myself and retch up my most putrid sports nightmares into a purple velvet bag, use the gold draw cord to tightly tie up the memory mixture and dispose of it properly in a deep hole in my backyard in some sort of semi-spiritual ritual.

Super Bowl LI will henceforth and forthwith be known in the annals of my mind as Super Blew IT.


DJ plays the hits in Orlando


AFC Pro Bowl linebacker Von Miller of the Denver Broncos poses for a picture with DJ Bland, who lives in Putnam County.

By Dave Brown / Staff

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Putnam County Middle School student DJ Bland has been playing with the top U12 football players in the nation at two all-star stops over the past couple of months: A New Year’s Eve contest at the Diamond All-American Games in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and the Youth Pro Bowl in Orlando, Fla. on Jan 28.

After DJ’s stellar play – including a highlight reel touchdown catch – at Myrtle Beach earned him an invite to the weeklong Youth Pro Bowl, he stepped up big-time in the high-octane fueled atmosphere in Orlando.


Hosting 8-AA opening rounds on line tonight

Rykia Pennamon and Carl Johnson were honored as members of the 1,000 Points Club. Joining them at last Friday's ceremony are Girls Coach Jerusha Hudson and Boys Coach Johnny Williams. (Photo by Chinwe Umunna)

By Dave Brown


Friday’s games at Monticello High School will have major implications beyond being the regular-season finale and positioning for the Region 8-AA tournaments for both Putnam County High School boys and girls basketball teams.

Both the PCHS boys and girls teams could go into Friday’s games with a home game in the opening rounds of the region tournament on the line.


Johnson explodes for 51, also hangs triple-double

Putnam County hoops standout Carl Johnson cools off during a preseason scrimmage, was on fire Tuesday at Social Circle. (Photo by Dave Brown.)

By Dave Brown / Staff

PUTNAM COUNTY -- Carl Johnson recorded the best game ever by a Putnam County High School boys basketball player when he scored 51 points Tuesday against Social Circle.

Johnson added 11 rebounds and 10 steals to complete the triple-double.

The War Eagles entered this week ranked No. 12 in Class 8-AA by after taking two of three region games last week.

“It felt good to get two region wins,” said Putnam coach Johnny Williams.

“We had a chance to go 3-0, but we lost by two points to Banks County, the top team in our region, by 2 points.”

After playing three region games last week, Putnam has another three 8-AA games this week.

Putnam played on the road Tuesday at Social Circle, and this weekend it hosts Rabun County and Oglethorpe County on back-to-back nights.


Putnam peeking, peaking at region schedule

D’Mario Reid (20) is one of seven seniors on the No. 9-ranked Putnam County High School boys basketball team. (Photo by Dave Brown.)

By Dave Brown / Staff

PUTNAM COUNTY -- The holiday season – as splendid a ride as it was for No. 9 Putnam County – is over, and War Eagles head boys basketball coach Johnny Williams said it is time to move on to the new year and focus on the 8-AA region schedule.

“It sure was great for us to go on a six-game winning streak, take two out of three in the holiday tournament and get ranked in the Top 10,” said Williams.

“It felt good to get to 10-4. … But we need to learn from that, put it behind us and focus on the next 10 region games in front of us.”


Putnam boys hoops open record book


Putnam County High School senior standout Carl Johnson has scored 1,006 career points for the War Eagles basketball team.

By Dave Brown / Staff

CLAYTON -- Putnam County senior Carl Johnson left an indelible mark while running the gym and giving an unforgettable shooting clinic last Tuesday night when he dropped a monstrous 46 points en route to the War Eagles 105-95 basketball road win over Rabun County.

“The game was a real shootout, especially in the fourth quarter when the game went back and forth,” said Putnam boys basketball coach Johnny Williams.

The sixth-consecutive win improved the War Eagles record to 8-2 overall and 2-0 in Region 8-AA play, and also propelled the team to No. 6 in the state’s Class AA rankings.

“We celebrated a little bit on the bus ride home, but just a little,” said Williams.

“This is a level-headed bunch and they know they have more to prove.”


Johnson's 46 propel No. 10 Putnam boys

Senior Carl Johnson, the second-leading scorer in the state with 26.1 ppg, has wicked handle and superior court vision with the ability to drive and/or dish. Johnson scored 46 points Tuesday night and may be listed as the state's top scorer next week. (Photo by Dave Brown.)

(Note: Putnam senior Carl Johnson scored 46 points in a road win Tuesday over Rabun County that ended after the newspaper went to press.)

By Dave Brown / Staff

EATONTON -- At the beginning of the season – maybe, just maybe – you could stretch the boundaries of your imagination and perhaps envision the Putnam boys basketball team cutting a rap record called “Peppermint Refresh” and making the playlist on an underground Top 40 radio station.

However, nobody in their right mind would have thought the War Eagles – coming off a 3-23 death spiral last season under first-year head coach Johnny Williams – would ever, ever crack the Class AA Top 10.

However, after busting out a five-game winning streak, Score Atlanta magazine has Putnam County ranked No. 10 with a bullet. (Check out if you need to fact check.)

“We feel real good about the that,” said Putnam boys basketball coach Johnny Williams.


Putnam boys produce some swagger

Don Richecheson/Staff

Putnam County's Carl Johnson (10) plays defense against Baldwin County in the overtime win.

(Putnam County boys basketball team won its third straight game Tuesday night, a 70-65 road win over Twiggs County. The game, salted away by a 26-18 run in the fourth quarter by the War Eagles, concluded after The Messenger's print deadline. Carl Johnson scored 26 points in the win, and D'Mario Reid chipped in 18. Kemon Harris stepped up big time with a double-double, including 13 points and a whopping 17 rebounds. -- Dave Brown)

By Dave Brown


Going into this coming Friday’s 8-AA region opener at home against Social Circle, it looks like the War Eagles are finally playing the style of basketball that Putnam County Coach Johnny Williams envisioned when he took over the team last year.


Lake Sinclair fishing forecast for week of Dec. 11, 2016

Eatonton Messenger guest outdoors columnist Bobby Peoples is a Putnam County resident. He can be contacted via email at

>> Lake water temperature – lower 60s to upper 50s and dropping.

>> Largemouth bass – FAIR / TOUGH – The weekend cold snap could mean tough fishing for a few days.  Look for a good number of the fish to abandon shallow water if the cold snap continues. The bass have been in shallow water in the coves and creeks throughout the lake but will be holding tight to cover so a slow worked jig and pig may work best. Shad raps, square billed crankbaits and even deeper running crankbaits might catch fish that have moved away from the banks.

>> Crappie – FAIR – The crappie are in the main lake and larger creeks over open water, moving around and thinking deep water. Trolling minnows and jigs are your best bet for fish now. The fish are holding in deep water (as deep as 40 feet) down lake and can be caught on jigs and small spoons.


Gatewood shotgun team wins third straight state championship


The 2016-2017 Gatewood School varsity shotgun team includes, names not in order, Taylor Hyatt, Ansley Wallace, Will Dutton, Aaron Copelan, Nash Sinclair, Jackson Embry, Graham Eubanks, Reese Waddell, Baylor Garland, Hank Hall, Weston Wallace, Jack Stickley, Walker Whiddon, Kate Embry and Marshall Johnston. The JV team includes, names not in order, Gavin Fried, Carson Fried, Easton Fried, Garric Embry, Bryce Johnson, Austin Johnson, Dylan Sinclair and Tanner Waddell. 


The Gatewood shotgun team has won its third consecutive state championship. The Gators defeated 24 other GISA and GHS teams and a total of 300 shooters from all over Georgia at the Dec. 2 and 3 state meet at Forest City Gun Club in Savannah.

The season began in August and included at least two practices a week and eight regular season meets at different locations in Georgia. The 15-member varsity team, spent countless hours and fired an estimated 60,000 rounds of ammunition, while preparing for the showdown in Savannah. The team includes Taylor Hyatt, Ansley Wallace, Will Dutton, Aaron Copelan, Nash Sinclair, Graham Eubanks, Jackson Embry, Reese Waddell, Hank Hall, Baylor Garland, Weston Wallace, Walker Whiddon, Marshall Johnston, Jack Stickley and Kate Embry.

Head Coaches Danny and Clara Copelan noted how young the team actually is.


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