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Archives 09-30-2009

Sports

LA golfer gets Make-A-Wish dream while battling cancer
Junior Wildcats fall to White County
Wildcats defeat Warriors in overtime

LA Volleyball endures tough losses
Outlaws overwhelm Fentress Co. Gold

LA golfer gets Make-A-Wish dream while battling cancer
By Craig Delk,
Herald-Citizen Sports Editor

Opponents of Livingston Academy’s golf team may be a bit surprised when they first see one of the Lady Wildcats players riding in a golf cart. But once they know the story of Courtney Livingston, they’re more than happy to see her on the course. The junior has battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma since late last year, and has been an inspiration to teammates and opponents alike.

“They take a lot from it,” LA Golf Coach Patty Dale said of her team. “They know she’s worked hard and they understand, and I know they have (benefited). I’m lucky this year to have a real close golf team.”

Livingston found out she had Hodgkin’s the day after Thanksgiving in 2008, and had to spend the second half of the school year on home-bound. Initially, the Livingston family thought the ailment wasn’t as serious.

“She had a knot that came up on her neck, on one of her lymph nodes,” her father Bret recalled. “The first time we went to the doctor with it, he felt it, and the protocol on it is it’s an infection. They gave her antibiotics and told her to come back in 10 days.”

But it turned out it wasn’t a simple sickness.

“Within the 10 days, the knot had doubled in size,” Bret said. “That day, we did a cat scan, it showed a mass, and we didn’t know what (it was). We did the biopsy from there, and the wait from the biopsy was 10-14 days. The day we found out what it was, we were at Vanderbilt that evening.”

Added Courtney, “I was just sad and upset (upon finding out about the cancer).”

From there, Courtney went through with treatments that kept her away from school.

“The doctors gave us the steps we had to go through, and we just had to attack it,” Bret said. “Once we found out what we were up against, what type of cancer it was and the treatments, we had to attack it.”

Courtney’s mother, Yvette “Sissy” Livingston, said Courtney’s demeanor during the treatments helped them cope as parents.

“She’s really strong. She’s a lot stronger than either of us,” Sissy said. “She never one time has ever complained, and she’s just held her head up and didn’t want anyone to know she was sick or that anything was any different about her than any other teenager.”

Added Bret, “It just helps you mentally to know that she could have laid around and done nothing and laid there and died. But her getting up and being strong, it’s really helped us.”

During that time, Courtney got a visit from the Make-a-Wish Foundation letting her know she was eligible for their program.

Her wish? A mechanical bull.

Bret said the request took volunteers Bill Gibson and Alice Peek by surprise.

“(Gibson) kind of chuckled and said, ‘You’re kidding, aren’t you?’,” Bret recalled.

“She said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ And he said, ‘Well, that’s what we’re in the business for is to see if we can make it happen. We don’t know that we can, but we’re gonna try.’”

Added Courtney, “They were like, ‘We’ve never done that before, but it will be good.’ They decided to do it.”

The mechanical bull that the foundation bought did not work, but the Livingstons were able to borrow one from local bull rider Cody Brewer to have the party with.

“It was pretty fun,” Courtney said of the party and the mechanical bull. “I love those things.”

At the start of this school year, Courtney was able to return and be a part of the golf team, which made her happy.

“It was better,” she said. “There was more stuff to do. I didn’t have to sit at home all the time.”

Dale agreed.

“I think it’s done a lot for her. It’s really boosted her self-confidence, and it’s really helped her this year,” she said. “This is the one thing she loves to do and wants to do.

“She’s always smiling every time she shows up at the golf course, unless she’s really, really tired. Then she looks up at me with those eyes,” Dale said with a laugh.

But the Livingstons also found out the cancer had come back, meaning Courtney had to undergo radiation treatments. After going through those treatments, Sissy said Courtney’s energy level is starting to get better.

“It’s a good feeling to see her out of bed and on the golf course, getting out with friends,” she said. “Because she had lost touch with most all of her friends. When you have to be at the hospital every day and don’t feel like talking to anyone, you lose touch pretty quickly with the world around you.”

“We’re still not out of the woods yet, and we understand that,” Bret added. “We’ve gotta go back (September 17) for another scan, then we’ll know more about it then.”

In the meantime, Dale is enjoying the positive impact Courtney has on the team. In fact, the team will jockey to see who can play alongside Courtney.

“It’s amazing, even the boys will say, ‘Courtney can go with us today, and we’ll take so and so.’ They know it’s gonna take a little longer, but they just go out of their way to make sure she’s taken care of.”

Dale said opposing coaches are also helpful with the situation.

“Most people have been touched in the family somehow by cancer,” she said. “I can just say, ‘I’ve got one little girl that’s got cancer’, and everybody will say, ‘Is she gonna ride in the cart.’ And I say, ‘As long as it’s all right with you.’ Every one of them have bent over backwards and have been so understanding.”

Bret credits the Livingston community with helping the family during the process, while Sissy says Courtney’s friend Logan Moore and a Vanderbilt child life worker named Miranda were big keys during the treatment. Now, Bret says Courtney is determined to overcome everything and live a normal life.

“She’s went through this treatment, and she doesn’t want anybody to know she’s sick,” Bret said. “She wants to go on like every other kid, and she wants to beat it.

She’s got a positive attitude. She’s never complained one lick.”




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Junior Wildcats fall to White County


Josh Scott photo
Overton County Jr. Wildcats surround the White County ballcarrier in Thursday’s rainsoaked home game.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Eighth Grade Night is like homecoming at the junior high level, you play someone you can beat and find it hard to lose to them. For the Overton County Junior Wildcats, they tasted that bitterness that accompanies the latter last Thursday night at Tom Davis Memorial Stadium.

On the opening kickoff taken by White County, the returner took the ball all the way to paydirt to set the tone early and score to put the Warriors up 8-0 from the get go. The score would stay that way throughout the first quarter.

After a long drive in the second quarter that consisted of 80 yards, quarterback Kaleb Qualls found the endzone from two yards out in a quarterback sneak with 26.1 seconds remaining in the half. But, the all-important PAT would fail and the Jr.

Wildcats would find themselves in a hole, 8-6, entering the locker room for halftime.

The second half began the same way the first half did, but this time with a different result. This time it was the Overton County special teams crew making plays as Peter Hollars took the kick 79 yards for the Jr. Wildcat touchdown, and after a failed PAT, the Cats were only up 12-8.

On the next play from scrimmage for the Warriors, their tailback took the ball 77 yards for the score, putting the Warriors back on top 14-12 with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter. After back and forth possessions, the Wildcats found themselves coming up short 14-12.

“As I told you earlier, we can’t win them all,” Coach Steve Mosely said to his team after the game. “Tonight, we lost to a better football team, they were a lot better than us tonight. The line is where games are won and lost, and we didn’t particularly play well there.”

Although the Jr. Cats were beaten, their coach still was proud of his team.

“You hung in there, and I like that,” he said. “We win and lose as a team, and as Paul
‘Bear’ Bryant once said, you didn’t lose, you just ran out of time.”

Defensive coordinator Dale Flatt echoed Mosely, but also pointed out the importance of the next two games, conference games against York and Cannon County.

“Those two games are very important,” Flatt explained. “We have got to get ready. I commend the effort put forth tonight, but now we have to get ready and head toward the future.”

Now the Jr. Wildcats (4-2, 3-0) will wrap up the season the next two weeks. On Thursday, Oct. 1, the Jr. Cats will travel to Jamestown to face rival York. The following week, they will travel down Highways 111 and 70 to Cannon County to face the Lions in what could be the make or break game of the year.

Coach Mosely said of the importance of the White County game and the next two weeks, “I may hate losing this game, but I still intend to win that championship.”




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Wildcats defeat Warriors in overtime

Josh Scott photo
Livingston Academy’s Creed Hayes, #2, makes a key block to free Dillon Roberts, #39, for an endzone run to score the game-tying touchdown against the Warriors of White County.


Josh Scott photo
Seth Kilgore, #62, and Brannon McCoin, #8, envelope the White County ballcarrier in Friday’s win over the Warriors.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Back around 2001, then Livingston Academy head coach Matt Eldridge took his Wildcats south to face the Warriors of White County. In one of the most bizarre finishes in high school football history, the boys from Sparta, under coach Bruce Lamb, scored two touchdowns in the final 15 seconds of regulation play to win the game. It was one of those games where “you had to have been there” to believe.

Well, some seven or eight years later, now LA Coach Lamb took the same trip Eldridge did years before, and although it was not a 14-point swing in the final 15 seconds, it was a game where mistakes, by both sides, saw what appeared to be an LA route turn into a nail biting 35-34 overtime Wildcat victory.

“That wasn’t pretty at all, “ Lamb told his victorious players after the game. “Mental mistakes, tackling mistakes, and blocking mistakes were everywhere. But you did win despite all those mistakes, which says a lot about you as a team. You won and that’s what we came down here to do.”

“We had the momentum then we kinda lost it,” explained offensive lineman Justin Hill. “We made a lot of mistakes like coach said, but we never gave up, and even when it looked pretty bad late in the game, we found a way to win. Hey, that’s fun.”
Hill and his teammates looked like they would roll through White County on Homecoming Night with ease, and jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead. Then the mistakes started piling up and in the end it took a 10-yard run by Dillon Roberts to pull out the one-point victory.

And through it all, Jake Huitt tied a Livingston Academy record by intercepting three passes, one he would return 50 yards for LA’s first touchdown of the night. Then he would add five straight point-after attempts, the final one being the margin of victory.
Huitt also had a few downsides on his night, but the soft spoken junior took the blame for his miscues.

“It was my mistake I missed the field goal (Huitt could have ended the game in regulation with a 19-yard chip shot with only seconds remaining in the game, but the kick was blocked),“ the kicker admitted. “I had the tee in the wrong position. On the interceptions, I really can’t explain them, but it seemed every time they threw a pass it was right at me. Fun night.”

It was more than fun, it was a night that saw a lot of players do a lot of good as well as bad things.

Huitt opened the LA scoring with a 50-yard interception return, then on the very next LA possession, quarterback Brannon McCoin electrified the crowd with a 68-yard burst down the sidelines only to have the run called back by a motion penalty.

McCoin would repeat the feat later in the game, going 70 yards on the same play, but would have it called back by penalties, including 15 yards he got for diving in the endzone.

“I wasn’t being a hot dog,“ Brannon admitted after the game. “They were about to catch me and I just jumped over the goal line to make sure I scored. I didn’t get upset with those two runs being called back,” he added, “but I was getting a little tired.”

Creed Hayes put LA’s second score on the board early in the second period, capping a 27-yard march with a 16-yard run. The drive started deep in Warrior territory following Huitt’s second interception of the night.

At that point, it appeared LA could have all it wanted and more. Then things changed.

The home team drove 67 yards after Hayes’ TD with its first points of the night, a 2-yard run. LA’s lead had been cut in half, 14-7.

McCoin avenged that White County score on a fine 28-yard broken field run early in the third period to give the Wildcats what appeared to be a commanding 21-7 lead.
“Don’t forget I also fumbled the ball,” Huitt also admitted.

Indeed he did and the dropped pitch from McCoin got White County on a roll. The home team took the mistake and turned it into a touchdown, then went on to add two more unanswered touchdowns.

“It didn’t look too good at that point,” defensive lineman Seth Kilgore admitted. “We had to pull ourselves back together, and I think we did. Ty (Eldridge) kinda sparked us some with some good tackles, and we just got back on track and were determined to win. We certainly didn’t want to let this get away from us.”

White County tied the game at the end of three periods, 21-21, and went ahead for the first time of the night early in the fourth frame, capping a 61-yard drive with a 1-yard run.

But the “never say die” Wildcats used the one new weapon they have acquired, speed, to get even as the clock now became a big part of the game.

Dillon Roberts, one of the fastest players on the LA roster, returned White County’s kickoff 60 yards to the Warriors’ 30, and two plays later, Paul Daniels bulled his way right up the middle for 25 yards, tying the score.

Huitt grabbed his record-tying third interception seconds later, but from that point neither team could close the deal.

Huitt had a chance with only seconds remaining in regulation, but his 19-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

In overtime, White County got the ball first and scored on fourth down on a 7-yard pass. The Warriors elected to run for the extra points, but were stopped.

Now it was Livingston’s turn and the Cats made it work on the first try. Roberts, who had fumbled once for the night, and in general had not had one of his better games, took the pitch from McCoin at the 10 and raced around the corner for the tying score. Huitt split the uprights for the PAT and LA headed home with the victory.

“I had a very bad night all around,” Roberts admitted after the game, “so this was my chance to make it right and I was determined to score. In my mind, nothing could stop me from getting in the endzone. I just want to thank the lineman for all the great blocks and the coaches for giving me a second chance. It was great.”

With a 4-1 record now, the Wildcats will head for Woodbury this week to take on Cannon County.

The Yardstick
LA WC

20 First Downs 13
330 Yds Rushing 156
35 Yds Passing 119
9/3 Pass Att/Com 14/11
3 Passes Int. By 0
2 Fumbles Lost 0
3/35 Punts/Avg. 2/45
76 Yds. Pents. 36

Score by Quarters:
LA – 7 7 7 7 – OT 7 – 35
WC – 0 14 7 7 – OT 6 – 34

Scoring:
LA – Huitt, 50 interception return. Huitt kick.
LA – Hayes, 16 run. Huitt kick.
WC – Murray, 2 run. Sparkman kick.
LA – McCoin, 23 run. Huitt kick.
WC – Lowery, 44 pass from Sparkman. Sparkman kick.
WC – Lowery, 5 pass from Sparkman. Sparkman kick.
WC – Murray, 1 run. Sparkman kick.
LA – Daniels, 25 run. Huitt kick.
WC – Lowery, 7 pass from Sparkman. Run fails.
LA – Roberts, 10 run. Huitt kick.


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LA Volleyball endures tough losses


Josh Scott photo
LA’s Allison Dailey, #50, fires past the Lady Owls.

By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

Sometimes you just are what you are. Pretty cut and dry right? For Livingston Academy’s Volleyball team, they are what they are, young. With youth, comes learning experiences, and for these ladies, the experiences come with every game.

On Tuesday night, Sept. 22, the Lady Cats had a chance to fulfill their goal of being the district champion for the 2009 season when they took the floor against visiting Smith County. With the opportunity in reach, Livingston lost the match in three games, looking like a complete opposite of the games before.

Then came Thursday, Sept. 24 when the Lady Cats traveled to Jackson County, and once again they played better than they had been, but still couldn’t put together a consistent match against the Lady Blue Devils. Monday night would be the same, as Livingston ventured to White County only to find that mistakes and inconsistency can prove to be costly.

“We played scared and frustrated,” Coach Christie Jenkins pointed out about the Smith County match. “Later in the week we looked better, but still made mistakes, and we just look really down on ourselves.”

As told throughout the year, this version of Livingston Volleyball is young, as evident by the zero seniors on the team, thus asking for leadership from people not used to the role yet.

“I hate to keep coming back to the point of we’re young,” continued Jenkins, “but we are, and we can’t change that.”

The season in general has been a roller-coaster ride, not only for the coach, but for the players as well.

“Volleyball is hard. You play three straight months as hard as possible, and then it’s over,” the coach pointed out. “It’s really hard to feel good. When someone messes up, they look at me, but I know I have taught them, we just have to do it.”

With seven games left in the year, the Lady Cats look to build the confidence of the team overall and head into the district tournament with a head of steam. A win against Upperman in the coming weeks would guarantee the Lady Cats the number 2 seed, something that hasn’t been accomplished since the days of Merl Smith.

“I’m proud about the position we are in,” Jenkins said. “We haven’t been this high in the district in the three years I have been here. It’s just frustrating that we haven’t played to our best ability yet.”

Now Livingston Academy will start to wind down with non-district opponents Cumberland County on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and Red Boiling Springs on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Coach Jenkins stated the importance of the games, “We need the wins for confidence, and they could be two wins.”



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Outlaws overwhelm Fentress Co. Gold


Ginger Neely/Action Sports
Josh Beu recovers a fumble for the Outlaws in the mudfest.



Ginger Neely/Action Sports
Xander Miller, #81, trips up a Fentress County player and Cody Scott, #55, takes him down in the Outlaws big victory.

Overton County Outlaws defeated Fentress County Gold 40-14 on Saturday, Sept. 26. Statistics from the game are as follows:

Outlaws game
Outlaws 40, Fentress (G) 14
Individual Statistics
Lead Rushers

(Atts-Yds.)
Dylan Linder 2-120
Mason Jolley 1-58
Tanner Dillon 1-40
Logan Clark 2-11
Chase Roberts 5-9
Blake Walker 2-5
Carter Hayes 3-5
Seth Parker 2-1

Passing
(Comp.-Atts.-Yds.)
Tanner Dillon 2-3-70
Seth Parker 0-1-0

Receiving
(Catches-Yds.)
Seth Parker 1-65
Mason Jolley 1-15

Lead Tacklers
Logan Clark 13; Seth Parker 7; Donnie Allred 7; Dalton Hammock 6; Dylan Linder 5; Carter Hayes 4; Andrew York 4.

Fumble Recovery

Carter Hayes, Tanner Dillon, Josh Beau.

Interception
Mason Jolley, 51-yard touchdown.

Scoring Drives
Tanner Dillon 58-yard TD run. Tanner Dillon 2-point conversion.

Logan Clark 13-yard touchdown. Conversion failed.

Dylan Linder 50-yard touchdown. Tanner Dillon 2-point conversion.

Dylan Linder 70-yard touchdown. Carter Hayes 1-point conversion.

Mason Jolley 51-yard touchdown. Conversion failed.

Mason Jolley 5-yard pass reception for touchdown. Conversion failed.

The Jr. Outlaws got back in conference play last weekend against the Fentress County Gold team. The Outlaws dominated once again, winning 33-0.

Coach Alan Carwile said, “All players contributed to a needed win.”

Will Sims played a big part in the Jr. Outlaws’ success on Saturday, Sept. 26 on two consecutive kick-off recoveries in the first half.

Coach Looper said, “If I had a game ball to give out, it would be to Will Sims. Special teams play a big part in a team’s success.”

The team moved to 5-1 on the season and are headed to the playoffs.

Junior Outlaws game
Jr. Outlaws 33, Fentress (G) 0
Individual Statistics
Passing

(Comp.-Atts.-Yds.)
Blake Qualls 2-4-7
Cody Hammock 0-1-0

Receiving

(Catches-Yds.-TDs)
Brody Johnson 1-5-0
Will Sims 1-2-1

Lead Rushers
(Atts-Yds.-TDs-1pt.)
Wade Neely 5-161-3-0
Chase Looper 7-64-0-1
Blake Qualls 5-27-1-1
Andrew Vaughn 2-15-0-0
Brody Johnson 2-5-0-1
Cade Hammock 2-5-0-0
Jason Savage 3-5-0-0

Fumble Recovery

Will Sims 2, Joseph Thompson 1.

Lead Tacklers
Dylan Phillips 4; Tyler Fletcher 4; Andrew Vaughn 2; Chris Ferrell 2; Cole Smith 2; Jarrett Key 1; Joseph Thompson 1; Jason Savage 1; Ethan Carr 1; Cade Hammock 1; Jacob Swallows 1; Will Sims 1.

Fumbles Forced
Chase Looper.
Overton County Jr. B Outlaws defeated Smith County 12-0.

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