Hartsville racer moving up to Fairgrounds Speedway

The career of young Hartsville racer Garrett Dies is picking up speed – literally and figuratively.

Garrett, a senior at Trousdale County High, this season will move from the little quarter-mile track at Highland Rim to the bigger, faster five-eighths-mile oval at historical Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, where racing legends have been born for over 60 years.

“The Rim taught me how to race, and now it’s time to move on,” says Garrett, who spent three seasons at Highland Rim Speedway – renamed Veterans Motorplex last year.

“I appreciate the opportunities the Rim gave me,” he says. “I learned a lot racing there.”

Submitted photo
Hartsville racer Garrett Dies, with help from his dad Roy, is moving up to a bigger track and bigger challenges this season.

Garrett has yet to set foot – or tire – on the famed Nashville track. He and his father Roy are preparing his new Pro Late Model racer, and expect to be ready when the track opens for preseason practice.

But although he hasn’t raced at Fairgrounds Speedway, he is aware of its reputation.

“Some great drivers have come through there,” he says, referring to such NASCAR superstars as Darrell Waltrip, Coo Coo Marlin, Sterling Marlin and Bobby Hamilton. “Hopefully I can join them.”

Is the big move daunting?

“A little,” Garrett says. “It’s big jump, and it’s always a challenge any time you move up to a bigger track with faster cars. But I look at it as an opportunity that I’ve been working toward.”

“He’s done a good job and he’s ready for the move,” Roy says. “Nashville’s going to be tough, but he can handle it.”

Roy speaks from experience, having raced at Fairgrounds Speedway from 1987-2001, in addition to competing at Highland Rim and Beech Bend, Ky. Since hanging up his helmet, he devotes his time to assisting with his son’s team.

Reflecting on his own career, Roy says, “I get a bigger kick out of watching Garrett race than I did when I was racing myself.”

Garrett says his mom Ann shares their enthusiasm, although “she gets kinda nervous when she watches me race.”

Garrett’s race team got a big boost last year when it secured a sponsorship from Lebanon-based G-Team Property Management. His race car carries a “G-Team” logo in tribute to sponsors Jackie and Malinda Gaither, and will make the upward move with the team to Nashville this season.

“Their sponsorship has been vital,” Roy says. “We couldn’t race without it, and we want them to know how much we appreciate it.”

Garrett will arrive at Fairgrounds Speedway amid an upheaval in management. Tony Formosa Jr., who had operated the Metro-owned track for several seasons, has been replaced by Track Enterprises, a veteran racetrack management company based in Illinois.

Company president Bob Sargent plans to run seven local-division events at the Fairgrounds, along with three national events. Discussions continue about bringing NASCAR back to the Fairgrounds.

“I feel like it’s going to work out,” Roy says of the new management. “The car we’re building will be legal at several other tracks in addition to Nashville, so we will have some options. We’re looking at maybe running a few races in Montgomery (Ala.)”

After Garrett graduates from Trousdale High this spring, he plans to attend college and major in mechanical engineering. Tennessee Tech, noted for its engineering school, is at the top of his list. He plans to continue to race while in college.

But that’s a long way off. There are a lot of miles – unfamiliar miles, in big, fast circles – to be traveled before then.

Jackets pick up pair of basketball victories

Three nights of basketball action last week resulted in two wins for the Yellow Jackets and one for the Lady Jackets.

The Jackets got their second District 6-A win of the season on Friday as they corralled the Clarkrange Buffaloes (4-13, 0-5) 46-35 in Hartsville.

The Jackets took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter and built their advantage to double digits for their fourth consecutive win over the boys from Fentress County.

“Any win in the district is a quality win,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “Clarkrange is better than their record indicates.

“I thought we showed improvement in some areas, but we’ve still got to work on little details that are holding us back from being a great team.”

Juniors Trent Pharris and Cameron Rankins paced the Jackets with 11 points each, senior Tarvaris Claiborne had eight and sophomore Andrew Ford had six. Junior Alex Ford and sophomore Kane Burnley each had five.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Jackets committed 12 turnovers in the first quarter and fell behind 19-0 in falling 65-17 to the No. 3-ranked Lady Buffaloes (15-2, 5-0).

“We struggled against the press and we had too many turnovers in the first quarter, and you can’t dig a hole like that against a top-five team and expect things to go well,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins.

Senior Tori Simmons scored 10 points, all in the first half. Freshman Elise Satterfield scored three points, freshman Charlee Dixon had two and junior Claire Belcher had two.

On Jan. 7, Trousdale County dropped both its games at Gordonsville.

The Jackets led by six at halftime, but found themselves down two in the final seconds. A long 3-pointer by Rankins bounced off the rim and the Tigers escaped with a 41-39 victory.

“This was a hard-fought battle,” Sleeper said. “We played excellent defense to hold them to 41 at their place, but our offense needs work. It takes time to get chemistry going, especially since our starting five have only played together a few games.”

Rankins had a game-high 15 points and Claiborne had seven, all in the second half. Alex Ford and Pharris each had five points, Burnley four and Andrew Ford three.

Earlier that night, the Lady Jackets trailed by eight after three quarters but fought back to take a one-point lead before falling 53-44 to the Tigerettes (8-8, 2-3).

“It was a tough-fought game, I thought,” Hawkins said. “The girls gave everything they had fighting back to get a lead in the fourth after being down nine, but we had a couple of sloppy plays down the stretch and it hurt in a close game.”

Sophomore Kailen Donoho scored 16 points and Simmons added 14. Belcher had eight, senior Josie Garrett four and junior Jazz Marshall two.

At Ezell-Harding on Jan. 6, Trousdale County picked up two wins.

The Jackets never trailed and had eight players score in a 76-61 victory.

Alex Ford scored a career-high 24 points as the Jackets had their best offensive output of the season. Claiborne and Pharris each added 13 points, Rankins had eight, Kane Burnley and junior Jordan Pickett had six each, Andrew Ford four and sophomore Keenan Burnley two.

In the girls’ game, Simmons scored a career-best 32 points and Donoho added 16 as the Lady Jackets won 58-45.

Juniors Kinley Brown and Morgan White had three points each, while Garrett and Marshall had two apiece.

“We got the win and that’s what’s important, but we struggled a little playing down to competition which is something we can’t have,” Hawkins said.

Trousdale County will travel to Jackson County on Friday and will host Clay County on Tuesday.

Larry Woody: Another deer season in the books

It’s hard to believe it’s already over.

After all those months of anticipation, planning and preparation, all the hours of scouting, checking gear, sighting in rifles – then, in a blink, another deer season has come and gone.

Hunters in my age bracket can’t help but wonder if that last one might be our, well, last one.

That’s what makes each passing season so special.

It also makes you dizzy to contemplate how fast the planet is spinning. Wasn’t it just yesterday that a skinny 16-year-old kid shot his first buck?

A faded old Polaroid shows the kid with his deer. The date on the photo is February 1963 but that’s the date it was printed. The deer was killed in November 1962.

Photo courtesy of Laura Dies
Larry Woody, left, and Clarence Dies with an early-season buck.

It seems like yesterday.

I was walking down an ancient logging road around 9 a.m. with two hunting buddies, trying to get some feeling back in our frozen feet after a frigid morning on our stands. A buck suddenly appeared from a red-brush thicket. It whirled and bounded away and I dropped him with a lucky shot from my brand-new Winchester 30-30.

That’s the first entry in my deer diary:

Nov. 1962: Crossville, 9 a.m., 4-point buck, 30-30 (running shot).

I’ve chronicled 143 more deer since then: date, location, time of day, type of rifle (muzzleloader or 30-30) and a note or two about the hunt.

This past season’s entries:

Nov. 9: Giles County, opening day of muzzleloader season. After sitting on a stand from pre-dawn until 10 a.m. and seeing nothing but turkeys and squirrels, I decided to still-hunt. As I eased over a ridge, 40 yards away in a hollow stood two does. I shot off-hand and they bounded off. The biggest one dropped as it crested a rise.

Nov. 15: Wilson County, hunting with friend Clarence Dies. We split up before dawn, Clarence going to one field on his farm and me to another. At 6:40 a.m. a seven-point buck sidled out of the woods and began feeding on acorns in the corner of the field, 50 yards away. I took another off-hand shot. The muzzleloader roared and I ducked under the cloud of powder smoke to see the buck on the ground.

Nov. 18: Giles County, 7:15 a.m. A doe saunters across an open field. I take a rest on the tree I’m standing behind, steady the crosshairs, and squeeze the trigger. Deer No. 144 was down.

Turn back the page to the biggest deer I’ve killed:

Dec. 7, 2006: Hardin County, 3:15 p.m., mild and windy. A giant buck chases a doe within a few feet of the tree under which I’m sitting. It leaps over a creek, bounds up a ridge, and begins raking saplings with its massive antlers. I shoot, again, using a muzzleloader, and the deer dashes off through the dense woods. A moment later I hear it crash to the ground.

Today the antlers hang on my den wall. I don’t know what they score because I’ve never scored any of the dozen sizable racks I’ve been lucky enough to bring home.

I say “lucky” because I don’t hunt for trophies. I take the first legal deer that comes through, be it big buck or small doe.

To me every deer is special – just as every season is special. We never know when the next one could be the last one.

Trousdale baseball to hold reverse raffle on Jan. 31

Trousdale County’s baseball team will hold its annual reverse raffle and chili supper on Friday, Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Raffle tickets are $20 each, with one winner receiving $1,000 and other cash prizes offered as well.

The chili supper will begin at 5 p.m. and tickets will be $5 at the door.

Raffle tickets can be purchased from baseball players and Diamond Club members.

Jackets come up short against Watertown

Trousdale County returned to hoops action Friday night but suffered two home losses to Watertown.

The Lady Jackets (3-11) were outscored 20-6 in the fourth quarter, leading to a 56-34 loss to the Lady Purple Tigers (10-7).

Junior Claire Belcher led TCHS with 12 points, but only two other starters scored points.

“Hard game, we played the odds and tried to force them to beat us from the outside. They got hot and did,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins. “Watertown didn’t shoot great in our first game, going 18 percent from three, but tonight they were 68 percent and that got us beat.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Trent Pharris (35) goes up to block a shot against Watertown.

Senior Tori Simmons and sophomore Kailen Donoho each scored eight points for the Lady Jackets, and junior Morgan White scored six off the bench.

Watertown hit 11 3-pointers with eight coming from junior Brittni Allison, who scored 34 points.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets (5-9) got good news in the return of senior Tarvaris Claiborne from a hand injury, and bad news in that leading scorer Cameron Rankins was out with the flu.

Trousdale committed 16 first-half turnovers, trailed by 16 at halftime and went on to lose 55-45. The Jackets outscored the Purple Tigers (13-3) 17-8 in the fourth quarter but it was too late in dropping their 18th consecutive game to Watertown.

“I’m still anxious to see what we look like at full strength, but this game was a great opportunity for our younger guards to feel elite pressure,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “It’s not often we see a team just as, if not more, athletic than us. We will work to correct these issues as we enter the real grind of the season.”

Junior Alex Ford led the Jackets with 18 points and classmate Trent Pharris scored eight. Senior Brandon Ramsey had five points, as did Claiborne, who fouled out with 5:15 to play. Sophomore Andrew Ford had four points, senior Jay’dynn Hayward two, sophomore Kane Burnley two and sophomore Keenan Burnley one.

Trousdale County will host district foe Clarkrange on Friday and will travel to Monterey on Tuesday.

JSMS: Jim Satterfield Middle will return to action on Monday with a trip to Carroll-Oakland.

Alumni games: Trousdale County will host its alumni games on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.

For more information, call Ryan Sleeper (615-374-5311), Jared Hawkins (865-771-9974) or Hope Gregory (615-374-1285).

Larry Woody: Grubs have their place on this fisherman’s reel

As a kid growing up in the country, I discovered grubbing was no fun.

“Grubbing” meant using a mattock to dig up stumps and roots, or clear fence rows of saplings and brush. Grubbing was the most back-breaking labor there was.

Hence the expression, “grubbing out a living.”

Nowadays “grubbing” has a different connotation, considerably more enjoyable. It refers to using small plastic artificial lures – commonly known as grubs – to entice fish to bite.

Plastic grubs are effective year-round, and on all species of freshwater and saltwater fish. I’ve used grubs to catch mahi-mahi in Hawaii, redfish in Louisiana, speckled trout in Florida, and walleye and Northern Pike in Canada.

Photo by Larry Woody
Fishing grubs come in a variety of shapes and colors.

Closer home, I’ve fished grubs for Center Hill smallmouth and Old Hickory largemouth. I’ve caught bluegill, stripe, crappie, sauger, shellcrackers, rockfish and trout on grubs.

I’ve also inadvertently caught drum, carp, skipjacks, buffalo and three species of catfish – channels, blues and flatheads – on grubs while fishing for other species.

I even caught a turtle on a grub.

The great thing about grubs is that, in addition to being effective and simple to use, they’re inexpensive. There’s a big difference between breaking off a $10 crankbait on a submerged log and losing a 50-cent grub and lead-head.

It leaves you in a better mood at the end of the trip.

I used to be skeptical about using grubs for crappie. I grew up fishing with minnows and watching bobbers, and I wasn’t convinced that little gobs of plastic would work as well. And at times they don’t – sometimes when crappie are finicky they’ll bite minnows while ignoring artificials.

And I admit, I still enjoy the excitement of watching a bobber twitch, bounce, and disappear.

But generally if the crappie are active, they’ll hit grubs as readily as minnows, and there are numerous advantages to using the former.

For starters, you don’t have to detour by the bait shop on your way to the crappie hole – and sometimes find it either not open at an early hour or sold out. That happened to my fishing buddy and me one day last spring. He’s a dedicated minnow fisherman and apparently so were all the others who beat us to the bait shop that morning and bought every minnow in sight.

We lost over an hour’s fishing time searching for another bait shop. When we finally got on the water, I caught more crappie on jigs than my buddy did on his beloved minnows.

Grubs come in an endless array of sizes, colors and shapes, but my favorite for crappie is a tube jig. It’s just what it says it is – a hollow plastic tube with fluttering tassels. The jig can be fished beneath a float or twitched through the water at different depths and speeds.

Mt. Juliet crappie guru Chuck Campbell introduced me to tube jigs several years ago. I had been using jigs with fluttering tails – Twister Tails – not convinced that a tube jig would impart enough action to entice a bite.

After Chuck brought in his fifth or sixth big crappie of the morning, I became a believer. I switched to a tube jig, and I’ve never switched back.

One lesson I’ve learned during over a half-century of fishing around the world: don’t argue with the fish. If they want grubs for grub, serve ’em up.

Trousdale places third at Nera White; ends 23-game skid vs. Macon County

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets finished third in last week’s Nera White Christmas Tournament in Lafayette.

In the boys’ consolation game Saturday, Trousdale (5-8) defeated tournament host Macon County (4-11) 59-38 and in the process snapped a 23-game losing streak against the Tigers. The Jackets had last defeated Macon County in 2005 at the Red Boiling Springs Christmas Tournament.

“It’s always nice to beat a rival and even more so when it’s been ages since we have done it,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “I thought the boys handled adversity well because we weren’t getting many calls.”

The Jackets took a 40-26 lead in the fourth quarter but saw the Tigers get within single digits before regaining control en route to the 21-point victory.

Submitted photo
Trousdale coaches and players celebrate after defeating Macon County at the Nera White Christmas Tournament.

Junior Cameron Rankins poured in a game-high 25 points while classmates Andrew Ford and Trent Pharris had 16 and 12 respectively. Sophomore Andrew Ford had four points and sophomore Kane Burnley two.

On Thursday, the Jackets took a 10-point first quarter lead and led by as much as 18 in defeating Spring Hill 61-49.

“They didn’t do us any favors putting us with a Class AAA opponent right off the bat, but the boys played with a chip on their shoulder and responded,” Sleeper said. “If we can get that kind of play from our two big guys in Pharris and Rankins every game, we will be just fine.”

Rankins led all scorers with his 28 points and Pharris had a career-high 13. Kane Burnley scored 10 points while Andrew Ford had six, Alex Ford two and sophomore Keenan Burnley two.

On Friday, the Jackets faced Gallatin and lost 59-39. Trousdale led by five in the first quarter but was outscored 18-4 in the final quarter in losing to the Green Wave for the third time this season.

“We fought extremely hard for three quarters,” Sleeper said. “I felt we just ran out of gas. Our bench was short due to people being out for holidays and injuries.”

Alex Ford led the Jackets with 16 points and Rankins had seven. Kane Burnley had six points while Andrew Ford and Pharris each had five.

The Jackets will return to action on Friday at home against Watertown.

Lady Jackets compete at Friendship tournament

Trousdale County’s Lady Jackets took part in the Friendship Christian Christmas Tournament last week, where they suffered two close losses before picking up a hard-fought win.

The Lady Jackets got that win at the expense of the tournament hosts, as they rallied Saturday morning to take down the Lady Commanders 46-41.

“We came out flat and were down eight at halftime, but the girls turned it around,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins. “We switched defenses in the second half, forced 10 turnovers and made our shots down the stretch to come back and win by five.

“That’s the kind of effort we need night in and night out from the girls.”

Sophomore Kailen Donoho scored 20 points, senior Tori Simmons 15, senior Josie Garrett six and junior Claire Belcher five.

On Thursday morning, Trousdale dropped a 35-30 low-scoring game to Hendersonville.

“We played a tough AAA school and it was a back-and-forth game the whole time,” Hawkins said. “Unfortunately they were up two with two to play and we had to foul and came up short.”

Belcher scored 13 points and senior Karissa Goss had nine. Garrett and Simmons each scored four points.

On Friday, the Lady Jackets had a 13-point halftime lead over Cascade but blew that margin in a 51-49 loss.

“We lost a heartbreaker; up 13 at halftime and just lost the ability to score in the second half,” Hawkins said. “We settled for threes and it came back to bite us.”

Simmons scored a career-high 29 points while Donoho added 13 and Belcher seven.

The Lady Jackets will host Watertown on Friday and play at Ezell-Harding on Monday. They will resume district play at Gordonsville on Tuesday.

Larry Woody: TWRA faces challenges in New Year

Lebanon’s Dennis Gardner, a member of the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission, says the New Year rings in some major challenges, but also reflects some significant success stories.

“At the top of the list of challenges is Chronic Wasting Disease,” says Gardner, who moved to Wilson County a few years ago after his retirement as a Memphis air-traffic controller.

Gardner was appointed to the Wildlife Commission by then-House Speaker Berth Harwell in 2017. His term runs through 2021. He is one of four statewide representatives on the 13-member commission that regulates fish and wildlife management.

That management includes dealing with the CWD outbreak which first appeared in the state last winter and could threaten the state’s thriving deer population.

Photo by Larry Woody
Lebanon’s Dennis Gardner, a member of the state’s wildlife commission, sees challenges as well as success in the New Year.

“Addressing the CWD situation will continue to be a primary focus,” Gardner says.

He cites an example of how serious the situation is: the Commission recently approved $1 million for an incinerator specifically designed for the disposal of infected deer carcasses.

“Landfills won’t accept them,” Gardner explains, “so we will have to use an incinerator (as have some other states in which CWD exists) to dispose of them.”

Gardner says the TFWC was addressing CWD concerns long before it appeared in the state, restricting the importation of deer and elk products that might be infected.

Now that it is here, the TWFC is working with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency on ways to deal with it, including establishing a “CWD Zone” to try to contain the spread.

“We want hunters to keep hunting,” Gardner says. “The best way to control CWD is to control the deer population.”

CWD is not believed to affect humans or other wildlife. CWE testing sites have been set up around the state to check for the disease, and more sites will be added.

Another challenge is combating the Asian Carp invasion as the invasive species continues to spread and threaten native species.

This year the TWRA installed barriers on some rivers to check the carps’ migration, and partners with commercial fishermen to promote more netting.

Although the carp likely can’t be eliminated entirely, the Agency hopes to keep their numbers from increasing.

A six-year study of the state’s turkey population is in its fourth year as the TWRA and University of Tennessee partner to try to determine why the once-abundant birds have virtually disappeared in some areas. Despite the concern, the turkey harvest remained relatively stable in 2019.

One positive story is the continuing success of the state’s elk-restoration program. Last fall’s hunting-permit raffle was a huge success, generating thousands of dollars for the program and allowing more and more hunters to harvest one of the animals.

Garner also is enthusiastic about a new $1.5 million waterfowl program that uses GPS systems to study migration patterns that will aid in management.

“We have a lot of good things going on, along with some challenges,” he says. “I agreed to serve on the Commission to represent average hunters and fishermen like me, and to do what is in their best interest.”

Trousdale County puts 12 on All Region 4-2A football team

Trousdale County had 12 players named to the All Region 4-2A football team after a season that saw the Yellow Jackets post an 11-2 record and reach the semifinal round of the playoffs.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Ten of the 12 Trousdale County football players named to the All Region 4-2A squad are shown here. Tarvaris Claiborne (seated left) was the region’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Kobe Ford (seated right) was co-Offensive Player of Year. Also named to the team were, from left, Mason Basford, Will Holder, Ben Chumley, Davis Stewart, Jayden Hicks, Xavier Harper, Aaron Pickett and Jay’dynn Hayward. Not pictured are Cameron Rankins and Heath Chasse.

Senior linebacker Tarvaris Claiborne was named the region’s Defensive Player of the Year. Claiborne was an all-state selection as a junior and led the Yellow Jackets in tackles. He recently participated in the East vs. West All-Star Football Classic, where he had three tackles, including 1½ for loss.

Senior running back Kobe Ford was named co-Offensive Player of the Year, sharing the award with Watertown’s Quanterrius Hughes-Malone. Ford finished with 1,113 rushing yards on 111 carries, averaging 10 yards per rush, and scored 13 touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets.

Also named to the All-Region squad were junior fullback Cameron Rankins, senior lineman Will Holder, junior lineman Mason Basford, senior safety Ben Chumley, senior linebacker Jay’dynn Hayward and junior quarterback Jayden Hicks. Sophomore lineman Xavier Harper, junior kicker Heath Chasse, senior running back Davis Stewart and senior cornerback Aaron Pickett were honorable-mention selections to the team.

“Having 12 players from our football program on the All-Region team means a lot,” said Trousdale County coach Blake Satterfield. “They are well deserving and the seniors had great careers at Trousdale County. I wish them the best of luck in their careers and they will all be successful in whatever they do in life. They are great young men.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]

Rough week for basketball Jackets

It was a rough week for Trousdale County on the hardwood, with three nights of action but only one victory to show for it.

That win came at Smith County on Dec. 16 as the Jackets took down the Owls 63-54. Cameron Rankins scored a career-high 30 points as Trousdale won its fifth game in a row over the boys from Carthage.

“It’s always good to get a win against a rival,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “I thought the boys responded well against a competitive Smith County team. Cameron has really stepped up this year as a leader for this team.”

Junior Alex Ford added 16 points and sophomore Andrew Ford six. Junior Trent Pharris had four points, sophomore Kane Burnley four and senior Brandon Ramsey three.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Jackets trailed 36-24 at halftime and had a potential winning basket miss as time expired in a 55-54 loss to the Lady Owls.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Cameron Rankins (45) goes up for two points against Pickett County.

“That is one a heartbreaker; we finally settled down and battled back in the last minute to cut the deficit to one but couldn’t finish it off,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins.

Sophomore Kailen Donoho scored a career-best 24 points to lead all scorers. Senior Tori Simmons added 20 points, junior Claire Belcher seven and senior Josie Garrett three.

The following night at home against Pickett County, the Jackets led by seven in the third quarter but the Bobcats (8-1, 2-0 8-A) put together a comeback that resulted in a 72-62 win for the visitors.

“I feel like we controlled the game until one minute left in the third,” Sleeper said. “I always tell the boys that players win games and coaches lose them, so I feel this one was on me. We are still trying to find which rotations work best in different situations and I didn’t do a great job of that in this one.”

Sophomore Zach Amonett scored 31 points for Pickett County, while Alex Ford led Trousdale with a career-high 23.

Rankins added 18 points for the Jackets while Pharris had eight and Andrew Ford five. Burnley, senior Jay’dynn Hayward, senior Aaron Pickett and sophomore Xavier Harper each had two points.

The Lady Jackets struggled from the outset in their game and were outscored in each quarter of a 73-33 loss to the Lady Bobcats (8-1, 1-1).

“We dug ourselves into a deep hole with 22 first-half turnovers and you can’t win a game if every other offensive possession becomes a defensive one,” Hawkins said.

Simmons had 11 points and Donoho added nine before fouling out with 25 seconds left in the third quarter. Belcher had six points, junior Kirsten Eversole three, junior Kinley Brown two and freshman Elise Satterfield two.

On Friday at Red Boiling Springs, the Jackets had only two players hit field goals in a 64-43 loss to the Bulldogs (10-3, 2-1).

Missouri Western signee Daltn Marsh, who leads the district in scoring, paced the hosts with 24 points.

Rankins led the Jackets with a game-high 25 points and Burnley had a career-best 12. Alex Ford had five points – all at the free-throw line – and Pickett had one.

“I thought we had a good gameplan for Marsh,” Sleeper said. “Offensively, when you go 8 of 25 in the first half it’s tough to stay in a game. We have to do a better job of getting to the line when we are struggling from the field. Cameron has been consistent but the other guys are going to have to step up.”

The Lady Jackets (2-8, 1-3) ousted RBS (8-2, 3-0) from the district tournament last season but fell behind quickly in a 63-36 loss.

“I thought we did a better job handling full-court pressure but we decided to take a night off on the defensive side of the ball,” Hawkins said. “Struggled closing out and gave up some open looks at threes.”

Simmons had 12 points and Donoho nine, Garrett had five points, junior Jazz Marshall four, Eversole three, Brown two and Satterfield one.

The Jackets will play in this week’s Nera White Christmas Tournament in Lafayette, while the Lady Jackets will travel to the Friendship Christian Tournament.

Larry Woody: This fisherman plans to wait out winter

I knew the temperature was dropping when fishing buddy Bob Sherborne began to show his patriotic colors.

Red nose, white fingers, blue ears.

It also sounded like his teeth were chattering “It’s a Grand Old Flag.”

It was mid-February and Sherborne and I were fishing for sauger below Cheatham Dam. The morning had started cold and grown colder. A breeze swept up-river and the wind-chill plunged the thermometer lower than a PETA model’s IQ.

Photo by Larry Woody
Wintertime is pretty, but also rough on fishermen.

We had a couple of keepers in the cooler – actually, the entire boat was a cooler – when we finally called it quits. As we shivered our way back to the boat ramp, the thought occurred to us: is freezing really fun?

The answer, every winter, becomes more pronounced. No, it’s not.

When we got home, we stowed our tackle for the winter. We would go again when the robins began to chirp.

I’m through flirting with Hypothermia, the goddess of frozen toes.

I’ve done lots of wintertime fishing over the past decades. Back then, the cold didn’t bother me.

I used to fish below Watts Bar dam on days so cold wads of ice would collect in the guides of my fishing rod. I’d peck the rod against a rock to knock the ice loose, and keep casting.

I fished with Lebanon guide Jim Duckworth one bitter winter morning on Old Hickory Lake when we had to use a pole to break the ice around the marina ramp so we could launch the boat.

During an early-spring trip into the Canadian wilderness, a blizzard struck. It snowed so hard I could barely see how to cast as I puttered along the ice-rimmed shoreline. Just before my hands went completely numb, I hooked and landed a 20-pound Northern Pike.

The big, toothy fish hangs on my den wall as I type this. When I recall the frigid morning I caught it, I shiver – and not from excitement.

Wintertime fishing can be productive. It’s a prime time for sauger, smallmouth bass and musky. The TWRA stocks rainbow trout in the winter, and the Tennessee state-record largemouth was caught in February.

Up North fisherman cut holes in the ice and fish through them. I figure when we have to chop through ice to get to the water, that’s Mother Nature’s way of telling us it’s too cold to fish.

Fishermen hardy enough to brave the cold need to constantly be mindful of the potential danger. Frostbite can be painful and lead to tissue loss, and a cold-weather capsize can be fatal.

The ambient cold is compounded by the wind chill. To measure the approximate wind chill, deduct one degree of temperature for each mile-per-hour of wind. If a boat is speeding across the water at 30 mph, lower the temperature by 30 degrees. That’s why nobody water skies in February.

I still fish occasionally in the winter if there’s a relatively mild, sunny day. But when I can’t feel my fingers, I’m heading home to the hearth. If the fish are biting, the Eskimos can have my share.

Call me when you see bluebirds.

Jackets, Lady Jackets each beat Jackson County in OT

Trousdale County came up with two overtime victories and two lopsided losses in its two nights of basketball action last week.

At home against district foe Jackson County on Dec. 10, the Lady Jackets took a 12-point lead into the final quarter but found the game tied at 46 after regulation.

Trousdale County had two starters foul out in overtime but was still able to capture a 59-56 win.

“I thought we did a great job holding them scoreless in the first quarter, but we let the press bother us in the second half which gave Jackson easy buckets,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins. “But we kept fighting, took it to overtime and got the win.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Kailen Donoho (22) goes up for two points against Jackson County.

Sophomore Kailen Donoho scored a career-high 23 points for the Lady Jackets and senior Tori Simmons had 16. Junior Kirsten Eversole finished with nine points, junior Claire Belcher four, senior Josie Garrett four and junior Morgan White three.

In the boys’ game, Jackson County made a 3-pointer as time expired to end regulation at 46-46. In the extra period, the Jackets took a quick lead and went on to a 60-53 victory.

“Offensively we started really slow; the first half was ugly,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “But we found a groove in the second half.

“The last minute we made some mental errors that nearly cost us the game, but I was proud of how the boys responded in overtime.”

Junior Cameron Rankins scored a game-high 18 points and classmate Alex Ford had 13. Senior Brandon Ramsey added seven points, as did sophomores Kane Burnley and Andrew Ford. Sophomore Garrett Rieger had four points while junior Trent Pharris and sophomore Xavier Harper had two each.

The Jackets now have a three-game winning streak against the Blue Devils (4-4).

On Friday in Clay County, the Lady Jackets (2-5, 1-1) dropped their seventh game in a row to the Lady Bulldogs (3-4, 2-1). Trousdale County committed over 30 turnovers in its 58-27 setback.

“We played well for about 14 minutes and then the press got us,” Hawkins explained. “You can’t go into a road district game and commit double-digit turnovers and expect to have a chance.”

Donoho tallied nine points, Garrett eight, Simmons six and Eversole four.

The Jackets (2-5, 1-1), meanwhile, had their poorest defensive effort of the season in an 85-58 loss. Trousdale fell behind by 14 in the first quarter and trailed by 25 at halftime.

“I knew going in that Clay was going to be a challenge,” Sleeper said. “They dominated us in all phases of the game in the first half. They are a great team, especially at their place.”

Rankins scored 21 points and Alex Ford had 15, all in the second half. Ramsey followed with seven points, Kane Burnley five, Pharris four, Keenan Burnley two and Rieger two. Seniors Jay’dynn Hayward and Aaron Pickett had one point each.

Trousdale County was to host Pickett County on Tuesday, then will travel to Red Boiling Springs for district games on Friday.

JSMS basketball sweeps Merrol Hyde, Tucker’s Crossroads

Jim Satterfield Middle went 4-0 last week on the basketball court.

The Jr. Lady Jackets picked up a 35-17 home victory over Merrol Hyde on Dec. 9.

Abbby Elmore netted nine points, Braylee Potts seven and Aubrie Wemple five. Mary Linville and Ayana Mendez each had three points while Taren Simmons, JaNae’ Aponte’ and Addie Bennett each had two. Kayleigh Dunn and Emma Holder had one point each.

Dalton Stafford scored 16 points and the Jr. Jackets claimed a 43-36 win. Kobyn Calhoun added nine points, Cole Gregory eight, Noah Cook six and Mason Eden four.

On Thursday at home against Tucker’s Crossroads, the Jr. Lady Jackets ran out to a 24-0 lead en route to a 45-5 win.

Wemple scored 12 points, Aponte’ nine, Potts six and Simmons six. Jaleigh Marshall and Holder each added five points and Elmore had two.

In the boys’ game, the Jr. Jackets trailed by 11 after the first quarter but roared back in the second half to take a 45-42 win.

Calhoun had a game-high 14 points and Stafford had 11. Cook added six points, Gregory six, Kingston McClain two and Eden two.

Trousdale’s Tarvaris Claiborne plays in all-star football game

Trousdale County senior linebacker Tarvaris Claiborne played in Friday’s 13th annual East vs. West All-Star Classic at Austin Peay State University.

Claiborne was credited with three tackles (two solo) as part of the East squad, which claimed a 20-7 victory. Claiborne had 1½ tackles for losses of five yards and also recorded a pass breakup.

Larry Woody: TWRA working to contain CWD in deer

Almost 700 deer killed in Middle Tennessee have been tested for the dreaded Chronic Wasting Disease that threatens deer herds in some West Tennessee counties, and none have yet tested positive.

“So far, so good,” says Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency official Russ Skoglund, who collects deer heads for testing at several area drop-off locations, including Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

“We will continue testing through deer season,” Skoglund says, “and hopefully we’ll find no cases of CWD in this area.”

Submitted photo
CWD testing continues at area locations.

Fourteen heads have been collected at Cedars of Lebanon where hunters can drop them off at the maintenance office during regular park hours. Another 55 heads were collected at the Lebanon Locker deer-processing plant during the opening weekend of muzzleloader season.

Skoglund collected approximately 350 more heads during muzzleloader season at other Middle Tennessee locations, and an additional 260 during gun season. The collecting/testing will continue through deer season. The heads are sent to a testing laboratory at Cornell University.

The number of deer tested in Middle Tennessee is vastly smaller than in West Tennessee, where approximately 1,500 deer were tested in one week at 47 different centers.

The TWRA is conducting more extensive testing in West Tennessee because that is where the disease has been found in five counties. Five adjacent counties are designated “at risk” and are part of the TWRA’s new “CWD Zone” in which testing is mandatory for all harvested deer.

The neurological disease develops in the brain and spinal column, which is why heads are collected for sampling.

The disease affects only cervids – deer, elk, moose and antelope – and is fatal to infected animals. It is not believed CWD affects humans, domestic animals, livestock or other wildlife.

The disease is highly contagious among deer. The only known way to combat it is to try to contain it to areas in which it exists.

For years the TWRA restricted the importing of certain deer and elk products, including unboned meat, from CWD-impacted states. That import restriction has been expanded to all states.

Since first being diagnosed in Western mule deer decades ago, the disease has gradually spread into 25 states and some Canadian provinces. Last winter it made its way into West Tennessee.

The disease can be transmitted through urine, feces and saliva, which is why the Agency discourages the use of deer feeders by hunters and wildlife watchers.

Infected animals display symptoms of disorientation – staggering and stumbling – and severe emaciation.

Anyone seeing a deer that exhibits such symptoms is asked to contact their local game warden or TWRA officials at the Agency’s Nashville headquarters.

Trousdale County’s Kobe Pridemore signs with Freed-Hardeman

Trousdale County’s pipeline into the college baseball ranks got a bit longer Monday afternoon when senior Kobe Pridemore signed a scholarship offer from Freed-Hardeman University.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Kobe Pridemore signs scholarship papers Monday under the direction of Freed-Hardeman assistant Aaron Spragg.

Pridemore, a pitcher/first baseman for the Yellow Jackets, was joined by his parents, grandparents and teammates for the signing ceremony at Trousdale County High School.

Aaron Spragg, a graduate assistant at Freed-Hardeman, was on hand to represent the school, which is located in Henderson, Tenn.

“We obviously want good kids and we heard a lot of good things from his coaches and others we talked to,” Spragg said of Pridemore, who was recruited as a pitcher. “He’s obviously a really good player, he’s got a big body. He’ll be fun to work with as a pitcher.

“We’re excited to get him into our rotation and see what he can do on the field.”

As a junior, Pridemore hit. .426 and had a 2.61 earned run average. The Yellow Jackets were 8-1 in games he started on the mound. In travel ball this fall, he hit .340 and had a 1.55 ERA, according to his mother, Rene Pridemore.

“Kobe’s a great young man; he’s a great leader,” added former TCHS baseball coach Travis Humes, who was also on hand for the signing. “Kobe is an individual who loves the game of baseball. He’s going to be an incredible addition for Freed-Hardeman.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]

Tarvaris Claiborne selected to play in all-star football game

Trousdale County senior Tarvaris Claiborne has been selected to play in Friday’s 13th annual East vs. West All-Star Classic.

Claiborne played tight end and linebacker for the Yellow Jackets and was an all-state selection in 2018.

The game will be played Friday at 7 p.m. at Austin Peay’s Fortera Stadium in Clarksville and can be seen on ESPN3.

Jackets basketball routs Westmoreland; girls top Watertown

Trousdale County had two nights of hoops action last week, with each team getting one win.

On Dec. 3 at Watertown, the Lady Jackets squandered a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter but managed to hold on for a 61-60 victory. Numerous ill-advised shots and turnovers allowed the Lady Purple Tigers to close the gap late in the game.

“It’s exciting to get our first win of the year, but definitely not how we wanted it to go,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins. “We have to handle pressure better.”

Senior Chloe Donoho led the Lady Jackets with 21 points – 17 of which came on free throws – while sophomore Kailen Donoho had a career-high 19 points. Senior Tori Simmons and junior Claire Belcher each had six points, junior Kirsten Eversole two and junior Kinley Brown one.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets were still shorthanded without the football players and points were tough to come by in a 53-33 loss.

“We played well in spurts but overall just not very disciplined,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “Their constant press wore us down and forced us into some mental errors.”

Sophomore Andrew Ford netted eight points while junior Alex Ford had six and junior Landon Carver five. Senior Brandon Ramsey, junior Trent Pharris and sophomore Garrett Rieger had four points each and sophomore Kane Burnley had two.

On Friday night, Trousdale County hosted Westmoreland.

The Lady Jackets had a tough outing, losing leading scorer Chloe Donoho to an ankle injury just 1:12 into the game in a 47-20 loss. Trousdale County trailed 24-2 at halftime and didn’t get their first field goal until junior Morgan White hit a 3-pointer with 4:05 left in the third quarter.

The Lady Jackets made just five baskets and committed 23 turnovers in the loss.

“It was a heartbreaking loss to a really great team,” Hawkins said. “We lost our captain and point guard in the first minute of the game and we were lost without her.

“I was still pleased defensively as we held them to 24 points in a half, but offensively we couldn’t get much going without Chloe.”

White and Belcher each had four points, Kailen Donoho and Simmons each had three while senior Josie Garrett and freshman Autumn Parrish had two each.

On the other hand, the Jackets pretty much had their way with the Eagles and they led by 19 points at the half and cruised to a 64-30 victory.

“It definitely felt good to have everyone back,” Sleeper said. “We were able to rotate a lot of guys and it kept us fresh and able to stay on the attack.

“We still have plenty to work on, but this was a positive step in the right direction.”

Three Jackets reached double figures as junior Cameron Rankins had 19 points, Alex Ford 11 and sophomore Xavier Harper 10. Pharris had eight points, Kane Burnley six, Andrew Ford three and freshman Brandon Gooch three. Ramsey and sophomore Keenan Burnley each had two points.

Trousdale County was to host Jackson County on Tuesday night, then travel to Clay County on Friday and Smith County on Monday. The Jackets will host Pickett County on Tuesday.

JSMS basketball sweeps Gordonsville

Jim Satterfield Middle had two nights of basketball action last week.

At home on Dec. 2, JSMS won both of its games with Gordonsville.

The Jr. Lady Jackets won 39-29 led by Aubrie Wemple’s 11 points and 10 from Braylee Potts. Kayleigh Dunn, Abby Elmore, JaNae’ Aponte’ and Zion Badru each had four points while Taren Simmons had two.

The Jr. Jackets let a 12-point lead get away late but held on for a 46-42 victory.

Cole Gregory and Kobyn Calhoun had 14 and 11 points respectively, Dalton Stafford had nine, Kingston McClain six, Noah Cook three, Mason Eden two and Jake Fergusson one.

On Dec. 5 at Smith County, JSMS suffered a pair of losses.

The Jr. Lady Jackets lost 32-19 as Wemple had seven points, Potts six, Dunn two, Aponte’ two and Ella Elmore two.

The Jr. Jackets dropped a 50-17 decision as Stafford had six points, Cook four and Gregory three. Fergusson, Calhoun, Eden and Cooper Henley each had one point.

JSMS will host Tucker’s Crossroads on Thursday at 6 p.m.