JANUARY

Spreading his Wings

Following more than three decades in the coaching profession, Mount Zion High School head football coach Keith Holloway announced his retirement on Jan. 9 at the Eagle football banquet.

Holloway went 35-20 during his five seasons as the head man at Mount Zion, highlighted by back-to-back state quarterfinal runs in 2014-15.

Prior to his time at MZ, Holloway served as an assistant coach at Alexander (1987-98), Central (1998-2000) and Bowdon (2001-11) before rebuilding the Eagle program in 2012, inheriting a team that was coming off back-to-back 0-10 campaigns.

In his first season in charge, Holloway engineered a 6-4 turnaround, which was a sign of bigger and better things on the horizon for the MZ football program.

Peavey Returns to Rebel Sidelines

Haralson County High School found a familiar face to take over its football program in 2017, hiring Scott Peavey on Jan. 9 for his second tour of duty on the Rebel sidelines.

Peavey previously coached at Haralson County from 2002-04 before making a strong run across the state line over the past decade, including a pair of state semifinal appearances as the head coach at Madison County High School in Alabama. Peavey spent 2016 as an assistant coach at Oxford High (Ala.).

1,000-Point Parties

Six local hoop stars netted scoring milestones during the calendar year, beginning with Villa Rica sophomore sensation Deasia Merrill hitting the 1,000-point mark on Jan. 10 in a win at East Paulding.

A few weeks later her cousin, Haralson County junior point guard Alexis Boykin, joined the club by notching her 1,000th career point on Jan. 24 at Sonoraville. Just before the end of 2017, Boykin's teammate, senior guard Tori Causey, bookended a banner year for Haralson County hoops by hitting No. 1,000 on the opening day of the 42nd Annual Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational Tournament on Dec. 27.

Just before 2017 came to an end, Bowdon's Rylee Robinson got in on the revelry by notching her 1,000th career point on Dec. 30 in a road win at Dade County.

On the boys' side, Temple junior guard Javin Boles didn't show any signs of superstition, dropping his 1,000th career point on Friday the 13th in a win over Jordan in January. Closing out the month of milestones in January was Bowdon senior forward Octavius Meadows, who celebrated 1,000 in a 55-54 overtime triumph at Gordon Lee on Jan. 28.

Blue Devils Back on Top

In its first season competing at the Class AAA level, the Bremen High School wrestling team captured its first GHSA State Duals title since 2011 behind a 3-0 showing at the Macon Centreplex on Jan. 13-14.

The Blue Devils defeated Crisp County (72-6), Jackson County (34-33) and Lumpkin County (36-21) en route to the crown.

Hall Leaves West Georgia

Following a tremendous three-year run as the head football coach at the University of West Georgia, Will Hall made the leap to the Division I ranks upon accepting a position as the offensive coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette on Jan. 18.

Hall went 31-9 during his time with the Wolves and led the program to back-to-back national semifinal appearances in 2014-15.

Hall also led the Wolves to their first Gulf South Conference championship in more than a decade in 2015.

Gordon Promoted to Top Spot

Following two decades of service as an assistant coach and coordinator, Brad Gordon was promoted to the top spot of the Mount Zion High School football program on Jan. 23, taking the reins from his former boss, Keith Holloway, who retired earlier in the month.

Gordon's first year at the helm of Eagle football down the road in 2017 would mark one for the ages for the MZ program.

Dawn of the Dean at UWG

David Dean proved you can come home again.

The former University of West Georgia football assistant was named the new head coach of the Wolves on Jan. 25 after winning a pair of national championships as the head coach at rival Valdosta State in 2007 and 2012.

Dean spent the 2016 season as the offensive coordinator at Georgia Southern before becoming the 12th head coach in the history of the UWG program.

FEBRUARY

Super Trojans

Two former Carrollton High School football standouts squared off in Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in Houston, where Jonathan Jones and the New England Patriots recorded a historic comeback to stun Josh Harris and the Atlanta Falcons in a 34-28 overtime thriller at NRG Stadium.

Although it proved to be a gut-wrenching finish for local Falcons' fans, the Carrollton community united in support of its two homegrown stars who had the opportunity to live out their childhood dreams by playing on the sport's biggest stage.

Jones, a 2012 CHS graduate, was a rookie cornerback/special teams performer for the Patriots, while Harris, a 2007 Carrollton alum, was in his fifth season as the starting long snapper for Atlanta.

Both former Trojans played collegiately at Auburn University, where Harris won a national title and Jones played in the national championship game before turning pro.

Cat Scratch Fever

The Villa Rica High School boys' basketball team rallied to its fourth region title in program history on Feb. 10 in a 74-62 triumph over Kell in the 7-AAAAA Tournament championship, marking the first for the program since 2011.

Unfortunately, VR's playoff run ended abruptly in a first-round upset to No. 4 Lithonia on Feb. 18.

Braves End Title Drought

The Heard County High School boys' basketball team ended a much-longer region championship drought by capturing its first league crown since 1960 on Feb. 10 behind a 79-72 thriller against Callaway.

Heard County would go on to reach the second round of the Class AA state playoffs by earning the first postseason win for the program since 2002 in a 69-44 decision over Dade County in round one.

Heard County was powered by Times-Georgian All-Area MVP Jordarius Foster and Times-Georgian Coach of the Year Keith Simmons.

How Sweep It Is

The Bremen High School wrestling team made it a clean sweep in Class AAA by winning the GHSA Traditional Wrestling State Championships at the Macon Centreplex on Feb. 11, tallying 132.5 points to best Sonoraville (105), Morgan County (86), Lovett (80) and Jackson County (75) among the top-five finishers.

Individually, senior Drew Cook captured his second title for the Blue Devils, while junior heavyweight Paul Robinson also notched his second crown and junior Noah Liles capped off his undefeated season at 170 pounds with his first state championship.

Liles and Robinson would go on to be named the Times-Georgian All-Area Co-Upper Weight Wrestlers of the Year, while Bremen head coach Tony Armas was voted the Times-Georgian All-Area Coach of the Year.

Local Trio Net Region Titles

The Haralson County, Heard County and Carrollton high school girls' basketball teams captured region titles on Feb. 11, with the Rebelettes upsetting a pair of state-ranked opponents in the semifinals and finals to earn a No. 1 state playoff seed in Class AAA, while the Lady Braves earned a repeat run in Region 5-AA and the Lady Trojans took care of business in Region 7-AAAAA.

The Lady Trojans reached the state quarterfinals for a second-straight season, as did Heard County in Class AA, while Haralson County fell in a second-round heartbreaker in the AAA bracket.

Lady Tigers Go Dancing

For the first time since 2003, the Temple High School girls' basketball team punched its postseason ticket, finishing as the No. 4 seed in Region 5-AA. Head coach Latoya Thomas' squad fell to state power Model in the first round on Feb. 17, but it was still a major step for the Lady Tiger program.

Marinelli Steps Down at MZ

Following five years in charge of the Mount Zion High School boys' basketball program, head coach Joey Marinelli stepped down following the 2016-17 season to spend more time with his family.

Marinelli and his wife, Katie, celebrated the birth of their first child, Quinn, in October of 2016. Marinelli remained on board as the Eagle offensive coordinator with the football program.

Former MZ assistant Tyler Wright was promoted as the head coach for Eagle basketball.

MARCH

New Notches Coaching Milestone

Carrollton High School boys' head soccer coach Scott New celebrated career win No. 200 on March 14 in a 5-0 victory over Villa Rica at Grisham Stadium.

Later in the month, the Trojans locked down the Region 7-AAAAA title behind a 3-1 road win over Kell on March 24, marking the first league title for Carrollton soccer in three years.

Golden Return For WGTC Women

The West Georgia Technical College women's basketball team used a late-season push to make a return to the NJCAA Division III Basketball Championships after winning the GCAA Region 17 and District G titles under first-year head coach Alford Williams.

As the No. 5 seed in the national tournament in Utica, New York, WGTC went 1-2 over the three-day event from March 16-18 to finish sixth in the nation.

The Golden Knights featured a pair of local products in Carrollton High's Faith Swint and Allie Phillips of Bowdon.

Norred Nets New Challenge

Following a tremendous three-year run at Haralson County, which included a region championship and second straight sweet 16 appearance in 2016-17, Tammy Norred made the move down the road to take over the Villa Rica High School girls' basketball program after being officially approved by the Carroll County Board of Education on March 30.

Norred went 26-5 during her final season with the Rebelettes, highlighted by the Region 6-AAA Tournament title run. Assistant coach Levi Wigley was promoted to the head coaching position later in the spring.

Playoff Debut For Lady Trojan LAX

The Carrollton High School girls' lacrosse team made history on March 30 by securing the first state playoff berth in program history behind a 12-10 win over East Paulding at Grisham Stadium.

Head coach Ashley DeWitt's squad would finish as the No. 3 seed out of Area 2 and fall to private school power Marist in the opening round on May 3 in Atlanta.

APRIL

Slow-Pitch Success for Rebelettes

In the first season of the return of slow pitch softball at the GHSA level, head coach Lisa Warren and the Haralson County High School softball team dominated their way to a state championship, reeling off a 4-0 showing in Woodstock, capped by a 7-3 victory over Kennesaw Mountain in the finale on April 14.

Vaunted Vault

Carrollton Junior High School track and field starlet Payton Phillips vaulted to the top of the nation on April 15 by clearing 11 feet, 7 inches, at the West Georgia Middle School Championships at Grisham Stadium, establishing the No. 1 vault in the nation at the junior high level.

The Lady Trojan eighth-grader would go on to win her second consecutive state championship in the event the following weekend at Parkview High School.

Cats Claw Into Postseason

The Villa Rica High School baseball team clawed its way back into the postseason for the first time since 2012 by knocking off Paulding County in a 2-1 decision on April 21, highlighting a solid first season under head coach Neal Hannah, who went on to be named the Region 7-AAAAA Coach of the Year for the spring season.

Carrollton Riflery Takes Aim At State

In its first year as a program, the Carrollton High School riflery team finished as one of 15 teams to take aim at the GHSA Riflery State Championships on April 22 at Fort Benning in Columbus.

Starting the year as one of 120 schools across the state competing in the sport, head coach Mike Lewis and the Trojans finished in seventh place.

Semifinal Swing For Central, Carrollton

The Central and Carrollton high school girls' tennis teams both reached the final four in their respective classifications, with the Lady Lions making a second-straight appearance in the state semifinals and their first as a Class AAAA program, while the Lady Trojans made their first appearance in Class AAAAA under first-year head coach Amanda Folds.

Historic Drive For UWG Golf

The University of West Georgia women's golf team made history on April 25 by bringing home the first Gulf South Conference crown in program history, firing a three-day total of 903, including a 299 on the final day at Lake View Course at Callaway Gardens.

Individually, Maria Torres, Taylor Sarratt and Franziska Bremm all recorded top-five finishes to earn a spot on the GSC All-Tournament Team.

The Wolves closed out the season by tying for seventh at the NCAA Division II South Super Regional Tournament in Elgin, South Carolina. UWG head coach Barry Harwell announced his retirement at the end of the historic spring campaign following six years in charge of the program.

Roar Of The Region

The Central High School girls' golf team delivered a dominant display to sweep the Region 5-AAAA and Area 4-AAAA championships on April 26 at Oak Mountain Championship Golf Club by firing a 288, which sent it directly to the Class AAAA state championships.

Sophomore standout Ainsley Cowart shot an 81 to finish as the low medalist for the region and area.

Central would go on to place seventh in Class AAAA with only one day of competition after the second day was rained out in Columbus on May 23. Cowart placed seventh individually at state with a round of 79 and would go on to garner first-team all-state accolades by the Georgia High School Golf Coaches Association.

Draft Day Dreams For UWG Stars

A pair of University of West Georgia football standouts made history on the third day of the 2017 NFL Draft on April 29 when defensive end Dylan Donahue and fullback Alex Armah became the first UWG players to ever be selected in the draft.

Donahue went to the New York Jets with 181st overall pick in the 5th round, while Armah was not too far behind with the 192nd overall pick in the 6th round by the Carolina Panthers.

Both players made their respective NFL rosters and enjoyed solid rookie seasons in 2017.

MAY

Trojan Tennis Marches Back To Finals

The Carrollton High School boys' tennis team made a repeat run to the state championship match, securing the finals berth behind a 3-0 sweep of McIntosh in the state semifinals on May 1.

Carrollton would fall in a 3-0 heartbreaker to Starr's Mill in the finals on May 6 in Jonesboro, ending the career of Trojan senior starters Carver Arant, Kane Caldwell, Josh McLaughlin and Connor Best.

Arant went on to sign with Mercer University on a tennis scholarship.

Shootout Success For Trojan Soccer

The Carrollton High School boys' soccer team recorded a second-straight shootout victory in the state playoffs on May 6 to knock off Buford in a 6-5 margin and reach the Class AAAAA state semifinals, where it fell in an epic battle to Clarkston in a 2-1 decision on May 9.

Carrollton Baseball Back In Elite Eight

The Carrollton High School baseball team carried the momentum of its Region 7-AAAAA championship into the state playoffs, where it swept Southwest DeKalb and Harris County to reach the elite eight for the first time since its state championship season in 2014.

The Trojans had their run come to a close in a quarterfinal setback at Wayne County on May 10. Carrollton head coach Ryan Zaideman was named the 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area Coach of the Year, while hurler Rhett Daniel earned Times-Georgian All-Area Pitcher of the Year honors.

Pierce Unleashes Title Toss

Carrollton High School track and field star Jeremiah Pierce opened the Class AAAAA state championships with a bang on May 11, unleashing a school-record and state champion toss of 180 feet, 8 inches in the discus. Pierce also placed second in the shot put (54-6.5) and would later break the school-record in that event at the Meet of Champions on May 20 in Marietta with a throw of 57-10.5.

Pierce signed with Mississippi State on a track and field scholarship.

Leaping Out Of His Shell

Temple High School senior track and field standout Trevor Shell swept the Class AA jumps at the state championships in Albany on May 11, obliterating the competition in the triple jump at 48-1, which was more than two feet further than the second-place finisher.

Shell, who went on to sign with Division I Arkansas State, closed out his state championship weekend with a first-place finish in the long jump at 23-0.75.

Riley Vaults To 3-Peat For Bremen

Bremen High School track and field sensation Kaylee Riley capped off her amazing prep career by winning a third straight state championship in the pole vault, clearing 12-3 at the Class AAA championship in Albany on May 13.

As both a state and national champion in the event, Riley signed with the University of Alabama.

State Titles For Wyatt, Montgomery

Bowdon's Dasia Wyatt and Khadijah Montgomery of Temple also brought home state championships from Albany, with Wyatt winning the 800-meter dash at the Class A Public level in 2:21.41, while Montgomery sprinted to the 100-meter dash title in AA in 12.41 seconds.

Swan Song For Rebelette Sensation

Haralson County High School track and field senior star Jaylen Sewell closed out her Rebelette career as the most decorated track and field athlete to ever walk the halls at HCHS.

Sewell brought home four more medals from the Class AAA state championships in Albany, closing her storied career with a grand total of 14. This spring she placed second in triple jump and long jump, took third in the 300 hurdles and ran a leg on the fourth-place 400-meter relay.

Sewell later signed with Savannah State on a track and field scholarship.

State Repeat For Bremen's Lipscomb

Bremen High School golf phenom Tyler Lipscomb registered a state title repeat at the Class AAA championships in Blackshear on May 23, firing a 7-under 137 to win the event by a whopping seven strokes.

The University of Alabama commit is now 2-for-2 on state title attempts at the prep level.

JUNE

Brown Finds New Home With Blue Devils

Following a successful nine-year run at Alexander High School in Douglasville, Chris Brown was tabbed as the man to take over the Bremen High School baseball program early this summer.

The 2001 Bowdon graduate cited a desire to return to his small-town roots and felt the potential and proud tradition of Blue Devil baseball was too good to pass up.

AUGUST

Criswell Suffers Serious Injuries

Carrollton High School boys' head basketball coach Tim Criswell suffered life-threatening injuries from a biking accident on Aug. 5 when he and his wife, Dawn, were out for a morning ride on the Carrollton GreenBelt.

Criswell spent 28 days in the SICU at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta before being transferred to the Shepherd Center, where he continued to make tremendous progress in his rehabilitation before eventually being discharged to continue his recovery process back home in Carrollton.

CHS Athletic Director Paul Fitz-Simons was named the interim Trojan head coach during Criswell's absence. Criswell was on hand for the Trojans' championship finish in the Carrollton Christmas Tournament on Dec. 23, where he was mobbed with support from former and current Trojan players.

Crowder Traded To Cavaliers

Former Villa Rica High School star athlete Jae Crowder was part of a blockbuster NBA trade on Aug. 22 that shipped him and all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers for fellow all-star guard Kyrie Irving.

Crowder averaged 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 2016-17 with the Celtics.

OCTOBER

OMA Soccer Scores Title Triumph

The Oak Mountain Academy boys' soccer team capped off a perfect 12-0 fall campaign by capturing the GISA state championship on Oct. 14 in Monroe.

The Warriors, who were led by co-captains Cofer Horton and Riley Powers, defeated LaGrange Academy in the semifinals and proceeded to knock off Brandon Hall in the championship round in a 2-0 decision.

Lady Trojan (Four)-titude

The Carrollton High School softball team made it 4-for-4 when it comes to region championships for this year's senior class.

The Lady Trojans registered their fourth straight league title on Oct. 5 behind a 7-2 victory over Woodland, Cartersville in the Region 7-AAAAA Tournament finals.

Carrollton seniors Ansley Barge, Savannah Cook and Hannah Horsley ended their prep careers with the perfect region title run and reached the elite eight in Columbus for the first time since 2014, finishing in fourth place in Class AAAAA.

Carrollton Volleyball Nets Historic Title

The Carrollton High School volleyball team made history on Oct. 7 by winnings its first-ever area championship after an incredible run through the Area 7-AAAAA Tournament at Kell.

The Lady Trojans rattled off four wins on the final day of the tournament after falling into the loser's bracket to secure the No. 1seed.

Carrollton would go on to reach the elite eight for the third time in program history and the first time as a Class AAAAA program.

Carrollton was led by senior setter Darby Gainey, the 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area MVP, along with Times-Georgian Newcomer of the Year Paige Blackmon and Times-Georgian Coach of the Year Kasey Austin.

Temple Softball Swings Into Round 2

The Temple High School softball team delivered a historic sweep in the opening round of the Class AA state playoffs on Oct. 11, defeating top-seeded South Atlanta in 17-1 and 16-1 victories.

The sweep marked the first state playoff series victory for Lady Tiger softball.

Red October In Bowdon

The Bowdon High School softball team reserved a spot in Columbus for the second consecutive season for the Class A Public portion of the elite eight after sweeping Telfair County in the second round on Oct. 18.

Bowdon would come up short of its goal of a state title, but still enjoyed a banner season that included 25 wins and featured the 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area Pitcher of the Year Macy Bearden, who has committed to play at Jacksonville State University.

OMA Netters Reach State Finals

The Oak Mountain Academy volleyball team finished as the GISA state runner-up on Oct. 21, falling in a five-set heartbreaker to The Heritage School out of Newnan in the championship match.

The Lady Warriors were led by all-state performers Cameron Reid and Aubrey Wynn, along with all-region setter Lilly Parmer.

Elite Return For Lady Devils

The Bremen High School softball team returned to the elite eight in Columbus for the first time since 2013, making a run to a fourth-place finish in Class AAA on Oct. 26.

Led by 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area MVP Ali Newland, the Lady Blue Devils went 2-2 in Columbus for a fourth-place finish in Class AAA.

Following the season, Lady Blue Devil head coach Amy Pointer announced she was stepping down from her post following a 10-year run in charge of Bremen softball to take a position with West Georgia FCA.

Lady Eagles Soar Back To Columbus

For the second straight season, the Mount Zion High School softball team made an improbable run to Columbus.

Only this time, the Lady Eagles were even further off the elite eight radar in Class A Public after enduring a 10-game losing streak during the middle of the season. But after getting hot at the right time, Jennifer Carter Roland's squad, entering the playoffs as a No. 18 seed, picked up playoff series wins over Glascock County and a second-round stunner over No. 2 Wilcox County, before the run at the South Commons.

MZ started the elite eight with a win over rival Bowdon and then knocked off Echols County to reach the semifinals, where it fell to Gordon Lee and was then eliminated by fellow region rival Trion for the third-place finish.

Carter Roland went on to be named the 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area Coach of the Year, while freshman pitcher Anna Grace Henessy was voted the Times-Georgian All-Area Newcomer of the Year.

NOVEMBER

Tigers Punch State Ticket

The Temple High School football team used a 35-19 victory over Lamar County to wrap up the No. 3 seed for the Class AA state playoffs on Nov. 3, marking the first playoff berth for the Tiger program since 2011.

Led by all-area performers D.J. "Flea" Winters, Kyle Burkhart and Co., the Tigers dropped a narrow decision to B.E.S.T. Academy in the opening round of the playoffs.

Bremen's Clements Captures AAA Crown

Bremen High School senior cross country standout Grace Clements captured the Class AAA crown at the GHSA Cross Country State Championships at Carrollton on Nov. 4, turning in a time of 19:44.68.

Clements has since signed with the University of Georgia on a cross country and track and field scholarship.

Andrews Era Ends at Bowdon

Following three seasons in charge of the Bowdon High School football program, Robert Andrews resigned from his post on Nov. 9.

Andrews went 14-19 during his time with the Red Devils, reaching the second round of the Class AA state playoffs in 2015 and the first round of the Class A Public playoffs in 2016. Bowdon struggled this past fall, finishing 2-8 and missing the postseason.

Carrollton Cheerleaders Shine At State

The Carrollton High School competitive cheerleading squad brought home the program's sixth state championship and the second in three years on Nov. 11 in Columbus.

Under the direction of third-year head coach Elizabeth Sanders, who is a former Carrollton cheerleader, the Trojans bounced back from last year's fourth-place finish to return to the top spot and notch the first state title as a Class AAAAA program.

The Carrollton seniors included: Sammie Cooney, Katie Dortch, Claire Fannin, Mackenzie Brown, Ariel Brown, Helen Vissering and Ally Denney.

UWG Football Lands Playoff Berth

In the first season of the David Dean era, the University of West Georgia football team learned some rather surprising news upon hearing it was selected as a No. 7 seed for the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

After suffering a tough loss in the regular-season finale to West Florida, the Wolves thought they might be on the outside looking in, but their strength of schedule put them over the top.

UWG took advantage of the new-found life, knocking off No. 2 Virginia State on Nov. 18 in a 35-9 first-round decision before falling in a 17-14 gut-wrencher to West Florida — again — in a controversial finish on Nov. 25 at University Stadium. The Argos went on to reach the national championship game.

Trojans Suffer Quarterfinal Setback

For the second straight season, the Carrollton High School football team had its postseason run come to a close in Game 13 after dropping a 63-24 setback to Warner Robins on Nov. 24.

The Trojans finished the year 10-3 overall and defeated Clarke Central and Arabia Mountain in the first two rounds before running into the Class AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year in Demon quarterback Dylan Fromm, the younger brother of University of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm.

Carrollton sophomore linebacker Kevin Swint was honored as the 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area Defensive Player of the Year.

Historic Flight For Eagle Football

The Mount Zion High School football team didn't want to hear of any rebuilding nonsense in 2017.

After graduating 19 senior starters and having head coach Keith Holloway retire following the 2016 season, all MZ did this past fall was deliver the best season in program history.

Under the direction of first-year head coach Brad Gordon, who previously served as MZ's defensive coordinator for five seasons under Holloway, the Eagles established a new single-season record for wins at 10 and reached the Class A Public state semifinals for the first time in school history.

The Eagles reached the semifinals by stunning top-ranked Manchester in a 10-6 quarterfinal thriller on Nov. 24, setting up a showdown with eventual state champion Clinch County on Dec. 1 in Homerville, where MZ's magical run came to a close in a 23-20 setback.

Gordon would go on to win the 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area Coach of the Year voting, while senior star C.J. Ackles was named the Times-Georgian All-Area MVP.

Heard Hammers Out Historic Run

The Heard County High School football team also made history in 2017, reaching the Class AA state semifinals for the first time behind a 28-14 victory over Thomasville on Nov. 24.

The Braves fell in a heartbreaker to eventual state champion Hapeville Charter in a last-second, 28-21 loss at Staples Stadium on Dec. 1, ending the season with a school-record 12 wins.

The setback ended the career of senior quarterback Emory Jones, the 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area Offensive Player of the Year, who signed with the University of Florida during the early signing period on Dec. 20.

Stallion Stampede

The Holy Ground Baptist Academy football team capped off back-to-back undefeated, state championship seasons on Nov. 24 by defeating CrossPointe Christian in an 83-42 shootout in Roopville to finish the 2017 campaign at 12-0 and with a second straight state title.

Head coach Jamie Perry's squad has now won three state titles in the past four seasons.

Bremen Returning To Class AA

The Bremen High School Athletic Department received good news upon learning that it won its appeal and will be moving back down to Class AA for the 2018-19 school year.

The decision was made during the GHSA's State Reclassification Committee Meeting in Thomaston on Nov. 27. Bremen has been competing in Class AAA for the past two years despite fielding AA numbers.

DECEMBER

Fendley Named Bowdon Football Coach

Rich Fendley was tabbed for the top spot of the Bowdon High School football program on Dec. 11.

Following a successful run at Heard County from 2008-16, where he served as the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Braves' football team, Fendley spent the 2017 season as the defensive coordinator at Westside, Macon.

Lions Capture Carroll County Repeat

The Central High School wrestling team captured its second consecutive Carroll County Duals title on Dec. 12 by defeating Villa Rica in the finals in a 51-21 decision.

VR Sweeps County Crowns

The Villa Rica High School basketball teams made it a clean sweep of the SMI Carroll County Christmas Classic on Dec. 16 at Central with the Lady Wildcats winning for the second straight year courtesy of a 74-47 rout of Cass in the finals, while the Wildcats reclaimed the county crown with an 87-49 win over Mount Zion in the finals.

Aliyah Hindsman was voted MVP of the girls' tournament, while Javonte Hart was the MVP on the boys' side.

Inspired Trojans Rally To Title

With Tim Criswell in the house, the Carrollton High School boys' basketball team rallied to the tournament title in a 66-63 victory over Greenville on Dec. 23 at the Carrollton Christmas Tournament.

Criswell was honored on Dec. 21 during the first day of the tournament with former and current players on hand to celebrate his recovery from the life-threatening biking accident back in early August.

The Tallapoosa Trifecta

The Haralson County High School girls' basketball team celebrated the new year a little early by ringing in its third consecutive championship at the 42nd Annual Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational Tournament on Dec. 29, defeating rival Bremen in the final round in a 67-41 finale.

Tournament MVP Alexis Boykin led the Rebelettes in the title bout with 24 points, 13 rebounds, nine steals, six assists and three blocked shots.

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