In his first match as the Greenbrier varsity coach, Kevin Williams had to give his team a pep talk before the fifth set.
The Lady Wolfpack won the first two sets, 25-16, 25-22. Grovetown bounced back to win the next two sets, 25-19, 25-22. When it came down to the final set, Greenbrier prevailed, 15-8.
“We made it up the first two hills and we had the last hill to climb,” said Williams, the Greenbrier junior varsity coach the past two years. “It was a shorter hill, but it was the toughest to climb.
“They know what it takes to win a match. I’m pleased that they stuck together.”
Lady Wolfpack captain Chloe Marion said she expected a difficult match. Last year, the Lady Wolfpack finished third in the region. This year, the team returned all but one player.
“We knew we were coming into a tough match and they were going to be aggressive,” Marion said. “We were going to try to be just as aggressive, if not more. We just knew we had to be strong.”
Grovetown, which won the region last year and advanced to the second round of the state tournament, is looking for a repeat performance. The Lady Warriors got down early against Greenbrier, bounced back and then rallied from a 19-11 deficit in the fourth to force a fifth set.
“I know what we need to work on,” Grovetown coach Amy Slagle said. “There were some lineups that didn’t quite work in one game. I changed it and it worked in another game. Right now, we’re trying to find that solid six.”
Grovetown’s Tess Reynolds posted 15 kills to lead the way. KateLynn Anderson recorded 11 digs and three aces for Grovetown, while Anaiya Catlett had four blocks and Faith Myers had 21
Amii Ingalls led Greenbrier with 11 kills and added three digs, while Lexi Rugg had 11 assists. Sydney Blakeney record three blocks, while Claire Ballentine added three digs. Freshman Jillian Lui recorded nine assists and three aces.
For Burke County coach Eric Parker, Friday night’s season opener was about finding an identity for his team.
So far, so good.
The Bears scored three times in the final 14 minutes of the first half and never looked back in a 29-7 victory over Grovetown.
“We know what we’d like to do, but a lot of times you’ve got to mold that to your talent,” Parker said. “I think offensively we got a little closer to knowing what it is we might be decent at and can get better at.”
Burke County, a perennial playoff power under Parker, faced a Warriors squad with a new coaching staff, but with high hopes, too, this season. The Bears were able to control the clock with their ground game, rolling up 198 yards of rushing offense.
Cameron Holmes gained 57 yards on 12 carries, while Leon McGee added 48 yards on 11 rushes with a touchdown.
Burke County scored on its third possession of the game when William Knight threw a short pass to Jaylen Odom on third down.
Appearing to be pinned near the left sideline, Odom slipped a tackler and darted 68 yards down the sideline for the touchdown.
Later, safety Ali Gilbert picked off a Taylor Youngblood pass on the 40 and returned it for the touchdown to extend the Bears’ lead. Later in the second quarter, McGee punched it in from the 7 to push the Burke County lead to 20-0.
Despite its scoring explosion, Burke County failed to score four times in the red zone, including a stop at the 2 when the first half expired. That’s something Parker said his team has to improve.
“We won’t survive every Friday night doing what we did down with a chance to score,” he said. “We’ve got to punch it in and take advantage of it.”
Grovetown struggled to find any offense against the Bears. The Warriors scored their lone touchdown when Martell Beall intercepted a Damari Kelly pass and took it 84 yards into the end zone.
“Our defense played one heck of a game,” said Grovetown’s Damien Postell, making his head coaching debut. “We need our offense to pick up where our defense is and gain some momentum from there.”
Despite the defeat, Postell said the Warriors needed to play a team like Burke County to prepare them for later in the season.
“Playing a playoff-caliber team like Burke County, we’re just trying to get our kids ready for that type of competition,” he said. “We’re going to have to see it if we’re going to get that chance to make the
The Georgia Department of Education and State School Superintendent Richard Woods are urging anyone who is interested in the future of Georgia’s public education system to attend one of eight planned public feedback sessions on the Every Student Succeeds Act.
In Columbia County, the ESSA meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, at the Columbia County Board of Education building at 4781 Hereford Farm Road in Evans.
ESSA is the replacement for the law commonly known as No Child Left Behind, and it offers an enormous opportunity for Georgia’s students, teachers, parents and communities because it replaces the top-down federal approach of NCLB.
The new law allows states and local schools and districts to make education decisions that are best for their students, and it requires states to develop plans that address standards and assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools and students.
“For all those invested in the future of Georgia’s education system – and those interested in a more holistic approach for students – whether you’re a parent, a student, an educator or a community member, I strongly encourage you to offer your feedback as we develop our ESSA state plan,” Woods said.
“If you can, please attend a meeting – you’ll invest two hours of your time in exchange for many years of education policy. If you’re not able to attend in person, there will be opportunities to offer your feedback online and via email.”
Each ESSA feedback session will include a welcome from Woods and an introduction to the act.
Participants will then choose the specific topics to discuss in working groups.
The public will also be informed of next steps and additional opportunities to provide feedback.
Get more information about the Every Student Succeeds Act at gadoe/ESSA. For those unable to attend an in-person meeting, a survey opportunity will soon be announced and posted on the website.
Feedback can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.