What a great Fall Season our local teams treated us with. From the thrills on the gridiron, diamond, court and on the trails and mat, all of the programs in the Northeast Georgia area were lit this season.
RABUN COUNTY WILDCATS – The Dominant Force
It was exactly what we expected…the Wildcats being ranked in the top three throughout the season, going undefeated in the regular season on the way to a fourth straight region title, and a state playoff run that culminated in a State Championship game on their home field. We, along with anyone else who had watched Rabun over the last couple of seasons, could have predicted exactly that. The Brotherhood…it’s a real thing! And Bailey Fisher continuing to do his thing on the way to his third straight Player of the Year award (a BLITZ record for the football award). Fisher closed his illustrious career with a 36-4 record as a starter, with three of those losses coming in the quarterfinals or deeper. The Cats put up 45.6 points per game, and 684 total points, which ranks sixth all time. Rabun was the most dominant team we have EVER covered in ten years.
TOWNS COUNTY INDIANS – The History Makers
Towns County deserves a nod here, too. In its history going all the way back to 1969, NEVER had the Indians been to the state playoffs. This year finally saw them go dancing, and for that simple fact alone they deserve the nod. Coach John Cornett would be the first to tell you that this was the culmination of all the previous groups who laid the groundwork and endured the hard times which led to this.
WHITE COUNTY WARRIORS – The Complete 180
A three-way tie, but all for different reasons. White County also deserves the recognition after bringing in a brand new coach in Tim Cokely (who has an impressive resume) and coming off a 1-9 tough 2016 campaign. That was ancient history, as the Warriors, led by an outstanding Kaleb Crane senior year, not only increased their win total by 600%, they advanced to the state playoffs and just about knocked off a very good Jefferson team.
BANKS COUNTY & STEPHENS COUNTY
You can’t pick one over the other here. Banks County was beaming with confidence before the first pitch of the season, and they more than exceeded their goals, winning a region championship and finishing third in the state tournament. Stephens County also lived up to expectations, and advanced all the way to the state finals before falling in the do-or-die game. Outstanding years by both teams.
A second-year varsity program advanced to the state tournament and put up a 24-win season. Don’t think we’ve seen such quick progress before. These girls and coach Tanya Porter should be very proud of the 2017 season…and the expectations for next year that come with it.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
The Leopards won the 2A State Championship, and it wasn’t even close. The team top to bottom is stacked, and also took home the region title. Not sure why these guys are so much better on their times than other 2A schools, but they’re definitely doing something right. (DAWSON COUNTY – a close second with a 3A runner-up finish and region title).
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
What else is new? The Lady Warriors’ 5th place finish at state wasn’t what they hoped for (they had eyed a top-3 at least), and they no-doubt run in the toughest region in the state (Marist, Blessed Trinity, White Co all top-5 in state). Jaelen Alexander and Rachel Gearing led the way for the girls to be our Team of the Year.
The Lady Tigers advanced to the state meet after a runner-up finish at region. Dealing with a short number of cheerleaders, the group still came together and punched a ticket to state. For the second year in a row, Dawson is our Cheer Team of the Year.