Story of the Year -- Reinhardt football successful in first year
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
December 31, 2013 10:17 PM | 1723 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
11-09-13  --REINHARDT vs CUMBERLANDS 03-- Reinhardt University tailback Jaylen Dodd, a freshman from North Cobb High School, leaps over his teammate Elliott Clark on the play as a host of Cumberlands University defenders give chase in the first half Saturday in Waleska. Staff/Kelly J. Huff
11-09-13 --REINHARDT vs CUMBERLANDS 03-- Reinhardt University tailback Jaylen Dodd, a freshman from North Cobb High School, leaps over his teammate Elliott Clark on the play as a host of Cumberlands University defenders give chase in the first half Saturday in Waleska. Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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1. While football fans around the state had their eyes focused on upstart programs such as Mercer and Kennesaw State, the residents of Cherokee County were able to get a taste of collegiate football without traveling too far as Reinhardt played it first football season— and did it with stunning success.

The Eagles, who compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, opened the season 0-2 before stringing together a series of wins, which gave them national recognition in the NAIA Coaches Poll. While a couple of losses down the stretch prevented them from reaching the playoffs, Reinhardt (6-4) was able to pick up a few awards along the way, including the Mid-South Conference Western Division Title.

At the end of the season coach Danny Cronic was named the Ron Finley Mid-South Conference West Division Coach of the Year, while seven different Eagles were named to all-conference teams. Running back L.J. Stegall earned the Offensive Freshman of the Year honors for the division after scoring a conference-leading 17 touchdowns, including three on kick returns.

Other highlights of the inaugural season included former Cherokee High School standout Dylan Haynes starting a game at quarterback and the debut of the Reinhardt Marching Eagle Band.

2. ALBERTSON'S ALL-AMERICAN YEAR: Anders Albertson was a standout golfer at Etowah High School, but he has found even more success as a member of the Georgia Tech team.

In June, Albertson and the Yellow Jackets came up just short in their quest for an NCAA national championship , when the tournament was held at the Capital City Club Crabapple course, right in Cherokee County’s own backyard and the sophomore was even in the running for the individual national title.

Along the way Albertson was named an All-American and an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection for the second time. He was ranked eighth in the final Golfstat Golf rankings and won medalist honors at the ACC Championship with a tournament-record score of 201.

During the fall season, Albertson continued to show that he has not yet reached his peak. In four fall events, he finished no worse than 16th, notching a pair of top-five finishes.

3. SEQUOYAH, RIVER RIDGE VOLLEYBALL LEADS THE WAY: The Sequoyah and River Ridge volleyball teams earned spots in their respective classes’ state semifinals, with the Lady Chiefs going on to compete for a state title.

Sequoyah (40-5) lost the state title to the defending state champion, McIntosh 3-1 to end the season, but not before they strung together a winning streak of more than 20 matches.

Sequoyah did not lose a match against a county opponent. The team won the Georgia Challenge Tournament championship, the Cherokee County Championship and the Area 7AAAAA title.

Following the season setter Lauren Page was named the 2013 Cherokee Tribune Volleyball Player of the Year, while John Edwards took Coach of the Year honors.

River Ridge, competing in its final season in Class AAAA, put together an impressive run to the semifinals, where it fell to Marist.

The Lady Knights (38-11) won 18 consecutive matches in the middle of the season. They finished runners-up to Sequoyah in a pair of tournaments, including the Cherokee County Championships.

4. MILLER MAKES RUN TO THE SUPER BOWL: It isn’t often that a Cherokee resident plays in the Super Bowl, but that is just what former-Woodstock High School standout Bruce Miller did in January.

Miller, a fullback for the San Francisco 49ers, helped his team beat the hometown Atlanta

Falcons to win the NFC Championship.

While his team ultimately come up short, the run did make for some great memories for Miller.

Family and friends hosted a reception in his honor prior to the NFC Championship and the place was packed with well-wishers, admirers and fans, who were switching their alliances from the Falcons to the 49ers just for the occasion.

5. KIRK EARNS A TRIP TO THE MASTERS: Woodstock native Chris Kirk earned a spot at the the Masters after winning the McGladrey Classic in November.

Kirk, who joined the PGA Tour in 2011, has found success at the game’s highest level.

The win at McGladrey was the his second tour win.

In the final round he was tied for the lead on the 18th fairway and closed with a par for a one-shot victory.

Other perks for winning his final tournament of 2013 included a spot in the Tournament of Champions, which has traditionally signaled the beginning of the new season. The tournament starts this week in Hawaii.

The victory also gives Kirk an early leg up on potentially earning a trip to the Tour Championship in Atlanta next summer.

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