published Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Chattanooga Mocs' D.J. Key makes CFPA 'watch list'

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior safety D.J. Key from Centerville, Tenn., was included on the Defensive Backs Preseason Watch List announced Monday by College Football Performance Awards. Key was a second-team All-Southern Conference selection in 2011, when he was in on 77 tackles and led the Mocs with three interceptions, including one that he returned a school-record 85 yards. One of four UTC captains for 2012, Key has become a fixture on the athletic director's honor roll. He joins sophomore linebacker Wes Dothard, senior defensive end Josh Williams and sophomore tight end Faysal Shafaat as Mocs on CFPA preseason lists. Demetrius McCray of Appalachian State and Alvin Hines II of Samford are the only other SoCon players among the 38 NCAA FCS defensive backs listed. UTC opens its season Sept. 1 at South Florida.

Golf

• Chattanooga's Blakesly Warren begins defense of her Tennessee Girls' Junior golf championship today at Stones River Country Club in Murfreesboro. Warren won last year at Foxland Harbor in Gallatin, where last week she was the junior medalist and reached the quarterfinal round of the State Women's Amateur. Two years ago she was the 10-14 age-group winner in the Girls' Junior at Clarksville Country Club. The 49th version includes 73 entrants.

Softball

• Central High School outfielders Jasmine Cobb and Ciera Belcher recently signed softball scholarships with Cleveland State Community College. Central coach LeeAnne Shurette said Cobb, who batted .380 and scored 26 runs, had a little better offensive season in the spring than Belcher, a defensive stalwart in center, but the two are similar in that they are rangy outfielders with speed as their main assets offensively. "They're excited about going there together," Shurette said. "They've become big buddies this year. This is a payoff for all the work they've put in, and now they're looking forward to playing ball and getting the college experience together." Said Cleveland State coach Katie Willlingham: "Jasmine is a disciplined player who will battle for time in the outfield. ... I am looking forward to the growth she will make at the next level. Ciera is a great addition to the team as an overall player. She has amazing speed. ... We will work on her upper-body strength so that she is a threat on both sides of the ball."

Auto Racing

• Brainerd Drag Strip Hall of Fame driver L.C. Bigham of Tunnel Hill raced to his 450th victory at the strip Saturday night in the Foot Brake class. His 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger covered the eighth-mile course in 8.38 seconds on an 8.37 dial. His son, David Bigham, was second in a '69 Dart, and Melvin Croft was third. Dakota Ellis from Bryant, Ala., won the Super Pro class in 5.97 seconds on a 5.99 dial in his 1990 Camaro, and Steve Dowdy, Cynthia Farrow and Joey Carr were second through fourth. Farrow had the low elapsed time (4.69 seconds) and top speed (157 mph) of the meet in her 632-cubic-inch Chevy dragster with alcohol and nitrous oxide. Chloe Keener was first and Jacob Clayton second in the Junior Dragster class.

• Mitch Brady Jr. of Chattanooga won the A-Hobby midseason championship last Saturday night at Cleveland Speedway, and Brian Pritchard of Harrison won the Limited Late Model/Crates race. Andy Pickelsimer was Pritchard's runner-up with points leader Jason Welshan third. They have their midseason championship for a $1,500 first-place prize this Saturday. Brady got $500 for his victory, avoiding a big wreck behind him as Len McNeese finished second with Michael Brooks, Richard Dixon and points leader Johnny Hughes completing the top five. Cleveland's Jason Brown won the B-Hobby race with Tom Gilbert second, and Chattanooga's Danny Burnette repeated as the Pony victor with Nathan Hair second. Jimmy Elliott was second to Dixon in the Cruisers class.

Baseball

• The Tennessee-Georgia all-star baseball game for recent high school graduates was postponed Monday. It has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. next Tuesday at Ooltewah High School.

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