Does it still feel like Christmas? It does to me, at least until after the New Year.
And since I tend to quickly attach to the players, coaches, parents and fans in whatever area I cover, I always tend to get into a gift-giving mood for my sports community around this time.
Unfortunately, I have no super sportswriter powers to where I can magically grant our teams and athletes all the things they want or that I may want them to have.
But a guy can wish, can’t he?
So as my last Sunday Sound Off column of 2016, I present to you my first annual Christmas/New Year’s wish list, complete with stocking stuffers, for our Newton County sports teams – in no particular order, might I add.
- Newton boys basketball coach Rick Rasmussen finally gets his state championship. This is a team that looks championship ready, if it stays focus. Rasmussen coaches hard and runs an excellent program. Though he may not say it, I’m sure that elusive state title sticks in his craw a bit. Stocking stuffer: A healthy “big three” of J.D. Notae, Ashtan Hagans and Isaiah Miller throughout the season.
- Newton girls basketball coach Tiffani Johnson gets that 6-foot-2 (or taller) post player. You get the feeling that her already super solid program could truly take off to the next level with that added piece.
- State tournament berths all around for each of our three GHSA schools’ wrestling programs. William Wells (Alcovy), Earl Larimer (Eastside) and Jay Boyter all run good programs full of kids who compete hard and have great passion for the sport. That was on full display during the Newton Cup. Stocking stuffer: A chance for Alcovy senior Vance Ellis to bounce back from injury and find a place to wrestle in college.
- A UGA commitment from Eastside’s Eric Stokes. How cool would it be to have both Stokes and Newton wideout J.J. Holloman donning the red and black together?
- More trophies for Morgan Hathorn. The 13-year old Covington martial arts super star was one of my favorite young athletes to cover during my short time at The Covington News. She deserves every piece of success coming her way.
- An eventual NCAA Division I football career for Alcovy’s Koby Perry. He’ll likely begin his college career at a JUCO or maybe D-II school, but I would love to be writing a cool catch-up story about him several years later, highlighting him playing for some Power Five school’s conference championship game. Stocking stuffer: A state tournament berth for Alcovy football next season.
- Let’s stay at Alcovy for this one, and say a healthy Devon Edwards, and a chance for the former Tiger star and Duke graduate to get a shot at the NFL.
- A chance for Eastside grad and Andrew College signee Kacie Fincher to star in the pitching circle in college.
- A one-on-one basketball battle in front a full gym between Eastside’s Keiodre Perry and Newton’s Isaiah Miller. Stocking stuffer: A double overtime thriller in the Eastside-Newton boys basketball rematch next month.
And finally, wishes that all our Covington and Newton County readers had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy New Year!
Gabriel Stovall is the Sports Editor at The Covington News. He can be reached for tips and story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GabrielStovall1 as well as our sports Twitter page @CovNewsSports.