Saturday, November 18, 2017


Warriors continue their state championship quest

Jacob Saylors (#8) gains some of his 200-plus yards against Trousdale.

When the Warriors were sitting on a record of 3-5 after being declared the heir apparent in preseason polls for a shot at the state championship, many had decided it was a lost cause. Thanks to their win in the second round of the state playoffs, the Warriors of Marion County High School now sit at a 7-5 record and a ticket to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.

Sampson bursts through the line.

Warrior running back Jacob Saylors played the game like he had something to prove. He succeeded with the added benefit of carrying the dreams of the Purple Nation fans on his back. With over 230 yards on 22 carries, Saylors took on the vast majority of the ground game for the Warriors. Brett Nelson would post a respectable 80 yards running and Seth McClain and Jax Rollins would also gain positive yardage for the Tribe.

Kane Hale would followup Saylors’ initial score at the 10:03 mark in the first with a reception and an inspired run after. Hale would literally drag the defender into the end zone with him in order to post the score that helped the Warriors take a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter. The Yellow Jackets would come back with a touchdown of their own but failed to execute the point after thanks to an MCHS block, which left the Warrior lead 14-6. Saylors would glide in for another touchdown before the halftime break to go up 20-6.

One constant throughout the game was the Jackets

Seth McClain (#30) earns some hard fought yards up the middle against the Yellow Jackets.

dominated in a statistic you don’t want to lead in: turnovers. With six Jacket turnovers, the Warriors would’ve had to work pretty hard to have lost the game. The Warrior defense had some remarkable plays scattered throughout the game. Brett Nelson and Jacob Saylors would, in addtion to their offensive merit during the matchup, would also both take an interception from the Jacket offense. The Warriors together posted 410 total offensive compared to the Jackets’ 305 yards.

Isaiah Sampson earns rushing yardage.

Warriors quarterback, Isaiah Sampson would once again post yard of his own at 40 yards including a rushing TD. As the Warriors look forward to their quarterfinals matchup against division foe Tyner Academy (who defeated Watertown 33-22 in order to face the Warriors) The 37-28 loss the Warriors suffered at the hands of the Rams of Tyner Academy can serve as the catalyst for avenging the the loss or the albatross that forces mental mistakes by the Warriors.

The Warriors now a boast a more experienced secondary which serve them well against Tyner who has a quarterback that is prone to run. In their first matchup, the Warriors played to prevent the pass and left 6-7 yards on the table a number of times that Tyner got through the line. Today, that would be very different as the defense has had the opportunity to read the offense better and close those lanes faster.

The proof is in the pudding… or on the scoreboard.
Man on mission. Saylors looking for a hole.

South Pittsburg makes emergency police chief hire


The Board of Mayor and Commissioners of South Pittsburg convened an emergency special call meeting for the purposes of hiring a new police chief. The city has seemingly had a rotating door for the police chief position as this new hire makes the “fourth chief in three years,” as illustrated by one commissioner during the meeting.

The Board unanimously embraced the City Administrator Gene Vess’ recommendation to approve Clifford Wayne Jordan as the new top cop for the city. Vess said, “I checked with the attorney to make sure that we could do this as far as what our charter reads as far as having an emergency meeting since we do have it posted to receive applications up to November 13, we’re not in violation of any state laws, city ordinances, municipal codes, or our personnel policy. So it’s my recommendation tonight that, after interviewing…four applicants…that we hire Clifford Wayne Jordan as police chief.” Jordan is currently a police officer with the nearby Jasper Police Department which, Vess contends, makes him “familiar with the area.” Vess said that there would still be some communication yet to be had with Jasper regarding the transition, but that Jordan would accede to working out a notice with Jasper while spending his off days in South Pittsburg to begin that transition.

Vice Mayor Paul Don King acknowledged during discussion of the motion that he hoped that the chief would be supported and trusted to do the job. “I’ve been here almost three years and we’ve been through four police chiefs since I’ve been here. I don’t know if I’m the problem or we’re the problem. We need a chief that is going to come in here and run the department and I don’t know this guy personally, but we need to let him do it,” King continued, “And the five of us…need to sit back and let this guy do his job.” Mayor Virgil Holder agreed. “We should be interfering.” King went on to say, “I get calls asking ‘Why did the police do this?’ or ‘Why did the police do that?’…I say you need to ask someone other than me. But this guy right here needs to come in and run the show and we need to get back out of his way because we’ve got bigger problems we need to be addressing. So let’s see if we can’t get going in a different direction.” King went further saying, “I don’t think we’re better than we were two years ago when I came on here. The police department is low…we’re just in worse shape than we were two or three years ago and it falls back to the five of us.”

SPPD woes continue as new allegations surface


Officials with both the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office have acknowledged that there was an incident late Friday, October 27 or early Saturday, October 28 that has resulted in an investigation into the behavior of at least one South Pittsburg Police Department officer.

Marion County Sheriff Bo Burnett said, “There was complaint against a police officer. I was notified Friday night. I had a detective respond and TBI was called in also.”

This is on the heals of an excessive force investigation already in the hands of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s (TBI) from an incident a few weeks ago dealing with an officer allegedly kicking a suspect in the head who was already in handcuffs. That incident was immediately followed by the demotion of SPPD Chief of Police Ryan Meeks due to “low morale” of the department. Morale seems less and less likely a consideration as the department continues to be on the receiving end of serious complaints.

Whereas details are stilll coming forward, the allegation stems from a female that was transported by the police department earlier in the evening from a Halloween-themed party. The female was allegedly taken from the party for public intoxication. The decision was made to take the woman to her residence in lieu of arrest. Later, a separate officer was reported coming to the female’s residence and the female “came out and jumped in the back of the patrol car.” The second officer allegedly then took the female on a personal tour inside of municipal building or buildings. Upon returning the female to her residence, the female’s father allegedly indicated that the female had been sexually assaulted by the second officer. The female was then brought to Parkridge West by the father where there was no disclosure of what medical care was administered.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine reported late Sunday morning, after a Marion County News inquiry regarding an investigation, said via email, “We have no information or confirmation to provide as the District Attorney General has not requested we open an investigation.” All local indicators are that DA Mike Taylor has now asked for an investigation.

Of course, Marion County News will continue to monitor the story.

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.

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.