A YEAR IN SPORTS 2017

Jesse Walker Community, Featured

By Elizabeth Lanier

staff writer

January

• The Lady Dogs finish fourth at Sweet South Classic. They started out by winning their first round of the Sweet South Tournament at home, ripping through Eastside 59-29. With a chance to advance to the championship game, the Lady Dogs took on Mill Creek High School in the second round. Unfortunately, their chance for a trip to the finals was squashed by the Lady Hawks with a final score of 55-48. With a loss to Mill Creek, Morgan then took on Luella in the consolation round for a third or fourth place finish. In the end, the Lady Dogs took a tough loss by one point 74-73.

• The Hoop Dogs took second place overall in the Sweet South Christmas Classic. In the first round, the Hoop Dogs gained an overtime victory against Butler High School, 73-70. Morgan took on Arabia Mountain in the second round, beating them 67-57. Their victory over Arabia Mountain propelled them into the championship game against Cedar Shoals in round three of the Sweet South Christmas Classic. It was a game like no other, but unfortunately, Cedar Shoals gained the 57-48 win.

• The Hoop Dogs were ranked number one in the State after winning against Franklin County 73-40 and Hart County 77-57, making them 2-0 after the first week in Regions.

• The Mat Dogs finished third at 4-AAA Duals at Dawson County High School.

• Ansley Dean, Morgan County’s pitching machine and all around softball athlete, has signed a letter of intent to join the team at South Georgia State College (SGSC). As well as being a student athlete, Dean plans on majoring in psychology at SGSC.

• The Swim Dogs qualified for the State Swim Meet. Ellie Conn qualified in the 200 yard freestyle, John Cardwell in the 100 yard backstroke, the girls relay team of Lily Courchaine, Grace Alexander, Natalie Smith, and Ellie Conn qualified in the 400 yard freestyle relay, and the boys relay team of Zac Seymour, John Cardwell, Drei Waszgis, and John Degonia qualified in the 200 yard freestyle relay.

• The Lady Swim Dogs finished ninth at the Clarke-Oconee invitational. The meet took place at the University of Georgia where Morgan County was one of the 29 other teams competing.

February

• The Mat Dogs finished second at the State Qualifier. Seniors Jody McAlister, Antonio Robinson, and Sean McElligott were all crowned tournament champions.

• The Swim Dogs made a nice showing at the GHSA 1A-5A State Swim Meet at Georgia tech, competing with over 108 other teams. Ellie Conn competed in the 200 yard freestyle and came in 29th place, John Cardwell competed in the 100 yard backstroke and came in 39th place. The girls relay team of Lily Courchaine, Natalie Smith, Grace Alexander, and Ellie Conn competed in the 400 yard freestyle relay and placed 24th. The boys relay team of Zac Seymour, John Cardwell, Drei Waszgis, and John Degonia competed in the 200 yard freestyle relay and placed 37th.

The Hoop Dogs finished their region schedule undefeated with Regions 8-AAA honors going to Alec Woodard as Region Player-of-the-Year. Tyrin Lawrence and Anthony Cooper were named to the All-Region Team as well.

The Mat Dogs brought home two state champions, a runner-up, and a third place trophy for the second year in a row. Jody McAlister and Antonio Robinson defeated their opponent, making them both AAA champs. Sean McElligott finished as a runner-up. The team, as a whole, was very successful throughout the season.

The Hoop Dogs dominated the Region Tournament, defeating Franklin County to take the title. Morgan took home the title after beating Hart County 57-44 and Franklin County 66-35 in the 8-AAA Region Tournament.

Three of Morgan County’s football student-athletes, LaMarcus Stokes, Malik Chapman, and Casey Cooper will be singing with Highland Community College in Highland, Kansas.

March:

The Lady Dogs had a tough 48-49 loss to Johnson-Savannah High School at Armstrong Atlantic University. Unfortunately, this loss ended their season and the dream of another championship game for Morgan.

For the fourth consecutive season Morgan County’s boys’ basketball team made the state finals.  The defending Class AAA state champs played Pace Academy’s Knights in the University of Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum where they suffered a 54-46 loss. Despite the loss, it was a great season for the Hoop Dogs!

April:

On July 10, 2013, 11 year-old Allie Nash was involved in a horrendous accident. She was hit on the highway near her home by an oncoming truck. The brain injuries she sustained would change her life forever. Before the accident her first love was swimming.  Now, nearly four years later, Allie started aquatics therapy and has continued to progress ever since.  According to her mother, this young fighter has gained strength in her left arm and leg along with improved breathing due to the therapy and swimming.

10 year-old Thrasher Wilkins is a jiu jitsu champion. He  has entered several different national and international events over the past few years.   Among those events were the JJSU Tournaments in California (twice), Chicago, and Las Vegas.  He placed gold in three of the four and silver in the other.

Morgan County’s star soccer player, Annie Akins,  signed a scholarship to continue her career next season with the GMC Lady Bulldogs.

Josiah Mitchell, a starter on this season’s Bulldog basketball team that finished runner-up in class AAA signed with New Rock Preparatory School in Covington.

Morgan County’s baseball squad took home the 8-AAA crown by defeating East Jackson 15-0 after only three innings.

The Girls’ Tennis Team were the 2017 Region Champions, winning the Region 8-AAA Tournament at home.

The Morgan County Boys’ Soccer Team won the Region Championship for the first time in the history of Morgan County’s soccer program.

May:

The Lady Dog netters advanced to the second round of the state playoffs by defeating Murray County 3-2.  Unfortunately, they lost to Appling County, 3-2 in the Sweet Sixteen round.

The new football coordinator positions will be filled by Wade Woodall on offense and Brett Bell on defense, replacing John Robbins and Allen Crowley.

The Girls’ Soccer team lost to Bremen 3-1 in the first round of the State Playoffs.  The Lady Soccer Dogs finished 9-3 in region play and finished in second place behind Jackson County.

Morgan County’s 2017 baseball season ended with an 11-4 loss in game three to the Calhoun Yellowjackets. Calhoun took the first one 3-1, but the Dogs bounced back to win game two 5-1.

The boys’ suffered a 2-1 loss to the Tattnall County Warriors in the Sweet 16.

For the second straight year, the Morgan County Cheer Squad will graduate a cheerleader to perform at the college level. Taylor Pickrell made the All-girls Cheer and Spirit Squad at Georgia State University (GSU).

June:

Morgan County Bulldog, Bailey Smith, played at Pine Lake Golf Club in Blackshear.  Smith shot a 79, 77 over the two-day event for a 156 total to finish in the Top 25.

Ainslie, Stacy Dearing, and Aaron Paul all received Coach-of-the-Year awards after winning their respective region titles this past spring.

Dusty Sidwell took the place of former Mat Dog head coach, John Robbins. Sidwell was previously an assistant wrestling coach for the pas six years.

July:

Morgan County High School made their final addition to the football coaching staff by hiring Coach Bob Brunson.  He will work as an offensive line coach and head up the strength and conditioning program in the physical education department.

Athletic Director Doug Connelly recently announced that Morgan County High School has entered into a contractual agreement with the Adidas for the 2017-18 school year.   The details of the agreement, according to Connelly, include a guaranteed discount on Adidas team apparel from their official team catalog’s retail price and a percentage back in ‘promotional money’ to reinvest in athletic wear, shoes, uniforms, and equipment.

Tom Duff, the beloved pastor and coach, passed away at the age of 70.  He will be missed in many ways by his former players, coaches, friends, and family whose lives he touched.

August:

As part of the Lady Dogs Softball Alumni Weekend, the school and community members as well as players from the past 20 years came together to honor former Morgan County High School student and Lady Dog softball player Brittany Smith who lost her life this past year.

The Bulldogs  beat rival Greene County Tigers with a 49-20 win at Greene County.

September:

Morgan County’s high and middle schools traveled to the Georgia Coast to participate in the Jekyll Island Invitational.  The 5k race was held at the Great Dunes Golf Course on Jekyll Island.

The softball team took a 12 run win against Hart County in a run-rule shortened contest that lasted only four innings.

The Lady Dogs’ volleyball team got a big 8-AAA Area win over the Lady Purple Hurricanes 25-11.

Runners on the Morgan County High School cross-country squads went on the road to Apalachee High School in Barrow County to compete in the Apalachee Invitational. According to Coach Erin Spinks the meet is special because they run the meet in remembrance of a former cross-country runner who lost his life to a drunk driver.

October:

Morgan County’s boys’ cross-country team took first place in their final meet of the season. The girls finished in second place to end their season on a positive note.  The Morgan County Middle School boys also finished first and the girls came in second.

Morgan County’s volleyball suffered a loss to Westminster Academy (University) in the Sweet 16 which put an end to their season.

November:

The Morgan County Cross-Country boys’ team gave it their best shot at the State Championship Race held in Carrollton, finishing 16th out of 30 entries in AAA.

Morgan took a 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Loganville Red Devils at Bill Corry Stadium.  The loss gave Loganville its second straight PAC Championship.

The Morgan County Competition Cheerleaders ended their season with a fourth place finish in the state finals. This is the second year in a row that Morgan County has placed fourth in division AAA at the state finals.

The Bulldogs suffered a 50-36 loss to the East Hall Vikings in the first round of the state playoffs.

December:

The Mat Dogs finished fourth out of 32 teams despite missing five starters.

The Hoop Dogs are undefeated and ranked #1.

The Morgan County Bulldogs beat the Jefferson High Dragons 61-37  in Jefferson, making them 8-0.

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