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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Cottondale wins on homecoming night

  • Published in Sports

Cottondale has found a way to win, win, win this year, improving to 6-1 last Friday night after a solid 32-8 win over the Wewa Gators.  The win was even sweeter because it was the Hornets homecoming week and what better way to cap off homecoming week than with a win!  

Cottondale scored first to make it an 8-0 game with Wewa coming back to tie it up at eight.  Cottondale hunkered down defensively and shut out the Gators for the remaining three quarters of the game, while their offense continued to mount a lead.  The Hornets added another touchdown in the first quarter, going up 16-8.  Neither team managed to cross into the promised land in the second quarter.

Coach Tyler Addison must have had some words of wisdom and motivation for the players at the half because they came out with a gleam in their eyes that let everyone know they were in it to win it.  The gleam was justified in the end as Cottondale added a touchdown in both the third and fourth quarters to make it a 32-8 homecoming win.  

Cameron Brooks was one of four passing for ten yards, but excelled on the ground.  Brooks led the team with 216 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns.  Dominique Pittman rushed for 123 yards on 12 carries and one touchdown.  Dalvin Barnes carried the ball once for 15 yards, with Amari Banks picking up three yards on one carry.  Brady Hill had one reception for 10 yards.  

Senior Will Price led the Hornets with 11 tackles, followed by sophomore Jimmy Price with eight tackles.  Senior Austin Livingston recorded seven tackles, followed by junior Eriq Hendricks with six tackles. Khalil Shackelford recorded five tackles, while Levi Davis had three, Cameron Brooks, Xavier Brown, Tyrus Dudley, Amari Banks, BJ Gray and Dominique Pittman all pulled down two tackles each.  On board with one tackle was Payton Melvin.  

Cottondale will travel to Franklin County Friday night to take on the Seahawks who are 4-3 on the season and 3-1 in district play.  They are coming off a 55-32 win over Lighthouse Christian, and will be looking for their fifth win in a row after starting the season 0-3.  Cottondale will be in line for their third win in a row and moving to 7-1 on the season. 

MHS Golf setting records - 6-peat district championship is in the books

  • Published in Sports

The Marianna High School golf team are district champions after defeating Chipley, Holmes County, North Bay Haven, and Walton high schools solidly Monday at Sunny Hills Golf Course.  No big deal you say – This year’s district championship makes it six in a row for the Bulldogs, a feat unmatched by any team previously.  

Coach Tyler Wilson is in his fifth year at Marianna High School, having competed there prior to his graduation in 2008.  Wilson knows what it’s like to compete in golf, advancing to regionals and state when he was a player there.  

The Bulldogs shot a 327, with Holmes County being the next closest team coming in at 390.  North Bay Haven took the third spot with a 402.  Marianna shot 63 points under the closest team behind them.  

Ethan Sapp was the man of the hour Monday for Marianna, shooting a 73, followed by Will Saunders who came in with an 81.  Nick Walker shot an 86, with Hunter Mitchell on board with an 87.  Sapp bogied the last hole to shoot the 73. 

Following the match, Wilson was a happy camper, “They did well.  Ethan had a great day on the course.  I think we can do better though and in order to get past regionals, we will have to dig a little deeper.  The guys are excited and I am proud for them.”

Principal Hunter Nolen says to his knowledge this is a first for MHS, “I don’t know that any team has won six straight district championships.  We are very proud of Coach Wilson and the golf team.  They have done great this year and for five years before this.  We are anxiously awaiting next week’s regional tournament.”  

The team will travel to Seminole Golf Course Monday for a practice round before returning for regional competition Tuesday.  Tee off times were not set at press time.  

Golson Elementary recognizes Jackson County Heroes

Golson Elementary had every intention of having a 911 program ready to roll on Monday, September 11 but the threat of Hurricane Irma brought those plans to a screeching halt.  With school out Friday the 8th, Monday and Tuesday, the 11th and 12th, the program had to be canceled.  Not to be outdone by a small delay, principal Amy Allen alerted her teachers and staff that the recognition would still happen, but would be delayed to a later date.  Last Friday was the day for Golson to show all Jackson County first responders how much they are appreciated.

The entire faculty, staff, and student body turned out for Friday’s event.  It was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Representatives from the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Public Utilities, the Jackson County Fire & Rescue, the Jackson County Sheriff’s office, the Marianna Fire Department, and the Marianna Police Department were present and called out for their work and dedication to keeping Jackson County safe and with electricity.

Florida Public Utilities brought two of their trucks and proudly displayed the United States of America flag between the two.  Everyone stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem played by the Marianna Middle School band.  Everyone was blessed with the voice of Anthony Severson singing Gold Bless the USA. 

Pastor Lavon Pettis from Evangel Worship Center addressed the students, told them what a great land we live in, how awesome our first responders were, and addressed each and every department represented with a round of applause and the raising of their flags by the Golson student body.  

Following the event, Allen was close to speechless, “This is just fantastic.  I don’t know when I have been so moved by such an awesome event. This was a 9-11 remembrance day and it was my desire to help the students understand who our true heroes are, those who serve others and put others’ needs before themselves.  I am truly blessed with the best staff and best students ever.”  

Groundbreaking for K-8 school a huge success

The weather was perfect and the attendance was better than anyone could have imagined Thursday afternoon at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new K-8 school.  The school is a dream fulfilled by countless hours of work by so many over the last four years.  

Present at the ceremony were constitutional officers, teachers, staff from schools throughout Jackson County, businessmen, citizens throughout the county, school board members past and present, Superintendent of Schools Larry Moore and past Superintendent of Schools Steve Benton.  

The dream began and faltered for lacking of funding until 2016 when the Florida legislature approved the funding and the plans were ready to be executed.  

The shovels were in place and everyone played a part in the ceremonial first dig of the dirt.  

For former Superintendent of Schools, Steve Benton, this was a dream he had spent countless hours working towards bringing the dream to fruition.  He outlined for the TIMES the road to getting to the groundbreaking last Thursday afternoon, “The groundbreaking event recently held for the new K-8 school was indeed a joyous event. It has been a long journey to reach this stage of progress in the pursuit of better facilities in which to educate our children.”

Benton continued, “I’m often asked why and how I initiated the building of a K-8 school in Marianna.   Well, here’s the explanation of how the K-8 school first came to my mind.     Shortly after taking office as school superintendent in 2012, I was informed that the walls of a classroom at MMS had slipped off the foundation and it was going to cost ten thousand dollars to repair. I asked if the district had inquired about special facilities monies from the state. The answer I received was, ‘No, it wouldn’t do any good because the state would not give us the money.’ I then questioned why it was believed that the state wouldn’t give us funds, and I was told that we needed three new schools (Golson, Riverside and MMS) and the state would not build three schools. My reply was that we would ask for one K-8 school, not three schools. The response was, ‘What is a K-8?’  I explained, ‘We will put all three schools together.’”

Benton said once it became clear that the dream could become a reality, he began looking for a location. “With the possibility of the new school in mind, I noticed the Tipton 80-acre farm on the Greenwood highway was for sale. It appeared to be the perfect site for the new K-8 school since it is very close to the new M.H.S. and would save the district significant money in bus transportation. I contacted the realtor to get the price of the land and then talked to Mrs. Kathy Sneads, district finance director, about finding monies to purchase the property, which she did.  Next, I emailed the board and Frank Bondurant, board attorney at the time, about the possibility of pursuing a new K-8 school and about purchasing the 80 acres. Mr. Bondurant immediately called me and asked about my intentions. He then informed me that he could acquire the 92 acres across from the Tipton farm from the city at no cost to the school board.”

Benton said, “Time passed on and the board was not quite sold on the idea until we came up with the cost savings analysis. At this time, Dr. Terry Nichols immediately became a strong supporter and convinced the board that this was a great opportunity.”

Benton said the process was an ordeal in itself with having to go through a lot of red tape, “In order to apply for special facilities from the state you must have a site and building plans. The board agreed to commit the necessary $850,000 to start the funding process. The Department of Education made a site visit of the three schools to be replaced and quickly deemed Jackson County as a critical needs district.”  

With that bad news meaning good news for our county education system, Benton said, “We presented our project to the state department and we were placed in ranking order to be considered for special needs monies from the state legislature. It has been a long five-year process, but the Florida legislature finally accepted our project and the funding is now in place. Jackson County was provided nineteen million dollars this past spring in special facilities funding and will be provided an additional nineteen million dollars each year for the next two years. The total project is fifty-seven million with the state providing forty-nine million and Jackson County paying back eight million over the next three years from monies provided through the half-cent sales tax.”

Benton closed with saying “I greatly appreciate Mr. Frank Bondurant and Dr. Terry Nichols on the local level.  Without the support of these two individuals my vision of a new K-8 school becoming a reality would not have been possible.  On the state level, I am very appreciative to Senator Don Gaetz, Senator George Gainer and Representative Brad Drake. Additionally, Chuck Roberts with Culpepper Construction was instrumental in lobbying the legislature. I am particularly proud of Senator Bill Montford who is also C.E.O. of the Florida Association of School District Superintendents.  Although he is not a Jackson County Senator, he guided me through the process and used his influence in the Florida legislature to help acquire the new K-8 school.”

Benton was very happy to be a part of the groundbreaking ceremony, “I am extremely excited to see the K-8 school project becoming a reality.  It’s always been my desire and my goal to see that the students in our district receive the best education possible. Providing our students with one of the safest facilities in the state of Florida is certainly a giant step in the right direction. I am very pleased to have been an integral part of this process and I look forward to seeing our students attending the completed K-8 school.”

Superintendent of Schools Larry Moore was all smiles last Thursday, “I am very appreciative of all the work that has gone into the K-8 project thus far.  I especially want to thank Stuart Wiggins for the work he has done and the support of the members of the School Board.  Our Legislative delegation deserves a lot of credit for their efforts in getting the funding approved.  I would again like to thank the citizens of Jackson County for their investment in our children’s future.  The completion of the new school will provide a much need State of the Art energy efficient facility for our students and teachers to utilize for many years to come.”

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