Tifton Gazette

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June 13, 2013

Tiftarea teams stay closer to home in 2013

TIFTON — Good news for Tiftarea teams. The road games this year will be a little closer. There will be no 200+ mile trips, at least not in the regular season. The regular season will kick off with a pair of games on August 23.

Last year's globetrotting Tift County Blue Devils will have their time on the buses greatly reduced. In 2012, bus rides took them to Albany, Perry, Douglas, the woods east of Kingsland and Brunswick. The longest venture this year will be to Thomasville to play Thomas County Central. While the rest of the trips are even shorter, they will be to tough stadiums. They play Valdosta, Lowndes and Colquitt County on the road.

The schedule for Tiftarea Academy sends them as far as Statesboro to play Bulloch Academy and to Damascus for a contest to Southwest Georgia Academy. They have a rough start to the year, four of six games away, but things settle down mostly settle down after that. The season opens with Terrell Academy at home and they will also host Brookwood School, Pinewood Christian, Southland Academy and Deerfield-Windsor. Their lone win in 2012 came over Crisp Academy. That game will be on the road this year.

The Cook Hornets win the prize for longest regular season road trip. While the Panthers are scheduled to go to Statesboro, the Hornets are traveling a little further north, Louisville, to battle Jefferson County. Region 1-AA rivals Fitzgerald went last year while the Warriors went to Adel. The situation is reversed this year. Speaking of Fitzgerald, they will be a home game for Cook this season, as well as another big opponent, Brooks County.

The Hornets will be on the road for their first two weeks, playing Worth County in Sylvester and Crisp County in Cordele. Berrien will also be a road game.

The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes are going coast to coast. Coach Jason Strickland will be renewing relations where he spent his early career, Charlton County. Later in the year, he will be going nearly to the banks of the Chattahoochee when they play Early County. Their usual big games are a mix of home and away. Irwin, Cook and Thomasville are away, but Brooks County is at home.

The Canes are not the only team to have to circle the Okefenokee Swamp in 2013. That will also be a trip for the Turner County Rebels. Turner, who recently hired John Gamble to replace the departing Erik Soliday, also goes to Calhoun County, Irwin and Clinch. After six games on the road last year, they will only have four this year, including visits from Crisp County, Seminole County and Wilcox County.

Variety highlights road games for the Irwin County Indians. They of course have a Region 2-A schedule, but their non-region schedule takes them to different parts of the state. They lead off their campaign at Butler when they play the Taylor County Vikings and two weeks later, they are off to East Dublin as they play East Laurens.

Most of their big rivalry games will be at home. Fitzgerald will be coming to town as well as Charlton and Clinch County. They do travel, however, to play Wilcox.

Berrien also named a new coach in the past few months, snagging Ed Pilcher after Rob Armstrong left for an assistant job at Clark Atlanta University. Pilcher does get forever rival Cook at home, but games with Lanier County, Turner, Early, Fitzgerald and Brooks will all be on the road. Brooks is the final regular season game of the year.

Worth County, the third Tiftarea school to have a new head coach this year, hired Jason Tone to replace Scotty Ward. Tone will begin the year with a long road trip, one to Swainsboro, but the schedule gets much closer to home after that, the worst trip being one to region rival Americus-Sumter.  Tift will be a home game for them, as well as two of three against Dougherty County schools (Albany and Monroe).

Tift County: Aug. 30 Westover, Sept. 6 Houston County, Sept. 13 at Worth County, Sept. 20 at Thomas County Central, Sept. 27 Coffee, Oct. 4 at Colquitt County, Oct. 11 Camden County, Oct. 18 at Valdosta, Oct. 25 at Lowndes, Nov. 1 open, Nov. 8 Brunswick

Tiftarea Academy: Aug. 23 Terrell Academy, Aug. 30 at Sherwood Christian, Sept. 6 open, Sept. 13 at Southwest Georgia,  Sept. 20 Brookwood School, Sept. 27 at Westwood, Oct. 4 at Crisp Academy, Oct. 11 Pinewood Christian, Oct. 18 at Bulloch Academy, Oct. 25 Southland Academy, Nov. 1 Deerfield-Windsor, Nov. 8 at Westfield

Cook: Aug. 30 at Worth County, Sept. 6 at Crisp County, Sept. 13 Dougherty, Sept. 20 open, Sept. 27 at Thomasville, Oct. 4 Fitzgerald, Oct. 11 at Pelham, Oct. 18 at Jefferson County, Oct. 25 Brooks County, Nov. 1 at Berrien, Nov. 8 Early County

Fitzgerald: Aug. 23 Jefferson County, Aug. 30 open, Sept. 6 at Irwin County, Sept. 13 Monroe, Sept. 20 at Charlton County, Sept. 27 Pelham, Oct. 4 at Cook, Oct. 11 Brooks County, Oct. 18 Berrien, Oct. 25 at Early County, Nov. 1 at Thomasville, Nov. 8 open

Irwin County: Aug. 30 at Taylor County, Sept. 6 Fitzgerald, Sept. 13 at East Laurens, Sept. 20 Wilkinson County, Sept. 27 open, Oct. 4 at Telfair County, Oct. 11 Clinch County, Oct. 18 at Lanier County, Oct. 25 Turner County, Nov. 1 at Wilcox County, Nov. 8 Charlton County

Turner County: Aug. 30 Crisp County, Sept. 6 Seminole County, Sept 13. at Calhoun County, Sept. 20 Berrien, Sept. 27 Lanier County, Oct. 4 at Charlton County, Oct. 11 Wilcox County, Oct. 18 Telfair County, Oct. 25 at Irwin County, Nov. 1 open, Nov. 8 at Clinch County

Berrien: Aug. 30 Calhoun County, Sept. 6 Brantley County, Sept. 13 at Lanier County, Sept. 20 at Turner County, Sept. 27 open, Oct. 4 at Early County, Oct. 11 Thomasville, Oct. 18 at Fitzgerald, Oct. 25 Pelham, Nov. 1 Cook, Nov. 8 at Brooks County

Worth County: Aug. 23 at Swainsboro, Aug. 30 Cook, Sept. 6 open, Sept. 13 Tift County, Sept. 20 at Dougherty, Sept. 27 at Americus-Sumter, Oct. 4 open, Oct. 11 Cairo, Oct. 18 at Crisp County, Oct. 25 Albany, Nov. 1 at Westover, Nov. 8 Monroe

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