BLITZ Winter Sports Teams of the Year

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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.



Carl Cleveland 2 2017

Carl Cleveland averaged over 20 points per contest for the Leopards in their fourth consecutive 20-win season that led to the Sweet 16!

The Leopards picked up where they left off last year – and the years before. It was yet again a 20-plus win season for Banks County. This time the Leopards notched their second straight region tournament championship, garnering the #1-seed in the state playoffs. Dylan Orr, the BLITZ Player of the Year, and Carl Cleveland, Darius Bonds and Gabe Martin, led the charge under coach Mike Cleveland.

A deep bench and signs of a future in guys like Bosko Norman, Sawyer Pace, Dakota Orr and a still-young Cleveland make us believe next year could be more of the same dominance. The Leopards went 25-5 on the season, going 10-2 in region play (both losses to Elbert County). When it mattered most, however, the Leopards kicked Elbert in the teeth in the region tournament championship game. Banks County was ranked in the top-10 throughout the season, including being as high as #2 in the state early on.

RUNNER-UP – Dawson County Tigers: Chad Pittman’s Tigers featured a pair of 1,000-pt scorers in Cullen Reed and Jeremiah Crumley. The experienced group led Dawson to the Sweet 16 and a region runner-up finish, gathering 19 wins in the process.



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Allison Smith 2018 BLITZ

Allison Smith, a 1,000-point scorer for Banks County, led the Lady Leopards to an Elite 8 in 2018!

The Lady Leopards made program history under second year head coach Steve Shedd. Banks County went 25-6, setting an all-time best in wins. The girls were 10-2 in region play, including capturing their first-ever region championship and a program-best Elite 8 run.

With players like senior Allison Smith (1,000-point scorer) and juniors Jaycie Bowen, Maddie Thomas and Amber Williams, the Lady Leopards were nearly impossible to stop. Key players included Lauren Shedd, Kailyn Gillstrap among others. This is a young team that loses four seniors, but returns a lot of experience for next season.

Banks County fell ultimately in what was a defacto state championship game against undefeated Laney in the Quarterfinals (Elite 8). The Lady Leopards were ranked #2 in the state, with Laney being ranked #1.

RUNNER-UP – Rabun County Lady Wildcats: DeeDee Dillard’s Lady Cats again made the quarterfinals round for the third straight season. The girls played in the ever-tough region 8-AA, finishing third, meaning all road games in the playoffs. Georgia Stockton, Jaden Quilliams, Brooke Henricks and Laken Stiles led the Lady Cats to a 24-win season.



Chase Forrester 2018 LOVE

Chase Forrester led the Tigers to another title sweep at duals and traditional, also claiming his third straight individual state title.

No surprise here, this is a true dynasty. Five straight years Commerce has won the GHSA Duals & Traditional State Tournament Championships, accounting for 10 state titles. Multiple individuals for coach Kendall Love have won state titles, including this year’s BLITZ Wrestler of the Year, Chase Forrester, who took home his third title.

RUNNER-UP – Lumpkin County Indians: The Indians finished fifth in the traditionals State Tournament under long-time coach Brian Matthews. The team’s success was perhaps highlighted by sophomore Nolan Wheeler, who posted a 28-7 mark including a state title.




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