Sports

July 19, 2013

Nobody likes to lose

Pros battle for victory versus Joes

The former NFL players in town for a youth football camp this week may be retired.

But even on the basketball court, they still have their competitive edge, and they bring out that same spirit in their opponents.

Four of the five players working with E-Matt Athletics, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Eric Matthews’ sports training business, played a “Pros vs. Joes” charity basketball game Thursday night at New Hope Middle School. They took on a team of Dalton firefighters and one Dalton Police Department officer.

Dawn and Ricky Johnson’s Tunnel Hill training facility, Athletic Edge, have partnered with Matthews and the players this week to bring a series of events, including a three-day youth football camp at Northwest Whitfield High School that started Thursday.

Also today, there will be a night of activity at Retro Bowl of Dalton. With a donation to the local Boys & Girls Clubs, fans can go one-on-one in either bowling or pool against any of the former NFL players in attendance.

All proceeds from the basketball game went to Dennis Green, a Whitfield County firefighter who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. His family was not in attendance. Dawn Johnson did not know how much was raised from the event’s gate.

The Pros won 64-60, and the route to get there included plenty of arguing about ball possession, fouls and anything else you’d expect from a normal basketball game.

“That’s just in the natural athlete,” said Clinton “C.J.” Jones, one of the former NFL players. “All athletes are competitive and you want to win. It could be an Uno game or Connect Four or chess. It’s just in you.”

Jones played for Min-nesota and San Diego. The others who played were former University of Georgia running back Keith Hende-rson (Minnesota and San Francisco) and Kendall New-some (Jacksonville, Miami and Tennessee), while Robert Hicks (Buffalo) helped keep score. All are helping coach at the youth camp.

The Pros’ other starter was 2013 Northwest graduate Dustin Stanley, who played football and basketball for the Bruins and will play basketball at Georgia North-western Technical College this school year.

The Joes trailed by 20 at halftime but gave the Pros a scare toward the end.

“It’s still competitive,” Dalton firefighter Grant Jenkins said. “We’re all competitive. Some of us played basketball in college. If I play something, I want to win. We’re still competitive.”

For some, the game was just a chance to have some fun.

“I’m just glad to be out here,” said Mark Richardson, another firefighter. “I had two heart attacks in the past.”

He admitted he wasn’t expecting to win.

“I’m just glad I’m not hurt,” he added. “We had a good time, though.”

Others got in on the fun, too. A few of the kids in attendance got on the court to play for the Pros side, and their combined five points made the difference. Julia Fish, 13, made a 3-pointer in the third quarter, and Jacob Sangster, 13, made a jump shot on the next possession. Both are New Hope Middle School students.

“I was just told I was playing,” Fish said. “I wasn’t expecting to play. I expected to do scorekeeping. It was fun to play with the football players and firefighters.”

Dawn Johnson said it wasn’t planned, but Matthews and the football players made impromptu substitutions.

“It was just a here-and-now thing,” she said, noting the same event with Matthews and his company is already being planned for next year. “We put this together in three months this year. I just thought it would be really fun.”

Another fun event held during Matthews’ and the former NFL players’ stay was a baseball game Wednes-day at the Whitfield County Miracle Field. Members of the Crossfire Softball select team, local firefighters and other area groups joined the local NFL players to play with Miracle League players.

Matthews said he hasn’t done any sort of charity work “to that caliber” and he was blown away.

“To see these kids playing on a field of their own is special. It’s wonderful,” Matt-hews said.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • NW at DHS baseball (g3) 12 mlh.jpg Bruins aim for 7-4A baseball crown at Cedartown

    Northwest Whitfield High School’s baseball team rode an emotional three-game roller coaster in last season’s Region 7-4A championship series on its way to the title.
    Can the Bruins do it again?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Catamounts defeat Raiders for latest region soccer title

    For Dalton High School’s boys soccer team, the undefeated streak is now at 40 matches.
    For the Catamounts, the far more important number is 2.

    April 22, 2014

  • Prep roundup: Colts beat Mountaineers on PK’s

    Tuesday night was the third time in a row that the Coahulla Creek and North Murray high school boys soccer teams have faced each other and played to a scoreless tie through regulation and overtime.
    In the previous two meetings, North Murray won on penalty kicks.

    April 22, 2014

  • Region golf '14 1 mlh.jpg Prep golf: Dalton boys, NW’s Hayes will play on

    Northwest Whitfield High School junior Ethan Hayes didn’t get the medal he wanted, and Dalton’s boys didn’t get the finish they expected, on Tuesday in the Region 7-4A tournament at Nob North Golf Course.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • DaltonGirlsGolf.jpg Region 7-4A girls golf tournament: Lady Cats are champs again

    In both the Dalton High School sports family and her own, Carson Roberts wanted some bragging rights over older brother Jake Roberts this spring.
    She earned them Monday.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Area prep roundup: Bruins claim third place in Region 7-4A soccer

    Northwest Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team might be growing up just in time for another deep run in the Class 4A state playoffs.

    April 22, 2014

  • Golf at NobNorth 2  mlh.jpg Chris Whitfield's 'A Look Ahead': DHS golfers aim for region titles

    This season, high school golf teams in Murray and Whitfield counties — with a few exceptions — have struggled to put up strong scores on the course. Beyond that, in some cases local schools don’t even have the required amount of golfers to register a team score at region tournaments, per Georgia High School Association rules, with hopes of making the sectional and state tournaments.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area middle school roundup: Martinez comes through for Kodiaks

    Carlos Martinez scored twice to lead New Hope Middle School’s boys soccer team to a crucial 2-1 win over visiting Bagley on Wednesday.

    April 21, 2014

  • DHS at SE soccer 4 mlh.jpg Region 7-4A championship

    If recent history is any indication, this week’s Region 7-4A championship game may not be the last time the boys soccer teams at Dalton and Southeast Whitfield stand opposed to one another this season.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • St Louis at Rampage 4 mlh.jpg No Attack for Rampage

    The Georgia Rampage’s offense didn’t do anything in the first half — evident by the scoreboard.
    By the time new quarterback Bart Gloyd stepped in, a comeback was out of reach.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo