By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Boys Athlete of the Week: Banks County's Eli Smallwood
Placeholder Image

Honor Roll

Basketball

Carter Cagle, Johnson: Tallied 15 points against Madison County on Tuesday.

Shaquan Cantrell, Gainesville: Put up 25 points in a win against East Hall on Saturday.

Ty Cockfield, Johnson: Scored 17 points against Madison County on Tuesday and 18 against Stephens County on Friday.

Tyler Dominy, Dawson County: Had 16 points against Buford on Tuesday.

Kyle Doyle, Buford: Recorded 25 points against Dawson County on Tuesday.

Brian Edwards, East Hall: Averaged 18.3 points in three games last week.

Evan Gaddis, Lumpkin County: Tallied 28 points against Chestatee on Tuesday.

Justin Jones, Chestatee: Had 17 points against Lumpkin County on Tuesday.

Antonio Maddox, East Hall: Scored 17 points against Gainesville on Saturday.

Montrell McKenzie, Johnson: Recorded 13 points and pulled down 16 rebounds against Stephens County on Friday.

Austin Montgomery, Lakeview: Tallied 21 points against George Walton Academy on Saturday.

Zach Montgomery, Lakeview: Scored 21 points against Athens Academy on Friday.

Luke Moore, Gainesville: Had 17 points against East Hall on Saturday.

Griffin Olson, North Hall: Put up 26 points against West Hall on Tuesday.

Ebo Smith, North Hall: Scored 19 points against Dawson County on Friday and 15 against West Hall on Tuesday.

Jamaad Stephens, Flowery Branch: Recorded 25 points against Salem on Friday.

Tay Taylor, Jefferson: Had 20 points against Rabun County on Tuesday.

Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Tallied 17 points against East Hall on Saturday.

Isaiah Williams, Buford: Scored 19 points against Dawson County on Tuesday.

Wrestling

Aaron Anderson, Jefferson: Went undefeated in three matches in the state duals tournament as the Dragons won the Class AA state duals championship over the weekend in Macon.

Matt Dilbeck, Banks County: Went undefeated in three matches in the state duals tournament as the Leopards won the Class AAA state duals championship over the weekend in Macon.

Jack Dollar, Jefferson: Was 3-0 in the state duals tournament this past weekend in Macon.

Wes Faulkner, Banks County: Went undefeated for the Leopards over the weekend in Macon.

Kyle Kashuba, Jefferson: Helped Jefferson win their 12th straight duals state championship by going undefeated over the weekend in Macon.

Ben Kelly, Jefferson: Won all three matches at the state duals tournament over the weekend in Macon.

Tyler Marinelli, Jefferson: Had three wins in three matches in the state duals tournament on Friday and Saturday in Macon.

Jace McColskey, Jefferson: Helped Jefferson win their 12th straight duals state championship by going undefeated over the weekend in Macon.

Chris McCracken, Banks County: Won all three matches at the state duals tournament over the weekend in Macon

Chase Piperato, Jefferson: Went undefeated in three matches in the state duals tournament as the Dragons won the state duals championship over the weekend in Macon.

Tradd Porter, Jefferson: Had three wins in three matches in the state duals tournament on Friday and Saturday in Macon.

Zach Rhymer, Jefferson: Went undefeated for the Dragons over the weekend in Macon.

Tanner Thurmond, Jefferson: Won all three matches at the state duals tournament over the weekend in Macon.

Taylor Wood, Banks County: Was 3-0 in the state duals tournament this past weekend in Macon.

Jovial and business-like are not two words typically used together, but when describing Banks County wrestler Eli Smallwood, they seem to fit perfectly.

“He jokes around a lot,” Leopards coach Kasey Hanley said. “He’s laid back, but on the mat, he’s all business.”

Smallwood has been wrestling since middle school, according to Hanley, but took a small hiatus to try basketball. Ever since he returned to the mat his freshman year, however, he’s only been getting better. But it certainly hasn’t been easy.

“He’s been thrown to the wolves a lot,” Hanley said.

Smallwood was thrust into a starting role as a freshman, then had to compete with an older wrestler in the same weight class for a spot his sophomore year.

“His second year things started getting a little bit better,” Hanley said, “but he and another wrestler were the same weight class, and the other was a senior, so (Smallwood) always got the tougher opponent, but I think it just made him tougher.”

He was one of a few area champions for Banks County last season. Now, in his senior year, Smallwood is a key member of the Banks County team.

Over the weekend, he recorded three pins in three matches — including one of three pins in a row Banks County needed to defeat Woodward Academy 34-33 in the title match — to help lead the Leopards to their first ever duals state championship.

For his efforts, Smallwood is The Times Boys Athlete of the Week.

“We were down 27-16 with just four matches left,” Hanley said of that championship match. “On paper, we thought this was how things were going to happen.

“Those last three matches, they were incredible.”

Smallwood is one of the leaders on the team in first-period pins and has a 32-4 record, but Hanley said he is mostly a leader by example, a quiet teammate in practice unless his teammates aren’t working hard.

“He never gets in trouble in school,” Hanley said. “He always maintains good grades. He never complains in practice.

“The harder the practices are, the more he likes it, and that’s what you want.”

The thing Hanley said he likes the most about Smallwood is, indeed, his attitude.

“One of the things about Eli that I really respect, is when he loses a match, he doesn’t throw a temper tantrum. He doesn’t go crazy.”

Although his level of aggression has increased as the season goes on, the coach said this does not affect his positive attitude and how it translates to the rest of the team.

“I think any time that you have a senior leader, the other kids look to them and see how they react after a win or how they act after a loss,” Hanley said. “They’ve gotten to see a lot of that winning attitude this year.”

Hanley believes that Smallwood is in “postseason form” at this time and feels that he is ready to contend with some of the best in the state in the upcoming area, sectional and state tournaments.

“I think he’s more confident now than ever as a wrestler.”

Regional events