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A Look Back At 2021

What a year 2021 was. After losing entire seasons the prior year due to COVID, sports were back in full force. Teams from around the area earned Region and State Championships during this big year back from the pandemic. These are some of the top stories from 2021 in chronological order.

Wrestling VHS

It was a big year for both Vidalia and Toombs County High Schools in wrestling. VHS claimed the Area Duals Championship on January 15. That sent them through to the State Meet where they had their highest finish in school history, taking fourth place.

They fell in a close match at State to the State Runner-up Dade County, and lost to Lovett School, but got a win over Lamar County on the way to the fourth-place finish. Javarius Worthen, Tom Godbee, and Jaylin Burns all were undefeated in the meet.

VHS also qualified 10 wrestlers for State at the Area Traditional Tournament. Of those 10, three of them earned State Championships. Hunter Manning at 145 lbs., Godbee at 195 lbs., and Burns at 285 lbs. It was the first State Championships for the Indians since 1999. Dawson Campbell also wrestled for a Championship but fell short taking second place at 182 lbs. Godbee capped his career with the title and his second in a row. He also finished his career at VHS with a school record 220 wins, including a senior year at 44-1. He signed to wrestle for the Black Nights of West Point.


The Bulldogs of Toombs County also had a good season as they claimed their 8th straight Area Traditional Championship. They had four wrestlers earn Area Championships; Emmett Booker at 120 lbs., Gibson Wood at 132 lbs., Jacob Edwards at 152 lbs., and Chandler Lynn won his fourth straight title.

RTCA Basketball

Robert Toombs Christian Academy took first and second in the Region Tournament in basketball. The Lady Crusaders won over Twiggs Academy for the Region Championship. The boys Region Championship was a matchup of the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the state in AA in the GISA. RTCA was also missing senior point guard Justin Walker, who was out with a broken hand.

The girls won their game over Twiggs 69-16. In the boys game it was tied at 59-59 with just 30 seconds to play, but Memorial got a couple of late shots to fall and took the win 64-59.

In the State Playoffs the girls fell in the first round, but the boys went on a run with continued from page

wins over Edmund Burke in the first round and Gatewood in the second round to move into the Final 4.

In that Final 4, RTCA took on Brentwood Academy. MK McBride was in foul trouble most of the game, but Jashaun Powell stepped up and dropped 28 points as RCA took the win 78-67. That moved them into the Championship Game where they would take on Strong Rock Christian.

Strong Rock had a serious height advantage over RTCA. The Lions starters were 6’9”, 6’8”, 6’6”, 6’4” and 6’2”; and with that advantage, and some questionable calls on RTCA’s big man Tyler Buggs, putting him in foul trouble all game, it was a tough road for the Crusaders in the Championship game.

RTCA played a good game, and kept it close throughout the first half, but the height was too much in the second half as the Lions pulled away for the win, 8368.

TCHS Basketball

The TCHS boys’ basketball team had some big moments last season. The TCHS and Vidalia boys played an instant classic game in the Region Tournament. The game went to triple overtime with the Bulldogs defeating VHS for the first time since 2016. That moved the boys into the Region Championship against the Tigers of Swainsboro.

TCHS faced the #1 team in the state in the Region title game. Toombs lost the game 79-60 but played well against the top ranked team.

The Bulldogs moved into the State Playoffs where they took on Jasper County in the first round and pulled off their first playoff win since 1998. They won the game 64-43 with Julian Mann leading the way with 22 points. Toombs fell in the second round to Butler.

MCHS Track

On Monday, March 1, Montgomery County High School held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly constructed Curtis Ryals Track and Field facility on the campus of MCHS located at the William Mayes Dobbins Athletics Complex. The newly constructed track and field facility is named in honor of the late Curtis Ryals Sr., who was the high point scorer at the 1972 State Track Meet while he ran to state titles in the 100- and 220-yard dashes and earned medals in three other events. Athletic Director and Head Track Coach Tim Suttles said, “This has been a long-term process. Our school board has talked and planned for the last decade, and we had just been waiting on the financing to be right. There have been so many people that have been involved in this process, and we are just so excited to be able to have this great facility.

“We are thankful to everyone that has been a part of this, and there are so many people to thank for all the hard work. And to be able to honor one of the former MCHS greats, and to hopefully have many more that will get to use this new track is awesome.”

RTCA MS Baseball

The Robert Toombs Christian Academy Middle School baseball team played for the GISA AA State Championship and came away with the title. The Crusaders have lost only one game over the past two seasons, and that game was due to the eighth graders being held out of the game with the high school playing for the basketball State Championship.

RTCA’s playoff run saw them defeat Gatewood in the first round 10-0, Thomas Jefferson in the second round by the score of 5-1, and then win in the Championship over Piedmont Academy in a close game, 2-1.

VHS Baseball

The Indians baseball team had a great season and were ranked as the #1 team in the state in AA for much of the year. VHS claimed the Region 2AA Championship as they went 15-0 in the Region on the season. They wrapped up the title with a sweep of Region rival Jeff Davis in their three-game series. They then swept Bacon County the following week to end the regular season with a 15-0 Region record and they were 24-4 overall.

VHS won their firstround playoff matchup over Washington County, and then over Berrien County in the second round. That set up VHS to take on Lovett in the third round.

VHS and the Lions of Lovett split the first two games of the best-of-three series to for a Game 3. In Game 3 the Indians struggled as they gave up 10 walks and 4 errors as they fell by just one run, 8-7. That ended the grate run by VHS in the Elite 8 with a record of 29-6.

RTCA Track

Robert Toombs Christian Academy hosted the GISA Region 2AA Track meet. RTCA competed against Memorial Day School, First Presbyterian Christian Academy, and Twiggs Academy. All RTCA’s athletes qualified for the GISA State Track Meet. continued from page

It was the tenth Region Championship in a row for Lady Crusaders and eighth in a row for the Crusaders. Jashaun Powell and Kylie Acosta were the high point winners for the meet. And both girls Coach Jake Wilkinson and boys Coach Rodger Walker were named Region Coach of the Year.

RTCA track teams then competed in the GISA State Track Meet on April 29-May 1, hosted by Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove. The girls track team are the GISA-AA State Runner- Ups, falling a little short of bringing home a third state title in a row. However, they had several secondplace finishes throughout the weekend with the 4x100m relay, triple jump, and pole vault. The Varsity Boys track team finished 5th overall with sophomore Jashaun Powell winning State in triple jump with a jump of 43’3” and he placed 5th overall for High Points in GISA-AA Boys.

Soap Box

The Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby celebrated its 29th running this year, and their fifth running at Partin Park on the new Derby Hill. The weather on Saturday was perfect with lots of sun. The SuperKids were spread out this time over the one-day event giving them the chance to head down Derby Hill. There were also nearly 50 cars that participated in the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby across the Stock, Super Stock, and Masters divisions.

There were again a lot of familiar names that worked their way toward the finals. In the Stock division Noah Gordy finally broke through with a win after several years of coming close. He won by the differential of just .091 seconds. He beat out Quinn Driggers in the finals, another familiar last name at Derby Hill. For the Super Stock division, we saw Alexis Head get the win. She beat Aidyn Driggers in the finals by the slim margin of just .014 seconds. In just the second running of the Masters in the local race, Alyssa Head earned the top spot as she defeated Emma Waters in the finals by a differential of just .049 seconds. The Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby took seven racers to Akron, OH, for the All-American Soap Box Derby World Championships. After the pandemic resulted in canceling the 2020 racing season for the first time since World War II, more than 260 boys and girls from across the country participated in the 83rd FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron for the chance to win $36,000 in college scholarships.

Aidyn Driggers had the best finish of the local racers in this year’s World Championships as she brought home second place in the Rally Super Stock Division. Driggers fell in the finals by .003 seconds, which equates to about two inches of the nose of the car. The winner of the race was Karlye Murphy from Hilton, NY.

VHS Track

The Vidalia High School track programs made a big statement capturing both the girls and boys Region 2AA Titles at East Laurens. The Lady Indians scored 215 points, outdistancing Swainsboro by 104 points. The Indians also lapped the field with 215 points, beating Swainsboro by 110 points. Vidalia also had both the girls and the boys High Point Performer, with Sarah Owens taking the girls title with 32 points and Michael Madison scoring 25 points to take the boys’ title. Owen finished in 1st in the 800m, 1,600m, and the 3,200m runs and was also a part of the relay teams. Myesha Hall was 1st in the long jump, 1st in the 200m dash, and 2nd in the triple jump. Jasmine Smith took 1st in the shot put and was 1st in the discus. Kyleigh Johnson was 1st in the 300m hurdles and was 2nd in the 100m hurdles. Hayden Williamson was 1st in the high jump and tied the school record and was 3rd in the triple jump.

Madison was the top earner for the VHS boys as he was 1st in the 100m and 200m dashes, along with being on relay teams. Luke Palmer finished in 1st in the 1,600m and in the 3,200m runs. Cameron Glasper was 1st in the 300m hurdles, and 2nd in the high jump. Jaylin Burns was 1st in the shot put. Hunter Manning was 1st in the pole vault.

The 4x100m relay team of Madison, Williams, Powell, and Tyran Jacobs finished in 1st place. The 4x400m team of Middleton, Mincey, Williams, and Madison also took 1st place. And the 4x800m team of Andrew Hodges, Daniel Hodges, Gabbard, and Palmer also finished with a 1st place.

The Vidalia High School track & field teams competed at the GHSA State Championships recently as they made the journey up I – 75 to Powder Springs and McEachern High School. The Indian teams, who were well represented on both the girls’ and boys’ side, were able to post some impressive personal records (13) with the girls finishing 6th and the boy’s 8th.

VHA Track

The Vidalia Heritage Academy Eagles track team competed at the State Meet and brought home several individual titles. Jackson Williamson took 1st place in the long jump and the triple jump and was 3rd in the 100m dash. Lauren Cook finished 1st in both the 100m hurdles, the long jump, and the 200m dash. And Lydia Sammons was 1st in the triple jump, and she was also 2nd in the 100m hurdles.

VHA Tennis

The Vidalia Heritage Academy Eagles boy’s tennis team finished first in the GAPPS Region 2 Tournament in Macon, with brothers Will and Jack Puckett winning the boys doubles bracket. The brothers beat the top team from St. John Bosco Academy in the finals to take home the trophy.

The VHA girls team also competed, finishing fourth in the Region. Josey Harrell did well, advancing to the second round of the singles competition before making it to the finals of the consolation round.

VHA Baseball

It was a great season for the Vidalia Heritage Academy’s varsity baseball team as they made a run to the State Championship in just their third year of having the high school team. In the semifinals of the GAPPS State Playoffs they swept Horizon Christian Academy on at home at the Ed Smith Complex. Heritage had some first game heroics to take the win, and then came back with a runrule victory in the second game. VHA then hosted the State Championship against continued from page

the Patriots of Habersham School out of Savannah. The Eagles had been a scrappy team all year long but were outmatched in the Championship as they fell in both games of the double header on Friday in the bestof- three series.

The Eagles finished the season with a record of 15-7 as the State Runners-up.

VHS All Sports

For the 7th time in the last 8 years, Vidalia High School was awarded the Region 2AA All-Sports Championship Trophy. Winning the Championship Trophy that many times is an accomplishment on its own but winning the award this year held a special place among the Vidalia Athletes, Coaches, and Staff. For the first time in the award’s history, the trophy now bears the name of Vidalia’s longtime Athletic Director and Head Girls Basketball Coach, Chunk Reid. Vidalia teams were able to win 10 of the 20 Region Championships in Region 2AA, and current VHS Athletic Director Tommy Dalley said that is a standard that reaches far and wide. “Our athletes and the parents of our athletes put a lot of faith into how we were doing things, which enabled us to push them to reach their potential and that inevitably made our athletic programs successful.”

Summer Champions

Several youth baseball and softball teams from both the Lyons Recreation Department and the Vidalia Recreation Department had great runs in the as they claimed District Championships.

From LRD the 8U girls brought home the title from the tournament at Effingham County. The 10U boys won their title at the tournament that was held at Partin Park. And the 10U girls also won the District Tournament that was held at Partin Park.

The VRD 8U boys picked up their District Championship in Effingham County. The 12U boys won the tournament that was also held in Effingham County. The VRD 12U girls won their District title just down the road at Partin Park.

At the GRPA State Tournament the LRD 10u Girls brought home the State Championship.

Lyons took out Wayne County in the Championship in a very high scoring contest. LRD won the game 24-23 to earn their title.

The LRD 14U girls also won the State Championship.

Lyons face Coffee County in the Championship. Coffee won the first game, 4-3, to force a second game. But in that second game the girls from Partin Park took a 7-2 win to claim the title.

VRD Swim & Coach Hilton

The Vidalia Recreation Department Swim Team had a great showing at the GRPA B State Swim Meet in Fort Oglethorpe on July 16 and 17. Fourteen swimmers competed in the meet with numerous swimmers making it to the finals and bringing home awards.

This year, the team also had several state champions. Lake Wright brought home a state championship in the 13-14 boys 50–yard breaststroke with a time of 34.26. The 15–18-year-old mixed relay team were state champions, bringing home 1st place in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:40.48, just shy of the current state record of 1:39.44. This team consisted of Conley Brown, Reece Brown, Jackson Crawley, and Autumn Harris. In the 15-18 men’s division, Jackson Crawley also earned state championship titles in both the 50–yard freestyle, with a time of 22.90, and in the 100–yard freestyle with a time of 50.40.

For 29 years, Rob Hilton has coached the VRD Swim Team and under his tenure, more than 28 State Champions have been crowned. This year, he was assisted in coaching by his former swimmers Cole Register and Jessica Gordon. Coach Hilton announced that this was his final year coaching the Vidalia Recreation Department Swim Team. His many years of service to this sport have been greatly appreciated and the community and swimmers are thankful for all that he has given.

VHS Softball

It was another great year for the Vidalia High School Indians softball team as they made another run at a State Championship. They again made it to Columbus for the State Championship Tournament and battled their way to a State Runnerup finish.

Earlier in the season the VHS pitching staff had a week to remember as three different pitchers threw nohitters over three straight games. All three pitchers, Tymber Harris, Bailey Holland, and Madison Starr threw no-hitters as the Indians defeated Bacon County, Islands, and East Laurens.

The Indians also brought home the Region Championship as they finished the year with a Region record of 14-1, with their only loss coming to rival Jeff Davis early in the season.

VHS moved into the State Playoffs. They swept Josey and Elbert County to punch their ticket to Columbus. In Columbus they dropped their first-round game to Bremen but came back through the losers’ bracket with wins over Union County, Jeff Davis, Bremen, and Dade County to earn their spot in the State Championship Game. In the Championship they took on defending State Champion Heard County. Vidalia gave it their all but fell short in a 10-6 loss. The Indians overall hit an astounding 10 home runs during their six games in the State Championship Tournament.

VHS finished the year as the State Runner-up in AA and with a record of 327. The Indians will lose several players off this year’s team. Those graduating are Bailey Holland, Rileigh Robinson, Jesslyn Collins, Alli Taufmann, Logan Menard, Janna Hyers, and Matlin Mead.

VHS Cheer

The Indian Competition Cheerleaders put everything together at the right time in their season this year. They had placed well at several competitions during the season. VHS hosted the Region Championships, and with a solid performance, they claimed the title. It was the fourth Region Championship for VHS over the past eight seasons. That also had the Indians ranked as they #3 team in the state in AA.

They then took the trip to Macon to compete at the Centreplex for the State Championship. They had another great showing but came up just ½ point behind Bleckley County for the title. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team,” said Vidalia Head Coach Ann Michele Toole. “In this sport you have 2min 30sec to maximize your opportunities to fully execute and they did an amazing job in their final performance of the season. It was a tight run in the top three of 2A, with a mere .5-point separation and a three-way tie determined by officials.” Toole added.

VHA Football

The Vidalia Heritage Academy Eagles played their first varsity season during the 2017-18 school year, they didn’t win a game. This season, just five years later, well, they not only went 10-1 on the year, but brought home their first GAPPS 1A State Championship, and they did so in dominating fashion. The Eagles of VHA averaged over 50 points a game this season on their way to that title. On Friday, November 26, they traveled to Cumming to take on the Warriors of Horizon Christian Academy for the State Championship. Horizon were also the defending State Champions and were averaging over 40 points a game this season. The game was played on the Astroturf field at Pinecrest Academy, also in Cumming. The Eagles were in control of this game throughout as they held a 46-28 lead at halftime. They took the win 66-36 over the Warriors.

VHA got an incredible performance from Ethan Sikes with 296 yards and 5 touchdowns on just 11 carries, Josiah Smith added 238 yards on 16 carries with 2 touchdowns, Ledger Curl had 30 yards and James Hutcheson ran for just 12 yards, but had several plays called back on penalties. Josiah Smith also threw for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Eagles had 661 total yards of offense in the game. John Smith caught 3 passes for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Mason Beacham, James Hutcheson, and Josiah Smith are the three seniors on this team, and all have been key players on both sides of the ball for this State Championship team.


As you can see, it was and great year for local sports. So many of our student- athletes had outstanding years with lots of teams and individuals winning Region, Area, District, and State Championships. The coaches across all the schools continue to do an incredible job not only in training these kids in the sports that they play, but also in shaping them to be better people as they grow up. The local support has been amazing as always, from the community to the school staffs and faculty. Let us all continue to support everything that leads to the betterment of the local youth across all sports and activities in the new year.

Many of the people involved in the new MCHS Track & Field project gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony and the grand opening event of the new Curtis Ryals Sr.Track & Field Complex at Montgomery County High School.Photo by Mike Branch

Julian Mann led the Bulldogs past the Indians for the first time since 2016, and secured a spot in the State Playoffs with the win.Photo by Mike Branch

Walker Moncus put the bat on the ball for VHS as they battled back in the third game of the series against Lovett.Photo by Mike Branch

State Runner-up Heritage Eagles – (L to R, Front): Head Coach Seth Sitzman, Jackson Franklin, Luke Moxley, Jackson Poole, Ethan Sikes, Jackson Williamson, RJ Wells, Jake Adams, Ledger Curl, Coach Walter Banks; (Back): Hardy Franklin, Greer Posey, JT Cofield, Chris Reaves, Jacob Dean, and Mason Beacham.Photo by Mike Branch

The Vidalia High School track & field teams competed at the State Meet and both the boys and girls had a good showing .

Rileigh Robinson hit a 3-run home run to put VHS in the lead in the third inning of the Indians rematch with Bremen.Photo by Carroll Williams

The Vidalia Heritage Academy Eagles football team are the GAPPS Division 1A State Champions.

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