Dykes Publishing Group,Inc. P.O. Box 812 Valdosta, GA 31603
Northeast Florida Edition
Who We Are
Nelson Herring Malcolm Joseph
Wildcats’ Runnin g Backs Help Lead Valdosta to A Fifth-Straight Playoff Appearanc e
by Robert Preston, Jr.
ootball, often called the ultimate team sport, can still be very selfish. Playmakers want the ball - every down, every play, every series. They don’t always like to share and they want to be in the spotlight. Unless you’re talking about the Valdosta Wildcats backfield.
For the last several years, the ‘Cats have had two of the best running backs in the region splitting time. Seniors Nelson Herring and Malcolm Joseph, best of friends on and off the field, complem ent each other well in Valdosta’s offense. They are unselfish, enjoy playing together, and don’t mind sharing playing time. The two running backs have tallied almost 3,500 rushing yards in the last two seasons and are a big reason why the Wild-
photography by Micki
cats are returning to the playoffs for the fifth plans to attend straight season. Marshall, where he hopes to figure prominently Herring is a 5’8”, in the Thundering Herd’s 165-pound speedste r. fast-paced, no huddle More of a finesse back offense. than Joseph, Herring would rather run around At 5’10” and 187 pounds, a defender than run Joseph is more of him over. Don’t let that a power back. He is confident in his ability last statement fool you to - Herring doesn’t mind make big things happen contact and won’t hesand he believes he itate to lower his head can turn a game around when he has to. Herevery time he touchring has amassed about 850 yards rushing es the ball. Despite his belief in his talent, he and nine touchdowns doesn’t come across as cocky or arrogant. this season, including He a is simply convince 223-yard game (on just d that every time the seven carries) against ball is Thomas County Central in his hands, he can make a big play. in the first game of the season. He also His confidence received scored the game-win a big boost when, ning as a sophomo touchdown to give re, Joseph earned the Wildcats a 28-24 a starting vic- spot in the Wildcats’ tory. “I felt like I was line-up. That Joseph patient that night. I was even there as was waiting on the big run a sophomore to open up,” he says. cle itself. After his freshman is a minor miraHerring’s playmakin g ability has attracted season, Joseph the attention of several left Valdosta for Cypress college programs. He Lake High School in Fort Myers, Florida. He spent the second
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Suh’s father her. She maintacouldn’t be disapp ointed with all while playin ins a 4.0 grade point average g sports year year, Suh round. This achieved past a Coaches cheerleading Award for , Most Valuab country, the Scholar Athlet le Player in cross and for the e Award in past basketball Valuable Player two years, she has been Most in track. Her coach es, Mike and track) Bennett (baske and tball country), are Daniel Batten (track and cross really proud one of the quickest playerof her, too. “She’s says Benne s I’ve ever tt, adding seen,” that watch was like a ing blur. “She has very quick her play feet.” This is why he hands and reached track for him. Both Benne out to her to run very surpri tt and Batten sed at her were ability when whim, put her in the they, on a 4x400 relay she had never event, which state qualify run before, where she ing time. She scored a surprised hersel impressed them and f. They immed iately knew their hands . “I knew right they had a runner on scratching then that we the were only with her,” says surface of what was available Bennett. They had her runnin g for the in seventh varsity team grade Bennett. “Most , “Which is unhea rd of,” says kids don’t compete at have the ability the varsity to most impre level at that ssive thing age. The about her the first 25 is that within feet of track she can reach She starts out blindin top speed. gly quick.” Batten says Suh consis him with her tently impre always askingenthusiasm to do better. sses the right “She’s do we do it like that?’” questions, like, ‘Why her sports manship and He speaks highly of of others her encou on ragement to be aroun the team. “She is bubbly, fun d, has a big, vibran and alway t s includes everyone on personality conversation the team in ,” he says. Suh also likes her coaches. runner himse “Batten is lf, a you’ll get coach too, so he knows. A lot of times es that played currently a before runner. So, that is what but aren’t him. He can I like about actually run to. He’s very with us if we need him intense, and our practic I like that. es Some of knows when will be really hard, but he also we one-mile warm need a break. Then we’ll then play socce up loop, some exerci do the ses, r for the rest knows when of the practic and it e. He day,” she says is time for us to have an easy of Batten. Suh attend ed the All Ameri Camp this summer where can Cross Country knowledge she broad and learne ened her d apart from the pack in strategies to set her running. The about it for her best thing for three more coaches is that they have her glorio us years. Suh too young to know what says she is the rest of she wants her life just to do with interested in studying yet. She is, perhaps, law, but one knows is that thing she wherever she she will take runnin g with her goes. ITG
“I feel extremely proud of my awards an d really ho pe I can upho ld them.”
Northside High Scho ol
t Deric Wrigh
Defensive s Impact Player
ty High Scho
Coun h Effingham
friends, Hobby: Hanging with fishing, Favorites: water sports, drawing, Junior and playing Xbox Snack: Lunchables /Fullback could play: Steak Football: Linbacker Sport you wish you Healthy Food: Grilled Jersey: #35 Ping-Pong and Salad 190 Height: 6' Weight: Buns and oreos Sport you like to watch most & Nick Smith Junk Food: Honey Coach: Donnie Revell Football TV: on Book: Bible, Sacks: 4, INT: to you: Stats: Tackles: 106, Most influential person Swiss Family Robinson 2, Fumble person 1 Forced Fumbles: There isn’t just one Movie: Warrior per carry, My family and Recovery: 1,7.9 yards Bob that influences me. TV Show: Sponge l to me Grace TDs: 4 friends are all influentia Team All Musician: Three Days there for Awards: Selected First because they are always College Team: UGA 2012, CWTV me. Region for football me and supporting Pro Team: Atlanta Falcons the Game, of Player like to meet: Defensive Person you would Pro Player: David Pollack and All Region for Hill Selected First Team Tim Tebow Club Top Place to Travel: Clark baseball, Georgia Dugout Lake Resort areas 100 in the State Righty or Lefty: Righty
son High Scho
Sol C. John
Righty or Lefty: Righty Junior Football: Free Safety, Favorites: Defensive Back Snack: oreos Jersey: #23 Healthy Food: oranges 174 Height: 5’10” Weight: Junk Food: Pizza Coach: Thomas Tedder Musician: Future and Michael Moore College Team: Alabama INTs: 3, 92, Tackles: Stats: Crimson Tide 2, Patriots Fumble Recoveries: “our Pro Team: New england Most Memorable Moment: Man Chapel Movie: Think Like a playoff game against first TV Show: Family Guy Hill. It was our school’s and I Subject: Math history in victory playoff Place to Travel: oregon had two interceptions.” n 2011, All-Regio Awards: 2nd Team n 2012 1st Team All-Regio
when not Favorite thing to do out playing Football: Working and then relaxing than Football: Favorite sport other Basketball could play: Sport you wish you Hockey to you: person l Influentia Most he is a Reggie Bush, because the speed hard worker and has that I like. like to meet: Person you would Reggie Bush
by Beth Welch
Favorites: Football: Wide Receiver Snack: Grapes & Free Safety butter Healthy Food: Peanut Jersey: #10 and jelly Nickname: Six Bun Junk Food: Honey Receiver, & Music Sport: Football / Wide Hobby: Art, Video games, Free Safety Book: The Great Gatsby 197 Height: 6’8” Weight: & R&B n Musician: Hip Hop Coach: Michael Thompso College Team: UGA Receptions Stats: 11 games, 37 h Steelers ns, Pro Team: Pittsburg for 485 yards, 5 touchdow Book: Holes 56 Tackles, 2 INTs Gang Gridiron Movie: All State, Awards: All Region, TV Show: Martin Player of the Week Playing in Subject: History re Most Memorable Game: game in Place to travel: everywhe ship the State Champion the 10th grade. Righty or Lefty: Righty
Northside Athlete Always in Motion photography by Jerry Christens on
than football: Favorite Sport other Basketball could play: Sport you wish you
essica Thomp son still. The Norths is not one for sitting ide High Schoo looks for things l senior to do simply being idle is not on her agendabecause “It annoys . me to do nothin 18-year-old. g,” says “I cannot be lazy. Just cannot the Her aversio .” n to inactiv ity is so great, Thompson is almost a constant motion. She blur is a two-sport athlete at Norths of while also workin ide g 20 hours a clothing store. week at a local Even adding in school and studies, Thomp her son still finds real passion: time to fit in her riding horses . With all she has going on, might let her the NHS senior grades slack, is as vigilan but Thompson t about her grades as she about her pursui is t of activity holds a 3.64 . She curren grade tly to at least mainta point average and looks in that or perhap her GPA this s improve school year. There is no backwards becaus going after high school e her focus is on her future . Thompson nursing and recognizes thereplans to pursue in regards to are challen ges that goal. “Can’t get into nursing school grades. It’s without the pretty simple . Getting a in nursing at degree Auburn is what and I have to have the grades I want to do, happen,” she to make that says. Thompson’s above averag grades have always been e. She admits schoolwork she doesn’t to be very find difficult, except the math class for she is curren trigonometry, tly and her grades taking - it’s average there, are above too. one on her priority Academics are numbe r list, but sports close second are a very . During the winter, Thompson is of the Norths a member ide swimming compe swim team. She began titively at the friend Mary urging of her Cook, team as a freshm who was on the Patriot s’ an and recruit to join her for ed Thompson their The 5’7” athlete sophomore year. had been a tennis player
Football most on TV: Sport you like to watch Football/Basketball My mom Most influential person: so hard to and dad, they work l, keep us successfu better become to me and push each day. like to meet: Person you would James AJ Green and LeBron
a victory over our touchdown to secure first in 17 years.” Senior cross-town rival, the Linebacker Sport: Football/ Fullback/ Righty or Lefty: Righty Jersey: #43 Favorites: 190 Height: 5’9” Weight: Snack: Ginger Snaps Broccoli Nickname: June Bug Healthy Food: Steamed Coach: Tim Jordan Junk Food: Skittles Rushing Yards: Stats: Carries: 136 Hobby: Watching Film 7, Catches: 857, Avg: 6.3, TD’s: Book: The Great Gatsby TD’s, Solo 13,Receiving: 258, 2 Musician: Kanye West Tackles: 44, State Tackles: 98, Assisted College Team: Penn 1, FR: 2, FF: 1, Total: 142, INTs: Pro Team: Chargers Tomlinson Sacks: 1 Pro Player: Ladanian of Happiness Awards: Movie: The Pursuit of the Year, Bang Theory Region 1-AAA Player TV Show: The Big News 1st All-Savannah Morning Subject: History n, D.C. offensive Team Defense, WJCL Place to travel: Washingto not when Player of the Week Favorite thing to do “Beach vs. NFL Live playing football: Watch Most Memorable Moment: clinching game Savannah, I ran the
could play: Sport you wish you Tennis most on TV: Sport you like to watch NFL & Rugby to you: Most Influential Person
My mother Most Memorable game: Johnson High “Homecoming against with less we were down a touchdownWe drove than 2 minutes remaining. tie the game field to from our end of the Then we made and send it to overtime. a blocked field goal, a defensive stop by on the first recovering it and scoring possession.” play of the ensuing like to meet: Adrian Person you would Tomlinson Peterson & Ladanian
Tra' Hardy Vidalia High
Favorites: Senior Snack: Chocolate candy Back, Defensive Football: Running Healthy Food: Apples Back Junk Food: oreos Jersey: #2 Hobby: Playing Sports 180 Height: 6’ Weight: Musician: Future Coach: Lee Chomskis 2 for TDs, 99 College Team: UGA Stats: 5 Interceptions, hia eagles 2 sacks, Pro Team: Philadelp tackles, 54 yard return, Vick Pro Player: Michael s, 3 punt 2 fumble recoverie Pigs for Book: Three Little Carries ll returns for TDs, 48 Movie: Love and Basketba 375 yards, 9 TD’s TV Show: Family Guy Most Memorable Moment: Biology Subject: on intercepti My first n Place to travel: Beach Awards: 1st Team All-Regio Athlete of the Year Righty or Lefty: Righty
when not Favorite thing to do out with playing football: Hang friends could play: Sport you wish you Hockey Most memorable game: West Laurens like to meet: Person you would Kevin Durant
Market Area The Northeast Florida Edition covers schools in Duval, Clay, Nassau, Putnam, and St. johns counties.
Player Spotlight sponsored by:
Th e R e c e iv e r s
Savannah Christian Preparatory School
spon sored by:
Coach’s Corner 16
Go in g Ve rt ic al
Girl Impact Players photography
of Wood t and John east Edition season, the South array of talent 2013 football finest eading into the red on paper perhaps its the featu y ranked by In the Game rs were highl As the of those playe on the cusp. others were to date. Some themselves services while ects proved s prosp major scouting Sport ol those er of Game High Scho essed, a numb month, In the season progr ers. accolades. This worthy of such cap to the area’s finest receiv its Magazine tips
by John DuPon
Savannah Christian Preparatory
Senior Volleyball: outside Hitter
Favorite thing to do when not playing volleyball: Going to the beach/shopping with friends
Serve Attempts: 352, Aces: 83, Kills: 253, Digs: 317, Blocks: 8, Points: 348
All City and All Region Sophomore Year, Best of Preps Sophomore and Junior Year, Savannah Morning News Player of the Week
Most Memorable Moment:
Jersey: #10 Height: 5’9” Nickname: Syd Babe Coach: Julie Jones
Favorite sport other than volleyball: Tennis Sport you wish you could play: Basketball or Lacrosse Most Influential person: My teammates Person you would most like to meet: Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh
our team making it to the Final 4
Favorites: Snack: Cucumbers and Vinegar Junk Food: Chocolate covered almonds Musician: Luke Bryan Pro Team: Atlanta Braves Movie: Olympus Has Fallen Subject: Science
Healthy Food: Veggies with ranch dip Book: Devil’s Arithmetic College Team: UGA Pro Player: Chipper Jones TV Show: One Tree Hill Place to Travel: Caribbean Islands
Jersey: #10 Height: 5’101/2” Coach: Brooke McMillan
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Favorite thing to do when not playing softball: Be around friends
Sport you wish you could play: Soccer
Batting Average: .361, on Base %: .425, Runs Scored: 10, RBIs: 8
All Star Team, 3rd at State in our division (a first for Savannah Christian)
Most Memorable Moment:
Favorite Sport other than softball: Lacrosse
Most Influential person to you: Parents Person you would like to meet: Sandra Bullock
SeRVeS: 350-94%, ACeS: 89, DIGS: 50, KILLS: 121, ASSISTS: 502
Player of the Year for Region
Goals for this year:
our team is really determined to win the region again and hopefully go to state.
Favorites: Healthy Food: Strawberries Hobby: Fishing Musician: Kenny Chesney Pro Team: Braves TV Show: Cake Boss Place to Travel: Florida
Most Influential person to you: I would have to say my grandmother. She lived with my family for six years. She came with us when we moved to Georgia and is still giving me helpful advice each and every day. She has shown me how to grow as a person and always has a solution to my problems.I don’t know where I would be without her today. She also inspires me as she is confined to a wheelchair and has never given up.
Coaches at all levels have inspired Coffey, beginning with his first coach Mike Holman. Holman cared about Welton, not as a player on a team, but as a person.
Person you would like to meet: Phil Dalhausser, the US olympic beach volleyball player. He is just too perfect at volleyball and I think I would die if I met him, or even better, had a chance to play with him.
South Effingham High School
Sport: Volleyball: Setter and Right Side
Place to Travel: New York City, because it’s never the same. Every time you go, you find new things to do.
Favorites: Snack: Salt and Vinegar Chips Junk Food: Ice Cream Book: The Great Gatsby College Team: UGA Pro Player: Chipper Jones Movie: Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part II
Camden County High School
Righty or Lefty: Righty Favorite sport other than volleyball: Tennis
Sport you wish you could play: Lacrosse Favorite thing to do when not playing your sport: I am on the regional board of my youth organization, so when I am not playing volleyball I am planning, organizing, and participating in events with my friends!
Snack: Chocolate Chip Ice Cream/ Sunflower seeds Junk: French Fries Healthy Food: Carrots & Ranch dressing Book: The Hunger Games Trilogy Hobby: Drawing and Painting Musician: Timeflies College Team: UCLA Bruins Pro Team: Boston Red Sox Pro Player: Kerri Walsh Subject: Chemistry Place to travel: New York City
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Going to State my freshman year
Jersey: #15 Height: 5’7” Coach: Bobbi Mock
Savannah Country Day School Sport: Volleyball / outside hitter Stats: 462 Kills, 290 Digs, 52 Aces, and a 92.3% Serving accuracy. Awards: MVP of Area, MVP for SCDS, All State First team, Georgia State Coaches award Goals for this year: I am looking forward to an amazing season. As a team my goals as a senior leader are to win the area championship and advance into the top five of the state. As an individual I look to better my game and increase my statistics especially in aces, which is where I lack the most. Most Memorable Moment: “I participated in a national tournament called the Colorado Crossroads my freshman year on a club team. We were on a winning streak with the goal of achieving a Junior olympic bid for entrance to the tournament that summer. In one of our final matches I had to climb onto a chair in the crowd of parents to pass one of my teammates “shanks” and I somehow managed to save the play and win the game.”
Savannah Christian Preparatory
Senior Sport: Softball/ Short Stop & Catcher
Snack: Cheese-Its Junk Food: Ice Cream Book: Harry Potter series College Team: UGA Pro Player: Kerri Walsh Subject: History
Jersey: #3 Height: 5’7” Coach: Jennifer Hall
Most Memorable Moment: “The Region Championship game; we worked so hard all year and we never gave up throughout the whole game. I was so proud of every one of my teammates for working so hard and winning that game. It was the first time my school had ever won region for volleyball." Favorite thing to do when not playing your sport: Going to concerts with my best friends. Favorite Sport other than volleyball: Soccer Sport you wish you could play: Tennis Sport you most like to watch on TV: Baseball Most Influential person to you: “My older sister Melanie, because she was the first person I looked up to as I grew up and she is the main reason I got interested in playing volleyball.” Healthy Food: Strawberries Hobby: Reading Musician: ed Sheeran Pro Team: UGA Movie: The Dark Knight Rises TV Show: Bones
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been playing together since they were in sixth grade. They are friends, they have chemistry, and they have a purpose. And that makes them formidable. As important as volleyball is to Ewaldsen, when volleyball season ends, she will only be a third of the way through her senior athletic campaign. She will still have basketball and soccer to go. Last basketball season, Ewaldsen scored 400 points and grabbed 212 rebounds for a Lady Raiders team that, unfortunately, didn’t make the playoffs. This year, she hopes Savannah Christian can return to the postseason and make run through the playoffs. “We’ve only got three seniors this year, but we’re a really close team. I hope we can make the playoffs. If you can do that, you never know what will happen,” she says. In the 2013 soccer season, the Lady Raiders finished third in the region and made the playoffs with a new head coach. Ewaldsen scored 10 goals and recorded 12 assists as a center midfielder. “We had a good team last year, but we lost a lot of close games.” Her goals for the 2014 season are similar to what she would like to accomplish in her other sports: for her team to do their best, get in the postseason, and hopefully make some noise in the state tournament. Sports have played an enormous role in Ewaldsen’s life, but she has done much more than simply move from one season to the next during her high school years. She is also a dedicated student whose name, it seems, is permanently etched on Savannah Christian’s Honor Roll. She places a strong emphasis on her Christian faith and allows that to guide her in every aspect of her life. Ewaldsen begins and ends each day with a devotion. In between, she fits in school, two and a half hours of practice, and homework/school projects. Maintaining such a schedule is simply a matter of time management and an understanding that no matter how important athletics are, school always comes first. “I have always wanted to be the best at everything I do - in the classroom or on the field. I strive to be a good Christian example to my peers and my teammates,” she says. ITG
During her career, Chandler Ewaldsen has won a host of awards, including All-Region in volleyball, basketball and soccer, and she was named Volleyball Player of the Year by the Savannah Morning News. Her most significant honor is the Hollis Stacy Award, which is given each year to the most versatile female athlete in Savannah. Hollis Stacy is a former member of the LPGA Tour who grew up in Savannah. She won several tournaments on the LPGA, including four majors, and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The award that bears her name is one of the most prestigious awards a female athlete in the Savannah area can win.
Have Georgia High Schools Adequately Addressed The Issue of Performance Enhancing Drugs? by Robert Preston, Jr.
f there is one thing the last calendar year has taught us, it’s that the issue of performance enhancing drug use in sports is far from dead. Media types refer to “the Steroid Area” in baseball as if it’s in the past. Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez have shown it is far from over. As I write this, the NFL is still reeling from the Vonn Miller drug testing scandal. And of course we had the ongoing Lance Armstrong saga and a host of other drug-related headlines this year. These stories all deal with professional athletes. We know many of them choose to use drugs. With millions of dollars on the line, the temptation is just too great for many to resist. But what about among the amateurs? Are those who don’t get paid to play using performance enhancing drugs? In a word, absolutely. Over the last couple of years, more and more amateur athletes are failing drug tests. Many of these athletes are older age-group competitors in endurance sports, though there are a few weightlifters who have been caught cheating as well. Probably the most famous, or infamous, is also the most recent – the case of 80-year-old weightlifter Don Ramos. Ramos, who has held several world records throughout his career, was nailed in September for testing positive for steroids. The culprit? Therapeutic testosterone he has been taking for over 20 years. Despite his claims that what he was doing was legal and under a doctor’s supervision (he has a prescription), the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspended Ramos for two years. There is also the curious case of Atlanta age-group triathlete Kevin Moats, one of the best over-50 triathletes in the country, who flunked an out-of-competition test and also received a suspension. These are but two examples of dozens of amateurs who are failing drug tests for various reasons. But, you might be saying to yourself, these are older men competing later in life who are in many cases taking drugs to help ward off the aging process. That may be true, but it doesn’t explain away the amateur athlete’s desire to succeed, to win, to climb to the top. The stakes have never been higher in high school sports, the media attention never greater. That leads to a dangerous combination of factors that could
lead high school athletes down a dangerous road. In Florida, officials are already addressing potential drug use among high school athletes. While the media focused its attention on the professional athletes named in the Biogenesis scandal, there were also several high school athletes whose names showed up on the client list. The Florida High School Athletic Association has guidelines against using performanceenhancing drugs and FHSAA officials have spoken publicly about the dangers – and consequences – of PED use. Likewise, the Georgia High School Association has a similar policy. In the Special Policies section of the GHSA’s Constitution, the organization devotes Section 4.63 to this very issue: “The Georgia High School Association strongly opposes the abuse of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances by high school student-athletes. The GHSA believes that such usage violates legal, ethical and competitive-equity standards and imposes unreasonable long-term health risks on the user. The GHSA encourages member schools to educate students and coaches about the perils of steroid usage, and the GHSA will distribute educational materials about this issue to member schools.” A noble policy but one that excludes a major deterrent to PED usage: testing. Admittedly, drug tests are expensive to administer and protocols are detailed and complicated. But does that mean that no testing guidelines should be in place? Not by a long shot. Not all high school athletes are using performance-enhancers. Most, in fact, are not. But many are. In addition to the negative health effects of PED use, there are the dangers posed to other athletes. PEDs produce bigger, faster, and stronger players, and juiced players are a threat to their clean counterparts. In an era where concussions and other sports-related injuries are being constantly discussed, is there room for one more factor that could contribute to player injuries? We may not be ready for PED testing just yet, but it needs to be in the discussion. And Georgia needs to lead the nation in making sure its high school athletes play cleanly and safely. ITG
The following web sites contributed to this story: www.nytimes.com, www.miamiherald.com, www.ironman.com, and www.ghsa.net. 17
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Benedictine football has certainly made a turnaround. In 2010, the Cadets were a dismal 1-9. Two years later, the Cadets went 8-4 and won a playoff game. As much fun as it was to be a part of that transformation, what happened in the spring was even more fun for Powers. The lefty expected to have a pretty good baseball season for the Cadets. He had no idea just how good pretty good would be. As a freshman, Powers posted a 3-1 record, mainly as a relief pitcher. His sophomore year, he broke into the starting rotation and finished the season 11-0 with
tevie Powers also plays basketball at Benedictine. It’s the sport in which he sees the least amount of playing time but the one he calls the most fun. “I enjoy going to the gym each day and playing with my friends. It keeps me in shape and it’s something I’m good at,” he says. Last year, the Cadets' basketball team made the playoffs but suffered the same fate as its football team at the hands of the Laney Wildcats. "We're not the biggest, fastest, or strongest basketball team, but we are the most disciplined. We are very sharp, and we play great defense. Nobody is in better shape than we are.”
Benedictine Military School
71 strikeouts and a 2.18 ERA in 70 2/3 innings for a Benedictine team that advanced to the Final Four of the playoffs before losing to eventual state champion Lovett. Powers was named Region 2AA Pitcher of the Year as a result. His was a season full of big moments. The biggest came in the second game of Benedictine’s Final Four series against Lovett. The Cadets had lost the first game and were facing a do-or-die situation in game two. Powers started and enjoyed a 2-0 lead early on. Then he gave up a two-run home run to tie the game. He remained calm and kept Lovett’s offense in check for the remainder of the game. In the meantime, his hitters went to work and managed to score a run to
Powers Ready for Junior Year After Breakout Sophomore Campaign by Robert Preston Jr.
he 2012 football season started well enough for then-sophomore quarterback Stevie Powers. The 6’, 165-pounder had been groomed to play quarterback his whole life. On August 31, 2012, he was supposed to take the field as the starting quarterback for the Benedictine Cadets. It was a moment he had been working for since his football career began at age five. Here is where one might expect tales of greatness, of years of preparation finally paying off with a storybook season. In a way, that very thing happened. But not in the manner one would imagine. The Cadets came out of summer workouts with Powers at the number-one spot on the quarterback depth chart. He thought the job was his, that his work was done. The quarterback’s job is coveted, and there was somebody out there who wanted the position more than Powers - Miles McGinty, one of Powers’s best friends and a talented player in his own right. McGinty outworked Powers early in the season and earned the starting job under center. 24
go up 3-2. In the seventh inning, Powers, who was trying to go the distance, found himself in trouble. There were two outs but Lovett had runners on base. Powers, who admits that at times he has trouble staying relaxed on the mound, managed to keep his emotions in check. He worked the count in his favor and was ahead 1-2. He got the call for a high fastball and delivered. The pitch was just too pretty for the batter to resist. He swung mightily but came up empty for the final out of the game. Powers had stopped the rally and forced game three. “The place just went
photography by Tina Helmly “It was tough when I lost the job. I was very disappointed in myself, but I was happy for Miles. We are good friends, and we decided a long time ago that we wouldn’t let football get in the way of our friendship. He wanted the job and worked harder than me to get it. It pushed me more, and I just kept telling myself that anything could happen,” recalls Powers. A couple of weeks into the season, something did happen. McGinty went down with an ankle injury in the fourth game of the year against Vidalia. Powers went in and never looked back. He had learned an enormous lesson during his time as the number-two quarterback, and he wasn’t about to let the job slip away again. The Cadets' lost to Vidalia but won their next three straight and finished the regular season winning four out of their last six games, earning a spot in the playoffs, and advancing to the second round after topping Laney 2420 on the road in the first round. Powers had a breakout year under center, completing 92-of-154 passes for 1,502 yards, 11 touchdown passes, two rushing touchdowns, and just six interceptions. He was named
All-State Honorable Mention and staked his claim as the Cadets quarterback for the next two years. The ankle injury kept McGinty out of the lineup most of last season. He is starting this season as a linebacker. Powers is a talented young man who, despite his youth, has a keen understanding of the nuances of sport. He works hard, never again taking his starting spot for granted, and he has great understanding of the game. Powers can see the field very well and anticipates developing plays well. It doesn’t hurt that he has a cannon for an arm and is always in fantastic shape. In 2013, he would like to see his team improve each week and remain focused on each game, one at a time. “You win football games after school from Monday to Thursday. We need to take each game week by week and not get ahead of ourselves. Last year, we got ahead of ourselves at times and looked beyond the next game. We have some great things happening at Benedictine, and we need to remain focused,” he says.
crazy,” he remembers. As Powers’s junior season begins, he and his Benedictine teammates have a bright future ahead of them. The football team is headed in the right direction, and most of last year’s baseball team will be back again for 2014. He would like to one day play either football or baseball (perhaps both) in college. Powers is already preparing for the day when he will be able to talk to college coaches. He isn’t looking too far ahead, but he is already working on a preliminary map for his future. “I have a list of colleges I would like to attend. I hope a few of them will like me for football, baseball, or maybe even both. Right now, I’m just keeping my eyes and my options open.” ITG
Stevie's Favorites: Subject: History Sport to watch on TV: College/NFL football College team: University of Georgia College player: Aaron Murray Pro team: Atlanta Falcons Pro player: Matt Ryan Musician: Florida-Georgia Line Who would you most like to meet? Michael Jackson What Sport do you wish you could play? Volleyball Place to travel: europe Superpower: Wings so I could fly.
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The Northeast Florida Edition of In The Game High School Sports Magazine recognizes athletes from Duval, Nassau, St. Johns and Clay Counties...