Temperatures were above normal across Georgia in March. Rainfall was highly variable, from a very wet month in Atlanta to dry conditions in southeastern Georgia.In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 55.8 degrees F (1.5 degrees above normal), in Athens 54.7 degrees (1.2 degrees above normal), Columbus 60.3 degrees (2.7 degrees above normal), Macon 57.5 degrees (1.3 degrees above normal), Savannah 60.9 degrees (1.6 degrees above normal), Brunswick 64.2 degrees (3.8 degrees above normal), Alma 61.5 degrees (0.3 degree above normal), Valdosta 63.5 degrees (3.7 degrees above normal) and Augusta 57.8 degrees (2 degrees above normal). High temperaturesRecord daily high temperatures were set at Alma March 19 and March 22, with new maximum temperatures of 90 degrees and 88 degrees, respectively. These beat the old records of 88 degrees set in 1963 and 86 degrees set in 1991. Brunswick set record-high temperatures March 22, 23, 24 and 27. Augusta set a new record of 90 degrees March 19, breaking the old record of 84 set on that day in 1997. Columbus and Savannah also tied record daily highs during the month.The warm conditions caused earlier-than-normal greening of vegetation across the state, according to the National Weather Service. This leads to increased use of soil moisture by thirsty plants and reductions in runoff to the effect of leaf cover.Abundant rain and a few forest firesPrecipitation in March varied quite a bit. The wettest areas were in the northern and western regions. The driest area was the southeastern corner of the state, where five counties reported forest fires associated with the lack of rainfall and severe drought conditions.The highest monthly total precipitation from National Weather Service reporting stations was 9.06 inches in Atlanta (3.68 inches above normal). The lowest was in Brunswick at 1.73 inches (2.20 inches below normal). Valdosta received 5.50 inches (0.07 inch above normal), Athens 6.65 inches (1.66 inches above normal), Alma 4.57 inches (0.23 inch below normal), Columbus 5.30 inches (0.45 inch below normal), Macon 4.03 inches (0.87 inch below normal), Savannah 4.44 inches (0.80 inch above normal) and Augusta 5.01 inches (0.53 inch above normal). This was the ninth wettest March in Atlanta since records began at the airport in 1940.Columbus reported a new daily rainfall record of 1.44 inches March 9, breaking the old record of 1.43 inches set that date in 1978. Alma reported a new record of 2.19 inches March 30, breaking the old record of 1.98 inches set that date in 1991.Dillard gets most daily rainfallThe highest single-day rainfall from Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 4.44 inches north-northwest of Dillard in Rabun County March 6. Two observers in Rabun Gap nearby reported 4.37 and 4.19 inches on the same day. An observer on Tybee Island observed 4.18 inches March 28. The highest monthly total of 15.81 inches was measured by the Dillard observer who also had the highest daily rainfall. Thirty other CoCoRaHS observers in Georgia reported 10 or more inches of total precipitation this month. Severe weather was reported on seven days in March. A weak tornado was reported March 9 near Doerun in Colquitt County. Hail was observed in northern Georgia March 19. Strong winds and small hail were reported on several other days in scattered locations across Georgia.A couple of tornadoes and a huge hailstoneThe biggest outbreak of severe weather came March 26-27. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center had 8 reports of EF0 and EF1 tornadoes across Georgia, including one that crossed Lake Blackshear in Sumter County and one that was observed at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Houston County. During the outbreak, large, damaging hail was reported in many locations, including a 4.25-inch hailstone reported in Coweta County, a record hailstone for Georgia in March. Despite concerns about potential frost damage due to early blooming of fruit trees and scattered frost reports in northern Georgia this month, no significant losses have been reported this year so far. However, the danger of killing frost, particularly in northern Georgia, continues well into April.
ELLSWORTH — A night over six decades in the making at Ellsworth High School had the potential for a historic outcome. On the field, the Eagles turned that potential into reality.For fans of the Ellsworth/Sumner football team, a new opportunity was in the air. The Eagles had spent five seasons ineligible for the Class D North playoffs after going 56 seasons without a team, but this particular night, which fell on Week 8 of the team’s first season of eligibility, had the feeling of a special evening from the start.Hundreds gathered on the hill beside Harold “Tug” White Stadium as the Ellsworth/Sumner Eagles took the field for the final game of the regular season. This was a chance to open a new chapter in the city’s sporting annals, and everybody from casual fans to the coaches, players and volunteers who had helped to grow the Ellsworth Football League saw a dream realized.Ellsworth/Sumner made history Friday night by posting a 48-12 win over Washington Academy to secure its first playoff berth. The win gave the Eagles a three-game winning streak to end the regular season and marked the greatest achievement for a program that was dormant for more than a half-century before its revival in 2012.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder text“I can’t even explain what this means to this team and this city,” head coach Duane Crawford said. “To think of where we came from — not even having a team — and to get here, it says so much about what we’ve done and the people who’ve helped us get here.”Washington Academy started the game off with a three-and-out, and Ellsworth/Sumner took over in the red zone after recovering a botched snap on the Raiders’ punt attempt. Two plays later, the Eagles took a 6-0 lead when Charlie Hughes ran the ball in from 10 yards out for the opening score.After two big runs from Javon Williams on the ensuing drive, Ellsworth/Sumner extended the lead to 14-0 with a 2-yard dash from Connor Crawford and a 2-point conversion catch by Hughes with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left in the first quarter. The Eagles then blocked a punt and capitalized six plays later when Crawford threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Williams less than two minutes later.Ellsworth/Sumner’s Connor Crawford dashes toward the goal line for a touchdown during the second half of a high school football game against Washington Academy on Oct. 20 in Ellsworth. Crawford accounted for five total touchdowns in the team’s 48-12 win. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELL“The biggest thing [on offense] is having that space in the pocket and in the backfield, and our offensive line was giving me that,” Crawford said. “Our coaches called a great game, and my teammates put me in a great position to make things happen.”The Eagles went up 28-0 after another touchdown pass with 6:27 left before Washington Academy got on the board with an 80-yard touchdown pass on the next play from scrimmage. The teams then traded touchdowns again, and Ellsworth/Sumner went into halftime with a 35-12 lead.In the second half, Ellsworth/Sumner scored two touchdowns in the opening six minutes to send the game into running time. From that point on, there was no stopping a celebration the Eagles’ head coach once thought might never come.“When we started this program, I don’t think any of us thought we would make it to this point,” Duane Crawford said. “We’ve had a lot of long seasons and a lot of hard work, and it’s nice to see it finally pay off for us.”Since the Ellsworth Football League began in 2008, the organization has had to rely on a much different approach than that used by others around the state. The team’s volunteer structure exists from the youth teams to the high school team, which is the only one in Maine to operate on that basis.“These folks put in hundreds of hours per season just to make this happen,” Crawford said. “Between them, the families who work so hard to make this team succeed with team dinners and the kids who’ve played for us at every grade level, it’s been great to see how much this sport has grown in this town since we started this up nine years ago.”Connor Crawford led Ellsworth/Sumner with 210 rushing yards on 20 carries, and Hughes added to the ground attack with 81 yards and a touchdown. Damian Carter had six solo tackles and two assisted tackles on defense, and Andrew Brown played through the flu to record two solo tackles, four assisted tackles, a forced fumble and a blocked punt.Once both teams had shaken hands, the Eagles met at midfield for a team meeting. Speaking first was assistant coach Toog McKay, who helped bring the football team back to town with the help of Duane Crawford and Tug White.“Enjoy it this weekend, but remember one thing: This is only the first step,” McKay told his players. “There’s no reason we can’t go further.”The Eagles took his message to heart, but the first order of business was celebrating the most important win they’ve ever had.“Olé, olé, olé, olé!” the Ellsworth/Sumner players chanted. In a city where boys’ soccer has dominated the high school athletics scene for years, the age-old Spanish fútbol hymn has been echoed before. This night, though, belonged to the team playing the American code of the sport.The players eventually dispersed to head back to the bench, and Duane Crawford gave everybody from his assistants to each of the players a congratulatory message. There was one, though, that he saved for last.“Connor, come here!” Duane Crawford shouted as he ran over to hug his son. The head coach had spent years of hard work building the Ellsworth/Sumner program from scratch, and it was Connor’s performance at both quarterback and running back that sent the Eagles to their first playoff game. That game will be on the road against Dexter (4-4) at noon next Saturday, Oct. 28.“When you stay the course and have kids, parents and volunteers who buy in to what you’re doing, you can go anywhere,” Duane Crawford said. “It was a process, but when you work hard and believe, this is what it gets you.” Bio Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Latest Posts