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Despite sluggish start, Cats top rival Bradford

Rashodd Hadley on the tackle.It wasn’t pretty. Rivalry games often aren’t. But after a shaky start the Wildcats got what they wanted, a 20-12 win over the Bradford Tornadoes on November 9.

Bradford brought the house to Macclenny’s Memorial Stadium and for long periods of time the Wildcats looked listless. But some turnovers at key moments and strong defensive play up front paved the way for the Cats to finish the season with an 8-2 record.

This Friday, the Wildcats host the Creekside Knights (4-6) in the opening round of the playoffs at 7:30 pm. District runner-up Bishop Kenny travels to Ponte Vedra and provided that they come out on top versus the Knights, BCHS will face the winner of that game.

It is the first playoff game since 2009 and if the Wildcats were looking ahead a bit it is understandable. But for the Tornadoes, who with district losses to South Sumter and Mt. Dora were knocked out of post-season play, this was their playoff game.

The Tornadoes came out fired up. For much of the first half they seemed to want the game more and it showed on the field. The Wildcats struggled as the Tornadoes’ sophomore quarterback Jacob Luke moved the ball around.

The Tornadoes got on the board first at the end of the first quarter, capitalizing on a fumble in Wildcat territory. Luke found Marco Grimsby at the Wildcat 10 and big running back Lyndall Hampton ran it in from the 1-yard line. The PAT was no good but the visitors held a 6-0 lead at the start of the second period.

The Wildcats came back with a big play that was the highlight of the game. Falon Lee exploded with a 69-yard touchdown run. He broke containment, got a good block from Mike Boone and outraced the Tornado defenders for the score. Jacob Carter converted on the PAT to put the Wildcats ahead to stay.

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Vets praise MES students for patriotic program

Students Noah Ray, Ian Doyle, Trey Dugger, Connor Altman, Colby Hapgood and Easton Stevens recreate the iconic image of US Marines planting a flag after the Battle of Iwo Jima.Second and third graders at Macclenny Elementary saluted veterans with a 45-minute program the morning of November 9 featuring patriotic songs and re-enactments of iconic moments in American history.

The event was a first for Dwayne Norman, one of many current and retired service men and women in the audience.

The medically retired Navy veteran’s daughter attends the north Macclenny school. “It was a great program,” said Mr. Norman. “It meant a lot to me and a lot of other people; more than words can say.”

Third graders packed the stage and flanked both sides, occasionally mounting a stage set up in front of the crowd to perform historic scenes like the Marines raising the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Second graders, meanwhile, sat with the audience and helped sing along to tunes, including God Bless America by Lee Greenwood, the show’s finale.

“I always teach the second graders the music, because it makes the sound fill the room, but I cannot fit that many kids on the stage,” said Macclenny Elementary music teacher Kinita Bishop, who orchestrated the program. “It gives them something to look forward to next year.”

Also in the audience was Clay Green of Macclenny, who’s spent the last 19 years in the Air Force and visits the school each year for the veterans program.

He said this year’s show — with students acting out scenes that also included first responders on 9-11 and the Fallen Soldier combat memorial — was “the greatest one yet.”

“It was awesome,” he said while holding his 4-year-old daughter Carlie in his arms.

After he and other vets in the cafeteria were asked to stand in recognition, the students, led by Tiffany Thomas, not only sang the words to You Are Our Heroes, they signed them, too.

“The students practiced singing and memorizing music in music class only, which is 25 minutes every six school days,” explained Ms. Bishop, who tutors students in other subjects as well.

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WES tributes veterans with songs, poems

Westside Elementary School students sing patriotic songs.A throng of students at Westside Elementary paid tribute to veterans with a host of songs and poems performed under blue skies and sunshine on the Glen St. Mary campus the morning and afternoon of November 9.

Dozens of people, some of them veterans, gathered at the school to watch the performances, one at 10 am and another at 1 pm, and both led by Westside faculty.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office presented colors to begin the 30-minute program.

Nathan L. Baker of Glen dies at 80

Nathan L. Baker, 80, of Glen St. Mary died Monday, November 5, at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville following an extended illness. He was born in Chipley, FL and lived in Tampa and Baldwin before moving to Glen St. Mary in 1967. He was the son of the late George H. and Rosie Belle Womble Baker and the widower of Pansy B. Baker. He was a refrigeration mechanic with Fruit Growers Express in Baldwin for over 27 years until retirement.

Mr. Baker was a member of the First Baptist Church of Macclenny, an Air Force veteran of the Korean Conflict and a former volunteer with the Baldwin Fire Department who enjoyed wood working, flying model airplanes and visiting craft shows.

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