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Looking to build off last year’s winning season

The Franklin High School Panthers men's varsity soccer team will kick off the season Monday, Aug. 19, with a game against the Murphy Bulldogs at the home field at Macon Middle School.

Led by coach Ken Neitz, the team will look to carry momentum from last year when it ended its season with a 12-11 record.

“I don't know if we're going to have a better year because you really never know how your opponents are going to play, but I can say that I think we have a very talented team,” said Neitz.

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Tony Stewart’s accident might affect outside racing.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - The third time may have been the charm for Kyle Busch, but it was a jinx for pole winner Marcos Ambrose.

Having surrendered the lead late in the last two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International, Busch reversed the trend Sunday in winning the Cheez-It 355 at the 2.45- mile road course by .486 seconds over runner-up Brad Keselowski.

Ambrose had the race in hand, having led 51 of the first 61 laps, until an inopportune caution in the middle of a pit stop cycle dropped him back to 12th for a restart on Lap 64 of 90. Busch grabbed the lead when Ambrose came to pit road under yellow on Lap 62 and held it the rest of the way.

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The Macon County Soccer Club U16 Panthers battled through to the finals of the Summer Starter Tournament in Pinehurst in mid-May, playing against some of the top club and academy teams in the state. The Panthers took the first game against GUSA White, 6- 2, on goals from Kevin Ruffner, Kyle Knopp, and two each from Arthur Garcia and Riggy Hernandez. The second game of the day finished in a 2- 2 tie, with goals by Hernandez and Knopp, which advanced the Panthers to the semi-final on the following day, based on cumulative points. In that game, the Panthers faced the Castely Soccer Academy Eagles, a strong squad of all-stars from Charlotte.

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The Franklin Panthers will have 10 returning offensive players this season, a statistic that likely helped the football team gain the number one spot in the pre-season rankings for theWestern North Carolina Athletic Conference. That and the fact that Marquel Manning, the pre-season player of the year according to Western North Carolina coaches, will be at the tailback position.

Manning, along with the other nine starters returning on offense and six on defense, are pegged to put up strong numbers throughout the season, but the star running back is the one that coaches are watching closely this year.

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