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Farmer's and Merchant's Bank Athlete of the Week: Joseph Sparks
FMB AOTW: DeAnn Lewis
Joseph Sparks is a senior running back at David Emanuel Academy. Sparks ran for 216 yards, had 41 yards receiving, scored two TD, had 10 tackles, one sack and an interception in DEA’s 46-41 win over Nathanael Greene.

    Joseph Sparks had never beaten Nathanael Greene Academy in his high school career.
    Last Friday he did everything in his power to make sure a fourth loss to the Patriots was out of the question.
    Sparks, a senior at David Emanuel Academy, ran for 216 yards on 20 carries. He then caught two passes for 41 yards. He scored a touchdown both ways, and he was just getting started.
    “He’s one of our go-to guys,” said DEA head coach James Ferry. “Between him and our quarterback, those are the guys we look to to lead our team on both sides of the ball.”
    Sparks also plays linebacker for the Eagles. He registered 10 tackles in the 46-41 win over NGA, had a sack and one interception.
    But it was on DEA’s final drive that Sparks was at his best. Alongside quarterback Brandon Blunt, Sparks and the Eagles drove 79 yards in 61⁄2 minutes to beat NGA and improve to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in GISA’s Region 1-A.
    Sparks is 6-foot, 185 pounds and maintains a 3.2 GPA.
    “He’s an ottspoken kid,” Ferry added. “He gets (the team) where they need to be and he backs it up.”
    Sparks is one of seven seniors for the Eagles, who will continue their push for the playoffs this Friday against Thomas Jefferson Academy.

DeAnn Lewis
    Senior Southeast Bulloch shortstop DeAnn Lewis has one more shot at making a run at the state championship, and in the State Sectionals on Friday and Saturday, she showed her teammates exactly how bad she wanted it.
    As the leadoff hitter for the Lady Yellow Jackets, it is Lewis’ job to get on base. Batting .480 on the season, she has done just that.
    She went 4-for-9 in the sectionals, and crossed the plate twice, once on teammate Ashley Clifton’s home run.
    Lewis played centerfield during most of her career, but moved to shortstop midway through her senior season.
    At the plate, Lewis has had trouble with changeups, but that was solved in the second-round game against Brantley County, a 1-0 win for the Jackets.
    “That’s always been one of my big problems — hitting the changeup,” said Lewis. “I was able to slow my bat speed down. The first pitch she threw, I was way out in front of it. The next one she threw, I was able to pull around and get a base hit off of it.”
    Lewis and the Jackets take on Rutland in the first round of the Class AA State Finals Thursday at 2 p.m.