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Lassiter Food Bank seeks donations for Spring Break giving

hot dogs

Photo Credit: wtfrly.com

The Lassiter Food Pantry is in need of help so that they can provide assistance to local families heading into spring break. Cold food items are greatly appreciated. Items of critical need include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Burgers (of any kind)
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Ham, turkey, roast beef sandwich meats
  • Eggs
  • Dinner meats

Please drop off your donations in the front office of Lassiter High School, 2601 Shallowford Road, Marietta 30066, by Thursday, March 27th, in order to have food items distributed before Spring Break.

If you need other arrangements for collecting your donated items, please email melonie.mccallum@cobbk12.org, fatima.coffey@cobbk12.org, autumn.curry@cobbk12.org or jacqueline.fross@cobbk12.org.

 

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Police: Lassiter student charged with drug possession at school

A student at Lassiter High School faces a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge and a felony methadone possession charge.

Michael Ballard, 17, was arrested after Lassiter Assistant Principal Ashlynn Campbell reportedly found “a very small amount” of marijuana and “several tablets” of methylone in Ballard’s 2001 Nissan Pathfinder parked at the high school, according to an arrest warrant.

Ballard has been released from jail on a $5,000 bond.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Nikki Wiley, January 19, 2014. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Police Lassiter student charged with drug posession at school)

Parents show support for beleaguered Lassiter High School band leader

The attorney for the Cobb Board of Education refused to let a group of Lassiter High School parents address the board Wednesday with complaints about the school’s new band director.

Meanwhile, the band director, Ginny Markham, has hired an attorney to defend herself against a dissident group of parents who have publicly criticized her job performance and the process under which she was hired.

A group of about 20 parents and their students from Lassiter High’s band program were prevented from speaking at a school board meeting Wednesday, because their comments related to a specific teacher.

The parents and students showed up to discuss their outspoken concerns with Markham, who took over the position this year from a beloved 30-year band leader, Alfred Watkins.

A number of other parents have now risen up in defense of Markham. They did not attempt to speak with board members Wednesday, they said, because they are satisfied with the top achieving ensemble’s success in Markham’s hands.

Board policy and legalities

Board attorney Clem Doyle said he skipped over the group of 14 people signed up to speak during public comments because they had indicated they would be speaking about a specific employee.

“It’s against board policies to discuss personnel matters during public comment,” Doyle said.

After public comment had ended, Board Chairman Randy Scamihorn invited the Lassiter Band group to the front of the room to speak privately with individual board members.

“I’m frustrated that we can’t speak in public about our concerns,” said Roger Toland, the father of a sophomore clarinet player at Lassiter.

Some parents said they felt stuck. After not getting what they wanted from the school principal, Chris Richie, they were upset the board didn’t seem eager to make any changes at the school.

“Where do we go now?” asked Trish Boone, a parent of a senior trumpet player.

Board member Kathleen Angelucci listened as a group of students, parents and alumni shared their complaints.

Angelucci said she encouraged the students in the band to become leaders within their sections, and to spend their energies teaching each other and search for a compromise.

Not all parents feel the same

After an article ran in the MDJ that reflected the concerns of the 20 parents, other Lassiter parents spoke up and said they were quite happy with the band program under Markham’s leadership.

Tom Estella, the father of a sophomore mellophone player, said Watkins left large shoes to fill, and wishes all the parents and students would do more to support Markham.

“She really hasn’t had an opportunity to succeed or fail, she’s only been there one year,” he said.

The few parents and students who are complaining do not fully represent the thoughts of the rest of the band program, Estella stressed, and said their complaints were creating a toxic environment for the band community.

Parents in the band’s booster association are supposed to assist the band’s director, Estella said, and he doesn’t believe they are doing so.

Markham’s lawyer says she is more than qualified

Markham was an excellent choice to fill the vacant band director role, said Marietta-based attorney Robert Ingram, who is now representing Markham.

Markham reached out to her lawyer a few weeks ago for advice on how to respond to a handful of disgruntled parents who were making “unwarranted and defamatory attacks” against her, Ingram said.

Following Watkins in his role was an extremely hard thing to do, and the first-place trophy from the October Bands of America Regional Competition in Towson, Md., should prove Markham is doing a good job, Ingram said.

He believed there would be naysayers no matter who took over the direction of the band.

“It would be impossible for Principal Chris Richie to select a band director to follow Alfred Watkins who would satisfy all the parents of 300 students,” he added.

Richie made the decision to hire Markham without the help or input of Markham’s husband, Gary Markham, who retired last spring, Ingram said. Claims by the few parents who said otherwise were unwarranted and false, he added.

“Fortunately, decisions on hiring and firing of band directors is not left to the collective mob-mentality of a few parents. If it was left to parents, schools would be in absolute chaos,” Ingram said.

He has faith in the future of the Lassiter Band, and in Markham’s capabilities.

Ingram provided this statement in an email:

“The bottom line is that Ms. Markham loves all 300 students that are a part of the Lassiter Band, she is well credentialed, and she plans to continue leading the band in a tradition of excellence by winning championships as they did under her leadership this past October. Ms. Markham is optimistic about the future for the Lassiter Band programs and encourages the parents to rally together as a team to continue the Lassiter Band’s tradition of excellence.”

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Hannah Morgan, December 12, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Parents show support for beleaguered Lassiter High School band leader)

New band director at Lassiter spurs ire from parents, pupils

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Lassiter band member Sarah Gwaltney plays the marimba during a halftime show in September. Staff/Jeff Stanton

Parents and students involved in the nationally recognized band program at Lassiter High School are upset with their new band director and say the district hasn’t been responsive to their complaints.

Parents claim they were kept in the dark during the hiring process of the school’s new band director, Ginny Markham, and students complain their new director is unwilling to work with them to address their concerns.

A group of about 20 Lassiter band parents met Monday night at a home near the high school, northeast of Marietta, to discuss their options for moving forward with their complaints.

“She’s a bad teacher,” said parent Bruce Bonsall.

Parents huddled around a dining room table ate bowls of chili and swapped horror stories of their children’s recent band experiences.

Complaints to the principal and central office employees had gone nowhere, and parents felt stuck.

Now, they are planning on making an appearance at the Board of Education meeting today, after meeting Monday to work out what they were going to tell the board.

What they’re upset about

Parents said Markham just didn’t have enough experience to take on such a prestigious ensemble.

The Lassiter band recently won first place at the Bands of America Regional Championship in October at a competition in Towson, Md., a victory parents say does not reflect their faith in the band’s director.

They have been petitioning the school principal, Chris Richie, who hired Markham in late spring 2013, for an explanation as to her hiring, to no avail.

“He hired her and absolutely doesn’t want to hear it,” said Bruce Boone, parent of a senior trumpet player.

He and his wife, Trish, said the integrity of the band was at stake, and they were worried about its future.

“This is the Lassiter band. This is the best band in the entire Southeast. Somebody needs to help us,” he said.

A proud tradition at Lassiter

Former Director of Bands Alfred Watkins took over Lassiter’s music program in 1982, building it into a nationally recognized program before he retired last spring, much to the dismay of the school’s band community.

They remember Watkins as an emblematic leader of the band program, a teacher both in the classroom and on the marching band field. The band community had high expectations for his successor, as the Lassiter band has twice won the national band championship at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 1998 and 2002.

When Watkins announced his retirement, band parents, booster club members and students involved in the roughly 300-person ensemble said they wanted to pitch in to help find the perfect replacement, but their attempts to provide input were ignored by the district.

“Dr. Hinojosa is not meeting our needs,” said Donnell Willequer, a parent at Monday’s meeting.

Markham came from Allatoona

Before coming to Lassiter, Markham served as director of bands at Allatoona High School, the assistant director of bands at Kell High and at Lassiter when Lassiter won the Bands of America Grand National Championship in 2002.

While at Kell, she worked with Richie, who was then the assistant principal of the school, and parents

suspected the two had been friends.

Markham graduated with a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Georgia in 1998, and was drum major of the Redcoat Marching Band at the school for two years.

She received a masters in music education from the University of Illinois in 2004, according to the school district website.

Not up to Lassiter’s standards?

Students said Markham didn’t know how to manage such an elite group of musicians.

Brittany Pietsch, a senior flute player, was a drum major this year, and was optimistic when Markham arrived.

Pietsch said she hoped Markham, a former drum major at UGA, would share that experience with the Lassiter drum majors, and was disappointed when it never happened.

Pietsch said she had watched Markham all semester, and felt she was unable to work with every section of the band.

While Markham had some band experience, Pietsch said it wasn’t enough for the Lassiter band.

“I’m sure she would be a good director for a band that doesn’t want to be that good, but that’s not the case at Lassiter,” she said.

Suspected nepotism

Parents said they were concerned that Markham’s husband, Gary Markham, who retired as the supervisor of music for the district last spring, may have been involved in the hiring of his wife, and that the district hadn’t done much to convince them otherwise.

“She was hired under suspicious circumstances,” Bruce Boone said.

Band parents said they were confused about how the hiring process for the new director played out, and have gone so far as to submit open records requests to get more information from the school district.

“Parents feel there has to be some wrongdoing in the hiring in some way,” said Barbara Sobel, a concerned mother of a sophomore tenor saxophone player.

Students upset with changes

Students said they brought a list of concerns to Markham in September, but their teacher had not yet responded to their input.

Jacob Greifinger, a senior trumpet player, said she felt Markham was unable to provide useful information to the young musicians. He was concerned with what he said was a lack of warm-up time spent during rehearsal, misguided directions from Markham on tone quality and an imbalance of sound throughout the band’s sections.

“It’s like having a calculus teacher that doesn’t know half of the curriculum teaching us for the Advanced Placement test,” Greifinger said.

She was perfectly nice, the students stressed, but not knowledgeable enough for their needs.

“She can’t help us because she doesn’t know,” said Tyler Boone, senior first-chair trumpet player.

The students said they joined the Lassiter band because of the wonderful things they had heard about the program, and were worried the future of the band would not hold its stellar reputation.

One of the pillars of the band program was Spirit Plus System Equals Success.

Boone said he felt both the system and the spirit were broken.

Response from district

Markham and Richie were unable to comment Tuesday. When the MDJ called the school, school staff forwarded reporters to the district’s communication desk. Doug Goodwin, a spokesman for the district, said the district did not make comments on personnel matters, and did not return subsequent phone calls.

Board of Education Member David Banks, whose post includes Lassiter, said the school community was going through a rough transition period between band directors.

He had heard complaints from some of the parents at the beginning of the school year, but believed the conflict had been smoothed out.

Banks stood behind the decision of the district, and the school’s principal. He said Markham’s previous band at Allatoona was very successful, and he had faith in the future of Lassiter’s bands.

The board was powerless to making changes with personnel matters, he said.

What parents would like to see

Parents and students said they wanted a new band director.

“She needs to be removed,” Bruce Boone said.

They planned to send personal letters to board members and to present a list of their complaints during public comments at Wednesday’s board meeting.

“We need a new director ASAP. I know I speak for a lot of the kids in the bands. A lot of people would refuse to sit in her class for another semester,” Pietsch said.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Hannah Morgan December 10, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – New band director at Lassiter spurs ire from parents pupils)

Lassiter, Pope among five left to play for softball titles

baseball and glove

One thing will be on the mind of the five Cobb County teams that punched tickets to softball’s state championships — unfinished business.

Lassiter, Kennesaw Mountain, Hillgrove, Harrison and Pope are all back for another shot at a state title.

The tournament, which begins Thursday at the South Commons Softball Complex in Columbus, will follow a double-elimination format until the champions are crowned Saturday. First-round games begin Thursday at 4:15 p.m. for Class AAAAA Pope, with the other four teams playing at 6 p.m. in the Class AAAAAA bracket.

Lassiter, the Region 5AAAAAA champion, enters the tournament as one of the favorites, and is one of five teams trying to snap Gwinnett County’s streak of five straight championships in the state’s highest classification.

Lassiter brought Cobb County its last title in 2007, before the Gwinnett streak started.

The Lady Trojans’ first-round opponent will be a familiar one as they take on Harrison (26-7). Lassiter (29-6) beat the Lady Hoyas in a doubleheader Sept. 25.

The Lady Trojans went 1-2 in Columbus last year, but they return as one of the team’s expected to win it all. They beat defending champion Archer to advance.

“There’s no pressure on us,” Lassiter coach Jason Campbell said. “We’re just going there to play, inning-by-inning and pitch-by-pitch. We control what we can control, which is ourselves.”

Campbell believes Collins Hill’s pedigree as a three-time state champion and third-place finisher at last year’s tournament makes them the favorite.

“They’ve won three state championships the last four years, and they’ve beaten the one team considered to be the best in the state regardless of classification, and that’s Buford,” Campbell said. “They have good pitching and good hitting and they’ll be tough to beat.”

Harrison, which went 0-2 at the state finals last season, made this year’s state tournament as the No. 3 seed from Region 4AAAAAA. The Lady Hoyas have won nine straight since the back-to-back losses to Lassiter, upsetting postseason opponents Luella and East Coweta to reach Columbus.

“We stopped making mistakes,” Harrison coach Matt Jones said of his team’s recent success. “All of the losses have been because of errors and walks. We eliminated that and we’re doing a good job pitching and making hits. We’ve continued to work on fundamentals and we’re doing this against good teams.”

Kennesaw Mountain (26-6), last year’s Class AAAAAA runner-up, is in the state finals for the fifth time in six years. It will open play against a team it lost 3-1 to during the regular season, Region 8AAAAAA champion Brookwood (23-11).

The Lady Mustangs are hoping to avoid a repeat of their trip to last year’s championship game, which went all the way through the losers’ bracket after an opening-day loss.

“We’ve lost the first game every year we’ve been to Columbus,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Lisa Chapman said. “We haven’t escaped that, but we have another chance to change that. I don’t think people even expected us to go back to the elite eight. We had to prove people wrong, and now that we’re here, hopefully we can relax and play good ball.”

Like Harrison, Hillgrove (28-7) also went 0-2 at last year’s finals. The Region 4AAAAAA runner-up is making its third straight trip to Columbus.

Hillgrove beat Newton and upset Region 1AAAAAA champion Lowndes to make the elite eight. The Lady Hoyas take on North Gwinnett (27-5) in the opening round.

“We were a young team last year, so this year we have more experience,” Hillgrove coach Laura Voyles said. “That could help us out. We worried about who we were playing last year instead of what’s going on in our own dugout. We have a different mentally this time, and we’re going to focus on our game and what we do.”

Pope (28-9) is Cobb County’s lone entrant from Class AAAAA. The Lady Greyhounds earned the state runner-up honor in their first appearance at the state finals last year, losing back-to-back games to Union Grove in the championship.

“These are two different seasons,” said Pope coach Chris Turco said. “We graduated some good seniors, so this is a different group with a different mindset. Our goal was to get to Columbus, and then try to win when we got here, not make up for what we lost last year.”

The No. 3 seed from Region 7AAAAA, Pope upset South Paulding and Heritage-Conyers to make the state finals. The Lady Greyhounds open with Region 4AAAAA champion Ola on Thursday.

Pope’s as hot as any team in its bracket, having won 20 of its last 22 games.

“We want to win the first one, and keep the momentum going,” Turco said. “Making it through a hostile environment at Heritage-Conyers was a watershed moment for us, and I think set us up to do well (in Columbus).”

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Carlton D. White, October 28, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Five left to play for softball titles)

A fitting king: A class favorite at Lassiter, Bryan Powell rules on Trojan homecoming

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As his family reacts with excitement, Bryan Powell rules the stadium as Lassiter High School’s homecoming king Friday night. Bryan, who has had cerebral palsy since birth, is an honors student and a world-class special athlete. Helping Bryan savor the moment during halftime ceremonies are his mother, Pam, father, Tim, and brother, Andrew.
Staff/Erin Gray

Bryan Powell doesn’t let anything get in his way.

The 18-year-old who was crowned Lassiter High School’s homecoming king Friday night has high ambitions.

He’s scouting colleges and has competed across the country in track and field sports. He set a new national record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 23.40 seconds this year.

He also has cerebral palsy.

Bryan Powell has never let that define who he is and doesn’t accept any special accolades because of his disability.

Teachers, friends and parents describe him as a smart student, helpful friend and a “110 percent kind of kid.”

Under bright lights at Lassiter High School’s football field Friday night, Bryan was humbled by the honor given by his classmates, who chose him as the school’s homecoming king.

“I’m stunned,” Bryan said. “I didn’t expect that.”

Thunderous applause erupted, drowning out the announcer when he was introduced. The crowd shouted his name after being crowned.

It’s an honor, he said, to be named by his classmates.

Pam Powell, his mother, says it was a traumatic delivery and birth that caused his cerebral palsy, classified as moderate. While his speech is average, he grew up unable to walk without the assistance of a crutch, a cane or another person. But as he grew older, walking became more difficult because his muscles couldn’t keep up with his growth spurt.

Still, Bryan Powell has spent his time in school in traditional classrooms and honors classes.

He shuns the spotlight and his mother said he would “die if he thought anything was handed to him out of pity.”

“When I picked him up from school one day when he was elected on homecoming court … he goes, ‘Mom. I have the worst news ever.’ I am thinking, ‘Oh my gosh. What happened?’” Pam Powell said. “And he said ‘I’ve been elected to homecoming court.’”

She’s continually amazed by the way her son overcomes his disability and strives to be a role model for other athletes.

“Honestly, coming from me it’s not going to sound the same, but I think if you asked anybody who knows him, if you’ve gotten to know him there’s no way that he hasn’t touched you,” Pam Powell said.

Most students can’t juggle the activities that Bryan Powell is involved in, said Katie Griffin, a teacher at Lassiter and the assistant basketball coach of the team he manages.

“That alone shows you how organized and cognitive he is of all the things he accomplishes,” Griffin said.

Griffin says becoming homecoming king is “just another representation that Trojan nation has just been really behind him.

“This is not just a popularity contest,” Griffin said. “This is the students’ way of saying how proud they are of everything he’s accomplished.”

Looking to the future

Bryan Powell is making waves in sports.

He’s ranked No. 3 in the world for his division in track and field and No. 3 for the 100-meter by the Paralympic Committee. He has also been named an All-American by the committee for the last two years.

“I’ve never seen anybody do as much as he does, honestly,” said Pam Powell.

In the National Junior Disability Championships held in July in Rochester, Minn., Powell won all six gold medals in the under-20 division.

In August, he competed in the World Junior Wheelchair and Ambulatory Championships in Puerto Rico where he set personal bests in five of the six events he competed in.

“We’re just stunned how bright his future looks and how much he’s managed to accomplish,” said Pam Powell.

Bryan Powell has hopes of competing in Rio for the 2016 Paralympics Games.

“We really believe that he’ll be in the Paralympics in 2016,” Griffin said.

He wants to pursue an athletics-related career and play sports in college, but that could prove difficult in Georgia.

“There’s not a single college in Georgia that offers any adaptive sports programs,” Pam Powell said.

Though Auburn University is scouting Bryan for its new wheelchair basketball program, she’s concerned about the out-of-state tuition.

No matter the path, Pam Powell says she thinks he’ll be setting records for a long time.

“He really does want to set a standard or show people that … there’s a way to do something,” Pam Powell said.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Nikki Wiley, October 19, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – A fitting king A class favorite at Lassiter Bryan Powell rules on Trojan homecoming)

Lassiter student arrested for knife at school

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Cody Chitwood

For the second time in two weeks, another Cobb high school student has been arrested and charged with breaking a zero-tolerance weapons law after a search of his vehicle turned up a knife.

Cody Chitwood, 17, is a senior at Lassiter High School, and an avid fisherman.

He went fishing at his favorite spot, Mountain Park off Highway 92 and Mabry Road several days before and left his two fishing poles and tackle box in his car.

Little did he know that Lassiter administrators would order a K-9 search of the parking lot on Sept. 17 and a dog would hit on his car.

The dog apparently picked up a scent of black powder because Chitwood also had a couple of firecrackers in his car, left over from a Fourth of July celebration. That was enough for police to order a thorough search of his 1998 BMW 328i.

They found four knives, all of them with blades of at least 2.5 inches, according to the arrest warrant. Three of them, including a fillet knife and a spring-assisted knife, were inside his tackle box in the trunk. A butterfly knife was found inside the pocket of the driver’s side door.

“I enjoy fishing. I go fishing probably once a week, sometimes twice a week,” said Chitwood, who has been suspended for 10 days by Lassiter Principal Chris Richie. “I just forgot that it was in there. I had my fishing poles in the car, too.”

He was charged with carrying a weapon in a school safety zone, which is a felony in Georgia.

School officials do not talk about individual disciplinary cases but zero-tolerance laws are strictly enforced.

The random K-9 searches of student parking lots are done at least once or twice a year at all Cobb high schools.

“The cop and the administrators, they basically told me, ‘You’re going to be in a lot of trouble,’” Chitwood said. “They were pretty nice, but the K-9 unit guy wasn’t really very nice.”

Chitwood said the campus officer and the administrators told him, “Instead of making a scene out of you, we’ll put a warrant out for you and you can turn yourself in at the jail.’”

He turned himself in Sept. 18 and was released later the same day after posting bond of $1,000 plus $320 in fees.

He said his parents, Don and Robin Chitwood of northeast Cobb, have hired an attorney, Joel Pugh of Marietta.

Chitwood said he has never had any previous run-ins with the law.

“It’s pretty ridiculous,” Chitwood said of the charges.

As for his parents, Chitwood said, “They think it’s absolutely ridiculous, too.”

Chitwood said he plans to enter the U.S. Air Force after graduation.

“I have an attorney and I’m hoping to get the felony dropped so I can still get in the Air Force,” he said.

On Sept. 5, another Cobb County high school student, Andrew Williams, 18, was arrested at Allatoona High in Acworth and charged with the same crime of “carrying a weapon in a school safety zone.” Williams’ car was searched after a fellow student accused him of smoking marijuana in his car. That triggered a search by an assistant principal, who found no marijuana but did find a pocket knife in the center console. Williams’ family has also hired an attorney to fight the charges.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Leo Hohmann, September 25, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Lassiter student arrested for knife at school)

Trojan nailbiter comes down to missed point-after

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Lassiter’s Bryce Washington, left, sees his chance as Cherokee’s Blace Brown mishandles a punt return Friday. Up 35-7 at one point of the first half, the Trojans withstood the Warriors’ feverish rally — and their 612 yards of total offense — to win following a missed point-after.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton

Behind 612 yards of total offense and four second-half touchdowns, Cherokee stormed back from a 35-7 deficit to score what looked to be the game-tying touchdown with 42 seconds to play.

But Obie Brannon’s extra-point skimmed just under the crossbar, and Lassiter escaped with a 42-41 victory Friday in the teams’ Region 5AAAAAA opener at Frank Fillmann Stadium.

“We hung in there and got the win,” Lassiter coach Jep Irwin said. “We’re 1-0 in the region and that was the main thing we needed to accomplish. It wasn’t always pretty, and give (Cherokee coach Josh) Shaw and that team credit for a lot of that, but we’ll take it and we’re glad to be 1-0 in the region.”

The missed point-after came after a 5-yard delay of game penalty — a mistake Shaw put on his shoulders as he second-guessed himself on going for a potential game-winning 2-point conversion with momentum heavily on the Warriors’ sideline.

“I had myself convinced to go for two, and that is on me,” Shaw said. “We had nothing to lose and should have gone for two. That was completely my fault. But I am so proud of my kids, regardless.

“We went into halftime down 35-14 and talked about not giving up. That’s exactly what we did. Our kids persevered and laid it all on the line.”

Cherokee (2-2, 0-1) struck first when quarterback Spencer Ashley found a wide-open Blake Johnston for an 82-yard score that gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 6:34 to play in the opening quarter.

The high-powered Trojan offense responded with five unanswered touchdowns, including four in a highlight-filled second quarter.

Oris Lawhorn tied the game at 7-all, running three yards around right end late in the second quarter. The Trojans (2-2) took a 14-7 lead on the opening play of the second quarter when Will Anderson found Quincy Perdue deep down the left sideline.

The senior receiver, who finished the night with 112 yards from the air, made a leaping catch at the 20-yard line, broke a tackle at the 15 and juked one last defender at the 10 before crossing the goal line with 14:45 to play in the second quarter.

Anderson hooked up with Cole Taylor for a 57-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 21-7, Perdue scored from 21 yards out on a reverse to give the Trojans a 28-7 lead, and Anderson hit a wide-open Duby Nwalubi for a 43-yard touchdown pass to cap the Trojans’ 28-point second quarter.

Ashley, who was 22-of-32 for four touchdowns and 455 yards, threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Blace Brown in the waning seconds of the second quarter. Brannon hit the extra point for Cherokee to send the game into halftime 35-14.

Cherokee scored in the third quarter on a 67-yard screen pass from Ashley to Brittain Brown, then again on a 2-yard run by Johnston that cut Lassiter’s advantage to 35-28.

The Trojans extended their lead to 42-28 on a 1-yard plunge by Corey John, before Ashley hit Andrew Harris in the end zone from 16 yards out with 4:36 to play, then again from 13 yards out with 42 seconds left.

Blace Brown led all receivers with 12 catches for 175 yards. Johnston ran for 78 yards on 20 carries and had 90 yards receiving on two receptions.

Anderson led the Lassiter offense to 476 total yards of their own, completing 27 of 40 passes for 346 yards and three touchdown passes.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Chase Wallace, MDJ Sports Correspondent, September 21, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Trojan nailbiter comes down to missed point after Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Trojan nailbiter comes down to missed point after)

Prep Roundup: Lassiter, Kell cruise to lopsided victories

baseball and glove

Lassiter pounded 15 hits, scored five runs in the first inning and never let up in beating Milton 12-3 over five innings Wednesday.

The Lady Trojans (10-2, 3-0 Region 5AAAAAA) added two runs in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth to run away with the victory.

Piper Wagner threw a complete game, totaling three earned runs on seven hits and striking out three. She also batted 3-for-3 with three RBIs.

Kelly Sinclair was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Emily Syvarth batted 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Murphy Davis doubled and brought home two runs. Amanda Wilson doubled with an RBI, while Andi Summey also went 3-for-3 with two RBIs.

Lassiter will travel to Kennesaw Mountain on Tuesday.

Kell 10, Walton 1 (5 inn.): The Lady Longhorns scored seven runs in the first inning and cruised to a non-region victory over their east Cobb rival.

Lanie Angel pitched a complete-game two-hitter and struck out three.

Hanna McKinley was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, Sara Howard was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Addie Scott also added two hits.

Kell (6-2) will travel to St. Simons Island on Friday and Saturday to compete in the Softball in the Sand tournament.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, August 29, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Prep Roundup Lassiter Kell cruise to lopsided victories )

Lassiter’s Bryan Powell flourishing through challenges

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Lassiter’s Bryan Powell won six gold medals for track and field at the National Junior Disability Championships held July in Rochester, Minnesota last month. Earlier this month, he competed in the World Junior Wheelchair and Ambulatory Championships in Puerto Rico, and now he has his sights set on the 2016 Olympics

Bryan Powell was born with cerebral palsy, but he is not letting his handicap interfere with his athletic dreams.

His goal is to become a member of the USA Paralympic team and compete in the 2016 Olympics at Rio.

Based on his recent track and field accomplishments, Powell’s has a shot.

In the National Junior Disability Championships held July in Rochester, Minnesota, the rising Lassiter High School senior competed in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dash and also took part in the shot put, discus and javelin.

Powell, 18, won all six gold medals in the under-20 division. He set a national record in the 100 with a time of 23.40 seconds, besting his Dixie Games time by 1.5 seconds.

He had just returned from the World Junior Wheelchair and Ambulatory Championships last week in Puerto Rico where he set personal bests in five of the six events he competed in. Currently, his top times are 23.1 in the 100, 45.8 in the 200 and 1:31 in the 400. In the field, his best throws are 13.1 meters in the javelin, 12.40 in the discus and 5.81 in the shotput.

“It’s been one of those things you can’t explain,” Powell said on competing in Puerto Rico. “I’ve been looking forward to doing this and to finally be able to do it is pretty amazing.”

And his ability can let him be a role model, and not just for disabled athletes.

“As I got older, I came to cope with (the cerebral palsy) and was meant to have this for a reason,” Powell said. “I never let it keep me from not wanting to do something. I don’t want to be that kid that relies on someone else. Having people around you for support helped as well.”

Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to the brain, normally during pregnancy, or abnormal brain development.

The severity of Powell’s cerebral palsy is classified as moderate. While his speech is that of a normal person, he grew up unable to walk without the assistance of a of a crutch, a cane or another person. But as he grew older, walking became more difficult because his muscles couldn’t keep up with his growth spurt.

However, his physical condition hasn’t limited him from participating in wheelchair sports and he has been active in sports since he was 10. Looking back, he wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

Powell’s comfort zone is track and field. Using a special wheelchair equipped for racing, he learned to do short strokes at the start of the race to get moving before gradually going to longer strokes where his hands go all the way down to the bottom of the wheel.

He has a wheelchair exercise roller at home where he can work on both his strength and his strokes.

“The more pushes you make, the faster you’re going to go.” He said.

When he’s throwing, Powell said has to lean back as far as he can while holding onto a bar for balance, and then pull himself forward quickly to get more range and distance. He also said wheelchair athletes are taught to grunt to get more energy into their throw.

Powell, who also plays basketball for BlazeSports, trains regularly with the non-profit organization located in Decatur that specializes in the development of disabled athletes. He was encouraged to go to a BlazeSports summer camp by one of his doctors when he was 10. While there, he met his coaches and has stuck with it ever since.

“It’s opened a lot of doors for him and he really enjoys it,” his mother Pam Powell said.

With track season ending, Powell is in basketball mode and he gets asked frequently how wheelchair basketball differs from able-bodied basketball.

“It’s really the same game, it’s 5-on-5, 10-foot baskets, same free throw line, same 3-point line, same rules,” Powell said. “The only different rule in wheelchair basketball is that there is no double dribble.”

He said the positions are also the same, noting that the guards are better ball handlers and the inside players normally have the longer trunk and longer arms.

The legal wheelchair height for basketball is 21 inches, which still gives the taller players the advantage. And having longer arms is also a plus.

“If you have a height advantage in wheelchair basketball, you’re going to have a height advantage,” said Powell, a small forward, “because players aren’t going to be jumping up to get that ball.”

Fouls are also the same and players have to dribble every two pushes or will be called for traveling.

He’s already been named to all-tournaments teams in tournaments played all around the country. BlazeSports came in third in the National Wheelchair Tournament in Louisville, Ky.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Adam Carrington, August 25, 2013. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Lassiter s Bryan Powell flourishing through challenges)