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Lee scores 5 TDs in win over Forrest

Rashodd Hadley with the tackle.The BCHS Wildcat varsity football team will be returning to the post season playoffs for the first time in Coach Ryan Sulkowski’s tenure at the helm after their 48-28 win over Forrest on October 25. The Cats rode a touchdown-filled performance from running back Falon Lee, who amassed 142 yards rushing and five touchdowns that night to tie the school record.

Whether the Cats will enter the playoffs as district champions or runners-up will be determined on Friday when they travel to Jacksonville to meet last year’s district champion Bishop Kenny. The Crusaders trounced Terry Parker 41-0 behind four Ahmad Fullwood touchdowns.

There was a lot on the line for the coach and the team as the Cats got off the bus at Forrest High on Thursday. BCHS and its fans relished a trip to the state playoffs, but to do it they would have to defeat a resurgent Forrest Rebel squad that was also looking at securing a playoff slot.

As the game opened it appeared the Rebels left their intensity in the locker room. For the first ten minutes it looked as if the game was going to be a run away for Baker County as the Cats score three times in quick succession.

Lee showed his intent to have a big game early on, running for a 30-yard touchdown in the game’s opening series to put BCHS up 6-0 when the point-after failed.

The second score came quickly as quarterback Corey Lawler marched the team down the field in the second possession and hit Drew Rogers for a 14-yard scoring pass. Lawler ran in the conversion attempt and just like that BCHS held a 14-0 lead.

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Teen zombies takeover historic jail

History Club students prepare for opening night of the Haunted Jail October 26.Zombies and inmates infected by the flesh-eating monsters took over the historic jail on McIver Street in Macclenny for three nights recently, capping the run on Halloween.

The annual Haunted Jail fund raiser benefits the Baker County Historical Society and the Baker High History Club. Club sponsor Mark Hartley said the goal was to raise $3000 during the event, half for the society and half for the club.

This year’s Haunted Jail featured both floors at the old jail — upstairs are the zombies and downstairs their maligned offspring, the inmates — for the first time.

Mr. Hartley said attendance on the first two nights were about average, but he expected many more for Halloween.

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‘Rollercoaster’ sheriff poll

Among the many kernels of wisdom fed to young journalists is this — don’t become the story.

As the theory goes, when members of the media go from being the ones gathering the news to the people in the news, they inevitably lose their objective perspective because they are now inside the fish bowl instead of outside. And as such, they can no longer be trusted with a story about themselves.

This week — thanks to complaints about our online poll, how our poll functions and the general hysteria that accompanies all elections, and worsens as the election nears — The Press came close to becoming the story.

I don’t mean in the literal sense that would imply there was a chance that other news organizations (or us for that matter) would be reporting on what we do here from our Macclenny office. But rather in the sense that our actions caused what could be described as “news.”

Let me explain.

As you can see on the front page, this week’s online poll shows that incumbent Democrat Joey Dobson led his Republican challenger Cameron Coward 55 percent to 43.8 percent, with 1.2 percent of respondents indicating they were undecided about who they’re supporting for sheriff.

As of press time, the poll tallied 685 votes. Admittedly, three of the undecided votes were cast by yours truly while testing the poll’s settings early this week. Over the weekend, we received complaints via our Facebook page about people not being able to cast votes.

“I’ve had four friends call me saying they can’t vote … They said the site says, ‘You have already voted.’ Is this poll rigged?!” wrote George Doran, a supporter of Mr. Coward’s.

That comment was followed by this one from Kathleen Johnson: “I tried to vote and couldn’t … gawd … please don’t tell me our local paper is rigged!”

The poll was certainly not rigged to favor either candidate.

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Early voting in full swing here through Saturday

Voters exit the Supervisor of Elections off after voting early October 30.Elections officials reported a surge in early voting on Monday and Tuesday, roughly one week before the 2012 general election.

Carol Ruise of Supervisor of Elections Nita Crawford’s office said they saw more than 700 voters on October 29.

“It was a madhouse,” she said.

The following day foot traffic remained steady outside the office nestled between N. 5th and 6th Streets and around the corner from the Baker County Republican headquarters.

Supporters for sheriff candidates Joey Dobson and Cameron Coward occupied opposite sides of N. 6th waiving signs early this week as well.

One early voter, Carol Baker of Glen St. Mary, said she’s been casting early ballots since it became an option in 2004.

“I like to get it done and out of the way because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Ms. Baker. “It’s a great service.”

Yolanda Reed of Macclenny voted early for the first time this year to avoid long lines at the polls on election day November 6, which could be longer this year given the lengthy list of state constitutional amendments included on the ballot.

As of late Tuesday, after nearly four days of early voting, 2285 ballots had been cast, 911 from Democrats and 1213 from Republicans. That’s about 16 percent of all registered voters here. Early voting ends Saturday.

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