RE­VIEW

The Covington News - - Sports -

Lady Tigers did just fine on their way to the third-year school’s first re­gion cham­pi­onship of any kind.

The Lady Tigers were a scrappy bunch. Af­ter drop­ping its first two games of the sea­son, Al­covy won 12 of its next 15 games.

The Lady Tigers won the re­gion on the last day of league play and fin­ished with a 17-12 over­all record.

Se­niors Kelly Azar and Johnna Ba­gley pro­vided solid lead­er­ship to a rel­a­tively young team and were two of six play­ers on the 4-AAAA All-Re­gion team. Am­ber and An­drea Mel­ton, Melody Belcher and Hardin joined Azar and Ba­gley. 4. Lady Ea­gle’s soft­ball places third in state

East­side has built a rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing one of the best soft­ball pro­grams in the state. 2008 was no dif­fer­ent.

Af­ter an early exit from the sec­tion­als last year, the Lady Ea­gles went 28-7-1 and came within a game of winning the whole en­chi­lada. In­stead, East­side set­tled for third place. Not bad con­sid­er­ing no­body knew how good Amanda Hen­der­son was go­ing to be.

The ju­nior fire­baller’s 365 strike­outs set a school record and was good enough for ninth all­time in the state. Her 27 wins tied for the 10th most in a sea­son in the state as well.

Over the fi­nal month of the sea­son, Hen­der­son recorded 10 shutouts in 11 games and gave up just one run to Mor­gan County.

While Hen­der­son shut them down, Bri­anna Cham­bers pro­vided the of­fen­sive spark. The se­nior cen­ter fielder bat­ted .495, had an on base per­cent­age of .591 and stole 34 bases.

Both Cham­bers and Hen­der­son were re­cently named to the All-State team for their 2008 per­for­mances.

Of East­side’s seven losses, three came at the hands or re­gion neme­sis Oconee. The Lady Ea­gles ap­peared to be well on their way to the state ti­tle af­ter de­feat­ing Oconee County in the re­gion tour­na­ment. But the Lady War­riors ex­acted re­venge in the state tour­na­ment and knocked East­side out of the ti­tle hunt on the sec­ond to last day. 5. New­ton comes up just short against East­side

While the Rams may have only man­aged three wins in 2008, it was ap­par­ent they made plenty of head­way from 2007.

An early sea­son game against county ri­val East­side would be the per­fect test for sec­ond-year head coach Nick Collins’ young team. And make no mis­take about it, the Rams were very young in ’08.

The Rams came into the game rid­ing the emo­tion of a big win over McIn­tosh the week be­fore. New­ton could have eas­ily been 2-0 but couldn’t score against Al­covy in its opener and lost 3-0.

Collins in­serted Demetrius McCray as his start­ing quar­ter­back af­ter the Al­covy loss and the se­nior re­sponded by winning his first start. The Rams looked poised for the up­set.

East­side quar­ter­back Justin Wray hit Brod­er­ick Alexan­der for a 5-yard touch­down pass in the wan­ing sec­onds of the sec­ond quar­ter and East­side had a 21-6 lead and con­trol of the game at half­time.

But New­ton scratched its way back into the game in the sec­ond half. Af­ter scor­ing a touch­down early in the third quar­ter to get to within seven, the Rams went on a 23-play scor­ing drive that con­sumed the en­tire fourth quar­ter. Fresh­man Akeem Hunt scored with one sec­ond re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion to tie the game and force over­time.

New­ton failed to score on its first pos­ses­sion in over­time and East­side was in good po­si­tion to snatch a win from the jaws of de­feat.

But Quin­ton Pooler picked off a pass over the mid­dle and gave his team an­other shot at the win.

Af­ter Wray scored a touch­down and 2-point con­ver­sion to put the Ea­gles up by eight in over­time on their next pos­ses­sion, Collins di­aled up McCray's num­ber once again.

McCray scored from six yards out and again, the Rams were on the verge of the im­prob­a­ble.

But se­nior line­backer Bran­don Pet­tit shot the gap on the 2-point con­ver­sion for East­side and tack­led McCray in the back­field to end the game.

East­side’s 29-27 win cat­a­pulted them to an 11-2 record while New­ton never fully re­cov­ered, go­ing 2-5 the rest of the way. 6. Vet­er­ans cap­tures third straight cham­pi­onship

While East­side got it done at the high school level, Vet­er­ans Memo­rial Mid­dle School had a sea­son to re­mem­ber of its own.

The Gen­er­als de­feated Ray Davis Mid­dle School in the NewRoc cham­pi­onship to cap­ture their third straight ti­tle.

The 28-12 victory capped a per­fect 8-0 sea­son and Vet­er­ans play­ers showed the rest of the county just how bright fu­ture of high school foot­ball is. 7. New­ton beats M.L. King for first time

Af­ter a first round exit from the re­gion 2-AAAAA play­offs in March, the Rams bas­ket­ball squad kicked of the 2008-09 sea­son rolling off win af­ter im­pres­sive win.

No win was big­ger than the 4948 victory over re­gion stal­wart M.L. King.

The Lions came into Re­gion 2-AAAAA a year af­ter New­ton. Be­fore the two teams met in De­cem­ber, New­ton had yet to beat the peren­nial play­off team.

Com­ing off an emo­tional win over county ri­val Al­covy, the Rams fell down early to the ath­letic Lions 9-3 in the first quar­ter. But the Rams stayed in the game and worked it even as time ran down in the fourth quar­ter.

Down 48-47, the Rams had one last shot at the win. With 14 ticks on the clock, Ja­mon Hawkins drove the lane be­fore dish­ing to a cut­ting Der­rick Henry. Henry hit the game winning layup and New­ton cap­tured its first win over M. L. King in re­gion play. 8. Dixie Boys World Se­ries

A time-hon­ored tra­di­tion called Cov­ing­ton home for one week in Au­gust.

Teams from all over the South­east con­verged upon City Pond Park for the Dixie Boys World Se­ries.

The host New­ton County All­Star team was un­able to cap­ture the crown, but the New­ton County Recre­ation Depart­ment dis- played the South­ern hos­pi­tal­ity New­ton County is fa­mous for.

Late-in­ning hero­ics and plenty of home runs into City Pond were just some of the high­lights of the week.

Twenty-three games and loads of heart­break later, two teams faced off for the big tro­phy.

Af­ter Florida de­feated Ge­or­gia in thrilling come-from-be­hind fash­ion, South Carolina turned the trick in the fi­nal and took home the ti­tle of Dixie Boys World Se­ries cham­pi­ons. 9. Al­covy’s Out­law be­comes school’s first 1,000-yard back

The Tigers made great strides in 2008, fin­ish­ing a school-best 5-5. Along the way, Malachi Out­law, all 160 pounds of him, rushed for a school-best 1,257 yards and be­came Al­covy’s first run­ning back to break 1,000 yards for the sea­son.

Out­law recorded two 200-yard games, against Ola and Grif­fin re­spec­tively.

In a down­pour on the road at Ola, Out­law could have eas­ily rushed for 400 yards had two penal­ties not negated runs of 45 and 60 yards.

Coaches around the state took no­tice as Out­law was named to the Re­gion 4-AAAA All-Re­gion Team.

In the Tigers sea­son fi­nale, Out­law did his part, rush­ing for 211 yards. In the end, it wasn’t enough as Al­covy fell 35-16 and

barely missed the play­offs. 10. B.R.A.G. hits town

Af­ter a 10-year hia­tus, hun­dreds of cy­clists came to New­ton County in June for the an­nual Bi­cy­cle Ride Across Ge­or­gia.

Also known as B.R.A.G., the ride trav­els from a start­ing point to a des­ig­nated end point that usu­ally en­com­passes be­tween 350-400 miles.

This year’s ride started in Ox­ford and ended in St. Si­mons.

Rid­ers from as far as Canada came to en­joy the quaint set­tings around town. In the end, more than 1,000 rid­ers rode through town, around the square, and on south to en­joy a week of ca­ma­raderie and good spir­its.

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