Sports Columns

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.

Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Doug Hawley: Cancer will not hinder Run for John’s finish

    With the seventh annual Run for John races scheduled for Saturday in Dalton, there is a community focus this week on the family of the late John Bruner.

    April 19, 2014

  • Devin Golden: Area aims for multiple tennis titles in tourneys

    Afew local high school tennis teams have had successful regular seasons and they aim for bigger achievements this week in the region tournaments.
    Murray County’s girls are right there near the front of the Region 7-2A pack.

    April 13, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield: Miller finds the win he has wanted

    Former Dalton High School standout Chase Miller has had four strong years at the College of Coastal Georgia, transitioning with the school as it went from a junior college program his freshman year to a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics four-year school.
    The one thing missing from his résumé? A tournament title.

    April 12, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Big Three still a big deal for fans

    AUGUSTA — Sinatra is gone, but we still have his music. The same is true with Nat King Cole and Elvis. It would be nice to hear them in concert again, however. With Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, we are not sure what it will be like when they are no longer the honorary starters at the Masters.

    April 11, 2014

  • Tom Lindley: Managing dollars at the ballpark can be an exercise in good sense

    Attending an Opening Day game at a Major League Baseball stadium is one of life’s little pleasures. Everyone should get to experience it at least once.

    April 11, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Meeting old friends under the big oak a tradition, too

    The first time I was in a train station in Great Britain and saw a sign that read, “Meeting Place,” it brought me to a pause. How simple, how functional was this sign? In small towns it is not a problem to meet someone at Sheppard’s Filling Station or at the fireplug across the street from the Baptist church, but at a busy venue — like European train stations — there is nothing more sensible than meeting at the “Meeting Place.”

    April 10, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Golden Bear is still game’s top champion

    Jack Nicklaus is entitled to play the Augusta National Golf Club as a member now, which means when he takes friends out for a round of golf, he hits from the member tees. He hits it a long way still — certainly for a guy in his mid-70s — but not like in 1965, when he drove the ball on No. 15 so far over the crest of the hill that he only needed a 7-iron for his second shot.

    April 8, 2014

  • Chris Stephens: The boys of summer ready for rec baseball

    The emotions are far-reaching and played out all over baseball diamonds each summer. Fear. Anxiety. Fear. Anticipation. Fear. Excitement.
    But honestly, I have no idea how my son feels about his first baseball season. These are my emotions.

    April 5, 2014

  • Tom Lindley: Tough calls part of the job for refs

    Florida brings Scottie Wilbeken to the Final Four with championship hopes. Kentucky has Julius Randle, Wisconsin features Frank Kaminsky and Connecticut will be a tough out as long as Shabazz Napier has the ball.

    April 4, 2014

  • Heritage at NW base#1C009FA.jpg Devin Golden: Stage now set as NW, SE aim for series win

    The team isn’t the exact same, but Northwest Whitfield’s baseball squad is mirroring itself from a season ago.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo