While a smattering of college athletes opened their respective seasons and, in some cases, their careers earlier in August, this past week saw a vast majority of football players, soccer players and cross country runners start their year.
Trevor Lawrence highlighted the football performances with his showing in Clemson's season opener. The highly touted freshman split time at quarterback with incumbent Kelly Bryant, showing flashes of his otherworldly potential.
In cross country, a trio of former Bartow County residents put forth nice showings in season-opening races. On the pitch, a handful of promising freshmen made their college debuts.
Elsewhere, the minor league baseball season wound to a close. Former Cartersville High players Sam Howard and Connor Justus closed out their summers this week, while Anthony Seigler's finished up early due to a reported concussion.
Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville) — Howard had two starts for the Isotopes in the final eight days of the regular season, going six innings in each outing. In a home game no-decision against Reno on Aug. 27, Howard struck out six while allowing only one earned run on six hits and three walks. Saturday, he allowed only two runs on four hits and did not walk a batter, but he suffered the loss. He fanned four on Saturday. Howard finished the 2018 season with a 3-8 mark and a 5.06 ERA in 22 games (21 starts). His lone non-start was a scoreless, one-inning appearance with the MLB Rockies in June that was also his major league debut. In 21 starts for Albuquerque, he struck out 80 and walked 34 in 96 innings. Opponents hit .285 against him. Albuquerque (63-77) finished last in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Southern Division.
Connor Justus (Mobile BayBears, L.A. Angels organization; Cartersville) — In six games this past week, Justus was 3-for-18 (.167) with a walk and two RBI. He split time this season between the Advanced Class A Inland Empire 66ers and Mobile, playing 77 of his 124 games at the Double-A level. He finished the season with a combined 93 hits in 423 at bats, while slashing .220/.339/.312. He hit six home runs, drove in 47 runs and drew 64 walks. Defensively, Justus has maintained a .978 fielding percentage in 982 1/3 innings and 480 total chances with 22 errors. He has been part of 68 double plays. The BayBears (67-70) finished third overall in the Southern League’s South Division behind playoff qualifiers Biloxi and Pensacola.
Spencer Fields (Rhodes Sr., Kingston native) — Fields placed 17th out of 172 runners in a season-opening meet in Memphis. The senior finished third on his team, helping Rhodes College finish fifth overall in the 18-team event. Fields completed the 4-mile race in 20 minutes, 52.21 seconds.
Jaison Morning (Valdosta State Sr., Cass) — Morning took eighth-place in the VSU Border Clash men's 7.25k on Friday. He paced the Valdosta State team, which finished third overall, and crossed the finish line in 24 minutes, 40 seconds — ahead of 71 others racers.
Lindsay Scifers (South Alabama Fr., Woodland) — Scifers finished fifth in her first collegiate race. Scifers narrowly missed out on fourth place and barely beat out a teammate for a top-five spot in Saturday's dual with Mobile. Scifers finished the 5k course in 20 minutes, 14 seconds.
Quadre Allen (Tusculum College Sr., Woodland) — Allen saw action in the Pioneers’ 13-3 loss to visiting North Greenville last Thursday. Tusculum (0-1) plays at Shorter this Saturday.
DeAndre Applin (Georgia State Sr., Adairsville) — Applin started at safety and had one tackle and an interception in the Panthers’ 24-20 home win last Thursday over FCS 5th-ranked Kennesaw State. Applin returned his second quarter pick 12 yards to the KSU 37-yard line. It set up the Panthers’ second touchdown to tie the game 14-14. GSU (1-0) travels to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take on North Carolina State this Saturday.
Chris Blackston (West Georgia Jr., Adairsville) — Blackston started at free safety and finished with five tackles, including one for a 3-yard loss as the NCAA D-II 25th-ranked Wolves beat visiting Catawba, 34-3. Blackston was also credited with one quarterback hurry. UWG (1-0) plays at Limestone this Saturday afternoon.
Dalen Curtis (Brevard College So., Cartersville) — Converted from the offensive line to fullback this season, Curtis had an 8-yard reception in the Tornados’ 34-13 loss at Davidson. Brevard (0-1) has a week off before hosting Allen University Sept. 15.
Marcus Childers (Northern Illinois R-So., Adairsville) — The Huskies’ starter at quarterback, Childers was 14-for-25 passing for 105 yards and a touchdown during NIU’s season-opening, 33-7 loss Saturday at Iowa. Childers threw one interception and was sacked five times. He rushed 10 times for 15 net yards and even caught one pass for five yards. Northern Illinois (0-1) plays its home opener this Saturday against Utah.
Xavior Coaxum (LaGrange College So., Cartersville) — The Panthers’ starter at free safety, Coaxum had seven tackles Saturday in a 34-28 loss at Birmingham Southern. LaGrange (0-1) will entertain visiting Berry College this Saturday night at Callaway Stadium.
Jonathan Cruz (Charlotte Fr., Cartersville) — Cruz connected on a pair of first-half field goals and made four extra-point attempts in his collegiate debut as the 49ers beat visiting Fordham 34-10. Cruz did miss a 27-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the first half. His seven kickoffs averaged 60 yards with three touchbacks. Charlotte (1-0) will host Appalachian State this Saturday night.
Jordan Ferguson (Middle Tennessee State So., Cartersville) — Ferguson saw action in three quarters of the Blue Raiders’ 35-7 loss Saturday night at Vanderbilt. MTSU (0-1) hosts Tennessee-Martin this Saturday night.
Miller Forristall (Alabama R-So., Cartersville) — Forristall saw action in the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s opening 51-14 victory Saturday night over Louisville in Orlando, Florida. Alabama (1-0) hosts Arkansas State this Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa.
Gabe Gridley (Angelo State Jr., Cartersville) — Gridley had six punts for a 38.5-yard average, including a long kick of 49 yards, and five punts downed inside the 20-yard line as the Rams won Saturday at Western Oregon, 24-17. ASU (1-0) travels to Abilene Christian University this Saturday night.
Hunter Hardin (Point So., Woodland) — Hardin saw action in the second half of the Skyhawks’ 48-7 loss at Stetson Saturday. Hardin was also on the PAT team for Point’s extra point. PU (0-2) hosts Edward Waters College this Saturday afternoon.
Kalin Heath (West Georgia Jr., Cartersville) — In his first action as a member of the NCAA D-II 19th-ranked Wolves, Heath, a transfer from UAB who was previously redshirted at Kansas State, finished with seven yards on four, fourth-quarter carries. He picked up eight yards on his first attempt, but he later had a two-yard loss in the same series.
Sean Holton (Davidson College So., Cartersville) — Holton recorded two tackles as the Wildcats defeated visiting Brevard College Saturday, 34-13. Davidson (1-0) plays host to Chowan this Saturday night.
Lucas Johnson (Georgia State Sr., Cass) — Johnson started at right tackle last Thursday in the Panthers’ 24-20 home win over Kennesaw State. Johnson was part of an offensive unit that gained 315 total yards (128 rushing on 38 attempts and 187 passing on 28 attempts).
Emmanuel Jones (Colorado State So., Woodland) — Jones had three tackles Friday night as the Rams lost to rival Colorado in Denver, 45-13. CSU (0-2) hosts Arkansas this Saturday evening.
Bradley Kirk (Shorter Fr., Cartersville) — A starter in the Hawks’ defensive backfield, Kirk was credited with six tackles and a forced fumble in his collegiate debut. Unfortunately, Shorter suffered a 66-9 loss at Samford. The Hawks (0-1) will host Tusculum College this Saturday afternoon at Barron Stadium in Rome.
Trevor Lawrence (Clemson Fr., Cartersville) — Sharing time with starter Kelly Bryant, Lawrence finished 9-for-14 for 137 yards and three touchdowns with a long connection of 42 yards as the Tigers blasted Furman, 48-7. The true freshman also had three rushes for 1 net yard in his collegiate debut. His scoring plays included a second-quarter, 6-yard TD pass to Diondre Overton; a third-quarter, 15-yard TD pass to Justyn Ross; and a fourth-quarter, 9-yard TD pass to Braden Galloway. Second-ranked Clemson (1-0) hits the road this Saturday for an interconference matchup at Texas A&M.
Darian Poellnitz (Miles College Fr., Cartersville) — Poellnitz was credited with one solo tackle Saturday in the Golden Bears’ 37-0 loss at Alabama A&M. Miles (0-1) travels to Livingston, Alabama, Thursday night to face NCAA D-II 17th-ranked University of West Alabama.
Mark Quattlebaum (Charlotte R-Sr., Cartersville) — Quattlebaum started at slot receiver and punt returner for the 49ers in a 34-10, opening-game win over visiting Fordham. Quattlebaum was targeted only once as a receiver and had a 1-yard rush in the game. He also had an 18-yard punt return along with a pair of fair catches and one lost fumble in the return game.
Seven Richards (Jacksonville Fr., Cass) — Richards saw his first-ever collegiate action in the Dolphins’ season opening 63-14 victory over St. Augustine’s. Jacksonville rushed for 424 yards and passed for another 120 in their win. The Dolphins (1-0) travel north to Macon, GA this Saturday to challenge Mercer.
John Scifers (West Georgia R-So., Woodland) — Scifers missed a 32-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter of last Thursday’s 34-3 win over Catawba.
Macland Shay (New Mexico Highlands Fr., Cass) — Shay saw action in the Cowboys’ 45-31 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Highlands (1-0) hosts Adams State University this Saturday afternoon in another conference game.
Hiram Velez (West Florida R-Sr., Adairsville) — Velez saw playing time in the NCAA D-II second-ranked Argonauts’ 19-9 win at home over No. 22 Carson-Newman last Thursday. UWF (1-0) travels to Wichita Falls, Texas, this Saturday night to play 11th-ranked Midwestern State.
Brandon Wade (Ellsworth CC So., Cartersville) — Wade had three tackles, including two for loss, but the Panthers lost 17-10 to Highland CC Saturday in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Ellsworth (0-2) hosts Garden City CC next Saturday afternoon.
Jake Walker (Furman So., Cartersville resident) — Walker started at tight end for the FCS 21st-ranked Paladins, but he was not targeted in the Furman passing game during a 48-7 loss to 2nd-ranked Clemson. Furman (0-1) plays at FCS 13th-ranked Elon this Saturday.
Katelynn Harbeke (Life Sr., Cass) — Harbeke assisted on both goals for the Eagles in a 2-0 victory over Bryan (Tennessee) College last Tuesday. Harbeke also had a shot on goal in the win. She also started Life's 1-0 loss Saturday to Truett McConnell and 1-0 win Monday over West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
Emily Collum (Georgia Southwestern Fr., Adairsville) — Collum started and played 72 minutes in her first collegiate game Saturday. However, Georgia Southwestern suffered a 4-0 loss to Emmanuel College in said game.
Marissa Mowry (Anderson Fr., Cartersville) — Mowry saw action in both of Anderson's games last week. She came off the bench to play 20 minutes in her first college game and played 10 minutes in the second game. Both ended in 2-0 losses — the first to Georgia College and the second to North Georgia.
Anthony Robledo (Reinhardt Fr., Cass) — Robledo played in one of Reinhardt's three games to open the season last week. He didn't see the field in a 2-0 win over Martin Methodist (Tennessee) and 0-0 draw against Cumberland (Tennessee). He played 5 minutes, 48 seconds in a 2-0 victory against SCAD-Savannah on Tuesday.
— Charles Wilson of Bartow Sports Zone contributed to this report.