Sports
Sports

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         Georgia Southern football is right around the corner with the first game on September 5, at a West Virginia college, GSU will face off against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

         Georgia Southern had a successful football season last year. While they were ranked ninth at the start of the season, the Georgia Southern football team ended their season ranked number one and went on to win the Sun Belt Conference Championship.

        Coach Willie Fritz, head football coach at Georgia Southern, said, “This year there will be no surprises; last year since we were ranked ninth, we surprised everyone.” This year fans will expect the best!

         The team has retained many players from the last season so they’ll know more of what to expect this year. The players from last year are familiar with the coaches’ ways and it won’t take

long to explain plays, so they’ll understand everything better. Since the seniors from last season are gone, the team lost some good players, but their spots can be filled with equally good players. For example, Jerick McKinnon was replaced by Matt Breida.

Fritz said, “Everyone has to improve, as a team and individually; there’s always room for improvement.”

       Many fans are eager to go to the Georgia Southern vs. Georgia game this year! Officials expect possibly thousands of tickets to be sold, even though there might be more fans in red. There will be many excited fans that will surely expect a good game between these two teams.  

      “We always want to win,” Fritz says, “ if we don’t have that goal, then we don’t have that mindset.” The team takes it one practice at a time, and one game at a time.

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Fantasy football is a great competition between ultimate football teams that clash in a fun game against friend or foe.

People should play fantasy football because it is an extremely fun game that can be played with friends or foes. It is a test of ability to make the best team possible and try to win the league. Fantasy football is great way to kill time when waiting in a doctor’s office.

Fantasy football involves imaginary football teams picked by people that face off to see who has the best team in a league. People can play by first drafting a team, then setting their best line-up from week to week. Fantasy football leagues can be done on the internet or on paper, it’s all preference. If too many players are on a bye week at the same time, a few of them will need to be dropped to create space to pick-up other players.

In the first round of the draft, people should always draft a high scoring running back like Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, or Jamal Charles. During the second round, there is a choice: either pick-up another high scoring running back or a high scoring wide receiver like Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham, or Calvin Johnson. In round three if there are two running backs on the team being drafted, this is the round to prioritize picking a wide receiver before all of the high scoring wide receivers are taken. Round four would be the perfect round to pick up a tight end. If Rob Gronkowski and/or Jimmy Graham are still not picked by this round pick them.

Round five is by far one of the trickiest rounds of the whole draft because of the amount of choices one has. Round five is generally where a quarterback like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, or Peyton Manning is picked. Almost every round after round five is just preference on who to pick for one’s team. If Stephen Gotskowski has still not been picked by the eighth, he should be a priority pick. Generally with any other kickers, they should be picked up in a later round such as the tenth round. The round where a defense is picked should be fairly late. A defense round should be the round after a kicker.

 

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volleyball      Though our community tends to focus more on football, in just 4 short years, the Statesboro High volleyball team has gained popularity rapidly, as a result of bringing home more wins, which constantly pulls in new fans.  

      Although volleyball is a newer sport featured at Statesboro High, the Lady Devils had a very successful season last year, making it to the state playoffs, where they played against some of the best teams in the state.

    Coach Parker, one of the Statesboro High volleyball coaches, said, “The successful season we had last year has proven to us that we can play with the best teams in the state and succeed.”

    The team has lost seven seniors since the 2014 season, which means, “There are a lot of shoes to fill, which motivates us to work hard and become better.” Tess Newton, senior volleyball player said. The girls are ready to use their success from last year as a springboard for more success in the 2015 season.

    As the sport grows in popularity, more fans have come out to support the Statesboro High volleyball team.

    Maggie Davis, a player for the Lady Devils, said, “More supporters and fans would help our team during the games because it makes us work harder, but it is also a great feeling to know you have supporters.”  

    Fans would definitely help motivate the team towards helping them succeed in the 2015 season.

    “We have worked especially hard in the postseason and at practices to get all our girls ready to give it all they have this season.” Grace Hannah Cason, sophomore player for the Lady Devils said.

    Last season the girls proved to themselves that they are capable of keeping up with the best teams in the state. This season they expect nothing less.     

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The undefeated pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather finally announced his next and final fight against Andre Berto.

The retirement seeking fight will be held September 12 at MGM Grand Garden Arena, and will be live on Showtime pay-per-view and CBS. Though possibly a last appearance for Mayweather, the world seems to have zero interest because this is labeled an “easy victory to end retirement.”

Mayweather’s fights are usually the biggest and most extravagant scenes in boxing. He is quite arguably the most talented and accomplished fighter of his generation. With a win in this fight, Mayweather can tie the milestone 49-0 record of the great heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. He uses a defensive tactic to defeat his opponents. However, Andre Berto confidently believes that he is fast enough to compete with Mayweather’s defensive tactic and has a total of twenty-three knockouts to his credit.

During the Showtime press coverage, Mayweather said, “I always bring my A-game, and this fight against Andre Berto is no exception. He’s a young, strong fighter who is hungry to take down the best. Forty-eight have tried before, and on Sept. 12, I am going to make it 49.”

Mayweather selected a fighter who is not ranked in the top ten welterweight class by Ring magazine or the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and one who has lost three of his last six fights. Mayweather selected Berto over other more competitive matchups. As detailed in the press and bleacher report, Mayweather would have been better off by defending his lineal welterweight championship against Kell Brook or his lineal junior middleweight championship against Erislandy Lara.

The media is upset with Mayweather’s decision to fight Andre Berto. Most people that are fans of Mayweather believe that even if it were free, it would be a terrible matchup. Recent comments from social media posts show that no one wants to see the fight, no one believes Berto has done anything to warrant the fight, and no one believes Berto will have a chance to win. The world will see what happens Sept 12, 2015.

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With record high temperatures football players at Statesboro High, and all throughout the south face a difficult start to the season.

Practicing in heat is hard to do, but it is part of conditioning.

According to Coach Steve Pennington, “the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature has a major impact on practice.”

The “Wet Bulb Globe Temperature” is a measure of heat in direct sunlight including: temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle, and cloud cover.

“The temperature has to be below a certain degree before players can dress in full pads,” Pennington said.

As draining practicing in the heat is, it can help the players in many ways.

“The better a player can work in the heat at practice, the better the chance he has to perform. Also, it reduces the chance of having muscle cramps in the game,” Pennington said.

The heat can affect players both physically and mentally.

Former SHS football player, Samad Foster said, “Physically you lose weight, get cramps, and have minor or major injuries mentally, it’s hard to focus and stay on task. In the heat players and coaches get frustrated.Coaches always remind us to hydrate before and after practice at home and during school”.

Hopefully, conditioning the Statesboro Blue Devils prepares them for the season and bring home those wins.

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     On July 15, 2015, Statesboro High School graduate and NFL linebacker Justin Houston signed a six-year $101 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.

     Houston graduated from Statesboro High School in 2007, following two All-Region selections, an All-State honorable mention, and winning the state championship in 2005. He then went on to play outside linebacker at the University of Georgia where he was redshirted in his first-year. He was also named to the All-SEC second team in 2009 and to the All-SEC first team in 2010.  Houston’s NFL career began in 2011, when he was drafted seventieth overall in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

     In his first season with the Chiefs, Houston recorded 5.5 sacks and forty-nine tackles. His play steadily improved throughout the years, earning him Pro Bowl selections in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Houston finished the 2014 season with a total of twenty-two sacks, half a sack shy of Michael Strahan’s single season record. This stellar play is what earned Houston his six-year $101 million deal which includes $52.5 million in guaranteed money and a $20.5 million signing bonus. Upon signing this deal, Houston became the second-highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, behind Miami’s Ndamukong Suh. The deal is also the richest deal in Chief’s history and the largest ever for an NFL linebacker.

     “They told me at the end of the season to be patient and we’ll get a deal done, just be patient and just wait, and time will take care of it,” Houston said during a conference call held on July 15. “That’s what I did. I sat back and waited for them.”

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FrisbeeThe International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently recognized Ultimate Frisbee, the largest of the disc sports, as a potential Olympic sport.

USA Ultimate (USAU) joins the United States Olympic Committee (USOC)’s Multisport Organization’s Council (MOC), where other sports-based institutions such as the NCAA, YMCA and the AAU are found. Over the course of Ultimate Frisbee’s history of agreements, the arrangements with the USOC and the IOC are the two biggest deals that have happened since the creation of the game itself.

Since the IOC recognized Ultimate Frisbee as an Olympic sport, it has been made eligible for IOC funding and can compete with other sports for inclusion in the Olympics.

“This is one of the most important things to happen to our great sport in its 46-year history and further validates Ultimate as one of the nation’s emerging sports,”  Mike Payne, the President of USA Ultimate’s Board of Directors, said.

It is unclear if Ultimate Frisbee is being played in any of the upcoming Olympics, but it will most likely be played in the Summer Olympics of 2024.

Ultimate Frisbee is a popular sport at the college level because it is easy to pick up and play with friends. Also, traveling for tournaments is not as difficult as for college students because tournaments are on college breaks.

“I play Frisbee because it is a fun, unique game and I love to compete,” college frisbee player,  Josh Wright stated.

The United States National Team had an undefeated record of 36-0 in the international competition last season. The team brought home three gold medals from the U23 World Championships. They were also voted the “Team of the Year” by the international sporting community.

 

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Air rifle stick man takes aim. (Wikipedia Commons)

Statesboro High School’s rifle team hosted a competition on March 3, 2015, and has been doing well this season because of their hard work and dedication to their sport.

Most students at SHS are fans of football, soccer, baseball, and track, but the air rifle team doesn’t get as much recognition. Many don’t even know exactly what it is that they do. Their season began in January, and they have been working really hard at their practices on Mondays through Thursdays to prepare for their ten matches that they have this season. At each match, six team members shoot in the three shooting positions: standing, kneeling, and prone and can each earn 300 points or 100 per position. The four highest scores are taken, which makes 1200 points a perfect score. Statesboro High’s average is 1100.

The top six teams will make it to playoffs.

“We haven’t made it to playoffs in four years,” Said Colonel Brian Knox, “It will be good if we make it to playoffs.”

The state championship will be held at Fort Benning, Ga, at their Olympic scoring range which scores more precisely. As for the rest of their season, the team hopes to continue to do well until the end of the season in March.

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Senior Chelsea Wilson vies for position against East Laurens on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. (SHS Criterion Photo/Natalie Woodward)

The first soccer game of the season was Friday, February 6, 2014, against the East Laurens Falcons at the Devil’s home field. The temperature at kickoff was perfect soccer weather at 50 degrees.

Within the first few minutes of the game, East Laurens scored to take an early 0-1 lead,  but this did not stop the Lady Devils from pushing on to their fullest potential. As the Devils settled into the game, there were some attempts from forwards but the shots were either wide or to the keeper.

Even though we had the majority of possession, the Lady Falcons scored again with 26 minutes left to play, making the score 0-2.

Again, the Lady Devils persevered. Shortly after the Falcons scored, Reagan Thomas made a beautiful cross that floated across the box. She found Chelsea Wilson who headed the ball high and into the back of the net with 18 minutes left to play, resulting in a 1-2 score.

As the clock ticked down until under a minute to play, everyone expected the score to be 1-2 going into halftime, but the Devils thought differently. On a cross from Emmalyne Sisson, Wilson volleyed the ball into the upper side netting, tying the score up with only 14 seconds left to play in the half.

Six minutes into the second half, Thomas struck the ball from outside the 18 yard line, rattling it off the cross bar. The ball bounced straight up, though, and the keeper unsuccessfully tried to hit it out, resulting in a goal with 35 minutes left to play.

Quickly after this goal, Thomas once again took the ball and dribbled around two players. She shot the ball hard and to near post, resulting in a 4-2 score with 32 minutes left to play.

The Devils continued to hammer the Falcons and dominate possession. As the clock ran down,  sophomore, Ashley Williams, scored in the last 38 seconds, making the final score 5-2, giving the Lady Devils their first season victory.

Coach Brian Thomas commented after the game, “I thought they played good for their first time. After the two early goals, they settled down and played their game. We need to work on not giving up goals early which we talked about at halftime and fixed in the second half. Overall, I was pleased with our first performance.”

Their next home game will be Tuesday, February 24, against Wayne at 5:30 P.M.

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Schoolbus (Pixabay)

Of course, fútbol (soccer) and football are very different sports, but these differences go further than the field. At Statesboro High School, the trips to away games are practically opposites of each other.

Coach Pennington of the football team confirmed this. “It is expected that there will be no talking on the bus,” he said. “But we do allow players to listen to their music.”

Coach Thomas of the girls’ soccer team, however, said the exact opposite about their bus ride. “There is a lot of talking and laughter,” he explained.

Another strict rule on the football bus is the seating chart: each player and each coach has an assigned seat. With the soccer team, however, the only seating arrangement is the separation of players and coaches. This allows the coaches to talk to each other and individual players about game plans, which rarely ever happens on the football bus because the coaches hardly ever discuss plans among themselves and the athletes.

The biggest difference is not on the bus, but rather the actual travel itself. The football team, due to the fact that there are four buses, has a police escort to their away games, while the soccer team does not.

Though these two bus procedures aren’t similar at all, the behavioral outcome is always the same.

“There is never a problem,” both coaches agree.

 

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   Haley Padgett    For many years, Statesboro High students have participated in the excitement of dressing up for Friday night football games according...