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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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From Pirate to Raider – Mac Danford is moving on up

  • Published in Sports

Mac Danford took to baseball as a three-year old like a duck takes to water. For the last 15 years, he simply could not play ‘too much’ baseball. If there was a game, he was there. It mattered not if it was in Sneads, Grand Ridge, Fort Myers or New York. His parents, Randy and DeeDee Danford went the extra mile to make sure he had every opportunity to reach his potential.  Last Friday, before family, friends, teammates, students and faculty, Danford made his next step of his dream official.  He signed on the dotted line to continue his baseball playing days at Northwest Florida State College. 

Danford says he has played every position on the field in the last 15 years but is most suited for catching and mid infield. Last year at Sneads High, he held down shortstop but is looking to move behind the plate this year with last year’s starting catcher, Michael Weeks being lost to graduation.  He played rec ball in Grand Ridge, three years of middle school ball at Grand Ridge Middle and became a Sneads Pirate in the ninth grade. He has remained a Pirate and will graduate in May, 2019. 

Before deciding on NWFS, Danford looked at University of New Orleans, Jacksonville University, Chipola College and a few others but the choice was easy after his visit to NWFS, “Northwest, it’s going to sound weird but Coach Johns called me to go hit for him.  There was a bunch of top prospects over there and every guy over there made me feel like I was still home. I pulled up in the parking a lot, I was waiting on Coach.  I got there about an hour before he did and he pulled up and he said, “I like you.”  And I said, okay, well I’m here to play ball. When it’s baseball time, I’ll be here at the crack of dawn waiting on you. I just feel like I am at home. It’s a little bit different but not really.” 

Danford is very quick to give his parents credit for going the extra mile for him, “My parents have done everything, and I have a big village of people to thank.  I first off want to thank my mom and dad. They’ve shoveled so much money into this.  They’ve took me from Fort Myers to Mississippi, to Tennessee to New York when I was 12 years old. They let me go everywhere. If there is a little white ball with 108 laces on it, I was sent to follow it.  I want to say thank you to my grandparents, my coaches and just so many people who have helped me. The main people I want to thank is my mom, my dad, coach Justin, Mr. Adam (Mercer), Mrs. Jess (Mercer), they are like my second mom and dad and ever since I started travel ball they’ve just been there. Every time I see them, they are like family.  Me, Colton and Cade are like brothers and I’d love to thank them too because they are truly like brothers.”

He is the son of Randy and DeeDee Danford, the grandson of Wayne and Carolyn Johnson and Danny Danford.  He has a brother, Ryne Danford, sister Leigh Berry.  He lists his coach, Justin Chambers as family and instrumental in developing where he is in baseball.

Congratulations to Mac Danford on his accomplishments thus far and the best of luck next year as a Raider.

Lady Pirates are state bound for a shot at SIX STRAIGHT STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Published in Sports

The Lady Pirates haven’t missed a beat this season.  They are headed to Fort Myers in search of their sixth straight state championship.  This comes following a three-set win Saturday over Blountstown. Sneads won the first set 25-12 before taking sets two and three 25-17 to pave the road to state for the chance to make it six in a row.  Many of these players have three under their belt already and they are eager to duplicate the seniors from last year and make it four state titles for them also. Three seniors are in line to be able to do just that – Lacee Glover, Ariana Lee and Abby Perkins could not cap off their senior year any better than to bring home another state championship to Sneads.  The Lady Pirates are undefeated in playoff action this year, shutting down every opponent in three straight sets.  In three sets they outscored Jay 75-23, Baker 75-49 and Blountstown 75-46.

In the matchup against Blountstown Saturday, the Lady Pirates were led in kills by Ariana Lee with 10, followed by Michaela Edenfield with eight kills.  Lacee Glover and Kiara Garrett were on board with seven each, follow by Kazia Gainer with two and Jordyn Riano and Abby Perkins with one each. 

Sneads recorded 14 blocks for the team, with Abby Perkins leading with four, followed by Jordyn Riano with three. On board with one each were Lacee Glover, Kiara Garrett and Ariana Lee. 

Kazia Gainer led the team with seven blocks, followed by Michaela Edenfield with three. On board with two was Ariana Lee, while Lacee Glover and Kiara Garrett had one each. 

Lacee Glover led Sneads with 17 digs, while Abby Perkins recorded 14. On board with five each were Jada Coleman and Kiara Garrett.

Jordyn Riano recorded 36 assists for the Lady Pirates. 

Following the game, an elated coach Heather Brinkmeier was all smiles, “I think the girls showed up today and they way they performed is a testimony to the love and their passion for this game and for each other.  Every game means something, we are always playing for something, but it is something about playing Blountstown, because we know that they wanted it as much as we did. We just had that little extra something and it’s definitely going to be something I’ll never forget.”

Next stop is Fort Myers and a chance at their sixth straight state championship.  Game is scheduled for Friday (tomorrow) at 1 p.m.  Check the TIMES website and Facebook page for up to the minute coverage of the game. 

Pilot Flying J and Johnsonville feeding Jackson County

The good news continues for Jackson County in the post Michael time with yet another large undertaking to feed residents of Jackson County a hot meal.  Tuesday, November 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers as well as those who live or are visiting in Jackson County will be treated to a free hot lunch.  The saying, “There is no free lunch,” doesn’t wash with the Pilot Flying J and Johnsonville.  They will be serving Johnsonville brats, chips and water to everyone who comes by.

In an interview with William Gully, III of Pilot Flying J’s home office Wednesday morning, he said, “Pilot Flying J and Johnsonville are partnering to provide a free lunch to the residents in Marianna and volunteers as we just really help the area to rebuild following Hurricane Michael. They have partnered with us.  And this Big Taste Grill, it’s basically a 65-foot truck outfitted to cook more than 750 brats at a time. It’s going to be on site there at our store in Marianna, there on Highway 71 this coming Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will have our pilot volunteers there to serve lunch to any community attendees. It will be a great menu.”

Johnsonville Grillmaster Jay and his team will be at the truck stop grilling up good food and good will for the community. The Big Taste Grill has not only been sharing the great taste of grilled bratwurst with fans nationwide, but also raising money for local nonprofits. To date, the Big Taste has raised more than $4 million for charities and disaster-relief efforts. 

Gully says about how many they are planning to serve, “As many as it takes, if we have 1400, we will do them, whatever the turnout is, we are going to be ready with the brats.”  He says they will be there for three hours and will feed everyone who comes to the Big Taste Grill.

Pilot Flying J took over and converted it in October, 1995 from the original truck stop.  They have served the Marianna area for 23 years.  

Greenwood Supermarket and Deli up in flames Tuesday night

The Greenwood Supermarket and Deli went up in flames Tuesday night. Firefighters responded to the call shortly before 9 p.m. and battled until the wee hours of the morning Wednesday. The news of the fire traveled throughout the area within a very short time that the metal and brick structure everyone loved to visit in Greenwood was in trouble. 

As firefighters from neighboring towns battled the blaze, locals gathered in disbelief that ‘their store’ was in danger of being demolished by fire.  A young girl arrived, parked in the adjacent parking lot and stood with tears streaming down, “I can’t believe this, how much more can our town endure. This store had the nicest people ever and they are like family to everyone here. I don’t know what the people here will do. It was so close and had everything we needed.”  Once the news made it to social media, it was flooded with thoughts, prayers and disbelief that ‘their store’ was gone.

Amanda Harkrider, “Oh no, this makes me sad,” was followed by “I hate it so bad,” from Spring Richardson Southwell. “Heartbreaking,” “So sad, breaks my heart,” “I hate to hear this. So many in this area depend upon this store.”  The comments went on and on but all conveyed what a loss it was to the community that depended so heavily on the store.

Owner Bill Smith knew what the town of Greenwood wanted and needed when he opened the market. He provided fresh meat, good service and a variety of what the residents of Greenwood needed. He added a deli that was more popular than hot cakes. On any given day, from the time breakfast was ready until two in the afternoon, there was a stead stream of customers making their way into the store’s deli for a fresh, hot, and comparable to any home-cooked meal around.  Some were regulars for breakfast while others opted for lunch but there were a chosen few that had their taste buds tantalized twice a day.

Reports of how the fire started were not available at press time, nor was a comment from the owners. The TIMES will follow up with that information when it is made available. 

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