In the afternoon prior to Fannin County’s game against the Union County Panthers last Friday, the sun was shining if you looked to the northern end of the field you could see Old Glory gently waving behind a comfortable breeze. Fast-forward 45 minutes and winter had come, with fans bundled up so tight in their cold-weather gear it looked like a bunch of white-walkers from the tv series Game of Thrones were entering the stands.
It was cold.
You know what else was cold? Cole Wright, senior quarterback for the Union Panthers and college-commit for West Point. Ice cold.
The Fannin Rebels’ defense had no answer for Wright, as he picked the secondary apart with precision-passing and took advantage of soft coverage when it presented itself, by eating up yardage with his feet.
Friday night’s game was the first game since the opening minute-and-a-half against Greater Atlanta Christian where we actually saw him play at 100% health. A serious foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of that loss, then restricted him in losses against Dawson, East Hall and North Hall.
The Rebels found themselves down 10-0 early, as their offense struggled to run the football and by the time senior quarterback Chandler Smith was given an opportunity to pass, the Union defense was ready for it and covered up his receivers. The Fannin coaches began rotating running backs to maximize use of their depth, and senior defensive back Jonah Henry was the first Rebel to carry the ball to paydirt for Fannin. The PAT by Sarah Sosebee was good (as always), and Fannin trailed 10-7.
It took Cole Wright less than 2-minutes to march back down the field and he carried the ball across the goal line himself for the next touchdown, Union regaining their 10-point lead, 17-7.
Determined to run the football, Fannin employed a strategy we had not seen all season from the Rebels, putting two running backs in the backfield. Senior tailback Cody Jacobs took a couple of direct snaps and cut between the tackles, stunning the Panthers. Henry lined up in the tailback position and ran the ball as well. However, on a 4th-and-2 play in their own territory and only 3:44 remaining in the half, the defense keyed on the backs and tackled Jacobs behind the line of scrimmage for a turnover on downs.
Another two minutes passed, and another touchdown pass by Cole Wright put the Panthers up 24-7 with 1:22 remaining in the half. Unable to get down field with such a short period of time, Fannin would take the locker room trailing by 17.
The third quarter was a defensive battle, neither team willing to give ground to their opponents. On the first play of the 4th quarter, however, Wright hit Hemphill (#4) with a 60-yard pass to put the Panthers up 31-7.
The Rebels continued to play hard, despite trailing by 24 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the game, and eventually their hard work paid off with another touchdown for Fannin.
It appeared as though the final score would be 31-14, but with 38 seconds remaining senior Cole Dockery of the Union Panthers took the ball 62-yards for the final blow, resulting in the 37-14 final.
Union County travels to take on the Lumpkin Indians this week, while Fannin County prepares for senior night as they host East Hall. East Hall suffered a shocking loss last week against North Hall, dropping them to fourth in Region 7 (AAA).
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm.
Stats were not yet available for this game.