By Greg Sullivan
The Morgan County High School girls golf team had a strong showing at April 21's 8-AA Region Tournament in Dawsonville, with the team finishing third out of nine squads with a score of 207 at the event.
The two teams finishing higher were both from the north sub-region, Dawson County and Rabun County, with scores of 187 and 194, respectively.
The Lady Dogs had two golfers finish in the top 10 in the event as individuals. Reba McClellan had a score of 105 in 18 holes to take seventh place and Rachel Peters came in tenth with 108.
The region finale capped off what was a solid year for the girls golf program.
"My girls played really well," said Lady Dogs Head Coach Pam Hooten. "I am proud of how much improvement the girls made throughout the season."
Next year the girls will have to make the jump up to play Class AAA competition, but Hooten said she believes the team should have the talent to make that jump work despite losing Peters and Lauren Conway, both seniors, to graduation.
"Next year will be tough...we will miss the leadership of Rachel Peters and Lauren Conway," Hooten said. "With the return of freshmen Reba McClellan and Nicolette Boissonneau, and the addition of eighth grader Meredith Owen, we will look to be very competitive in the AAA division."
By Greg Sullivan
As the final moments ticked away on the game clock Friday night it was still as if it hadn't settled in for the Lady Dogs. They had done it, winning the first girls state playoff game in the history of their soccer program.
"It's sort of not real right now," said Lady Dogs' Head Coach Jessica Ward, all-smiles and walking off the field with her players. "They played really incredible. They earned it."
The team had already done what they had never done before by winning their region to host Jefferson County for the first round of state playoffs. Then the true milestone was achieved--they got a 3-1 victory.
Things didn't look good early for the team. They gave up a goal in the opening minutes as the Lady Warriors moved ahead 1-0 early on the Lady Dogs, but a goal from Morgan County senior Mandi Smith later in the first half would even things up and the team quickly regained composure.
"We always play better when it's close so when I made that goal it let us know we could play with this team," Smith said.
And play better the team did, shutting down the Jefferson County attack for the remainder of the game.
Jefferson County players are probably still having nightmares of Taran Schultz charging toward their goal in the open field.
Breaking open the half-time 1-1 tie, Schultz got two downfield goals within just over a minute of each-other. One with 35:30 left in the game and one with 34:20 remaining.
Those scores were all Morgan County would need to seal up the win.
"I felt like we had a lot more confidence after those [goals]," Schultz said. "And I knew if we could keep shutting them down we'd win."
By Greg Sullivan
With just a trace of good fortune Thursday night, the Dogs would have found themselves cruising to an easy win and on to the second round of the state playoffs.
But whatever voodoo and evil spirits the Westside Warriors packed with them for their trip to Madison, it surely took its toll on the Dogs, keeping them out of the net despite countless assaults on the goal, in a game where Morgan County's dominance was evident everywhere but on the scoreboard.
Westside, meanwhile, looked futile for 90 minutes until the third overtime, when they edged the Dogs in a penalty kick shootout, 4-3, after not posing any serious scoring threat for the game's entirety up to that point. If the game were still being played, without penalty kicks, it would be a safe bet Westside still would not have cracked the scoreboard. But, with their luck, maybe Morgan County wouldn't have either.
"I felt like we totally outplayed the other team," said Bulldog Head Coach Chip Meyer following the disappointing and frustrating loss. "I'm proud of these kids. I've had these guys since the eighth grade."
It was an especially tough loss to swallow for the team's seniors who walked away feeling as though they dropped an important game to a team they couldn't understand how they didn't just beat.
The Dogs, after all, had won 10 straight games to pick up a region championship, and all signs pointed toward an 11th straight win early on as the team had a lion's share of scoring opportunities starting with the first half.
By Greg Sullivan
The Diamond Dogs weren't able to knock off the north sub-region's top team on Friday in Blue Ridge, losing two close games to the top-seeded Fannin County Rebels eliminating the Dogs from the region tournament and any chance at a state bid.
"Both games in the Fannin series were extremely tight and could have gone either way," said Diamond Dogs Head Coach Brandon Patch. "We had one inning in each of the games where we didn't make plays defensively and that was the real difference."
Despite the loss, Patch said there were some things he saw that he liked in the series.
"I was pleased offensively with our hitting and base running, but it just wasn't quite enough," Patch said. "At this point we want to thank the seniors for all of their hard work and congratulate them for having a nice run."
The Dogs were edged in game one of a double-header in a best of three series on Friday, 10-9.
Caleb Duvall got the start for the Dogs, pitching two innings. Kyle Burden came on in relief and gave the team four innings of solid work, Patch said.
The Dogs had some strong offensive production for the game.
Tyler Ward went 1-3 with two RBI in the game, Caleb Duvall went 2-2 with an RBI and his cousin Clay Duvall went 3-4 with two RBI and two steals. Parker Cline, Bobby Patrick and Dylan Jaskowiak all added an RBI.
The Dogs' season was ended in the second game of the double-header when they fell 12-8.
Clay Duvall pitched the first four innings of the game. While Olin Watkins, Jaskowiak and Cline came on in relief.
Patrick had a big game for the Dogs, going 4-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Josh Blackburn went 2-3 with an RBI, Ward went 3-4 with an RBI and a steal, J.D. Hawkins went 2-5 and Clay Duvall added an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
By Greg Sullivan
The Morgan County High School boys and girls tennis teams earned spots at state, but didn't hang around long in tournament play as they ran into some tough competition on Thursday.
The boys team suffered losses to Greater Atlanta Christian and the girls fell to Wesleyan as both teams faced first round eliminations.
Still, tennis Head Coach Jim Fowler said he was proud of the way the team did this year, particularly in the recent region tournaments where the boys team finished second place and the girls took third.
"I was very proud of the guys to dig deep and win some hard-fought matches to place second in region this year," Fowler said. "I hope that the experiences through this year show the underclassmen how much dedication and practice tennis requires to play at a high and competitive level."
At region play on April 17 the boys took second by beating Banks and Rabun County before finally being defeated by North Oconee in the region championship.
Beating Banks for the boys were Allen Conner at first singles, Daniel Smith at second singles, Logan Plumly at third singles. All other matches were pulled once the Dogs won three games to lock up the win.
Beating Rabun for the Dogs were Conner, Smith and also Blake Brand and Dillon Lewis who picked up a win at second doubles.
For the girls, in their win over Rabun County, winners were Courtney Perry at first singles, Mary Helen Trulock at second singles and also Emily Jones and Katherine Cooper at second doubles.
The girls fell in a tough match to Fannin, Fowler said, to pick up third place in the region, still qualifying them for state.
By Greg Sullivan
The Morgan County Middle School Lady Pups track team finished second at their recent region meet, scoring 119.5 points as a team behind Loganville, with 143.5, but ahead of Carver with 58, Carson with 56, Social Circle with 45 and GMC's 10.
Taking first place for the Lady Pups were Dominique Gray in the high jump and Renita Stinson in the 800 meters.
Finishing second for the Pups were Dee Pittman in the long jump, Marianna Swift in the discus, Latoya Williams in the 100 meters, Tasha Jones in the 200 meters and the 4X100 relay team of Stinson, Swift, Jones and Latoya Williams.
Taking third were Swift in the shot put, Rebecca Webb in the 3200 meters, Tiara Mohone in the 100 meter low hurdles, Swift in the 200 meters and the 4X400 relay team of Mohone, Stinson, Ashley Williams and Swift.