A Look Back At Sports In 2023
By Mike Branch Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Contributions from VHS, TCHS, RTCA, MCHS, & VHA
It was a big year for local sports in 2023. From Area and Region Championships to State Titles, local athletes showed that they are some of the best in the state. These are the top stories from 2023 in chronological order.
We will start off this Year in Review with one of the biggest stories of 2023 in the state, was that of the Backto- Back National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs squeaked by Ohio State in the semi-finals, 42-41, to earn their spot in the Championship Game, where they faced the Horned Frogs of TCU. TCU won their semifinal game over Michigan, 51-45, in the Fiesta Bowl to get to the title game.
In the Championship Game, it was all Georgia, as they rolled to a 65-7 win over TCU. That made them just the third team in the modern era to finish off a 15-0 season and the first team since Alabama in 2012 to win back-to-back titles.
Wrestling hits the mats for Area and State Championships early every year, and this year we again saw both Toombs County High School and Vidalia High School with big years.
Toombs and Vidalia battled it out for the Area Dual Championship in Nahunta on January 7. It was a hard fought battle with the Bulldogs taking the title over VHS, 45-24.
That moved the teams onto the Duals State Championship, which was held at Jeff Davis. Toombs defeated Model in the first round. Up next, though, was Fannin County, and Toombs lost that battle, 39-27.
Toombs bounced back with a win over Brantley County, 59-24, and then beat Landmark Christian, 43-27, to take third place in the state.
After the Dual Season was over, both teams moved on to the individual portion for the year. Both teams qualified several wrestlers for the State Meet, and what a week it was for the local wrestling programs.
Both Toombs and Vidalia finished in the top 4 at the GHSA State Championships. The Bulldogs took the #3 spot with 101 points, and the Indians finished #4 with 96 points. Rockmart took the top spot with 244.5 points and Fannin County was second with 169.5 points.
It has been an interesting year for the Toombs County High School Esports squad. They competed in the State Championships at the beginning of the year and then after the GHSA moved the title games, they were in them again just a week ago.
The Toombs team finished the Fall 2022 season as State Runners-up in Splatoon 3 after falling short to the Northview Titans in the PlayVS championship match. The team was led by team captains Adam Copeland and Christian (Gabe) Smith in their championship effort. Then again this fall they concluded their most successful season to date, capping off a sensational journey with the Splatoon 3 team securing State Runner-up for the second consecutive year. In the short four-year history of the program, the Bulldogs have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with, finishing the Fall 2023 regular season as the second-ranked team in the state of Georgia.
The Montgomery County High School Lady Eagles basketball team had one of their best seasons in school history last season. They brought home the Region Championship and finished the regular season with a record of 26-1, and entered into the State Playoffs as the #3 ranked team in the state.
The Lady Eagles defeated Treutlen County in the first round of the GHSA Class A Division II State Playoffs, but were then upset in the second round by Clinch County. MCHS finished the year with a record of 27-2.
The Robert Toombs Christian Academy Crusaders basketball teams both brought home Region Championships last season. The Lady Crusaders won their seventh straight title and through that season had also not lost a Region game in those seven years. The boys won their second Region Championship in a row as they defeated Memorial Day in the title game.
That moved both teams into the GIAA State Playoffs. Both teams had a bye in the first round, sending them into the Elite 8. Both the boys and girls won their Elite 8 games, with the Lady Crusaders beating St. George’s, and the boys defeating Grace Christian.
In the Final 4 both RTCA teams fell to end their seasons. The Lady Crusaders lost to the #1 team in the state, LaGrange Academy. RTCA held the lead through most of the game, but LaGrange made a run in the fourth and took the win, 50-45.
The boys fell to the Rams of Monsignor Donovan. RTCA tried to make a run in the second half of the game, but lost their Final 4 matchup, 57-43.
What a year it has been for the Vidalia cheerleaders. The Game Day Cheer Team not only won their second State Championship in a row at the end of February of this year, but after moving the season to the Fall from Winter, they won their third straight State Championship in December of this year.
For the first Championship of the year, in Columbus, the Indians took their 2nd straight 1A/2A State Championship, outscoring their nearest competition by 6.2 points. The score of 95.10 in the finals would have been good enough to win even 3A/4A Division.
The Vidalia High School Game Day Cheer Team made it three for three just a few weeks ago, taking their 3rd GHSA State Championship, this time in Atlanta. With the win, the Lady Indians are the first team to three-peat as GHSA State Champions in Game Day Cheerleading.
This State Championship is the sixth State Title for the Vidalia Cheer Team since 2003.
For the first time in 17 seasons, Brewton-Parker College’s Women’s Basketball headed to the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship.
The Lady Barons went to Alexandria, Louisiana, to compete in the NAIA National Championship First Round on Tuesday, March 7.
BPC earned an At-Large berth into the tournament as a No. 12 seed and faced No. 5 seed Texas Wesleyan on Tuesday in the First Round. BPC played them tough, but lost the game, 104-87, to end their season.
“I’m so proud of our group,” Head Coach Steve Edwards said. “We fought hard tonight, and we lost to a better team. Our group stayed connected through a lot of adversity this season and I’m truly proud of them.”
For several years now the Toombs County area has lacked a golf course. After Rocky Creek and Hawk’s Point shut down there has been a definite need for a course in the area. Not just for the recreational aspect, but it is also a big part of charity events, and it helps to bring more business to the community.
That is all changing as the City of Vidalia has already begun work on its new golf course at the Regional Sports Complex on Ezra Taylor Road. The Sweet Onion Golf Authority, the committee put together to help oversee this project, unveiled the name of the new course in front of a crowd of nearly 200 community members in April of this year. The new course will be called Warmouth Sands, and according to committee chairman Andy Woodruff, the name comes from multiple sources from the area of the course. It was named after the warmouth fish that inhabits the creek that runs through the course and from the sandy soil that makes the onions here so sweet.
There were some issues mid year on the project, but work is scheduled to resume in the near future.
The city realizes the importance of golf as a recreational opportunity for patrons of all ages along with the sig-
VHS Game Day Cheer 3-Peats As State Champions – (L to R, Front): Greer Slack, Nittania Durham, Nylah Harvey, Kyndall Dunford, Journey Clements, Malie Carey; (Middle): Rayley Brantley, Ava Anderson, Remi Spell, Emily Coleman, Taylor Cox, Hillaree Hankerson, Malaysia Ricks; (Back): Coach Bricyn Fitzgerald, Braylie Davis, Emily Kicklighter, Kalli Jo Roberson, Zoey Alvarez, Coach Harley Paradice, Alexis Head, Gracie McLendon, Reagan Burton, AnnaBeth Martin, and Head Coach Ann Michele Toole. continued from page
nificance of golf in high school sports.
This is a big project for the city, and it is something that this community needs. With the pedigree of Vidalia High School golf, and the big changes that Toombs County High School has made for their golf program, this will be something that will help both of those programs. Robert Toombs Christian Academy also has a golf program as does Montgomery County and Heritage Academy. All schools will be able to benefit from this project as well.
It will also be great for the many charities such as the Sweet Onion Classic, the United Way Golf Tournament, and the many other businesses and nonprofits that will be able to hold events there. The amount of money that has been raised for this community through charity golf events, and the help that it has provided over the years has been tremendous.
With the course construction underway, this community should be excited about this endeavor and what it truly means for this area. Golf may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the impact that a course has on a community cannot be understated. It touches everyone in one way or another through the charities, through the schools, or through the business that it helps to bring to the area.
It was a great morning for the Kiwanis Vidalia Onion Run on Saturday morning during the Onion Festival. They had the largest turnout in race history with over 800 runners signing up continued from page
for the event. They kicked off the day with the second running of the half marathon, followed by the one mile run, and the 5k. There was a new record set for the half marathon that will be a tough one to beat.
For the half marathon, 47- year- old Orinthal Striggles, out of Columbia, SC, took the top spot with a new record of 1:23.24. The top female runner in the half marathon was Caitlin Moxley of Vidalia in a time of 2:09.01. The top spot in the 5K went to Toombs County Middle School standout runner Juan Luna. The top female runner in the 5K, for the second year in a row, was Macey Higgason of Allenhurst. The winner of the One-Mile Fun Run was Liam Tipps of Vidalia, which he won for the second year in a row. The female winner of the 1-mile run was Bianca Allred of Vidalia.
Robert Toombs Christian Academy’s Varsity boys and girls track teams competed in the GIAA 6AA Region Championship at Georgia Southern University on Wednesday, April 19, and the Varsity Girls won their 12th Region Championship in a row. RTCA’s Varsity Boys finished the season as Region Runner-Up to Trinity Christian School.
Robert Toombs Christian Academy’s track teams ended the season on a high note after several obstacles. The Varsity Girls finished the season as State Runner-Ups and the Varsity Boys finished third overall.
RTCA came away with seven individual State Champions. On top of that, they had two athletes set two new State records, one in triple jump by senior JaShaun Powell and the second by the boys 4x100m relay team. RTCA now holds the State record for the girls and boys GIAA-AA 4x100m relay. Junior Aaron Hankerson won the high points for the GIAA-AA boys.
The Toombs County High School Lady Soccer Dogs made history in April of this year, with a 2-0 win over Jeff Davis, which advanced them to the Elite 8 in the GHSA State AA Tournament. This marked the first time the girls program had ever made it to the Elite 8.
On Monday, April 24, the Toombs County High School Lady Bulldog soccer season came to an end in the GHSA State AA Quarterfinals. It was the first time the Lady Bulldogs had broken through to the Elite 8 in soccer, and they finished the historic year with a record of 12-8-1.
Jeanie Allen has accomplished a lot in her life as a Cardiology Nurse Practitioner, mother, wife, and more. But in recent years she has turned some of her focus to fitness, namely CrossFit. She has steadily improved over the past five years, and at 60 years old, has become an inspiration through her devotion to not only her own health, but to helping others get motivated.
In 2018 Allen was just getting started and was ranked 2,283 in her age group. The next year she moved all the way up to 665th, and then in 2020 she was ranked 473. She then joined a new gym, started working with a new coach in Statesboro named Ryan Brack, and things have taken off from there. In 2021 she moved up to 138th in her age division and then to 127th in 2022. But this year marked a huge accomplishment as she worked her way all the way to the Quarterfinals of the CrossFit Games and finished in 8th place in her age division across the world. That put her in the top 10% of all athletes in the world that competed in the CrossFit Games.
Allen said about the article The Advance did on her, “Initially I wasn’t sure about doing this article, I’m one that is behind the scenes, I don’t want to come across as bragging, but I have had a few people tell me that they wanted to hear my story. I said that if this can be motivation for others to get started on their journey, then maybe there is good that can come from this.
“Everyone can exercise in some form or fashion, and it makes such a difference in your health. I want to encourage people to eat healthy and get moving. Whatever it is that you like to do, just get up and get moving. Too many people just don’t do any-
RTCA Lady Crusaders Win 12th Straight Region Championship – (L to R, Front): Emmie Davis, Rachel Threlkeld, Mary-Claire Wolfe, Nicole Acosta, Arlie Gooden; (Back): Mekiah Bell, Samantha Greenhouse, Nora Williams, Maddie Joyner, Autumn Moore, Marlie Dismuke, Kylie Acosta, Alayna Wimpey, and Mandy Johnson.
Onion Run – Orinthal Striggles of Columbia, SC, took the top spot in the half marathon with a new course record.
Photo by Mike Branch
CrossFit Strong – Jeanie Allen competes during the CrossFit Games this year as she attempts to make it to the Semifinals.
Photo by Fusion Training continued from page
thing, get outside, get in a gym, do something to keep your body strong and healthy. It is so important. I want people to be healthy, and through my profession I see some of the worst with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and I just want them to be healthy, to be a better version of themselves.”
The Vidalia Heritage Academy Eagles Baseball team had a stellar season as they are back-to-back GAPPS Class A State Champions.
In just five years of varsity baseball, the Eagles of Vidalia Heritage Academy have been to the State Championship three times, and are now back-to-back State Champions. The Eagles swept Horizon Christian Academy in a best-ofthree series at home on Friday of last week to take home their second GAPPS Class A State Title in a row.
Head Coach Seth Stizman said after the games, “It was a fun day. They kept us on our toes in the first game as we were a bit slow to start off. We battled back in that first game to win in the bottom of the seventh, and then we carried that momentum into the second game and came out on top. We have great kids, our seniors have really helped lead us, and I couldn’t be happier for all of these guys coming away with this win.”
The Eagles won the first game of the best-ofthree series by the score of 5-4. They carried that momentum into the second game and rolled to a 13-0 win to earn the State Championship.
RTCA Baseball The Crusaders baseball team of Robert Toombs Christian Academy took part in the second round of the GIAA State Baseball Playoffs in early May as they hosted Grace Christian Academy for a best-of-three series. RTCA took the first two games to advance to the Final 4 of the State Playoffs.
But the RTCA baseball team fell in the Final 4, to the Jaguars of Thomas Jefferson Academy on the road in Louisville. They played the first game of the best-ofthree series on Friday and then came back on Saturday for Game 2 with TJ taking both contests.
MCHS Track It was a big week for the Eagles of Montgomery County High School as both the boys and girls track and field teams came away with the GHSA 1A Division 2 State Championship. The boys are now backto- back State Champions. Marley Bell was also the High Point Female Athlete for the meet with four individual State Championships.
Marley Bell led the way for the Lady Eagles with four titles. Her time of 45.44 in the 300m hurdles finals was also good enough for USA Second Team standard, according to MileSplit. She also won the 100m hurdles, the high jump, and the triple jump.
The MCHS boys brought home three State Titles on the way to the Team Championship. Ahmad Carter took 1st place in the long jump and Jamarion Henderson was 1st in the 800m run.
VHA Are Back-to-Back State Champions – (L to R, Front): Pearson ONeal, Maddyx Herrin, Carson Sitzman, Jake Adams, Gray McNeal; (Back): Trevor White, Luke Moxley, A.C. Chad Cofield, R.J. Wells, J.T. Cofield, Greyson Price, Hardy Franklin, Greer Posey, Dalton Price, Jackson Franklin, Ledger Curl, and Head Coach Seth Sitzman.
Photo by Mike Branch
MCHS Boys & Girls Are State Champions – The Eagles girls and boys track teams earned the GHSA A Division 2 State Titles. continued from page
The 4x400m relay team also came in 1st place.
Vidalia High School Indian track and field team came away with two State Champions and a 7th place team finish at the GHSA State Track and Field Championships, held at McEachern High School.
Brandon Beasley took the AA State Title in the Triple Jump, and Nahvie Berry ran his way to Gold in the 110m Hurdles.
McGregor To Naval Academy On Thursday, May 18, at Vidalia High School Seth McGregor made the decision to sign not only to go to college, but also to serve his country. McGregor signed to go to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
McGregor becomes just the fifth Indian to attend a United States Military academy, and only the second to attend the Naval Academy. Mc-Gregor is a well-rounded young man who maintains a 4.0 GPA, while also participating in track and cross country where he was a team captain on the track team. He is also a Region Champion in the 1,600m and 3,200m runs, and is part of the school record holding 4x800m relay team.
McGregor said, “I am truly excited. I am proud to get this opportunity. I have worked really hard for this, and I’m going to give it everything that I have. I have to thank Gray Meredith. He has been instrumental in this process. I also want to thank coaches Godbee and Humphrey, who have really pushed me, all of the teachers at the school who have pushed me.
“It feels really special to be one of the few that have come from here to attend a Service Academy. It is premium space, not many people get this chance, and I’m very proud to be one of them. I look forward to forming friendships at the Academy.”
During his 30-year tenure as the head coach of the Vidalia High School Baseball team, Coach Greg James won two State Championships and 489 games. On Saturday, June 10, in Dalton, Coach James received the highest award for a High School Coach in Georgia, as he was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) Hall of Fame. “I’m very honored and thrilled to be recognized and to receive the honor of being in the Coaches Hall of Fame.,” said James.
James, who was raised in Vidalia and went through the Vidalia City School system and then returned to coach and teach at Vidalia for 31 years, said that when he received the call that he had been voted into the Hall of Fame, the first thing he thought about was his mentors, Coach Chunk Reid, and Buck Cravey, who are both also in the Hall of Fame, “I guess the first thing I thought about was Coach Reed and Coach Cravey, you know, they’re both in and, what an honor to go into the Hall with those two men. Those two men I looked up to so much and learned so much from, as a student and from coaching with them.”
Ever humbled, Coach James deflected any credit for his accomplishments, saying that he was “blessed to have great players and coaches along the way.”
James closed by saying that the award was going to be shared by everyone, “I just want every, every player and assistant coach, to know that I’m representing them. Because they were there for everything, and I appreciate being able to represent Vidalia High School and the baseball program.”
Former Vidalia High School Indian and current Mercer University starting First Baseman, Ty Dalley, was named to the 2023 Collegiate Baseball Freshmen All-American team.
Dalley, who hit 18 home runs and had 56 RBI’s in his inaugural year, had previously been named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team, and Southern Conference All-Tournament Team.
Summer All Stars
It was a battle of local teams for the GRPA State Championship in the 10U Softball Tournament held at Partin Park in Lyons. It came down to Lyons and Vidalia in the Championship Game with Vidalia taking the title.
In the title game Vidalia controlled the game early, taking a quick 6-1 lead after two innings. After the fourth inning Vidalia held a 10-3 lead over Lyons, but the game was far from over. Over the next two innings Lyons came storming back as they closed the lead to 10-9 in the top of the sixth inning, but VRD managed to get the third out to end the rally and claim the State Championship.
Vidalia’s 8U softball team was in Colquitt County to take part in the GRPA State Tournament. It was a tough run for VRD as they came out of the losers’ bracket to take two games in the finals to win the Championship. VRD defeated Effingham County to win the title.
The Lyons and Vidalia 8U baseball teams were in Effingham County to take part in the GRPA State Tournament. Both teams had a good showing with Vidalia coming away as the State Runner up and Lyons taking third place.
The Vidalia Recrection Department swim team was in Moultrie in July to compete in the GRPA State Swim Meet. At the State Swim Meet VRD brought home two State Championships. Isabella Morgan took home the title in the 7-8-yearold, 25-yard backstroke. And the team of Easton Moore, Carson McLendon, Aubree Zorn, and Ginny Meredith won in the mixed 10U, 100-yard relay.
In mid July nine local racers from the Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby (SEGA) took the trip to Akron, OH, to compete in the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championships. More than 320 boys and girls from across the United States, and from Canada and Japan, participated in the 85th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby for the chance to win $36,000 in college scholarships.
It was another good showing from the SEGA squad as they came away with two more World Championships and several other high finishers. Three local racers also finished in the top 10 for the season long Rally Race circuit.
Aidyn Driggers took the top spot in the All Star Super Stock race as she edged out second place by a differential of just .022 seconds. Aidyn also finished in 4th place in the AUI Rally Super Stock Race.
Quinn Driggers was the winner in the AUI Rally Stock Race with a differential of .066 seconds. She also took 4th place in the Rally Stock Race.
Local Super Stock Champion, Kyleigh Williamson, had an outstanding debut placing 5th in the All American Local Super Stock Race.
McDonald Wins National Title RTCA’s Bradlan Mc-Donald competed in the Scholastic Clay Target Progam (SCTP) Nationals and shot his way to the top of the leaderboard to bring home the National Championship. He is the Senior Division HOA National Champion.
McDonald broke 199 of 200 targets in the championship to win the title in the 200 shot Skeet Competition. McDonald also broke 588 out of 600 targets over the tournament. He was the high scorer of over 3,000 shooters at the event from all over the United States. McDonald is part of the Gator Creek Young Guns shooting team.
The RTCA Lady Crusaders are State Champions. After a five game run through the GIAA State Playoffs, the Crusaders defeated Thomas Jefferson in Columbus to claim the title.
RTCA beat Crisp Academy, lost to Thomas Jefferson to fall into the losers’ bracket, but then bounced back with a win over David Emanuel Academy, and beat Thomas Jefferson twice in the Championship to take home the title.
In the Championship RTCA beat TJ in the first game 9-7 to force a second game. RTCA then won 12-1 to claim the State Championship.
After dropping several games early in the season, the Vidalia High School Lady Indians softball team went on a tear, rolling off 12 straight wins to close out the regular season. With that they picked up two over Toombs and finished off the season sweep of Appling County as they claimed the Region 3AA Championship. That moved them into the Super Regional.
After missing a trip to Columbus last year, the Vidalia Lady Indians punched their ticket to return to the Fountain City as they defeated Dodge County to claim their GHSA Super Regional.
The Lady Indians of Vidalia High School made their run in the GHSA State AA Tournament in Columbus. VHS fought their way to a fourth place finish in the state. VHS played four games in Columbus before falling. VHS was a part of a well represented Region 3AA that saw Toombs County take sixth place, VHS come in fourth, and Appling County as the State Champions.
The Toombs County High School Lady Bulldogs softball team competed in the Super Regionals at Cook County. It was a great week for TCHS as they clinched a spot in the Elite 8 that took place in Columbus.
In the Super Regionals, the Bulldogs took on Northeast of Macon in their first matchup and rolled to a big win. Up next was the #1 ranked Cook County Hornets with Toombs taking the win. Cook and Toombs battled one more time for the Championship of the Super Regional, and Toombs again came out on top of the Hornets to take their spot in the Elite 8.
The TCHS Lady Dawgs softball team wrapped up an impressive season, culminating in a great showing at the GHSA State Tournament
McGregor Earns Appointment With Naval Academy – (L to R, Front): Marca McGregor (mother), Seth McGregor, Scott McGregor (father); (Back): VHS CTAE Instructor Gray Meredith, Head Coach Mandy Godbee, Coach Lee Humphrey, and Coach Dermon Simmons.
Nation Champion – Bradlan McDonald won the National Championship at the SCTP Nationals.
All American – Ty Dalley at bat for the Mercer Bears during his freshman season.
RTCA Softball State Champions – (L to R, Front): Haylie Kight, Bree Wimberly,Arlie Gooden, Kinsley Kennedy, Leighton Williams; (Back): Julia Yacovella, Coach Brian Fitzgerald, Maddie Joyner, Coach Mark McDaniel, Railee Thomas, Meredith Durden, Coach Jordan Robbins, Emily Edwards, Coach Aries Haygood, and Coach Brian Durden.
Photo by RTCA
Inducted Into Hall of Fame – Coach Greg James with his plaque after being inducted into the GACA Hall of Fame. continued from page
in Columbus. This was the Lady Dawgs’ first trip ever to the Elite 8 State Tournament in Columbus, and they came away with sixth place in the State, the best finish in school history.
VHS Cross Country
Led by Andrew Hodges’ 1st place finish with a time of 17:15.41, the VHS Boys Cross Country Team captured the Region 3AA Championship at Toombs County, out-pacing 2nd place Tattnall County by 53 points. Meanwhile, the Lady Indians had a strong 2nd-place finish behind Georgia Meredith’s 2nd-place time of 20: 12.23.
The VHS cross country team was in Carrollton to take part in the GHSA State AA Championships. The boys as a team came away with a fourth place finish, with Andrew Hodges leading the pack. In the girls’ meet Georgia Meredith took third place in the race as she overcame an injury from earlier in the year to make her mark.
What a season it was for the TCHS Bulldogs football team! Toombs won their cross-county rivalry game against Vidalia to take their share of the Region 3AA Championship.
The Bulldogs finished the season as Co-Region Champions, along with Appling County and Pierce County. Vidalia took the #4 spot in the Region. Pierce took the #1 seed from the Region heading into the playoffs with Toombs #2, and Appling at #3. Toombs was 9-1 on the year and was the #4 ranked team in the state in AA. Appling was ranked #2, with Pierce at #3 in the state. This is the first Region Championship for the Bulldogs since 2000.
In the first round of the State Playoffs, the Bulldogs dominated the Patriots of Southwest Macon, 64-6.
In the second round TCHS hit the road to face the defending AA State Champion Thomson Bulldogs. This game featured #4 Toombs vs. #1 Thomson and was a thriller to the end. Toombs pulled out the win, 41-30, to move into the Elite 8 fo the first time since 2008, and also put them at 11 wins on the season for the first time since 2000.
Up next TCHS traveled four hours north to Rockmart High School in Polk County to face the Rockmart Yellow Jackets in the third round of the Class AA State Playoffs. It was a tough game for the Bulldogs as they fell behind early and could not catch up to the Jackets. The loss ended an 11-2 season for the Bulldogs. Rockmart took the win 45-21.
Toombs’ only two losses on the season came to Pierce County, the eventual State Champions and to the State Runner-up, Rockmart.
RTCA hosted the Region Championship game against Memorial Day. RTCA dominated the Matadors as they rolled to a 63-6 victory and a Region Championship. That moved RTCA into the GIAA State Playoffs.
RTCA had a bye in the first round and then hosted the Final 4, again against Memorial Day. RTCA rolled to another win over the Matadors, this time by the score of 49-8. That moved RTCA into the State Championship.
For the second straight year the Robert Toombs Christian Academy Crusaders football team played for the GIAA State Championship at 5-Star Stadium at Mercer University. But sadly again this season they fell short of that final win as they lost in the title game to the Wildcats of Flint River Academy. The Crusaders struggled to get the offense moving, and a series of penalties on two visits to the red zone in the first half really hurt the Crusaders momentum. Flint River won the game 14-7 over RTCA.
The Eagles of Heritage brought home their second State Football Championship this season.
The Eagles took care of business at home in the Final 4 of the GAPPS State Playoffs. Heritage had to take on Peachtree Academy, who had beat VHA during the regular season in the final 30 seconds of the game, 22-16. This time Heritage was in complete control as they rolled to a 44-6 victory.
That moved VHA into the State Championship Game against Trinity Christian of Griffin. VHA won the game over Trinity, and for the second time in the past three years are the State Champions.
Just seven years into a program that got its start in the 2017-2018, they are now a two-time State Champion. And this time they did it on their home turf as they hosted the Lions of Trinity Christian School of Griffin. It was a high scoring game with a total of 116 points scored, but the Eagles came out on top to earn the title. Heritage won the game 6842.
MCRD History The Montgomery County Recreation Department 10U football team made history on November 11, as it claimed its first victory at the district level. The team was honored by the Montgomery County Commissioners during a regular monthly meeting on Monday, November 13.
The young athletes played a fierce game against Hawkinsville-Pulaski in the first round of the District Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA) tournament, as they shut out their competitors and put up 26 points to gain the win.
The Vidalia Recreation Department 8U Soccer All-Stars are District and State Champions for the second straight season. The 8U All-Stars won the District Tournament by defeating Glennville in the semifinals and defeating Lyons in the Championship match by the score of 11-2. The team went on to compete in the State Tournament in Madison County.
The 8U All-Stars defeated Madison County 6-2 on Friday night. On Saturday, the All-Stars defeated City of Jefferson 7-1 in their first match. The team went up against Douglas/Coffee in their next match and came out victorious by the score of 5-2. The 8U All-Stars faced City of Calhoun in the State Championship match and won 3-2.
As you can see, it was a big year for local athletics as they claimed several State, Region, and Area Titles. With the dedication to sports seen throughout our communities, we look forward to the next year in sports and many more titles to come.
GAPPS State Champions – The Vidalia Heritage Academy Eagles are the GAPPS State Champions.
Photo by Pop-Pop’s Photos
TCHS Went 11-2, Into the Elite 8 – 2023 Toombs County Bulldogs Football Team
Photo by Mike Branch
A SPECIAL GROUP – (L to R, Front): Ashton Snead, Aiden Brown, Kaiden Jordan, Diego Ramirez, Ky’Lin Snead, Christian Brown, Kace Williamson, Tucker Howell, Kason Ward, Ethan Snead, Jackson Grier, and Ahmari Nobles; (Back): Commissioner Ginger Morris, Commissioner Leland Adams, Recreation Director Kendall Bennamon, Commissioner Chad Kenney, Commissioner Tim Williamson, Coach Nico Snead. Not pictured: Commissioner Clarence Thomas and Coach David Avilez.
Photo by Makaylee Randolph
Back-to-Back State Champions – (L to R, Front): Jaxson Snead, Grayson McDade, Brock Page, Chance Woodruff, Brody Boston, Freddy Fondren III, Blaze Boston, Jayden Epps, Gabe Strickland, Collier Davis, Jese Cervantes, Jeremiah Pittman, and Hawk Jernigan; (Back): Coaches Justin Russell, Brandon Boston, and Freddy Fondren.