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Wildcats roll, buses too

Reporter's Notebook

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POSTED: March 12, 2014 11:10 a.m.

Random things.

Richmond Hill High School’s baseball program won Region 3-AAAAA last year. From the looks of a score, they might be primed to make another run at a region title this year.

After a rough early season schedule that included losses to Statesboro, Woodstock, Kell, Brunswick and South Effingham, the Wildcats (3-5) broke out the whupping sticks on Monday to beat Groves 26-1.
I was at a Pembroke City

Council meeting, so no chance to go by and say howdy to coach Stacy Bennett. Also, no stats, but you got to think there were a lot of them in a 26-1 game. The Wildcats are hosting Windsor at 6 p.m. Friday.

Speaking of prep sports, I was talking with a few folks who shall remain nameless about the new supplements the Bryan County Board of Education is about to start paying coaches, and somehow the conversation turned to schedules, which some feel are getting out of hand.

Can't say I disagree. I like football so much in part because it's easier to stay interested. You have one game a week to care about. Leaves you time to experience other things life has to offer.

In addition, think about the travel involved in playing two or three games a week all over the place. That's tax money going to fill up them school buses and gas ain't cheap.

A few years back I tried to get some sort of idea of how much Bryan County Schools paid for gas for sports events, but was told it wasn't broken down into that kind of figure. Then I got busy and forgot to follow up. Maybe soon.

As for football, Georgia Southern's first full-fledged FBS schedule was released a while back, and my friends who like the Eagles are all over the place in predicting wins.

Some think the Eagles can win seven, maybe eight games this year. Others think Georgia Southern will be lucky to beat anyone not named Savannah State or Georgia State.

It would've been a lot easier to figure out had Jeff Monken not joined Army. With a new coach, nobody knows what to expect.

For what it's worth, here are my early predictions:

Sept. 30 at North Carolina State: Eagles fall, but either make it close or get kilt.

Sept. 6 at Savannah State: Richmond Hill Middle School would roll the Tigers. Eagles get a win.

Sept. 13 at Georgia Tech: The Jackets roll and remind us all of why we miss Paul Johnson.

Sept. 20 at South Alabama: This being a Sun Belt Conference game, I have no idea what to expect from the Jaguars. I flip a coin, it says Eagles win. I flip again, it says Eagles lose. We'll flip again soon.

Sept. 27 at Appalachian State: Eagles figure out a way to win against former SoCon rival Mountaineers.

Oct. 4 at New Mexico State: They have scorpions out there, I bet. Aggies win.

Oct. 11 at Idaho: The Vandals used to be a first-rate I-AA program, then they went up a division and promptly fell into the black hole that is two-thirds of FBS. Could be a lesson for Georgia Southern, an FCS superpower taking the same plunge into the deep end of the pool. Still, the Eagles win at home.

Oct. 25 at Georgia State: Savannah State could beat Georgia State. So will Georgia Southern.

Nov. 1 at Troy: Who knows? Who cares outside both fan bases? I say Eagles find a way to win.

Nov. 8 at Texas State: Out of all GSU's first-year Sun Belt games, this one intrigues me most, largely because the Bobcats knocked Mike Sewak out of a job in the 2005 NCAA playoffs and led to the hiring of one Brian VanGorder, who is still viewed by most GSU fans as Lord Voldemort. I say the Eagles get some measure of payback, maybe. Then again, it's too early to tell.

Nov. 15 at Navy: Another reminder of why we love the triple-option, Georgia Southern style. Middies win running the Eagle offense. Eagles lose running something Sam Houston State uses.

Nov. 29 at University Louisiana Monroe: The Warhawks pluck the Eagles, or something like that. This program is one of a handful in the Sun Belt capable of upsetting a big boy. When you're in the Sun Belt, that's what you play for. That and a chance to get out of the Sun Belt.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to pay my respects to Mike Manhatton, who has been one of a few constants in the ever-changing local news scene over the past 30-plus years.

Mike, if you don’t already know, passed away Sunday night after a long battle with cancer. He had been at WTOC for nearly 33 years and was one of those guys you just couldn’t help but like. He also was good at his job and won a lot of Emmys over the years.

More importantly, he cared about the people he covered. That came through in his coverage and it’s why so many people feel they’ve lost a member of their family.

I bumped into Mike a few times over the years. The first time was covering President George W. Bush’s trip to Fort Stewart back around 2001 before 9/11, and that was when I learned he, like me, was somewhat vertically challenged.

I got to know him a little better during a November 2001 trip to Kuwait to cover the buildup to Operation Iraqui Freedom. We were, in a sense, roomies and Mike was as advertised — a kind, soft-spoken man with a sense of humor who liked people and wanted to make the world a better place.

Even better, there wasn’t an ounce of prima donna in Mike, the first adult I ever saw reading a Harry Potter novel.

I'll miss him. We all will.

 

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