Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson was the guest speaker Monday night at the Jefferson County fall sports banquet.
Johnson flew into the airport at Louisville, Ga., mingled with the crowd, signed autographs and then gave a speech. His night wasn't done. He then hopped back on a plane that would take him to a recruit's house for an in-home visit.
At Jefferson County, Johnson has successfully recruited players in consecutive years: defensive lineman Chris Crenshaw last year and athlete B.J. Bostic this year. Bostic has already enrolled at Georgia Tech and is participating in offseason workouts.
Johnson encouraged the Warriors students -- football and softball players, cross country runner and cheerleaders -- to remain committed to whatever goals they set.
"What you put into something is what you're going to get out," said Johnson, who grew up in a town of fewer than 1,000 people in the North Carolina mountains and made $25 a week at his first coaching gig. "Nothing is out of reach if you put your heart in soul into it. ... All sorts of people told me I couldn't succeed, but I didn't listen because I was committed to making it happen."
Johnson, who just completed his second year in Atlanta, assessed the state of his program before the banquet.
"You're always trying to build, and I think we've laid a good foundation," he said. "We're off to a great start and just have to continue to do the little things to make the program win. We're looking forward to the future."
ONLINE EXTRA: Read more from Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson's visit to Jefferson County at blogs.augusta.com.
BULLDOGS MAKE A MOVE: The Butler girls basketball team had a special number this weekend: 54. That's the number of points it scored in two significant Region 3-AAAA victories, over Glenn Hills and Josey.
The Bulldogs, who have lost just once in the region, are two games clear of the rest of the region with three weeks to play. Even if Butler loses another game would be the top seed heading into the region tournament at Richmond Academy. The Bulldogs' two toughest remaining games are a week from today against Hephzibah and Feb. 6 against Lakeside.
Glenn Hills, Hephzibah and Lakeside all have three region losses.
SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS: This week is an important one for the area's top swimming and diving teams.
The CSRA championship is tonight at Augusta Aquatics Center on Damascus Road. The Columbia County championship is two days later at the same location.
Tonight's meet begins with the diving competition at 6. The Lakeside boys and girls are the defending champions.
ALSTON TO HOWARD: North Augusta football defensive back Cam Alston has changed his commitment from Presbyterian to Howard University in Washington.
Alston (6-0, 180) is one of five Yellow Jackets who plan to sign with Division-I Football Champiosnhip Series schools Feb. 3.
TONIGHT'S BIG GAMES
Josey at Evans, 6:30 p.m.: It's a battle for second place in Region 3-AAAA, behind unbeaten defending champion Richmond Academy. Josey has won seven in a row and beat Evans by five points earlier in the season.
Augusta Prep at Westminster, 6:30 p.m.: Rivals meet two weeks before the Region 4-AAA tournament at Pinewood Christian. The boys game will follow.
Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or email@example.com
STATISTICS DUE EVERY WEDNESDAY
Individual player statistics are due at 4 p.m. Wednesday, no exceptions.
The Augusta Chronicle will publish a listing of area leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots. Area leaders will be listed in averages per game in all applicable categories.
Nominations for area player of the week for both boys and girls are also due at this time. Please include any applicable statistics to support the nomination. The weekly statistics and area players of the week will run each Friday.
Stats can be sent via fax to (706) 823-3408 or sent by e-mail to Prep Sports Writer Matt Middleton at matt.middleton@augusta chronicle.com. Please call (706) 823-3425 with any questions.