Coweta Sports 2012 had share of ups and downs


In May, Northgate alum Will Smith made his major league pitching debut after being called up from the minor leagues by the Kansas City Royals. He rejoined the team again in July.

Sports writers Chris Goltermann and Doug Gorman took a look back on the last 12th months of The Newnan Times-Herald’s sports pages, compiling a list of highlights from throughout the year.
Jan. 5 — Newnan and East Coweta wrestling teams finish third and fourth, respectively, at the Area 2-AAAAA Duals at Newnan’s old gym, each qualifying for the state tournament.
Jan. 9 — In the first basketball meeting of the season, East Coweta teams hold off Newnan. The Indians got 21 points from Michael Anthony in a 62-58 victory while Cierra Davison’s 15 points led the Lady Indians to a 54-47 win.
Jan. 14 — The Georgia High School Association announces its plans for reclassification that would place East Coweta and Newnan into Region 3-AAAAAA with Douglas County, Tri-Cities, Langston Hughes and Westlake. Northgate would be placed in a subdivided Region 4-AAAAA while joined by rivals McIntosh, Starr’s Mill, Whitewater along with newcomer Creekside in its subdivision.
Jan. 25 — The Senior Bowl Hall of Fame announced that Senoia native and East Coweta High alumnus Keith Brooking was going to be one of its newest members.
Feb. 1 — Former East Coweta baseball assistant and ex-Atlanta Braves pitcher Rick Behenna died after an extended bout with cancer. In his final years, Behenna established the Newnan Braves summer baseball team in the Great South League, giving college-level athletes a chance to stay active during the offseason.

Feb. 1 — National Signing Day saw four Newnan High senior football players and three from Northgate ink letters of intent. Three seniors from East Coweta also signed and football tight end Cole Trollinger accepted a preferred walk-on opportunity at the University of Georgia.

Feb. 3 — In their final basketball meeting of the regular season, Newnan’s boys and East Coweta’s girls earned victories. The Cougars avenged an earlier loss with a 71-58 victory while the Lady Indians swept the season series.

Feb. 4 — Newnan’s wrestling team captures first place at the Area 2-AAAAA Traditional tournament, led by individual champions in Tyler Causey (106), Andrew Sowerbrower (113), Caleb Spinks (138), David Finlay (170). East Coweta places fourth led by a region championship by Drew Higgins at 126 pounds.

Feb 10 — Lee Middle’s girls and Evans’ boys capture Coweta County Middle School Athletic League basketball championships. For Lee, it’s their fourth consecutive title. Evans held off a Cinderella lineup from Arnall, the No. 4 seed in the tournament.

Feb. 11 — Retired Newnan High boys basketball and track coach Harold Goodman and former Cougar football standout Roosevelt Hill are inducted into the Coweta Sports Hall of Fame, increasing the hall’s members to 71 in its first 10 years of existence.

Feb. 11 — Northgate freshman swimmer Justin Moore makes the finals in two events at the 2012 GHSA Swimming Championships. Also competing at the state meet individually were Nick Hogsed, Ashley Delgado, Kelsey Taliaferro and Michael Dean of East Coweta in addition to relays from both ECHS and Newnan.

Feb. 11 — Northgate junior Tyler Askey continued an undefeated career varsity record by advancing to the GHSA Wrestling Championships while among five county wrestlers moving on from the state sectionals. Newnan freshman Tyler Causey, junior Andrew Sowerbrower and seniors Caleb Spinks and David Finlay also advanced.

Feb. 15 — Newnan’s boys basketball team avenges a double-overtime loss to Langston Hughes by pulling off an upset of the No. 3 seeded Panthers in the Region 2-AAAAA tournament, clinching a spot in the state tournament.

Feb. 18 — Northgate junior Tyler Askey makes it 3-for-3 at the GHSA Wrestling Championships while upping his record to 152-0 in varsity competition. Askey would commit to the University of Virginia later in the year.

Feb. 24 — Newnan’s boys basketball team travels to Valdosta and puts a scare into the Region 1-AAAAA champion Wildcats in a 48-44 loss in the first round of the Class AAAAA state tournament.

Feb. 28 — Northgate junior defensive lineman DeAndre “Moose” Johnson verbally commits to the University of Georgia, joining Newnan junior safety Tray Matthews among Coweta players headed to Athens in 2013.


March 2 — Northgate senior second baseman Cody Bevil hits a two-out walkoff home run to beat No. 8 state-ranked Union Grove 4-3.

March 7 — Newnan resident Steve Hendricks medals in first attempt at the Double IRON Triathlon in Florida.

March 16 — Northgate’s boys and East Coweta’s girls capture respective Coweta County Golf Championships at SummerGrove Golf Club. Thunderstorms end the tournament early, but not before Lady Indian junior Ji Eun Baik posts a 37 to lead girls scorers through nine holes. The boys tournament comes down to a single stroke with the Vikings holding off Newnan 152-153.

March 17 — Newnan native Micah Frazier cashes in on a $35,000 payday on the FLW Tour’s event on Lake Hartwell. The 23-year-old has a combined catch of 71 pounds, 11 ounces to put him over the $100,000 mark for his career earnings.

March 17 — Senoia 10-year-old Joshua Hicks earns his second consecutive Winter Flurry title in the Bandolero Bandits series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

March 17 — East Coweta’s girls track team wins a title at the Sandy Creek Invitational while scoring 124 points. Senior Zanna Zachery won the triple jump and the high jump and was a part of winning relay teams.

March 21 — The Georgia High School Association, with hopes of limiting heat related illnesses during the high school football season, announces new restrictions regarding temperatures at practices.

March 23 — Newnan right-hander Derrick Nelson allows just two hits in a 2-0 shutout victory over East Coweta in the first baseball meeting of the 2012 season.

March 26 — The annual Coweta Cup soccer tournament begins with Northgate lineups holding off Newnan in a doubleheader including a 2-1 girls win via penalty kicks.

March 28 — The second Coweta Cup soccer doubleheader of the season features a pair of shutouts by East Coweta.

March 29 — East Coweta’s boys track team and Northgate’s girls claimed titles in the Coweta County Track & Field Championships. The Indians finished with 64 points paced by seniors Willie Holloway, Michael Collins and David Singleton. The Lady Vikings finished with 68 points in an effort led by Kemor Anderson and Hailey Gollnick.

March 30 — East Coweta closes out the Coweta Cup soccer tournament with a pair of victories over Northgate to claim respective 2012 crowns.


April 8 — East Coweta senior Zanna Zachery and Newnan sophomore Immanuel Griggs earn The Newnan Times-Herald Player of the Year honors on the newspaper’s annual All-County Basketball Team. Zachery was joined by teammate Ciarra Davidson, Northgate’s Lyric Underwood and Newnan seniors Durnecia Hill, Katia Roberts and Kierra Clark. The boys team included Newnan players Doniel Dean and Maurice Arnold in addition to Griggs. East Coweta senior Michael Anthony, Northgate senior John Perry and senior Kyle Kimsey of The Heritage School were also honored.

April 11 — Newnan High’s girls tennis team repeated as Region 2-AAAAA champions while East Coweta’s boys placed a strong second overall behind only powerhouse Westlake.

April 13 — East Coweta’s boys lacrosse team ended a four-year winless stretch against Newnan’s program by defeating the Cougars for the first time with a 13-11 victory. Meanwhile, Newnan’s girls continued its unbeaten streak over East Coweta with a 14-3 win at home.

April 14 —East Coweta senior shooter Kelsey Moral wrapped up her varsity career by competing at the GHSA Riflery Championships. Moral was dominating during the regular season while earning a scholarship with Columbus State.

April 17 — Heritage School tennis standout Joe Sterrey successfully defended his Class AA singles title while leading seven All-State honorees at the annual GISA Individual Tennis Tournament. Hamza Khan, Isabel Dennis and doubles teams of Andrea Mayen and Abbie Farr, and Grayson Parker and Alex Carter received All-State status.

April 19 — Needing a victory to stay in contention for the Class AAAA baseball playoffs, right-handed pitcher Robert Massenburg came through with a no-hit effort of McIntosh while Viking second baseman Cody Bevil continued a season of clutch hitting with a leadoff homer that provided the only run of a 1-0 victory.

April 19 — The Heritage School girls soccer team needed penalty kicks to claim its fifth consecutive region soccer championship, holding off LaGrange Academy on the road.

April 20 — The Region 2-AAAAA track and field meet included individual titles by Newnan senior Jalen Bolton in the long jump and East Coweta senior Willie Holloway in the shot. A total of six girls athletes and four boys advanced to the state sectionals.

April 20 — Northgate sophomore Toya Jantzen captured the girls high jump at the Region 3-AAAA track and field championships. Kemor Anderson and Hailey Gollnick also qualified for the state sectionals.

April 24 — In a battle for second place in Region 2-AAAAA, Newnan held off rival East Coweta with a 6-3 baseball victory on the road.

April 24 — Northgate’s boys golf team repeated as Region 3-AAAA boys golf champions in competition at Canongate-on-White Oak. Seniors Payton Usher and Connor Edwards each fired rounds of 2-over 74 to lead the Vikings. Edwards signed a scholarship with Reinhardt while Usher earned a football scholarship from Mercer University.

April 24 — East Coweta junior golfer Ji Eun Baik continued a tremendous season by dominating at the Region 2-AAAAA golf tournament. Baik’s round of 71 was the top overall score among boys and girls during play at The Oaks in Covington. Newnan senior Trevor Smith put on a remarkable rally to earn boys low medalist honors with a 75 after making the turn at 7-over.

April 25 — The Heritage School’s tennis program added two more GISA team titles to its trophy case with both the Hawks and Lady Hawks capturing championships.

April 26 — Northgate defeats subregion champion Union Grove in a deciding third game of its region playoff series to advance to the Class AAAA baseball playoffs behind a 14-7 victory.

April 28 — Trinity Christian junior Thiago D’Elia shared his experience after being selected for ESPN’s “My Wish” series. D’Elia received a chance to meet hero LeBron James and attend a practice and a game with the Miami Heat. The ESPN segment aired in mid-July. D’Elia is a cancer survivor who continues to play on the Lions varsity basketball team.

April 28 — Heritage School track athletes Ruthie Powell captured high points honores for the Lady Hawks at the GISA Class AA Track and Field Meet in Albany. Both Alexis Pappas and Chase Parker also scored in multiple events.


May 2 — Hosting respective first-round Class AAAAA girls soccer matches, both Newnan and East Coweta advance with shutout victories. The Lady Cougars dominated Colquitt County 10-0 while the Lady Indians blanked Valdosta 6-0.

May 2 — Evans’ boys and Lee’s girls capture respective track titles at the Coweta County Middle School Athletic League Championships on a record-setting day. Lee finished with 102 points led by Ayanna Reid’s record time in the hurdles. Arnall’s girls placed second behind three wins from Aliyah Whisby including a record-setting effort in the high jump. Evans’ boys posted 92 points in a tight race with Lee (88) and Arnall (87) for top honors.

May 4 — The GHSA baseball playoffs began with both Northgate and East Coweta sweeping into the second round. Spencer Perry’s walkoff homer capped of a pair of wins over Lovejoy. The Indians, meanwhile, knocked off Lowdnes in two straight on the road. Newnan split its doubleheader with Tift County at home with the Blue Devils forcing a deciding Game 3. The Cougars couldn’t recover, falling the following day at home, 7-2.

May 4 — Northgate’s first trip to the boys state tennis tournament eeded with a loss to Starr’s Mill in the Elite 8 after being led by senior Jordan Chastain, who signed with Abraham-Baldwin.

May 7 — Newnan senior golfer Trevor Smith, headed to Coastal Georgia on a scholarship, ended his varsity career with a runner-up finish in Class AAAAA at the GHSA Golf Championships, held together at 10 sites in Augusta for the first time. Smith fired a 3-under 69 at Champions Retreat. East Coweta junior Ji Eun Baik placed third in the Class AAAAA girls event, her second consecutive finish in the top 5 at the state level.

May 8 — East Coweta’s boys lacrosse team won its first state playoff game, rallying at home to defeat Grayson 14-12 behind Bronson Smith’s 51st goal of the year in the closing minute.

May 9 — Newnan’s girls lacrosse team advanced to the Class AAAAA Sweet 16 following an 8-4 victory over North Gwinnett. Senior McKynsey Douglas, headed to Coastal Carolina on a scholarship, had four goals for the Lady Cougars.

May 10 — East Coweta senior Willie Holloway caps off his varsity track career with a Class AAAAA title in the shot put. A year earlier, Holloway was denied by three consecutive scratches. This time around, he put together a throw of 54-7 on his first attempt.

May 21 — The Heritage School baseball team advanced to the GISA Class AA semifinals with a 10-0 victory over Citizens Christian. Sophomore Brian McKinney went the distance on the mound for the Hawks, allowing two hits. The Hawks were eventually eliminated in the Final Four by Brentwood.

May 22 — One-time Northgate High pitching ace Will Smith receives his first call to the major leagues, joining the Kansas City Royals from Triple-A Omaha. His first start will be in Yankee Stadium.

May 24 — Northgate alum and University of Tennessee tennis senior Natalie Pluskota adds her third and fourth All-American status during NCAA Tournament action at the Dan McGill Tennis Complex in Athens.

May 25 — Newnan lacrosse teammates McKynsey Douglas and Maggie McDaniel share Co-Player of the Year honors on The Newnan Times-Herald’s annual All-County Girls Lacrosse Team. McDaniel finished with 62 goals and 5 assists and earned a scholarship from Piedmont College. Douglas, headed to Coastal Carolina, finished with 75 goals and 15 assists.

May 26 — Natalie Pluskota advances to the NCAA Final Four with Tennessee doubles partner Kata Szekely with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 victory over Florida’s Lauren Embree and Joanne Mather.

May 26 — East Coweta lacrosse teammates Bronson Smith and Jacob Shiver share Co-Player of the Year honors on the Times-Herald’s annual All-County Boys Lacrosse Team. Smith led the Indians with 51 goals and Shiver was the team’s top defender.

May 29 — Will Smith picks up his first career major league victory for the Kansas City Royals in an 8-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.

May 31 — Newnan senior sweeper Grace Gresham and East Coweta senior midfielder Jordan Grant share Co-Player of the Year honors on The Newnan Times-Herald’s annual All-County Girls Soccer Team.


June 2 — Northgate graduates Cody Bevil and Ty Alvey played and pitched for the Southwest team in the Georgia Dugout Club All-Star game. Alvey pitched three innings of shutout baseball, while Bevil, who was the Newnan Times-Herald Player of the Year, went 4-for-5 in three games.

June 7 — Newnan graduate and University of Texas Chalonda Goodman finished 19th in the 200-meters at the NCAA meet in Des Moines.

June 7 — Defending Thursday Thunder Bandolero Bandit’s Champion Josh Hicks starts the 2012 season with a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

June 8 — Northgate graduate and current junior at the United State’s Military Academy Zachary Wells finished sixth in the Junior Men’s Air Rifle Championships at Fort Benning.

June 12 — Fifteen-year-old golfer Annie Swords reached the round of 16 at the Women’s Match Play at Sunset Hills in Carrollton before being eliminated Nikki Crowley.

June 27 — Ji Eun Baik finishes third to qualify for the USGA Girls Junior Amateur in San Francisco.

June 28 — Newnan native Chalonda Goodman advanced to the semifinals of the 200-meter U.S. Olympic Trials advancing to with the fourth best finish with a time of 23.28.


July 3 — Northgate and recent University of Tennessee graduate Natalie Pluskota defeated Mary Anne Macfarlane 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-4 to win a U.S. Open Sectional.

July 4 — More than 600 registered runners from Coweta County take part in the annual 5K Peachtree Road Race. Mike Caldwell had the best finish among local runners turning in a 206th-place finish.

July 15 — Ji Eun Baik makes cut at USGA Girls Junior Amateur after firing rounds of 79 and 80 at Lake Merced just outside of San Francisco.

July 25 — Former Northgate pitcher Will Smith and current member of the Kansas City Royals earned his second victory in the majors with a two-hit performance over the Los Angeles Angels. Smith struck out four and walked four as part of the team’s 4-1 win.

July 28 — Josiah Quinn takes gold in the 9-year-old race-walk at the Junior Olympics in Texas. Qunn was one of three members of his family to compete in Texas. Borthers Samuel, and Ryan all ran at the Junior Olympics.


Aug. 1 — Football practices start for local teams squads as they battle heat in preparation for 2012 season.

Aug. 2 — Northgate’s Hailey Gollnick finished ninth in the 15-16-year-old 1500 meters, and East Coweta’s Courtleen Burke finished ninth in the 13-14-year-old 800 meters.

Aug. 14 — The East Coweta volleyball team stuns Lovett 25-12, 25-15 in an early season match. Lovett entered the year as the top-ranked team in Class AA. Lovett went on later in the year to capture the GHSA Class AA title.

Aug. 17 — The Newnan Cougars tuned up for the regular season with a 21-14 victory in a preseason game against Griffin in the first football game at the newly renovated Drake Stadium.

Aug. 24 — The Newnan Cougars got a jump on the 2012 football season, opening a week earlier than most teams with a 38-29 victory over Marietta on the road. Newnan outscored Marietta 21-8 in the fourth quarter. It was an opportunity for Newnan assistant coach Hap Hines to coach against his alma mater. Hines was a standout football player at Marietta before going on the University of Georgia as a punter.

Aug. 31 — Newnan beats LaGrange and East Coweta rolls past Henry County in the first full week of football action. Northgate comes up just short on the road at Heritage-Conyers. In GISA action, the Heritage School beats Flint River, while Trinity Christian falls to John Milledge.


Sept. 6 — It took eight years, but the East Coweta Indians snagged the Coweta County volleyball tournament away from Northgate with victories over both the Lady Vikings and Newnan Lady Cougars.

Sept .6 — The East Coweta Lady Indians beat rival Newnan 2-0 on the softball diamond paced by pitcher Megan Chocallo’s seven strikeouts. It was the first of

Sept 7 — Heritage School’s Candler Rich ran wild in his team’s 59-22 victory over Dominon Christian, scoring on punt returns of 71 and 65 yards, a 22-yard rushing play, a 96-yard kick return and a 55-yard interception.

Sept. 14 — The Newnan Cougars scored three touchdowns in less than three minutes in the fourth quarter to rally past Troup 21-14 to move their record to 3-1.

Sept. 18  — Less than a full month into the 2012 football season, Northgate High longtime athletic trainer Dale Krach passes at the age of 65. Krach, who worked through his final days despite a long battle with cancer, was preparing to retire in December

Sept. 26 — Northgate rallied for a 3-2 victory over Newnan in the final game of the regular season MacKenzie McCloud drove in two runs to push the Lady Vikings out front for good in the fourth.

Sept. 28 — The Heritage School Hawks improve their record to 5-0 with a 42-21 win on the road at Southland Academy. It is the best start in school history for the Hawks who jumped to GISA Class AA this season.


Oct. 3 — East Coweta’s Megan Chocallo pitches one-hitter against Newnan en route to a 2-0 win in the winner’s bracket of the Region 3-AAAAAA tournament. The victory gave Lady Indian head coach Franklin Deloach his 300 career softball win.

Oct. 4 — The Lady Indians beat Newnan for the second straight day, 5-4 to win the Region 3-AAAAAA softball title.

Oct. 10 — Newnan, East Coweta, and Northgate all earn first-round victories at the state softball tournament.

Oct. 12 — The Heritage School moves to 6-0 with victory over Mount de Sales, while East Coweta, and Newnan each get wins.

Oct. 13 — The East Coweta Lady Indians’ volleyball team captured the Area 2-AAAAAA title with a 25-18, 25-17 and 25-15 victory over Newnan in the finals. Both team earned a spot at the state tournament.

Oct. 17 — The East Coweta Indians advanced to the Elite 8 in Columbus for eighth straight year with a 9-1 and 8-2 sweep over Colquitt County.

Oct. 18 — Western Kentucky-bound softball player Andie Martin hit three home runs in the third and deciding game against Effingham County as the Lady Vikings rolled to a 12-3 decision to earn a spot at the Elite 8 in Columbus.

Oct 18 — Both Newnan and Northgate get victories in the the first round of the GHSA volleyball tournament. Newnan knocked off McEachern, while Northgate beat Glynn Academy.

Oct. 19 — East Coweta gets 44-15 victory over Tri-Cities on homecoming. It was the second win in a row for the Indians, and the victory moved them to 2-0 in Region 3-AAAAAA and to the top of the region standings.

Oct. 20 — In cross country, Northgate’s Hailey Goolnick and Newnan’s Matthew Miller won the Coweta Cup. Northgate captured the overall team title.

Oct. 23 — Northgate’s Lady Vikings earn a berth in the Class AAAAA Elite 8 volleyball tournament with win over Apalachee.

Oct. 27— Softball season ends for Northgate and East Coweta at the Elite 8. East Coweta fell 3-2 to Kennesaw Mountain, while Greenbrier eliminated Northgate 12-11.

Oct. 30 — Madras beats Smokey Road 12-8 to capture CCMSAL football title.


Nov. 2 — The Northgate Vikings defeated McIntosh 34-13 behind Benton Washington’s 161 yards and T.J. Womack’s 141 yards. The win kept Northgate in contention for a playoff spot.

Nov. 9 — It was rivalry week on the football field in Coweta County as Newnan stormed to a 21-7 victory over East Coweta and Heritage School knocked off Trinity Christian 29-14.

Nov. 10 — Playing on a Saturday night on the road, Northgate closed out the football season with a 15-3 victory over Mundy’s Mill to earn the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 4-AAAAA. It was the Vikings’ second straight trip to the playoffs.

Nov. 16 — The first-round of the playoffs started off on a high note for three teams in Coweta County as Newnan knocked off Alcovy 38-0, East Coweta beat Newton 25-20 and Heritage took a 42-27 win over Pinewood in GISA action.

Nov. 17 — The Heritage Christian Schools hopes of bringing home an Independent Schools of Georgia and Alabama 8-man football title ended against Ballard Christian in a 38-28 loss. It was the second meeting of the year between the two schools. Earlier in the season, Heritage Christian knocked off Ballard Christian, a team from Auburn, Ala.,

Nov. 23 — The Heritage School Hawks reach first title game with a 42-10 win over Westfield School paced by Candler Rich who scored four times in the first half. East Coweta and Newnan weren’t as lucky. Newnan lost to Colquitt County 26-23 and East Coweta fell to Camden County 34-14 on the road in th second round of the GHSA playoffs.

Nov. 30 — The Heritage School Hawks best season ever came to a disappointing end with a 27-19 loss to Deerfield-Windsor in Albany in the GISA Class AA state finals. The contest came down to the last play of the game with the Hawks moving the ball down into the Deefield-Windsor red zone. However, quarterback Joe Bonner’s attempt to hit Candler Rich in the corner of the end zone was broke up.

Nov. 30 — Longtime athletic trainers Lloyd Knott of East Coweta and James “Radar” Brantley of Newnan work their final days at respective schools while planning to retire.


Dec. 4 — For the second year in a row the Northgate swim teams swept the annual tri-meet, defeating both Newnan and East Coweta.

Dec. 12 — In one of the closes tri-meets in recent history, the East Coweta wrestling team was named county champions. The tournament came down to using the third tiebreaker of takedowns after the Indians and Newnan Cougars wrestled to a 39-all tie. The tiebreaker was needed after East Coweta and Newnan each beat Northgate in their matches.

Dec. 13 — The Lee girls defeated Madras 2-1 on penalty kicks to capture the CCMSAL title, while the Madras boys beat Lee 2-1 to win the boys title.

Dec. 14 — It might been a new rivalry, but the Heritage School and Trinity Christian basketball teams split a doubleheader with the Lady Lions beating the Lady Hawks 47-44, and the Hawks rolling to a 76-53 win in boys action.

Dec 22 — Newnan defensive back Rodney Tennie and East Coweta place kicker Spencer Smith led the Central squad to a 10-0 victory over the North squad in the first D.L Scott Coalition Bowl at the Georgia Dome. With two interceptions, Tennie was named the overall MVP, while Smith, who kicked a field goal and had two punts of 50 yards, was named the team MVP.

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