This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats traveled to take on the Lady Rebels. The Lady Bobcats were coming from a win on day one of the tournament while the Lady Rebels were well rested from the bye game that was scheduled on the first day. Both teams came ready to play and were hungry for another win.
It appeared to be an even matchup from the start. Gilmer had the hustle on defense while Fannin had the determination on offense. The Lady Rebels seemed to score the majority of their points off plays. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points with her will to win. The Lady Bobcats made most of their points from driving the lane and playing in the moment. Lady Bobcat, Mallory Kiser, led her team in scoring with nine points due to her grit. Lady Rebel post, Mackenzie McClure, was on fire with her outside shots which put her right behind Stepp in scoring with ten points. Lady Bobcat guard, Taylor Boling, was behind Kiser in scoring with seven points overall. With the first quarter coming to an end, the Lady Rebels were just one point ahead of the Lady Bobcats with a score of 13-12.
The second quarter was back and forth. Neither team could keep a consistent lead for the eight minutes on the clock. The Lady Rebels started to play scrappy on defense and began rebounding. Lady Rebel, Bailey Whitener, got aggressive down low and contributed three points for her team. Another Lady Rebel, Maddie Johnson, got after it and scored five points after getting steals on defense. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, who also put five points on the board for her team. Number twenty-four for the Lady Bobcats, Emma Callihan, put her all into the game and contributed four points for Gilmer. With Fannin in the lead halfway through the quarter, Lady cat Michaela Staley drew a foul and made two of her foul shots. Staley’s two points tied up the game. Gilmer continued to score and further their lead until the end of the second quarter. It was the Lady Rebels ball as the clock was winding down and Reagan Henderson happened to be wide open. Henderson received a beautiful pass down low which resulted in her making a buzzer beater shot and contributing two of her overall three points to tie the game 23-23.
With both teams having the same chances of winning, Fannin found their spunk. The Lady Rebels started to draw fouls from driving the lane. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, drew two fouls from the block and contributed two of her four points from the foul line. However, Fannin was not the only team to draw fouls. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, drew a foul and put one point on the board for Gilmer. As Fannin’s lead extended, Gilmer came alive on the block. Lady Bobcat, Faith Ralston, scored two of her three points from down low. Another post for Gilmer, Jasmine Staley, contributed two points for the Lady Bobcats from under the basket. Gilmer’s lead strayed farther from Fannin’s which resulted in the score being 31-25 at the end of the third quarter.
With Gilmer down by only six points, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams wanted to win and it showed through their hustle and intensity. With Gilmer trying their best to catch up to Fannin, the Lady Rebels tried just as hard to keep their lead. Although both teams had the heart to win the game, one had to lose. The Lady Bobcats played an amazing game, but were five points away from victory. The Lady Rebels 38-33 win over the Lady Bobcats put Fannin in the championship game to be played the next day against the Lady Dragons.
The Lady Rebels win puts their overall record at 7-6 while the Lady Bobcats record also stands at 7-6. Catch the Lady Rebels next region game at Fannin County High School on January 5 against GAC starting at 7:00! Or catch the Lady Bobcats next region game on the same day and at the same time as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!
On Friday, Dec 15, The Fannin County Lady Rebels hosted the Towns County Indians and looking to bounce back after a tough loss the night prior at Dawson County. They also suffered a similar loss on the road earlier in the week at North Hall (Gainesville).
“The snow days definitely affected our girls’ conditioning and focus,” said Fannin Lady Rebels’ head coach Suzianne Pass when asked about the 53-27 North Hall loss. “We didn’t play our best and when you’re playing a team like [North Hall] you have to be at your very best.”
Just one week before falling to North Hall, the Lady Rebels opened region play against rival Union County. The Lady Panthers were able to escape Fannin County High School with a 2-point victory, giving Fannin their first loss in region play. After falling to North Hall and then Dawson County, the season that started so well has begun to take a turn in the wrong direction.
“Dawson County was probably the best team we’ve faced all year,” Suzianne Pass answered when asked about their tough schedule. “Pickens (who was undefeated at the time of our interview) was really good, too, though; and so was North Hall.”
Pickens, North Hall, Dawson County and Union have a combined record of 20-6, with two of those losses coming from favorites to win the state championship in their respective classes.
As the Lady Rebels prepared to regroup this week, coach Pass shed light on some of the positives coming out of their strength of schedule.
“Our girls have come a long way this season,” Pass shared. “They’re beginning to understand the role they each play on the court. I’ve had some heart-to-heart conversations and they know what they have to do. They want to do it.”
As far as the depth chart goes, there was optimism in that area as well.
“We just got one of our experienced players back from injury, and we’ve been waiting on one of our girls who hurt herself early in the year. She should be back soon, hopefully the first of the year.”
When Towns County came to Fannin, the Lady Rebels were motivated and hungry for a win. Towns County showed great tenacity and played hard, but the Rebels would not be denied.
The Lady Rebels led 25-12 at halftime, 44-24 at the end of the third. They would maintain the 20 point lead they held over the Lady Indians as they went on to score a huge victory 53-33.
Hope Franklin led the Lady Rebels offense with 15 points in the game, due mostly to her ability to get in the paint and pull rebounds out of the air at will. Franklin was an unstoppable force under the bucket.
If Franklin was Batman, Makenzie McClure would have to be Robin.
McClure shared Franklin’s desire for rebounds and the two worked better together than peanut butter and jelly. All jokes aside, McClure had a great game, scoring 9 points in the win and earning some big praise from the head coach.
“Makenzie is playing better and better, game after game this year,” Pass told TeamFYNSports. “Maleah Stepp played really well, too, and she hit a big 3 [point basket] in the first quarter when Towns was playing us pretty close.
Stepp finished with 9 points in the win as well.
Maddie Johnson, who could be seen streaking from one end of the floor to the other, was the key ball handler for the Lady Rebels. She took the point and set up the offense and pushed the ball up and down the floor at an urgent, but controlled pace throughout the game. She scored only 3 points offensively, but her performance outweighs the scorebook 10-to-1.
The Lady Rebels (5-4, 0-3) head to White County (7-4, 0-1) and then return to the road Friday afternoon to play Hayesville (NC) before breaking for the Christmas holiday.
“I looked at the schedule this week and thought, why did I schedule us two away games right before Christmas?” Pass said with a chuckle. She went on to explain the fear of her girls’ conditioning and the upcoming Holiday tournament.
“They’re in great shape this time of year but if they were to take this whole week off they would have a tough time playing a three day tournament next week.”
TeamFYNSports looks forward to continuing to cover the Fannin County Lady Rebels as their season progresses. Follow us on twitter @TeamFYNSports and on facebook at www.facebook.com/teamfynsports for all of your local North Georgia sports coverage.
This week’s #TeamFYNSports Sportswriter Player of the Week for Fannin County is #36 Jonah Henry. Henry recorded 6 tackles in the Rebels’ Homecoming game against Lumpkin. He assisted on 4 additional tackles, he had one tackle for a loss and he had one pass broken up. Henry has been a consistent part of the defensive secondary this season, as well as an asset on special teams and occasionally from the tailback position when the offensive personnel needed a break. The Rebels travel to Union County this week for the Panthers’ senior night, kickoff scheduled for 7:30pm.
You can’t beat Friday night football in North Georgia on Friday night. You can try, but it’s tough to beat. The atmosphere is amazing, with bleachers filled from end zone to end zone. The temperature is perfect, cooling as the sun sets shortly after the National Anthem and coin toss. The attitude of the players is unique, as the eyes of each individual athlete tell a different story from his… or even HER… point of view on the field. There’s only one thing better than playing a football game on Friday night:
Winning a football game on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Fannin County Rebels, they have been unable to do so since region play began. They beat Andrews, NC 26-0 on September 15th,
but then lost to North Hall (13-0), Greater Atlanta Christian (55-7), Dawson County (43-3) and now Lumpkin County (10-0) this past Friday night.
Make no mistake, they’ve tried. Head Coach Jim Pavao has given his team credit at the end of each game for giving a solid effort in each loss. The players have taken the field each week with a do-or-die mentality, and every coach has actively worked with their skill positions before, during and after the game.
Friday night’s loss against Lumpkin came as a shock to many, but Fannin County defensive coordinator Adam Turner warned BKP on last week’s #Rebel Wrap-up broadcast that the Indians were no push-over. Lumpkin hadn’t won a game all season, but their losses haven’t exactly been blow-outs. In fact, they put up 32 points of offense against Chestatee, a 4A school that runs a very similar offense to the Indians. Chestatee went on to win by 8-points, but that game alone was proof throughout the season that Lumpkin could play the game.
So what happened Friday night at Fannin County High School?
The answer: ridiculously efficient clock-management by the Indians in one of the slowest football games of the year. Early in the first quarter, FCHS head coach Pavao could be heard yelling at his defense from the sidelines: “Huddle up! If they’re going to huddle every play, we’ll huddle, too!”
Most of the AAA Region 7 schools run a fast-paced offense, lining up and looking to the sidelines for their offensive plays so that they can get as many opportunities under center as possible throughout the game.
Lumpkin apparently didn’t get the memo.
The Indians casually strolled to their huddle formation, checked their stocks and banking portfolios on their I-phones, sipped a cup of coffee, caught up on the weather; then strolled back into position for the next play. I think I even saw a trainer using ammonia smelling salts to wake up a left guard from a mid-huddle-nap but I might’ve just been seeing things.
Sportswriter’s note: That last part may or may not be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point. They wanted to use every second of clock possible, keeping the Rebels’ on the field.
The game plan of the Indians? Keep the defense on the field. When the offense took the field: contain the running game.
Each time Cody Jacobs took the hand-off from FCHS senior qb Chandler Smith, he was met by a relatively large, aggressive and hungry defensive front.
Every time the Indians’ qb took a snap, three different people seemed to be carrying the football at the same time and one of them was moving the chains.
As the war-of-attrition unfolded in the first quarter of play, it became clear that this game was going to be a grinder. Fortunately for Lumpkin – their kicker has a leg – and he showed just how well he kicks the football as he split the uprights from 40-yards out to take a 3-0 lead near the end of the quarter.
No one scored again until 4 minutes remaining in the game, when Fannin’s defense finally wore down. It wasn’t an easy touchdown, though. Senior linebacker Austin Brown went up in one-on-one coverage downfield and batted away a would-be touchdown play at the goalline in what was one of the most exciting defensive plays we’ve seen by the Rebels this season. The defense also had a beautiful blocked kick that prevented another score by the Indians.
At the end of the night, however, Fannin fell 10-0 and it was Lumpkin who celebrated midfield.
This Friday, the Rebels travel to Blairsville in the battle of the two winless teams in AAA Region 7: Fannin vs Union. Union has had an extra week to prepare. The Panthers are hosting in their house. It’s senior night. Coach Brian Allison and his staff have undoubtedly spent the extra time memorizing the offensive scheme of the Rebels and his young defense will hope to pull off the win.
Don’t count the Rebels out just yet, though. With the playoff picture eliminiated, they have nothing to lose. It should be a great game. Come out and support your Fannin Rebels as they face Rival Union County Friday night; kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm.
With a slight breeze on a relatively cool October Friday night, it finally felt like football season. The Fannin County Rebels ventured to Dawsonville with aspirations of upsetting the AAA Region 7 stat leaders, only to quickly find out what the hype surrounding Dawson County was very real.
The Fannin County High School Rebels recently garnered national attention for carrying a roster full of flags onto the field prior to kickoff, and once again, the team elected to carry Old Glory onto the field, a reminder to the crowd – and to the country – that these young men believe in honoring our nation and the historic tradition of American football.
The Tigers won the toss and elected to defer, giving the Rebels the opportunity to receive the ball first. After the kickoff, things started out pretty well for Fannin County. Senior quarterback Chandler Smith handed the ball to starting senior running back Cody Jacobs and he took the ball upfield for a first down. A quick snap and another run led to a six yard gain for the Rebels. Energy levels were high on the Fannin sidelines and you could almost see the hair standing up on the back of the offensive line’s necks as Smith took the next snap, stepped back, turned to his left, and threw the ball… directly into the jersey of a defensive back for Dawson County.
In Smith’s defense, the energy in the stadium was out of this world and his adrenaline had to have been turned up to 11; but nonetheless the Tigers seized the opportunity to turn the turnover into points and take an early seven-point lead over the Rebels. Eight minutes later, the Tigers held a 22-0 lead and the Rebels were reeling on their heels trying to stop the bleeding. Each time the Rebels got a drive rolling, something happened to stop them in their tracks: A pass on first down – intercepted. A solid run between the tackles – holding penalty. A qb sweep to the strong side – fumble (recovered by senior lineman Bradley Flowers). It felt like it was Friday the 13th – wait – it was.
The Rebels wouldn’t put points on the board until head coach Jim Pavao elected to take a shot at a 40-yard field goal. Senior kicker Alex White lined up and put the ball through the goal post with room to spare, but at this point the Tigers had put 36 on the board; another touchdown by the Tigers put the game out of reach, 43-3.
Dawson finished the game with 446 yards of total offense, 161 through the air and 285 on the ground. Fannin managed 227 yards of total offense, 105 passing and 122 rushing.
Fannin converted only 5-of-15 third downs, while Dawson converted only 7-of-12 in this game. The Rebels turned the ball over twice, both by way of interceptions, while the Tigers coughed the ball up on a fumble for their only turnover of the night.
Fannin County (2-5, 0-3) hosts Lumpkin County(0-7, 0-3) this week for homecoming, both teams fighting for their first win in region play.
Current AAA Region 7 Standings:
Full stats for the game were not available at the time of publication.
This week’s #TeamFYNSports sportswriter player of the week was an obvious choice: senior Bradley Flowers. Flowers has been the heart of the offensive line all season. In fact, he’s played so well that the Fannin coaching staff recently decided to start using the 260-lb juggernaut on the defensive side of the football in short-yardage goal line situations. Flowers’ most memorable moment offensively Friday night at Dawson County was his offensive fumble recovery that prevented a turnover on the second drive for the Rebels. Later in the game he made a huge hit on defense, preventing what was nearly a touchdown inside the 5-yard line. Catch Bradley Flowers and the rest of the big linemen back in action this week as Fannin hosts Lumpkin County for homecoming.
The North Hall Trojans finally finished a game with a win, but the Fannin Rebels didn’t make it easy for them. Friday night’s game in Gainesville was anything but a walk in the park for either team, as both defenses fought to the final whistle. A relatively low-scoring affair, the scoreboard read 13-0 as the Rebels met the Trojans midfield to shake hands before hustling to the end zone for their post-game meeting with Fannin County High School head coach Jim Pavao.
“I’m proud of the effort,” Pavao told the team, who were clearly discouraged with the final score. “We have some things to work on, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’ve gotta move on. We win as a team and we lose as a team; but what matters most is we stick together.”
North Hall entered the contest with a winless record of 0-4, but everyone familiar with their schedule knew they were much better than their record showed. They had arguably the toughest non-region schedule in the state. With losses to 4A Chestatee and 5A Flowery Branch – not to mention very close games against 4A schools Pickens and White – the Trojans were due a victory.
The Rebels were coming off a shutout win over Andrews, and hoped to win their region-opener on the road; but the Rebels have struggled to reach the end zone outside of Fannin County.
Despite the loss, Fannin came away with some much needed answers to some questions they may have had going into the game.
- They can run with just about anyone defensively. North Hall has a dual-threat backfield with a very skilled quarterback and a tough-as-nails tailback, but for the most part the Rebels defense kept them contained for 60 minutes of play.
- Chandler Smith at quarterback is a good decision. We still don’t have offensive stats for him and it’s Wednesday morning, but he played a great game under center. He managed the offense, protected the football, and completed some accurate passes throughout the game. He just wasn’t able to get the ball into the end zone so the scoreboard could reflect his effort.
- Miles Johnson is a beast. Fannin County’s special teams came up with a big blocked field goal in the first half when the game was still scoreless, thanks to big Miles Johnson getting a paw on the football and slapping it to the turf. Keenan Putnam also had a blocked kick in the game.
The defense is wrapping up and building confidence as they become more aggressive. Ethan Smith (21 tackles), Mason Rhodes (18 tackles, 2 sacks), Will Mosely (19 tackles), Bailey White (10 tackles), and Brett Galloway (9 tackles) all played a huge part in holding the Trojans to only 13 points offensively.
- The Rebels have depth when they need it. Keenan Putnam suffered a very painful collarbone injury (sources say it may be broken – unconfirmed), so fans got to see center Bradley Flowers fill in on the defensive line. With 22 starters on the team, few Rebels have had to play both sides of the ball this year; but Friday night’s game showed that if the linemen are conditioned enough to play both sides of the ball, Fannin may have other weapons available (should they need or choose to use them in the future).
North Hall travels to Dawson County this week to play the Tigers, who are 2-2 for the season. Both of Dawson’s losses were heartbreakers as they fell to AAAA-Region 7 schools West Hall (13-10) and White County (45-42).
Fannin County hosts Greater Atlanta Christian, whose only loss this year came at the hands of Valor Christian, the top-ranked football program in the state of Colorado. Last week the Spartans absolutely man-handled the Union County Panters in a 47-7 shellacking that left many of their starters on crutches.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30pm.