As soon as his players cleared the locker room following last Thursday's victory over Boyd-Buchanan, Notre Dame football coach Charles Fant scurried home and checked his bags and travel arrangements.
He flew out of Lovell Field at 6 a.m. Friday, headed for Phoenix, where he was to be a judge for that state's Distinguished Young Women of America competition.
Coaching football and teaching aren't enough for Fant. He teams with his wife, Traci, a local attorney, to run the Tennessee DYWA competitions, known years ago as America's Junior Miss pageant.
"People mix it up with a beauty pageant. It isn't," he said. "Kids compete for more than $50,000 in scholarships based on scholastics, a 10-minute interview with the panel of judges and then a fitness routine, a talent show and public speaking."
It gives Fant an opportunity to influence more than young football players.
"Me being a male, it's an opportunity to have an impact on young ladies in a safe way because of the setting everything is done in," he said.
He and Traci, who'll be judging a competition in Utah in the near future, are the only blacks leading a state DYWA organization.
New Calhoun scoreboard
Workers were busy Wednesday installing the latest upgrade to Calhoun's Phil Reeve Stadium and it will be a first for the northwest Georgia area. A new scoreboard will debut tonight when the Yellow Jackets take on Dade County, complete with a video screen capable of showing instant replays.
The scoreboard, paid for entirely by the Calhoun Touchdown Club, is made by Daktronics, one of the most reputable companies in the field.
"The Touchdown Club has been talking about doing this for three or four years, and the school and community is really excited about it," Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said. "It's going to be a big scoreboard and will be a really nice addition to our stadium."
The scoreboard will be operated by students in the school's video broadcast class.
Panthers' steel gray
Brainerd is breaking out its new uniforms for tonight's game with East Ridge.
The uniforms are granite gray with Columbia blue and white trim, according to first-year Panthers coach Brian Gwyn.
Injuries hit Ridgeland
Ridgeland's 1-1 Panthers must make do without 11 injured players, including four usual starters, tonight at 3-0 Cedartown. Several others will play with assorted injuries that might normally keep them out.
Among the missing is star defensive lineman Jermane Conyers, the University of Indiana recruit who has yet to play a down while battling a shin injury.
"It's incredible," Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis said of the early-season ailments. "We're not doing anything different. I've never seen anything even close to this in 10 years. Our sideline looks like a triage station. Anyway, other teams don't care, so we have to fight through it."
At least Region 7B-AAAA play is still two weeks away.
Freshmen please Ryan
Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan knew he had a lot of youth on his 2013 football team. He knew that potentially, some freshmen would have to contribute immediately.
That doesn't make it any easier, but he's definitely been pleased with what he's received so far.
There were 38 freshmen on the Mustangs' preseason roster. Four have started games for the 3-1 team.
Receiver Cooper Melton is second on the team with 94 yards and tied for the lead with two touchdowns. He also has 12 total tackles and two interceptions. Bryce Nunnelly is a freshman defensive back with nine total tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries. Alex King and Mason Oren start on special teams.
"There's never a dull moment when you're playing so many freshmen," Ryan said. "They've been good for us, though. This freshman class as a whole is a very special group."
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