Raiding the semifinals
Softball wasn’t the only sport where a local team became a contender for a state title.
Southeast Whitfield’s volleyball team pushed all the way to the Class 4A semifinals, finally pushing past the second round of the state playoffs after three years of tripping up at that point. The Lady Raiders were led by The Daily Citizen’s 2012 All-Area Player of the Year, setter Hannah Graham, and the 2011 Player of the Year, outside hitter Megan Collins.
Along with libero McKayla Burse, the three seniors took coach Jake Dickey’s squad farther than any Lady Raiders volleyball team had been before. Despite a loss in the semifinals to Sandy Creek, it was a milestone season for a program and fanbase that became a staple of Southeast athletics.
At the midpoint of the high school football season, the Dalton program appeared to be on the verge of a bigger cliff than our national economy is currently approaching. The Cats, one of the winningest programs in the nation, were 2-3 having lost to Calhoun, Ridgeland and Cass — a team Dalton had never previously lost to in the history of the program.
In addition, the team's starting fullback had been arrested at school on drug charges, and the team's defense seemingly couldn't stop anyone.
Just when it was apparent that everyone was looking to write off the Cats, the team rallied around each other and produced one of the biggest turnarounds in recent memory.
Following back-to-back losses to Cass and Ridgeland, Dalton beat rivals Northwest at home to start a six-game winning streak. The run included a Region 7-4A play-in spanking of Pickens at home to advance to the playoffs and a 17-14 win on the road over Carver-Atlanta in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs. Dalton's season came to an end on the road at Sandy Creek in the second round. The Patriots went on to claim the state title, winning over Ridgeland.