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Local News

  • The Latest on a shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas (all times local): 11:05 p.m. Investigators say a 17-year-old admitted to authorities that he went on a shooting rampage at a Southeast Texas high school that left 10 dead, most of them students. According to a probable cause affidavit, however, Dimitrios Pagourtzis told investigators that when he opened fire at Santa Fe High School on Friday morning, 'he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.' Pagourtzis is being held without bond at the Galveston County Jail. He is charged with capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against a public servant. ___ 10:05 p.m. A sophomore at Santa Fe High School says he was in his art class when he suddenly heard three louds booms. Zachary Muehe tells The New York Times he then 'saw the kid who's in my football class ... and I saw him with a shotgun.' Muehe says that classmate, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was wearing a trench coat and a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan 'Born to Kill.' The sophomore says Pagourtzis started shooting as soon as he entered the classroom. Muehe says 'it was crazy watching him shoot and then pump.' He was able to flee to another classroom through a shared ceramics closet. Pagourtzis has been charged with capital murder. ___ 9:20 p.m. A student at a Houston-area high school where 10 people were killed says it was a 'perfectly normal day' before shots rang out in her art classroom. Breanna Quintanilla, a 17-year-old junior at Santa Fe High School, says that when Dimitrios Pagourtzis walked into the room, he pointed at one person and said, 'I'm going to kill you.' She did not identify the student who was shot. Quintanilla also says the suspect fired in her direction as she tried to run out of the room. She says the bullet ricocheted and hit her right leg. She was still wearing a hospital bracelet on her wrist as she spoke after a Friday night vigil. Pagourtzis has been charged with capital murder in the school shooting. He was denied bond at a hearing earlier Friday. ___ 8:20 p.m. A leader at a program for foreign exchange students and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C., say a Pakistani girl is among those killed in the Texas high school shooting. Megan Lysaght, manager of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study Abroad program, sent a letter to other students in the program confirming that Sabika Sheikh was killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School. The letter says the program is devastated by Sabika's loss and would be holding a moment of silence for her. Lysaght declined further comment when contacted by The Associated Press and referred calls to a State Department spokesman. The Pakistan Embassy in Washington identified Sabika as a victim of the shooting on Twitter and wrote that 'our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika's family and friends.' ___ 8:10 p.m. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says he expects the Justice Department to pursue additional charges against the suspected gunman at a Texas high school. Texas Rep. Michael McCaul told The Associated Press on Friday that federal prosecutors are looking into possible weapons of mass destruction charges against 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis. The Santa Fe High School student was in custody on murder charges and made his initial court appearance Friday evening by video link from the Galveston County Jail. He's accused of killing 10 people, most of them fellow students. Authorities say he also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby. McCaul is a former federal prosecutor. He thinks the Justice Department 'wants to ramp this up as much as they can to send a message of deterrence.' ___ 7:20 p.m. Family members say a substitute teacher whose passion was her children and grandchildren is among the victims of the shooting at a Texas high school. Leia Olinde says authorities confirmed to her family that her aunt, Cynthia Tisdale, was killed in Friday morning's shooting at Santa Fe High School. She says Tisdale, who was in her 60s, was like a mother to her and helped her shop for wedding dresses last year. Olinde says Tisdale was married to her husband for close to 40 years and had three children and eight grandchildren. She says she 'never met a woman who loved her family so much.' Olinde's fiance, Eric Sanders, says 'words don't explain her lust for life and the joy she got from helping people.' ___ 6:55 p.m. Officials have canceled classes at schools in the Santa Fe Independent School District through at least Tuesday in the wake of a shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 dead, most of them students. In a statement posted on the district website, officials indicated that no plan has been made for resuming classes. Seventeen-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis is charged with capital murder in the shooting rampage. A judge denied him bond at a court hearing Friday evening. ___ 6:30 p.m. A judge has denied bond for the 17-year-old accused of killing 10 people and wounding 10 others at a Texas high school. Dimitrios Pagourtzis made his initial court appearance Friday evening via closed circuit video from the Galveston County Jail. The judge also took Pagourtzis' application for a court-appointed attorney. Pagourtzis has been charged with capital murder in the Friday morning shooting at Santa Fe High School. He did not enter a plea at the hearing. ___ 6:25 p.m. Students at a Houston-area high school where a shooting left 10 people dead and 10 wounded are divided on the issue on gun control. Seventeen-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis has been identified as the suspect in Friday's shooting at Santa Fe High School. Branden Auzston, also 17, is a junior at the school. He says he doesn't like the idea of arming teachers or allowing open carry on school campuses. Auzston says 'that might help, but at the same time it would just leave room for more deaths.' He thinks security at his school could be improved if more police officers are stationed there 'but in a smart manner.' However, 17-year-old senior Daisy Sullivan, Auzston's girlfriend, says she doesn't think more gun control measures are needed. She says 'it's not, like, the gun's fault' whenever a school shooting happens. Sullivan adds, 'No, it's the kid who had the idea. Something is wrong with his head. He had the weird idea to shoot up a school.' ___ 5:15 p.m. President Donald Trump has 'activated' his gun safety commission and is expected to meet with members next week in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Texas. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the commission the president convened after the Parkland, Florida, shooting in February 'has been activated today to start that conversation up again.' She says she believes it will be meeting again in 'first part of next week.' She declined to say whether Trump will revisit some gun control measures after another school shooting, but adds, 'Certainly conversation's ongoing about the best ways to protect kids across the country.' Authorities say Friday's shooting at Santa Fe High School left 10 dead and 10 wounded. ___ 4:45 p.m. Netflix has canceled the premiere of its second season of the teen drama '13 Reasons Why' because of a school shooting near Houston. The streaming service announced the cancellation hours before the scheduled premiere and red carpet event, citing the Friday morning shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 people dead. Despite the cancelled premiere, the entire Season 2 is available on Netflix. The first season of '13 Reasons Why' drew criticism for its graphic depiction of a teenager's suicide. The second season focuses on the aftermath of the girl's death, and includes a storyline about a thwarted school shooting. The show's launch party was expected to feature appearances by show stars Katherine Langford, Dylan Minnette, Kate Walsh and others, and producer Selena Gomez. ___ 4:40 p.m. U.S. Senator John Cornyn says the 17-year-old student accused in a fatal shooting at a Texas high school used a semi-automatic pistol and a sawed-off shotgun to kill 10 people. The Republican from Texas says investigators are still determining whether the shotgun's shortened barrel is legal. Dimitrios Pagourtzis has been charged with capital murder in the Friday shooting that also wounded 10 people at Santa Fe High School near Houston. Cornyn says the suspect had a variety of homemade explosives in his car and at the school, including pipe bombs and 'pressure-cooker-like bombs' similar to those used in the Boston Marathon attack. Cornyn says the suspect 'planned on doing this for some time, he advertised his intentions but somehow slipped through the cracks.' ___ 4:15 p.m. Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump 'has been taking action to make our schools and our communities safe,' hours after a mass shooting at a high school in Texas. Pence on Friday called it a 'heartbreaking day' after at least 10 people were killed at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. Speaking at political event in his home state of Indiana, Pence is highlighting the administration's efforts on school safety, including signing legislation authorizing $2 billion for state and local governments to use to protect schools and a bill to strengthen the nation's firearm background check system. Pence says the administration is still calling on states 'to follow the example of Indiana and allow qualified school personnel to carry concealed weapons.' A school police officer was among the 10 people who were shot and injured Friday in Santa Fe. ___ 4:05 p.m. Texas' governor says the 17-year-old student believed to be behind a high school shooting that killed 10 people wrote in his journal of wanting to carry out such an attack. Republican Greg Abbott said Friday that the suspect 'has information contained in journals on his computer, in his cellphone that ... said ... not only did he want to commit the shooting but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting.' Abbott added that the suspect gave himself up to authorities, saying he 'didn't have the courage' to take his own life. Dimitrios Pagourtzis (Puh-GORE-cheese) has been charged with capital murder in the Friday morning shooting that killed 10 people and wounded 10 others in Santa Fe, near Houston and Galveston. ___ 3:45 p.m. A hospital spokesman says a school resource officer who was shot in the arm when he engaged a gunman during a shooting at a Houston-area school is undergoing surgery. David Marshall, the University of Texas Medical Branch's chief nursing officer, says Santa Fe school resource officer John Barnes is in stable condition Friday afternoon. Marshall says a bullet hit Barnes' arm, damaging the bone and a major blood vessel around his elbow. He says the blood vessel has been repaired, and that Barnes is expected to emerge from surgery within a few hours. Marshall says Barnes was the first person to engage a student armed with two guns who opened fire at Santa Fe High School Friday morning. The shooter killed at least 10 people and injured 10 more. ___ 3:30 p.m. President Donald Trump has ordered that U.S. flags fly at half-staff as a mark of 'solemn respect' for those affected by the school shooting in Texas. Flags are to be flown at half-staff until sunset on May 22. The order applies to the White House and all public buildings and grounds, military posts and naval stations and vessels, as well as at U.S. embassies, consular offices and other facilities abroad. The flag atop the White House was immediately lowered on Friday. Texas authorities say 10 people, mostly students, were killed Friday when a 17-year-old student carrying a shotgun and a revolver opened fire at a Houston-area high school. Ten other people were wounded at the school in Santa Fe. ___ 3:15 p.m. A sophomore baseball player was one of at least 10 people injured in a shooting at a Houston-area high school. Rome Shubert tells the Houston Chronicle that he was hit in the back of his head with what he says was a bullet, but that it 'missed everything vital.' Shubert posted on Twitter that he was 'completely okay (sic) and stable.' Authorities say 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis fatally shot 10 people and wounded 10 others at Santa Fe High School on Friday. He is being held on a capital murder charge. Shubert says the gunman walked into the classroom and tossed something. He said there were 'three loud pops' before the attacker fled into the hall. Shubert says he realized he'd been struck and injured as he was running out the back door. ___ 2:55 p.m. Gov. Greg Abbott says there were few prior warnings about the suspected gunman who opened fire inside a Texas high school, unlike in other recent mass shootings. Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset says 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis has been charged with capital murder in the Friday morning shooting that killed 10 people and wounded 10 others in the community of Santa Fe. Abbott said that 'unlike Parkland, unlike Sutherland Springs, there were not those types of warning signs.' He was referring to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida and one in November inside a church in a town near San Antonio. Abbott says 'the red-flag warnings were either non-existent, or very imperceptible' in the case of the suspected Santa Fe shooter. ___ 2:40 p.m. A sheriff says the 17-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of at least 10 people at his Houston-area high school is being held on a capital murder charge. Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset says in a statement that the student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is being held without bond in the Galveston County jail. At least 10 other people were wounded in the shooting Friday morning at the Santa Fe High School. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says investigators also found explosive devices, including a Molotov cocktail, in the school and nearby. Abbott says the suspect told authorities after his arrest that he had intended to kill himself too, but that he lacked the courage. ___ 2:30 p.m. At least one student isn't at all surprised that a deadly shooting happened at her high school in Texas. Paige Curry, who is 17, says 'it's been happening everywhere' and that she 'always ... felt like that eventually it was going to happen here too.' Gov. Greg Abbott says 10 people were killed and 10 more were injured Friday morning when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School. Curry says she was sitting in a classroom when she 'heard the loud booms.' It took a second for her to realize what was going on. She and her classmates ran onto the stage and hid together backstage, trying to keep each other calm until SWAT officers found them. ___ 2:20 p.m. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the school shooting suspect used a shotgun and .38-revolver he obtained from his father. At a news conference on Friday, Abbott said both weapons were owned legally by the suspect's father. But it's not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them. Abbott says 10 people were killed and 10 more wounded in the shooting Friday morning at Santa Fe High School. Abbott said 'we look to God to give the first responders, as well as the victims and the families, the guidance they need in the coming days and weeks.' Abbott says he will organize roundtables around the state to discuss preventing further shootings. ___ 2:10 p.m. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says 10 people are dead and 10 more wounded after a shooting at a high school in the town of Santa Fe. Abbott called Friday's shooting 'one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools.' He says explosive devices including a molotov cocktail that had been found in the suspected shooter's home and a vehicle as well as around the school and nearby. The governor says the suspect said he originally intended to commit suicide but gave himself up and told authorities that he didn't have the courage to take his own life. Abbott said there are 'one or two' other people of interest being interviewed about the shooting. ___ 1:45 p.m. A 16-year-old boy who says he considers Dimitrios Pagourtzis a friend says the Texas high school shooting suspect is interested in guns and war simulation video games, but that he has never about talked about killing people. Tristen Patterson is a junior at Sante Fe high School, where at least eight people were killed in the shooting Friday morning. Patterson says Pagourtzis didn't show signs of being bullied, but that he rarely talked about himself. He says Pagourtzis would sometimes enter the classroom 'acting a little bit down or sad. A little bit sluggish. ... But he never talked about why.' ___ 1:25 p.m. A sophomore says it was 'chaos' when the fire alarm sounded at Santa Fe High School and people realized it was an active shooter situation. Sixteen-year-old John Robinson says he was in first period English class when the fire alarm went off. Robinson says: 'Everybody was just trying to get away from the school. They kept saying there was a shooter, people were shot.' He says he felt scared and simply wanted to get as far away from the school as possible. He and other students ran to a nearby Shell station. Robinson says he thinks two of his friends might have been injured in the shooting but that he hasn't been able to speak with them. ___ 1:05 p.m. A law enforcement official has identified a person in custody in the Houston-area school shooting as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis. The official was not authorized to discuss the shooting by name and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press. Authorities say eight to 10 people, mostly students, were killed in the nation's deadliest such attack since the massacre in Florida that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control. A woman who answered the phone at a number associated with the Pagourtzis family declined to speak with the AP. She said: 'Give us our time right now, thank you.' Pagourtzis plays on the Santa Fe High School junior varsity football team, and is a member of a dance squad with a local Greek Orthodox church. ___ Eric Tucker in Washington D.C. contributed to this report. ___ 1 p.m. The emergency room medical director at a Texas hospital says the facility has treated eight patients injured in a shooting at a Houston-area school. Dr. Safi Madain at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center says six of the eight patients have been treated and released. Madain says one patient remains in critical condition and the other is in fair condition. Madain says all appeared to be high school students with gunshot wounds. Other victims have been treated at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Dr. David Marshall, chief nursing officer, says one adult male is in critical condition at the hospital. He says that man was shot in the upper arm and is undergoing surgery. Officials have said eight to 10 people were killed in the Friday morning shooting at Santa Fe High School. ___ 12:50 p.m. A student inside the Houston-area high school where several people were fatally shot says he was near the art classroom where the shooting took place. Eighteen-year-old Logan Roberds says he heard a fire alarm at Santa Fe High School and went outside. He says he then heard two loud bangs, which he didn't initially think were gunshots. He says he thought someone loudly hit a trash can. But he later heard three loud bangs. He says, 'that's when the teachers told us to run.' He says he ran with other students to a nearby gas station. His mother says she quickly drove to meet her son. The local sheriff says eight to 10 people were killed after a gunman opened fire inside the school Friday morning. Two people are in custody. ___ 12:30 p.m. The police chief at a Houston-area school district says a police officer was shot and wounded during a shooting that killed multiple people at a local high school. Walter Braun is the police chief of Santa Fe Independent School District. He says the fatal shooting Friday morning at Santa Fe High School also left at least six people wounded, including a police officer. Dr. David Marshall is the chief nursing officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch in nearby Galveston. He says one man is in critical condition and undergoing surgery at the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the upper arm. It wasn't immediately clear if the man is the wounded officer. Two other victims are being treated for gunshot wounds to their legs. Hospital spokesman Raul Reyes says one of those is believed to be a student. The other is a middle-aged woman. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says eight to 10 people were killed after a gunman opened fire inside the school. Two people are in custody. ___ 12 p.m. Survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, took to social media to express outrage and heartbreak after the latest school shooting in Texas where authorities say a gunman opened fire killing eight to 10 people. Marjory Stoneman Douglas students Jaclyn Corin said in a tweet Friday that her 'heart is so heavy' for the students at Santa Fe High School, telling them Parkland will stand with them. She also directed her frustration at President Donald Trump, urging him to 'DO SOMETHING' because children are being killed. Classmate David Hogg warned the city that politicians would soon descend on the school acting like they care but are only looking to boost approval ratings. Corin and Hogg were part of a grassroots movement that rallied hundreds of thousands for gun reform. ___ 11:50 a.m. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is headed to the scene of a school shooting outside Houston where officials say as many as 10 people were killed. Abbott tweeted Friday that he was on his way to Santa Fe High School, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. The Republican said an afternoon press conference was planned. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says most of the victims were students. He says authorities have also detained two people believed to be students. Gonzalez says authorities didn't yet have information on the weapon or weapons used. The White House says President Donald Trump spoke with Abbott to offer his condolences and pledged to work with the governor to provide all appropriate federal assistance ___ 11:35 a.m. Authorities say possible explosive devices have been found at and adjacent to the Texas high school where a shooting left as many as 10 people dead. The Santa Fe Independent School District said in a statement Friday that authorities are in the process of rendering the devices safe. There's no indication how many devices have been found. Police asked the public to 'remain vigilant' and to call 911 if they see any suspicious items in the area. The school outside Houston went on lockdown around 8 a.m. after an active shooting was reported. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says there 'could be 8 to 10 fatalities' from the shooting. Gonzalez says the majority of the dead are students. The sheriff says one person is in custody and a second person has been detained. Santa Fe is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. ___ 11:15 a.m. President Donald Trump is sending condolences for the 'absolutely horrific attack' at a Texas high school. Trump is telling those affected that 'we're with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever.' He says his administration is working to protect students, secure schools and keep weapons out of the hands of those who want to do harm. He called this a 'very very sad day.' Trump says 'everyone must work together' to keep children safe. The local sheriff says the shooting Friday morning at Santa Fe High school left as many as 10 people dead, most of them students. The school is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. ___ 10:50 a.m. The local sheriff says as many as 10 people may have been killed during a shooting at a high school near Houston, most of them students. Harris County Sherriff Ed Gonzalez Harris County said there 'could be 8 to 10 fatalities' from the shooting Friday morning at Santa Fe High School, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. Gonzalez says the majority of the dead are students. The sheriff says one person is in custody and a second person has been detained. Gonzalez says a police officer is among the injured but the extent of the officer's injuries is unknown. ___ 10:45 a.m. Vice President Mike Pence says he and President Donald Trump have been briefed on the school shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston. Pence said the students, families, teachers and all those affected should know: ''We're with you. You're in our prayers and I know you are in the prayers of the American people.' Trump adds in a tweet that, 'Early reports not looking good. God bless all!' First lady Melania Trump is also weighing on Twitter. She says, 'My heart goes out to Santa Fe and all of Texas today.' Houston-area media citing unnamed law enforcement officials are reporting that there are fatalities following the Friday morning shooting. The Associated Press has not been able to confirm the reports. ___ 10:30 a.m. Officials say at least three people are being treated for gunshot wounds and two people have been detained following a shooting at a high school near Houston. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted Friday that one person is in custody and a second person has been detained following the Friday morning shooting at Santa Fe High School. Gonzalez says a police officer was injured but the extent of the officer's injuries is unknown. Gonzalez says there are 'multiple casualties' but didn't elaborate. Houston-area media have cited unnamed law enforcement officials saying there were fatalities. The Associated Press has not been able to confirm the reports. Dr. David Marshall is chief nursing officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He says one man was undergoing surgery at the hospital Friday morning following the shooting. He says a juvenile has been admitted and a second adult is being treated in the emergency room. ___ 9:45 a.m. Houston-area media citing unnamed law enforcement officials are reporting that there are fatalities following a shooting at a high school. Television station KHOU and the Houston Chronicle are citing unnamed federal, county and police officials following the shooting early Friday at Santa Fe High School, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. The Associated Press has not been able to confirm the reports. The school district has confirmed an unspecified number of injuries but is not immediately releasing further details. Assistant Principal Cris Richardson says a suspect 'has been arrested and secured.' ___ 9:30 a.m. School officials say people have been injured in a shooting at a Houston-area high school and the suspected shooter is in custody. Assistant Principal Cris Richardson says the suspect in the shooting Friday at Santa Fe High School 'has been arrested and secured.' The school district also confirmed an unspecified number of people are injured but provided no other details. School officials say law enforcement officers are working to secure the building 'and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location.' Students are being transported to another location to reunite with their parents. One student told Houston television station KTRK that a gunman came into her first-period class and started shooting. The student says she saw one girl with a bloody leg as the class evacuated. ___ 8:37 a.m. Law enforcement officers are responding to a high school near Houston after an active shooter was reported on campus. The Santa Fe school district issued an alert Friday morning saying Santa Fe High School has been placed on lockdown. Galveston County sheriff's Maj. Douglas Hudson says units are responding to reports of shots fired. He had no immediate details on whether anyone has been hurt. Santa Fe is a city of about 13,000 residents, located 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. One student told Houston television station KTRK in a telephone interview that a gunman came into her first-period art class and started shooting. The student says she saw one girl with blood on her leg as the class evacuated the room. Authorities have not yet confirmed that report.
  • Police in Elberton arrest a fugitive: 25 year-old Joseph Harkins was wanted for a May 8 fight with an Elberton Police Officer. Police say he grappled with the officer who was trying to serve a warrant, then ran away. He’ll face felony obstruction charges. Georgia State Troopers make two arrests after a high-speed chase that began on I-85 in Franklin County: a man from Oklahoma and a woman from Ohio were in an allegedly stolen pick-up truck. The truck was stopped on Georgia Highway 198 in Franklin County.    The driver involved in a fatal head-on crash with a Hall County school bus will face charges. The Georgia State Patrol says Lonnie Anderson of Dawsonville was driving the truck that slammed into the school bus on Thompson Bridge Road in Hall County. His 13 year-old daughter Summer was killed; his 12 year-old son, seriously injured. 19 students were on the bus; several of them were treated for non life-threatening injuries.
  • Andy Johnson will be laid to rest after a weekend service at Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens. The graveside service is set for 3:30 Sunday afternoon. Johnson died earlier this week at the age of 65. He was a star quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs in the early 1970s. He went on to play as a running back for the NFL’s New England Patriots. From UGA…   Born Oct. 18, 1952, in Athens Johnson was an All-American quarterback on an Athens High team that was state-champions in class AAA. He also was All-Region in basketball, baseball, and a sprinter on the track team. Johnson was drafted by the Atlanta Braves as a shortstop but decided to continue his education at the University of Georgia on a football scholarship. Johnson was the starting quarterback on the Bulldog freshman squad in 1970, setting the total offense record of 1,078 yards in five games. In 1971, his sophomore season, Johnson became the varsity's starting signal caller and led the Bulldogs to an 11-1 campaign which included a 7-3 victory over North Carolina in the Gator Bowl. During that season, Johnson set the SEC sophomore rushing record and was second in the conference in rushing. He set the SEC record for touchdowns scored rushing by a sophomore with 13. Football News named him the nation's most outstanding sophomore player and the Jacksonville Journal awarded him the SEC's outstanding sophomore player trophy. Johnson was plagued by injuries throughout his junior season but still managed to be the Bulldogs third leading rusher and second leading passer in the 7-4 season. In his senior season, Johnson was second on the team in rushing, led the team in passing, and commanded the Bulldogs to a 7-4-1 record with a 17-16 victory over Maryland in the Peach Bowl. After his three year tenure was complete, Johnson captured the SEC record for the most yards rushing by a quarterback with 1,799. While at Georgia, Johnson also competed on the Bulldogs baseball team for three years, compiling a .281 career average. Johnson was drafted in the fifth round by the New England Patriots of the NFL. Johnson played for the Patriots for nine seasons before signing with the Boston Breakers of the USFL in 1983. He was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.He is survived by his wife Charlotte (Chot) and children, Kristy, Brent and Brooke. Visitation is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, from 3-5 p.m. at Bernstein Funeral Home in Athens. A graveside service will be held Sunday, May 20, at 3:30 p.m. at the Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens.
  • Today is the last day for early voting in Athens and around the state, the last day for voters to cast ballots in advance of next Tuesday’s Election Day. Candidates for mayor of Athens and for seats on the Athens-Clarke County Commission and Clarke County School Board are spending their final weekend on the campaign trail. There are also legislative and congressional seats up for grabs in Tuesday balloting.  2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is endorsing Stacey Abrams in next week’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. Stacey Abrams faces Stacey Evans in the election that is now just four days away. 
  • Today is the last day of the school year in the Clarke and Oconee county school districts. It’s also graduation day: commencement exercises for the Cedar Shoals High School class of 2018 are set for 4 o’clock this afternoon at UGA’s Stegeman Coliseum. Clarke Central High School graduates graduate at 7 o’clock tonight, also in Stegeman. Stegeman Coliseum is the scene for Saturday graduation ceremonies, as well: 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon for seniors at North Oconee High School, 6 o’clock for their counterparts at Oconee County High School.  Saturday is law school graduation day at UGA: Judge Robert Benham, the longest serving justice on the Georgia Supreme Court, is the speaker for commencement exercises set for 10 o’clock tomorrow morning at Stegeman Coliseum. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — First let’s talk about what happened in Georgia’s baseball game on Saturday, then we’ll talk about what has happened this season. The abridged version: Keegan McGovern, Mr. Everything for the Bulldogs, threw out an Arkansas runner at home plate to win the game 3-2. That’s right, a day after recording a win over No. 6 Arkansas with a 10th-inning, walk-off hit, No. 13 Georgia won with a walk-off, throw-out from its left fielder in the last game of the regular season. If you hadn’t thought so before, it’s about now you start to think, “maybe this Georgia team is something special.” “I thought that already,” said Scott Stricklin, the Bulldogs’ fifth-year coach. “But I’ve never seen a game end like that before.” Stricklin, you’ll note, has overseen 815 games as a college head coach and participated in about 60 a year since he first played college ball at Kent State in 1990. So, yes, it was unusual play, on multiple levels. First was the fact that Arkansas sent its runner from third base on a shallow fly ball on the foul line while tied with one out in the top of the ninth. Then there was the notability of the person fielding the ball. McGovern had 3 assists on the season. For what it’s worth, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said it was his decision and he didn’t regret it. “I was surprised he went,” said McGovern, a senior who hit his 15th home run in the game and is on the Golden Spikes watch list. “But as the ball was coming down, everybody was yelling ‘4, 4, 4,’ so I knew where I had to go with it.” Almost literally, McGovern delivered a strike. His throw to catcher Austin Biggar came in knee high on the line and never touched the ground. Biggar simply had to catch it and fall forward to tag out the hard-sliding Heston Kjerstad, who’d led off the inning with a double and went to third on a passed ball. So that’s how the inning had begun, with a runner on third and no outs. Yet the Bulldogs wiggled out of it. Of course. And that’s what they’ve been doing all year, mostly. Even the ones they’ve lost have been heart-palpitating thrillers. This bunch competes like they’re livelihood depends on it. Thank you, Seniors! #DoItForTheSeniors | #SeniorDay #DawgsOnTop | #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/WN4dhUoQVv — Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) May 19, 2018 For Stricklin, it actually did. No bones about it. He entered the fifth year of his six-year deal to be Georgia’s coach without an NCAA Regional appearance and with athletic director Greg McGarity answering questions about why Stricklin hadn’t already been fired. That’s no longer on the table. The only inevitability now is a contract extension. He might even have a bonus coming for SEC Coach of the Year. Truly, if it went to anybody else at this point, an investigation might be warranted. Some facts to consider: Georgia has recorded its lowest team ERA (3.66 coming in) in 50 years, a tribute both to Stricklin and the new pitching coach he brought in from Michigan this year, Sean Kenny. They’re also hitting 30 points higher and fielding 17 points better. And they’re versatile. The game Saturday was a perfect example. The Bulldogs scored 1 run via 2 bunts and 2 runs via 2 homers. “We can win a lot of different ways,” Stricklin said. And now they’ve already won 10 more games than Stricklin’s previous best season. Accordingly, there is a bunch more to play for at this point. Arkansas (37-17, 18-12 SEC) came in with a national RPI of No. 3; Georgia (37-17, 18-12) was No. 4. The victory also assured the Bulldogs of the 3 seed and a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament next week in Hoover, Ala. They’ll open Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET against an opponent to be determined. Georgia hasn’t been in this position since 2008, when it last hosted a Super Regional and was a College World Series finalist. The Bulldogs hadn’t even won an SEC Tournament game since Stricklin has been in town. Even if they don’t next week, it shouldn’t matter. The thought is that Georgia already has locked down a “super seed.” Those go to the nation’s top 8 teams. “We better be,” said Michael Curry, who hit his 10th homer of the season in the game. “I don’t know how we couldn’t be.” But even that’s not what it’s all about for these guys anymore. They’re having fun. They’re getting contributions from everybody down the lineup. They’re not just expecting it to win, but demanding it. “We knew it at the end of last year that we could win a lot more games,” said McGovern, the hulking left fielder from Willacoochee. “It’s probably a shock to everybody else but it isn’t to us.” The post Another walk-off win for drama-loving Diamond Dawgs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to a feature on DawgNation where our writers answer (or try to answer) the best questions submitted by Georgia fans. If you’d like to submit a question, please e-mail us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. Or you can tweet us at here and here. Look for the Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. DawgNation: I moved back south from Oregon, where I watched Chip Kelly revolutionize football by playing with pace. Given Georgia’s depth and the recent influx of talent at just about every position group, wouldn’t getting bodies on the field be a great way to keep that talent happy and perhaps use our newfound depth as a weapon? Both of our QBs have qualities that lend themselves to the hurry-up (Jake Fromm’s decision-making and Justin Field’s running ability) and to the extensive use of RPOs (run-pass option). We have up to five capable running backs, three elite tight ends, numerous wide receivers, a staggering number of offensive linemen and a defense that is loaded with speed and playmakers (though a little light on the defensive line). Kirby Smart seems like a coach who is wed to the complementary football learned at the foot of Nick Saban, but sometimes the best way to beat a mentor is to use what gives the mentor fits (see Cam Newton!). Is it possible that Jim Chaney and Smart might just use the hurry-up to speed up the game now that Fromm has some seasoning and we have so many mouths to feed? Smart has used the clock as a weapon by controlling it with the run game. Is he capable of using it as a weapon by speeding it up? — John McMahon Thanks for your question, John, and welcome back to the South. Your query is a good one, and timely (pun intended). I believe we’re about to see Georgia speed up its offensive operation considerably. There is a lot of evidence of this, not the least of which is Kirby Smart has said he wants to see the Bulldogs go faster. All spring, Smart also talked about that and how Georgia needs to expand its run-pass option (RPO) game. So both are stated objectives. We saw that in the G-Day game. We saw the Red and Black squads combine to run 121 plays in the annual intrasquad. That’s saying something while operating with a running clock. Georgia also threw the football — a lot. Of the 101 actual plays from scrimmage, 61 of them were passes, and that doesn’t include several in which Fields or Fromm ended up fleeing the pocket on runs. So, definitely, 61 percent is decidedly a higher rate pf passing than what we saw from Georgia last season when it passed the ball 31 percent of the time. And it shouldn’t be hard for the Bulldogs to go faster on offense than they did last season. Only Mississippi State used more clock than Georgia in the SEC. The Bulldogs averaged 33 minutes per game on offense, which was eighth in the nation (Navy was No. 1 at 36 per game). Georgia averaged 32 minutes a game in time of possession, which ranked second in the league and 19th nationally. But there might not be a stat in football more overblown than time of possession. There are so many extenuating factors that impact it. For example, Auburn is considered a spread-option, go-fast type of offensive team, but it averaged 1 minute less than Georgia and finished fourth in the SEC in time of possession at 31 minutes a game. Conversely, Saban’s Alabama team, which you referenced as utilizing a complementary style of play on offense, actually was 70th in the country in time of possession. The Tide averaged only 29 minutes in 2017 and have been going notably faster on offense since losing to Clemson in the 2016 national title game. So going faster is the general trend in college football, and I think that includes Georgia. Whether it’s Fromm or Fields under center, I believe the Bulldogs are well-suited to do that. Fromm set many regional passing and scoring records while commanding a fast-break offense at Houston County (Warner Robins, Ga.) in high school. Same for Fields, who had the run-pass option on virtually every play while operating out of the shotgun at Harrison High (Kennesaw, Ga.) before coming to Georgia. So look for the Bulldogs to utilize that style of play more in 2018. But for the forseeable future at least, Georgia will always be a run-based offense and look first to advance the football by that means. That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs can’t go fast when they want to. You can go fast and still hand off the football. I anticipate Georgia to reflect an overall trend, which is doing whatever is necessary in a given game. Like the game of basketball, college football teams increasingly use pace — that means turning it up or slowing it down — to their advantage. But especially early in games, pretty much everybody is looking to go faster these days. Count Georgia among those teams. Have a question for DawgNation reporters Chip Towers and Jeff Sentell? Email us at ugaquestionoftheday@gmail.com. The post Will Georgia speed it up on offense in 2018? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Andy Johnson will be laid to rest after a weekend service at Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens. The graveside service is set for 3:30 Sunday afternoon. Johnson died earlier this week at the age of 65. He was a star quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs in the early 1970s. He went on to play as a running back for the NFL’s New England Patriots. From UGA…   Born Oct. 18, 1952, in Athens Johnson was an All-American quarterback on an Athens High team that was state-champions in class AAA. He also was All-Region in basketball, baseball, and a sprinter on the track team. Johnson was drafted by the Atlanta Braves as a shortstop but decided to continue his education at the University of Georgia on a football scholarship. Johnson was the starting quarterback on the Bulldog freshman squad in 1970, setting the total offense record of 1,078 yards in five games. In 1971, his sophomore season, Johnson became the varsity's starting signal caller and led the Bulldogs to an 11-1 campaign which included a 7-3 victory over North Carolina in the Gator Bowl. During that season, Johnson set the SEC sophomore rushing record and was second in the conference in rushing. He set the SEC record for touchdowns scored rushing by a sophomore with 13. Football News named him the nation's most outstanding sophomore player and the Jacksonville Journal awarded him the SEC's outstanding sophomore player trophy. Johnson was plagued by injuries throughout his junior season but still managed to be the Bulldogs third leading rusher and second leading passer in the 7-4 season. In his senior season, Johnson was second on the team in rushing, led the team in passing, and commanded the Bulldogs to a 7-4-1 record with a 17-16 victory over Maryland in the Peach Bowl. After his three year tenure was complete, Johnson captured the SEC record for the most yards rushing by a quarterback with 1,799. While at Georgia, Johnson also competed on the Bulldogs baseball team for three years, compiling a .281 career average. Johnson was drafted in the fifth round by the New England Patriots of the NFL. Johnson played for the Patriots for nine seasons before signing with the Boston Breakers of the USFL in 1983. He was inducted into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.He is survived by his wife Charlotte (Chot) and children, Kristy, Brent and Brooke. Visitation is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, from 3-5 p.m. at Bernstein Funeral Home in Athens. A graveside service will be held Sunday, May 20, at 3:30 p.m. at the Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens.
  • The last time Georgia basketball made the NCAA Tournament four out of five years was … well, it’s never happened. Outside of a memorable Final Four run in 1983, the Bulldogs have been mostly irrelevant on the hardwood, and they’ve never come close to that type of consistency. That could be changing, though, according to The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie. “[Given] the resources Georgia has — just as a university in general — I think the expectation should be NCAA Tournament four out of every five years,” Vecenie told DawgNation this week. “Maybe you miss one here and there, because in this day and age teams miss NCAA tournaments. It happens, unless you’re a Duke or North Carolina.” New coaching hire Tom Crean is a “very good basketball coach” who is “really smart,” per Vecenie. His year off from coaching “maybe mellowed him out a little bit,” which could be a sign — fingers crossed, Georgia fans — that he’s ready to step into the ranks of the elite. Crean put together several strong teams at Marquette and Indiana (including a Final Four appearance with Dwyane Wade and the Golden Eagles in 2003), and will likely stand to benefit from a change of recruiting scenery … as well as the University of Georgia’s deep pockets. “I’d say there’s no reason why this program couldn’t be at least a second-tier SEC program,” Vecenie said. “Say you get beyond Kentucky. You get beyond Florida. Georgia should be right there, in my opinion, just because of what they have in terms of a recruiting base, what they have in terms of university resources.” RELATED: Tom Crean to fans: ‘You come, we’ll win’ Georgia’s status as a championship-contending football school might actually help the basketball program, not hinder it. Vecenie pointed to schools such as Florida and Ohio State that parlayed mid-2000s gridiron success into boosts on the hardwood. “It should be a school that is constantly competing for NCAA Tournament berths,” Vecenie said. “That at one point, should probably have — once every three years, once every two years — a top-3 finish in the SEC. And should be in a pretty good position as a program, in terms of consistency, that hasn’t been there in the past.” He pointed out that returning players such as William Jackson and Rayshaun Hammonds will give Crean a solid starting point. “There are some really, really talented guys on this roster that I think could help Georgia,” Vecenie said. “But we’ll see what Crean can do on the recruiting trail, because I think that’s ultimately where the results of his tenure will lie. How successful can he be recruiting in the South with who he’s filled out as a coaching staff?” As far as what fans can expect to see at the arena later this year, Vecenie said Crean is a “really, really crisp offensive coach” who likes to keep the floor spaced and pressure opposing defenses with a fast-paced approach. “Given some of the athletes he’ll be able to find in the Georgia area, I think you should expect him to try and push the tempo a little more than he did late in his career at Indiana,” Vecenie said. “Defense is gonna be where he needs to find an answer, because late in his Indiana tenure is where they really struggled on defense. And that’s obviously something that Mark Fox and the Georgia program — over the last few years, at least — really tried to hang their hat on. “It’s gonna be a totally different feel and vibe for the Georgia program.” RELATED: NBA draft analyst says ‘we’ll hear from Yante’ The post Tom Crean bringing ‘totally different feel and vibe’ to Georgia basketball appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — I didn’t know Andy Johnson personally, or at least not in the way one can honestly say he knows somebody. But I did know him and interacted with him several times over the years. I will have lived in Athens 34 years this fall and you could not have lived in this town and not known who Andy Johnson was. I knew Johnson mainly as a distinguished UGA football letterman and pillar of the community. That’s the uniform in which I would see him, at community and philanthropic events. And, of course, he was always at Georgia games, not just football games, but baseball games, basketball games, tennis matches, you name it. Unfortunately I never got to see Johnson play football, and that’s where a lot of folks will tell you I really missed out. He played for the Bulldogs when barely any games were on TV and before I made Saturday treks to Athens with my family. But those who saw him play say he unquestionably should be included in any conversation about greatest athletes to wear the UGA uniform. Upon learning of Johnson’s death Tuesday after a long illness, I called Ray Goff. Goff informed me that Chuck Fairbanks, who coached Johnson with the New England Patriots, once told him that Johnson was the greatest athlete he’d ever coached, in the NFL or at Oklahoma. “I know he was the best I ever saw,” said Goff, a UGA freshman when Johnson was a senior. “He could do anything. He was good at basketball, baseball, you name it. But I’d never seen anything like him in football.” Goff, you might recall, was pretty good at football himself. But he started out as the third-string quarterback behind Johnson, who ran Georgia’s veer offense to near perfection. As a sophomore in 1971, Johnson led the Bulldogs in rushing, passing and scoring as they flew through a season that saw them lose one measly game all year, Auburn in Athens. That was the one in which Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley went berserk with the forward pass and won 35-20. Otherwise, the Bulldogs went through that season unscathed. Oddly enough, Georgia never rose higher than No. 6 in the polls of the day. The Dogs had to settle for a Gator Bowl bid, where they beat North Carolina 7-3 to finish 11-1. It was the greatest season under Vince Dooley to date. “We thought we were going to take off from there,” recalls Loran Smith, UGA’s intrepid sideline reporter and resident historian. “But things kind of went south the next couple of years. We just couldn’t keep it going. But it wasn’t because of Andy.” Johnson was drafted in baseball — he hit .281 in three seasons with the Diamond Dawgs — but he chose to return for his senior season in football. He left Georgia with the SEC record for career yards rushing by a quarterback (1,799). Johnson was drafted in the fifth round as a running back and played eight seasons with the Patriots in the NFL and one in the USFL. He retired with 3,914 total yards and 22 touchdowns — and with an NFL pension. After football, Johnson immediately returned to Athens, where he was born and became a sports legend. In 1969, he famously led Athens High to the state championship game against Valdosta. They played to a 26-all tie in what’s remembered as one greatest title games ever. Back in Athens, Johnson founded a life insurance company and did well in business. But he never acted like a legend or played it up in any way. He was quiet, almost introverted, and always credited others for his success. Seemingly every comment on his passing Tuesday included the word “humble.” Details aren’t important, but Johnson had been very sick for a long time. He hadn’t been out and about in Athens for a few years. News began to circulate late in the morning Tuesday that he’d finally succumbed at age 65 to a disease he battled for 10 years. Johnson is survived by his wife, Charlotte, who everybody called “Chot”, and three grown children: Kristy, Brent and Brooke. Visitation is scheduled for Saturday at Bernstein Funeral Home in Athens and a graveside service will be held Sunday at Oconee Hill Cemetery. It’s fitting Johnson will be laid to rest in those rolling hills right next to Sanford Stadium. The post Andy Johnson should be included in any discussion about Georgia’s greatest athletes appeared first on DawgNation.