In football, the last line of protection for a team’s defense is provided by the safeties. Safeties have the constant task of keeping receivers in front of them on pass plays while also jamming backs on running plays. Many times safeties are the vocal leaders of the defense, as is the case with Americus-Sumter senior safety and Times-Recorder Defensive Player of the Year Shaking Dean.
Although he did not play football during his junior year of high school, Dean made sure that he left his legacy on the Americus-Sumter program with a phenomenal senior season for the Panthers. As the senior safety for the Panthers complex defense, Dean was in charge of making the calls on defense and directing his unit on where to line up and who to cover according to Americus-Sumter defensive coordinator Chris Lamb. “We are very complex on defense with some of the coverage stuff we do. Shaking was the quarterback of our defense and he was the one to make the calls for us and check us in and out of coverage. That is not an easy task and he performed it very well,” Lamb said.
Although he was in charge of lining up the defense and calling the right coverage before the snap, Dean also had a very important job to do after the ball was snapped. His main goal was to stay fundamentally sound and keep the other team’s playmakers from getting behind him, but Dean also had a knack for creating big plays. “Shaking has just got it,” said Lamb. “He is so athletic and he was always around the ball. He really has a great nose for football.”
In his 10 games this season, Dean was a disruptive force and his nose for the game of football could quickly turn the momentum of a contest in his team’s favor. Dean forced four fumbles this season, and also hawked down one interception to get his defense off the field and get the ball back into the hands of the Panthers high powered offense. Dean also provided support in run defense, coming up from his safety spot to make 32.5 tackles this season including one game-changing safety.
Despite being a tremendous safety against the pass and the run, another part of Dean’s game was even more disruptive to opposing teams. On special teams Dean made a living bursting through team’s offensive lines to block kicks and punts, and give his team an easy opportunity to put points on the board. While most defensive players dream of getting a blocked kick during their senior season, Dean’s instinct for timing a snap just right and finding a hole in the offensive line allowed him to block an incredible three kicks this season. A blocked kick is one of the most rare plays in football, and Dean’s uncanny ability to get to the ball before the kicker could get it off always gave the Panthers a huge spark in their games. “Shaking just has a knack for blocking kicks. We worked hard on special teams, and Shaking really made it look easy. It’s hard to find a kid that is all out, all the time on special teams.”
As in so many cases with highly successful players, Dean’s team-first attitude was a huge reason for so much of his success this season according to his coach. “He is really a great team guy. He would never point fingers, but if there was something that needed fixing he would also straighten it out,” said Lamb. “He is a great kid that has good grades and behaves, and he also got better every single week on the field.”
The Panthers defense took a huge step forward this season in Lamb’s second year as defensive coordinator, and Dean was a huge part of that progress. Anytime that he was on the field, Dean provided a serious threat to opposing teams with his ability to always find the football. Playing defense is about disrupting the opposing team’s ability to score and in 2012, no player was better at that than Shaking Dean.
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Bolivian president takes on Americus-Sumter in local soccer match
It’s not every day that a local high school gets to take on the president of a country in a pick-up soccer game. For the Americus-Sumter High School Panthers that rare opportunity presented itself on Monday evening at Alton Shell Stadium on the pitch of Americus-Sumter High School’s South Campus as Bolivian President Evo Morales challenged the Panthers to a soccer game.
Cheek, Barnes receive top honors as 11 Wildcats land on All-Region team
The 2013 baseball season was a very successful one for the Schley County Wildcats. The ‘Cats earned the Region 4-A Championship after winning their first nine region contests, and finished the regular season with amazing 18-5 record before falling to Jenkins County in the first round of the GHSA Class A Public state playoffs. The Wildcats Region 4-A opponents took notice, and at the All-Region coaches meeting Schley County head coach Chuck Cheek was named Coach of the Year, and ace pitcher Justin Barnes Pitcher of the Year, as the ‘Cats landed 11 members of their squad on the 2013 All-Region 4-A team.
Americus-Sumter star athlete Kayla Bowens signs with Albany State
Every signing is a special signing for Americus-Sumter Lady Panther head coach Evelyn Wright. While Wright’s main job is to make her team well-rounded and competitive in GHSA Class AAAA competition, the long-time Lady Panther coach takes great pride when one of her players realizes a dream of playing college basketball. Friday morning’s signing ceremony tugged at the heart strings a little more, however, as Wright watched her granddaughter Kayla Bowens sign her name on the dotted line to continue her basketball career at her grandmother’s alma mater, Albany State University.
Raiders drop two to Mount de Sales to end postseason run
The 2013 Southland Academy Raider baseball team advanced to the second round for the first time in many years after taking down Loganville Christian Academy in the first round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs last week. The Raiders were hoping to keep that run going against Mount de Sales in the quarterfinals this week, but after a big inning cost Southland in game one on Thursday, the Cavaliers of Mount de Sales used a late inning comeback in game two on Saturday to advance to the semifinals and end the Raiders season.
Four Hurricanes earn All-PBC academic baseball honors
Georgia Southwestern State University seniors Randall Sheffield, Frank Ambrosino, junior Jarrod Taylor and sophomore Les Cromer have earned 2013 Peach Belt Conference All-Academic baseball honors as recently announced by the conference office. Sheffield was named to the All-Academic Team while Ambrosino, Taylor and Cromer received honorable mentions.
Local businesses help fund new basketball jerseys for Boys and Girls club
Several local businesses partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Americus/Sumter County and the Americus Police Department to buy new uniforms for every member of the organization’s young men’s basketball team recently. The Boys and Girls Club is located at 551 Hosanna Circle.
Talented SCPRD track and field team performs well at state finals
The Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department (SCPRD) track and field team dominated their area meet to qualify 40 participants for the state meet at Carrollton High School’s Grisham Stadium last weekend. The SCPRD team followed their stout area showing by performing exceptionally well in the state meet to close out their 2013 season.
Lady Panther basketball standout Kahler Fletcher signs with Emmanuel College
On Tuesday afternoon in the Americus-Sumter High School South Campus media center, senior basketball standout Kahler Fletcher ended a long recruiting process by signing a national letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Emmanuel College in Franklin, Ga.
Collins’ state title leads Schley Co. to 12th place finish at state meet
As Haley Collins crossed the finish line in the GHSA Class A 800 meter run, she became a state champion. Collins’ dominating performance in the event gave her team 10 points to help lead the Schley County Lady Wildcats to a tie for 12th place in the 30 team meet.
Raiders advance to quarterfinals with convincing win in deciding game 3
The Southland Academy Raiders quickly found themseleves with their backs against the wall in the first round of the GISA Class AAA baseball playoffs last weekend. After surrendering nine runs to the Loganville Chirstian Academy Lions in the first inning in the first of a three-game series, it looked as if Southland might be traveleing back to Americus early. The resilient Raiders were not looking for an early return trip, however, and after a tremendous comeback in a 11-10 opening game loss Southland rebounded with two dominating victories to move on to the quarterfinals on Thursday.
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