Hartsville teen racing toward his future

Fresh off winning Rookie of the Year honors last season at Highland Rim Speedway, young Hartsville racer Garrett Dies is preparing to take another stride in his fledgling career.

Garrett plans to make a major jump this season from the lower-level Pro 4s division in which he raced last year, into the Late Model big leagues.

“I’m excited about it,” said Garrett, a freshman at Trousdale County High School.

“I’ll be racing against some great drivers that I’ve grown up following. The competition will be tough, but I believe the only way to get better is to race against the best. You’re only as good as your competition.”

Hartsville’s Garrett Dies is earning a reputation as one of the area’s top young racers.

“I think he’s ready,” said Garrett’s dad Roy, who raced for several years at Highland Rim, Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway, and Beech Bend, Ky., before retiring in 2001.

“He did more last year than I did in 17 years,” Roy added with a chuckle.

Last season Garrett won three features and eight qualifying races, and finished second in the championship standings.

“We had a good season and I’m pretty happy with it, but I would like to have done better,” he said. “As a racer you’re never satisfied. I’d liked to have won the championship.”

Preseason practice will be vital in preparation for his big jump.

“There’s a big difference in racing Late Models and what he’s been racing,” Roy said. “The cars are different and the speeds are higher. It’s going to take some getting used to. That’s why we want to get in as much practice time as possible.”

“I’ll probably be a little nervous at the start,” Garrett said, “but I won’t feel intimidated. Once the race starts, you’re so focused on driving the car that you don’t have time to think about anything else.”

Mt. Juliet’s Roger Cunningham, co-owner of Highland Rim Speedway, said talented young local racers like Garrett and defending Legends Series champ Dylan Fetcho of Lebanon represent the future of the track.

“Not only are they good racers, but since they come from the area they generate a lot of local interest and fan following,” Cunningham said. “Local drivers are great for local racing. We’ll also have several drivers coming in from other areas – including some from out of state – and that makes for some good rivalries.”

In addition to racing in the Rim’s premier division, Garrett also plans to run a number of races this summer in a regional series in North Carolina.

“It will be fun,” he said. “It’ll be exciting to race on a new track against some different drivers.”

Racing in North Carolina will also give Garrett a chance to make a name for himself outside the confines of Ridgetop. Such exposure is vital for young racers who aspire to someday race professionally.

“Hopefully we’ll get some sponsors’ attention,” Roy said. “Like every other race team, we can use all the sponsorship help we can get.”

Garrett is polite, poised and personable – what sponsors look for in a representative – and last season he added performance to his resume. That was a big step in his racing career. Now he’s ready to take an even bigger one.

Jackets teams place fourth in district tournament

The District 8-A Basketball Tournament was held last week at Merrol Hyde Magnet School, but both Trousdale County teams had to settle for fourth-place finishes.

The Yellow Jackets started their tournament run with a home play-in game against Red Boiling Springs on Feb. 14. After a regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs (6-24), the Jackets made it three in a row with a 59-47 win.

The game did have some drama as the Jackets saw their 15-point halftime lead get cut to five at 46-41 in the fourth quarter.

“Red Boiling came out and played very hard and gave us some problems early,” Coach Chip Sparkman said. “We were able to settle in and grind out a district tourney win for the first time in several years.”

Sophomore Keyvont Baines paced the hosts with 18 points, while senior Austin Ford and junior Trace McGuire were also in double figures with 10 apiece.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Tarvaris Claiborne (33) tries to block a shot against Red Boiling Springs.

Senior Trysten McGuire and junior Braison Raney followed with seven points each. Senior Jacob Woodard added five points and sophomore Houston Stafford two.

In the district semifinals at Merrol Hyde, the Jackets fell 75-62 to eventual champion Watertown on Feb. 16. The Jackets did make it interesting as they got to within one point of the Purple Tigers (22-6) in the third quarter after trailing by 16 at halftime. It was the Jackets’ 16th consecutive loss to the Purple Tigers.

“Our guys came out ready to play against Watertown and fought the whole game,” Sparkman said. “We just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. I am very pleased with their effort and hate it for them that we were unable to find a way to win.”

Raney poured in a game-high 25 points and Trace McGuire had 17. Ford netted seven points, Trysten McGuire six, Baines five and Woodard two.

With the loss, the Jackets moved into the consolation game on Feb. 18 to face Gordonsville.

Early on, it was apparent that the Jackets were not ready to play as they trailed 30-15 in the second quarter and trailed by 14 at 51-37 entering the fourth. But the Jackets’ reserves ignited a rally that finally tied the game at 64 with 16 seconds left in regulation. The two teams headed to overtime, where the Jackets came up short in a 72-71 loss.

The Jackets lost the game at the free-throw line, making just four of 15 attempts while the Tigers (14-16) converted 15 of 29 tries.

“Gordonsville came ready to play and jumped on us from the get-go,” Sparkman said. “I am very proud of our reserve players. They came in and got us back in the game.

“Although we lost in overtime, I am very proud of all of our guys for fighting back and getting us to overtime. Our guys have not experienced a tournament setting in many years and I am proud of how they have handled it, and the knowledge they are learning from being there.”

Raney came off the bench and tossed in 20 points, while Baines had 16. Trace McGuire added 12 points while Trysten McGuire had eight and Ford seven. Woodard and freshman Kobe Ford each had three points, while freshman Tarvarius Claiborne had two.

The Jackets will take an 11-18 record into Saturday’s region quarterfinal, which will be played at 7 p.m. at either Clay County or Pickett County.


Lady Jackets

The Lady Jackets faced Goodpasture in the district semifinals. The two teams split during the regular season, but it was the Lady Cougars (15-9) who seized the momentum and won 35-24 to reach the championship game.

It was an error-plagued contest as the two teams combined for over 40 turnovers.

“We came up short,” Coach Jeremy Wilhelm said.

The Lady Jackets are now 1-6 all time against Goodpasture.

Senior Jamey McKoin led the Lady Jackets with nine points while senior Makenzee Dixon and freshman Chloe Donoho each had six. Junior Kaylynn Dalton had two points before fouling out with 2:52 to play, and junior Katelyn Fergusson had one point before she too fouled out with 2:32 remaining.

In the consolation game, the Lady Jackets suffered their third loss of the season to Red Boiling Springs (17-12) in a 45-35 defeat. Trousdale County is now 0-3 in postseason play vs. the Lady Bulldogs since 2010, when the two teams both became members of District 8-A.

Both teams hade 13 made field goals and two 3-pointers, but the Lady Bulldogs converted 17 free throws while the Lady Jackets had seven.

Donoho, Fergusson and Dalton all fouled out of the game.

McKoin and Fergusson each had nine points to lead the Lady Jackets. Dalton added eight points, Dixon had five, and Donoho and freshman Karissa Goss tossed in two each.

The Lady Jackets will take a 9-17 record into Friday’s region quarterfinal game, which will be at 7 p.m. at Pickett County.

In the girls’ championship, Goodpasture repeated as 8-A’s top team with a 58-54 win over Watertown.

Previous tournament champions include Watertown (2015), Goodpasture (2014), Gordonsville (2012-13), Red Boiling Springs (2010-11) and Friendship Christian (2009).

On the boys’ side, Watertown upset Goodpasture 65-61 in the finals, ending the Cougars’ three-year run of tournament titles.

Other winners include Watertown (2012-13), Friendship (2009, 2011) and Gordonsville (2010).

Trousdale County’s girls have not won a district tournament championship since 1993, when the Lady Jackets won under the direction of Coach Jeff Rippy. The boys last won district titles in 2003 and 2004.

Bow-fishing tournament scheduled for April

It’s part hunting and part fishing, and is perhaps the country’s fastest-growing outdoors sport.

It’s bow-fishing, and area enthusiasts will get a chance to test their skills in an upcoming tournament and perhaps qualify for national championship competition.

The Muzzy Bow-fishing Classic is scheduled for April 29-30. First place pays $10,000, and the top 20 finishers will qualify for the Ultimate Bow-Fishing Championship later in the summer in Springfield, Mo.

“We’re anticipating a big turnout,” said John Paul Morris, son of Bass Pro Shops founder and owner Johnny Morris, who is overseeing the tournament. “Bow-fishing has exploded in popularity in Tennessee, just as it has all around the country.”

John Paul Morris, holding a giant buffalo he collected while bow-fishing, will host an area tournament in April.

Entries can be filed online at webboutdoors.com.

The competition will be held on any waterway on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers that is accessible by a public boat ramp.

At the conclusion of the final day on April 30, competitors will present their 20 biggest fish at a weigh-in at Bass Pro Shops at the Opryland Gaylord Center, and the winners will punch their ticket to the national tournament.

Only rough fish – crap, gar and buffalo – are allowed to be taken by bow-fishing.

Although they are generally considered inedible, the harvested fish will not go to waste. They will be loaded into a refrigerated truck on-site and transported to a plant in Illinois to be processed into liquid fertilizer.

Morris notes that such ecological recycling is not new – early American Indians frequently used fish to fertilize their crops during planting.

Removing some of the rough fish, particularly crap, is beneficial to the fisheries. In recent years invasive carp species have become a major concern in Tennessee and other Southeastern states. Biologists fear it will grow worse because there is no effective means of reducing the carp’s rapidly increasing numbers.

“Bow-fishing will barely put a dent in the carp population, but at least it’s a dent,” Morris says.

Morris believes the tournament will also help educate bow-fishermen about the proper way to dispose of their catch. Since the fish aren’t eaten and can’t be released, disposing of them can be a problem. Last year in Wilson County some bow-fishermen dumped their catch at a public boat ramp at the end of a trip, and several hundred pounds of rotting fish created obvious problems. The boat ramp became virtually unusable during the hot summer months.

Morris urges bow-fishermen to dispose of their fish in a responsible manner, away from boat ramps and other public areas. He says education and awareness is the key to correcting the problem.

In response to bow-fishing’s popularity, Bass Pro Shops had added a special line of Muzzy bow-fishing gear.

Morris believes the growth will continue.

“It’s enjoyable and challenging and helps reduce invasive species that are neglected by sport fishermen,” he said. “Bow-fishing is a great outdoors opportunity that more and more people are discovering.”

Jackets named to All-District teams

Trousdale County had six players named to the 8-A All-District team.

For the Lady Jackets, Katelyn Fergusson, Makenzee Dixon and Chloe Donoho were honored. For the Jackets, Keyvont Baines, Austin Ford and Braison Raney earned honors.

Two players were named to the district’s All-Tournament team: Jamey McKoin and Raney.

Submitted photos

Lady Jackets win on Senior Night

Trousdale County concluded its regular season last week with two nights of home basketball action, but only one win resulted.

On Feb. 6, Goodpasture was the opponent as both teams concluded their district schedules.

The Lady Jackets came in looking for a regular-season sweep of the Lady Cougars (13-8, 5-3 8-A) and to take some momentum into postseason play. But Trousdale County had its lowest offensive output of the season in a 44-20 loss, the Lady Jackets’ worst loss in district play this season.

The outcome was even more puzzling considering that the Lady Jackets had won 34-28 at Goodpasture just two weeks earlier.

“We didn’t play well and had a bad offensive game,” Coach Jeremy Wilhelm said. “There are things we saw Goodpasture do that will help us prepare for them in the district semifinals. We know we are better than what we played on Monday night against Goodpasture.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Makenzee Dixon goes up for two of her 22 points in Trousdale County’s win over East Robertson.

Freshman Chloe Donoho scored six points to lead the Lady Jackets and junior Katelyn Fergusson had four. Junior Kaylynn Dalton and freshman Karissa Goss added three points apiece, while seniors Makenzee Dixon and Jamey McKoin each had two.

The Lady Jackets are now 1-5 all time against the Lady Cougars.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets remained winless in six tries against the Cougars (21-2, 10-0) as they lost 69-33. The hosts trailed 24-7 at the end of the first quarter and went on to finish with their second-lowest number of points on the season.

“Goodpasture came out, shot well and we just could not answer them,” Coach Chip Sparkman said. “Our guys fought, but just did not have what it took to win.”

Seven Jackets got into the scoring column, but senior Austin Ford was the only one in double figures with 10 points. Senior Trysten McGuire followed with seven points while junior Trace McGuire, junior Braison Raney and sophomore Keyvont Baines each had four. Freshmen Tarvarius Claiborne and Kobe Ford each had two.

On Feb. 9, Trousdale County held its Senior Night and the Lady Jackets played a Pink-Out game against East Robertson.

The Lady Jackets (9-15) got off to an 8-0 start, led 30-19 at halftime and went on to down the Lady Indians (11-13) 56-35.

“Good way to end the regular season on Pink-Out/Senior Night and build on our team going into the district tournament,” Wilhelm said. “Really proud of our team and the way they responded from Monday’s game.”

Dixon poured in a game-high 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Dalton raised her game with a career-high 16 points. McKoin and Donoho added seven points each while Fergusson had four.

Meanwhile, the Jackets juggled their starting lineup and quickly trailed 13-0 in their game. The hosts trailed 51-27 at halftime and went on to lose 88-61 to the Indians (15-8).

“East Robertson shot the best they have all year in the first quarter, and we did not play as well as we can on defense,” Sparkman noted.

Austin Ford and Raney paced the Jackets with 17 points each. Baines scored nine points, Trysten McGuire eight, Trace McGuire six, senior Jacob Woodard three and Claiborne one.

Both teams begin play in this week’s District 8-A Tournament, which is being held at Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Hendersonville.

The Lady Jackets, seeded third, faced No. 2 Goodpasture on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Jackets, also seeded third, were to host No. 4 Red Boiling Springs on Tuesday at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to face No. 2 seed Watertown on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Canada geese becoming local problem in parks

It’s like a scene from the old Hitchcock thriller, “The Birds,” only instead of swarms of crows, it’s flocks of geese.

Canada geese are invading city parks, boat docks and other recreational areas across Middle Tennessee.

They are more than a honking, squawking nuisance; their droppings are a health hazard.

Like the deer and coyotes that are proliferating in Middle Tennessee’s rapidly expanding suburbs, wild geese are becoming a major problem.

And like deer and coyotes, nobody seems to know what to do about it.

Canada geese are magnificent birds, but can cause problems in parks.

Flocks of nuisance geese would be relatively easy to control in many areas by hunting, but animal-rights advocates won’t stand for it. They propose trapping the geese and transplanting them to new areas. That’s similar to the way they try to deal with huge swarms of starlings that invade every fall. They use loud noises to shoo them off.

Off to where?

Off to another area, where they become someone else’s problem.

City and suburban parks are particularly attractive to Canada geese because of the lush grass and clover on which they feed, along with picnic scraps and other goodies deposited by park visitors.

Most parks and boat docks have signs posted warning the public not to feed the geese and ducks, but the signs don’t do much good. Even if visitors don’t intentionally feed the birds, there are usually enough leftovers scattered around picnic benches and garbage cans to provide a bountiful goose buffet.

At one city park on Old Hickory Lake, youngsters are cautioned about playing around the shore due to goose droppings. Hikers on trails and users of boat docks have to watch their step. The water in the cove is so fouled by fowl that nobody would dare wade in.

And like the deer and coyote problem, the goose situation will get worse. The suburbs are wildlife havens, offering an abundance of food and shelter – two main requisites – along with protection from hunters.

In rural areas the deer population can be controlled by hunting, as can the coyote population to some extent. (Coyotes are so cunning and prolific that hunting can’t totally control them.)  Likewise in rural settings, geese aren’t a problem because they are not congested in cramped quarters and can be safely hunted in most areas.

But in city parks, geese can’t be shot. It wouldn’t be safe, even if the animal-rights folks would stand for it – which, of course, they won’t.

That leaves trapping as the only solution, but it’s labor-intensive, which makes it expensive. And catch-and-release is not a long-term cure, just a temporary reprieve.

Canada geese are magnificent, fascinating birds. They are intriguing to watch and photograph.

But like anything else, there can be too much of a good thing, and too many geese in a city park is a problem. It’s a growing challenge suburbs are going to have to deal with.

Lady Jackets top Watertown to secure regional spot

Trousdale County had two nights of district basketball action last week as both Yellow Jacket teams looked to improve their seedings for next week’s district tournament.

On Friday night at home against Watertown, the Lady Jackets came in needing a win to secure a spot in the district semifinals, and a win was exactly what they got. The Lady Jackets (8-14, 4-3 8-A) downed the Lady Purple Tigers (10-13, 2-5) 51-41 to guarantee themselves no worse than a third-place finish in the district and an automatic trip to the region tournament.

The victory also broke an eight-game losing streak to the Lady Purple Tigers.

“It feels good to finally beat them in awhile,” Coach Jeremy Wilhelm said. “The ladies are playing hard now before we head into the district tournament. Our goal all year is to win the district tournament.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette Trousdale County's Jamey McKoin (3) tries to block a shot during the Lady Jackets' 51-41 win over Watertown.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Jamey McKoin (3) tries to block a shot during the Lady Jackets’ 51-41 win over Watertown.

Senior Makenzee Dixon poured in a game-high 19 points to lead the Lady Jackets. Freshman Chloe Donoho followed with 14 points and senior Jamey McKoin added eight before fouling out with 1:04 to play. Junior Katelyn Fergusson scored five points, junior Kaylynn Dalton three and freshman Josie Garrett two.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets (10-14, 6-3) fell 89-62 to the Purple Tigers (21-4, 7-2). It was the Jackets 15th consecutive loss to the boys from Watertown.

“Watertown is a tough matchup for us, and not having rest really hurt us,” Coach Chip Sparkman said. “We were not able to score the way we are used to and it cost us. We will see them again and know we will do a better job scoring. Our guys fought but just ran out of gas.”

Junior Trace McGuire led all scorers with his 23 points and classmate Braison Raney had seven. Senior Trysten McGuire and sophomore Keyvont Baines each had six points, freshman Kobe Ford had five off the bench and senior Austin Ford, freshman Tarvarius Claiborne and sophomore Hayden Clark each had four. Sophomore Houston Stafford finished with two points and senior Colton Gammons had one.

At Red Boiling Springs on Jan. 31, the Lady Jackets had their lowest offensive output of the season to date as they lost 30-24 to the Lady Bulldogs (14-10, 7-0). The Lady Jackets have now lost in their last four trips to RBS.

“Just got to put some more points on the board,” Wilhelm said.

Dixon and Donoho each scored eight points, while Fergusson had six and Dalton two.

Meanwhile, the Jackets quickly took the lead over the Bulldogs (6-20, 1-8) and pushed their advantage to over 20 in the third quarter before holding on for a 72-66 victory. The win completed a season sweep of the Bulldogs.

“W came out fast and were able to hang on,” Sparkman said. “We did not sub like we should have and gave up some points due to being tired. I am proud of our guys for finishing the game.”

Baines poured in a game-high 24 points, while Austin Ford and Raney each had 13. Trysten McGuire followed with eight points and Trace McGuire had seven. Gammons added three points while senior Jacob Woodard and Claiborne each had two.

On Feb. 2, Trousdale County played host to Westmoreland but came up short in both games.

The Lady Eagles (21-2) had three starters out because of sickness, but still had enough to hand the Lady Jackets a 45-37 defeat. Westmoreland has won 30 straight games in the girls’ series.

“We got better in areas against a good team,” Wilhelm said.

“The Lady Jackets took a 13-5 lead after the first quarter, but went into a double-digit hole after getting outscored 16-5 in the third quarter.

Dixon paced the hosts with 17 points and Donoho had eight. Fergusson had five, Dalton three, and McKoin and Garrett each had two.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets led 25-22 at halftime but could not maintain momentum in the second half and lost 56-50. The Eagles (11-11) hit five more 3-pointers and nine more free throws than the Jackets to secure the win.

“Westmoreland is one of those games that is tough to play,” Sparkman said. “I believe if we play them any other night, we win. Our guys were tired and not being a district game, the urgency was just not there. We played okay, but just could not score like we can.”

The District 8-A Tournament will be held next week at Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Hendersonville.

Schools recognize Athletes of Winter

Submitted photos

Submitted photos

Trousdale County High School and Jim Satterfield Middle School proudly announce their Athletes of the Winter.

Three students from each sport of the respective season were chosen based on statistics, leadership and overall character. A poll was then taken in which the community voted for their top athlete.

Winners from TCHS (top photo) were: Boys basketball, Trace McGuire; CheerleAthletesJSMSading, Cortney Burris; Girls basketball, Jamey McKoin.

Winners from JSMS were: Girls basketball, Claire Belcher; Boys basketball, Kasen Payne; Cheerleading, Erin Hix; Band, Mallory Leduc (not pictured).

Will more coyotes mean fewer deer?

As Tennessee’s coyote population grows, so does the debate on what impact it will have on the state’s future deer population.

Nobody can dispute that coyotes kill deer. The only question is, how many?

A story in the current issue of American Hunter Magazine presents some grim statistics: a survey conducted in South Carolina found that coyotes killed at least 65 percent of all fawns born in the study area.

That was the confirmed percent. The actual number killed might have been as high as 85 percent, since the cause of death for some of the fawns could not be determined. In some cases coyotes fed on a dead fawn, but it could not be verified that they killed it.

Submitted Lebanon’s Roy Denney killed this coyote during deer season.

Lebanon’s Roy Denney killed this coyote during deer season.

While the numbers of the South Carolina study may seem high, surveys in other parts of the Southeast have concluded that coyotes kill at least 50 percent of all fawns.

Most of the predation occurs on fawns less than three months old. As they become older they are better able to avoid predators.

The studies found that coyotes don’t take much of a toll on mature deer. However, if 50 percent of the fawn crop is decimated annually, that obviously will impact the future deer population.

Compounding concerns is the fact that the coyote population is rapidly expanding across the Southeast. Thirty years ago, few Tennesseans had ever seen a coyote; today they are common sights everywhere, including urban centers and residential areas.

Once they move in, they are usually there to stay. The only effective way to remove coyotes is to shoot them, and that’s not feasible – or legal – in most residential areas.

Catching coyotes in “humane” live-traps is almost impossible because the animals are too crafty. They can be caught in leg-hold traps, but setting such traps in residential communities where pets roam is risky, and can lead to a lawsuit if a pet is injured.

In rural areas hunters kill a number of coyotes during deer season, and predator hunting is growing in popularity, but not enough coyotes are taken to make a serious dent in the population.

Coyotes are so prolific that biologists say 75 percent of them have to be removed from an area in order to decrease the population for over a year. Females breed when a year old and produce litters of 5-7 pups – and sometimes as many as nine.

They can adapt to any environment, and have no natural enemies other than man.

In addition to the growing coyote concern is an equally expanding problem with free-roaming dogs, especially in sprawling residential areas that encroach on deer habitat. Like coyotes, domestic dogs take a toll on newborn fawns.

Unlike coyotes, which are driven by hunger, well-fed domestic dogs seldom feed on the deer they chase and kill. They chase deer by instinct, responding to their ingrained wolf genes. The owners of free-roaming dogs, not the dogs themselves, are at fault.

As for the coyote menace, so far wildlife officials don’t seem overly concerned. They note that the state’s deer population has remained fairly stable for the past decade, despite the large increase in coyotes during that period.

But if the current coyote population is killing 50 percent of newborn deer, what happens as the coyote population doubles? Then doubles again?

It could be a coyote catastrophe in the making.

Gold teams sweep alumni basketball games

Submitted photos Players pose before last week's Alumni Basketball games.

Submitted photos
Players pose before last week’s Alumni Basketball games.

The annual Trousdale County Alumni Basketball games were played Saturday, with 15 former Lady Jackets and 17 former Yellow Jackets returning for some fun and competition.

In the women’s game, the Gold Team picked up a 55-44 victory.

Destinee Dixon paced the Gold squad with 17 points and Hannah Gregory was also in double figures with 10. Kim Scruggs Duke and Melissa Gregory each added eight points. Natalie Storey added four points, Kristen Raney Elmore three and Hannah Brooke Ellis two.

Ashley Cornwell led the Purple Team with 26 points, including eight 3-AlumniWomenpointers. Bailey Howell added 10 points while Tina Lankford Chasse had four, Chelsea Dickerson Sleeper three and Jennifer Elmore Petty one.

In the men’s game, the Gold Team claimed a 74-59 win.

Mike Hehn netted 19 points, Jesse Sullins 15 and Alex Gregory 13 for the Gold. Namiah Wilson had eight points, John Young four and Quinn Hogan and Chris Payne rounded out the scoring with three each.

Lady Jackets knock off Goodpasture

The Trousdale County Lady Jackets played only one game last week, but they used that opportunity to come up with their biggest win of the season – a 34-28 road victory over District 8-A opponent Goodpasture.

The Lady Jackets (7-12, 3-2) had been winless in four previous games against the Lady Cougars (10-7, 3-2), having lost those games by an average of 36 points.

With the win, the Lady Jackets upped their district record at the expense of the reigning district tournament champions.

“It was a total team win at Goodpasture,” Coach Jeremy Wilhelm said. “All of those close games we have had trouble finishing finally paid off. I’m really proud of the way the girls played.

“We are still on our mission to win the district.”TCLogo_14

Senior Makenzee Dixon tossed in a game-high 21 points and senior Jamey McKoin followed with six. Junior Kaylynn Dalton added three points while junior Katelyn Fergusson and freshman Chloe Donoho each had two.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets quickly fell behind 18-0 and were outscored in each quarter of a 77-36 loss to the Cougars (16-2, 6-0), who are ranked second in the state.

“We came out a little timid and allowed them to get hot shooting,” Coach Chip Sparkman said. “We could not hit key shots and they proved too much for us.”

The Jackets remain winless in five games against Goodpasture.

Sophomore Keyvont Baines hit four 3-pointers en route to 14 points to lead Trousdale County. Junior Braison Raney followed with 11 points and senior Austin Ford had four. Freshman Tarvarious Claiborne added three points while senior Jacob Woodard and junior Trace McGuire each had two.

On Jan. 26, the Jackets played a makeup game at DeKalb County. The visitors took a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but were outscored 22-4 the remainder of the way in losing 60-45 to the Tigers (5-14).

“I knew DeKalb was going to be a very tough game for us just based upon the early start time and how we had defeated them previously,” Sparkman said. “Our legs were tired and we could not defend the three at all.”

Raney was the only Jacket to reach double figures with his 13 points. Trace McGuire pitched in nine points while Baines had eight. Ford and senior Trysten McGuire had six points each, while Woodard finished with three.

The following night at Merrol Hyde, the Jackets (9-12, 5-2) got a career-best 26 points from Trace McGuire as they cruised to an 80-38 win over the Hawks (4-13, 1-6).

“Our guys shows some guts and played excited trying to stay in the hunt for second place in the district,” Sparkman said. “We played with a chip on our shoulders, being Merrol Hyde’s homecoming opponent. Our boys took care of them early, and now we stand 5-2 in the district for the first time in 10 years.”

Three other Jackets also reached double figures as Baines had 18 points, Raney 17 and Ford 10. Trysten McGuire added four points, freshman Kobe Ford three and Claiborne two.

Trousdale County was to play at Red Boiling Springs on Tuesday, and will then play their final five games of the regular season at home. Westmoreland comes to town Thursday, followed by homecoming on Friday against Watertown. The games against Goodpasture, which were postponed due to inclement weather, will be played Monday.

TCHS Players of Week: Feb. 2, 2017

Submitted photo

Submitted photo

Citizens Bank is proud to recognize Braison Raney and Chloe Donoho as Trousdale County’s Basketball Players of the Week for their recent performances on the court.

Each player was presented with a Player of the Week T-shirt by Maryanna Thurman of Citizens Bank.

Winter is perfect time for sauger

It’s always exciting to feel the thump of a sauger hitting a jig or minnow as it bounces along the rocky bottom of a riverbed.

That’s assuming your hands and fingers aren’t so numb that you can’t feel anything.

Winter is sauger time in Tennessee, and some of the finest fishing is in the winding Cumberland River, specifically in the swirling tailwaters below dams on Old Hickory, Cheatham and Cordell Hull lakes where the fish congregate.

Sauger are hard fighters and considered by many to be the tastiest fish of all species.

Submitted Lebanon’s Jim Duckworth hoists a pair of Cumberland River sauger.

Lebanon’s Jim Duckworth hoists a pair of Cumberland River sauger.

The drawback is that you may get frostbite while waiting for a sauger bite.

The fish are most active in the winter months of January and February, which makes fishing for them a challenge.

As a youngster I fished sauger with my Uncle Bud on the Tennessee River below Watts Bar dam. We used lead-head jigs Uncle Bud had molded and hand-tied with dyed hair. We fished from the bank, casting upstream, letting the jigs sink and bumping them along the bottom as they were swept along in the current.

Snags were common, and we would go through a couple dozen jigs on an average trip. But since Uncle Bud made them himself, they were cheap.

As the jig bumped along the bottom you would feel a sudden tug, and the jig would stop moving. You set the hook, hoping you had a sauger, not a rock.

It seemed like the coldest days were the best days. Balls of ice would form on the rod tips as we reeled in our line. We would swish the rod tips in the water or peck them against a rock to dislodge the ice, and resume casting.

In recent years sauger fishing has been slow on the Cumberland. The best sauger fisherman I know is Lebanon guide Jim Duckworth, and even he has had trouble finding fish. I rarely hear of anyone filling a 10-fish limit.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not trying. Visit any tailwater or slow river bend this time of year and you’ll see boats drifting or anchored in place, anglers patiently working jig baits and lures.

Rarely, however, are the areas crowded, even in the choice tailwaters. Unlike prime-time crappie season when dozens of boats are often wedged into a hot spot, sauger fishing is relatively solitary.

A favorite rig is a lead-head jib heavy enough to sink to the bottom in a strong current, tipped with a live minnow. Because sauger tend to bite tentatively, a “stinger” hook attached to the jig shank will improve your chances of setting a hook in a nibbler.

Modern-day sauger fishermen have a variety of ways to battle the cold, from hand-warmers to in-boat heaters. Duckworth advises wearing heavy, wind-proof coveralls and headgear during bone-numbing boat rides to and from the fishing hole.

He also advises fishermen not to overdo it. When the cold becomes too extreme, get out of it. No fish is worth hypothermia.

Likewise, being careful on the water is critically important during the winter when a dunking can be fatal. Life jackets are mandatory when fishing tailwaters, and it’s advisable to keep then on at all times.

Despite such chilly challenges, a platter of golden sauger fillets is a great reward for a cold day on the water – once you’ve thawed out enough to hold a fork.

Yellow Jackets defeat RBS

Trousdale County played host to Red Boiling Springs in district action on Jan. 17 and had to settle for a split.

The Yellow Jackets broke a three-game losing streak to the Bulldogs (5-17, 0-5 8-A) with a 56-42 victory.

“Red Boiling was a great test of maturity for our guys,” Coach Chip Sparkman said. “We did not play our best and were able to find a way to win. I am very proud of our guys.”

Eight Jackets got into the scoring column, led by 11 points from sophomore Keyvont Baines. Senior Austin Ford followed with 10 points, while junior Braison Raney had nine and freshman Tarvarius Claiborne eight. Freshman Kobe Ford added seven points, junior Trace McGuire six, senior Jacob Woodard three and senior Trysten McGuire two.TCLogo_14

The Lady Jackets were not as fortunate, as they lost to the Lady Bulldogs (10-9, 4-0) 46-43 in overtime.

“We came up a little short of finishing that game,” Coach Jeremy Wilhelm said. “We must do a better job of executing things at the end of games.”

Freshman Chloe Donoho paced the Lady Jackets with 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Senior Makenzee Dixon and junior Kaylynn Dalton each added nine points, senior Jamey McKoin had seven, junior Katelyn Fergusson five and freshman Karissa Goss two.

For RBS, seniors Cayley Tuck and Katie Heady did the damage offensively with 18 and 14 points respectively.

On Thursday, Trousdale County stepped out of district to take on visiting Jackson County.

The Lady Jackets saw their record fall to 6-12 with a 46-34 setback to the Lady Blue Devils.

The Lady Jackets trailed 19-15 at halftime but tied the game before eventually falling behind 37-23.

“We had a great chance at getting a good win against them, and that is our new district opponent for the next few years,” Wilhelm said. “We are so close on things we need to do to win.”

Dixon tossed in 14 points, 10 of those in the second half. Fergusson contributed nine points and Donoho six. Dalton added three points and McKoin had two.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets (8-10) quickly fell behind 11-0 and went on to lose 79-49. Last season, Jackson defeated the Jackets 9741 in Gainesboro.

“Jackson County came in ready to play and shot 73 percent from the field for the game,” Sparkman said. “It is nearly impossible to overcome that type of offensive performance. Our guys fought back as best we could, but we could not answer their offensive output.”

Ford came off the bench to lead the Jackets with 16 points, while Baines and Trace McGuire had 13 each. Trysten Mcuire added five points and Claiborne had two.

Both Trousdale County teams were to have played at Goodpasture on Tuesday, then the boys will play at DeKalb County on Thursday (5:30 p.m.) and at Merrol Hyde on Friday (7 p.m.).

The Jackets will travel to Red Boiling Springs next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

JSMS: The Jim Satterfield Jr. Lady Jackets saw their season come to a close with a 54-27 loss to South Fentress in the James C. Haile State Tournament in Murfreesboro on Jan. 19.

Sidney Gregory paced the Jr. Lady Jackets with 12 points and Kailen Donoho had seven. Morgan White added six and Faith Winter had two.

The Jr. Lady Jackets finished with a record of 10-8 under the direction of Coach Cody Greer.

Wind farms continue to raise controversy

From New York to the mountains of rural Tennessee, wind farms continue to spark controversy and debate.

A group of concerned citizens in upstate New York recently arose in opposition to a proposed wind farm near their community known for its natural, pristine beauty.

A similar Tennessee uprising was sparked last year by a proposal to build a wind farm on a scenic Cumberland Plateau mountaintop. That debate continues.

Proponents insist such farms represent the future of clean energy. They say the electricity-generating farms produce tax revenue and create jobs.

Submitted This photo illustrates how a wind farm scars a pristine mountaintop.

This photo illustrates how a wind farm scars a pristine mountaintop.

Opponents claim wind farms are not cost-effective because they require government subsidies. In addition, the towering turbines are visually invasive, and their construction and operation has a detrimental environmental impact.

The future of the proposed Tennessee Crab Orchard project remains undecided. Developers initially hoped to begin construction this year. A group of concerned Cumberland County citizens banded together to oppose the project, while some others in the area support it.

Influential state politicians, including U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Congressman Diane Black, have thrown their support behind the anti-wind farm faction. They express concerns about the adverse environmental impact, in addition to the farms being subsidized by taxpayers.

It has been suggested that a state referendum be held, and let citizens vote on the issue.

Among those opposing the wind farm is the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, a non-political association dedicated to the protection and preservation of the state’s wildlife and environment.

TWF executive Mike Butler expressed his concerns in an editorial, calling wind farms “grossly inefficient” and “not positive for the environment and wildlife.”

Butler cited a report claiming a single West Virginia wind farm kills thousands of birds and bats annually. Another report found that an Oregon wind farm killed at least 38 golden eagles, along with 336 other protected birds that fly into the turbines. Another survey claims that the giant, whirling blades kill approximately 600,000 birds annually nationwide. Proponents insist those numbers are inaccurate.

While the cost/return of wind farms and their destruction of wildlife may be debated, there is no disputing their impact on a natural area. The proposed Crab Orchard wind farm would consist of 23 giant turbines, each towering 600 feet high.

The turbines would be visible for miles, impacting not only the 1,800 acres of land on which they are built, but much of the surrounding area as well.

Also, the natural area around a wind farm has to be clear-cut to accommodate the construction of the giant turbines, and must remain cleared in order to maintain them. That makes the scarring permanent.

The concern is that if the Crab Orchard project goes through it will encourage building more wind farms across the state – opening an environmental Pandora’s Box.

Tennessee’s natural areas are rapidly disappearing beneath developers’ bulldozers, and once lost they are lost forever. More and more environmentally concerned citizens are saying no.

Basketball Players of Week: Jan. 25, 2017



Citizens Bank is proud to recognize Jacob Woodard and Jamey McKoin as Trousdale County’s Basketball Players of the Week for their recent performances on the court.

Each player was presented with a Player of the Week T-shirt by Maryanna Thurman of Citizens Bank.

Alumni basketball games to be played Saturday

The Trousdale County Alumni Basketball games are scheduled for Saturday evening at TCHS.

The girls game will begin at 6 p.m. Scheduled to play for the Purple Team will be Jennifer Elmore Petty (1994), Ashley Cornwell (2015), Tina Lankford Chasse (2002), Chelsea Dickerson Sleeper (2008), Bailey Howell (2013), Sylvia Martin Eden (2000) and Terri Lynn Oldham Dixon (1993).

The Gold Team will consist of Kim Scruggs Duke (2000), Melissa Gregory (2000), Hannah Gregory (2015), Hannah Brooke Ellis (2016), Kristen Raney Elmore (1994), Destinee Dixon (2015) and Bridget Harris Gregory (1993).

The men’s Purple Team will feature Chris Payne (1993), Sammy Dunn (2006), Zach Swaffer (2011), Dillon Young (2010), Rick Moore (2002), Jonathan Ford (2003), Landon Clark (1997), Davy Cothron (1996) and Quinn Hogan (2003).

The Gold Team will be made up of Mike Hehn (1993), Ricky Harrison (2016), Nick Moore (2001), John Young (1989), Eric Vetetoe (2005), Namiah Wilson (2003), Alex Gregory (2010), Earl Burnley (1981), Craig Brown (2010) and Jesse Sullins (2004).

Yellow Jackets defeat Merrol Hyde

Trousdale County played three district basketball games last week, but came away with just one victory.

That win was secured by the Yellow Jackets on Jan. 10 with an 87-67 home victory over the Merrol Hyde Hawks. It was the second time this season the Jackets have scored 85 points in a game.

“Merrol Hyde was a tough game for us,” Coach Chip Sparkman said. “We came out really fast and put up a lot of points, then we struggled defensively.

“Our guys fought through adversity and we were able to push the lead out late in the fourth quarter.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette Braison Raney (32) throws the ball down for Trousdale County against Merrol Hyde.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Braison Raney (32) throws the ball down for Trousdale County against Merrol Hyde.

Sophomore Keyvont Baines scored a career-best 26 points – the highest scored by any Jacket this season – which included six 3-pointers made.

Senior Austin Ford added 18 points, and juniors Trace McGuire and Braison Raney also reached double figures with 15 and 11 respectively. Senior Jacob Woodard followed with eight points, senior Trysten McGuire had six and senior Colton Gammons three.

On Friday night at Watertown, both Trousdale County teams came up empty as they were outscored by a combined 78-39 in the second halves of their respective games.

The Lady Jackets trailed 25-24 at halftime, but wound up falling 50-38 to the Lady Purple Tigers. It was the Lady Jackets’ eighth straight loss to Watertown (9-9, 1-2 8-A).

“We have to do a better job rebounding,” Coach Jeremy Wilhelm said.

The difference in the game came at the free-throw and 3-point lines, with Watertown making six more free throws and two more 3-pointers.

Senior Makenzee Dixon paced the Lady Jackets with 10 points and junior Katelyn Fergusson had eight. Senior Jamey McKoin and junior Kaylynn Dalton each added seven points, while freshman Chloe Donoho had four and freshman Josie Garrett two.

The loss dropped the Lady Jackets to 6-10 overall, 2-1 in district.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets trailed 42-41 at halftime before losing 95-66 to the Purple Tigers (14-3, 2-1).

Watertown used its depth to wear down the Jackets and record its 14th consecutive win in the series.

“I was so proud of our guys,” Sparkman said. “They played very well against Watertown and gave them all they wanted for three quarters.

“Fouls cost us the game. We had 30 fouls called on us and had three players foul out of the ballgame. It was tough knowing the fouls called played a major role in determining the outcome of the game. We have played 15 games, and in those 15 games we only had three players foul out. Having three foul out in one game is hard to handle.”

Senior Seth Price, Watertown’s all-time leading scorer, led the hosts with 23 points and junior Preston Tomlinson had 21.

Baines again led the Jackets’ offense with 20 points. Raney added nine, all in the second half. Woodard and Trysten McGuire each had eight points, Trace McGuire followed with seven and Ford six. Sophomore Houston Stafford and freshman Tarvarius Claiborne each had three points, while freshmen Kobe Ford and Ben Chumley each made one free throw.

The loss put the Jackets at 7-9 overall, 3-1 in district.

Trousdale County was to host Red Boiling Springs on Tuesday before stepping out of the district to host Jackson County on Thursday. The Jackets will travel next Tuesday to face Goodpasture.

The boys’ game at DeKalb County, which was postponed by snow two weeks ago, has been rescheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Alumni: The Trousdale County alumni basketball games will be played on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. at TCHS.

Jr. Lady Jackets cruise past Southside

Both teams from Jim Satterfield Middle School played games Saturday in the James C. Haile State Tournament at Middle Tennessee Christian in Murfreesboro.

The Jr. Lady Jackets (10-7) ran out to an 11-0 start and went on to defeat Southside (Lebanon) 47-24.

“We played to the level of our expectations,” Coach Cody Greer said.

Kailen Donoho scored a game-high 16 points and Morgan White followed with 14. Kirsten Eversole added seven, Sidney Gregory, Claire Belcher and Kinley Brown each had three and Crista Shockley had one.

Jerry Richmond / Hartsville Vidette Kailen Donoho (1) brings the ball up the court for the Jr. Lady Jackets against Southside.

Jerry Richmond / Hartsville Vidette
Kailen Donoho (1) brings the ball up the court for the Jr. Lady Jackets against Southside.

The Jr. Lady Jackets will return on the ‘Boro on Thursday to face South Fentress at 5:45 p.m.

The Jr. Jackets, meanwhile, scored the first seven points of their game and led 17-5 after one quarter against South Cumberland (Crossville). But the Jr. Jackets lost their lead with 1:41 left to play before falling 42-41.

Trailing 41-38, Alex Ford hit a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left that tied the game. But South Cumberland hit one of two free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining for the final margin.

“Our kids played their guts out,” Coach Davy Cothron said. “We knew they had two exceptional players and would bring pressure in the second half, and we really pushed them in practice over the past week preparing for that pressure. We handled the pressure; it was just a game where some breaks fell for us early, but fell for them late.

“Tournament basketball at its finest. I’m proud of how they handled the situation.”

Ford led the Jr. Jackets with 14 points while Cameron Rankins had 10. Kasen Payne added eight points, Bradley Blair four, Andrew Ford three and Robert Butcher two.

The Jr. Jackets ended their season with a 13-4 record.

“We are 27-9 the past two years,” Cothron said. “The cool thing is, of those nine losses, only three were by six points or more. We have been in every game and that’s a sign of competitiveness, and that’s what has to be present as these kids move to high school.”

JSMS ended its regular season on Jan. 9 with home games against Westmoreland.

The Jr. Lady Jackets lost 37-32 to the Jr. Lady Eagles. Donoho scored 10 points and White had nine, Gregory added six while Brown and Eversole contributed two each. Belcher and Faith Winter each had one.

The Jr. Jackets came away with a double-digit victory, winning 45-33.

Rankins led the way with 19 points, while Alex Ford and Payne had 10 each. Elijah Henderson added three, Brady Eden two and Trent Pharris one.

Sumner County buck proclaimed as world record

After a required 60-day drying period, the non-typical antlers of a buck killed in Sumner County in November posted the highest score ever recorded.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has proclaimed the antlers a world record “pending” official confirmation by Boone & Crockett record-keepers. That confirmation is scheduled to take place at a 2019 B&C awards ceremony.

The TWRA expects the record to be made official, giving the state bragging rights to the biggest non-typical buck ever taken.

From the outset the antlers easily eclipsed the former state record, and the only remaining question was if they would break the world record as well.

Submitted TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter congratulates Stephen Tucker on his record buck.

TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter congratulates Stephen Tucker on his record buck.

The prior world-record non-typical antlers came from a buck killed in Iowa and scored 307 5/8. The antlers of the “Tucker Buck” – as it has been christened in honor of hunter Stephen Tucker – scored 312 3/8. The Tennessee buck beat the Iowa buck by a considerable margin.

Non-typical antlers grow down or sideways and tend to be gnarled, while typical whitetail antlers grow upward with separate and distinctive tines. Non-typical antlers usually have a lot of more points that typical antlers – 47 in the case of the Tucker Buck – and have a heavier mass. Records are kept for both types of antlers.

“I am so proud that a pending world record harvest has come from Tennessee,” said TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter. “It means a lot to a lot of people.”

Deer hunting is a big business, and big bucks are good for business.

Tucker, a 26-year-old Gallatin resident, killed the monster buck on Nov. 7 with a muzzleloader. The rack could be worth as much as $100,000 on the collectors’ market. Endorsement fees from outdoor companies whose gear and products were used during the hunt could add to the bounty – as much as $1 million by one estimate.

Tucker, who farms the land in Sumner County on which he bagged the deer, said he has been awed by the experience.

“I have been truly blessed and am thankful,” said Tucker, whose muzzleloader misfired the first time he saw the buck. He got a second chance two days later. That time his rifle fired, and hunting history was made.

The TWRA says the pending world record is testimony to the success of its Quality Deer Management Program. It is intended to allow more bucks to grow older, and thus grow bigger antlers, by protecting them while they are young.

A few years ago the state’s buck limit was cut from three to two per season, and this past season the TWRA changed the definition of “antlerless” to protect more young bucks. In the past, a spike buck with antlers less than three inches long was classified as antlerless and could be harvested as liberally as does. Last season the definition was changed; if an antler nub is visible above the hairline, the buck is considered antlered.

Hunters can still kill spike bucks, but they now count toward the two-buck season limit.

“The key to producing more big bucks is to let more little bucks walk,” said TWRA officer Dale Grandstaff who scored the Tucker Buck and steered it through the complex record process.

“If someone had killed that deer when it was a spike, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”