North Marion and Forest Hosting Regional Quarterfinals

North Marion (20-7) won their second consecutive Class 5A District 6 title last week. The Colts defeated Eastside 10-0 and Palatka 6-1 in the district tournament to advance to the regional quarterfinals. Walker Burgess hit a two-run homer and pitcher Garrison Vandeventer tossed a two-hitter with seven strikeouts in the win over Palatka. North Marion will host Clay (Green Cove Springs) in the regional quarterfinals Thursday May 2nd at North Marion. The winner will face the Creekside (St. Johns)/Palatka winner in the regional semifinals.

The Forest Wildcats (23-3) baseball team won the Class 7A District 1A title advancing to the regional quarterfinals. Forest defeated Buchholz 4-3 and Chiles (Tallahassee) 9-3 in the district tournament and will host Fletcher (Neptune Beach). The winner will face the winner of Chiles (Tallahassee)/Fleming Park (Orange Park) in the regional semifinals.
Blake Waldren was the winning pitcher for the Wildcats in the come-from-behind victory over Chiles allowing only 5 hits and 3 runs, ringing up 5 strikeouts and pitching out of several jams in the district championship game. Richard Lagasse, Jordon Austin and Ben Ellzey each scored two runs while Joshua Greene, Kirby McMullen and Hank Truluck each scored a run as Forest scored three runs in the bottom of the third and six runs in the bottom of the fourth, erasing a 3-0 deficit to 9-3 win.

North Marion Advances To Regional Semifinals

The Lady Colts won the Class 5A District 6 title last week defeating Eastside and Palatka by a combined 17-0. Now the Lady Colts have followed it up with a win in the Regional quarterfinals defeating Bartram Trail 3-2 to advance to the Regional semifinals against Creekside (Jacksonville) next Tuesday.

North Marion (21-5) showed their versatile style of play in the win over Bartram Trail by playing “small ball”, in other words manufacturing runs. Senior Erin Klein stole two bases while Savannah James and Danielle Miller each swiped a base piece for the Lady Colts who have stolen 106 bases this season. The Colts broke the ice scoring two runs in the second inning when Brooke Sapp singled to get it started. Hailey Cone dropped a bunt single-one of six bunts by North Marion, allowing Sapp to touched home on a squeeze bunt single by Amber Capps with a groundout sandwiched in between. Cone would make it 2-0 scoring on a wild pitch later in the inning. Klein scored on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning for a 3-0 Colts lead.

North Marion would surrender a run in the sixth inning and the seventh innings however held on for the win when Kayley Chisholm of Bartram Trial (21-6) flied out stranding a runner at third in the seventh ending the ballgame.

North Marion's Holly McKinnon is one reason Colts are in Regional Playoffs
North Marion’s Holly McKinnon is one reason Colts are in Regional Playoffs

Holly McKinnon was the winning pitcher yielding and is 3-0 in the postseason. McKinnon allowed five hits hurling seven strikeouts in the win over Bartram Trail improving to 21-4 with a .40ERA 254 strikeouts and 25 complete games pitched this season.

If North Marion wins in the regional semifinals they will face the winner of the Hernando-Gulf (New Port Richey) winner in the regional finals. Hernando defeated North Marion 6-5 during the regular season in the Doc 4 Life Tournament.

Memphis Blast Win On A Field Goal

The 2013 Gridiron Developmental Football League regular season is quickly closing in with many teams opening their season on May 4th. Until then the GDFL held a preseason Kick-Off Classic in Memphis,TN, the head quarters of the league.

In the game the Memphis Blast led 8-0 after the defense scored a safety and later scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. Clarksville got on the scoreboard by returning an interception for a touchdown, converting the two-point conversion evening the game at 8 all in the second quarter.

Both teams would go back and forth with the defenses showing they were ahead of the offenses as you normally see in most preseason football action. Late in the fourth Memphis completed a 40-yard pass down to the Wolfpack five yard-line setting up the game-winning field goal from 23-yards out in the waning seconds of the game defeating the Clarksville (TN) Wolfpack 11-8.

“It was a great atmosphere, great ball game with two great teams going at it and this was just the preseason.” Charles Thompson CEO of the league said about the event.

In other 2013 GDFL preseason action…

NE Ohio Silverbacks 16 Akron Rage 0 Final

Riverdogs Hand North Georgia Gladiators Third Straight Loss

The North Georgia Gladiators (4-3) were unable to hold off two fourth quarter drives by the Douglas County (GA) Riverdogs (3-3) as the Riverdogs defeated the Gladiators 20-17.

Mo Issak returned a punt 54 yards to the Riverdogs 9-yard line yet the Gladiators were unable to score a touchdown settling for a Billy Field 27-yard field goal and a 10-6 lead with 12:16 remaining. Douglas County would respond against all odds on their next possession. The Riverdogs were first-and-goal from the Gladiator eight when they were called for holding, had a procedure penalty and loss 22 yards on a bad snap which gave them second-and-goal from the Gladiators 47. Riverdogs quarterback Don Lawson hit Jamario Swinney for 32-yards and again for a touchdown from 15 yards out on the next two plays giving Douglas County their first lead of the game 13-10 with 7:07 in the fourth.

North Georgia would answer that score with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mo Issak to Chris Crandall to cap an 8-play 70-yard drive by the Gladiators as they retook the lead 17-13 with 3:22 in the fourth. Carlos Ross had 37 yards rushing on the drive which was aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Douglas County. Ross finished with 141 yards rushing on 23 carries leading the Gladiators rushing attack that piled up 264 yards.

Douglas County would not be intimidated. On their next possession Lawson connected with Swinney for 19 yards on a third down-and-thirteen to the Gladiators 45, keeping the drive alive. On the next play Lawson would hit Sean Coley for a 45-yard touchdown on a catch and run. Coley had excellent blocking and picked his way to the end zone over the last 30 yards with 1:27 left for the game-winning touchdown. North Georgia would get into field goal range but a holding penalty forced them to throw a depression heave as time expired on their final possession from the Riverdogs 46 that fell incomplete.

The Riverdogs had 284 yards of total offense mainly through the air as Don Lawson finished 10-20 177 yards 2TD 1INT adding 61 yards rushing. Ken Coley had 4 receptions 90 yards and two touchdowns and Demekus Carmon was 3-5 passing for 48 yards and one touchdown.

North Georgia starting quarterback Joey Vicary left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return. Vicary was 3-6 passing 44 yards and one touchdown prior to the injury. Mo Issak filled in for Vicary going 1-6 with one touchdown and two interceptions. Issak rushed for 77 yards and caught a 38-yard touchdown for the Gladiators.

The Gladiators have lost three consecutive games for the first time in franchise history (since 2009) losing to a team that was beaten 64-0 the previous week by the Georgia Bandits. North Georgia will host the Paulding Patriots next week looking to snap the losing streak.

GDFL Preseason Poll, Scores

The Gridiron Developmental Football League preseason began in April. Here are some scores…

Memphis Blast 12 Kentucky Pythons 6 Final/OT
Georgia Firebirds 15 Tallahassee (FL) Knights 3 Final
Palmetto (SC) Havoc 20 CSRA (Augusta, Ga) Hurricanes 0 Final

The Memphis Blast will take on the Clarksville Wolfpack in the GDFL 2013 Kick-Off Classic in Memphis on Saturday April 20th. THE GDFL is entering its fourth season of operation and is headquartered out of Memphis,TN with over 80 teams across the United States and Canada.

The 2013 Preseason Poll was also released earlier this month by the league.

1. Central Penn (PA) Piranha (2012 GDFL Champion)
2. Carolina (NC) Venom (2010 GDFL Champion)
3. Indianapolis Tornados
4. Fayetteville (NC) Horizon
5. Cuyahoga County (OH) Spartans
6. Hampton Roads (VA) Redskins
7. Chambersburg Cardinals (2011 GDFL Champion)
8. Georgia Crush
9. Oklahoma Thunder
10. Christian County (KY) Outlaws
11. Clarksville (TN) Wolfpack
12. Palmetto (SC) Havoc
13. Mississippi Stallions
14. Lehigh Valley (OH) Storm
15. Tennessee Hurricanes
16. Low Country (SC) Bone Crushers
17. Georgia (South Georgia) Firebirds
18. St. Louis Bulldogs
19. Florida Falcons
20. Virginia Lions
21. Steel City (Hamilton,ON-Canada) Patriots
22. Metro (DC) Nemesis
23. D.C. Explosion
24. DMV (VA/DC)Enforcers
25. Beaufort (SC) Hornets

North Marion Advances To Regional Playoffs

The Lady Colts earned a 1-0 win over Palatka to win the District 5A-6 crown advancing to the Regional Playoffs and will host. Amber Capps savvy base running led to the only run of the game in the third inning. Capps, after stealing second, scored when Savannah James reached base on an error.

North Marion's McKinnon has 247 strikeouts and 13 shutouts this season
North Marion’s McKinnon has 247 strikeouts and 13 shutouts this season

South Alabama-bound Holly McKinnon tossed 13 strikeouts surrendering only three hits. McKinnon has pitched 150 innings and has a 0.37 ERA. North Marion defeated Eastside-Gainesville 16-0 in the previous district tournament round. The Lady Colts improved to 20-5 on the season and will be in action at home Wednesday April 24th.They will face the winner of the Bartram Trail/Creekside-Jacksonville, which will be played today, in the Regional Playoffs.

Tennessee Crush Stay Undefeated, Down North Georgia Gladiators 44-15

The Tennessee Crush (6-0) set the tone early against the North Georgia Gladiators (4-2) scoring touchdowns on their first three drives racking up 145 yards of offense in only eleven plays jumping out to 22-0 lead after the first quarter. From there the Crush would hold the Gladiators at bay most of the way as missed opportunities would doom the Gladiators in the second quarter. The Gladiators came away scoreless twice on goal-to-go opportunities on back to back possessions, once after recovering a muffed punt-which led to a safety, and again on the possession after the safety.

North Georgia would put a drive together going 5 plays and 69 yards scoring on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Joey Vicary to Chris Young with 56 seconds left before the half to pull within 22-9. Tennessee would not sit on the ball coming right back and scoring on a 34-yard touchdown pass capping a 3-play 60-yard drive taking a 28-9 lead to the locker room at halftime.

The beginning of the third quarter began with multiple turnovers by both teams. Mo Issak ripped off a 73-yard run to give North Georgia another first-and-goal, two plays later Issak was intercepted yet the Crush fumbled on the return with the Gladiators recovering on the Crush 27. North Georgia would score two plays later on a 25-yard touchdown run by Issak to pull closer at 28-15 after a missed extra point.

North Georgia would not get closer as the Crush returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and added a Langston Muse 6-yard rushing touchdown later to cap a 55-yard drive for the final 44-15 margin.

“They are better than us right now, I don’t think they are 44-15 better than us but they are better than us and we have to find a way to get better. It definitely can’t define our season but we’ve gotta remember the mistakes we made and get better”, North Georgia head coach Nate Stephens said.

Tennessee remains unbeaten in 2013 finishing with 298 yards of total offense with quarterback Zac Fairchild tossing four touchdowns. North Georgia struggled their way to 185 yards of total offense with Mo Issak rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown.

North Georgia will play the following two weeks in Raider Valley at North Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga.

Cedar Shoals Runs Away With Loch Johnson Invitational

The 18th Annual Loch Johnson Invitational was held after the original date was rained out a few weeks back for only the second time ever in the history of the event. Due to the rain out the field was cut from 15-plus teams to eight teams-mainly in the local area.

The host Cedar Shoals Jaguars finished in first-place by a very wide margin. The Jags finished the day with nine first-place spots/points. Cedar Shoals finished with 216 points, while crosstown rival (in any sport), Clarke Central came in second with a distant 79 points.

Asa Smith, Josiah Jenkins, Bershawrd won multiple events while the relay teams did their work.

Tomara Lowe, Josh Bolton, Breshawrd Cooper and Asa Smith tied a school record-set last season in 2012, in the 4×100 relay with a time of 41.7, that people, is just shy of “blazing speed”.

“We finally had decent weather and the [teams] effort was amazing”, Head Coach Roger Edmonds said.

The Jaguars look to follow-up on their solid showing with a date next week in the Athens Area Championships which will be held at North Oconee.