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Sports Archives for 2020-06

Pickens County Football Schedule Preview

The Pickens Dragons are coming off a winning season with a postseason appearance with first year head coach Jeff Nelson. The Dragons were led by Senior QB C.J. Streicher who led the team in rushing and passing yards. On defense, they were led by Seniors T.C. Jarrett and Alex Snelgrove who kept the Dragons in a position to win.


Moving into this season, Pickens has moved into a new region, with new opponents, and will rely on some new faces to lead the team to success. As always with our 2020 schedule previews, these games are subject to change due to COVID-19.


August 21st Gilmer @ Pickens

August 28th Pickens @ Chattooga

September 4th Pickens @ White County

September 11th Coosa @ Pickens

September 18th Pickens @ Union County

October 2nd Pickens @ Cedartown

October 9th Ridgeland @ Pickens

October 16th Pickens @ Central (Carrolton)

October 30th Heritage @ Pickens

November 6th Northwest Whitfield @ Pickens


Somethings never get old, and the Gilmer/Pickens Rivalry is a prime example. Everyone will be excited for the season to begin, but the buzz around town will be even bigger due to the magnitude of this rivalry. Gilmer has moved down to 3A classification, so these teams are no longer in the same region. Gilmer is coming off a season when they won their first game in 4 years, largely thanks to first year head coach Kevin Saunders. However, the Dragons took care of business against the Bobcats last year and brought home another win with a score of 35-23. Gilmer only graduated 5 Seniors last year, meaning they will have lots of continuity from last season.


A new opponent for the Dragons this year will be the Chattooga Indians. Chattooga had moderate success last year, going 5-5 in the season and losing in the first round of the playoffs. Chattooga was a run first team last season, with Sophomore RB Lashaun Lester racking up over 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns. However, they graduated 13 players that they will need to replace. The Dragons will need to limit the running game in this matchup to bring home a win.


The Dragons will make a trip to Cleveland to play the White County Warriors. White County was able to get the best of Pickens last year (27-20), even though they had a losing season (4-6) and missed the playoffs. White has Jben Haynes returning for his Senior Season after he led the Warriors in rushing and passing yards in 2019.  Pickens will need to keep him contained and force the ball out of his hands quickly. 


Pickens will host the Coosa Eagles for their 4th game of the season. Coosa is coming off a rough season, only winning one game against Armuchee. However, Coosa only graduated 5 Seniors, so this team should be ready and familiar with each other. One big change is new head coach Joey Mathis after Coach Todd Wheeler resigned after 7 seasons with the Eagles. Coach Mathis comes from Marion County in Tennessee with two postseason appearances.


The Dragons will hit the road and head to Blairsville to face the Union County Panthers. The Panthers have been one of the most successful teams in North Georgia with a 9-win season in 2018 and a 10-win season in 2019. They are losing a big part of their offense with Pierson Allison graduated, as well as 16 other Seniors. This game will be interesting to see if the Panthers are able to repeat their success, and if the Dragons are good enough to compete with them.


Pickens will open their region schedule with a trip to Cedartown to play the Bulldogs. Cedartown finished the season last year with a 5-5 record and a postseason appearance. The Bulldogs graduated 9 Seniors last year but have 13 rising Seniors to replace them.  New Head Coach Jamie Abrams will have 13 Rising Seniors to work with this season. Abrams comes from McEachern where he served as Defensive Coordinator.


Next on the schedule is an old foe that has joined Pickens in the new region, Ridgeland. The Panthers had an interesting year, losing every non-region game and winning all but one region game. Ridgeland will look very different this year after graduating 20 Seniors. Pickens lost to Ridgeland in 2019 41-28, helping the Panthers secure the first seed. A familiar opponent with a different roster will be an interesting dynamic for this game.


Another region game will take the Dragons to Carrolton to play the Central Lions. The Lions had a rough season last year, only winning 3 games all season. Central will have to replace Senior QB Kashif Taylor and Senior RB Braden Dunson. These two combined for most of the Lions offensive ability last season. The Dragon defense will need to put pressure on the younger players replacing these two.


The Dragons will close the season with two games at home. They will host the Heritage Generals for the last game of October. Heritage finished second in the region last year after losing to Ridgeland but managed to finish the season with an 8-2 record and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Pickens and Heritage played a close game last season (21-20) with the Generals taking the win. Heritage will rely on rising Senior Nick Hanson to lead the General offense this season. He threw for over 1700 yards and had 19 touchdowns on the year. Hanson only thew 5 interceptions last year, but the Dragons defense will need to force him to make more mistakes than normal to beat the Generals high powered offense.


The final game of the season will pit the Dragons against the Northwest Whitfield Bruins. Northwest had a successful season last year, finishing the regular season with a record of 7-3. However, they finished 4th in the region after losing to Pickens last season. The Bruins have lots to be excited about this season, as QB Owen Brooker is returning for his Sophomore season. He started all 11 games last season and racked up over 1500 yards. He will need to run the ball more as Head Coach Josh Robinson moves the offense to an RPO style. The Dragons will be put to the test against him but proved last season they were up to the task.


We’ll once again be covering the Pickens Dragons on our Pickens County Coaches Show with Will Cooper and Coach Nelson, as well as here on our website every week.

Braves Baseball is back

After months of negotiation between the MLB Players Association and the owners, Major League Baseball is back. Our Atlanta Braves will host spring training starting July 1st, while they open the season on July 23rd or 24th and we will be carrying all the action on air at 101.1 FM WLJA. This year will look very different from a normal season, so let us get you up to speed on the 2020 MLB Season.


First, the schedule looks very different. In an effort to limit travel, the Braves schedule will only be against the NL East (Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, and the New York Mets) and the AL East (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Baltimore Orioles). The Braves will play 10 games against each of the NL East teams and 4 games against each of the AL East teams, for a total of 60 games.


The rules have also changed for this season.  The biggest change being that the National League will be using a Designated Hitter so that the Pitcher will no longer have to bat. If a game goes to extra innings, a runner will be put on second base at the beginning of that inning. Also, if a game is cancelled due to a rain delay, the game will resume the next day from where they left off instead of starting over. The final rule change is that a relief pitcher will have to face at least 3 batters before being switched out, this rule should help the game move a little faster.


Finally, each team will have a 60 man “player pool”. This allows a team to have a regular 30-man roster, while also having 30 players ready to come up if a player is injured or sick. There is no Minor League Baseball this year, so the Braves will be using Coolray Field, the home of the Braves AAA affiliate the Gwinnett Stripers, to keep the extra 30 players game ready. If you would like to see the roster you can see it here:

2020 High School Football Schedule

The WLJA Sports team is proud to announce our 2020 Cherokee County High School Football broadcast schedule for this fall. All these games are subject to change due to COVID-19.


August 19th         Cherokee @ Carver 

August 21st         Creekview @ Etowah

August 28th        Sequoyah @ Cherokee

September 4th    Etowah @ River Ridge

September 11th  Cherokee @ Creekview

September 18th  Cartersville @ Cherokee

September 24th          BYE WEEK  

October 2nd         Creekview @ Sequoyah

October 9th         River Ridge @ Creekview

October 16th           Cherokee @ Etowah

October 23rd       Etowah @ Woodstock

October 30th       Milton @ Woodstock

November 6th            FLEX GAME


We have some exciting changes for this season, first being we have been given special access to the Corky Kell game on August 19th between Cherokee and Carver. This will be the first high school Football game in the state of Georgia and will take place at West Forsyth High School. Dave Garner and Will Cooper will have the call.


Our crew will come back and call the first meeting between Creekview and Etowah. The Eagles are welcoming new Head Coach Matt Kemper from Roswell to the Eagles Nest, while second year coach Trevor Williams is looking to get the Grizzlies back to the postseason. Both teams have lost lots of talent recently, but both teams also have a history of success. Will Cooper and Larry Prather will have the call.


Next, Cherokee will host the Sequoyah Chiefs. Cherokee is coming off a postseason run that ended with a tough loss to Archer in the second round of the playoffs. Coach Josh Shaw will have lots of offensive weapons back with A.J. Swann and Keith Adams Jr. Sequoyah has lost lots of talent, but veteran head coach James Teter can keep the team running smoothly with the help of rising Seniors Jack Blackman and Jaden Mitchell. Dave Garner and Larry Prather will have the call.


Then the crew will venture to River Ridge High School, as the Knights host the Eagles. River Ridge has lots of upside, especially looking at second year head coach Mike Collins and RB Amehre Morrison. Etowah and River Ridge have played each other the past two seasons, with the Eagles taking both games. This year will challenge the Eagles as the have to replace Dalton Miller and Jackson Manns on the offense. River Ridge will also need to find a new QB after the graduation of Chase Begin.


Our next stop is The Grizzly Den at Creekview. One of the lesser known rivalries in the county, but Cherokee and Creekview games tend to be extremely physical. These teams have not played each other since 2017, but they have scrimmaged for the past two seasons. Creekview will have LB Isaac Hubert back to anchor the Grizzly defense after a 9.5 sack season. Cherokee will need to pay close attention to him to have success on offense.


We stick with the Warriors for this week, as they host a juggernaut in high school football, the Cartersville Canes. Cartersville beat Cherokee by 21 points last year, with Cherokee only managing to score one touchdown. Cherokee will also need help on defense from Senior LBs Braesen Parker and Alonzo Upshaw. This will truly test how good the Warriors are before they move into their region schedule.


You have probably noticed by now that there is a bye week built into the schedule. For the first time, no Cherokee County Football will be played that week due to the scheduled Fall Break. Our crew will take that week to prepare for the second half of our schedule. 


We start of “Rivalry Month” with the Battle of Hickory Flat. Creekview vs Sequoyah, the Grizzlies owned the rivalry for close to a decade with a record of 8-2, the only losses coming in 2016 and 2017. The Chiefs will look to change that as they host this rivalry for the second year in a row. Creekview will rely on Senior QB Brody Rhodes to distribute the ball offensively. He has lots of weapons to go to with Seniors Dawson Currie, Cole Hasty, and Andrew Cloy to name a few. Sequoyah will need to run the ball well to keep the ball away from the Grizzly offense and control the game clock.


Our next game is not a rivalry. However, River Ridge vs Creekview is a region game, and it is an important game in the county. Both teams have moved to a new region together and both will be fighting for a playoff spot. River Ridge nearly upset the Grizzlies last year but came up just short.


Next on the list is another under the radar rivalry game. Cherokee and Etowah have both been extremely successful recently, and as a result, the games tend to be exciting and close. This game went to overtime last year and kept the Warriors from getting the first seed in the region. These two teams were also the only playoff teams in our county last year. The big question is what the Eagles will do to limit the Cherokee Offense and what they will do to replace Dalton Miller. This game is sure to have playoff implications.


We finish our rivalry series with the Battle of Towne Lake. This game is one of the top, if not the top, rivalry game in the county. This is our first visit with Woodstock, who is coming off an extremely disappointing season. Coach Brent Budde will look to get back on track this season with help from 4-star safety David Daniel on defense. Possibly one of the most interesting storylines going into this game is how Coach Kemper will handle a rivalry game of this magnitude in his first season in the county.


Our season will finish with two region games with major playoff implications. We will be back with the Wolverines on October 30th as they face the Milton Eagles. Milton is coming off an 8-2 season where the lost in the second round of the playoffs to Marietta.  Woodstock will undoubtably have their hands full with a powerhouse program like Milton. 


The final game of our season is still yet to be decided. The reason for this is that 5 of the 6 Cherokee County High Schools will host home games and we want to choose the one with the biggest playoff implications. The games we have to choose from are:

Milton @ Cherokee

Johns Creek @ Creekview

Alpharetta @ Etowah

Cambridge @ River Ridge

Centennial @ Sequoyah

Woodstock @ Roswell


Our crew this year will once again be led by Dave Garner and Coach Larry Prather.  The duo has been working together for almost 20 years, and they still are going strong. Will Cooper will also return for his 3rd season with the crew to fill in for the guys whenever needed. Our Coverage begins at 7 P.M. each Friday Night, with kickoff at 7:30 P.M. 


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