By THE SPORTS STAFF
The next level
On April 11, Clarke Central High School seniors DeAndre Harper and Cierra Jackson, surrounded by family, friends and teammates, signed their official letters of intent to play football and basketball, respectively, at the collegiate level.
Senior Cierra Jackson signs her official letter of intent to play basketball at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga. Photo by Porter McLeod.
The signing ceremony took place at 4 p.m. in the Gladiator Gallery. Harper signed with Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, N.C., and Jackson signed with North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga.
Jackson appreciates the opportunity to sign with NGCSU and is looking forward to continuing to play basketball in college.
“It’s just a blessing to go on to the next level and play. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. It’s exciting,” Jackson said.
Classic City Saturday
On March 31, the Clarke Central High School junior varsity and varsity soccer teams made the cross-town trip to Cedar Shoals High School’s Walter-Wilkins Stadium for the Classic City Championship.
The first of four matches, the JV girls’ game began at 11 a.m. The Jaguars led the Gladiators at halftime, 1-0, but CCHS sophomore striker Vianey Salas scored a late second half goal and the game ended with a 1-1 tie.
Following the JV girls match, the JV boys took the field; winning decisively with a score of 3-0. Sophomore midfielder David Guillen scored two goals and sophomore striker Jesse Velez added a third.
The evening began with the girls varsity match. Both teams were held scoreless in the first half, but CCHS freshman midfielder Talle Parrish scored in the second half and the Lady Gladiators won, 1-0.
The day ended with a CCHS loss in the boys varsity match. The Jaguars took an early 3-0 lead from which the Gladiators could not recover. A second half goal by CCHS senior striker Dylan Reeves put the Gladiators on the scoreboard, but CSHS continued to dominate and won 3-1.
Back on the field
On April 23, the Clarke Central High School varsity football team will suit up and take the field for the first time since November 2011 to begin spring practice in preparation for the 2012 season.
The beginning of spring practice marks the conclusion of a winter workout schedule that includes morning weight-lifting sessions, morning mat drills and after school speed and agility exercises.
“The (winter) schedule is very demanding,” CCHS assistant football coach Mike Holland said. “Basically it tests the guys that are going to be devoted, who it means something to and who it’s going to be priority for, and those are the guys who get the opportunity to play.”
The Gladiators will have a total of 10 opportunities this spring to put on their pads and helmets and hit the field. Nine practices will be used to learn the plays in preparation for the tenth opportunity: the annual Red and Gold spring game on May 4, a scrimmage in which the team is divided into a red team and a gold team and they play against each other.
“(Spring practice) gives you an idea of how people are going to perform in game-type situations like the spring game,” Holland said. “People may be called on who haven’t been called on before and you get to see how they respond.”