State Champions

Every team desires to play for and win a state championship! It is the culmination of years of hard work, and it takes great coaching, elite talent, solid team chemistry, good health, and even a bit of luck along the way to achieve. Here are the BLITZ-area State Champion Teams (NOT a list of Individual State Champions)! These teams already reside in our BLITZ Hall of Fame, but deserve the designation of being on their own. (2009-Present)

FOOTBALL

2012 Jefferson Dragons

Bryant Shirreffs 2012

Coach: T. McFerrin
Record: 14-1; 2A STATE CHAMPIONS

McFerrin’s last year, with stud QB Bryant Shirreffs leading the way. This group was phenomenal, winning a Region 8-AA title and rolling through the playoffs to the Georgia Dome, winning it all as the #1-ranked team in the state!

State Runner-Up: 2020 Jefferson, 2018 Rabun County


SOFTBALL

2019 Banks County Lady Leopards

Banks County State Champs 2019

Coach: Kelby Cronic
Record: 33-3, 2A STATE CHAMPIONS; Region 8-AA champions, #1 State Ranking, Top-10 National Ranking

After losing in the State Championship the year prior, the Lady Leopards were determined to finish on top the next season. Tybee Denton (.423 AVG, 12 HR, 41 RBI; 29-3 W-L, 1 Save, 0.47 ERA, 412 K), Jill Martinet (.480 AVG, 9 HR, 46 RBI), and Madi Cronic (.460 AVG, 2 HR, 14 RBI) led the way. The playoff run was unlike any that’s ever been seen in state history. Complete domination to the tune of 97-1 as a score differential against competition. To cap it off, the Lady Leopards were forced to play the final 3 innings of the final game at home, when in Columbus rain halted their championship game with just a few frames to go. The agonizing wait was well worth it to do something no other team gets to do…win a state title in front of the home crowd.


2010 White County Lady Warriors

White Co 2010 softball

Coach: John Brown
Record: 30-6; 3A STATE CHAMPIONS; Region Runner-Up (Regular Season Champs); #1 State Ranking

Stephanie Satterfield smashed 16 homers (a then-state record) and the Lady Warriors went on an unforeseen tear once they got into the playoffs. After going 11-0 in the regular season in region play, the Lady Warriors fell in the region tournament, but won out from there. The homerun power by Satterfield, Callie McDonald, Kristen Mullis and Morgan Jacobson was unreal! It all ended with a 12-11 slugfest win over Allatoona in the championship game, leaving White County as the #1-ranked team in Class 3A.

State Runner-Up: 2020 Commerce, 2018 Banks County, 2018 Jefferson, 2017 Stephens County, 2016 Jefferson, 2010 Union County


VOLLEYBALL

2022 Tallulah Falls Lady Indians

Coach: Matt Heyl
Record: 35-11; 1A State Champions, Area 8-A 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.

State Runner-Up: NONE


BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

2020 Commerce Tigers

Coach: Mark Hale
Accomplishments: 1A Public State Champions, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking

The Tigers were a group that was led by individual State Champion Brandon Martin, with JJ Morris just behind as the team claimed the Area and State Championship. Martin won both individually as well.

2019 Commerce Tigers

Coach: Mark Hale
Accomplishments: 1A Public State Champions, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking

Brandon Martin was the State Champion, and Runner-Up went to teammate Demarco Hernandez. That was the order at the Area meet as well, as the great season came with Area and State Champions bragging rights for the Tigers.


2018 Union County Panthers

Coach: Paige Dyer
Accomplishments: 2A State Champions (2018), Region Runner-Up, #1 State Ranking

The Panthers took Class 2A by storm in 2018. Despite a second-place finish in Region 8-AA, the boys saved their best for last, winning the 2A State Championship, becoming Union’s first-ever state title winning program. Luke Gambrell (3rd in region) finished 4th at state, and Hunter Hartzog (8th at region, 15th at state) were the two leaders. Steven Seiler and Malachi Patrick were great support right behind that duo.


2017 Banks County Leopards

toy-banks-boys-cc-2017-banks-news

Coach: William Foster
Accomplishments2A State Champions, Region Champions, #1 State Ranking

It was a dream finish for the Banks County boys programs, as the Leopards earned the state title and won region as well. Griffin Stephens (3rd) and Jimmy Cochran (4th) led the boys at state! In the region meet, the Leopards were 2nd-6th individually, with Stephens, Cochran, Seth Ledford, Hunter Cochran, and Wes Ledford having a dominant race. At state, Stephens, both Cochran boys, and Ledford were all in the top-8 to secure a state championship.

State Runner-Up: 2020 Dawson County, 2019 Union County, 2018 Commerce, 2017 Dawson County, 2016 Banks County, 2014 Towns County


GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

2016 Towns County Lady Indians

Coach: Jeannie Ledford
Record1A STATE CHAMPIONS [5TH CONSECUTIVE], Area Champions, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: It was the 5th consecutive state title for the Lady Indians under Jeannie Ledford. After winning the Area 4 title behind Hannah Whitehead’s runner-up and Macy Brinson’s 3rd-place finish, Towns County claimed the state title as well. Whitehead was 8th there, and Brinson 10th.


2015 Towns County Lady Indians

Coach: Jeannie Ledford
Record1A STATE CHAMPIONS [4TH CONSECUTIVE], Area Runner-Up, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: It was the 4th consecutive state title for the Lady Indians under Jeannie Ledford. Towns actually finished second at the Area 4 meet to Commerce, and was led by Hannah Whitehead (Area RU), Taylor Cornett (3rd), and Taralee Arrowood (4th). Whitehead finished as the state champion, and was followed by Macy Brinson (Runner-Up), who didn’t run at the Area meet, and Arrowood (6th).


2014 Towns County Lady Indians

Jeannie Ledford 2x State Champs

Coach: Jeannie Ledford
Accomplishments1A STATE CHAMPIONS [3RD CONSECUTIVE], Area Champions, #1 State Ranking

It was the 3rd consecutive state title for the Lady Indians under Jeannie Ledford. Towns won the Area 2 meet, as Hannah Whitehead was the individual champion and Taralee Arrowood 3rd. At state, Whitehead led again with a state championship and Arrowood 6th.


2013 Towns County Lady Indians

Coach: Jeannie Ledford
Accomplishments1A STATE CHAMPIONS [2ND CONSECUTIVE], Area Runner-Up, #1 State Ranking

It was the 2nd consecutive state title for the Lady Indians under Jeannie Ledford. Towns was the Runner-Up in Area 2, with Ansley Vardeman winning the individual area title and Caitlin Sheffield 6th. At the state meet, the Lady Indians were paced by Vardeman’s state RU run and Sheffield came in 3rd.


2012 Towns County Lady Indians

Coach: Jeannie Ledford
Accomplishments:1A STATE CHAMPIONS, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking

It was the first of 5 state titles for the Lady Indians under Jeannie Ledford. Towns was the Area 4 Champion with Ansley Vardeman claiming the top spot and Caitlin Sheffield RU. Taylor Vardeman was 6th there. At the state meet, Vardeman won the title individually, and Sheffield finished 3rd with Sierra Nichols at 4th and Taylor Vardeman 6th.

State Runner-Up: 2021 Jefferson, 2020 Jefferson, 2019 Commerce, 2017 Banks County, 2016 Rabun County, 2016 Commerce, 2015 Commerce, 2014 Commerce


CHEERLEADING

2021 Dawson County Lady Tigers

Coach: Kim Fleming
Accomplishments3A STATE CHAMPIONS, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking


2021 Jefferson Lady Dragons

Coach: Christy Potts
Accomplishments4A STATE CHAMPIONS, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking


2015 Commerce Lady Tigers

Coach: Diane Cotrell
Accomplishments1A STATE CHAMPIONS, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking


2014 Commerce Lady Tigers

Coach: Diane Cotrell
Accomplishments1A STATE CHAMPIONS, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking


2013 Commerce Lady Tigers

Coach: Diane Cotrell
Accomplishments1A STATE CHAMPIONS, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking


2009 Commerce Lady Tigers

Coach: Diane Cotrell
Accomplishments1A STATE CHAMPIONS, Area Champions, #1 State Ranking

State Runner-Up: 2021 Commerce, 2020 Jefferson, 2019 Commerce, 2019 Jefferson, 2018 Commerce, 2018 Dawson County, 2012 Commerce


BOYS BASKETBALL

2020-21 Towns County Indians

Coach: Rob Benson
Record: 25-3; 1A Public State Champions, Region 8-A Champions, #1 State Ranking

The #1-ranked team for most of the season did not fold under the pressure. It was a team that already had Elite 8 or Final Four written all over it with Kolby Moss, Collin Crowder, Aidan Berrong, and Kyle Oakes. Add in NC transfer Jake McTaggart and Hayden McClure, and it pushed the team over the top. The Indians lost only 3 times, and had no problem in the region (11-1), taking the regular season and tournament championships, then going all the way and knocking off defending state champs Hancock Central in the title game in Macon! Moss was named BLITZ Player of the Year.

State Runner-Up: 2019-20 Jefferson


GIRLS BASKETBALL

2021-22 Lumpkin County Lady Indians

Coach: David Dowse
Record: 30-1; 3A State Champions, Region 7-AAA Champions, #1 State Ranking

One of the state’s top offenses, this tight group of talented players came together with a common goal to “Hang A Banner” for the first time in 30 years (the last time the Lady Indians had a region championship). With a #1 state ranking most of the season, the girls didn’t disappoint. They rolled to a 25-win season, winning the regular season and tournament championship, and went all the way to the Final Four, where a buzzer-beater kept them from the state title game. Isabel Davenport won her second straight BLITZ POY honors, and Averie Jones, Makenzie Caldwell, Lexi Pierce, and Mary Mullinax were ridiculously good! An encore in 2021-22 had the motto “Play 32” (32 minutes in a game, max of 32 games in a season). Though the team only played 31 games, it accomplished EVERYTHING it set out to do. It didn’t come without drama, as head coach David Dowse resigned two games into the season and the team went 1-1 without him before he returned. They never lost again, winning an insane Class 3A bracket and defeating GAC in the title game. A region title and #1 state ranking from start to finish came with it, and BLITZ Player of the Year Mary Mullinax teamed up with Lexi Pierce, Averie Jones, and Kate Jackson to form a quartet unmatched in the state.

State Runner-Up: 2021-22 Rabun County, 2016-17 Rabun County, 2012-13 Dawson County


WRESTLING

Jefferson Dragons

Photo by Jeff Hart

Coaches: Doug Thurmond (2009-19) & Kyle Baird (’19-Present)
Traditional State Titles: 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2020-21
Duals State Titles: 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2020-21, 2022-23

Under Doug Thurmond, the dynasty at Jefferson captured far more than just the titles listed above. During the BLITZ-era (’09-Present) though, the Dragons won 10 traditional titles and 12 duals, with 22 total. 19 of those came under legendary coach Thurmond. Kyle Baird took over the program in 2019 and recently got the Dragons three more titles, with plenty more in sight. The most recent was a 2023 Duals Championship!


Commerce Tigers

Coach: Kendall Love (2009-22)
Traditional State Titles: 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20
Duals State Titles: 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19

From 2013-2020, the Commerce Tigers under coach Kendall Love were unstoppable in their classification. The dynasty included some 13 state championships (7 traditional, 6 duals).


Banks County Leopards

Coach: Kasey Hanley (2012-13)

The Leopards won the 2012-13 Duals State Championship for Class 3A under coach Kasey Handley. That season saw them come in 12th in Traditionals.

State Runner-Up: 2016-17 Lumpkin County, 2014-15 Lumpkin County, 2013-14 Banks County


SWIMMING

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State Runner-Up: NONE


BASEBALL

2018 Jefferson Dragons

Coach: Tommy Knight
Record: 28-12
Accomplishments: 4A State Champions, Region 8-AAAA Champions, #1 State Ranking

The Dragons under legendary coach Tommy Knight won the best-of-three over Cartersville to win the Class 4A State Championship in 2018. After starting the season with a 6-1 record, the Dragons then sputtered with a non-region 3-game defeat against powerhouse Gainesville and a split to Flowery Branch. Three of those were one-run affairs. Then JHS went 10-2 over the next dozen games, and with an 11-4 record secured the region title. In the playoffs, the Dragons beat Chestatee in two games to one, then secured a two-game sweep of Northwest Whitfield in the second round. In the quarterfinals, it took three games to advance past Woodward Academy, and the Dragons made quick work in a two-game sweep over Blessed Trinity in the semifinals. After beating Cartersville 5-4 in game one of the state championship series, Cartersville rebounded with a 9-3 win to even it up. Jefferson won the finale 6-3 to claim the championship.

State Runner-Up: NONE


BOYS SOCCER

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State Runner-Up: 2019 Union County


GIRLS SOCCER

NONE

State Runner-Up: 2022 Commerce, 2022 Jefferson


BOYS TENNIS

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State Runner-Up: NONE


GIRLS TENNIS

NONE

State Runner-Up: NONE


BOYS GOLF

NONE

State Runner-Up: NONE


GIRLS GOLF

2021 White County Lady Warriors

Photo by Seth Chapman

Coach: Darrell Dorsey
Accomplishments: 3A State Champions, Region Champions, #1 State Ranking

The Lady Warriors claimed their first-ever State Championship under coach Darrell Dorsey. Senior Catie Craig was the State Runner-Up with a 1-over 145 in the tournament, while Erin Dorsey (8th) and Rylee Adams (9th) put up their best-ever scores to lift White County.


2014 Commerce Lady Tigers

Coach: Josh Shoemaker
Accomplishments: 1A Public State Champions, Area 4-A Runner-Up, #1 State Ranking

It wasn’t even close, as Commerce took a 14-stroke team win over Schley County to claim their first-ever state title. Akyn Trudnak (+9), Hannah McRee (+22), and Emmie Burley (+35) made up the championship trio. Trudnak’s score was good for the individual state title, while McRee placed 5th.

State Runner-Up: 2021 Tallulah Falls, 2021 Commerce, 2017 Union County


BOYS TRACK & FIELD

2021 Commerce Tigers

Coach: Chaz Hardy
Record1A PUBLIC STATE CHAMPIONS, Region 8-A Public Champions, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: Commerce won their 5th State Championship, taking 102 points ahead of Montgomery County’s 52. It was pure domination. Freshman phenom Sammy Brown won the 400 meter dash title, senior Brandon Martin claimed the 1600 and 3200 meter titles, Lambdin Hardy won gold in the Pole Vault, and the boys won the 4×800 relay as well.


2019 Jefferson Dragons

Photo by Athens Banner Herald, 2019

Coach: Brady Sigler
Record3A STATE CHAMPIONS, Region 8-AAA Champions, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: The Dragons scored 87 points to win the 3A State Championship, which was a full 22 points ahead of the next closest team. Eli Morris, a future star at Baylor, took the top spot in the 110 MH, and did it again in the 300 MH. Jason Burke won gold in the High Jump, Ryder Pagel won in the Pole Vault, and Robbie Head won the state title in the Shot Put. Legendary coach Brady Sigler took his 7th state title in just his first season at Jefferson.


2019 Commerce Tigers

Photo by Ben Munro

Coach: Chaz Hardy
Record1A PUBLIC STATE CHAMPIONS, Region 8-A Public Champions, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: In winning their 4th-ever State Title, the Tigers scored 71.5 points as a team to edge out Turner County’s 67. Tucker Flint won the state title in the High Jump, while Shannon Segars won the Long Jump title. Brandon Martin, JJ Morris, Dejuan Wood, Demarco Hernandez, Lambdin Hardy, and Trey Garnto were all standouts on this team.


2016 Commerce Tigers

Photo by GA Milesplit

Coach: Chaz Hardy
Record1A PUBLIC STATE CHAMPIONS, Region 8-A Public Champions, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: This marked Commerce’s 3rd State Championship in boys track and field. Commerce’s 99 points was far ahead of Turner County’s 62, easily claiming the Georgia Olympics. Jay Acker won the 800 meter state title, as well as the 1600. He was also part of the title-winning 4×400 relay group. Adrian Vaquera won the Shot Put gold, and Lane Sorrow and TreTez Barksdale were big standouts.


2013 Commerce Lady Tigers

Coach: Chaz Hardy
Record1A PUBLIC STATE CHAMPIONS, Region 8-A Public Champions, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: 58 team points was enough for the Tigers to claim their second state title in boys track and first since 1962. That total was just ahead of Terrell County’s 52.5. Terrick Ramsey and Dekerrio Ramsey were stellar that season, and Dekerrio won the state title in the Triple Jump. Micah Eason won gold in Shot Put as well.


2010 Jefferson Dragons

Photo by Access WDUN

Coach: Tim Corbett
Record: 2A STATE CHAMPIONS, Region 8-AA Champions, #1 State Ranking
Accomplishments: The Dragons won their 9th state title in boys track and field, claiming the 2A Championship. Tyler Porter, who wound up competing for the University of Tennessee, won the individual gold in Pole Vault, Josh Kles won the Shot Put and Discus titles. Jefferson scored 41 team points to edge Westminster’s 35. Derrick Perkins was also unreal in the Triple Jump.

State Runner-Up: 2018 Rabun County


GIRLS TRACK & FIELD

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State Runner-Up: 2021 Jefferson, 2022 Jefferson