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Wednesday 10/29/2014
Middle School Sports: Calhoun Middle boys golf wins third straight region title
Posted: October 29, 2014

The Calhoun Middle School boys golf team finished off their undefeated season in grand fashion last Thursday at the Bartow Gordon Middle School Athletic Association Region Tournament at Field’s Ferry Golf Course with a first-place finish.

Monday 10/27/2014
Braves hire hitting coach Seitzer from Toronto
Posted: October 27, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have hired Kevin Seitzer from the Toronto Blue Jays to replace Greg Walker as hitting coach.

Walker was assisted by Scott Fletcher this season as the Braves finished 79-83.

The 52-year-old Seitzer was the hitting coach for Arizona during part of the 2007 season, for Kansas City from 2009-12 and for the Blue Jays this past season. The former All-Star third baseman hit .295 in 12 major league seasons with the Royals, Milwaukee, Oakland and Cleveland.

Walker resigned after the Braves finished 14th among National League teams, ahead of only San Diego, in runs scored. Fletcher and third base coach Doug Dascenzo also are not returning.

The Braves announced Thursday that John Hart has agreed to a three-year deal as president of baseball operations.

Saturday 10/25/2014
College Football: Freeman helps Wolves to win; Lamb leads Mountaineers
Posted: October 25, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.

Friday 10/24/2014
Editor's Column: Sonoraville volleyball continues strong play; Football picks
Posted: October 24, 2014

Sonoraville volleyball has built strong, consistent foundation

Thursday 10/23/2014
Braves name Hart president of baseball operations
Posted: October 23, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have named John Hart as president of baseball operations.

Hart was hired as interim general manager on Sept. 22 and will also continue to serve in that role. It's unclear if Hart's new title means the team no longer will seek a full-time replacement for Frank Wren, the former general manager. Wren was fired last month following a disappointing finish this season.

Team president John Schuerholz announced Thursday the 66-year-old Hart has agreed to a three-year contract that will continue through the team's first season at its new stadium in Cobb County.

Hart, the former general manager for the Rangers and Indians, joined the Braves last year as a senior adviser.

Wednesday 10/22/2014
LakePoint Sporting Community announces partnership with Atlantic Sun Conference
Updated: October 23, 2014 - 2:09 am

The LakePoint Sporting Community in Bartow County will partner with the Macon-based Atlantic Sun Conference to have a shot at hosting conference championships in lacrosse, baseball and sand volleyball.

Middle School Softball: Calhoun wins eighth straight BGMSAA region championship
Posted: October 22, 2014

The Calhoun Middle softball team won their eighth straight Bartow Gordon Middle School Athletic Association region title recently, defeating Woodland, 10-6, in the tournament finals.

Monday 10/20/2014
Manning breaks Favre's mark with 509th TD pass
Posted: October 20, 2014

DENVER (AP) — Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre's NFL record for touchdown passes with No. 509. He didn't stop there, either.

Manning threw four TD passes in Denver's 42-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, two to Demaryius Thomas, one to Wes Welker and another to Emmanuel Sanders.

That gives him 510.

The record-breaker was an 8-yarder to Thomas with 3:09 left in the first half.

Manning's receivers played keep-away with the milestone memento before Manning got the ball and congratulations from his teammates.

Favre sent along his congratulations via a scoreboard video he taped from his home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Manning went into the game with 506 and needed just four drives to break Favre's record.

He threw a 3-yard TD pass to Sanders on Denver's first drive and tied the record when Welker took a pass over the middle for 39 yards. Sanders' score was his first in Denver, and he became the 47th player to catch a TD pass from Manning.

Manning added a 40-yard TD throw to Thomas in the second half.

Manning reached the milestone in his 246th regular-season game. Favre needed 302.

As Manning approached the milestone, Favre told The Associated Press he was thrilled "it's Peyton that's doing it. I think a lot of Peyton. I know him well. I know his family well. His dad was one of my idols."

Favre, who grew up in the Gulf Coast watching Archie Manning and the New Orleans Saints, sent along his well wishes last week to Manning, the only player in NFL history with more MVP awards (five) than his three.

The veneration is mutual.

Saying he appreciated Favre's words of encouragement, Manning suggested that of all the men who have ever taken a snap in the 94-year history of the NFL, "nobody's defined longevity and career toughness more than him."

Favre played in a QB-record 297 straight regular-season games during his 20-year NFL career, plus another two dozen in the playoffs.

"He always answered the bell every single Sunday and was always producing," Manning said. "And growing up in the South, both of us, Brett has always said he was a big fan of my dad's, so there's been kind of a mutual respect there from my family to him, as well. And I always enjoyed watching him play. Nobody played the game quite like he did. He's truly a one-of-a-kind quarterback."

Favre said that were it not for Manning's neck problems at the tail end of his tenure in Indianapolis, Manning might very well have gone on to eclipse his most hallowed mark, the consecutive games streak, and certainly would have obliterated his career touchdowns mark by now.

"I know Peyton missed a year. Aside from that year, he's played just like I did. I mean, he's been out there over and over and over again," Favre said.

Manning's 208-game starting streak ended when he sat out the 2011 season following neck fusion surgery.

With the top pick and Andrew Luck there for the taking, the Colts and Manning had a tearful goodbye. And Manning landed in Denver, where he rejuvenated both his stellar career and a foundering franchise.

In Indy, Manning averaged 1.92 touchdown throws per game. Since joining the Broncos in 2012, he's averaged almost three TD throws a game.

Favre said he enjoys pulling up a chair at his home and watching Manning go to work.

"He's a throwback, a pocket passer, in a mobile quarterback league," Favre said. "Peyton's one of the last guys to play the way he does. And at 38, he's still the best at what he does."

___

Saturday 10/18/2014
College Football: Nance accounts for six TDs in Hampden-Sydney win
Posted: October 18, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.

Friday 10/17/2014
Editor's Column: Falcons' lackluster talent on Dimitroff; Football picks
Posted: October 17, 2014

Dimitroff to blame for bare cupboard

Thursday 10/16/2014
Falcons' Jones, White upset with themselves
Posted: October 16, 2014

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Nobody expected Julio Jones and Roddy White to be a weak link in the Atlanta Falcons' offense.

The former Pro Bowl receivers are having unforeseen problems holding onto the football and running crisp routes.

When the Falcons (2-4) visit Baltimore (4-2) this weekend, they will bring a running game that's struggling for the second straight year and a once-dependable passing attack that can't make basic plays.

Jones and White, both seemingly healthy after an injury-filled 2013, blame themselves for multiple drops.

They each had two in last week's home loss to Chicago. Levine Toilolo, a second-year tight end who replaced legendary Tony Gonzalez, had three.

The offense is also without No. 3 receiver Harry Douglas, who's likely to miss his fourth straight game with an injured foot.

Coach does not expect Gurley to play this week
Posted: October 16, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia coach Mark Richt expects star tailback Todd Gurley's indefinite suspension to stay in place this week.

No. 10 Georgia plays a Southeastern Conference game at Arkansas on Saturday. The school is investigating allegations of rules violations by Gurley, whose suspension began for last week's 34-0 win at Missouri.

Richt said on his Twitter account early Thursday that he will "try to clear up Todd's status" and "will let you know if his status changes." He added that he's "not anticipating it to change this week."

The school has not released details of the investigation. Richt has said it involves autographs and memorabilia.

Gurley is considered a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and continues to practice with the team.

Wednesday 10/15/2014
Bamacross comes to Gadsden Sports Complex Saturday Oct. 18
Posted: October 15, 2014

GADSDEN, Alabama -- As many as 150 cyclists are expected in Gadsden this weekend for Bamacross, a series of Cyclocross races, at Gadsden Sports Complex of West Meighan Boulevard.

Tuesday 10/14/2014
Georgia's Gurley still suspended, practices
Posted: October 14, 2014

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Todd Gurley was back at practice for No. 10 Georgia on Monday even though he hasn't been cleared to play.

Saturday 10/11/2014
College Football: Mercer freshman Curtis again earns honors for returns
Posted: October 11, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.

Friday 10/10/2014
Editor's Column: Hayes returns just in time for Lady Phoenix; Weekend picks
Posted: October 10, 2014

Lady Phoenix get ace back

Thursday 10/09/2014
NFL teams are cranking up the jams
Posted: October 09, 2014

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — To get ready to face Richard Sherman and Seattle's ear-piercing 12th man, the Denver Broncos turned to Lil Wayne, Jerimih, Ozzy Osbourne and Pharrell Williams.

Like many other teams, the Broncos have dialed down the old jet engine noise that roared through their concert-sized speakers at practice. Now, like so many teenagers, they crank up the jams to body-shivering, brain-rattling volume.

Led Zeppelin. Nicki Minaj. Ariana Grande.

Teams have long used piped-in sound to make it harder for players on both sides of the ball to communicate. Adding songs — some that players may want to dance to, others that make them cringe — makes them have to concentrate even harder.

Tight end Julius Thomas casually mentioned to Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase this spring that it's harder to concentrate to music. Denver ditched the crowd noise and joined the growing list of teams piping in melodies to mess with their players' minds.

"The white noise is easier to block out," Thomas said. "I think when they play music, it makes it a bit tougher. Just noise isn't as distracting as maybe a song that you recognize. Say you're hearing a song that in your off time you enjoy and you sing along to, when you're able to block that out, then you're able to do your best to block out crowd noise.

"I think it's much better than just AAAHHH! After a while you just stop hearing it," Thomas added.

NFL coaches are sure listening.

Sixteen NFL teams now pump music into their practices and another eight use a mixture of songs and the old crowd noise. Seven still use just the white noise and one team — the Rams — doesn't use any form of noise.

In St. Louis, sometimes players not in formation are told to stand behind the quarterback and shout and jump around.

"I think if you make a big deal of a crowd noise then it becomes a big deal during the game," Rams coach Jeff Fisher explained. "So in camp, we had a few drills in the back of the end zone and that's all we do."

The rest of the league believes practicing in the cacophony is just as important as running plays.

"There's some songs out there that you might want to bob your head to, but you have to stay focused and know what we're doing out there," Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson said.

The Jets use both music and crowd noise, changing the mix depending on the upcoming trip. If it's a particularly tough place to visit like, say, Green Bay, they'll go with more jet engine noise.

For home games, they'll even pump in some "J-E-T-S" chants for their players' benefit.

Broncos coach John Fox can't even name today's top artists but he's a big fan of the blaring music.

"It's not as big a headache as the jet engine noise," Fox said. "I mean, at least it's something that has some semblance, and there's words. I mean, noise is noise. Music is music."

New Orleans center Tim Lelito likes the mixture of music and noise the Saints use.

Players are "more efficient in practice when they play music, but they don't play (just) music when they're on the road," Lelito said. "So you get into the rhythm of the music while you're practicing but there's no rhythm to a fan screaming their lungs out.

Broncos linebacker Nate Irving said if you're going to get your head rattled with decibels, it might as well have a melody. "The noise is irritating already," he said. "But I think the music actually helps you have to focus a little bit more because you know songs. It's a continuous focus."

As anyone who's been to a club or a concert can attest, the energy can rise with the racket, and that also happens when the jams get cranked up at practice, Cowboys center Travis Frederick suggested.

"Some guys like having something different. And when the music's going, they have something else to focus on, something different. Sometimes they use that to try and distract you. Sometimes it's just to keep the energy up," he said.

Thomas said the Broncos use songs from every genre and mix it up so there's no chance of tuning them out.

The only song selection that made him cringe was when "Rocky Top" was cranked up during warmups once and Peyton Manning did a dorky dance to the unofficial anthem of his Tennessee Volunteers while receiver Wes Welker added a hokey hoedown. "I love it," said Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson, a former Vol. "They need to play it every day."

"That's a terrible song," countered Thomas, evidence that one man's tune is another man's torture.

___

AP Sports Writers Schuyler Dixon, Brett Martel and Dennis Waszak contributed.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Saturday 10/04/2014
College Football: Lamb makes second career start for Appalachian State
Posted: October 04, 2014

Several former local football stars have moved on to the next level where they are making an impact in college football. Close to 20 former players from Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville appear on college rosters, and many of them saw action this past weekend their teams’ games.

Friday 10/03/2014
Editor's Column: College, Falcons pick for huge football weekend schedule
Posted: October 03, 2014

Predictions for this weekend

Thursday 10/02/2014
Gonzalez: No decisions yet on Braves' staff
Posted: October 02, 2014

ZEBULON, N.C. (AP) — Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez says no decisions have been made about his coaching staff's future.

Interim general manager John Hart said Thursday he and Gonzalez met Wednesday and "looked at all facets of the club, and we talked a lot about staff."

Hart says he doesn't know that any moves are "imminent." Gonzalez says he believes "in the next couple days, we'll come up with something."

The Braves are looking for a hitting coach after Greg Walker resigned earlier this week. They lost 18 of their final 25 games and finished under .500 for just the third time in 24 years.

The Carolina Mudcats, located in Zebulon, will become Atlanta's advanced Class A affiliate next season and team officials traveled to the town outside Raleigh to discuss the move.