High School Sports

Middle Georgia high school programs ready for new facilities

The carpet at McConnell-Talbert is a big deal and a big cost but not quite as big as what has happened at Toombs County.

Students will walk into a brand new high school in a few weeks, a 195,000 square foot school that cost about $25 million.

The Bulldogs’ basketball teams have quite the new home in a gym that seats about 2,000, half of which are chairbacks on one side of the gym. New locker rooms are part of the package, as well as a new weight room that the football team is breaking in.

Games at Fitzgerald will have a drastically different feel, thanks to basically a new Jaycee Stadium. Well, half of a new Jaycee Stadium that makes the whole facility seem new.

New visitors’ stands and a press box on that side will be ready for this season, part of a project that cost about $475,000 with the city picking up a large chunk of the tab.

“They’ve put in a new visitors’ entrance that’s just beautiful the way they’ve got that set up,” Fitzgerald head coach Jason Strickland said. “All that’s really left is some cosmetic stuff. But they have come in and done a great job with that side. It’s beautiful.”

That’s it for this season, but the home side -- last reworked in the 1990s -- will get a new men’s rest room and press box for next season.

Strickland said he thought the stadium was built in 1949.

“So those visitors’ side concrete bleachers and the bathrooms and all that stuff have been there since 1949,” he said. “And it looks like it.”

As part of an $11 million overall school renovation, basketball teams at Houston County will have a new floor -- and logo -- under their feet this season. And the teams will have upgraded locker rooms and office space, as well.

All Bears also will have an upgrade weight room to sweat in.

SIGNINGS UPDATE

Nathan Curtis, a major part of Warner Robins’ two deep runs in the GHSA boys basketball tournament the past two years, signed with Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee.

“I think it’s perfect for him,” Warner Robins head coach Jamaal Garman said. “If he gets a little stronger, works on his right hand and ball-handling, some things like that, let’s see where he goes from there.

“I think he can go pretty big.”

Winston Neal took over as Columbia State’s head coach last month after nine seasons as an assistant at Jacksonville. He played at Georgia Tech from 1999-2002.

The Chargers won the state junior college regular-season championship in 2013-14 and had three players from Georgia on the roster last season.

Curtis was a two-time second-team All-Middle Georgia selection and averaged 12 points and seven rebounds.

Ethan Stone of Jeff Davis has signed a tennis scholarship with Brewton-Parker. Stone was a No. 1 seed in doubles as an underclassman and moved up to No. 1 singles as an upperclassman.

ALUMNI UPDATE

Blake Shouse, a Rutland product and former Middle Georgia junior college standout, is 3-0 with a save for Asheville of the South Atlantic League.

He has pitched in 32 games, mostly in relief, and has a 3.98 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 54-1/3 innings.

Shouse was picked in the fifth round of the 2013 draft by Colorado and is 6-9 with a 4.88 ERA in two-plus minor league seasons.

NOTE TO COACHES

Questionnaires are needed as soon as possible from area football coaches who haven’t completed them yet. Those who didn’t receive one should email sports@macon.com.

Fall sports schedules and rosters -- softball, cross country, volleyball -- should be emailed to sports@macon.com or faxed to 744-4385 by Aug. 1.

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