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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MAGAZINE

Southeast Georgia Edition

10 Academic Athlete Ben Davis Pierce County High School

19 Player Spotlight Antonio Wimbush Dedrick Mills Richard LeCounte Southeast Georgia Schools

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December 2013

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Schools Bacon County High School

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Coach’s Corner

Pierce County High School

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Camden County High School

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Adam Carter

Bradwell Institute

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Bradwell Institute

Wayne County High School

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Ware County High School

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Jeff Davis High School

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Rising Star Alex Sanders Jaylene Kirby

Also Inside Patellar Dislocation: What You Need To Know

Bone & Joint Institute of South Georgia

Jeff Davis Middle School

Catch all the latest action of high school sports! Listen to John and Shawn Every Thursday night at 6:00 PM on WWUF 97.7 The Wolf

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In Action

Special Thanks to the Okefenokee Swamp Park for hosting the In the Game Underclassmen photo shoot.

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• Appling County Pirates • Bacon County Red Raiders • Bradwell Institute Tigers • Brantley County Herons • • Brunswick Pirates • Camden County Wildcats • Charlton County Indians • • Frederica Academy Knights • Glynn Academy Red Terrors • Jeff Davis Yellow Jackets • • Liberty County Panthers • Long County Blue Tide • McIntosh County Buccaneers • Pierce County Bears • • Ware County Gators • Wayne County Yellow Jackets •

in the

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HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS MAGAZINE

Publisher Shawn Smoak

Editor Mark Dykes Kaitlynn Passmore

Graphics Jennifer Alexander

Cover Photography Jennifer Carter Johnson

Jennifer Carter Johnson Photography

Feature Photography Jeffrey Griffith

Old Goat Photography

Bo Carter

Bo’s Sport Photography

Jennifer Carter Johnson

Jennifer Carter Johnson Photography

Feature Writers John DuPont John Wood

Conributing Writer Gail Fiveash

Copy Editors Crystal Hubbard Ashley Dailey

Advertising/Marketing Shawn Smoak shawn@inthegamemagazine.com

Mark Dykes

mark@inthegamemagazine.com

Website Manager Kaitlynn Passmore

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From the Publisher And then there were two. The SEGA coverage area started the 2013 football playoffs with eight of its 16 teams having a shot at a state title in the Georgia Dome in December. In the first round we lost Liberty and Glynn Academy, and in the second round Appling, Camden, and Pierce, leaving three teams entering round three. Ware, Charlton, and Wayne were all part of their respective classifications’ Elite 8. The Ware County Gators fell to the Tucker Tigers, but both Charlton and Wayne put up huge offensive numbers scoring 42 and 51 points respectively in moving on to the Final Four, just one game away from the trip to Atlanta and a shot at a state title. The future of SEGA High School football seems to be in great hands. This month our Players Spotlight feature takes a look at three underclassmen that will be leading the charge. Richard LeCounte of Liberty County is up for the MaxPreps Freshman of the Year for the entire nation. Ware County sophomore Dedrick Mills’s legend grows as one of the state’s premier two-way players every time he steps on the field. Camden County’s Antonio Wimbush is regarded as one of the hardest working players in the southeast, winning Best Overall Athlete at several combines for the past two summers. All three are outstanding character kids who will represent SEGA football very well as they make their way to the collegiate level. Pierce County’s offensive lineman Ben Davis is a “One Percenter.” No, not that kind of one percenter; the kind that is nominated for the National Merit Scholarship. Only about one percent of the students nationwide are nominated, which is pretty impressive. I guess when your nickname is “Einstein of the Offensive Line,” you have a lot to live up to. I say being the top-ranked student in your class is definitely answering that bell. Coaching is coaching as they say, but sometimes it’s not enough. Changing the culture of a program not only involves a team, it involves a whole community including faculty, administration, sponsors, touchdown clubs, and fan bases. Adam Carter was the perfect coach for Bradwell Institute to turn things around for the Tigers. Coming from the program at Camden County, Carter saw first-hand what it takes to be a winning program and over time he will have Bradwell Institute starting a winning tradition of its own. It’s always special to be a part of a championship team but to get to do it with family has to be extra special. Alex Sanders and Jaylene Kirby are part of the Jeff Davis Middle School’s one-two punch and are cousins to boot. They were a big part of why JDMS won the conference championship this year both as two-way players. Scoring a combined 23 touchdowns on offense and combining for five forced turnovers on defense, you can see what kind of impact they had on the field. We hope you enjoy reading In the Game as much as we enjoy producing and publishing it. We are always open to suggestions as well as story ideas or ways you think we can improve our magazine. Please visit our website at www.inthegamemagazine.com and Facebook at www.facebook.com/inthegamemagazine. Join us every Thursday evening live from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. as we broadcast live “In the Game on the Radio” on WWUF 97.7 FM or stream the show live on www.waycrossradio.com. We have an excellent opportunity for fundraising whether for your sports team, organization, or booster club. Please give us a call at 888-715-GAME or email us at info@inthegamemagazine.com for details. While you’re online, don’t forget to nominate a deserving studentathlete or coach for one of our feature articles. You’ll be glad you did.

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In the Game High School Sports Magazine is published monthly excluding July. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in part or in full without written consent from the publisher. Dykes Publishing Group, Inc. makes no representation or warranty of any kind for accuracy of content. All advertisements are assumed by the publisher to be correct. Copyright 2013 Dykes Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Bacon County Red Raiders Morris Johnson Stadium • Capacity: 2,500 • Alma, GA • www.bcraidersfootball.com Dedicated To A Dream

Jackson with his coach, Abdul Sham Sid-Deen at the Five Star Basketball Camp.

This past July, Foster attended Five-Star Basketball Camp at Reinhardt University in Waleska. He was selected for the “6th Man Award” from a group of over 100 boys from all over the U.S. who attended the camp. He also received an invitation to the Scouts Focus Elite 80 Showcase in Orlando, Florida, an invitation extended only to campers that received awards at the Five-Star camps. “At those camps, I looked around and realized there is a lot of great talent in the country. And if you intend to make it to the college level you to have to play as well or better than most of them and keep your grades up,” Foster said. “At the camp I got to meet a lot of coaches and many scouts were on hand. I just hope I made a good impression.” After playing on the middle school level, Foster started on the varsity as a freshman and received the “Freshman of the Year” Award for the 2011-12 season. BCHS Head Coach Derrick Green says Foster is probably the best shooter he has ever coached and commented after last season that Foster could probably leave as the leading BCHS scorer of all time (Foster scored 260 points last season, second to teammate Devonte O’Neal). “We are closer than friends, we are like brothers,” says Foster of his teammates. “Last year we wanted to go deep into the state playoffs, and when we didn’t we were all crushed. Our goal this year is to win the state championship and to win that title it takes a team, not just one player. We have a good team, and I’m proud to be one of its members.” Foster, Bacon’s “three-point hitman,” is a 5’11” guard who picked up his first basketball at age six. He also began playing baseball the same year and is also a member of the Raiders baseball team. He credits Coach Green for setting up some touch standards for the team. “He (Green) always stresses that defense wins games and expects us to work hard on both ends of the court,” says Foster. It was actually Foster’s grandfather, J.P. Floyd who taught him a valuable lesson at an early age. “When I was about six I just wanted to play with the other guys, but grandfather would pick me up to go to the driving range to hit some golf balls,” says Foster. “I would ask him ‘why do you just come out here and hit golf balls?’ He said, ‘If you want to be good at anything you have to practice.’ I never forgot what he said and to this day. I shoot and shoot and shoot.” Foster’s three-point shot, however, came out of necessity, “My brother (Zach) was taller than I, and I couldn’t drive to the basketball on him, so I just had to learn how to shoot over him. Guess I have to give him that.”

Asked if it adds to his confidence knowing his mother and grandparents are always in the stands, Foster says, “It feels good to know you have someone in the stands that supports you no matter what and that if you make a mistake they don’t sugarcoat it; they tell you the truth, but are always on your side.” To younger kids who will follow him, Foster reminds them, “Put as much effort into your grades as you do your sport. “If you make a mistake while playing, don’t dwell on it. Move on and play your game.”

Photos by Aimee Foster

Most kids grow up having a dream. In many cases it is to be a star in the NBA or the NFL. Jackson Foster, BCHS junior member of the basketball team, is one of those kids. If his wish comes true it would be to one day wear the colors of the Duke Blue Devils. That goal inspires him to maintain his grade point average. Foster has been in honors classes, maintaining an A-B average throughout school. He is also in the gifted program while working hard to keep his basketball skills intact. He knows it takes an above average student/athlete to gain a scholarship. Foster could stand on his laurels when talking about the upcoming season, as he has already begun to add some to his resume, but he doesn’t. “Jackson started playing basketball in the rec league at age six,” says his mother, Aimee Foster. “He has been playing now for almost 11 years and loves every minute of it.”

by Gail Fiveash

Jackson during introductions last season

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Academic Athlete sponsored by:

Einstein of the Offensive Line by John DuPont photography by Jennifer Carter Johnson

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Ben Davis Pierce County High School

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n an era where football coaches stipulate academic excellence from their players, Ben Davis is a coach’s dream. Davis, a senior at Pierce County High School, began 2013-14 as the topranked student in his class, positioning himself to be valedictorian. Though he was named Most Intellectual among male students in his senior class, Davis isn’t just a smart guy who plays football. He’s an integral part of a senior class that has won more games (30 and counting at press time) and titles (two region championships) than any other group in PCHS history. “Ben has a photographic memory,” notes PCHS Head Coach Sean Pender. “If you draw something up on the board, he has no problem knowing what to do. He knows it right away. You explain it to him one time and he’s got it.” Davis comes from a long line of academic excellence. His grandfather, Coleman Harrison, was a valedictorian at Blackshear High School, a precursor to PCHS. Davis’s mother, Brenda, was a salutatorian at the same school. “Ben’s self-discipline and determination serve him well not only in the classroom but on the football field,” says Brenda Davis. “His offensive line coach, Brandon Jernigan, calls Ben ‘the Einstein of the offensive line.’ Ben knows every play and plays every position on the line except center. Coach Jernigan says it’s like having another coach on the field.” Ben Davis was recently named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, an honor granted to approximately one percent of students nationwide. Though he has yet to specify a career path, it’s a safe bet he’ll be among the best at whatever he chooses. “People always ask me, ‘Why do you make good grades?’ and it makes me kind of mad,” says Davis. “I am blessed with intelligence, yes, but I look around at people in class and see them talking to their friends or goofing off. What sets people apart is work ethic. My father instilled that in me when I was really young.” His father, Burt Davis, offers this memory: “We were living in Ormond Beach, Florida, and Ben’s mom would pick up (older son) Brad from elementary school. Ben would ride with her and go over multiplication tables in the car. I think he was two or three years old when Brad would bring some of his friends over to watch Ben recite multiplication tables. They just didn’t believe it.” Ben Davis has fashioned a 4.0 GPA during his high school career and achieved a perfect score of 2400 on the SAT under the “super scoring” method that combines personal best scores from each section. Teachers got a glimpse of those


intellectual talents in middle school when Davis missed only one question on the CRCT. He also noted two questions that did not offer correct answers so administrators contacted testing officials who subsequently tossed out those questions for everyone in the state. A member of Beta Club, the math team, and First Southern Bank’s Junior Board, Davis owns an academic portfolio that also includes numerous honors classes. Slated to take his fourth AP class (calculus) next semester, he declined dual college enrollment this semester because it would have conflicted with his AP biology class. The AP schedule also prohibits Davis from taking weight training at PCHS. He consequently rises before six o’clock each morning and hits the weight room, where he works out with pal Charles Scarborough. Davis will likely pursue a collegiate path, sans football, but it’s been a great ride with three championships (including a middle school conference title) to date.

able resource. “Brad has been a very influential person in my life,” Davis says. He got me on a workout plan, helping to get my weight up.” Adds his mother: “Ben never complained about his knee injury. He worked extra hard to recuperate and get ready for his senior season. His teammates had his back literally. They met him at the front of school each morning to help him get out of the car and carried his backpack from class to class. One day he almost fell off the sidewalk when school was out. Blake Aldridge was right behind him and kept Ben upright.” Academic offers to Davis come from the likes of Arizona State, Alabama, Central Florida, South Carolina, and Mississippi State. At the top of his wish list, however, is Florida State, his mother’s alma mater. She attended FSU in the 1980s and was a member of the Golden Girls Dance Team. The Davis family has long since supported FSU, and the boys have attended numerous football

“Ben never answers ‘no’ to a question. In his mind, there is always a way to get it done.” – Coach Sean Pender “My group was successful in middle school with Darius Foreman and Cole Smith and those guys,” Davis says. “Coach Pender came in when I was a rising sophomore. He got all of us in the auditorium, and the first words out of his mouth were ‘state championship.’ Part of me thought he was crazy and part of me wanted to believe him. In the first scrimmage against Wayne County, we got down 14 or 21 points in the first quarter, and I was thinking it was the same old, same old. Micah Larson was in at quarterback, and we kept scoring and about halftime we were even. Coach Pender came in at halftime and gave a rousing speech. The game was cancelled due to lighting, but I knew then we had something special.” Davis was a key member of the Bears’ offensive line in 2012 as his team marched toward a second straight region title. Then crisis struck in the fourth game of the season when he tore an ACL. It happened on the Bears’ second drive of the game. Though out of commission, he chose not to have surgery until November due to the amount of school time he would have missed. Dr. Matt Valosen of the Bone and Joint Institute of South Georgia performed surgery, and two weeks later Davis was already doing squats against the wall. He credits Lee Bishop and the professionals at Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Therapy in Waycross for helping him regain his range of motion. Because of the risk of contracting an infection, Davis wasn’t permitted to work at a regular gym for several weeks. That’s when Brad, now the strength coach at Metter High, became a particularly valu-

games since they were tots. While FSU has yet to make its offer, an offer is more likely to transpire along with numerous others if Davis is named a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship. “I’d like a more conservative campus,” Davis says. “The larger ones trend toward debauchery, but I’ll probably pick one with a good religious foundation that is also somewhat prestigious academically.” Davis attends Emmanuel Baptist Church, and his favorite charitable pursuits include Samaritan’s Purse, which coordinates “Operation Christmas Child” annually. He also supports the American Red Cross with regular blood donations. Quality time includes the company of friends and family, including grandmother Alpha Davis of Waycross. Davis also frequently joins teammate Mason Bodenhamer in playing guitar, a talent gleaned from Sybil Harrison, Mrs. Davis’s mother. “God gives you talents, and He gave Ben an abundance of intelligence,” says Burt Davis. “However, you have also got to work. I always tell Ben that it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. I have seen people who were intelligent who didn’t use it. Ben is not just a smart kid, he does the right thing. I thank the good Lord every night for what kind of kid he is.” ITG

The winner of

Davis’s Favorites: Organizations: National Honor Society Authors: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Tom Clancy Music: Swing, Ska, Motown TV channel: History Channel TV programming: Jeopardy, WWE Wrestling Actor: Clint Eastwood 11


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Pierce County Bears

Cross Country Competes At State The PCHS cross country team had a very successful season. Both the boys’ and girls’ teams competed in the region meet in Appling County on October 31. The girls placed region runner-ups behind the Savannah Arts team and were just shy of placing first by one point. Loran Jordan was the individual region runnerup with a personal best of 20:58. Other individual winners for the girls were Lauren Lee (fourth place) and Mary Courtney Puryear (seventh place). The top four teams and top seven individual runners for both the boys’ and girls’ teams then qualified for

by Loran Jordan the GHSA State Cross Country meet. The boys’ cross country team barely made the cut by placing fifth overall, and then out of luck the region champions from Savannah Arts were disqualified, making the boys fourth in the region. The PCHS Bears and Lady Bears Cross Country teams represented Pierce County well in the state finals held in Carrollton on November 9. This was the first time in two years that both the boys and girls have qualified for state at the same time. The Lady Bears finished 15th in the AAA finals out of 31 teams compet-

1973 Patterson High Football

ing. There were 212 student athletes competing in the girls’ race. Individual times for the Lady Bears competing in state play were: Mary Courtney Puryear 22:21, Loran Jordan 23:02, Gracie Bennett 24:01, McKayla Carter 24:11, Lauren Lee 24:19, Josie Sirmans 24:21, and Kaitlyn Alvarez 26:32. The state course at Carrollton is the toughest course the runners take on all year because of the steep hills and terrain, but these runners were up to the challenge. Congratulations to both the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams on their successful season.

about being disappointed,” says Still. “Being with my teammates, coaches, and friends and being able to share that experience with my family will forever be a highlight of my life. After 40 years, the reunion was as special as our 1973 season.” After everyone introduced themselves, Reverend Derwin Griffin, the captain of the team and pastor of Second Baptist Church in Waycross, led them in prayer. All of the family members there began to enjoy their food that was prepared by the family members of Griffin’s family. As everyone ate, the former teammates went to take a team photo. They were all arranged in the same positions as they had been 40 years ago for the Patterson High School yearbook picture.

After the photo was taken, they were able to enjoy their meals. Not long after, Defensive Coordinator Edwin Pope and Head Coach W.D Strickland both expressed how they felt about the season of ’73. The reunion was a great turnout and a wonderful way for everyone to remember their undefeated season. After the reunion, many attended the Pierce vs. Tattnall game together. Not only were the Patterson Eagles a team, somehow during the 1973 season they became a family.

by Brittany Howell ed against some great schools, but the PCHS one-act came out on top. This is the first time Pierce has won a one-act region title in a while. Justice says, “Performing arts education is teaching the soul how to live.” Once this amazing group of students finished with region they had only a week to prepare for state. They worked hard and focused on nothing but winning. State competition was held on November 2, 2013 in Milledgeville at Baldwin County High School. The Pierce One-Act team left on Friday, November 1 and competed on the following day. They did not place in state, but just having the satisfaction of saying they are region 1AAA champions in a great accomplishment.

Photos by Kellie Justice

The Drama Department at Pierce County High School has had a wonderful start this year. The OneAct cast and crew put together the play titled “Cards, Cups and Crystal Ball” by David Caption. It is a story of a murder mystery involving three sisters who are fraudulent fortune tellers. They find they may not be quite so fraudulent after all. The cast included Macy Lankford as Flora Weerd, Dallas Stewart as Dora Weerd, Carson Bennett as Nora Weerd, Kate Jackson as Lady M, and Justin Lynch as Jessie. The crew members included Kaylee Putala, Brianna Kind, Nailah Lawson, Taylor Deal, and Lillie McGill. The students practiced many hours after school and put together a marvelous play for all to see. They were helped and directed by Kellie Justice. The road to perfection was not easy. The students put in many hours of their own time and spent hour upon hour learning lines and stage directions. This year students had to not only focus on lines, they had to bring on their own props and remove them. There is only a set amount of time allowed for the play which is close to 56 minutes. On October 25, 2013 the One-Act stars traveled to Appling County to compete in region 1AAA competition. They compet-

Photos by John DuPont

by Brittany Howell

It was in 1973 when Patterson High School accomplished an undefeated season. On September 27, 2013 all of the team members, their families, and the coaches gathered at the Eagle Station in Patterson. They all arrived at 4 pm and were presented with t-shirts and books summarizing the wonderful season they had in ’73. Not many knew that the football monument from the season had been missing for about 25 to 30 years. Thanks to Steve and Marla Howell it was found and kept safe in their restaurant, Plant Café, over the years. It is a great honor to say that they will be placing the monument at its rightful place which is Eagle Station. The teammates and their families all had close to an hour to catch up and greet one another before everything got started. After socializing everyone had a chance to introduce themselves, and they also recognized the ones that had passed away. One of the men that introduced himself was Greg Still. He was a senior during the season and the person who organized this marvelous event. “So many of us had talked about having a reunion and have anticipated it for so long that I was concerned

One-Act Team Wins Region Title

Blackshear, GA · www.pchs.pierce.k12.ga.us

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Pierce County Bears Blackshear, GA · www.pchs.pierce.k12.ga.us

Sound Of Silver

by Ivy Young

Photo By Serenity Photography

October was a busy month for the Pierce County High School Sound of Silver Marching Band. The band participated in three competitions and held their own. “This year’s marching band has been the best ever! Even though we did not capture the elusive ‘Grand Champion’ award, the band did receive second place in two of the competitions we attended. It’s been a fun season, and I am looking forward to next year’s band!” says Band Director Bob Edwards. The three marching competitions that the band competed in were at Coffee High School, Statesboro High School, and Ware County Memorial Stadium. At the Coffee County competition on September 28 the band achieved second place overall along with superior band, percussion, and drum major titles and high overall effect and high marching performance. October 19 the band traveled to Statesboro high school for the second competition where the band, again, came out with second overall place, superior titles for drum major, band, majorette, dance, color guard, and percussion. Alongside superior awards, the band received best in

class awards for dance line, flag line, majorettes, drum major, and percussion. The band’s last competition was at the Ware County Memorial Stadium. Here the PCHS Sound of Silver received fifth overall place, best in class dance line, flag line, and majorette, superior percussion, drum major, majorette, band, color guard, and dance. Heather Sweat, color guard director for the SOS band, was especially proud. “I feel that our color guard worked extra hard this year, especially considering the number of new members we have. They pulled together as a team and brought superior results. I couldn’t be more proud as I watch them sparkle on the field,” says Sweat. “I believe that the band reached new heights this year with the Billy Joel show!” “Superior” doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. The band marched with great detail as it has for several years, but this year the music reached new heights,” says Mike Carter, assistant director of the PCHS marching band. “The band was sound in all areas, headed by a group of dedicate seniors. It was arguably the best sounding band we have ever had at Pierce! We will certainly miss this group of seniors. We will be expecting continued success in the future because of the rich tradition that the upperclassmen have established.” Aside from competing, the band also hosts their own marching competition, known as the Sound Of Silver Marching Band Invitational. This year the invitational was held

Pierce County Softball Team Makes It To Elite Eight Georgia. The team then came together to make it to the Elite Eight. This was the first time since 2008 our girls have made it to the Elite Eight in Columbus and the second time overall in the fast pitch competition. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. For starters the team beat Franklin County 2-0 in the opening of the tournament. After that, they fell 2-1 to Oconee County and 2-1 to Central Carroll. “This was the most successful team in Pierce County history,” says Coach Spires. “We had the most wins ever, and it was the first time a PCHS team had

Pierce County Rec. Dept. Girls Capture State Title For Seven To Eight Year Olds

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off. This was the very first time seven and eight year olds won anything, including the state title for basketball. Since these girls are the same ones that won both state titles. We do believe that the girls will make future Lady Bears if they keep up their hard work, and determination to play as a team. They will make it far as long as they put effort into it. It is a shame that since they got this good they are now in the travel team and have left us, but they have the opportunity to get better. We are excited to hear from the ones who left us to see how they have done!”

ever won an Elite Eight game.” The teams finished the season 29-9. The students and faculty here at PC are beyond proud of the team for making it as far as they did and making this season so amazing.

by Maggie Santana Photo By Pierce County Rec Dept.

Pierce County Recreation Department is proud to have such talented young girls. The seven and eight year olds won the state title in softball on July 12, 2013. These young girls are so talented that they not only won the softball title, but also won the basketball state title. These young ladies will make it far if they keep up their hard work and teamwork. Softball coaches say, “We are so proud of our girls. We were super surprised when we won the state title. It was a joy to know all their hard work paid off! And all the effort we put in practice paid

by Brittany Howell

Photo By Jennifer Carter Johnson

Pierce County High School Lady Bears have had a wonderful 2013 season. They were able to bring home the region title last year, but finished second to Tattnall County. This year was different. Something spectacular was going on, and our girls sure did pull it off. They fought hard and spent all of their time preparing for this season. It surly showed whenever they stepped foot out on the field and put their heart and soul into the game. They swept Jefferson County at home in round one of the playoffs. In round two, they played Chapel Hill High School and won two out of three games against them. This series of games was played in Douglasville,

at the Pierce County High School on October 12. At this invitation the Pierce County band students not only performed as an exhibition band, they worked all day serving other bands, audiences, and the judges. Much support was given to the Pierce County band by the Pierce County BOE, numerous local businesses, dedicated parents, families, and friends. This year there were over 300 volunteers. “This year’s smooth sailing event can be directly contributed to the great working relationship between the board of education, the active band booster members, and the band students. We had to make some operational changes this year to accommodate other campus activities, and everything went better than expected. Seeing our students performing at the end of that day was the greatest reward. Not only do they work individually, but also as a team, representing Pierce County in admirable ways.” says Julie George (SOS invitational chair). At this year’s SOS invitational, Appling County won the Grand Champion title. This season was very memorable for the band. Not only because of awards but because of the fellowship the band has. “I’ve been incredibly lucky to be able to student teach with Mr. Edwards and the Sound of Silver. I’ve learned so many things and gotten to know so many great people. The band sounds great, and I’ve been so proud of each competition performance we’ve had this year that placing doesn’t matter to me. The students have come a long way since band camp, and I’m a little disappointed that I’ll be leaving such a great band program soon,” says band student intern Brittany Loftin.


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Pierce County Bears

Cheer Bears Win Region

Blackshear, GA · www.pchs.pierce.k12.ga.us by Josie DuPont

Photo By Pam Rowell

The Pierce County High School Competition cheerleaders have stayed busy with competitions every weekend so far this season. Their hard work has paid off, resulting in an undefeated season so far. The cheerleaders started off their season on September 28 competing in the “Bulldog Bash” held in Toombs County. They received their first win of the season there. The cheerleaders then competed in the “Falcon

Frenzy” held in East Laurens on October 5, where they also took home first. The cheerleaders traveled to Atlanta October 12 where they competed in the Peachtree Ridge invitational. This was their biggest competition aside from region and state as the top four teams from state last year were there. Despite the rattled nerves and butterflies, the cheerleaders sailed smoothly through their routine and took home first place. This was a big win for them, which afforded the team a boost of confidence in what was to be some of the girls’ first big stage competition.

Quarterbacks Of The Future

The cheerleaders also competed in Vidalia, Statesboro, and Swainsboro where they took home first each time. In addition to first place, the girls also took home Grand Champions in Statesboro and Swainsboro, meaning they had the highest score of the day. Statesboro and Swainsboro were the only two competitions which offered the Grand Champion trophy. The region competition was held in Toombs again this year. The PCHS cheerleaders hit a nearly perfect routine and took home the region title. The girls will head straight to the state finals in Columbus and hope to win another state title and claim an undefeated season.

by Joshua McDay Harris’s and Coach Pender’s presences, they are listening and learning the tricks and the trade of not only being a good quarterback, but a successful one. Stetson adds, “I try to just watch Tyler and learn from him.” Stetson and Lincoln have been getting mentally stronger by simply paying attention to the different sets and coverages defenses line up in and making mental reps when they are not making physical reps. Tyler Harris says, “I just try to be a leader for them to look at on and off the field, and help them grow as leaders and as people. I also try to help them from my own experiences.” What Harris is doing seems to be working. Under these two at quarterback, the junior varsity

Still Leads Girls’ Golf

squad has brought back-to-back wins against Camden, Brantley, and Jeff Davis. There will still be high expectations going into next season, in which the offense expects the same success. Next season Lincoln and Bennett plan on transitioning their talent and success from Thursday evenings to Friday nights. Photo By Joshua McDay

There is heavy quarterback development going on this year in Bearville as the search for the future replacement of current senior and SMU commit Tyler Harris begins. Jemar Lincoln and Stetson Bennett prepare to fill in those shoes as future play callers. Being freshmen, there is a lot of room for these two to develop their skills and crafts. Both boys have been closely learning from Harris throughout the course of the year. “He (Harris) is giving me excellent advice to help me out in keeping the ball high and tight,” says Lincoln. These two are not only talented, but are also very well-liked by their teammates. Striving for perfection, whenever they aren’t throwing passes, they are always standing near Harris and Coach Pender. By being in

by Josie DuPont Pierce County High School

Ms. Erica Still is new to Pierce County this year and will be coaching the PCHS girls’ golf team. “My future goal is to bring a state championship for girls’ golf to PCHS and establish a dominating program in Pierce County,” says Still. “I would like to see some girls with a hard work ethic achieve their golf and life goals. I would enjoy watching these girls develop and train and get the same satisfaction from golf that I do.” Prior to coming to Pierce, Still lived in Olive Branch, Mississippi, where she worked as an assistant golf pro at Cherokee Valley Golf Club. She worked in the pro shop, directed golf tournaments, and spent a lot of time assisting with junior clinics and giving lessons. Still graduated from Ware County High School in May, 2006. She played golf throughout high school and also basketball until her sophomore year. “It was a very sad day when I had to give up basketball,” says Still “I made the decision to quit basketball after my sophomore year because I realized I could have a future with golf and did not want to risk an injury due to playing basketball.” In the fall of 2005, Still signed with the University of Kentucky with a full golf scholarship. Her first tournament was the Cougar Classic in Charleston, South

Carolina, where she led the UK team as a freshman. “I had some ups and downs that first year with homesickness but somehow I kept my golf game under control because I was the leading scorer for the UK team that year,” says Still. She lettered in golf all four of her years at UK and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics. Still’s grandmother, Ruby Still, has lived in Patterson since the 50’s. “She has supported me no matter what crazy scheme I came up with,” says Still. Her granddaddy was the late Guy F. “Bud” Still. He coached football at Patterson High School in the 1950’s and led several football teams to victory. Both of Still’s parents are retired teachers. Her dad, Greg Still, was born and raised in Patterson and started his teaching and coaching at Patterson High School. He

married Erica’s mom, Terri Still, in 1980. Greg is retired from Ware County while Terri is retired from Pierce County. They are both happy and enjoying retirement. Still has one older sister, Alison. “My philosophy on sports is that I would not be where I am at today as a person without them,” says Still, “Sports build character, sportsmanship, compassion, and confidence.” Starting from a young age, Still set athletic, academic, and life goals for herself. “Although I may have taken the hard road to get there,” expresses Still, “the point is that I got there and achieved my objective. Sports taught me not to give up on my dreams.” “I am very excited to be coming back home and being a part of this amazing school system in Pierce County,” says Still. “God has shut one door and opened another for me, and I owe all the glory to Him. I would not have had these blessings if it were not for the Lord leading me in the right direction.”

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Player Spotlight sponsored by:

Southeast Georgia Schools

Welcome To the Future by John Wood

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ach year more than ten thousand Georgia High School students will strap on pads with the goal of playing high school football. Fifty-nine percent of those players believe that they will get a college scholarship. However, a U.S. Department of Education report found that one out of a hundred student athletes will be offered any kind of Division I scholarship. Ninety out of 100 high school athletes will never play any collegiate sports and one out of 16,000 high school athletes will make a living in professional sports. If you have the God-given ability and the drive to push yourself to be the best on the field and in the classroom, and you add in a little luck, you might have the chance to play on Saturday’s biggest stages. The three underclassmen profiled share all of the above qualities

photography by Jennifer Carter Johnson

in addition to providing major leadership roles for their teams. It doesn’t hurt that Liberty County Panthers’ freshman Richard LeCounte’s safety position is six yards behind all-everything linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Ware County sophomore running back/linebacker Dedrick Mills was given an opportunity to prove himself as a freshman and ended up an integral part of the Gators’ run to the title game and also became the only freshman named to the All-Region team. Camden running back/defense back Antonio Wimbush knows about big-time recruiting on his own, but also from the experiences of Alabama signees Chris Williams and Kalavarez Bessent. Meet three players whose names will light up recruiting message boards and continue the proud tradition of southeast Georgia products impacting major college football programs.

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Richard LeCounte Liberty County High School Class of 2017 Freshman, S/RB 6’0”, 185 lbs. Bench: 180 Squat: 245 Power Clean: 110 Coach: Kirk Warner Parents: Richard and Erica LeCounte

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f you haven’t seen LeCounte’s YouTube highlight reel stop reading now and pull it up. The footage had 300k hits on Yahoo! Sports. Though McMillan is the obvious prize for scouts and recruiters, there were enough stories floating around about Lecounte, who played junior varsity as an eighth-grader, to wet any recruiter’s appetite. If you missed the YouTube video, you might have seen LeCounte in Sports Illustrated’s September issue of Faces in the Crowd. LeCounte has generated a lot of his own press during his first full year of varsity freshman. “Raekwon has been very important to me as a teammate and as a person. He has helped me mature and learn to be a leader and keep my eyes open. He stays on me about my school work. He is my big brother. Being able to help him achieve the goal of the getting back to the playoffs was great. We want to keep building this program and holding ourselves to a higher standard,” LeCounte says. LeCounte, who turned 15 years old September 11 and is considered the leading contender for the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year and was one of fifty freshman players nationwide selected to the inaugural U.S. Army All-American Freshman game, played on January 5, 2014 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. “It’s actually harder for these freshman players to make it than the older players because we only have 50 slots for this first freshman game. We found Richard by way of Raekwon, and then we saw the YouTube highlight reel and then he started setting himself a part,” U.S. All-American Bowl player director Eric Richards says.

Schools Interested: University of Florida, University of Georgia, Ohio State University, University of Alabama, Clemson, Cincinatti, Akron, Georgia Southern 2013 Statistics: Playing JV as an eighth-grader gave him a head start to his freshman year. 4.5

Richards certainly knows talent. The camps he has put on through Football University all over the United States has an amazing list of alumni who are visible in the SEC and other major conferences along with the NFL on Sunday. “Richard has an amazing amount of raw talent. You have to remember that he turned 15 years old two months ago. His ability to make plays is natural talent. Once he starts to refine his technique and the technical skill and athletic ability merges, his future is unlimited,” Richards says. The U.S. Army Freshman All-American game will give Richards a chance to see where LeCounte will be measured against the best of the best in his age group. LeCounte will get a chance to play with LSU Lab High School freshman quarterback Dylan Moses, who as a freshman is already committed to his hometown LSU Tigers as an eighth-grader. “We will look at the race for freshman of the year towards the end of the season as everything winds down, but Richard has certainly distinguished himself in his first season of varsity football,” MaxPreps Stephen Spiewak says. LeCounte, is going to be one of the most anticipated recruits up until he signs a letter of intent his senior year, but he also knows that he has been blessed with natural ability, and he has to work as hard as, if not harder, than his teammates. He has learned valuable leadership skills that will help him on and off the field from mentor and teammate McMillan. “Richard is by far the best freshman that I have ever played with. On the field, he’s a ball hawking safety that I can count on when we

need a play. Off the field, he is my little brother who I would try to do anything for. I have taken him under my wing, and I expect him to keep leading this team to bigger and better things, but most of all I love him to death,” McMillan says. All concerned with LeCounte’s athletic future certainly understand that it is unlimited, but as he receives the accolades, it is important to stay grounded. “It is our commitment as coaching staff, school, and community to nurture Richard in his career and to make sure that he stays grounded and achieves his goals through hard work on and off the field,” Liberty County Panthers’ head football coach Kirk Warner says. The gridiron wasn’t LeCounte’s first love; it was the hardwood. LeCounte has been playing basketball since he was four years old and has played with the AAU teams South Georgia Kings and the Georgia Stars. He will also play for the Panthers this season, and Coach Willie Graham expects LeCounte to make an immediate impact on the varsity. “I’ve always loved basketball and still do, it was my first and favorite sport. Football is still equally important. God has blessed me with ability and I just want to be a good example of and show that good things can happen when you work hard at everything,” LeCounte says.

Dedrick Mills Ware County High School Class of 2016 Sophomore RB/LB 6’1”, 205 lbs. Coach: Ed Dudley Bench: 260 Squat: 470 Power Clean: 300

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are County sophomore Dedrick Mills scored on a 66yard run on the first play of the second half as the Gators thrashed Bainbridge on Ware County’s first leg of a return trip. The first year of varsity football under his belt, Mills gained experience that has been invaluable as the Gators finished the 2013 regular season 9-1 and earned a second region 3-AAAAA title. After a whirlwind freshman year, which ended with a loss in the title game to Gainesville, Mills’ offseason was purposeful and driven. Last spring, as college coaches hunted for future talent, Mills had the watchful eyes of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart trained on him. Two years ago, Mills was an eighth-grader and a Rising Star feature for In the Game in May 2012. Mills showed that he had the desire and the raw talent that would help the Gators as a freshman. All he needed was the opportunity. Ware County head football coach Ed Dudley and his linebackers position coach Shawn Campbell gave him the opportunity he needed. “Dedrick Mills is one of the most talented players I have worked with in the past 30 years. His talent is exceeded only by his love of the game and his teammates. He is on track to be a great player and an even better person. If he continues to grow his character in step with his talent, he has no limits,” Dudley says. Varsity time for freshmen is rare. A freshman who plays in the crux of the defense as a middle linebacker like Mills in almost unheard of. 20

Parents: Sharon Mills

Schools Interested: University of Alabama, University of Georgia, Auburn University

“When I was going through my first spring training I was hitting hard, and Coach Dudley gave me a chance, which I was so thankful for, and I was able to help the varsity last season. Eric Bernard said come play with me, and we were like twins,” Mills says. Recruiters, coaches, teammates, and fans alike are impressed by the talent of the sophomore linebacker, but few realize how much work goes in before you even have an opportunity to make highlight reel plays like his run against Bainbridge. “Dedrick Mills is an outstanding person on and off the field. He’s very humble, and he never gives up. He’s going to go far in life, just watch,” Ware County teammate Montre Merritt says. “We have spring training, offseason weights. During summer weight workouts they cut off the air conditioning so we all get sweating really good. Then in practices, we are trying to make sure we have correct technique in every drill and get better in every repetition. In the spring, if we aren’t playing another sport, Coach Dudley wants all of us to run track, so that will help us be in better condition for football. I plan to lift two times a day during the offseason and summer,” Mills says. Mills’s freshman season has helped some of his freshman teammates increase their commitment, and he has also started to become a vocal leader of the team. “Getting the older guys to listen sometimes is harder, but I lead by example. I stay on the guys about their grades too because that is important. We are primarily sophomores and juniors as starters, and we have bought into Coach Dudley’s philosophy. We hope to win a ring this

40-yard dash. Started every game for the Panthers playing on both sides of the ball and returning kicks. 89 tackles (59 solo), five interceptions (30-yard average), 1280 total yards and five touchdowns. 11 receptions/203 yards/two TDs; 21 carries/192 yards;407 kick return yards; 324 punt return yards/three TDs

2013 Statistics: 4.4 40-yard dash; 108 carries for 1,235 yards; 18 TDs; 79 tackles

year, but if we don’t our sophomore class is going to be a special group as seniors. Our goal is the dome and a ring, and we will do everything we possibly can to get it done,” Mills says. A strong student, Mills is interested in possibly coaching or sports medicine after playing college football. “I just want to thank God first of all for allowing me to play this game, my mother, my family, my uncles, all of my coaches, and especially Coach Ed Dudley for coaching me to always do the right thing on and off the field and play my hardest,” Mills says.. “I’m so proud of the young man my son is becoming both on and off the field. He works hard everyday, whether it be at school or on the football field. I’m proud of his football accomplishments, but I’m most proud of how he carries himself both on and off the field. He has a good, humble heart, and he is good to people. Football is great, but his maturity as a young man makes me prouder than any accomplishments on the field,” says Mills’s mother, Sharon.


Antonio Wimbush Camden County High School Class of 2015 Junior RB/DB 6’0”, 185 lbs. Bench: 345 Squat: 405 Power Clean: 275

Colleges Interested: University of Georgia, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ohio State, Tennessee, Illinois, Harvard, Duke, Furman

Parents: Jeremy and Wendy Patrick

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wo pillars of a strong character are work ethic and consistency, and Antonio Wimbush is the Rock of Gibraltar when it comes to both. “Wimbush is the heart and soul of Camden County. On both sides of the ball, he is probably the best high school football player on the team and a JJ Green (UGA) clone,” Barry Every, vice president and National Analyst for National Underclassman says. Last month’s In the Game Player Spotlight feature cornerback Kalvarez Bessent, and safety Chris Williams, are Alabama commitments. Camden was competitive, but Jeff Herron took them to a different level, winning three state championships in the 2000s. Though Herron, now at Prince Avenue Christian, helped build the program, current Head Coach Welton Coffey has added his own signature to the program, defeating Colquitt for the region title at the end of the 2013 regular season. “Antonio is a great player, probably the best all-around player on their team. He could probably play all 11 positions if you needed him to,” Herron says. Wimbush isn’t just a great player on the field. He is a stellar student in the classroom. Currently, he has a 3.6 and is finishing up his time in the business academy in hopes of moving to the engineering academy, which is what he is interested in as a career. “God has blessed me with an ability to play this game that I love so much, some people have a disability and can’t play. Because I have been given this gift I want to push myself to be the absolute best. I thank every one of my coaches and certainly my parents for sacrificing for me so I can go to camps and the fact that they have instilled in me the importance of hard work,” Wimbush says.

2013 Statistics: 4.5 40-yard dash;91 carries 571 yards (878 all purpose yards); nine TDs; six receptions/80 yards; 49 tackles. Overall MVP Combine winner last spring. Selected to play in the Rising Seniors Bowl in Atlanta at Grady Stadium in December.

The sheer size of the Camden program doesn’t give freshmen a lot of chances to get playing time, and Wimbush certainly didn’t have the spotlight getting limited time returning kicks. But the discipline and athleticism that he displayed led to more playing time and an eventual starting position as a sophomore. “Antonio is one of the hardest working young men that I have ever been around. Those attributes will help him be successful in anything he does,” Coffey says. Former Camden County defensive coordinator and current Bradwell Institute head coach Adam Carter also enjoyed his time coaching Wimbush. “Wimbush is the hardest working player I have been around. If I had a son I would want him to be just like Antonio,” Carter says. Though Wimbush is still growing and has speed, he tries to make the most of every drill in practice. Working toward having perfect technique is important to Wimbush, and it’s a trait that has certainly not gone unnoticed by his teammates. “He is one of the hardest working players I have played with. His actions are leadership,” Bessent says.

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Camden County Wildcats Kingsland, GA • www.wildcat.camden.k12.ga.us/ Behind The Scenes Of Camden County High School Cheerleading The spirited cheerleaders of Camden County High along with their coaches, Alanna Albright and Ashton Lessard, are ready to fill the stadium and the gym with excitement at every athletic Wildcat event. As an alumni cheerleader, Albright explains how she desired to give back to the program that was a part of her personal history. “I love the school spirit that my squad brings and just getting my team motivated,” Albright says. Coach Albright says her cheerleaders have high standards. “They are athletic, school-spirited, and good leaders,” Albright says. “They must be someone with good moral character and someone who is a good role model. Those qualities set them apart from others.” Seniors Logan Oberlin and Briona Wimbush are two proud cheerleaders who enjoy everything that being a part of the CCHS cheer team involves. “I love to cheer,” Wimbush says. “I have done it since I was eight years old.” Oberlin, however, being a previous cross country runner and a soccer player in high school, wanted to be different. “I wanted to test my comfort zone,” he

demanding. “We are focused in what we do,” they say. “Coach Albright wants to make sure we are on point. So that means we have no room to play around or talk. It’s not that she is controlling. She just wants us to do our best because she knows the potential that her team has.” With this leadership, Wimbush and Oberlin, along with the rest of the squad, have been able to gain better leadership skills and develop strategies to address problems. With younger teammates in mind, upperclassmen try to keep them focused and create an improved atmosphere to practice their cheers and enhance team building. Even though practice sometimes gets difficult, the squad tries to make sure that the challenges they face do not change what they do as a team. “The hardest part for me is to not be selfish,” Oberlin admits. “Sometimes I do not want to practice. Then again, I have to think of my team and the commitment I made. As a squad, our major problem is communication and being sensitive to certain things. Yet, we just need to learn how to develop social skills as we work hard and try to have fun.”

Camden County High School

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ike any other sport, cheerleading requires discipline. With all the cheers to memorize and the routines to learn, the cheerleaders need to motivate themselves to become better.

says. “I wanted to try to better myself and see what I can do that will make me a better athlete.” Learning teamwork, building bonds of friendship, and taking skills learned from the past, are all skills Coach Albright hopes her cheerleaders take from the sport. Albright perceives their weakness to be tumbling but emphasizes life lessons equally to motivate her athletes’ performances. “I wouldn’t ask them to do anything that I would not do,” Albright says. “The situations and challenges that they face during the season will have a greater effect on them in their years to come, whether that includes cheerleading or not.” Like any other sport, cheerleading requires discipline. With all the cheers to memorize and the routines to learn, the cheerleaders need to motivate themselves to become better. “It all depends on the situation,” Albright says. “They run, they condition, they do pushups. If they are late or have missed something, they usually have to do some type of conditioning. If it is grades or behavior, they have to sit out of being involved in practice.” Wimbush and Oberlin agree that practice really is

by Kate Slattery

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Bradwell Institute Tigers Olvey Field • Capacity: 9,000 • Hinesville, GA 2013 Tigers Finish Strong

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year’s squad. Bradwell started an in-school weight training class this school year; Carter believes that program will increase players’ strengths going into the spring. Fundamentals will be key adding wins next season. The Liberty County School Board may vote in the coming weeks whether or not to fund middle school athletics next year. “We get some athletes that come in and have never played football before at all. Fundamentals are the single most important aspect of football. If you can’t block and tackle, you won’t win many games. If we could get the fundamentals taught the way they should be at the youth level, it would be a great help. I think right now even at youth and middle school levels the coaches are more concerned with winning and what kind of offense they can run and how many points they can score. They take the best kids, teach them, and get by with that. It does hurt at the high school level. Look at the programs in Gwinnett and Cobb that have true feeder programs. They are doing things the right way,” Carter says. Before coming to Bradwell, Carter was involved with successful programs, and being around that success has certainly impacted his vision for what

he wants the future of his Tigers’ program to be. “Go in with a plan and stick to it. There are going to be many things that try to get in the way of the plan, but walk the line. Make sure you get the kids to understand you are there for them and will do whatever it takes to make them successful. Get out in the community and be available to the supporters. Establish a strong discipline plan,” Carter says. Photos By Bo Carter, Bo’s Sports Photography

The Friday, November 8 win over Groves High School (38-13) marked the end of Adam Carter’s first year as head coach at Bradwell Institute. Carter came to Bradwell from Camden County where he was a co-defensive coordinator and head track coach. Hired two weeks before spring practice began, Carter jumped into the program head first. Carter began changing the culture of the Tigers during spring football and continued into the summer with 6 am weight workouts four days a week. Add into that mix combines, passing leagues, and a defensive camp against some of the best teams in Georiga. The Tigers finished 4-6 (3-5 in Region 3-AAAAA). However, in Bradwell’s first region game, a loss to Effingham County, the Tigers flirted with playoff possibilities, losing to the Rebels (7-6) while driving in the red zone in the final minutes of the game. Effingham went on to finish the fourth seed in Region 3-AAAAA and lost 28-6 to Region 1-AAAAA seed Lee County. Bradwell had wins against Savannah High, Jenkins, Windsor Forest, and Groves. The majority of the players utilized by the Tigers are underclassmen, Bradwell had 18 seniors on this

by John Wood

he majority of the players utilized by the Tigers are underclassmen, Bradwell had 18 seniors on this year’s squad.

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Coach’s Corner

Adam Carter Bradwell Institute

“Having good people around you is very important. As a head coach you have to trust the people on your staff and be able to give them responsibility. I have some good guys on my staff that love the kids and football. I was able to bring Chris Reese with me to be the OC. He will be a head coach soon, he is very good at what he does,” Carter says. 26


No Time Like the Present by John Wood

photography by Jeffrey Griffith

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radwell Institute head coach Adam Carter dreamed about that day when the scoreboard had zeros across the time clock and his team got the win. Carter’s first win came against Savannah High a day before his 29th birthday, and his mother even happened to be visiting. Of course, Carter didn’t know exactly when that first head coaching win would come on the Georgia coast, but he has embraced the Institute, the players and fans, and the administration has reciprocated. Carter was at his desk in the Ed Edwards field house at Olvey Field, the game ball resting on a shelf, trying to figure out how to beat Charlton County the next week. “We are very pleased with the enthusiasm that Coach Carter has brought to the football program. The excitement in the school and the community is great. The discipline and work ethic shown by our student athletes is something that will impact them the rest of their lives,” Bradwell Institute Principal Scott Carrier says. For football coaches and especially head coaches in South Georgia, a win on Friday night lasts until you either finish watching your own film or you fall asleep listening to Tommy Palmer’s scoreboard show. The game plays over in your head as you sleep and once the sun breaks in the east, another opponent awaits. Jeff Herron’s decision to retire last year as the head football coach at Camden County High School sent ripples through his staff and all of high school football. Following Herron’s departure, Camden Offensive Coordinator Welton Coffey was hired to take over the program. The success of the Wildcats’ football program makes it hard to keep suitors from courting coordinators and assistants. “I think Coach Carter is going to make an excellent head coach. I am sure they are going through some growing pains this year, but if they are patient with him he has all the qualities to turn Bradwell Institute around. He did a great job for us at Camden and has all the qualities you look for in a head coach,” Herron says. Wildcats co-defensive coordinator Adam Carter, who was in his second season with Herron, would have been a viable candidate at Camden if he had more experience. Carter applied for the Bradwell job and got it and has brought a passionate vision to a former powerhouse program that for a variety of reasons had gone through some tough seasons. “The administration here at Bradwell has been great. Mr. Carrier is a class act and very supportive of the student-athletes and the coaches. The community wants to win, and I don’t blame them. They got on board with us this year, and we are hoping to give them more of what they want to see in 2014,” Carter says. Carter, 29, is one of the youngest head football coaches in Georgia. Originally from Dallas,

Georgia, in Paulding County, 2013 has been the year for his home county. All of the Paulding County schools made the playoffs and the county is the current home of the cradle of Georgia High School football coaches. Seven current high school head football coaches, six in Georgia including Carter, all are Paulding County alumni. After graduating from Paulding High School, Carter went on to play in the secondary at the University of West Georgia. In college he met his best friend and current offensive coordinator Chris Reese, who had played for Herron at Oconee County. Reese was also on staff at Camden before coming to Bradwell. Carter started coaching and teaching in 2007 with stints at Paulding County, North Paulding County, South Carolina State University, and Camden County. The former assistants at Camden who go to other schools have been able to take the basic blueprint they learned from Herron and apply it to their own circumstances. Camden has been a national power since the early 2000s. Going from coaching high school to college game taught Carter a lot about organization and coaching in general. Those who watch the quickness of the Auburn offense need to realize that for the majority of his career, Gus Malzahn, an authority on the modern day spread, honed that offense at Shiloh Christian School. He spent the majority of his career as a high school football coach. Baylor’s Art Briles, who has a highpowered offense, was running the same type of wide alignment plays with his Texas high school teams at Brownwood and Stephenville. Briles didn’t even make the jump from high school to college when Mike Leach hired him as running backs coach until 2000. Camden has produced coaches with the same passionate commitment as Malzahn and Briles.

Coaches who understand football, even at the high school level, know that it is a 365-day commitment if you want to be the best. “My experience at programs that know how to win is priceless. There is a plan for everything we do. The programs I have been to in the past do things the right way, and they work. The staff at Camden works for the season 365 days a year. Knowing how to win is something that is learned and not just given to you. Being at these programs, I have learned how to win and will implement those things here at Bradwell,” Carter says. The Tigers finished 4-6 this season defeating Savannah High, Jenkins, Windsor Forest, and Groves. The growing pains for Carter’s squad were obvious when Bradwell just missed a chance at the playoffs, losing to Effingham, 7-6, in the opening game of Region 3-AAAAA. The 4-6 record is the Tigers’ best finish in last three seasons, and Carter has certainly renewed the support of the community. “I do not think we have turned the corner yet. We have a lot of things to improve on if we want to contend for the playoffs in 2014. We must fix a lot of mental mistakes, get stronger and faster, and add more depth to our team. I will say that we have hit the ground running since April and during those months leading up to August, I think we worked as hard as anyone to get ready. I try to get our kids to live by a ‘hard work’ mentality and that sometimes they just have to ‘find a way.’ If we keep improving throughout the offseason, I think next season we’ll have brighter days at Bradwell,” Carter says. ITG

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Wayne County Yellow Jackets Jaycee Stadium • Capacity: 4,500 • Jesup, GA Yellow Jackets Buzz Into The Post Season for 27 first downs. Anfree Jordan had three rushing touchdowns in the game. Green was the factor that ended up giving the Bears the title. Green passed for 226 yards and rushed for 178 yards. The Bears’ were on the field for 56 offensive plays. Green ran, passed or caught 39 of them and scored in the final minutes to send the game into overtime. Once in overtime Green adds another touchdown for a 49-43 Burke victory. Despite not winning the region title, Wayne finished the number two seed and will be able to host at least the first two rounds of the playoffs at home. In the opening game against region 1 third seed Monroe Area High School, Wayne dominated, 49-34. Jackson and his favorite target Krenwick Sanders hooked up for five touchdowns in the first half. Sanders had five catches in the first half, all of them touchdowns. The first two passes were 60and 71-yard touchdowns. Wayne had 370 yards of

total offense by the first half. Sanders finished the game with 279 yards receiving and six touchdowns as the Jackets finished with 439 yards of total offense. Photos By Jeffrey Griffith , Old GoaT Photography

Wayne County survived a charge back from Region 3A-AAAA rival Liberty, 38-24, on a muddy, rain-laden Jaycee Stadium field. The Yellow Jackets, undefeated in region play, faced a tough Statesboro team on the road the next week. Defeating Statesboro last season at home was a key victory that allowed the Yellow Jackets to start peaking as Wayne County was about to enter the postseason. Statesboro scored on its first drive in eight plays, but the Wayne County special teams blocked the extra point and Yellow Jackets’ senior quarterback Malique Jackson ran for 16 yards on Wayne’s first possession of the second quarter. Jackson connected with Stephen Thomas to convert a fourth down. Thomas scored one play later and a kick from Hux Riddle gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-6 lead. Statesboro threatened to take the lead off of a field goal in the final minutes, but a low snap and field conditions made the kick unsuccessful. For the second straight year, the Yellow Jackets put Statesboro in a must win situation for the playoffs, and for Wayne it would be a second straight region title game against last year’s region champion Burke County. Wayne’s only regular season loss came at the hands of the Bears earlier in the season. “Everyone wanted to get another chance at Burke, since we lost the region title to them last year. We ended up getting another shot thanks to Donquell Green, the Bears star player,” Wayne County Head Coach Jody Grooms says. Burke’s seniors had been a part of three straight region titles going into the game against Wayne. The 2013 region title game would be at instant classic with 92 total points scored. Wayne exploded

by John Wood

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Ware County Gators Memorial Stadium • Capacity: 12,000 • Waycross, GA • www.warecountygators.net Gators March On MAN you have to beat THE MAN.” In round one of the 2013 state playoffs, the Bainbridge Bearcats came calling to try and dash the hopes of the Ware County faithful in the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium. The Bearcats of Bainbridge were outmatched from the opening kickoff and the Gators won handily by the final score of 49-7. Round two would pose a tougher challenge, on paper at least, as the fifth-ranked perennial powerhouse Northside Warner Robins Eagles came calling. This game would be a rematch of the 2012 semifinals game between these two teams which needed overtime to decide the winner with the Gators winning a thriller, 24-17 but the 2013 rematch would not prove as close. Ware jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and never looked back, winning big for the second week in a row by the final score of 35-7. Entering the third round the Gators will be forced to become road warriors. In 2012 all games but the state championship game itself were played in the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium but that will not be the case after the coin toss did not bounce Ware’s way for Round three. The Gators will go on the road to face the number one team in the state in class AAAAA, the Tucker Tigers. The Tigers have a perfect record of 12-0, but as was stated earlier, if you want to be THE MAN, you have to beat THE MAN.

Ware’s stifling defense holds Northsides’s #12 for no gain

Photos By Bo Carter, Bo’s Sports Photography

If you listen closely, the faint rumble of footsteps you hear in the distance are the 2013 Ware County Gators marching toward the Georgia Dome. After finishing the regular season with a 9-1 record and their second region championship in as many years, the Gators entered the playoffs as a number one seed from Region 3-AAAAA. What is remarkable about the 2013 team is all the talent they had to replace after the 2012 season. The Gators lost the Class AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year in Jimal McBride and one of the state’s most dynamic two-way players in Xavier Tobler. Hard to believe, but the 2013 Gators haven’t missed a beat. On the defensive side of the ball play makers like Neel Enriquez, Montre Merritt and Cat Jenkins have solidified the Gator Defense. As I write this, the Gator defense had only allowed two touchdowns in the last 24 quarters of play. On the offensive side, the running back by committee which includes sophomore sensation Dedrick Mills, Jaquez Bolds and Quay Taylor has proven difficult for the competition to slow down. The running back by committee has averaged over a 150 yards per game. To win the state in Georgia, you need five straight victories in the playoffs and the GHSA didn’t do the Gators any favors when they released the brackets, placing seven of the top 10 teams in AAAAA on Ware County’s side of the brackets. But as the old saying goes, “If you want to be THE

by Shawn Smoak

Dedrick Mills scores one of his three touchdowns against Bainbridge

Xavier Ealy # 7 intercepts a Bainbridge pass and takes it back for a Gator touchdown

Jaquez Bolds breaks free on another big run for the Gators

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Rising Star

Jaylene Kirby

Alex Sanders

sponsored by:

Jeff Davis Middle School

Two for the Money by John DuPont

Talented players and brilliant coaches brought home a long-coveted title to Jeff Davis County this past fall. Coach Stan Rush’s Yellow Jackets won the Southeast Georgia Middle School Athletic Conference football crown thanks in large part to the talented tandem of Alex Sanders and Jaylene Kirby. The eighth-graders not only play beside each other in the backfield and alongside one another on defense. They are cousins, so they also bring vital

photography by Bo Carter

chemistry to the mix. “Sanders and Kirby were both key players on both sides of the ball,” says Sidney Spell, the Jackets’ offensive coordinator. “They were a large component in the success we had as a team this year. They never come off the field and have never wanted to. They were a great one-two punch - Kirby with power and Sanders with speed and agility.  Regardless of their success they are appreciative

of the great blocking up front.” Sanders, 5’6” and 143 poumds, accounted for 17 touchdowns on offense (15 rushing) and intercepted a pass on defense from his strong safety post. Kirby, 5’7” and 160 pounds, rushed for six scores on offense while adding an interception and three forced fumbles while playing linebacker. Here’s a closer look at the dynamic duo of JDMS. ITG

Cousin Comparison Sanders________________________________ Kirby

200____________________ Bench___________________ 185

185____________________ Clean___________________ 185

280____________________Squats_ _________________ 245

Baseball_ _____________ Second Sport___________ Baseball Georgia__________________ Roots For_____________ Alabama Todd Gurley____________Tries to play like_ _________Ray Lewis 32

Cinnamon Toast Crunch___ Favorite Food ______________Pizza


Scoop on Sanders:

According to Rush and Spell, Sanders exceeded in all aspects of the game (rushing, receiving, and passing). In the conference championship game against Ware Middle School, he scored three touchdowns and performed solidly on defense.

Mother’s take:

“When I was pregnant with Alex, we made sure to stay in church,” says Paula Sanders. “This is God-given talent that was given by Jesus Christ… I would like to see athletics take Alex all the way to the top. The sky is the limit. It’s not often that anyone from Hazlehurst gets a shot… In the last game, he had all three touchdowns. The score was 21-0 and 21 is his jersey number.”

Fun Fact:

Alex, short for Alexander, is named after former Pittsburgh Steeler Kendrell Bell, a family friend whose middle name is also Alexander.

Cousin Connection:

“When we were talking on the radio they asked what Jaylene likes to do and he said ‘Run over people,’” notes Sanders. “Even when he has the ball and isn’t opening holes he is running over people. He blocked for me when I scored on a 49 sweep. I got the ball and the safety thought he had an angle on me, but I beat him. I was just like ‘Thank you’ and scored from about 50-60 yards.”

The Home Team:

Grandfather Willie Sanders and grandmothers May Sanders and Gwen Isom count themselves as the biggest fans of number 21. Meanwhile, little sister Trinity Sanders and younger brother Marvin Hankerson, Jr. are budding athletes in their own right. “Alex has a little brother just as tough and he can take a fastball just as well,” says Willie Sanders. “Alex never liked coming off the football field. His coach would say ‘I don’t want to run him down’ and I’d say ‘Run him until he throws up.’… We haven’t had time here lately to do any fishing because Alex goes from one sport into another. Some kids go to the beach or whatever, but Alex is so dedicated, he doesn’t want to leave.” Academic Angle: Alex Sanders has received three awards for science, reading and math on the CRCT. “My favorite subject has to be reading,” he says. “It was my subject back in the fifth grade, so I kind of stayed with it. In primary school, my favorite author was Dr. Seuss.”

Scoop on Kirby:

A multisport athlete, he recently added basketball to a sports regimen that also includes membership on conference championship baseball and weightlifting teams. “He had a few great runs this season where he carried several opponents,” notes Spell. “But I think the highlight of his season was a pick at the end of the fourth quarter to finish a close game against Martha Puckett.” That play also ranks as his mother’s favorite. Martha Puckett was driving inside the JDMS 10-yard line with less than a minute to play. That’s when Kirby intercepted a pass and returned it to the opposing five-yard line to preserve a 12-8 victory.

Mother’s take:

“Jaylene is the most disciplined of the kids because if you need his help, he is going to help you,” says Kirby’s mother, Rachel Williams. “If it’s something that needs to be done he’s going to do it to the best of his ability.”

The Home Team:

Kirby’s inner circle includes his parents, Rachel and George Williams and Jason Kirby as well as a brother, Jashaun Kirby, 12; and a sister, Taylor Willliams, three. “I don’t give Jaylene responsibilities with his baby sister, but they play a lot and she thinks she is as big as her brothers are. They throw the ball and hit the ball. I think she’s going to be a softball player, but she wants to play basketball. She wants to play everything they do.” Kirby’s grandparents are Floyd and Georgia Mae Mincey. “He is just making me proud, proud, and more proud,” says his grandmother. “And it makes his younger brother look up to him. We just love him for it.”

Cousin Connection:

“Alex ran for like a 40-yard touchdown and I was blocking for him. It was a sweep and I put the cornerback inside,” says Kirby. “After games, we talk a lot about the good things that happen and sometimes about things that go wrong.” The cousins are also teammates for the Tazers, a travel baseball team. “I play right field and sometimes third base. Alex is in centerfield. There was one time when we were both in the outfield and I dove for a ball and missed it. But he was right behind me to catch it.” Jaylene’s Outtakes: About his interception against Martha Puckett - “Coach Spell knew what was going to happen and he told me to scoot over. The ball came over my way and I caught it. I was just thinking ‘Run!’ and trying not to get caught.” On his latest passion, basketball - “I have been in the band before but I quit to play basketball. I’m playing the post and getting better at it. My strength is lay-ups.” Major influence - “Coach Spell has been really good in helping Alex and me.”

Academic Angle:

In sixth grade, Kirby exceeded in all areas on the CRCT, a notable fact in that his mother says math has not always been his strongest subject. He now says it is his favorite subject. “I just get it more than other activities in school,” Kirby says. “I got more help in math and other subjects in school and I became smarter in all subjects. My teachers helped me out a lot with the problems.”

Fun Fact:

Kirby attends worship services at Bennett Tabernacle where he often serves as an usher. 23


Jeff Davis Yellow Jackets Hazlehurst, GA • www.jeff-davis.k12.ga.us Jeff Davis High School Cheerleading: From The View Of A Senior Cheerleader

Senior Cheerleaders: Molly Strickland, Brittany Mason, Katelyn Carter, and Allison Smith

and cooperation. I believe I am speaking for everyone when I say that we have gained so much from being Jeff Davis High School Cheerleaders. Seeing the looks on little girls faces as we visit the different schools makes us all feel looked up to and special. We have the awesome opportunity to use our positions as cheerleaders to reach out to everyone around us, promote school spirit, encourage and love others, and let God shine within us. Being one of the seniors on the team, I realize that my decision to cheer shaped and affected my entire high school experience in an incredible way. I am so proud to be a part of the Jeff Davis Cheerleading team, and I cannot wait to see how our season will unfold! There are four seniors on our team, including myself that I would like to introduce. I am Brittany Mason, a former competitive gymnast of twelve years. I made the transition into cheerleading my sophomore year after my gymnastics coaches moved. Before cheerleading, I was merely a student here at Jeff Davis High; however, having cheered for three years now, I am more of an individual-- well-rounded and confident in myself. I currently serve as senior class president, FFA president, and am a BETA club member. I am in journalism and serve as my school’s reporter for In the Game Magazine. I play piano, run track, and actively participate in my church’s youth group. Cheerleading has transformed me into a more responsible person, seeing as I have to manage my time to get everything done as well as maintain high A’s. I will miss the team bond, working hard each practice to improve, cheering on Friday nights, competing on Saturdays, and all of the memorable moments spent with the sisters and coach I have grown to love. The feeling of walking out onto the mat at a competition is indescribable. Adrenaline suddenly rushes through you as you hear the familiar “Jeff Davis, you may begin.” As I move through the routine, time seems to freeze—all you can hear is the beating of your heart and the music blaring. Walking off the mats at the end of the routine, knowing you gave it your all and that your hard work paid off is one of the most rewarding feelings. Similarly, Friday night football games bring about a feeling of pride and excitement. My most memorable games were those during which all of us cheerleaders cheered with genuine hearts—those games in which we yelled so hard for our boys that our voices were gone afterwards. Being under the bright lights on the field amongst all of the action and playing brings about a sense of humility, knowing that you are there to support the players and lead the crowd, yet a sense of pride knowing that you are representing your school. Being on the field, we see everything that goes on from the faces of the people in the crowd to a faithful band member playing loudly in the stands. I cherish each memory, and it will be kept forever. One day, I hope to

coach a team of my own. Although unsure of where I will go to college, I am interested in the medical field. My fellow senior and friend, Molly Strickland, cheered her seventh, eighth, and tenth through twelfth grade years. Molly is a member of FCA, an FFA officer, and she is actively involved in her church youth group. She anticipates going to South Georgia State College after graduation for her core classes, then plans to transfer to Armstrong University to pursue a degree in the medical field. If possible, Molly wants to continue her cheerleading career in college. With five years of cheer experience, Molly has gained teamwork, strength (both physically and mentally), communication skills, tumbling skills, and confidence in herself. For example, “Like when I didn’t think I could ever do a tuck or a layout, and then I did.” Molly says, “I will miss everything about cheerleading, but mostly cheering and dancing to the band songs on Friday nights and competing on Saturday mornings. I will miss our team talks and bus rides and all of the memories I’ve made.” Senior Katelyn Carter has cheered for two years (her junior and senior years). Katelyn is a former majorette; however, she decided to cheer her last two years of high school. She is involved in FCA, her church youth group, and volunteers in community service. Katelyn plans to go to South Georgia College after graduation and then transfer to Valdosta State University to earn a medical degree. Katelyn says, “I will miss Friday nights, being school-spirited, competitions, and being on a team. I have gained time management, physical and mental strength, and how to work as a team all from cheering. I feel like I have an awesome leadership position to set an example for the underclassmen on my team.” Senior Allison Smith has been cheering since her first year of middle school. Allison is a member of NAC, FCA, FBLA, and BETA Club. She is in journalism and serves as the editor for our school’s yearbook. Outside of clubs, Allison plays tennis for the JDHS Tennis Team, is involved in her youth group, and does various community/volunteer activities. With seven years of experience behind her, Allison feels she has gained time management, leadership skills, and the ability to collaborate with others as a group. “I will miss all the memories I have made,” she states. After she graduates, Allison plans on attending Georgia Southern University before transferring to Kennesaw State University to enter the medical field. If her college transition is smooth and her grades are high, Allison wants to cheer at the college level. As I look at graduation and everything I will be taking with me from high school, I think cheerleading will be a part of me for the rest of my life. Photos by Nelson

I have been a cheerleader for three years. It doesn’t seem possible that I am graduating and that this will be my last year cheering. I love cheerleading and have gained so much from this program, both good and bad. This year’s Jeff Davis High School Cheerleading team stands out from the past two cheer teams I have been a part of. We are more like family than friends. I believe that the FCA camp we attended this past summer is what really drew our team closer together. Our lengthy practice schedule requires us to be around each other very often, and it seems our team bond strengthens after every practice, whether the practice goes well or not. Rather than having two separate teams for competition and spirit cheerleading, we do everything together and work as one team. Both sides of cheerleading are very time-consuming for us girls. Every couple of weeks, the team goes to some of the different schools in Jeff Davis County, such as the primary and elementary schools, to do outdoor pep-rallies for the high school sports. We take the athletes from the current season and the band to these pep-rallies so that everyone can take part in showing their Jeff Davis spirit. We have also helped with the community recreation department cheerleaders. Before the recreation cheer season began, we taught younger girls many of our cheers and chants for them to use at their own football games. The JDHS cheerleaders have done other community service activities such as taking trips to read books at the Pre-K, Primary, and Elementary schools, announcing school meals on the radio, preparing goody bags for different sports, and participating in the annual homecoming and Christmas parades. Our coach, Mrs. Beth Davis, has shown us that there is more to being a cheerleader than just Friday night games and Saturday competitions. Our competition season is going well this year. Our team word for the year is “unstoppable.” We strive to push past all of the obstacles thrown our way and to not let any struggles hinder us from always doing our best. Every practice begins and ends with prayer; we strive to give God all of the credit for every good, and bad, thing we experience. On September 14, we started off our season with a first place win at the Raider Rumble Competition at West Laurens High School. Competing is our passion, and as a former gymnast, tumbling runs in my blood. There is no better place to tumble than out on the blue mats at a competition with the girls I love. Every Monday, all of us carpool to Baxley for tumbling practice from 7:30 to 8:30. On top of tumbling, we practice Monday through Friday in a building with no air conditioning, totaling about ten hours every week (not including volunteer hours). We are working hard to perfect our routine in order to win region, moving us on to the state competition in Columbus. Our goal is to make it to the state finals for the second year in a row. Our team will succeed no matter how we place at the end of the season because we have learned some of the most important fundamentals: hard work, good attitudes,

by Brittany Mason

The 2013 Cheerleading Squad 35


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December 2013 Southeast Georgia Edition  

In The Game High School Sports Magazine

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