White Co. football Players of the Week recognized

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White Co. Players of the Week

The six players named TeamFYNSports Player of the Week during White Co.’s 2019 football season were recognized Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the high school. Each player received a commemorative shirt and a gift certificate for a free meal.

The Players of the Week were:

Week 1: Zion McMullen. The sophomore running back scored three touchdowns in a win against Lumpkin Co. on Aug. 30 at home.

White Co. Players of the Week

Junior J. Ben Haynes was named the TeamFYNSports Player of the Week three times during the past football season.

Week 2: J. Ben Haynes. The junior quarterback accounted for two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns in a loss at Habersham Central on Sept. 6.

Week 3: Jesse Moose. The junior defensive player had an 80-yard fumble returned in a win against Pickens on Sept. 13 at home.

Week 4: J. Ben Haynes. The quarterback threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to go along with three rushing touchdowns in a win at North Hall on Sept. 20.

Week 5: Jesse Moose. The junior had multiple sacks and tackles for loss to go along with a fumble recovery in a loss at Marist on Sept. 27.

Week 6: Will Sampson. The senior wide receiver had multiple catches and a receiving touchdown in a loss at Flowery Branch on Oct. 4.

Week 7: J. Ben Haynes. The quarterback accounted for five touchdowns (three rushing and two passing) in a win against West Hall at home Oct. 18.

Week 8: Cooper Turner. The junior caught two touchdown passes in a loss to Denmark at home Oct. 25.

Week 9: Riley Stancil. The junior running back scored a rushing touchdown and caught a touchdown in a win at Chestatee on Nov. 11.

Week 10: Cooper Turner. The junior had more than 100 yards receiving in a loss to Blessed Trinity at home Nov. 8.


Editor’s note: TeamFYNSports would like to thank our sponsors for the 2019 White Co. football season. Without their support, coverage of the Warriors would not have been possible. A big thank you to Circuit World, Graphic Expressions, Day’s Chevrolet, Flash Media Group, Ingles, Pepsi, and Chick-fil-A.

White County Warriors Lose to Denmark in a Nail Biter

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In what was White County’s most important game of the year, the Warriors came up just short against the Denmark Danes, losing 28-21.

Denmark took control of this game almost immediately. On their first offensive play, they scored on a 74 yard rushing TD, immediately gaining a 7-0 lead. For the Warriors, this complete killed their spirits early on. They were unable to gain any momentum on offense, going 3 and out on two straight drives. Meanwhile, Denmark would once again score later on in the 1st quarter to take a 14-0 lead. However, it was at this point that the Warriors began to play well on both sides of the ball.


Jesse Moose tackling Denmark’s QB for a sack

White County would score near the end of the 1st quarter with a 26 yard TD pass from J. Ben Haynes to Jesse Thomas. On defense, they were able to dominate in the second quarter. A big factor in this was the return of Jesse Moose, who had missed last weeks game with injury. He made a key sack early in the 2nd quarter which brought the home stadium on their feet. Multiple players on defense were making their mark, including Zion McMullen who had his best defensive game yet with multiple important tackles throughout the night. Both offenses were at a halt in the second quarter, and the first half would end with Denmark leading 14-7.

Both offenses began to play better in the second half.

After White County went 3 and out to begin the second half, Denmark once again found their way into the end zone, as their RB Zach Ogbogu scored on a 58 yard TD. The Warriors had a hard time completing tackles in the second half, as the Danes were able to consistently break tackles. Although, the Warriors were able to rebound quickly on offense. J. Ben Haynes tossed the ball to Riley Stancil, but to the surprise of the Danes, Stancil would fire a pass downfield to Cooper Turner to easily catch for a trick play touchdown. This brought the Warriors back within 7 (14-21), and the 3rd quarter would end with the Danes driving down field.


Riley Stancil (#10) celebrating after his passing TD.

Early in the 4th quarter, Danes RB Jordan Brunson would score to extend the Danes lead to 28-14. However, the Warriors would fire back quickly. J. Ben Haynes would lead the Warriors downfield, firing off passes left and right, carving up the Denmark defense. He would connect with Cooper Turner for a 14 yard touchdown to bring the margin back to 7. Then, the Warrior defense stepped up. Big tackles from Dylan Archer and Zion McMullen fired up the Warrior crowd. Denmark would go for it on 4th down, and would fail. This gave the Warriors possession at the White County 29 yard line, with less than half a quarter remaining.

The close game would come down to one play late.

The Warriors were able to drive downfield, as Haynes continued to make plays both in the air and on his feet. Time continued to wind down, and the pressure on the Warriors to score was rising. Finally, it all came down to one play late. 4th and 3, and the ball was at the Denmark 28 with 2:05 remaining in game. Haynes fired a pass to Jesse Thomas, but it was low and went incomplete. Denmark regained possession, and ran down the clock to win the game 28-21.

For the Warriors, playoff hopes are now diminishing.

The Warriors are now in 5th place in the region, at a 1-3 record. Technically, they still have a chance, but it is small. They would have to win both of their remaining games against the 1-7 Chestatee War Eagles and the 7-1 defending state champion Blessed Trinity Titans. Also, either Flowery Branch or Denmark would have to lose both of their next games (they play each other in the final week of the season.) It’s a tough road for the Warriors, and they will have to play hard to end the season.

For more updates on the White County Warriors, follow Team FYN Sports on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

White County Easily Defeats West Hall to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

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After two straight losses and a bye week, the Warriors were completely rejuvenated tonight, defeating the West Hall Spartans 42-0.

It was homecoming night at White County High School, and the Warriors came out in full force. From the opening kickoff, the Warriors were in complete control. On their third offensive play, Cooper Turner would score on a jet sweep in the red zone to give the Warriors an early 7-0 lead. Late in the 1st quarter, the Warriors would once again score as J. Ben Haynes would score his first of 3 rushing touchdowns, giving the Warriors a 14-0 lead to end the 1st quarter.

J. Ben Haynes and Devin Sullens celebrating a touchdown

West Hall was no competition for the Warriors tonight. However, they had their moments throughout the game where it looked as if they could compete. Early on, they were driving down field, and they looked as if they were about to score. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they would turn the ball over on downs, killing any momentum that they had.

The Warriors would respond in the 2nd quarter with no forgiveness.

J. Ben Haynes was responsible for every touchdown in the second quarter. He had two more rushing touchdowns, along with a 40 yard passing touchdown to Cooper Turner. Meanwhile, the White County Warriors defense was incredible. Although they were without Jesse Moose, the Warriors had no problem stopping the Spartans. Surprisingly, it was a freshman taking control of the game on defense. Defensive back Darius Cannon had his best game to date, with two interceptions in the second quarter, along with making multiple key tackles throughout the game. At the end of the 1st half, the Warriors went into the locker room with a 35-0 lead.

In the second half, the Warrior defense certainly didn’t lose control.

The Warrior defense continued to dominate in the second half. They had three turnovers, including two more interceptions from Silas Mulligan and Will Sampson. The defense continued to be dominant, even with more second unit players subbing in as the clock winded down.

Darius Cannon after his second interception.

Meanwhile, the Warrior offense would score again early on the 4th quarter. J. Ben Haynes would find the Homecoming King Jesse Thomas wide open for a 49 yard receiving touchdown, extending the lead to 42-0. In the 4th Quarter, the Warriors would play with a continuous clock, and it would not take long for them to secure the win.

Next week, The Warriors play their biggest game of the season.

The Warriors will play next week against the Denmark Danes at home. The Danes are a second year high school, and they have only two losses on the season, both of them against the two best teams in the region, Blessed Trinity and Marist. If the Warriors have any hope of making playoffs, then they must win this game. Otherwise, their chances will drastically decrease.

For more coverage of the White County Warriors, follow Team FYN Sports on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Team FYN Sports Player of the Week – Will Sampson #27

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The wide receiver had an impressive outing against Flowery Branch, earning him Player of the Week honors.

Tonight, Will Sampson had a return to form, finding a chance to showcase his talents throughout the night.

It’s been an up and down year for Sampson so far. He’s dealt with a couple on injuries so far, which has prevented him from getting the same playing time that he had last season. But tonight, he was a key player. He scored the first TD of the game for White County, finding himself wide open in the endzone on a 5 yard receiving TD. He was also making key receptions throughout the night, giving the Warriors chances to continue drives.

Congratulations to Will Sampson for being named Team FYN Sports Player of the Week.

White County Heads into Bye Week 3-3 after Loss to Flowery Branch

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For the second consecutive week, the White County Warriors suffer a road defeat to a regional opponent. This time out, the Flowery Branch Falcons defeated them 45-20.

The game was under the control of Flowery Branch from the very start.

Their rushing attack was unstoppable throughout the entirety of the game, starting out with their team rushing down the field and scoring on their first drive, with RB Chase Dial-Watson scoring his first of 2 rushing touchdowns. On their next offensive drive, it would be RB Jaizen Ellingham scoring his first of 3 TDs, which gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead to end the first quarter. 

An unwelcome sight for the White County Warriors

Meanwhile, the Warriors struggled. Their defense was almost nonexistent in the first half, especially against the run. On offense, the Warriors couldn’t buy a first down in the first quarter. They finally got to move the chains during the 2nd quarter after faking a punt and passing for a first down. However, it could be argued that the biggest adversary for the Warriors tonight was not wearing pads and dressed in black. Instead, their biggest adversary was a yellow piece of dirty laundry that constantly found its way onto the field. Yes, the penalty flag was constantly setting the Warriors back and killing their momentum all throughout the night. In the first half, the Warriors were called for 4 false start calls, along with being called for holding multiple times.

Eventually, the Warriors gained some steam.

Will Sampson catching the TD pass.

After the Falcons scored another TD and converted a 32 yard field goal, the Warriors finally had a good drive going. J. Ben Haynes led his team downfield with key passes to Will Sampson and Cooper Turner. He would eventually find Will Sampson wide open in the endzone, and the Warriors would go into the half losing 6-24.

The Warriors went into the 2nd half without a key defensive player. Two time player of the week Jesse Moose would not return to the game in the 2nd half as he left with an undisclosed injury. But they started the 2nd half on offense, and Haynes was once again driving the ball downfield, including a 42 yard pass to Jesse Thomas. Eventually, the ball was at the 5 yard line, and on the next play, Haynes would throw an interception, adding on to his unimpressive tally of INTs throughout the season.

J. Ben Haynes moment after his second turnover.

Things would go from bad to worse for J. Ben. After White County forced a 3 and out on defense, he would fumble the ball on the next offensive drive, bringing the morale of the Warriors to an all time low. 

Meanwhile, the Falcons continued to play well on offense. Jaizen Ellingham would score his 2nd TD after the fumble, giving the Falcons a 31-6 lead to end the 3rd quarter.

The Warriors would not lose without a fight.

The Falcons would bring on their 2nd unit on defense, which in return, gave the Warriors a chance to fire on offense. Haynes began to play like the man we had seen earlier in the season. Haynes would score on an 18 yard rushing TD after leading his offense on an impressive and uplifting the drive. Flowery Branch and Ellingham would once again score on the next drive to bring the lead back to 25. 

The next offensive drive for the Warriors was a flashback to the Lumpkin County vs. White County matchup. Zion McMullen absolutely flew past the Falcon defenders, rushing for over 70 yards on the drive, ending the drive on a 3 yard TD. But this effort was too late in the game, as Flowery Branch would drive down the field and kill the clock, before scoring another TD with less than a minute remaining, sealing their victory with the final score of 45-20.

Up next, a much needed break for the Warriors.

For the Warriors, they are now 0-2 in region play this season. On the plus side, they have an off week next week, and now have time to get healthy and recuperate. When they return in two weeks, it will be their homecoming game against West Hall. It is a must win game for the Warriors if they want any chance of making the playoffs. For more updates on the White County Warriors, follow Team FYN Sports on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week – Jesse Moose #24

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For the second time this season, Team FYN Sports is excited to announce Jesse Moose as the player of the week.

Jesse was an unstoppable force on defense tonight, and was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable game. He had multiple sacks and tackles for loss throughout the game. Even when the Warriors were down as high as 28, he kept on making big plays. He also recovered another fumble, reminiscent of his heroics from earlier in the season.

Congrats to Jesse for once again being named Team FYN Sports’ Player of the Week for the White County Warriors.


Warriors suffer a tough loss to the Marist War Eagles.

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In what was the expected result coming into the game, the Marist War Eagles were able to defeat the White County Warriors 35-19. 

The beginning portion of the game was controlled by Marist.

The War Eagles were on the hunt early. After a White County 3 & out to start the game, Marist QB Connor Cigelske scored a 58 yard rushing touchdown on one of their first offensive plays to almost immediately gain the lead. They would soon score again after another rushing touchdown midway through the first quarter, making the score 15-0 after a two point conversion. 

The Warriors would have multiple ups and downs throughout the game.

Seth Stonecypher before his TD.

Meanwhile, it was a rough start for the Warriors. It was in the 2nd quarter after four offensive drives to finally gain a first down after a fourth down conversion. Later on during that same drive, J. Ben Haynes would find Cooper Turner for a deep ball, and Turner would be stopped at the 1 yard line. Junior running back Seth Stonecypher would score his first career rushing touchdown on the next play, making the score 15-7.

The Warriors had another golden opportunity to score shortly afterwards. Marist would fumble the ensuing kick return and Jesse Moose would recover the fumble at the Marist 3 yard line. However, Marist would make an impressive goal line stand, stopping the Warriors from scoring on all four downs. On the War Eagles first play back on offense. Fullback Lincoln Parker scored a 98 yard rushing touchdown, killing all of White County’s momentum in a matter of seconds. To further deplete themselves, J, Ben Haynes would throw his first of two interceptions in the game. Marist would score another touchdown and a field goal in the remaining minutes of the half to go into halftime with a 32-7 lead.

Jaquez Williams after his fumble recovery.

To begin the 2nd half, Marist kicked another field goal to give themselves a 35-7 lead. After this, it was clear that they took their foot off the throttle, as they would put in their second unit on both offense and defense. Early on in this stint, the Warriors had trouble. After Jaquez Willimas recovered a fumble on defense, Haynes would throw his second interception to immediately give the ball back. 

The Warriors slowly began to crawl towards a comeback as the game progressed.

J. Ben Haynes after his 2nd interception

Things started to lookup for the Warriors afterwards. White County kept their first string units in for the game, and they began to look good. They forced Marist to punt on their next two defensive drives. Meanwhile, the Warrior offense began to gain momentum. Haynes was firing the ball downfield as Jesse Thomas and Cooper Turner were his leading targets. However, it was Reece Dockery that would catch a 17 yard receiving touchdown to bring the deficit to 22. On the Warriors next offensive drive, Haynes would rush in for an 8 yard TD, making the score 19-35 with less than six minutes remaining. . Both of these touchdowns were on fourth down. All game long, the Warriors were converting fourth downs, as they only punted the ball 4 times, all in the first half.

Marist was feeling the pressure of a Warrior comeback, and put in their first string offense maintain the lead and to seal the victory. They would run the clock out, and end the game with a 35-19 victory. 

What’s next for the Warriors?

Ultimately, the Warriors were always going to have a tough time tonight. Marist came into the game undefeated and are widely regarded as one of the top teams in the entire state of Georgia, and they proved why they are ranked so high tonight. Meanwhile, the Warriors have another tough road game next week as they travel to Flowery Branch to take on the Falcons before a bye week. To keep up with more White County Warrior news, follow Team FYN Sports on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week – Jesse Moose #24

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Team FYN Sports is excited to announce the second Player of the Week for the White County Warriors – Jesse Moose. Jesse had arguably the most memorable play in recent history for the Warriors. After the Warriors caused a fumble against Pickens, the junior scooped the ball and returned the ball 80+ yards to seal the win for White County. Of all the plays in the game, this one will stick out for years to come.

Congratulations to Jesse for being selected as the Team FYN Sports Player of the Week for the White County Warriors!

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-First United Church of the Southeastern Conference

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On Wednesday I stopped by one of the local rec departments to iron out some details for an upcoming event that Team FYN Sports plans to cover. As often happens in small towns where time seems to move a little slower, you can’t go into a place where people are as close as a rec department and just have your meeting and leave. You end up talking about something like, in this case sports, that leads into one topic after another. Add a couple more people into the mix that you haven’t seen in a while and soon enough you glance down at your watch and you’ve been there for two hours with no idea where the time went. Southerners especially know what I mean.

Anyway, naturally with this being SEC country we had to talk about college football. And even more so when one of the people in the conversation was a Tennessee fan (you know who you are!)

Eventually our conversation turned to memories of our first college football games. The memories spanned years and were entwined with heartfelt stories of family, friends and Sanford stadium. There were tales of witnessing games where records were set and broken, of firsts and lasts. A couple of us could even recall games with rivalries so bitter that a rowdy fan from the opposing team was either physically injured or injured with glares.

Ah the glorious Sanford Stadium! And during a Georgia/Tennessee game, too!

For each of us that was sitting in the room we had a look of wonder in our eye. We were recalling memories that were so precious to us that we wouldn’t trade them for all the University of Florida defeats in the world. Especially the ones were loved ones were involved. Those are always the most precious.

Hearing those glorious tales took me back to my own first University of Georgia game. I couldn’t tell you who they were playing, but I remember watching the team run out with the big Georgia flag and feeling a since of pride I hadn’t felt before. I was with my mom and my grandparents. I had never seen my Nana get so rowdy. And my Papa Skip was especially proud to have the three most important women in his life with him and dressed in red and black. And a new love was born for me.

As a side note, my brother would later commit the ultimate sin in that side of the family and declare himself to be a Florida fan. I’m sure it broke Papa’s heart at the time, but he soon got over it when he had someone to accompany him to the Georgia/Florida game besides my Nana. Such is the seriousness of rivalries in the Southeastern Conference.

Here is a gem of a picture featuring my brother Devin, wearing a Florida shirt, and I with Governor Brian Kemp, who is a UGA alum. Even the governor gave Devin a hard time for being a Florida fan!

I know I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I firmly believe that nothing besides religion brings people together like a football game. Which is probably why it’s so common to refer to football as a religion in the South. You may hate someone during the week, but come Saturday morning if you’re both wearing red and black you’re going to at least be cordial.

I know that it may be more intense in other college towns, but in Athens people will arrive a full day early to claim their tailgating spots. Red and black tents flood the streets of downtown on every plot of grass that grows. Women (including myself) will go to get their nails and hair done ahead of time, and dress to the nine in ninety degree weather. There is no telling how many hundreds of thousands of dollars get spent on food and drinks for one weekend of tailgating alone.

I was recently watching an old episode of the show Designing Women. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, it’s about four women running an interior design firm in Atlanta. In one scene Julia Sugarbaker, who is the sharp-tongued primary owner of the firm, is leaving for a football game with one of her co-workers. Sadly, she was going to a Georgia Tech game, but we’ll overlook that part for now.

As the two characters are heading out the door, Julia says that she and her husband used to plan their weekends around the Georgia Tech games. She quips, “In the East, football is a cultural exercise. In the Midwest, it’s cannibalism. In the West, it’s a tourist attraction. But in the South, it’s a religion!”

Warriors Struggle in Scrimmage Loss to Stephens County

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Football is back in White County! Unfortunately, the season did not start off on the right track.

The Warriors were unsuccessful in their scrimmage against the Stephens County Indians, losing 25-48. Early on, things looked bright for the Warriors, as senior DB Nix Burkett had an interception on their first defensive possession. Immediately afterwards, QB J. Ben Haynes found Jesse Thomas in the end zone for an early touchdown. However, this would be the only time all game that the Warriors held the lead.

The Indians scored two touchdowns to take a 13-6 lead to end the first quarter. The Warriors suffered a major blow in the first quarter, one which will affect their offense for the regular season. Junior wide receiver Jimmy King left the game midway through the first quarter with what turned out to be a dislocated left shoulder. Just like last season, King will likely miss the majority, if not all, of the 2019 football season.

As the first half progressed, things only got worse for the Warriors. They were unable gain any traction on offense until the end of the quarter, as Thomas caught another TD pass from Haynes. Meanwhile, Stephens County kept the foot on the throttle, scoring two more touchdowns to end the first half with a 27-13 lead.

Entering the third quarter, the Warriors were hoping to put six points on the board to give themselves momentum. On one hand, they put six points on the board. On the other hand, it was for Stephens County, as J. Ben Haynes threw a pick-6 to extend the lead for the Indians.

As the game progressed, both teams put in their second and third string players into the game. The younger Warriors played very well, as sophomore Silas Mulligan and junior Riley Stancil both scored touchdowns in the 4th quarter. However, their efforts were not enough to give the Warriors the preseason win.

Third year coach Tim Cokely will have a tough task leading this team to the playoffs. They have two state championship threats in their division in Marist and Blessed Trinity. Also, they have to deal with the always great Flowery Branch, and the up and coming Denmark. As for now, they will have two weeks to address their issues from today’s scrimmage before their season opener on August 30th vs. Lumpkin County.


Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-Back in season

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If any of you are under the age of 18 and reading this article, then I imagine this week was probably a tough week for you. I say that because the majority of schools in the state of Georgia started back this week.

I can remember being in high school and having a knot of dread in my stomach the night before the first day of school. I’ve never been a morning person, so having to get up early was my first problem. Add in all of the homework and having to spend my days in one building…it was easy to tell I wasn’t a school person.

The good news is there was always one bright spot in all of this gloom, and that was football season. I know I’ve said it before on our sports show, Instant Replay, and probably in this column as well, but in high school I lived for football season. I never missed a game, home or away. Granted I was in the colorguard with the marching band, so most of the time I HAD to go. But I can still remember a handful of games where we weren’t required to go, and some of my friends got together and still went anyway.

Those were good times, but I dare to say that these are even better. I’m thankful to have a job that pays me to follow a sport that I love. But on the other hand, it’s a job that’s helping me to get an inside look on other sports that are sometimes forgotten, especially in the South where football is a religion.

I covered my first softball game on Tuesday. I have watched and worked softball games in the past, so in my defense I knew what to expect, but it was my first time reporting on a game. It was the Lumpkin County Lady Indians against the Pickens Dragonettes in the Lady Indians home opener. One thing I loved about this game was that it wasn’t just smooth sailing, if you will. Just to give a brief recap, the Nettes put three runs on the board first. By the fifth inning, it was looking as though the Lady Indians might lose their home opener. But as with all great teams, the Lady Indians weren’t going down without a fight and ended up coming back to win 4-3. Ironically, I went to the next game where they played each other tonight and the Nettes ended up winning 9-4.

Softball is just one of several high school sports that is played in the fall. There’s also volleyball and cross country. While I haven’t gotten the chance to go cover either of these events yet, I know that I probably will be in the near future.

I’ve never personally played volleyball competitively, but I know several people who have. And from what I do know about it, there’s more technique to setting and hitting the ball than there seems. Whenever I play for fun at the beach I just feel lucky to get it over the net. But there are certain ways to prepare before you serve the ball and where to place your feet when you’re in an official match. I don’t see how players keep up with everything, other than that they practice. I know it’s got to feel great whenever you take all of your frustration out by smacking the ball.

Now I enjoy running, but I could never run cross country. I’ve seen the joke that says “my sport is your sport’s punishment” and to be honest, that’s how I feel because I don’t know how they do it. I can remember talking to cross country runners in high school, and them telling me that they would get up at 6 a.m. to run. And for some of them, the distances they would run blew my mind. But the other incredible thing to me about cross country is how much of  a mental sport it is. Not only do runners have to be trained physically to maintain a certain time, they also have to be trained physically to encourage themselves to keep going.

The point I’m trying to make is that even though I’m still learning about other sports, I respect them because I do know how hard they work. I see the social media posts, I know people that play, and I see the teams out practicing well before their season starts. And even though the summer is ending and we’re back to school, the exciting thing is we’re past the days of camps and well on our way to the actual competition. I can’t wait to see what all of these young athletes accomplish.

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter- Thank a coach!

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Over the last week and a half BKP and I have been going from school to school interviewing head football coaches for our North Georgia Coaching Series. Now if any of y’all know BKP, you’ll know what I mean when I say that he’s been doing most of the talking and I’ve been doing most of the observing. But this doesn’t bother me, it gives me a chance to learn more about the programs I’ll be spending a lot of time with this fall.

With that being said, there’s one thing in particular I’ve been noticing in our interviews, and that’s how much these coaches truly care about their players and their programs.

Now me saying that might make some of y’all think, “Well, duh. That’s what they’re supposed to do.” Well, maybe. But I like to think I’m pretty good at picking up when someone is just putting on an act for appearances. And I can say with all sincerity that none of these coaches are doing that.

Obviously when BKP and I go into these interviews, he asks questions about what the teams have been doing during the summer and how they’re planning to prepare for the regular season. But he also asks the coaches if they can highlight a few players that have really stood out. This point in the interview, I believe, is where a coach who didn’t care would possibly just say a couple names and move on.

But these coaches not only name the players, they tell us about why they stand out. And it’s a sign of the hard work of these athletes, but there’s also a sense of pride from these coaches as they name them. A couple of coaches have mentioned that it’s hard to name just a few, because all of their players have worked hard. And it’s not that the rest of the team doesn’t matter or that they don’t care about them, but the ones that they mention they do so without hesitation because they’ve been there with them through the summer truly coaching them. There’s no so-so about the commitment these coaches make- they’re all in.

Another thing that has amazed me about these coaches, not just in the interviews but learning about them off the field, is how much they care about their community as well. A couple of them, such as Chad Cheatham at Fannin County and Chad McClure at Hayesville, are natives to their communities. It’s home to them, and they’re not going to be just halfway in their commitments to their programs.

When Coach Caleb Sorrells of the Lumpkin County Indians was first named as head coach, the school hosted a meet and greet for him. It was one of the first stories I covered in this position.

In his address to the parents, Sorrells promised to not only invest in the team as players and athletes, but as men who would one day be employees and fathers. I remember being caught off guard at first because I was expecting him to talk about plans for the future of the program, the summer schedule and what not. He did talk about these things, but I believe by telling the parents that he was going to invest in the players as men showed that it was going to be a priority.

Although I know more about the commitment that Sorrells has made because I’m positioned in Lumpkin County, he’s not the only one in the area who gets involved in the community and works to build up the athletes’ character.

Tim Cokely with the White County Warriors has an entire wall of his office decorated with signs of good character qualities to instill in the team. Chad Cheatham, who I mentioned earlier, referees basketball in the football off-season just because, and the community loves him for it. I’m sure that many of the other coaches in the area do similar things and I just don’t know about it yet.

These are commitments that we see played out by coaches in movies and don’t always think to look for in real life. And because I grew up in Gwinnett County, population one million, if there was this sort of commitment by coaches I didn’t always see it because there were so many people. I love living up here in North Georgia in a smaller community where an act of kindness, especially where sports are concerned, rarely goes unnoticed.

We think about football as a sport that instills a since of discipline, but why is that? Because there’s a coach that sets that standard and inspires the team to do the same. As a community we love football and we love our team, and we can thank a coach for that.

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  • Commit to an entire season of that sport.
  • Be prepared to cover all home and away games. Transportation is not provided.
  • If there is a game you cannot make it to for scheduling reasons you must let management know it 36 hours in advance. Arrive at the sporting event/game a minimum of 30 min before it begins.
  • Postgame updates before, during and after the game on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Create a “hype” video clip of the team warming up, running out. starting kick off, etc (Using Magisto or Quick Story). Post this to social media.
  • Take notes and pics during the sporting event/game.
  • Write an article and post it on our website in the correct county under TeamFYNSports.
  • Share the link and all pictures taken from the event on our TeamFYNSports Facebook.
  • Pick a player of the week (Football ((different player each week)) & Basketball ((one boy and one girl player each week))
  • When possible:
  • Coaches Interviews
  • Player Interviews
  • College signings
  • Follow up story once student-athlete is attending college and playing sport there.
  • Coaching staff changes

About Team FYN Sports:

Team FYN Sports is the fastest-growing sports network in North Georgia and western North Carolina. Team FYN Sports is the sports division of media outlet Fetch Your News (FetchYourNews.com). FYN covers a dozen counties total, ten in North Georgia and two in North Carolina. 

If interested in this opportunity, please contact Lauren:

Email: lhunter@fetchyournews.com

Phone number: 706.276.NEWs (6397)


Pre-season football interview with White County Warriors Head Coach Tim Cokely

Sports, Team FYN Sports, White County High School

The White County Warriors lost around twenty seniors in last year’s graduating class, but the team is working hard to be better than ever.

Team FYN Sports traveled to Cleveland, Georgia today to sit down with Warriors Head Coach Tim Cokely, and he’s confident in the direction the team is heading.

“We feel good about our team,” said Cokely. “I think we’re finally better, we’re finally competitive in all three phases, and we are expecting great things this year.”

This season will be Coach Cokely’s third in the role of head coach. In the interview, BKP asked Coach Cokely about the status of the team after three years under his leadership.

“I think offensively we’re there,” said Cokely. “We’ve been running the same thing since I got here. We have some guys now coming through the program who have some familiarity.”

Watch the full interview with Coach Cokely (and featuring the family dog, Piper!) below, only on Team FYN Sports!

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.

Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter

All of TeamFYNSports, Featured Stories, Sports

About five years ago I told my dad, who is one of my biggest fans but also one of the most blunt people you’ll ever meet, that I wanted to be the first female head coach in the NFL.

“You can’t do that, Lauren,” he said.

“Why?” I argued.

I was expecting some drawn-out response about how I didn’t know enough about football.

“Because you can’t go in the men’s locker room,” he said flatly.

Ah, I hadn’t thought of that.

That was my senior year of high school, and never did I think I would be where I am now.

I grew up an UGA fan; my grandad attended college there in the ’60s and the red and black passed down into my veins. I learned to spell Georgia by chanting the fight song in my head (I still do subconsciously whenever I have to write it out!) I had an UGA cheerleader outfit and one of my baby pictures has me holding a stuffed bulldog. One of my nana’s fondest memories is of dancing around the living room with me as an infant when Georgia scored a big touchdown against Georgia Tech. I’ve never considered myself athletic, but I believe I owe a lot of my passion for sports to Papa Skip and Nana.

Papa Skip, Nana, my momma and I at the Georgia v. Florida game in 2017

Flash forward a few years and the first time I stepped foot on a sideline was as a cheerleader for the 8th grade Mill Creek rec football league. Cheerleading was not for me, and within a year I traded in pom poms for a six-foot flag pole as a member of the Mill Creek High School Colorguard.

In high school I lived for Friday night lights, and I have many fond memories of screaming myself hoarse for the Hawks while in the stands with the marching band. It was a well-known fact that I was the most spirited person in the band when it came to football, and while my coach would be yelling at me to pay attention during our warm-ups I’d be busy trying to figure out how much yardage we’d gotten from the last pass.

I guess my fellow classmates took note of my love for the game as well, because they voted me their Homecoming Queen my senior year. That is still one of my all-time favorite memories from high school- hearing my name called while standing on the 50 surrounded by family and friends.

My senior year of high school I was elected Homecoming Queen. This was the moment after my name was called. Look at my dad’s face!

I graduated from Mill Creek in 2015 but I had a hard time staying away from Markham Field. The University of North Georgia doesn’t have a football team, and Mill Creek decided to get really good the year after I left (this was the fall of 2015, the year they got knocked out by Colquitt County one round before the state championship.)

In the spring of 2016 I heard of an opportunity to work for the Gwinnett Braves, Triple-A minor league affiliate for the Atlanta Braves. Needing a summer job but hoping to avoid retail, I took it. I spent the next two summers as a Guest Relations Representative scanning tickets and welcoming fans. In addition to my already-sound knowledge of football, I learned all I could about America’s favorite pastime and a new love was born.

I spent one more summer at Coolray Field before graduating college, and this time it was as a member of the Promotional Team. That may be the most fun I ever had at work. Our team set up the on-field promotional games, signed up contestants, sold 50/50 raffle tickets and overall worked to make sure people had a good time. I certainly did- the memories I made with my team that year will forever be some of my favorites.

For a while I told people that I wasn’t interested in sports journalism, but the Lord as he fortunately often does had other plans. I got the opportunity to intern with the UNG Athletic Department my senior year of college, and I left Gwinnett County to plant some roots in the North Georgia mountains.

I worked for the Gwinnett Braves (now Gwinnett Stripers) for three seasons. Here I’m in my third season as a member of the Promo Team.

Two months ago I still wasn’t certain that I’d ever work in sports again, but when baseball started back up I knew I couldn’t live without it. I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to apply with FetchYourNews.com, and even more fortunate to get an offer. And here we are.

I don’t tell you all this to brag on my accomplishments or give you some long-winded biography. I want to be just as much a part of your community as you all are now a part of my daily life. When I come to your sideline I want to know each of you and each of you know me. Part of being a great sports reporter is establishing a relationship with your team and community. Part of that relationship includes establishing trust, and how can you can trust someone if you don’t even know them?

One of the biggest reasons I keep working in sports is because of the the communities they create and the people I get to meet. There’s something about having a team to rally around that gets inside of you and never leaves. The people I have met so far and the connections I have made are priceless and will forever be a part of who I am and a big reason for why I do what I do.

So here’s to the journey ahead, and here’s to memories that are yet to be made and the relationships yet to be formed. I can’t wait North Georgia!

Lauren Hunter

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