North Murray High School Mountaineers

August 30, 2013

Chris Whitfield: Mystique is a powerful part of prep game

I’ll be the first to admit I never really understood this whole Dalton High School “mystique” when it comes to football.

I’ve been covering prep football in Georgia for more than two decades and have a grasp of what the sport is like in most parts of the state. I know — and have covered — true dynasties over those years.

Buford has won state five of the past six years and eight times since 2001. Thomas County Central won five of six titles from 1992 to 1997. West Rome captured four straight from 1982 to 1985. Valdosta hasn’t won state since 1998, but the Wildcats are still at the top of the list for Georgia High School Association titles with 21 — that’s seven more than second-place Lincoln County, which has nine championships since 1985.

Camden County, Charlton County, Lowndes, Northside-Warner Robins, Parkview, Washington County — those are teams I think of as the best of the best in Georgia prep football.

Dalton? Well, the view from outside northwest Georgia is that Dalton is a good program with a winning tradition that will occasionally make a splash on the statewide stage.

That isn’t a slam against the Catamounts, but when looking at Dalton from outside of the region, the school’s football reputation takes a hit because of its surroundings. Besides Calhoun and Ridgeland as of late, the rest of northwest Georgia football just isn’t that good.

But after seeing the way the Ringgold Tigers and their fans celebrated so jubilantly last Friday night at Harmon Field following their 33-27 triple-overtime win against the Cats, I understand it a little bit more. The win by the Tigers wasn’t just a win over the 2013 edition of the Cats, it was a win over all the other Dalton teams that had beaten Ringgold 43 times in 44 meetings — often decisively — going into last week’s matchup. It was like those teams that beat Alabama during the time between Gene Stallings and Nick Saban, because in their minds they were not only beating the current Crimson Tide teams but gaining a win over the “mystique” of Bear Bryant.

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North Murray High School Mountaineers
  • s-CCHS softball 8.jpg On a mission

    The local girls who visited the Dominican Republic last week on a mission trip through Score International tell a matching story.
    Toward the end of a visit to Pasitos de Jesus, a girls orphanage in Boca Chica, the children began singing the Gospel song “Mighty to Save” to their visitors.
    “It sent chills down your spine,” said Kala Franks, a rising senior at Coahulla Creek High School. “I felt they were ministering to me rather than us ministering to them.”

    June 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • NW softball state championship file 1 mlh.jpg In the lineup again

    When Northwest Whitfield repeated as the Georgia High School Association Class 4A softball state champion last fall, that appeared to be the last time the majority of the Lady Bruins’ senior class would be teammates on the diamond.
    Now, thanks to the Stump on Sports All-Star Softball Classic, five of those six seniors will reunite to play together one more time.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Murray-Newton2.jpg N. Murray second at Cam Newton

    Members of the North Murray High School football team and coaching staff pose with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, standing center, after finishing second in the third annual Cam Newton Foundation 7 on 7 Football Tournament at North Cobb High School in Acworth. The Mountaineers will advance to face other regional tournamentwinners at the Charlotte (N.C.) Championship Tournament on July 10-12. Northwest Whitfield also competed in the tournament with linebacker Clay Phillips (not pictured) being selected as a Tournament All-Star.

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • poty seth.jpg All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year

    As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • daltongirls.JPG Dalton girls finish second in Class 4A

    In the Class 4A girls state golf tournament last year, the Dalton High School team finished third at Nob North Golf Course. Monday, playing in the state championship at Waynesboro Country Club, the Lady Catamounts finished second by just two strokes.
    “There is just one more place left to win,” Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth said. “They have the time ahead of them to do it.”

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • N. Murray cheer duo headed to DSC

    CHATSWORTH — For North Murray cheerleader Tori Stainton, earning a spot on Dalton State College’s competition squad is the fulfillment of a long process. Classmate Stacia Baker went for a tryout on a whim and found her own spot with the Roadrunners.

    May 9, 2014

  • Phillips signing at NM 3 mlh.jpg No shortage of highlights this year for Phillips

    CHATSWORTH — When Grace Phillips finished posing for photos of her signing a volleyball scholarship with Andrew College on Monday in North Murray High School’s library, a crowd of supporters gathered for the ceremony put their hands together.
    It wasn’t the first time she’d heard applause during a memorable and achievement-filled senior year.

    May 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good day sends Dalton boys to state golf tourney

    With a spot in the Class 4A state tournament on the line, Dalton High School’s golf team put together one of its best rounds this season on a course coach Hunter Johnston said was as demanding as any the Catamounts had played this year.

    May 6, 2014