BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – The search and wait is now over. Fannin County High School has found its new head football coach.
After an announcement came earlier this year that the Rebels head football coach Jim Pavao would be leaving Fannin County to pursue an offer from Coffee County, the search for Fannin County’s next head coach was underway.
Pavao accepted a position with Coffee County as special teams coordinator and will also be focusing on coaching defensive linebackers.
Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney confirmed today that Fannin County had found its new head football coach, Chad Cheatham. Cheatham was officially announced as a school system teaching hire yesterday at a special called Board of Education meeting.
Fannin County High School Principal Erik Cioffi spoke with FetchYourNews about the hiring process. Out of 27 applicants, nine sat with Fannin County School System staff for a first-round interview.
Two of the nine first-round interviewees were called back for a final interview. Cioffi, along with current Athletic Director Dr. Scott Ramsey, David Henson, who will be taking Ramsey’s place as new athletic director for school year 2018-19, and Fannin County High School Assistant Principal Theresa Dillard conducted the final interviews and ultimately decided Cheatham would make a great fit.
“We really enjoyed his enthusiasm and his commitment,” Cioffi said, explaining the decision.
Cioffi added, “He has the energy level and excitement that we were looking to bring to the program.”
Cheatham is no stranger to Fannin County. Having strong ties to our area, Cheatham was a Fannin County High School graduate of 1991.
“Everything just worked out and the timing was right for him (Cheatham) to come back to this area,” Cioffi spoke of Cheatham’s connections with Fannin County.
Cheatham will be leaving Banks County after being named head coach of the Leopards late last year. Cheatham had worked with the Leopards as an assistant coach to the defensive backs prior to the off-season hire decision that made him head coach.
Some of Cheatham’s previous coaching experiences include serving as a head middle school football coach, head track coach, and several coordinator positions at the varsity level. Coaching the Rebels will be Cheatham’s first on-field experience as a varsity head football coach.
Cheatham is expected to be in Fannin County next week to meet with Fannin County High School players and staff.
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This past Wednesday, Fannin County High School seniors Austin Brown and Cody Jacobs signed letters of intent to play college football.
Austin Brown signed to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, to fill their spot for wide receiver. Cody Jacobs signed to Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio, to fill their void for a tight end
When asking head coach for the Rebels, James Pavao, about Brown, he responded, “Austin has done a great job for us as defensive back and a little bit of wide receiver, but he is going to get the opportunity to play full time wide receiver there at Cornell College. He is excited about that and so are we. It’s a high academic school which is great. Anytime we send a guy to college is great but when it is a really high academic school, it makes you really proud. He is going to get to play football and get a top notch education which is the main idea.”
“Cody has really grown as an individual and we are really proud of him. He is the third athlete we have had sign to Mount St. Joseph because we have really developed a good relationship with them and he is helping it to grow. Last year, it was Cooper Earls, then it was his brother Cole Earls who signed about a month ago, and now it’s Cody. We are really excited for him and very proud,” Pavao added about athlete, Cody Jacobs.
”We are proud of both guys as well as all of our seniors. These two are exceptional young men who have the opportunity to go play football in college and they will make the most of this moment,” Pavao added about his seniors.
When asking the head coach to describe his time at Fannin County High School since this was his last week, he stated, “I’ve enjoyed all four years here. It was a good challenge but now the next challenge is ahead. I am excited and looking forward to that. I want to thank Mr.Cioffi and coach Ramsey for hiring me and putting up with me. I want to thank Ms. Dillard for keeping me straight and helping me out any time I needed it as far as my teaching responsibilities go and Mr. Danner for all the things he has done for us and the administration. I will miss those guys and I am very grateful for the opportunity that I have had here.”
This past Wednesday, a Fannin County High School football player decided to take a step to further his future by signing a letter of intent to play college football. Rebel Senior, Cole Earls, signed to Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio to be their next tight end.
Wednesday was not only to congratulate Cole, but also Luke Cowart. Cowart had signed to Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee a week prior to be their next wide receiver. All of Earl’s and Cowart’s friends and family came to support and congratulate them as they took this exciting step into their future.
“Cole played for us all four years and he was a big part of our team. Luke played with us for three years although I wish he would have played all four. I was excited when he came out to play sophomore year and he did a great job at receiver for us. I am excited for both of them to go on to college and to be able to play football. It is a great opportunity for them and one of the goals we have as a coaching staff is to expose them to opportunities like this. We didn’t have the record we wanted this year but we really saw the effort that these two put in for us. We tried to win all of the games we could and these guys put all the effort they could into these games but unfortunately we could not pull some of theses games off. The ultimate goal is to help them further their future. Football drew me to college and it forced me to do good and I know both of them would have probably gone to college without football, but the sport has opened doors to more colleges and opportunities like these and I know they will be successful. These are two very strong academic schools and they are going to get a great education. I am excited for them because I think this will really open up their future. There will be some hard days but they will battle through it, play all four years, and graduate from that school. They will have a wide open future and I’m really excited for them,” head football coach for the Rebels, James Pavao, shared about the two Rebels.
“We also have Keenan Putnam who signed with the military and we are excited to see what happens for him. I want to give him recognition because what he is doing is very important. He is putting God and our country above himself and that shows what great character he has and we couldn’t be more proud of him,” Pavao shared with the FYN sports team.
Congratulations to all three of these seniors and good luck in your future endeavors!
Word spread like wildfire Tuesday afternoon, with various sports media sources reporting that Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason has made a decision regarding his future; and all sources point to Seattle. Several sports reporters speculated on twitter last night, following the Alabama victory in the national championship game, with many mentioning the rumor mill had already begun and barring any last minute “change of heart” – Eason would be a Huskie next season. No official word has been given as of yet.
A native of Lake Stevens, Washington, it comes as no surprise that the talented quarterback would consider returning to his home state. Only 20 years old, he would be required by the NCAA to sit out the 2018 season before making an impact for the University of Washington. While at Georgia, Eason completed 55.1% of his throws for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns, with eight interceptions.
A knee sprain forced Eason to the sidelines for the Notre Dame game this season, where freshman Jake Fromm took the helm and never looked back. With Fromm’s success, Georgia will apparently lose arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC to the Pac-12.
This past Friday at the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the White County Warriors and the Pickens County Dragons traveled to Fannin County for their match up on day two of the tournament. Both teams were coming off of a loss from the first day of the tournament and ready to walk away with a win.
It was a high action and fast paced game from the start. The Dragons made the majority of their points from down low while the Warriors did most of their damage from driving the lane. Dragon post, Seth Bishop, led Pickens in scoring from the block with twenty-one points. Warrior guard, Austin Harris, led his team in scoring with twenty-four points due to his hustle. Warrior post, Austin Rowland, had the hustle on defense to make steals and contribute twelve points for his team. With the Warriors in the lead near the end of the third quarter, Pickens makes a buzzer beater shot to tie the game 17-17.
The hopes were high at the beginning of the second quarter. Both teams had the same chances of winning and were not giving up. The lead went from team to team and it became unpredictable on who would have it next. Warrior, Chandler Harris’s outside shooting came alive which put eleven points on the board for White County. Warriors, Reece Dockery and J. Ben Haynes, also had a good game above the key by each adding five points to White County’s score. The Warriors took a seven point lead over the Dragons at the end of the second quarter by making the score 29-22.
With Pickens down more than they had been the entire game, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams applied heavy defensive pressure on the other by putting a full court press into action. The press resulted in both teams getting steals and adding onto their score. At the end of the third quarter, White County doubled their lead over Pickens with a score of 47-33.
Pickens picked up the pace at the start of the fourth quarter. The Warriors start to put even more defensive pressure on the Dragons and draw fouls. Warrior, Jay Lepkoske, contributed one of his five points from the free throw line. The Warriors also started to have good looks inside which resulted in Kaleb Crane’s overall four points. Warriors, Daniel Rowland and Cooper Turner, followed the trend and each added four points onto White County’s score. However, the Warriors were not the only ones adding onto their score. The Dragons came back at the end of the fourth quarter with a score of 53-53, putting the game into overtime.
The intensity came alive at the beginning of the quarter. Both teams had four minutes to win the game. Pickens finally took the lead that they had been working for the whole game just to have the score tied once again at 63-63, putting the game into double overtime.
Four more minutes were put on the clock as both teams gave the game their all. The quarter was filled with hustle after loose balls, fouls from attempting to keep the other team from scoring, and heart. The back and forth of the game had everyone on their feet as they watched with anticipation. Although both teams played to the best of their ability, the White County Warriors had a 74-67 victory over the Pickens County Dragons.
The White County Warriors win puts their overall record at 9-4 while the Pickens County Dragons stand at 4-9. Catch the Warriors next game on January 2 at 5:45 as they travel to take on North Cobb Christian!
Although Drake Green isn’t listed on the Fannin Rebels’ MaxPreps roster, this senior lineman is certainly one who isn’t overlooked on the field. Green has protected the pocket from the edge of the offensive line all season long, and on the defensive side of the ball his height has offered an advantage to disrupt opponents’ passing attacks. Green played possibly his best game of the season Friday night when the Rebels hosted the East Hall Vikings and Fannin County High School. Congratulations to senior Drake Green, best wishes for the rest of your senior school year.
Moments of greatness: If one were to summarize the Fannin Rebels’ 2017 football season, the highlight reel would be short – but spectacular. The Rebels, who finished last in Region 7 (AAA) this season, played hard and if we could shut the lights of the scoreboard off; we would see a team of resilient young men who wore their jerseys with pride and refused to quit.
Unfortunately, the scoreboard acts as a report card, and with the exception of two blowout victories; the Rebels were unable to pull it all together and produce the dominant victories for which the program is remembered.
Friday night’s home game would be the last for the senior class of 2018 – many of whom leave some large cleats to fill for the underclassmen. Rather than give you the typical play-by-play rundown, here is a basic summary of the play of the seniors in Friday night’s matchup:
Senior Cody Jacobs carried the ball like a juggernaut, determined to get the running game going for the first time in weeks.
Senior linemen Bradley Flowers and Keenan Putnam took turns shoving Viking facemasks to the turf. When the play was over, they helped them to their feet so they could do it again.
Austin Brown hit ’em high, Cole Earls hit ’em low, and Brett Galloway just hit ’em as hard as he could… like he has throughout his entire football career. Dawson King hauled in the impossible catches, Chandler Smith threw the impossible passes, and Jonah Henry just did everything he could to get his hands on the football to help.
Ethan Smith continued to fight a nagging leg injury, while Sam Mercer and Ben Collins kept the team focused on the game and what they all came to do. Clay Holloway made sure the Vikings remembered his number.
Bailey White tried to cover his number so the offense would actually throw the ball in his direction. Luke Cowart covered his number, too, with his arms wrapped around the football. Jacob Hood showed his versatility, and the Fannin County coaches showed patience and resolve.
It takes a special athlete to take a beating and keep coming at your opponent. It also takes a special coach to take the responsibility of basically turning our boys into men, building their character from the early morning hours through the hot-humid afternoons of summer workouts, and handling criticism with the same poise and professionalism they’ve instilled in the very athletes they train.
East Hall defeated Fannin County by a final score of 47-27 Friday night, but the lesson trumps the loss. If the Rebels live their lives with the same ambition, attitude and persistence they gave on the field this season; we can expect they will be champions at life.
The Mountain Football League playoffs have finally reached their final destination for 2017: Super Bowl Saturday. This weekend, several of North Georgia’s finest young athletes will meet on the gridiron at Fannin County High School, battling to take home the league’s top honor of Super Bowl Champions.
Here are the results from last weekend’s final round of the playoffs:
6U: Fannin defeated Gilmer 22-0. Will play East Hall in the Super Bowl. East Hall defeated Chestatee 34-0.
7U: Fannin defeated Dawson 32-0. Will play Gilmer in Super Bowl. Gilmer defeated Pickens 46-0.
8U: Union defeated Fannin 20-0. Will play Chestatee in Super Bowl. Chestatee defeated Gilmer 25-19.
9U: Chestatee defeated West Hall 34-8. Will play Pickens in Super Bowl. Pickens defeated Dawson 26-0.
10U: Fannin defeated Gilmer 29-0. Will play Dawson in Super Bowl. Dawson defeated Union 12-0.
11U: Chestatee defeated Fannin 20-7. Will play Gilmer in Super Bowl. Gilmer defeated Dawson 7-6.
Follow us on Twitter @teamfynsports next weekend (or on Facebook) as we will have complete Super Bowl coverage from the sidelines on Saturday.
Updated Game Times:
6u Super Bowl
East Hall vs Fannin 10Am
7U Super Bowl
Fannin vs Gilmer 1145Am
8U Super Bowl
Union vs Chestatee 1:30pm
9U Super Bowl
Chestatee vs Pickens 3:15Pm
10U Super Bowl
Dawson vs Fannin 5pm
11U Super Bowl
Gilmer vs Chestatee 6:45 Pm