2004 Game Notes Archive

Carson Newman

West Georgia Braves


Carson-Newman Eagles
Barron Stadium – Rome, Georgia
September 4, 2004 – 1:00 PM
Game Notes

Carrollton, Ga. – August 31, 2004 – *The 2004 football season begins with a major challenge this week for the West Georgia Braves. The Braves travel to Rome’s Barron Stadium to face perennial Division II power Carson-Newman in the Nick Hyder Football Classic.

While West Georgia has yet to test the waters in 2004, Carson-Newman has already enjoyed an impressive start to the new season. The Eagles last Thursday rolled to a decisive 48-32 pounding of Winston-Salem State.

West Georgia is under the direction of third-year head coach Mike Ledford. The native of Knoxville, Tenn., carries a 6-16 career record into the 2004 season. Also, he is beginning his seventh season as a member of the UWG staff.

At Carson-Newman, Ken Sparks is in his 25th season as head coach. Sparks has guided the Eagles to an impressive mark of 235-54 during his tenure on the Jefferson City, Tenn., campus.

This week’s meeting is the fourth in the all-time series between the Braves and Eagles, with Carson-Newman holding a 3-0 series lead. All three Eagle victories came in NCAA Playoff games in 1995, ‘96, and ‘98. Each of the three games was played at Burke-Tarr Stadium on the Carson-Newman campus in Jefferson City, Tenn.

This week’s game marks West Georgia’s seventh straight season opener vs. an opponent from the South Atlantic Conference. For the past six years, West Georgia’s opening day opponent has been Presbyterian. The Braves captured five-of-six meetings in their series with the Blue Hose.

The Braves-Eagles clash will be a homecoming of sorts for three West Georgia defensive players. Outside linebacker John Perkins and tackle Corey Kinnebrew are natives of Rome and prepped at Rome High School. Also, corner Breon Ford was a scholastic star at nearby Pepperell High in Lindale.

For Perkins, the Braves’ tilt with Carson-Newman has more than a local connection. UWG’s sophomore stopper will spend much of his afternoon lined up opposite his cousin: Eagle senior offensive tackle Reggie Perkins. Both players are strong candidates for post season honors in 2004.

The cousins Perkins aren’t the only players with family bragging rights on the line in this game. West Georgia’s senior tailback Michael Alexis is the younger brother of Reggie Alexis, a four-year member of the Eagles’ backfield from 1999-2002.

The injury bug prevented an even more intriguing connection between the Braves and Eagles in this week’s game. West Georgia reserve tailback Dee Hayes, spent last season as a member of the program at Carson-Newman. Hayes, a redshirt freshman from Vienna, was in the midst of a strong camp before suffering a season-ending broken ankle during an August 17 scrimmage.

West Georgia has been a successful opening day team in recent years. The Braves have won four straight and eight-of-10 season openers since 1994. Their only losses during the period came in 1997 at North Dakota State and 1999 at Presbyterian. UWG’s all-time opening day record is 16-7.

This week’s opener vs. Carson-Newman marks the 13th time in 24 years that West Georgia has opened a season vs. a current or former South Atlantic Conference member. Beyond their six-year run with Presbyterian, the Braves were 1-2 in three season openers (1993-95) vs. Elon, a program now in 1-AA but then in the SAC. Also, West Georgia was 1-1 in pair of 1980’s openers against Gardner-Webb, also now in 1-AA but then a member of the South Atlantic Conference. UWG’s other opening game vs. the SAC came in 1996, a 10-7 win at Newberry.

The Braves’ visit to Rome marks only the sixth time in the program’s modern history that a West Georgia team has played on a neutral field. Two were played in Phenix City, Ala.: the 1982 NCAA Division III title game win over Augustana, and a 1990 loss to Troy State. UWG’s other three neutral field games all came in Columbus (1983-85), vs. Valdosta State in the Riverbend Classic. VSU was the winner in all three.

Despite the geography, Carson-Newman’s program is much more familiar with the surroundings of Barron Stadium than is West Georgia’s. The Eagles have played three previous Nick Hyder Classic game in Rome. Their record includes wins over Valdosta State in 1997 and Arkansas Tech in 2000. CNC’s only Rome loss came in 1998, a 27-24 setback at the hands of North Alabama.

Despite dropping three previous meetings with Carson-Newman, West Georgia’s program is 10-8 all-time against schools from Tennessee. UWG’s most recent win over a program from the Volunteer State was a 1997 victory over Tusculum.

The Braves’ visit to Rome marks the program’s 21st appearance in Georgia in a location other than Carrollton. Beyond playing 11 road and neutral site games vs. Valdosta State, the Braves have visited five other Georgia schools. This includes three trips to Albany State, two visits each to play Georgia Southern and Morehouse, and one trip each vs. Clark-Atlanta and Georgia Southwestern.

Senior tight end Jesse Marinko enters the 2004 season on the verge of becoming the most prolific pass receiver of anyone to play the position at West Georgia. The Canton native begins the year needing seven pass receptions, and 119 receiving yards to claim the top spot among tight ends in the program’s history. Both marks currently belong to Byron Slack, UWG’s first, first team Division II All-America (1996) and a member of the Braves Hall of Fame.

Another Braves offensive performer with a milestone in site this season is quarterback Lucas McMichen. A senior from Sand Rock, Ala., McMichen enters 2004 needing just 45 yards passing to reach 2,000 for his career. Also, he comes into 2004 needing but 1,584 yards to surpass Mark Eldred for fifth on the school’s all-time passing yardage list.

Saturday’s Braves-Eagles clash be heard in the West Georgia/East Alabama area on WCKS, 102.7 FM. Veteran Mitch Gray returns for his 23rd season to call the play-by-play. Andy Micacchione, back for his 11th season, handles color and analysis, while Chad Phillips returns for his fourth season reporting from the sidelines. Beyond the local area, all UWG games can be heard on-line through links at uwgbraves.com.

West Georgia at Harding

SEPTEMBER 11, 2004 – 7:00 P.M.

A week ago, the West Georgia Braves played in perhaps the most demanding season opener in the history of the program. This week, the Braves make the jump from the frying pan of Carson-Newman and into the nation’s toughest league: the Gulf South Conference.

West Georgia begins its 2004 GSC schedule in Searcy, Ark., taking on the Harding Bisons. West Georgia brings a record of 0-1 into the game, following last week’s 38-24 loss to Carson-Newman, the nation’s fifth-ranked team. Harding is 2-0 on the year following a come-from-behind, 32-27 win at Missouri Southern.

West Georgia is coached by Mike Ledford. Now in his third season at UWG, Ledford has posted a career record of 6-17. The head coach at Harding is veteran Randy Tribble. Now in his 11th season at the helm of his alma mater’s program, Tribble has a career record of 57-47-1.

Harding holds a 4-1 lead in the all-time series over the Braves. The Bisons have won both meetings in Searcy, and have taken two-of-three meetings in Carrollton.

Last year, the Braves saw a 21-10, halftime lead disappear in a 25-21 defeat in Searcy. Harding posted 15 unanswered, second half points secure the win.

Despite the defeat, the Braves posted some notable individual performances in last week’s defeat. Among the most notable was turned in by punter Jeff Carpenter. The junior from Cumming earned punted four times for a 51.8 yards-per-kick average. For his efforts, Carpenter was named Gulf South Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.

Offensively, senior tailback Michael Alexis had the top game of his UWG career. Alexis ran 21 times for 132 yards. He also caught three passes for 45 yards, the biggest being a 44-yard, third quarter touchdown.

Carpenter and Alexis were named UWG’s players of the week for special teams and offense, respectively. Defensive honors belonged to Prentice Purnell. The senior tackle from Cochran led the Braves’ stop troops with eight total tackles, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble in the game vs. Carson-Newman.

Beyond the numbers, no UWG performer was more notable on opening day than Trevor Ramos. The senior kicking specialist from Lawrenceville was one-of-two in field goal attempts, and hit his only extra point attempt vs. Carson-Newman. Ramos’ performance culminated a dramatic comeback from serious injuries suffered in an automobile crash last December.

Saturday’s defeat marked the end of an impressive streak for one West Georgia player. The Braves’ Jesse Marinko failed to catch a pass for the first time since the North Alabama game of his freshman season . Marinko, a senior tight end from Canton, had secured at least one pass in 23 straight games, the second longest such streak in the program’s history.

The injury bug struck the Braves during last week’s game. Both starting tackles, Ian Lyle and Joe Fowler, left the game injuries. Also, receiver/punt returner Derek Boykin suffered an injury after a head-on collision with a Carson-Newman player. UWG trainers are evaluating all three to determine their status for this week’s game.

Last week’s loss to Carson-Newman was the fifth straight for West Georgia, a streak dating back to last season. The Braves’ last victory came vs. West Alabama, a 38-35, overtime thriller in last year’s Homecoming Game.

Despite the result, last week’s game resulted in a milestone for Braves quarterback Lucas McMichen. The senior from Sand Rock, Ala., passed for 183 yards, moving his career yardage total 2,138. McMichen is on pace to end the season as the fifth most prolific passer in the history of the Braves’ program.

The Carson-Newman game marked the Braves’ third straight in which they faced an opponent ranked among the nation’s top five in NCAA Division II. UWG’s final two games a year ago came vs. North Alabama, ranked second at the time, followed by number five Valdosta State.

Carpenter will not be the only GSC Player of the Week on field in this week’s game. Harding quarterback Adam Lybrand earned the league’s top offensive honors as he completed 17-of-31 passes for 208 yards and one TD. He also ran for career high 107 yards, Also, Bisons safety Reggie Knighton captured top defensive honors. His two pass interceptions were keys in Harding’s come from-behind win over Missouri Southern.

West Georgia caught more than enough of Lybrand’s act in last year’s loss to the Bisons. The Harding QB completed 22-of-38 passes, for 367 yards and three touchdowns to lead the win for HU.

West Georgia enters this game hoping to win its GSC opener for the first time since 2001. The Braves lost to Southern Arkansas in their league opener in each of the past two seasons. UWG’s last victory in a GSC opener was a 33-14 win at Henderson State in 2001.

Harding has won its last three games in the series with West Georgia. For West Georgia to reverse the streak, the Braves will need better pass protection than in recent games vs. HU. A year ago, the Braves suffered six sacks at the hands of the Bisons. Over the least three years, Harding has notched 17 sacks in its three wins over the Braves.

As usual, Harding’s lineup will include a strong Georgia connection, Two members of the Bisons’ defensive depth chart are Georgia natives: end Jonathan Ellis of Atlanta and cornerback Cam Clark of Calhoun. Also, punter Thomas Hanson is a native of Snellville.

Despite losing on its two previous visits to Harding, the Braves have generally been successful on visits to Arkansas. West Georgia holds a 13-8 all-time record there.

Despite the injuries to Lyle and Boykin, there were some positive for West Georgia’s local contingent in the Carson-Newman game. Sophomore wide receiver Jaybriel Holbrook of Carrollton caught two passes for 52 yards, including a 37-yard TD. He also was on the receiving end of a two-point conversion past from McMichen. Also, junior defensive end Greg Wilkerson of Bowdon saw considerable action vs. the Eagles. He ended his West Georgia debut with three tackles and one forced fumble.

The Braves’ contest at Harding can be heard around the area on WCKS, 102.7-FM. Mitch Gray and Andy Micacchione will call the action, while Chad Phillips reports from the sidelines. Also, the game can be heard on-line at www.golivesports.com, and is linked on the Braves’ website: www.uwgbraves.com

UWG vs. Arkansas-Monticello




SEPTEMBER 25, 2004 – 7:00 P.M.

• The Gulf South Conference’s road warriors, the West Georgia Braves, are back on the road this week in Arkansas. West Georgia travels to the southwest part of the state to visit the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils.

• West Georgia brings a record of 0-2 into the game, 0-1 in Gulf South Conference play. Arkansas-Monticello is 1-3, 0-2 within the league.

• Both the Braves and Boll Weevils are led by third-year head coaches. Mike Ledford, with a career record of 6-18, leads West Georgia. For UAM, the head coach is Gregg Ricono. His three-year record with the Boll Weevils is 7-18.

• West Georgia holds a 7-0 lead in its all-time series with Arkansas Monticello. Three of the wins have come in Monticello, most recently a 31-21 win during the 2000 season. UWG’s last meeting with the Boll Weevils was in 2001, a 25-7 Braves win at Grisham Stadium.

• A week ago, the Braves were idle following a hasty decision to postpone the schedule home opener vs. Ouachita Baptist. The impending arrival or Hurricane Ivan led to the postponement. However, by Friday’s scheduled travel day, conditions had improved dramatically.

• Arkansas-Monticello last week saw its record drop to 1-3 on the 2004 season. The Boll Weevils dropped a heartbreaker, 24-23, at home to West Alabama.

• West Georgia was a loser in its last outing, falling in a 28-21 decision at Harding. The Braves vaulted to an early 14-0 lead, and led in the fourth quarter, 21-14. However, two late Bisons TD drives provided the game’s winning margin.

• Despite the defeat at Harding, Braves tailback Michael Alexis enjoyed another huge game. A senior from Miami, Fla., Alexis rushed 18 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two pass receptions and returned three kickoffs for 69 yards.

• Alexis this week leads the Gulf South Conference in rushing. His average of 145.5 yards pre game is more that 50 yards per game ahead of second place Marcus Ross of West Alabama. Also, Alexis leads the GSC in all-purpose yards with over 205 yards per game.

• For the second straight game, Alexis was honored by UWG coaches as the team’s top offensive performer. Top defensive honors for the game vs. Harding belonged to John Perkins. The sophomore linebacker from Rome recorded a team-high 11 tackles against the Bisons.

• The top special teams performer in the Harding game was again Jeff Carpenter. A junior from Cumming, Carpenter punted five times for an average of 45.4 yards per attempt. His two-game average is 48.2 yards per kick, tops in the GSC and in all of NCAA Division II.

• The postponement of last week’s game with Ouachita Baptist was the first such incident in the 24-year modern history of West Georgia football. The last time a hurricane was remotely involved in a Braves’ game was 1995, when Hurricane Opal ravaged Florida, then Alabama and Georgia. However that midweek storm only effected practice, not that week’s game in Florence vs. North Alabama.

• West Georgia’s last visit to Monticello was marked by the biggest fourth quarter come-from-behind win in the program’s history. On that sweltering September afternoon, the Braves entered the fourth quartering trailing unbeaten UAM, 21-6. However, a Wes Wilson field goal, a TD pass from Jeremy Clements to Brad Moson, and scoring runs from Chris Elam and Nick Price contributed to a 25-0 run, and a 31-21 win for the Braves.

• Wilson also figured prominently in UWG’s last win over the Boll Weevils. In the 2001 game, Wilson tied the school record for field goal attempts (five) and field goals made (four) in the Braves’ 25-7 victory.

• Only three current West Georgia players saw action in the 2001 win over Arkansas-Monticello. Linebacker Jonathan Sello, cornerback Greg Moore, and tight end Jesse Marinko were part of that Braves’ win. Only Sello, who had four tackles, figured on the stats sheet that evening.

• The Braves’ 1999 visit to Monticello featured an oddity. The game marked the only time in its 22-year league history that a West Georgia team wore dark jerseys for a GSC road game. The Braves won that night, 20-10. Though it has rarely happened, no West Georgia has ever lost while wearing dark on the road, or white at home.

• West Georgia’s defense is this week prepared to face a quarterback who ranks among the nation’s best. UAM’s Cory Allred was last year an All-GSC First Team choice at quarterback. Allred was chosen for the honor by the league’s head coaches, beating out a deep and talented field of contenders, including Harlon Hill Trophy winner Will Hall of North Alabama.

• Alexis enters this week’s game on the verge of a milestone. He needs 126 yards rushing to become only the 12th career 1,000-yard rusher in the program’s history. The last UWG back to cross that milestone was Brandon Glover in 2003. Also, Alexis needs 330 more rushing yards to crack the school’s all-time top 10. The 10th spot is currently held by Rendell Jackson

• After being shutout in the season opener vs. Carson-Newman, Marinko had one catch in UWG’s defeat at Harding. The senior from Canton now has 62 career catches for 901 yards. He remains six catches and 117 yards short of becoming the most productive pass catching tight end in the history of the West Georgia program.

• With this week’s game at Arkansas-Monticello, West Georgia will open its season with three straight games away from home for the first time since 1990. That year, UWG played its first three in Alabama. They began the year with a win at Miles, dropped a neutral field game to Troy, then fell on the road at Jacksonville State.

• Braves kicker Trevor Ramos is now a school record holder. After going a perfect four-for-four on PATs in the season’s first two games, the senior from Lawrenceville is now above the 50-attempt minimum to qualify for the record for highest percentage of successful PATs. His 98.1% total (52-of-53) tops the old mark of 96.4% made by Adam Campbell in 1991 and ‘92.

• Saturday’s UWG-UAM clash can be heard in Carrollton on WCKS, 102.7 FM, and on-line at uwgbraves.com. Mitch Gray, Andy Micacchione, and Chad Phillips will call the action.

UWG vs. Arkansas Tech




OCTOBER 2, 2004 – 7:00 P.M.

Carrollton, Ga. – September 30, 2004 –Finally, after playing three straight away from home, the West Georgia Braves return to the confines of Grisham Stadium. The Braves this week welcome the unbeaten Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys to Carrollton for a Gulf South Conference encounter.

• West Georgia remains in search of its first win of 2004. The Braves are 0-3, 0 2 in Gulf South Conference play. Arkansas Tech is 4-0, 3-0 in the GSC, and ranked 24th nationally in the D2football.com media poll.

• Three-year veteran Mike Ledford is West Georgia’s head coach. Ledford’s record at UWG’s helm is 6-19. For Tech, the boss is Steve Mullins. Now in his eighth year, Mullins boasts a career record of 46-33.

• Arkansas Tech has a 4-2 edge in the all-time series between the two, including wins in each of the past three meetings. West Georgia’s last victory over the Wonder Boys was a 34-17 triumph during the 2000 GSC title run.

• A year ago in Carrollton, Arkansas Tech came to Grisham Stadium and posted a 38-9 victory. The Braves saw a 9-7, second quarter lead disappear as the Wonder Boys reeled off 31 unanswered points.

• Following an unexpected open date, West Georgia last week suffered its second straight heart-breaking defeat, 31-27 to Arkansas-Monticello. The Braves saw a fourth quarter lead disappear for the second straight game as UAM scored the game winner with 6:47 remaining to play.

• Tech won its fourth straight a week ago, going on the road to take out West Alabama, 42-28. In the win, the Wonder Boys topped the 40-point mark for the third time this season.

• Despite the loss, several braves turned in top performances vs. Arkansas Monticello. The most notable effort belonged to Jesse Marinko. The senior from Canton had five catches, good for 141 yards and a touchdown. The five reception total was the highest of Marinko’s UWG career, and the yardage total represented his first ever 100-yard game in a West Georgia uniform.

• Beyond setting single game personal highs, Marinko also last week eclipsed a major career milestone. He now has 1,042 career receiving yards, the most ever for a West Georgia tight end. Also, he is now but one catch away from surpassing UWG Hall of Fame member Byron Slack as the most prolific receiving tight end in the program’s history.

• Marinko’s efforts were rewarded by the Braves’ coaching staff, which named him offensive player of the week for the Arkansas-Monticello game. Also, UWG’s top defensive honors belonged to Jonathan Sello. The senior linebacker had six total tackles, including a pass interception in the loss to the Boll Weevils.

• The Braves’ top special teams honor was awarded to Johnny Williams. A sophomore wide receiver from LaGrange, Williams’ fourth quarter blocked punt was responsible for the Braves’ go-ahead touchdown. The blocked punt was recovered by Raffinee Gonzalez for a score that put UWG ahead, 27-24. • Junior Jeff Carpenter also turned in another stellar performance vs. UAM. Carpenter punted seven times for a 47.3 yards-per-attempt average. His season average is now 47.8, best in the Gulf South Conference and in all of NCAA Division II.

• Tailback Michael Alexis continued his impressive play in the UAM game. Despite facing an opponent that often had all 11 defenders within eight yards of the line of scrimmage, Alexis ran for 98 yards and one touchdown. His season total of 389 yards (129.7 per game) puts him atop the GSC in rushing.

• Thanks to UAM’s sky-kick strategy, Alexis had no chance to return kickoffs in last week’s game. However, he remains the Gulf South Conference leader in all-purpose yards with an average of 170.7 yards per game.

• West Georgia’s efforts in the UAM game came despite the loss of its starting quarterback. Senior Lucas McMichen suffered a rib injury while completing a second quarter TD pass to Williams. Sophomore Brent Owens took every snap for the remainder of the game, throwing for 141 yards and a touchdown.

• Owens’ 65-yard TD pass to Marinko was the Braves’ longest scoring pass play in almost three years. Corry Strange hit Brad Moson for a 65-yard TD in the Braves’ 2001 win over Ouachita Baptist.

• The Braves had their most effective pass rush of the season vs. Arkansas Monticello. Led by linebacker John Perkins with two, West Georgia had five quarterback sacks against the Boll Weevils. The total is the most for a West Georgia defense in a single game since their 2002 effort vs. West Alabama.

• Alexis comes into the Arkansas Tech game with 972 career rushing yards. He needs but 28 more to become only the 12th 1,000-yard rusher in UWG’s 24 year modern football history. He is 148 yards away from catching Louis Lomax (1998-2001) for 11th place on the Braves’ all-time rushing list.

• This week’s visit to Grisham Stadium is the fourth for an Arkansas Tech team. The Wonder Boys are 2-1 all-time in Carrollton. Beyond last year’s win and their loss in 2000, Tech was a 41-23 winner in a 1999 game that led to their Gulf South Conference title.

• West Georgia’s pass defense figures to get a severe test from Arkansas Tech. The Wonder Boys’ quarterback, junior Jason Campbell, is the GSC leader in pass efficiency with a rating of 163.7. He is third in the conference in both passing yards (244.2 per game) and in total offense (248.5 yards per game).

• If early season trends continue, the officials won’t be overworked during this week’s game. West Georgia ranks second in GSC in fewest yards penalized: 40.3 per game. They trail only Arkansas Tech, the league leader at 35.2 penalty yards per contest.

• West Georgia hopes to this week break a seven-game losing streak that dates back to last year. UWG dropped its final four games of 2003, and is 0-3 to begin the current campaign. As a coincidence, the steak began with last year’s loss to Arkansas Tech.

• This week’s game with Arkansas Tech marks the debut on instant replay for West Georgia football. Grisham Stadium’s new JumboTron-like replay screen will be in use, giving fans a second look at the game’s key plays.

• For fans still into audio, the Braves-Wonder Boys clash can be heard on WCKS, 102.7 FM. Mitch Gray and Andy Micacchione will call the game, while Chad Phillips reports from the sidelines. Also, the game be heard on line through links at the Braves’ website, uwgbraves.com.

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