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Today's Sports

  • Lady Indians take their lumps...

    Buddy Vickers, the first-year Chiefland girls’ basketball coach, knew what his team was in for when it squared off against Trenton Dec. 1.

    Vickers previously worked in the program as it made a state finals appearance in 2016 and added another regional finals bid in 2017.

    The young Lady Indians may have been overmatched at this stage, but they didn’t make it easy for the Lady Tigers in the early going. Trenton eventually separated itself for a convincing 62-25 win.

    The TMHS win, combined with its 60-17 victory Dec. 4 against Cedar Key, helped the squad to a 4-0 start, and 3-0 in District 1A-7.

    CMHS headed into its Dec. 5 game at Dixie County at 1-2 overall, and 1-1 in district competition.

    “We ran out of steam,” Vickers said. “We played as good as we can play. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. I was proud of them.”

    Trenton had yet to make a field goal four minutes into the game, but then raced out to an 18-4 lead by the end of the opening quarter.

  • Hoops coach discusses life...

    At the Suwannee Valley Rotary Club meeting Nov. 30, guest speaker Buddy Vickers, the first-year head coach of the Chiefland Middle High School girls’ basketball team, was officially there to talk Lady Indian basketball.

    But it was the lessons one gains from basketball and athletics – discipline; learning how to work toward an achievement; losing the right way – that Vickers was really interested in relaying.

    “I’ll talk to you about basketball, but you know basketball in itself is not really that important,” he started. “But I think the things you learn from basketball, or any athletic endeavor, is important.”

    Vickers discussed the coaches who influenced him, including former Trenton and Bronson coach John Rowe.

    “You never know what’s going to influence you,” said Vickers, who was previously a middle school and JV coach at Trenton. “I never expected to be a coach. In fact, I expected to be in front of a judge. Coach Rowe, my dad, my wife, helped keep from getting there.”

  • Chiefland 11U football competes...

    Young Chiefland Indian football players experienced something like a working vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday.

    A collection of local 10- and 11-year-olds culled from a pair of Tri-County championship squads visited Daytona Beach for the National Youth Football Championships Nov. 23 and Nov. 24.

    The annual event pits youth teams from different states – and from various league brands – to compete for age-based division championships over the holiday weekend in and around Daytona Beach (Eastern Division) as well as Las Vegas, where the Western Division is hosted. The divisions are divided up by age groups.

    The Chiefland 11U team was making its debut in the prestigious tournament, and faced a daunting opener against a stout Maryland squad, on a chilly and rainy Thanksgiving morning.

    The Indians fell behind by a big margin early but gained some traction by the fourth quarter, eventually losing 32-6.

  • Young Chiefland boys’ basketball...

    The Chiefland boys’ basketball team is young this year.

    It has just one returning varsity starter to begin the season, and just one senior on the roster.

    But most of the roster has had a least a taste of varsity ball, and the potential depth is impressive, which bodes well for the team eventually running the kind of pressure defense that sixth-year head man Adam Boyd ultimately prefers.

    Boyd says he worked the offensive side of the ball harder early on than usual, anticipating the squad could struggle in that department with a lack of top shooters, and coming off a season when points came at a premium. To improve in that area, the Indians have focused on moving without the ball to put more pressure on defenses, and it appears to have paid off in some early scrimmages.

    “I knew the offense would be a challenge to get everyone in sync, so we spent more time on it than we would’ve in the past,” Boyd said. “Normally, I spend more time on defense at the beginning of the year. But seeing how the summer went, I thought, ‘Well we can’t be a turnover machine.’

  • Fall frosh

    The bats swing year-round these days, whether it’s high school travel ball, off-season training leagues or even the most elite pros sharpening their skills in Arizona.

    It’s no different for the bevy of talent that the Chiefland Middle High School softball program has exported the last couple of years, as five players from last year’s Lady Indians club recently got their first taste of college ball.

    At the University of Florida’s Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium Friday Nov. 17, around 45 Chiefland faithful were in attendance to welcome Jacksonville University freshman catcher Emily Hallman, a four-year standout for the Lady Indians, who was part of three state championships and another state finals club.

    The Gators, who boast three NCAA championship appearances and two national championships over the past four years, were led in the circle by reigning Collegiate Player of the Year Kelly Barnhill. The exhibition games are set for 10 innings. Stats and results are not official.

  • Top Eagles celebrated at BMHS...

    Bronson Middle High School went beyond its usual football banquet to include cheerleaders, band members and JROTC, and even recognized a group of special seniors who will see their names etched along the Bronson Eagle Pride Walk for future generations to remember.

    School Board of Levy County member and Bronson alum Cameron Asbell played host for the evening in his Bronson orange blazer, as he extolled the virtues of Bronson Middle High School and let his school spirit fly high.

    “If you look around, this is where the leaders come from,” he started. “Other towns have other things, but the best high school, not only in this county, not only in this state, but in this entire country is right here, and you students are the best there are, and that comes from me.”

    The members of the JROTC, band, cheer squad and football team were introduced and given various recognitions.

  • Lady Eagle hoops led at guard

    While the Chiefland girls are led this year in the paint, the top returning talent for the Bronson Middle High School varsity girls’ basketball team is concentrated at the guard positions.

    Junior shooting guard Yelena Thomas is back after leading the Lady Eagles with 18.2 points a game her sophomore season, while her younger sister, Neomi Thomas, leads at point again.

    Yelena Thomas scored 33 points in a preseason loss to Williston Nov. 14.

    BMHS loses just one starter, Myia Knight, from last year’s squad, while junior Tamia Haynes and senior Taeya Mayes provide key returning experience with the Thomas siblings. Freshman Keyera Hutto joins the fray as an up-and-coming guard.

    The Bronson girls, who are led by Rodney Thomas, open at home Nov. 28 against Gainesville St. Francis, and are home again Nov. 30 versus Gainesville Eastside.

    Trenton figures to be the team to beat in Bronson’s district, as the Lady Tigers come off a regional finals appearance, and a state finals appearance the previous year.

  • Class of 2019 gets redemption...

    Needing a score in sudden-death overtime, Team Juniors – Class of 2019 – employed a sneaky variation of a play that served it well throughout the night in Chiefland Middle High School’s Powderpuff Football Championship at C. Doyle McCall Field Nov. 9.

    Tied 6-6 in overtime, facing a talented and plucky sophomore bunch (Class of 2020), Macie Thomas, who moved to quarterback for this year’s tournament both for her own throwing ability and to free up her teammate Colby Reed to haul in passes downfield, tossed a fade pass to her left for an open Reed to pull in for the game-winning score, lifting the juniors to a 12-6 win in the championship game.

    On the final play, Reed loitered near the sideline after getting a play from offensive coordinator Aidan Horne, so as not to draw attention from the sophomore defenders. The strategy worked.

    “We had it set up for me to fake being on the sideline, and they believed it so we ran with the play,” Reed said. “It all just came together.”

  • CMHS cross country star shines...

    For the second year in a row, Chiefland Middle High School’s Lauren Jones competed in the Class 1A girls’ Florida High School Cross Country State Championships in Tallahassee.

    In her second trip, Nov. 11, she shaved 1 minute, 48 seconds off her time in the 5K, moving up 52 places to come in at No. 14 in the state in her class.

    Jones notched a time of 19:46.17, just 15 seconds off pace from earning her a medal, which go to the top 10 individual finishers. It was a personal record for the rising star.

    The achievement is all the more remarkable for the fact that Jones, an eighth-grader, is not even in high school yet, and has only been seriously competing in cross country for a couple of years.

    Jones said she was able to estimate where she stood among the pack at different points of the race. Her father displayed a dry-erase board that showed how many seconds she was off pace of the runners in front of her.

    “I knew I could shave off that much because of my times this season, and I wasn’t hurt going in like I was last season,” Jones said. “I just had to push myself.

  • Lady hoops set to begin new era...

    Buddy Vickers, the first-year Chiefland girls’ basketball coach, just hopes he’s around long enough to see his youngest players fulfill their potential over the next five years.

    “I just hope I live five more years,” he said with a laugh in his office the day before his team’s preseason opener in Trenton. “Before we’re through with this bunch, if they will stay with it, the future looks good with the kids we’ve got.”

    While the Lady Indians are brimming with youthful upside, they’ll be led this year by a quartet of returnees that represent the team’s strength – it’s size in the paint.

    Senior Naja Martin is the most experienced of the bunch, along with junior Courtney Hayes, sophomore Sierra “CeCe” Norris and junior Colby Reed, the team’s top perimeter shooter.

    J’Mia (“Lil’ J”) McNeil, an eighth-grader, was with that bunch in the summer workouts, and is penciled to start at point guard in the opener, though Norris and Reed can also handle the point.