On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of last week the Dragons held their annual youth camps for football and cheer. Coach Chris Parker and his staff along with high school players took to the practice field to teach kindergarten through 7th grade athletes.
The camp attendees moved across 10 skill stations to learn both new skills and also to enhance those skills already in their repertoire. Several of the stations focused on safety of the skills learned. Proper technique of tackling and blocking is vital for the safety of both the offensive and defensive players. Other stations consisted of passing, receiving and different types of set ups and schemes to be used in games. A large amount of success in the camp goes to the high school players for their dedication and of course patience with over 180 energetic youth.
Part of the camp gets the young ladies out to work with the high school cheerleaders and their coaches to teach new cheers, work on and learn additional skills and techniques to prepare the new and current little Dragons to get the crowds fired up and cheer on the guys on the field. The cheer side of the camp brought out around 130 working their way through several stations that taught them toe touches, tumbling and and as stated previously new cheer routines. The high school cheerleaders also were vital in the camps success with their time being volunteered and their heart for these young ladies to have fun and learn at the same time.
With almost 400 youth showing their interest in Dragons youth football and cheer, the high school program should be set for years to come. As Athletic Director for all of Pickens County, Chris Parker has to be excited as they move forward over the next several years.
Another busy month has passed for Pickens County with lots in store for the Summer. On May 22nd voters across the county went to the polls to vote on a variety of elections and ballot questions. The overall voter turnout of registered voters was 25.56 percent with a total of 5,101 votes cast. One local race (District One Commissioner) resulted in a runoff election that will take place on July 24th. Early voting for the runoff will be weekdays July 2-20 (excluding the July 4th holiday) at the Board of Elections. Additionally, the Chamber of Commerce helped to orchestrate a successful partnership for the BRAG (Bicycle Ride Across Georgia) that passed through town in early June. This event brought an increase of customers shopping at local establishments.
During the month of May, the Pickens Animal Shelter brought in 110 animals, and 94 animals went out through various forms of adoption. Animal Control responded to 29 cases. The Department of Planning and Development issued 43 new building permits. The Water Department installed six new meters. The 911 Operations Center received 1,865 total calls, 726 were medical responses and fire related. The Recreation Department pool is now open, and several camps are ongoing throughout the Summer. To keep up to date on PCRD activities follow them on Facebook and Twitter and check out their website: pickrec.com. The Road Department is preparing to begin tar and graveling several roads across the county. They are also continuing to perform routine road maintenance. Subcontractor crews through LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) and SPLOST (Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax) funding are currently paving county-maintained roads within Hunters Ridge. After the crews resurface those roads, they will begin paving the remainder of the 62 roads set to be paved through LMIG. Pickens County government departments continue to stay busy working hard for the citizens of Pickens County. The Pickens County Board of Commissioners continues to do a great job of leading these efforts. As work progresses, and projects continue, I will do my best to keep you informed of these developments.
Until the next time, stay safe, and shop local!
By: Tucker Green – Pickens County Board of Education Post Three
Monday May 21st was an exciting day for outgoing senior Lizzie Haughwout and her teammates of Pickens High School Soccer. Haughwout put the pen to paper and signed her National Letter of Intent to lace up her cleats and play soccer for Coach Alizira Sisman and the Fillies of ABAC(Abraham Balwin Agricultural College).
Haughwout has played soccer from a young age starting in youth leagues, through middle school and the last four years as a Dragon. She plays probably the toughest position on the field. The Goalkeeper doesn’t like to do a lot but when they do it is physical and their focus has to be spot on.. Lizzie is coming off an injury to her labrum in her right shoulder but is expected to fully recover and get back in the keepers box soon. Haughwout will be an excellent fit for the Fillies both on and off the field. She will major in Pre-Veterinarian studies and plans to get her degree and become a fully licensed Vet after ABAC.
Best of luck to Lizzie Haughwout at ABAC and in her future beyond college.
The 2018 Football season will look different to all who enter the gates of Dragon Stadium this year as a multi-million dollar renovation draws closer to completion. Upon entering the stadium, the eyes of the fans will be immediately drawn to the new artificial turf that has been been put down to replace the natural grass surface that has seen many years of tackles and touchdowns.
As the history of the old field remains in the hearts of Dragons before, a new era of history will begin on Friday May 18, 2018 as the Tigers of Dawson Co. will come in as the first opponent on the new turf and will end the 2018 Spring practice session for the Dragons. As exciting as it will be to see the Dragons take the field on Friday, it is just as exciting to know what actually goes into creating a masterpiece. The new turf is being completed by Deluxe Athletics. Their name might not be known but you will definitely recognize their work. Probably the most recognized on their resume is Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. As the home of the Falcons and Atlanta United, the turf is obviously durable and in Dragons Stadium it will see both football and soccer action for years to come.
The process of installing a surface such as this is fairly complex. After the turf is unloaded from the trucks, it is placed on the ground and rolled into position. Each roll is attached together by a rolling sewing machine and the meticulous job of putting the hash marks, numbers and logos begin. Every hash is individually cut out of the green turf and white strips are placed using a rolling machine that heats industrial strength hot glue to secure them. This process also occurs for the numbers, the logo in the center of the field and also for the end zone logos. Once this is complete the turf is swept with a street sweeper to prepare the surface for the sand and rubber pellets that lie deep within the grains of the artificial grass.
As the sand starts going in, it is monitored to remain at a specific depth and the packed with a commercial roller to ensure firmness and consistency of the playing surface. Following the sand, the crews bring out the rubber pellets to spread over the field. After completion of layer one of pellets, a second layer of sand and pellets are applied and then swept again. In the final process in completing the field a new technological product will be used. Cool Play is a highly advanced pellet that has a surface temp of 35 degrees cooler than traditional pellets used in artificial surfaces.
Also new to the stadium is a state of the art 32 feet high definition Jumbo Tron video board. This will allow player bios and game highlights to stream throughout the game while still functioning as a normal scoreboard. Track and Field for Pickens will benefit from the renovation as well with a new track surface being installed.
The first of many non athletic events that will take place on the new surface is scheduled for May 26, 2018 with the Graduating Class of 2018 receiving their diplomas and heading out in to the world.
Last month the Pickens Board of Education approved the hiring of new boys basketball Coach Mike Duffie. Coach Duffie comes to the Dragons with 29 years as a head coach and a pedigree that speaks for itself. He is excited to be a Dragon and looks forward to hitting the hardwoods and getting the 2018-2019 season started.
Known as a “builder of programs”, Duffie has taken the opportunity at several High Schools to right the ship of some pretty dismal programs. With 33 years overall in coaching, he started his career at Model High School in Rome GA. as an assistant Varsity coach and head JV coach from 1985-1989. Duffie took his first head coaching job at Macon County High School in Montezuma, Ga in 1989 and his resume started to take shape. As the boys head coach he led the Bulldogs to Sub-Region Champions in ’90,’92, ’93 and in 1990 had a State Quarterfinal appearance. Duffie was named the 1-A Coach of the Year.
At the end of the 1993 season, Duffie took the reigns and ran as the Morristown East(TN) coach. Coming off a 2 win season, the task was tough for Coach Duffie but he jumped in head first to turn things around. The fruits of his labor started showing almost immediately in his second season. The next three seasons saw consecutive Region Tournament appearances and a school record 24-9 overall season. The Hurricanes had their 1st state ranking since 1979 coming in at 10th and several other first in the previous 18 years. Regular season Conference Champions, District Tournament Champions and Region Tournament Runners-up were all apart of these. Duffie was also the Head Coach for the Lady Hurricanes Softball program during his tenure at Morristown East High School.
Gordon Central realizing their need to kick-start a program that was barely existing brought Duffie to do as he does, build the program. Coming off a winless season, the Warriors were needing exactly what Duffie had to offer and he started in 1999. In 2002, 7-AAAA basketball new that Gordon Central was back as the Warriors made it to the GHSA State Tournament for the first time in school history and a 20-6(first in school history) record for the 2005 season. Coach Duffie also started the Lady Warriors softball program and had a 20 win season in four short years of a new program.
The most recent head coaching position for Duffie was Dalton High School and his resume continued to be impressive. Beginning in 2006 until his hiring at Pickens High School, Mike Duffie had the Catamounts of Dalton at the top of their game. In his 12 year stent at Dalton, he had multiple Region Runner-up finishes and a sweet 16 showing. In Coach Duffies’ last 6 years, he had five 19 win seasons and one 20 win season. Duffie also led the Lady Catamounts Golf team to a 2015 AAAAA Region Championship and the AAAAA State finals where they were runner-up. In 2016, the Lady Catamounts were Region 7-AAAAA Champions and went on to win the State Championship
Coach Duffie and everyone in the Dragon Nation looks forward to what the 2018-2019 season will hold as a new era begins. It is proven by past experiences that Coach Duffie is capable of bringing the Dragons basketball program to the forefront and fill the gym with fans.
The Pickens High School is currently in a “soft” lock down, meaning the hallways and common areas are kept clear. This is being done to allow a planned K9 search of the facility. Students are not at risk and this has been a planned operation to continue to make our schools a drug free environment.
Additional details will come as the search is completed.