Four teams inducted into BLITZ Hall of Fame
We recently named our Fall Sports Teams of the Year. Two of those teams are now placed in the BLITZ Hall of Fame, and two others from this fall are also inducted. HALL OF FAME TEAMS
2022 Rabun County Wildcats
Coach: Michael Davis
Accomplishments: 1A DI Quarterfinals, Region 8-A DI Champions, #1 State Ranking
The Rabun County dynasty lives on! The Wildcats penned a new chapter after a mass exodus of its coaching staff and some 20-plus seniors, including the greatest QB in state history in Gunner Stockton. However, Rabun County didn’t miss a beat. Michael Davis took over as head coach, and the team brought back several playmakers such as Jaden Gibson, Lang Windham, Cory Keller, Cesar Cruz, Nic Baloga, Willie Goodwyn, Jarret Giles, and newcomers Keegan Stover (QB) and Noah Legault (WR/DB). The result was more of what we’re all used to seeing from the Wildcats. A perfect regular season (4th time in school history) resulted in a ninth consecutive region championship. The quarterfinals run was the eighth in a row for Rabun, who held a #1 ranking early in the season and never dipped below #3. Stover actually put up single-game school records in passing yards and passing TD, and Gibson set the single-season TD receptions record of 29, passing former Rabun County WR Adriel Clark. Gibson’s historic season came with 1,950 receiving yards (2nd most in state history in a single-season), and left him as the all-time leader in state history in receiving yards and receiving TD. The offense generated 35.4 points per game and allowed just 15 per contest. The defense was anchored by a plethora of Wildcats, including Balogo, who led the state in tackles with nearly 200.
2022 Tallulah Falls Lady Indians
Coach: Matt Heyl
Accomplishments: 1A DI State Champions, Area 8-A DI Champions, #1 State Ranking
This team has been well documented in a BLITZ exclusive interview with coach Matt Heyl and stars Sarah Jennings, Addy McCoy, and Kitty Rodenas. SEE HERE. In short, the Lady Indians were playing their usual solid volleyball, boasting a nice record, a top-10 state ranking, and coming off a 6-match win streak. But the team explained that they weren’t having fun doing it. Once they decided to get back to having fun and enjoying their time together, coach Heyl told the team to go for 16 in a row. That would mean winning every game including the state championship. Well, Tallulah Falls went 15-1 (losing only to eventual 3A champs Morgan County), and shattered individual and team records along the way. TFS had never won an Area Championship or made it past the Sweet 16 hump, though getting there several times before and being Area RU a handful of years in a row. The team put up records of wins (35), win percentage (.761), sets won (84), wins over ranked opponents (8), and everything past the Sweet 16 was a new experience, including a #1 ranking to close it out. Heyl eclipsed 100 career wins early in the year, and Jennings set the all-time records in kills (1,000-plus) and digs (1,000-plus), as well as aces. She was named Area Player of the Year, and Rodenas set the single-season aces and assists records, while McCoy had a sensational season as well.
2022 White County Lady Warriors
HEAD COACH: Yarixa Oakes
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Region 7-AAA Champions, 3A State Final 4, #3 State Ranking
The Lady Warriors already had a solid program that jumpstarted in 2015. White County had only missed the playoffs twice from 2015-2022, and first-year coach Yarixa Oakes took a group that went 16-16 in 2020 and lost in the first round to their best season ever in 2022. The Lady Warriors won a program-best 34 matches while earning their first-ever region championship. A deep playoff run got White County into the Final 4 for the first time, and the girls closed with a #3 state ranking. One of the key players on the team was setter Linsey Burke, who was instrumental in guiding the team to new heights.
2022 Jefferson Lady Dragons
HEAD COACH: Brittani Lawrence
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Region 8-AAAAA Champions, State 5A Final Four, #2 State Ranking
A 31-8 2022 season in which the Lady Dragons were #2 in the state again resulted in a region crown. The Lady Dragons got to the Final 4 after jumping up a whole classification…not an easy task by any means. Several players were key to this 2022 run, including one of the best in the region, Kaytlin Johnson. Brittani Lawrence’s group has continued to be among the best in the state for several years, and this is just the latest team as part of a dynasty.