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Today's Sports

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Chiefland misses playoffs with...

    The Chiefland football team fell short of its highest goal – to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

    The Indians fell victim to Williston’s defensive pressure last Friday, as they committed seven turnovers in their offensive backfield, most of which directly led to Red Devil scores, in falling 55-14 to their cross-county rivals.

    The loss boxed CMHS (5-5) out of the playoffs and handed the Levy County Cup to Williston (5-5) for the third-straight year. The Red Devils earned their first playoff bid since 2009 with the win. They face reigning Class 1A champions Pahokee in South Florida Friday Nov. 10. WMHS jumped ahead of a couple of 7-2 teams to qualify for the playoffs on the strength of their schedule under the new region-based, points structure, as it earned bonus points for facing eight recent playoff teams and made large gains in playing eight teams with winning records.

    Despite the disappointment, first-year coach Adam Gore wanted to make sure his senior class understood the legacy it’s leaving the program, that the better days ahead will be built on the foundation first laid by the current seniors.

  • Jones qualifies for state again...

    The Chiefland girls’ cross country squad competed in regionals for the third-consecutive year last Friday, Nov. 3, and for the second-straight year it watched one of its own advance to the state finals meet in Tallahassee.

    CMHS eighth-grader Lauren Jones shaved off nearly 50 seconds from her time from last year in the 5K meet at Holloway Park in Lakeland, earning herself sixth place among 113 runners with a time of 20 minutes, 10.09 seconds.

    The top 15 runners at regionals advanced to the Florida High School State Championship Series, held Saturday, Nov. 11, at Apalachee Regional Park. Jones will run at 7:30 a.m.

    As a seventh-grader last season at state, Jones outpaced 109 runners to finish No. 66 (out of 175).

    Her times have been better at every stage this postseason compared to last year’s run through the tournament. She placed second in the district championship, only behind reigning Class 1A state champion Grace Blair, of Oak Hall. Blair, a senior, won the regional meet last with a 5K time of 18:50.01.

  • 10U Indians clinch title in...

    The Chiefland 10U Tri-County youth football team was seeking perfection in its championship game against Branford Oct. 28.

    The Indians looked to make history by not allowing a point its entire season en route to an 8-0 championship run.

    The squad fell short of its highest goal, but remained perfect nonetheless.

    Luke Watkins hauled in a Matthew Goodale pass for the game-tying score in the second overtime, before Watkins ran it in for the game-clinching PAT, lifting the three-time title winners to a 19-18 win.

    Chiefland ran into an upstart Branford team that showed significant improvement since its first meeting with the Indians. Indian running back Osten Jones, who rushed for a game-high 75 yards on 11 carries, answered the Buccaneers first-quarter touchdown with a 55-yard scoring scamper, knotting the margin at 6-6 with 47 seconds remaining in the opening half.

    Meanwhile, a couple of keep stops by Michael Goodale – and an assisted sack by Goodale, Josiah King and Domynick Welch – helped settle the Chiefland defense after Branford opened the game with an 11-play, 65-yard drive.

  • Levy Cup, playoff spots at stake...

    This week’s rivalry showdown between Chiefland and Williston takes on a little more import than usual, as both teams are alive in the playoff hunt if they notch a win Friday in Williston.

    The new points system will require a final tally once the dust has settled on the season, but Chiefland looks to secure the final playoff berth in Region 1A-3 with a win, after Union County ran into a three-game skid to finish its season at 6-4.

    WMHS, meanwhile, needs a win to claim a playoff spot 1A-4.

    “That’s what you want, to go into the last week and have a shot at the playoffs,” said CMHS coach Adam Gore, who prefers a district system over the alternative playoff configurations. “We’re excited for the guys. Williston’s going to be ready to play, there’s a lot at stake.

    “I know this means a lot to the community – the Levy Cup is on the line. They’ve had it the last couple years, so we’d like to get it on this side of the county a little bit. We’re excited to have the opportunity to go play in the playoffs if we win.”

  • Fisher sprints to Indians 12U...

    While Chiefland’s 10U Tri-County football squad was known for its dominant defense, pitching seven shutouts and allowing just six points in regulation all season, the 12U Indians showed in their championship game Oct. 28 against Branford they favored the offensive fireworks.

    Dakota Fisher provided the spark, as he rushed for 303 yards and seven(!) touchdowns to help lift the Indians to a 42-30 win in the championship. It represented the fourth consecutive Tri-County title by the group of 11- and 12-year-olds.

    The team finished 8-0 on the season.

    Four of Fisher’s scores were 65-yard runs on the opening play of a possession.

    After leading 12-8 at the half, Fisher, who found most of his running room along the sidelines, poured on five second-half TDs, eventually sealing it with a 12-yard end-around with 34 seconds to play.