The year in sports
The local sports scene provided plenty of action this year on fields, diamonds and pitches.
A quick rundown, subjective at best and in words and photos, of the top stories of the year:
Jordan steps down
Greg Jordan resigned after two years as football coach/athletic director at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School, due in large part to Hurricane Michael and the inability to find suitable local housing.
Jordan took the Tiger Sharks to the state Class 1A semifinals his first year.
Despite a losing record in his second season, Port St. Joe finished fourth in a new conference and reached the second round of the Florida High School Athletics Association playoffs.
Most of all, Jordan will be remembered for nurturing a program through the drama of Hurricane Michael.
A new rural league
Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School football programs joined 10 other small rural schools in what became known as the Sunshine State Conference North League.
This was the latest salvo in a tussle small schools have had for 20 years, an argument about parity perfectly illustrated by a Madison County team putting 70 points on a very good Blountstown team in the Class 1A title game.
After the first eight weeks, and teams could play who they could schedule, the conference had three weeks of playoffs and round-robin games among those who did not qualify for the playoffs.
It was the first of a two-year experiment; the aforesaid Blountstown was the conference champion.
Four in a row for the Lady Gators
Another year, another trip to Vero Beach and the Class 1A state Final Four for the Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School softball program.
The Lady Gators went 20-7, winning 15 in a row at one juncture, and made their fourth consecutive trip to the state semifinals.
Unfortunately, the defending state champions fell to Trenton, the team the Lady Gators had defeated in the championship game the day before.
The scary thing for opponents; the coming season appears like more of the same with the bulk of the roster returning.
Lady Tiger Sharks on the prowl
Another year and another trip to Lakeland and the Class 1A state Final Four for the Port St. Joe girls’ basketball team.
Again, however, the Lady Tiger Sharks came up short of the state championship game as Trenton, sensing a theme, beat Port St. Joe and went on to the take the title.
As with the Lady Gators, the scary thing is Port St. Joe had just one senior and several top players had to technically reach high school.
Gators lift the program
At the beginning of the weightlifting season there was not exactly much buzz surrounding Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School’s squad.
At the end of the season; whoa, as the Gators had three individual champions in finishing second in Region 2-1A and three lifters who finished third the following week as Wewahitchka took fourth at the Class 1A state meet.