Saturday, November 18, 2017


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South Pittsburg takes commanding win over Lookout Valley 56-0

Sawyer Kelley proved to be consistent while he played in clocking great numbers rushing.

The South Pittsburg Pirates football program looks to wrap up their regular season with a

Ronto Tipton peeks behind him to make sure he has clear sailing to the end zone.

rare Thursday night game and is poised to finish the season in style if the first half is any indicator. Despite losing the services of one of their key players in Cade Kennemore, the Pirates appears to be hitting on all cylinders. With Brayden Sanders at quarterback, the Pirates were able to strike twice inside of the first half of the first quarter.

Senior Sawyer Kelley enjoyed celebrating his Senior Night with a long touchdown. The Yellowjackets just weren’t able to gain any traction on the night. Facing the mercy rule before the end of the first half, the Jackets were trailing 42-0 at halftime.

The Pirates took the field with purpose for their 56-0 victory to close their regular season 10-0

All that shimmers was not gold for the Pirates as they amassed 8 penalties for 95 yards by the end of the third quarter including having two touchdowns called back because of yellow flags. Even after the Pirates put in an all-freshman offensive backfield, the talent pool of the Pirates was obvious as the Jackets were unable to find a way to move the ball down the field. The Jackets were able early in the fourth to finally make a stop and force a loss of possession by the Pirates and were able to gain a couple of first downs on the possession, but the Pirates put a stop to that progress with an interception at

Curtavian Whisnant carries for the Pirates.

the 5:25 mark in the 4th quarter. The Pirates, already up 56-0, attempted to run out the clock with taking knees with the mercy rule helping them run off the clock.



Marion County Warriors get another road win in Loudon 53-38

The Warriors bust through to take the field...and take the field they did!

Marion County High School took a sizable commute to Loudon High School, just south of

Brett Nelson comes out of the line of scrimmage with room to run.

Knoxville, last Friday and came away with a win. With a determination that was powerful and palatable, the Warriors took care of business on both sides of the ball with a couple of mental mistakes, but nothing insurmountable. The game started out looking like there wasn’t going to be a lot of scoring as the first blood on the scoreboard wasn’t spilled until less than five minutes remained in the the first quarter as Jacob Saylors would find the end zone and help lift the Warriors to a 7-0 lead.

Seth McClain (#30) sprints up the middle of the field while Jacob Saylors (#8) protects from the rundown from behind.

The momentum looked to be going decidedly the Warriors’ way when they were able to stop Loudon on the ensuing kickoff at their own 10 yard line. Loudon would issue a wake up call in the drive breaking out for a fifty yard gain and two minutes after Marion got a touchdown, Loudon did the same. It seemed led the offenses were off to the races after that as the first quarter expired with a 14-13 Loudon lead. By halftime, Loudon held a 21-19 lead with a flurry of penalties called against the Warriors. Upon the Loudon team getting called their first penalty late in the second quarter, the Loudon coach violently argued with the referee. No additional penalties were called despite the regulations being clear on sideline protocol.

Marion County emerged from the halftime break with a renewed focus. The Warriors

Jax Rollins (#37) helps clear a path for Jacob Saylors (#8) for the gain.

defense seemed to get stronger throughout the second half while Loudon succumbed to attrition. The Warrior defensive line would stand Loudon at a first and goal and force a field goal and hold two fourth and short to give the offense the ball. Both times the Warriors were able to capitalize on the turnovers. The frustration of the Loudon team started to show as the penalties accumulated for false starts and holding throughout the third and fourth quarter. The player(s) of the game however were definitively the defensive line as they played with a grit rarely seen. A hearty and well deserved congratulations to the Warriors who have pulled the self up to a record of 4-5 overall and a 2-1 regional record. The record becomes very important as Marion County looks to host fellow region member Polk County, who will be bringing a 4-5 overall and a 2-1 regional record. The teams will be fighting for the number two ranking in the Division I, Double A, Region 3 rankings for the post season. Tyner Academy is out of reach for both teams with a 4-0 regional record, they are assured of the first round bye in the post season.

Suspect in South Pittsburg shooting apprehended


Michael Godsby who has been alluding capture since being named a suspect in the October 3 shooting of Zachary Cantrell. Cantrell was treated at a Chattanooga hospital and released suffering two gun shots. Initially hesitant to point out the assailant, the victim reportedly would acknowledge Godsby as the shooter later.

Since being treated, the victim posted a vulgarity-enhanced post to social media three days after the shooting indicating that “Y’all done [messed] up cause I’m still breathing.”

Godsby was booked in the Marion County jail Thursday night on charges of Possession of a firearm while committing a felony, felon in possession of a firearm, felony reckless endangerment, criminal attempt to commit first degree murder, violation of probation (circuit court) and aggravated domestic assault.

No preliminary court date was assigned according to booking information at the time of this report. We will continue to follow the story.

Charges against WHS players dropped in Marion County juvenile court


Two football players that had already been expelled from Whitwell High School, pending their Disciplinary Hearing Committee (DHC) appeal hearing through the school district, have received some good news today as all charges were dropped in Marion County juvenile court today. The incident in question alleged that the the two struck another player in the back with a belt. Unconfirmed reports show that the DHC had already dramatically reduced the initial expulsion to the point that both were expected to play the last game of the regular season plus whatever post season the Tigers earned.

The litigation supersedes the school’s judgement and both students are expected back in school as early as tomorrow. The players will not be cleared to play in tonight’s game against Cannon County at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, but all indications are they will be eligible to play the final season game at home against Sale Creek High School.

Marion County News will continue to follow the story.

Details scarce; body found at Marion County Park


This morning, local authorities discovered a body at the Marion County Park on the Nickajack Lake. At this point, foul play is not suspected and the identity is being held pending family notification.

South Pittsburg demotes Chief of Police under cloud of secrecy

Stock Photo Marion County News Brenda Roth and Ryan Meeks

The South Pittsburg Board of Mayor and Commissioners acted on a recommendation by City Administrator Gene Vess to demote Chief of Police Ryan Meeks to night sergeant. The board acquiesced to Vess’ recommendation unanimously. When pressed later in the meeting, Vess stated that personnel decisions required consultation with the city attorney before a public statement was made.

During the inquiry, the city attorney, Billy Gouger, acknowledged that he was unaware of the circumstances leading to the vote. Mayor Virgil Holder said that he, too, was not fully aware of the circumstances leading to the vote. This despite voting to demote Meeks.

Lieutenant Brenda Roth was made acting Chief of Police pending the city posting and receiving applications for a new chief. Roth stated unequivocally that she did not want the position in a conversation subsequent to the meeting.

We’ll continue to follow up on the story as facts become available.


South Pittsburg High School homecoming parade 2017

Not sure what these two were up to, but I would say the Pirate does not approve. Principal Tim Bible drive the Grand Marshal Tommy Jordan to head up the caravan.
A Funeral for a Friend…or foe… class spirit was surprisingly high for the somber occasion of the demise of the schools’ previous foes.

Marsha Blackburn announces seeking Corker’s senate seat


Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, currently serving the 7th district which includes a huge swath of middle Tennessee has announced that she will be running for Senator Bob Corker’s senate seat. Corker recently announced that he would not be seeking reelection in 2018.

Blackburn will likely enjoy more name recognition and base party support than the other announced Republican candidates: perennial candidate Larry Crim and, Tennessee Americans for Prosperity Director, Andy Ogles. Both Ogles and Crim announced they would be seeking the senate prior to Corker’s announcement that he would not be seeking reelection. Given candidates cannot formally pick up their paperwork to run until January 5, 2018, there is still plenty of room for the field to change.

Blackburn echoed complaints from the Republican party rank and file in her announcement video posted this morning. The failure to overturn Obamacare was described as “a disgrace.” Blackburn highlights the Republican cornerstones as a advocate for lower taxes, government spending constraints, concealed carry permit, and adding the national anthem as sacred enough to stand for.

Below is the transcript of Blackburn’s announcement:

“The United States Senate…it’s totally dysfunctional and it’s enough to drive you nuts. And that’s why I’ve decided to do something about it. I’m Marsha Blackburn. I’m a hardcore, card carrying Tennessee conservative. I’m politically incorrect, and proud of it. So let me just say it like it is: The fact that our Republican majority in the U.S. Senate can’t overturn ObamaCare, or will not overturn ObamaCare…it’s a disgrace. Too many Senate Republicans act like Democrats, or worse. And that’s what we have to change. Here in Tennessee, I fought my own party to stop a massive, job killing, state income tax. And we stopped it. We won. I know the left calls me a wing-nut, or a knuckle dragging conservative. And you know what? I say that’s all right, bring it on. I’m 100% pro-life. I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts. Thank God. I shoot skeet, I have a concealed carry permit for the gun that I do pack in my purse. I believe our government spends too much, grows too much, and is bankrupting our children’s future. I believe in President Trump’s immigration ban and I’ll fight with him every step of the way to build that wall. I stand for hundreds of millions of honest Americans who work hard and they play by the rules. And I stand for the greatest country in the world has ever know. I stand when the President walks into the room. And yes, I stand when I hear the Star-Spangled Banner. A great Tennessean who wasn’t so politically correct himself once said, “One man with courage makes the majority.” Well, courage comes in both genders and I’m running for the U.S. Senate because I’ll fight every day to make our Republican majority act like one. Too much is at stake. America needs a conservative revolution, and leaders who are willing to fight in it. I’m Marsha Blackburn. That’s why I’m running for the U.S. Senate, and I would be honored to have your vote.”

South Pittsburg shooting results in arrest warrant

Arrest warrant issued for Michael Godsby. Godsby is a suspect in the October 3 shooting.

The investigation into a shooting that occurred October 3 in South Pittsburg, TN has resulted in the the South Pittsburg Police Department pursuing an arrest warrant for Michael Godsby. Initially reported to be a person of interest in the investigation, SPPD Police Chief Ryan Meeks has confirmed that the department is in the process of getting an arrest warrant issued on Godsby.

The shooting victim, Zachary Cantrell, was transported by ambulance October 3 to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. Official reports showed the victim being shot twice. After initial care at Erlanger, there was was dispute as to the cooperation with local law enforcement and the medical facility in the collection of evidence. Chief Meeks indicated that discrepancy was resolved. “We’re working well with the people at Erlanger. I think there may have been some initial confusion as to what was being requested by the department, but everything is resolved now,” Meeks said. Marion County News was following up on reports that the the removal of potential evidence from the victim may have been withheld despite SPPD’s request. Since then, it has been learned that a 9 millimeter handgun was used in the shooting.

Meeks praised the assistance of the Kimball Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) for their assistance in response to the initial call last Tuesday night. “Given we’re a county made up of small police departments, cooperation between departments is paramount. We just can’t thank those agencies enough for their help,” Meeks said.


South Pittsburg shooting investigation faces a slow down


A shooting that took place on the 200 block of Birch Avenue in South Pittsburg on October 3 at 10:20 pm continues to be investigated by multiple agencies today. South Pittsburg Police Department Chief of Police Ryan Meeks confirmed the shooting victim as Zachary Cantrell. Meeks said, “The victim was shoot twice. Once in the back and once in the hand.”

Initially, in response to 9-1-1 calls, Life Force was dispatched, but the victim was transported to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. The condition of the victim was not immediately available. A call to the patient information line had no current patient by the name of Zachary Cantrell listed this morning.

Jennifer Tittswell, with the Erlanger Medical Center Public Relations Department, reaffirmed that because of HIPPA restrictions, there could be no information disseminated other than if there was patient by that name.

Meeks indicated that at the scene, the victim was unwilling or unable to point to his assailant. Reports later surfaced that Cantrell fingered Michael Godsby as the shooter while at the hospital. Meeks has been attempting to confirm whether the bullets were removed from the victim. Meeks said that the bullets, once removed from the body, become the property of the medical center’s security or police department. Meeks said efforts to have the evidence released to the SPPD had been unsuccessful offering the caveat that he wasn’t even 100% sure the evidence had been removed from the victim’s body. Meeks was planning to travel to the medical center to expedite the process.

As of 9:40 am on October 4, no arrests have been made in the case.

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