Being remembered forever is an amazing accomplishment. For so many teams in 2019, that legacy was stamped when either winning a state title or coming oh so close. For seven teams, it means being placed in the BLITZ Hall of Fame Teams.
Union County Panthers
The Panthers didn’t have the greatest regular season, especially within region play (5-2), but did just enough to earn the final spot in Region 8-AA to get into the playoffs. Once the boys got there, senior Brian Smith (22 G, 5 A) and fellow star Kobi Robbins took over in what became a legendary cinderella run.
Union County (13-5) used dramatic finishes to get past #5-ranked Lamar County (2-1) and #8 Gordon Central (3-2), both on the road. Then came a rare 4-versus-4 matchup with Jefferson Davis, which saw Smith go for the hat trick in a 4-0 win to punch a semifinals ticket for the first time ever. The 3-0 win over #6 Vidalia (also on the road), advanced the Panthers to the title game. What makes all this so much more special is the fact that the Panthers missed state last year altogether with a 5-8-1 overall record, including going 0-6 in region play. It proved to be one of the best one-year turnarounds we’ve seen.
Union fell 2-1 in the state championship after Smith had scored an early goal in the first half to put the boys up 1-0. Thomasville struck back with a late first half goal. It remained tied at 1, even after an overtime period. That forced PKs, where Thomasville won 4-2.
The #4-ranked Dragons advanced all the way to the semifinals of the 3A bracket before falling to top-ranked Westminster. Jefferson’s Javy Flores and Roberto Quintal (16 G, 4 A) were unbelievable, and between the pipes Flores had 13 shutouts in 2019.
Jefferson, the 8-AAA Region Champions, went 17-3, rolled through the first three rounds of state without allowing a goal, and made the first Final 4 in school history.
Jefferson Lady Dragons
These Lady Dragons (14-5-1) were ranked #4 in the state and rode to a region runner-up finish. Following that, a sweep through the playoffs to the semifinals occured. This included wins over top-five teams Dawson County (#2) and Pike County (#3). Coach Molly McCarty’s group featured some talented players like Abbey Eison (21 G, 6 A), Margo Perry (13 Shutouts, 0.6 GAA), and many others.
White County Lady Warriors
The Lady Warriors finished as area runner-up, and the incredibly talented group, headlined by Caroline & Catie Craig, Erin Dorsey, and Grace Jones led the girls to a 3rd-place finish at state, missing runner-up by a single stroke. Catie Craig, the defending state champion, was one stroke shy of repeating, as she finished as runner-up. It makes three straight years with a top-5 finish as a team and second straight 3rd-place finish.
Commerce Lady Tigers
The Lady Tigers, just like White County, finished one stroke off a runner-up finish in Class 1A public. The girls were led all season by veteran McKenzie McRee (11th-place), and sophomore star Cameron Ford, who finished 3rd as an individual and Kristin Tash (5th).
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
The Dragons won the Region 8-AAA title for starters, with five individuals taking the top spot in their events. That was just the tip of the iceberg, as the boys appeared in 14 events at the 3A State Championships, taking the state title as five individuals (including Eli Morris, who won two titles) won state titles on their own.
The Tigers won the area championship and didn’t disappoint at state, with 15 individual events producing 8 Top-5 finishes and a pair of state titles (Tucker Flint & Shannon Segars). Dajuan Wood also placed in the top 5 in four events. The final result was another state title for Commerce, it’s third since 2013 (’13, ’16, ’19).