Bishop Media Sports Network

Atlanta Braves Sign Dickey and Colon

tj1By: TJ Hartnett

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I get the Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey signings. Well, I guess I can say more specifically that I would have more than likely been happy to sign one of them, but I can understand the signing of both, even though it’s not a dream scenario.

Colon is 43 years old, and Dickey is 42. They’re both well past their primes, but adding them to a rotation that was rife with youth and trouble in 2016 takes the Braves a step closer to respectability, if not actual contention.

John Hart is no stranger to these kinds of signings, inking Orel Hershiser and Dennis Martinez in the twilight of their careers to pitch for his up and coming Indians team in the mid-90s, a team that reached the World Series in 1995 and 1997.

The Braves aren’t the Indians of the mid-’90s, but they led the major leagues in runs scored for the final month of the season. They have an established star in Freddie Freeman and a star on the rise in shortstop Dansby Swanson.

The rebuilding program begun by Hart and general manager John Coppolella looks promising, much more than it did a year ago at this time. The Braves move into their new ballpark in April, and even if it turns out they’re not ready to compete with the Mets and Washington Nationals at the top of the National League East, they should at least be fun to watch.

Colon, of course, became one of the game’s best characters during his three seasons with the Mets. He pitched, fielded and even hit, with a memorable home run last May in San Diego.

The Braves would settle for seeing him make the 33 starts and pitch the 191.2 innings he did for the Mets in 2016. They’d hope for close to the same from Dickey, who won a Cy Young Award with the Mets in 2012 and spent the last four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Dickey’s 195 starts over the last six years are tied for the sixth-most in the major leagues, while Colon’s 175 starts over that span rank 19th.

That’s huge for the Braves, who spent most of the season struggling to find guys to make starts. There were plenty of warm bodies, just very few who were ready to make the leap to the big leagues and stay. The consistency that these two older gentlemen will likely bring to the rotation will be a huge feather in the cap of Brian Snitker.

The Braves hope to take a big step forward in 2017, and they figure to be significantly better in 2018 and beyond, with Swanson set to be joined by Ozzie Albies in the middle of the infield and with young pitching on the way.

Five of the six Braves who made 10 or more starts in 2016 are 25 or younger. Eight of the top 12 Braves minor league prospects, as ranked by MLB.com, are pitchers.

The issue Hart and Coppolella faced was too many of those guys who started games this past year weren’t ready, and too many of those top prospects aren’t yet ready to advance.

Short-term deals were important, because the Braves believe some of those prospects will be ready to contribute soon. Eating innings was important, because the Braves had 42 games in 2016 where their starter didn’t finish the fifth.

Realistically, Colon and Dickey are place-holders, two aging pitchers who make the Braves more presentable while a young team gets better around them.

But if one or both can pitch at least decently well, the Braves should expect to see a lot more checks in the win column next season.

Glynn Academy Red Terrors Advance

jasonnewBy: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Glynn Academy Red Terrors took their first step toward a state title Friday night in the GHSA playoffs.

Glynn hosted the #4 seed Jonesboro Cardinals and dominated the football game from start to finish. The Terrors took the opening kickoff and scored on the third play from scrimmage.

That started the rout and ended in a 45-3 score. The Terrors had their JV and freshmen in the game toward the end of the second quarter and went to the half with a 35-0 lead.

Rocky Hidalgo had his team focused and ready to play against the Cardinals. Jonesboro came into the game averaging around 10 points a game and were no match for Glynn’s swarming and fast defense.

The game ended up on a running clock in the 4th quarter.

The Terrors played without RB/WR Randon Jernigan who sat out with a sore hamstring for the second week in a row and his absence made absolutely no difference in the offensive output against Jonesboro’s defense.

Jernigan should be ready to go next week according to Glynn’s coaching staff.

That game will be against the defending state champs, the Allatoona Buccaneers.

The game will be a state title game rematch from last year. Allatoona claimed the trophy last year in the Georgia Dome beating the Terrors 10-6 in a defensive struggle.

However, the Buccaneers lost a good bit to graduation and most feel they are not as talented as last year’s team. Meanwhile, Glynn is a much better team; especially on the offensive side of the ball. If Allatoona attempts to execute the same game plan from last year’s title game they will likely get beat by 50 by the Terrors.

Last year, most knew if you could limit the damage from Glynn QB DeeJay Dallas you gave your shot a chance to win. This year that is not the case. Defensive coordinators can no longer game plan around stopping Dallas as the Red Terrors have too many other offensive weapons who will go off if the focus is primarily on Dallas.

The Buccaneers will also have to take the five hour trip south to Glynn County Stadium from Acworth, a north Atlanta suburb.

After Friday night’s games the teams that are left in Glynn’s bracket are the aforementioned Buccaneers, Northside Warner Robins, and Hughes.

Hughes, a four seed took down the other number one seed in the Terror’s bracket, Johns Creek. The final in that game was 34-10.

Hughes will square off against Northside Warner Robins and the winner will get the winner of Glynn and Allatoona with a place in the final four on the line.

The Terrors have the last two state champs in their bracket in Allatoona and Northside Warner Robins and will likely have to go through both to reach the Final Four.

Buckle up Terror fans, it should be a fun and long ride toward another state finals appearance and potentially a trophy this time.

Rough Seas….Again

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By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Word spread quickly that Larry Harold had resigned as Head Coach of the Brunswick High Pirates.

The Pirates finished the season at 5-5 and came in 5th place in a five team region. Tie breaker scenarios kept the Pirates out of the playoffs in 2016. Harold finished his tenure at BHS with an 8-12 record and was 3-9 in region contests.

Let me just say that Larry Harold is a friend and a good football coach that came into an unstable situation from the beginning with a divided fan base that has been divided since I was a child. FYI, I get AARP card applications in the mail frequently now.

Part of me feels like I am at fault because I refused to be on the search committee that recommended Harold for job because I felt at that time it was a mistake to replace Victor Floyd, who had just led BHS to the playoffs in 2014 with a freshman QB who set all kinds of records in that season.

So BHS brought Larry Harold and his family into this environment and let him loose and basically said go out and conquer.

The problem is that issues that need fixing surrounding the program were out of Larry Harold’s control and have been for over 40 years. So, when the won/loss record is not up to standard a football coach gets replaced again.

The 2016 Pirates lost 5 games by a combined 14 points and Coach Harold will be the first to tell you that the Pirates had no business losing to Effingham or Bradwell with the talent assembled on that football team.

Glynn Academy was the only team on the schedule that was better than BHS. This team should have been 9-1 and hosting Stephenson on Saturday night at Glynn County Stadium in the playoffs.

Instead, I am going fishing on Friday morning with my friend Scott Spence instead of getting ready to broadcast Pirate Football with Teddy Bishop.

Larry Harold will land on his feet and go on and have a fine football coaching career in a place that is much more stable than Brunswick High School is at this moment in time.

I wish Harold the best. He is a good man who has God as his spiritual foundation and he will be successful. He has handled adversity with class and dignity that only comes from above.

Here are the issues I see surrounding Brunswick High Football and it has nothing to do with players and Maurice Freeman, Victor Floyd, or Larry Harold.

It has to do with bitterness, jealously, race, and selfishness all of the symptoms of our broken society that have been in place for all 49 years of Brunswick High’s existence. Let me explain and only a Brunswick High graduate will understand what I type below.

Black and White are not the BHS school colors Blue and Gold are. When Brunswick High School was opened in the late 1960’s and integration happened Risley High School was closed and Risley’s school population was split between Glynn Academy and Brunswick High.

This myth that BHS was an extension of/or new Risley High School is wrong, but that has been the perception in Glynn County for 50 years.

That is wrong, get over it people. I have said this all along that Brunswick High’s worst enemy over the years have been our own people. That has to change and change now.

I am tired of running off football coaches because the Pirate fan base is divided along racial lines for the benefit of selfish people in the community who use division and fear to divide and control people.

We maybe should play Michael Jackson’s Black or White every Friday Night over the PA system to help heal these deep-rooted divisions.

Little Brother Syndrome. Many BHS fans and alumni have this little brother syndrome and go around and say that Glynn Academy gets the biggest and best of everything, but stick their head in the sand when they drop their kids off at a new state of the art $57 million dollar Brunswick High School on Altama Avenue every morning during the school year.

Let me let you in on a little secret, Brunswick High leads the all-time football series with Glynn Academy 37-34-2 and has lost 3 straight years to the Red Terrors.

New baseball field, new school, new track and the list keeps going on. Get over it people. Glynn Academy’s campus floods when we have over two inches of rain. Stop making excuses for your own insecurities Pirate fan base.

John Willis is retired. If I died tomorrow I would want Coach Willis to speak at my funeral. I love the man. He was my football coach and was Brunswick High to me.

Coach Willis led Brunswick to the State Title game in 1999. Pirate fans have to stop living in the past as it relates to football.

Vince Dooley will never walk the sidelines again in Athens. Phil Fulmer is not coming back to Knoxville, and John Willis will not walk the Pirate sidelines at Glynn County Stadium again, but he can be a great ambassador for Pirate Football moving forward.

Victor Floyd never should have been fired. Victor Floyd’s track record of winning, putting kids in school, and discipline brought a lot of pride and respect to BHS from around the state, and this community.

December 17th, 2014 should have never happened and the program has not been the same since. Biggest mistake the Pirates have ever made with our football program was letting him go.

This article may ruffle some feathers but I am tired of having it eat at me. The BHS football job is potentially a gold mine, but Brunswick fans have to get out of their own way first and leave their fear and insecurities behind. You cannot have a bright future until you stop living in the past.

Go Pirates and Thank You Larry Harold for your work here.

AFC South Down the Stretch

draytonBy: Drayton Hogarth

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As we come to the stretch run of the NFL season, as expected the AFC South is still wide open for any of the teams to get on a hot streak and take over the division.

The Texans are leading the way, followed by the Colts and Titans tied for second, and the Jaguars still alive in fourth. How will the division finish up? Let’s take a look and see.

The team that has been ready to play from the beginning is the Houston Texans. The Texans are sitting atop the division with a 5-3 record including 2-0 against division opponents so far.

Despite losing perennial MVP candidate, JJ Watt, the Texans have been able to be successful under head coach Bill O’Brien. In fact, former South Carolina Gamecock and number one pick in the NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, has stepped up his game enough to possibly shed the label of being one of the biggest draft busts in the NFL history.

Offensively, the Texans must get better production out of huge free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler. Osweiler has been wildly inconsistent so far this season. The Texans look to have the easiest remaining schedule of the four teams, with only one team currently with a winning record, and the Jaguars twice.

If there was a team in the AFC South that looks as though they may be starting to hit their stride, it would be the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are one game back of the Texans but still have a game left with Houston at home.

Quarterback Andrew Luck is always a threat to take over any game. The Colts have won three straight and are coming off of their toughest remaining game, a victory at Lambeau Field over the Packers. A late season trip out to Oakland could make the difference in the Colts’ season.

The surprise team in the AFC South has been the Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has seemingly come into his own on the field as both a playmaker and a team leader.

Running back DeMarco Murray has established a true running attack to balance Mariota at quarterback. Unfortunately for the Titans, they appear to have the toughest schedule down the stretch as the Packers, Colts, Broncos, Chiefs, and Texans all still remain on the docket.

Tennessee must play better in their division, as they have lost each matchup with their AFC South counterparts.

In Jacksonville, the Jaguars are sitting in last place, and while competitive, have not been able to win enough ballgames to satisfy anyone involved.

Coach Gus Bradley is fighting for his job. Intended franchise quarterback, Blake Bortles, has seemingly regressed in his play. Bradley’s forte was for tough hard-nosed defense that led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win, but to date, the Jaguars defense has been inconsistent at best.

They have not been helped out by the offense, but the dominance that was expected has not shown itself to date. The schedule eases up for the Jaguars in the second half somewhat, but they still have a pair of games against the Texans, a trip to Buffalo, and the Broncos will come to town as well. The Jags must show improvement down the stretch, or owner Shad Khan will be looking for a new head coach during the offseason.

While the AFC South gets overlooked by most of the NFL pundits, it is and has been one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, and this season will be no different.

Look for the Jaguars to actually play the role of spoiler in determining the eventual division winner as they close the season with a road trip to Houston, at home against Tennessee, and on the road to close the season in Indianapolis.

However, when it is all said and done, look for the Colts to beat out the Texans for the division title.

Tar Heels March Back To Final Four?

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By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

 

Last basketball season was pretty good for North Carolina. The Tar Heels went 33-7 and finished first place in the ACC. They also won the conference tournament. They lost the national championship game to Villanova 77-74. Losing was very disappointing but it was their first appearance in the national title game since 2009.

Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige are two key players that the Tar Heels will miss this season. They averaged 82.3 points per game last year which was tied with Indiana for 11th in the nation. Having a high scoring offense has always been a hallmark of Roy Williams’ coaching style.

Junior guard Joel Berry II averaged 12.8 ppg which made him the second leading scorer on the team behind Brice Johnson. Forward Justin Jackson also contributed 12.2 ppg and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Senior forward Kennedy Meeks will be expected to step up and play a bigger role this season. Standing 6’10 Meeks should make an impact blocking or altering shots and rebounding. He averaged 9.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg in 2015-16. Another senior forward Isiah Hicks is in the same position. The 6’9 Hicks should improve on his 4.6 rpg and 8.9 ppg.

UNC is a blue blood program but for whatever reason they don’t typically get the elite recruits like Kentucky, Duke, Arizona or Kansas. That makes them one of the few major programs led by upperclassman which is a huge advantage. They did sign a few talented players that should contribute right away.

Center Tony Bradley is 6’10 and a five star recruit. He was ranked 17th overall in the class of 2016. He was Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida and a McDonald’s All-American. He averaged 23 ppg, and 12.6 rpg, while shooting an impressive 65% from the field as a senior.

He’s only 235 pounds so he still needs to get stronger and put on weight but he’s expected to see the most playing time of any of the freshmen. Bradley has received a lot of comparisons to Tim Duncan. That’s a huge comparison but everyone in Chapel Hill will be happy if he can be half as good as Duncan.

They also signed two four star guards, Brandon Robinson and Seventh Woods. Robinson is a 6’5 shooting guard from Georgia and he’s a very good shooter. He shot 42% from the three-point line as a high school senior.

North Carolina needs that same production out of him to help stretch the floor. UNC only made 32.7% of shots beyond the arc last season which ranked 263rd out of 346 teams. Robinson is also a very good defender.

Woods is only 6’1 but he’s very athletic and explosive. As a 14 year old freshman he had a dunk that has over 14 million views on YouTube and was the No.1 play on the SportsCenter Top 10. He likes to play above the rim but he will have to transition into being a point guard.

The season starts Friday at Tulane which will be an easy win. Carolina normally plays a tough nonconference schedule and this year is no different. They are going to the Maui Invitational with other big time programs like UConn, Georgetown, Wisconsin and Oregon.

They play No. 11 Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge November 30th. They also play No. 2 Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic December 17th.

The Tar Heels start the season ranked 6th in the nation. They have a realistic goal of making the Final Four again.

Knights Crusade Ends

Jeff headshot

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As I sit down to write this, it has been about twelve hours since the 2016 season came to an end. Twelve hours since Deerfield-Windsor came to St Simons and left Frederica with a heartbreaking 28-14 defeat. Twelve hours since the drive for a state championship ended two weeks short of the goal. Twelve hours that I have spent wondering what I wanted to say to all of you, because I knew that this was how I wanted to handle this column. 

I could have written the standard game summary article, focusing on game highlights such as Jashawn Sheffield’s 85-yard touchdown run or Tyler Pierce’s fumble recovery, but I felt that I needed to do something a bit more personal because that’s what this season needed; something personal.

I can only imagine what you are feeling. Literally so, because I never played the game. My athletic “career” consisted of one tee-ball practice; coach yelled at me and he wouldn’t let me get Gatorade when I wanted it, so my mom didn’t make me go back. I was way more brainy than I was brawny, so I was okay with that. I didn’t have the dedication that any of you have when it came to playing the game we love, so I am resigned to watch from the booth. 

And watch I have. As the radio play-by-play voice of the Knights since the 2012 season, I’ve watched every moment of Frederica Knights Football over these past five years. The victories, the losses, the injuries, the highlights, the legendary comebacks, and the comebacks that fell just short. There has been glory, and there has been agony, and this season had a little bit of both.

The glory is what I want you to focus on. There is plenty of glory to focus on because this truly was an amazing season. Look at the things you accomplished; first ever school victories over Valwood and Pinewood. Back to back victories over defending state champions. A victory over the defending region champion. The 2016 Knights season was one to be proud of. 

To the Frederica seniors, I know this day is toughest for you. Some of you may go on to play college ball, and some of you may never put on pads again. The thought of “what could have been” will always sting, but that will abate with time.

What you will always hold most cherished will be the sense of team spirit that you built this year. That much was evident to everyone who watched this team. You all have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. 

To the juniors, I say to grasp this moment. Use it as motivation for your 2017 campaign. Remember the feeling of being this close and use it to take it even further next year. You’ve got one more chance, so make the best of it.

To the sophomores, it’s gut check time. You are now at the midway point of your high school careers. Things look very promising, that much is evident. The talent in this class alone makes me extraordinarily confident that there will be a trophy hoisted before you trade your pads & cleats for a cap & gown. I challenge you to prove me right.

To the freshmen, please take notice of your school history. You have just started your football career, and there is still time to make an impact. For every highly-touted player like Eli Yarborough, Max Bourne, and Shaun Tatum, there have been players that seemingly came out of nowhere and stepped up. Some for years like Luckett McKeown, others for a game like Pierce Gunderson. You can make a difference in this program, and I have every faith that you will do just that.

I feel confident that I speak for your families, your coaches, your teachers, your classmates, and your community when I say hold your heads high, Knights. This season may not have ended the way you wanted it to, but you left your mark on this school, and we are all absolutely proud of you. This season will not be forgotten. The Knights teams to come will make sure of that.

Now then…is it August yet?

Here Come the Terrors

jasonnewBy: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Glynn Academy Red Terrors took the field Friday night against the Bradwell Institute Tigers with the region championship already wrapped up in a little bow.

Bradwell was able to stay in the game through the first quarter; at the end of the first it was only 7-0 Glynn.

However, the flood gates opened in the second quarter and the Terrors had given themselves a 34-0 halftime lead. When all was said and done Glynn had defeated Bradwell by a score of 41-0

Coach Rocky Hidalgo elected to sit out RB/WR Randon Jernigan due to a sore hamstring and RB Jeremiah Anderson made his return to the team from an injury that kept him out since the first week of the season.

Jernigan’s return in the first round of the playoffs is questionable.

The final region standings saw the Red Terrors finish first, The Effingham Rebels finish with the two seed, the Richmond Hill Wildcats with the three seed, the Bradwell Tigers as the fourth seed, finishing last in the region with no playoff berth are the Brunswick High Pirates.

The Red Terrors will now turn their attention to the Jonesboro Cardinals, who upset Drew on Thursday night 38-26 to secure the number four seed in their region.

Jonesboro is loaded with athletes but is not nearly as physical as the Red Terrors.
Another great thing is that with Glynn securing the number one seed means they will be guaranteed for the first two games to be at home at Glynn County Stadium. A much different dynamic than last year’s run.

This Red Terror team is a very different team than last year’s. This team can score at will and can run the ball on anyone. Glynn Academy has rushed for more yards through 10 games than all of last year through 15 games. The Red Terrors are very dynamic on offense.

In other words, this team is better; still among the state’s elite on defense and now an explosive offense.

If you are a Terrors fan look for another deep run in the playoffs and maybe a State Title when the smoke clears.