Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-For love of the game

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

Recently I’ve started watching the show Friday Night Lights again. Let me just say- this is partially important because I’m not a big TV show person. I don’t have the patience to sit through an hour-long episode nor do I usually have the time to keep up with a series. But I figure with pre-season football kicking in and the fall season quickly approaching, revisiting a show that revolves around high school football is one of the best ways to get me hyped up for what’s to come.

Watching this series has also made me think about a couple of things. For one, why do we as a society rally so much around a sport that’s played by boys no older than 18-years-old? Second, do we put too much pressure on athletes who play the game? And finally, is the hype and the pressure truly worth it?

I think the answer can be summed up pretty easily- yes. And why? For love of the game.

But the love of the game is different for each of us. We’re not all going to attend every single football game or spend thousands of dollars to sit in Sanford every Saturday. We all have our limits, and in my opinion that’s perfectly okay.

Why else would my friend Erin and I bundle up in the freezing cold for playoffs? Because we love football!

I like to say that there’s something about having a team that you love that will get inside of you and never leave. I find it fascinating that there are towns across America like Dillon, Texas that will show up in the thousands to support their Panthers. Coaches and players are local celebrities, and you get your butt in the stands every Friday night just as religiously as a pew on Sunday morning. I came from a high school of nearly 4,000 students and a county of almost one million people, but the same spirit that rallies much smaller towns across the country still pulses through mine.

Yes, oftentimes I’m afraid that means we put too much pressure on the athletes who play the game. In my own personal experience, at the high school level we had so many students that it was nearly impossible to know the daily goings-on at the field house. But it was that age-old cycle of that when we would win, the coaches and players would be praised. One loss and the attitude switched faster than the direction of a twister.

But one of the many great things about this country is we have the freedom of choice in many of our decisions. Even though the athletes and coaches who play these games catch a lot of grief, they still have the choice to walk away. Some do. But for those who don’t? I’d venture to say it’s for love of the game.

When it comes to putting pressure on athletes, especially young ones, I believe the relationship is a two-way street. They should know what they’re doing, but despite all the love we have for the game, we need to understand when enough is enough. I’ve heard the term “daddy ball” thrown around a lot before, and it makes me sad to think that there are parents out there who try to live through their children. It’s important to love and support them, but even more important to let them develop their own love for their game.

Finally, like I mentioned earlier, everyone’s love for the game is different. My Papa Skip, who I probably talk to the most about sports, has a different appreciation for them than I do. I’ll use UGA football as an example. He attended classes at UGA- I never have. He still goes every year to the UGA/Florida game in Jacksonville- I’ve only gone once. He pays each year to have season tickets for the home games- I CERTAINLY don’t do that, although when he doesn’t want them I get first dibs (thanks Papa!)

The point I’m trying to make is while we all may say we love sports, we each love them differently. We each have a certain line we’re willing to cross. But at the same time, come Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday or playoffs, we rally behind our team. And we each get our butts in the stands. Why? For love of the game.

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Shooting at Dalton High School

News

DALTON, Ga. – The Dalton Police Department is on scene at Dalton High School where shots have been fired.

Dalton Police report that no student was injured by the shooting and all students are out of harm’s way. They also report the subject, a teacher, has been taken into custody.

The subject had barricaded themselves into a classroom earlier today before firing a weapon. Local police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the initial call. Concerning those reports that have come about a student injured during the evacuation, the Dalton Police were adamant that no student was injured by the shooting.

Police are also asking parents to NOT go to Dalton High School as they say, “The area inside the school has been evacuated and there are no students believed to be in the school at this time.”

The evacuated students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Trade Center where police report parents should go for their children.

 

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Ruff leads Panthers over Bobcats

UCHS Baseball

The Panthers faced off against the Gilmer County Bobcats in a non-conference matchup. The Panthers entered the contest with a 1-1 record.

Davis took the mound for the Panthers for the second time this season. Davis pitched well as he allowed one earned run during 4 innings of work.

Davis got info some trouble to start the game allowing a hit and a walk as the Bobcats pounced onto an early lead 1-0.

UCHS senior RJ Banton warms up on the mound during Tuesday night’s game against Gilmer High. Photo by Isaiah Garrett, TeamFYNSports.

Banton stepped in to relive Davis after 4 innings of work. Davis finished with 1 K and 2 BB’s over the course of 4 innings. Davis allowed one earned run.

Can Colwell helped the Panthers grab a lead in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-out, 2-run, single.

The Panthers got into some trouble early in the 6th inning after an error at 3rd base let the Bobcats gain some momentum as they went on to score 3 runs. The Panthers trailed 4-2.

After allowing 3 runs, 2 of which were earned, Banton returned to pitch in the 7th. Banton struck out a batter to start the 7th and finished with 2 groundouts.

Trialing by 2 the Panthers looked to regain the lead and a win. Allison and Ruff walked. Banton got on base with a single. Junior Kelley hit a 2-out, bases clearing, double in walkoff fashion to win the game.

The Panthers were led by, Ruff with 3 HBP BB’s 1RBI and Can. Colwell 1-3 with 2 RBI’s.

The Panthers improve to 2-1. The Panthers will host the Rabun County Wildcats Monday, Feb. 26th in a non-conference matchup.

Panthers looking ahead after opening double-header

UCHS Baseball

The Panthers faced off against the Commerce Tigers in a double header. This would be the Panthers first test of the season. Commerce is considered one of the better teams in the 1A-Private region.

The first pitch was at 4:05. Baggett was UC’s first baserunner of the season and Dyer was the first base hit of the year.

Ruff was the first to pitch for the Panthers in a game that would dig into the bullpen. Ruff pitched 2 innings. Ruff struck 2 batters out, walked 1, allowed 4 hits, Ruff was allotted for 3 earned runs.

Rich took over in inning 3 as the Panthers trailed 3-0. Rich pitched 2 shut out innings as Baggett tied the game up in top of the 4th with a 3 run 2 our single.

Rich got into some trouble early in the 5th as 3 hits and 2 walks as he gave up 3 earned runs. Rich finished with 4 K’s, 4 BB’s, and 3 ER.

Banton stepped in to finish the inning as the Panthers trailed 3-7 at the end of the 5th.

The Panthers put the comeback in force as they scored 2 runs in the 6th which was started by a Baggettt walk.

Colwell stepped in to pitch the 6th as he allowed 2 runs  Colwell allowed 4 hits with 1 K.

Baggett finished 2-2 with 4 RBI’s and 2 BB’s and 2 steals.

The second game of the double header got underway at 7:20.

Harkins started the second game of the evening as he pitched 2 innings.

Baggett was the first run of the second game as he scored off of a walk, a stolen base, and an error.

The Panthers used a huge second inning to separate from the Tigers as Schafer hit his first home run of his career. The Panthers led 6-2 after the 2nd.

J. Colwell took over in the top of the 3rd as he gathered 4 K’s over the course of 4 innings. Colwell allowed 3 runs and walked 4.

Davis stepped in to close the game as he finished with 2 K’s and 1 BB.

Schafer led the Panthers going 2-2 with a homerun and a INF single. Dyer followed with going 2-3 with 2 RBI’s.

The Panthers improved to 1-1 as they split the series. The Panthers next game will be against Rabun county in a non-region matchup Tues. Feb 20th. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:00.

After 10-0 start, Panthers season comes to disappointing end

Union County High School

The Panthers tipped off against North Hall @ 4:30 in the region tournament. The Panthers were looking to secure a playoff spot which a win would do. A loss would be the Panthers would not make the playoffs.

Both teams got off to a slow Q1 as the Panthers led 8-7 after Q1. Baggett led UC scorers with 3 in the first quarter.

The first half was one of the lowest scoring half’s UC had seen all season as they trailed 17-13. The Panthers were led by Drake with 4.

The Panthers grabbed a lead late in Q3 but couldn’t keep it as they trailed 31-30 at the end of the quarter. The Panthers were led by Baggett with 10.

Can. Colwell fouled out with a little over 4:00 left to play in Q4. The Panthers fell to the Trojans 50-42. UC was led by Baggett and Drake whom both had 15.

The Panthers fall to 16-9. The Panthers season is now over. This is only the second team in school history to ever start 10-0. Both teams that started 10-0 lost to Murphy in the 11th game and neither made the playoffs.

Sophomores Drake and Allison were both selected to the 7-AAA all region team which is voted on by the coaches. Cra. Colwell and Baggett were honorable mentions.

Drake led the Panthers with 13.0 points per game followed by Allison with 12.1. Drake did this despite missing 4 games with a knee injury.

Craw. Colwell and Drake both averaged 6 rebounds a game. Followed by Allison with 4.5.

Can. Colwell led the Panthers with assists per game averaging 2.8, followed by Allison with 2.4.

Drake also led the Panthers in steals per game with 2.9 followed by Allison with 2.4

Drake averaged 1.0 block per game followed by Waller with .5.

Panthers celebrate senior night, fall to Tigers/Lady Tigers

Union County High School

The Lady Panthers tipped off at 7 following senior night at 6. The Lady Panthers had 2 seniors, Bailey Daniel and Grace Wischmeyer. Wischmeyer was limited to playing time this season due to a knee injury.

The Lady Panthers faced off against the Lady Tigers from Dawson County. The Lady Panthers fell to the Lady Tigers earlier in the season 54-42. The Lady Panthers looked to secure a spot in the playoffs with a win.

Mccarter led UC with 4 of the 9 points scored in the first quarter. The Lady Panthers trailed 11-9 after Q1.

The Lady Tigers used a 12-4 run to open Q2 to extend the halftime lead 32-21. Ade. Dockrey led the Lady Panthers with 4 points. The Lady Tigers also used a 9-1 run the close Q2.

The Lady Panthers fell behind majorly in the first half due to poor free throw shooting. The Lady Panthers shot only 35% from the line 6-17.

The Lady Tigers separates themselves over the course of Q3 with a score of 54-31. Hill led Lady Panthers scorers with 4.

The Lady Panthers fell 70-38 to the Lady Tigers. Sticker led the Lady Tigers with 25. Mccarter led the Lady Panthers with 8.

The Lady Panthers finish the 15-9 in the regular season. The Lady Panthers next game will be Wednesday Feb 7th, at East Hall facing off against Dawson in the first game of the region tournament.

The Panthers followed tipping off at 8:30.

The Panthers had several seniors, twins, Candler and Crawford Colwell, RJ Banton, Cole Davis, Timothy Patrick, and Patrick Baggett.

Cra. Colwell was only 6 points away from hitting his 1000th point. The Panthers trailed early 13-9 at the end of Q1 as they were led by Baggett who had 4.

The Panthers trailed 31-34 at the half. UC was led by Allison who has 3. Cra. Colwell with 1:38 left to play in Q2.

The Tigers used a 8-0 run to open Q3 as they led 45-34. DC was led by Reed with 5 and The Panthers were led by Davis with 4.

The Panthers would fall to the Tigers for the second time this season 59-47. The Panthers fall to 16-8. UC wad led by Baggett with 17. The Panthers will play @ East Hall Feb. 6th, I. The opening round of the region tournament. The Panthers will play North Hall.

Panthers Wrestling: Tritt making history

Union County High School

Isaac Tritt made history last week.  With his 4th-place finish at the AAA Sectional wrestling tournament last weekend, Tritt became first person in Union County history to ever advance beyond Area competition.  He now has an opportunity to be the first Union County High School student to place at the state tournament.

Tritt started playing soccer when he was only four years old.  In the 7th grade, he began wrestling.  By his freshman year, he decided to dedicate 100% of his attention to the mat; and as a junior, his commitment is paying off.

 

Tritt wrestled in the 138-lb class his freshman year, before moving up to the 145-lb class last year.  The 7-lb weight gain has given him more strength in the clinch without sacrificing speed in scrambles or shots from outside.

TeamFYNSports asked Tritt how he’s handling the reality that he’s making history, and he said, “It feels great knowing I was able to pave the road to state. The hard work was definitely worth it.”

Tritt said the sport of wrestling has taught him more than just how to throw or pin someone – it’s built character.

“When life gets hard you just have to keep pushing forward, this is something the coaches have instilled in this program,”  Tritt told TeamFYNSports in a recent interview.

He said that he’s looking to push the pace of each match at the state tournament, and he is looking to dominate his opponents.  Recognizing that the Panthers wrestle in one of the toughest regions/areas in the state of Georgia, Tritt may see some familiar faces as he advances through the tournament this weekend.

TeamFYNSports would like to congratulate the Union County wrestling program and we wish Isaac Tritt all the best this weekend.

 

Union Girls top Darlington, Boys force ‘Mercy Rule’ against Peidmont

TeamFYNSports, Union County High School

By Isaiah Garrett, TeamFYNSports reporter

Wednesday Dec. 27, Union County played in the 24th annual Battle of the States tournament. The lady panthers tipped off at 4pm playing against Darlington School.

The lady panthers got off to a slow start falling behind 16-14  at the end of the first. However, Senior Bailey Daniel led a lady panther 3 point parade by shooting 3-4 from downtown in the 2nd quarter.

Union led 31-26 at the half. Both teams were plagued with turnovers in the 3rd quarter, a combined 14 turnovers led to a score of 38-33 at the end of the 3rd. However, Darlington battled back to tie the game at 52 with only 57 seconds left in regulation.

Junior forward Adeline Dockrey made an incredible fade-away hook shot with 17 seconds left to grab the lead, a shot so impressive you had to see it to believe it. A Darlington 3-pointer at the buzzer fell inches short as it bounced off the rim.  Union takes the win, 54-52.

Bailey Daniel led the panthers with 22. The lady panthers advanced to the semi-finals to play Murphy, NC at 4pm on Dec 28th. Full story to follow.

Panthers force ‘mercy rule’ in dominant 69-27 victory
The panthers tipped off at 5:30 against Piedmont AL. Piedmont was ranked the #2 team in class AAA in the preseason.
Union got off to a hot start leading 13-8 as Union had 4 steals in the first quarter. Union took a 18-5 run to extend the lead going into the half, leading 31-13.
Sophomore Pierson Allison led the panthers with 11 points in the first half. Union continued the hot start in the second half and at the end of Q3 led 54-24.
Due to the mercy rule, the 4th quarter was shortened from 8 to 6 minutes. Union finished the game with a score of 69-27. Sophomores Pierson allison (14) and Sawyer Drake (13) led a very balanced panther attack into the semi-finals. Union advanced to play Murphy at 5:30pm on Thursday.  Full story to follow.
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