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Local Roundup: Chartered bus to Portal game
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    There will be a chartered bus to take Portal fans to Macon to cheer on the Panthers in their Final Four appearance Wednesday against Hancock Central. The bus will depart from PHS at 3 p.m. The cost is $25 per person and includes a game ticket. For more information or to reserve a seat, call (912) 687-6194.

SEB girls track wins three-team meet
    BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch girls track team racked up 80 points to beat South Effingham (47) and  Savannah Christian (34) Monday.
    First place winners for the Yellow Jackets were: Sarah Herndon (shot put, discus),  Jordan McKeehan (high jump), Alesha Mercer (400m), Candace McElveen (pole vault) and Alesha Mercer (200m).
    Second-place finishers for SEB include: Sarah Burgess (3200m), Candace McElveen (triple jump), Alesha Mercer (long jump), Rebekah Harville (high jump), the 4 x 100m relay team of Jerika Budgett, Teia McCollum, Asha Rawls and Alesha Mercer, Victoria Bowen (pole vault), Jerika Budgett (100m), Candace Pierce (100m hurdles), Asha Rawls (800m), Jerika Budgett (200m) and the 4 x 400m relay team of Paige Fanning, Jamie Bohannon, Sarah Burgess and Jerika Budgett.

WJMS girls soccer wins shootout
    The William James girls soccer team outscored Screven County Middle 3-2 in a shootout for a 4-3 win Monday. Molly Couch, Sara Brown, Tori Thompson and Elizabeth Henderson each scored a goal for WJMS (1-1). William James plays Langston Chapel Friday.

Lady Eagle tennis wins again
    The Georgia Southern women’s tennis team earned its third consecutive victory, defeating Tennessee Tech 6-1 Monday at the Hanner Tennis Complex.
    The Eagles (6-4, 1-0 SoCon) improved their home record to 4-1 and have now had two three-match winning streaks this season. Tennessee Tech falls to 2-8.
    GSU took the early advantage, winning the doubles point by claiming two of the three doubles matches. The freshmen duo of Ali Beavers and Melanie Rolle notched their ninth consecutive victory ousting Diana Woodcock and Kay Nagim 8-5. They improved their overall doubles dual record to 9-1.         Jessica Matlosz and Emma Knight remain undefeated (5-0) downing Tennessee Tech’s pair of Katie Barnhill and Evgenia Yartseva by an 8-3 decision.
    In singles action, senior Kelli Helms recorded her first victory of the season upending Yartseva in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 from the No. 6 position. GSU sophomore Kristi Kegerreis was victorious at the No. 1 slot defeating Kelly Holtzhauen 7-5, 6-3.
    “I really believe that things are finally beginning to gel,” said GSU coach Amy Bonner. “We have to keep working hard, but the team is starting to work well as a unit. Kelli (Helms) displayed a lot of leadership today and I’m proud of how Kristi (Kegerreis) continued to fight.”
    Georgia Southern returns to action Wednesday as they host Hampton. The match is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

Braves renew Francoeur’s contract
    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — The Atlanta Braves renewed outfielder Jeff Francoeur’s contract for the second year in a row Monday after failing to agree on terms.
    With less than three full years in the big leagues, Francoeur is not eligible for arbitration until 2009. The Braves have always taken a hard line in negotiations with players who lack that bargaining chip, and they made no exception for one of the team’s most popular players.
    Terms of the new deal were not immediately available, but Francoeur likely will make about $450,000 this year. He was paid $427,500 last season after the Braves renewed his deal in similar fashion; he went on to bat .293 with 19 homers and 105 RBIs.
    Francoeur, who grew up in suburban Atlanta, had no hard feelings about the renewal, and there’s still a chance the two sides will come to terms on a long-term deal before the end of spring training.
    The Braves made such a deal last spring with Brian McCann, signing the All-Star catcher to a $26.8 million, six-year contract before he was eligible for arbitration.
    In other moves, the Braves agreed to one-year deals with catcher Brayan Pena, first baseman Scott Thorman and pitchers Peter Moylan, Jeff Bennett and Anthony Lerew. They now have their entire 40-man roster under contract for 2008.

Richt likes work of Stafford, King
    ATHENS (AP) — Georgia coach Mark Richt praised the passing of quarterback Matthew Stafford and the running of tailback Caleb King in Monday’s opening day of spring practice.
    Stafford, a junior, is a returning starter while King is the top backup to Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2007.
    King, a top signee last year, sat out as a redshirt last season.
    ‘‘He looked good today,’’ Richt said of King, before adding ‘‘It’s just shorts.’’
    Stafford completed 55.4 percent of his passes for 2,348 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He said he hopes to improve his completion percentage this year.
    ‘‘If he throws it like he did today every day, his percentage will go up,’’ Richt said.
    Georgia, which finished No. 2 in the nation following an 11-2 finish last season, is expected to be ranked near the top of the preseason polls.
    Richt said he doesn’t think the national championship talk was the reason players were excited for the first of 15 spring practices.
    ‘‘I don’t know if it’s the national championship, it’s that they look around and see we’ve good a chance to be pretty good if everybody does what they’re supposed to do,’’ Richt said.

Roethlisberger signs 8-year extension
    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger signed an eight-year extension worth $102 million with the Pittsburgh Steelers that makes him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players.
    The deal includes more than $36 million guaranteed, and keeps Roethlisberger with the Steelers through 2015.
    ‘‘Ben has been an outstanding leader on the field for the Steelers since his rookie year and we are very happy to know that he will be our quarterback for many years to come,’’ Steelers president Art Rooney II said Monday in a statement.
    Roethlisberger turned 26 on Sunday and said the contract was a great birthday present.
    ‘‘This is about being a Pittsburgh Steeler for as long as I can be. I love Pittsburgh,’’ Roethlisberger said. He said he ‘‘wanted to be like the Dan Marinos, like the John Elways, guys who played with one team their whole career.’’
    The Pro Bowl quarterback led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory two years ago and has been the starter in all four of seasons he’s been with the team.
    Roethlisberger threw 32 touchdown passes with only 11 interceptions in leading the Steelers to the playoffs this season, bouncing back from an injury-marred season.
    He was hurt in a serious motorcycle accident in the 2006 offseason, then underwent an appendectomy. Although he started 15 games, his play was subpar. He threw 23 interceptions, three more than he had thrown in his first two seasons, and Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs.
    This season, he led the Steelers to a 10-6 record and the AFC North title before they were eliminated by Jacksonville in the playoffs.
    Roethlisberger was the third quarterback taken in the ’04 draft, behind Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, and the 11th choice overall. He started 13 games his rookie season and was voted offensive rookie of the year, the first quarterback to win the award since it was first given in 1957. The next year he led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory.

Pats bring back Moss for another try at title
    BOSTON (AP) — Randy Moss is staying with the New England Patriots.
    The defending AFC champions re-signed the record-breaking receiver on Monday to a three-year deal worth $27 million, his agent said. The signing was confirmed by the team shortly after Moss posted a message to fans on his Web site.
    ‘‘I want to take time out to thank all of the fans for their support and for wishing me well in my return to New England,’’ quotes him as saying. ‘‘I’m ready to get back. We have some unfinished business to take care of.’’
    Moss’ agent, Tim DiPiero, said the deal included guarantees of $15 million, including a $12 million signing bonus to the receiver who set an NFL record with 23 touchdown catches and helped the Patriots reach the Super Bowl in his first season with the team.
    ‘‘Randy was serious about wanting to stay,’’ DiPiero wrote in an e-mail. ‘‘Because of Randy’s record-breaking year, the interest in him was very high. Randy took less than he could have to rejoin his teammates.’’
    Pairing Moss with NFL MVP Tom Brady, who broke the league record with 50 touchdown passes, the Patriots breezed through the regular season with a perfect 16-0 record.