Jeremy Mug

The year started with a bang around here and it finished with a story like no other. The expectations entering the spring portion of the 2019 high school sports calendar were that North Oconee High School’s tennis teams would again be in the running for state championships.

Expectations were met. The boys team defeated Woodward Academy in a pretty convincing manner. It was kind of what I expected to be honest.

That doesn’t make it any less impressive. The Titans were a dominant group in each of the lines and they were very methodical and business-like in their run to the title.

The Lady Titans reached the title match and fell to Marist, which was kind of a surprise to me. Then again, like I mentioned above, just because you’ve won it before and have the same players guarantees nothing. Championships are to be cherished and celebrated when earned.

What the Lady Titans did the last four years won’t go underappreciated by me. Three titles and a runner up in Class 4A is a remarkable feat. I expect that when the spring rolls around in 2020 the Lady Titans will be one of the teams in the hunt for the title again this year.

The magical run of the Oconee County High School boys soccer team I did not see coming. That’s shame on me. I had seen the Warriors a few times and had been impressed with how they played. They didn’t win the Region 8-4A. That went to St. Pius X Catholic.

Going on the road and winning enough matches to reach a state championship match is a tall task. The Warriors made quick work of their one home match and then went out on the road four straight times including a neutral field battle with Upson-Lee at Mercer University for a state championship and won the whole thing.

I wrote “team of destiny” in the week following that impressive run. I deem those images of an emotional Owen Hallauer and Hunter Andrews hugging head coach Chris Romano following the game the moment of the year for me covering sports in 2019.

You couldn’t help but be happy for the Warriors who had to fight for everything they earned in that two-week stretch.

The first of the most inspirational teams of 2019 was North Oconee High School’s baseball team that reached the Class 4A semifinals before falling to Northside-Columbus in a close game three. That Titans’ team was fun.

They were fun to cover, they were fun to watch and they were fun to be around. Watching balls sail over fences and gold-haired teenagers chanting in the dugout made for an enjoyable few weeks of playoff baseball.

Then there’s the Oconee County High School football team that so valiantly battled for the Class 4A state championship just a few weeks ago. I love football. I love football when it’s played right. The 2019 Warriors played it right. I’ve stated multiple times throughout this season how injuries ravaged the Warriors last year. The Warriors care about football. They played and acted like it meant the world to them this season and that’s what helped them reach the state championship game.

It was a fun ride. When I say it I mean all of it. Let’s see what 2020 has to offer.

Jeremy Johnson is the sports editor for The Oconee Enterprise. Opinions expressed are those of the writer.

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