BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – It may seem like a small gesture to some, but for those in Gilmer County, Georgia, a simple jersey is relating a lot more than meets the eye as they receive a memorial jersey to honor Gilmer’s middle school principal, the late Larry Walker.
With a special moment before the middle school football games between these two schools on September 19, Fannin County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney took to the field with Gilmer County School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs and Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney Alison Sosebee for a special ceremony in order to present the jersey hosting the emblems of both Gilmer and Fannin.
After a few words about Walker’s life and a moment of silence honoring him, Gwatney and Downs shared their own moment holding the jersey together. The announcers explained the meaning of the ceremony saying,
“The jersey being presented to the Gilmer Middle School football team bears the name of Walker with the #1. Also on the jersey is the Fannin County School insignia and the Gilmer County School insignia. The jersey being presented is in memory of Larry D. Walker, principal of Gilmer Middle School, and signifying Fannin County and Gilmer County are together as one, both in spirit and community.”
With the funeral today, many are still dealing with the loss as they prepare their final respects. Others are coping in their own ways. But as a community comes together and the true reach of one man comes into focus, they are responding to the show of support. Kayann Hayden West offered her thanks on social media saying, “Thankful for the support of our community and the Walker family up and down the 515 corridor. Rivals on the field but united in purpose and heart.”
For the first football game of the season, one of the oldest high school rivalries squared off Friday night at the Huff-Mosely Stadium in Ellijay, Georgia. Fannin County Rebels versus the Gilmer County Bobcats. The Rebels beat the Bobcats 28-0.
Rebels elected to receive the ball first, Cohutta Hyde, ran the ball down field into Bobcat territory and got 1st down at the 30-yard line. Unfortunately, though, due to errors, turnovers, and fumbles, neither the Rebels or the Bobcats had a great first quarter and the score ended 0-0.
Once the second quarter started, it was apparent that the Rebels had settled in and shaken off some ‘first-game of the season’ jitters.
At 8:38 in the second quarter, Rebels lit up the scoreboard and gained their first touchdown of the game. Quarterback, Luke Holloway, had a nice hand-off to running back, Treylyn Owensby, and he got a rushing touchdown. Afterwards, the play was flagged for un-sportsman-like conduct due to Fannin’s early celebration. Kicker, Sara Sosebee, with the extra point gave the Rebels the full 7 points to Bobcats 0.
Late in the second quarter, Rebels defense forced the Bobcats to punt. Rebels, defensive back, Hyde, caught the ball and had what was hopefully a 60-yard return by getting the ball into Bobcat territory, but there were two blocks in the back, so the Rebels were forced back to the 40-yard line, which decimated a strong return.
The first half ended with the Rebels up by 7, but it was obvious that both teams needed huddles with their coaches; Coach Cheatham and Coach Wingard, to make changes and help improve plays.
After half-time, it was clear to see the Rebels made some adjustments. The Rebels had a much better performance with their hand-offs and executing their passes. Rebels brought in some more touchdowns and points after with Sosebee.
With 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Rebels quarterback, Holloway, rushed for a touchdown and Sosebee brought in the extra point.
Gilmer’s Bobcats fumbled in third quarter, Owensby picked up the fumble and ran it to the Bobcats territory on the 34-yard line before getting tackled.
Early in the fourth quarter, Rebels defense played harder than ever as they continued to keep the Bobcats from scoring.
While Bobcats had possession, Rebels defensive linemen, Pierson Archer, got the fumble at the 3-yard line.
Rebels quarterback, Holloway, rushed the ball but got tackled at the 41-yard line.
Rebels running back, Owensby, ran in for a touchdown, but the play was flagged for holding on Fannin.
Rebels defense in the fourth quarter stood strong as defensive back, Tate Heaton, took out a Bobcat at the 33-yard line.
Another great play by, Mason Rhodes, as he tackled a Bobcat at the 27-yard line.
With less than 3 minutes in the game, defensive back, Hyde, intercepts the ball from a Bobcat, and hauled it down field before getting tackled by a Bobcat at the 14-yard line.
Holloway passed off to Owensby and he ran for the touchdown gaining another 6 points for the Rebels. Sosebee, four and four for the night, gained the point and left the Rebels with 28 to Bobcats 0!
The takeaway from Friday night’s game is that the Rebels have a good football team. Coach Cheatham won his first high school football game as a head coach here at Fannin County High and as Rebel alum.
Come out to support the Fannin Rebels at their home game Friday, August 24th, against Lafayette High School at 7:30pm!
The Fannin Rebels traveled to Gilmer County this past Friday in hopes of redeeming themselves from their first game against the Bobcats where they endured a heartbreaking loss by only four points. The Rebels came to play on Friday and were hoping to get their fifth win of the season.
Gilmer underestimated Fannin in the first quarter of the game. The Rebels have gotten better since the first time they played the Bobcats and they were ready to show them on the court. Rebel, Payton Holt, led Fannin in scoring with eighteen points due to his never ending hustle. Bobcat, Kell Weaver, was unstoppable on the block and led Gilmer in scoring with fifteen points. Fannin had the lead over Gilmer at the end of the first quarter with a score of 10-8.
With the Bobcats double teaming the Rebels in the corner, Fannin started to take outside shots. Rebel, Chandler Kendall, was right behind Holt in scoring with seventeen points due to his ability to make three point shots. Joe Satchell followed the trend of three point shots and added seven points to to Fannin’s score. After a quarter of back and forth, the Rebels went into halftime with a 24-21 lead over the Bobcats.
Fannin started to look inside and found their wide open posts who added more points on the board. Nathaniel Garrison got aggressive and drew fouls downlow, resulting in two points for Fannin. Another Rebel post, Joel Kinser, got rebounds on the block and added two more points to the Rebels score. Gilmer found that Fannin had a wide open lane on defense and took advantage of it by driving through and scoring points. The Bobcats took the lead at the end of the third quarter with a score of 35-34.
The tension was high at the start of the fourth quarter. Both teams wanted to win and you could tell by their performance on the court. There was steal after steal and shot after shot. The game was tied 45-45 with 25 seconds left. Fannin was coming down the court with the ball when Gilmer fouled. The Rebels made the first foul shot to put them ahead 46-45. With just a few second on the clock left, everyone got ready to rebound the second shot. The free throw hit the rim and bounced right into Bobcat, Tyler Sims hands. Sims ran the ball all the way back to Gilmer’s goal and made a layup that put them in the lead 47-46. By the time the Rebels inbounded the ball, there was no time left to try to make a comeback. The Rebels endured a heartbreaking loss to the Bobcats for the second time, this time only being one point away.
The Rebels loss puts their overall record at 4-17 while the Bobcats stand at 8-13. Catch Fannin’s next game February 2 as they travel to take on East Hall at 8:30!
Last Friday, the Lady Rebels traveled to Gilmer County to take on the Lady Bobcats. Both teams were coming from wins and looking to continue their streak.
It was an intense game from tipoff. The rival teams played a game that had everyone on the edge of their seats for every second of each quarter. Lady Rebel, Hope Franklin, led her team in scoring with twelve points due to her aggressive playing on the block. Lady Bobcat, Katie Kiker, also led her team in scoring with twelve points. The Lady Bobcats wrapped up the first quarter of the game with a one point lead over the Lady Rebels with a sore of 11-10.
It looked like everyone in the stadium was going to get whiplash from the back and forth of the game. Gilmer started to apply heavy defensive pressure while the Rebels started to double team the Lady Cats. The Lady Rebels picked up their game above the key and started to make outside shots. Morgan Patton added four points onto Fannin’s score with her ability to make shots above the key. Maddie Johnson followed the trend and added five more points on the board for the Rebels with her outside shooting. Hope Franklin for the Rebels drew a foul and made one of her shots, tying up the game 20-20.
With Gilmer driving through the lane making layups, Fannin started sneaking inside for points. Lady Rebel, Maleah Stepp, snuck through the back door of Gilmer’s weak offside defense and contributed six points for her team. Makenzie McClure got rebounds downlow and also put six points on the board for the Rebels. Savada Collins had grit and drove right through the defense, adding four points to Fannin’s score. The Lady Bobcats took back the lead that they had at the beginning of the game and ended the third quarter with a score of 32-29.
Everyone who stepped on the court played with hustle and heart. Both teams wanted to win just as badly as the other did. Fannin had a one point lead over Gilmer with 53 seconds left. With the Lady Rebels being so close to victory, the Lady Bobcats snatched it away from them in just a matter of seconds and got their lead back. The rival teams played their hearts out until the buzzer sounded to end the game with Gilmer in the lead 45-44 over Fannin.
The Lady Rebels loss puts their overall record at 9-12 while the Lady Bobcats stand at 12-9. Catch the Lady Rebels next game February 2 as they travel to take on East Hall at 7:00!
This past Saturday at the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Gilmer Bobcats and Christian Heritage traveled to Fannin County High School for the championship game. Both teams were ready to walk away with the first place trophy.
While Christian Heritage had the outside shots, Gilmer had the speed to drive the lane. Bobcat, Carter Hice, led Gilmer in scoring with seventeen points. Christian Koneman led Christian Heritage in scoring with twenty-two points overall. Bobcat, Tripp Pierce, had the hustle to drive through the defense and contribute four points for Gilmer. Christian Heritage had the lead at the end of the first quarter with a score of 28-15 over the Bobcats.
Gilmer scored a lot of their points from down low thanks to their unstoppable post, Kell Weaver, who contributed fourteen points for the Bobcats. Tyler Sims scrappy playing added four points to Gilmer’s score. Braden Jenkins drew fouls and put three more points on the board for the Bobcats. Christian Heritage kept their lead at the end of the second quarter with a score of 55-24.
Christian Heritage started to look up the court for open teammates when Gilmer’s outside shooting came alive. Bobcat, Coady Cobb, scored all nine of his points from three pointers. Out of Bobcat David Smith’s eight points, six of them were from shots above the key. As the end of the third quarter neared, Christian Heritage had a 71-42 lead over the Bobcats.
As the Bobcat’s scored got farther and farther behind Christian Heritage, their intensity lessened. With no hope of catching up, many of the Bobcats gave up. Although the Bobcats were getting beat, Tyler Sims refused to give up. Sims gave every second of the game his all and tried his best to pick up his team. Despite the Bobcats hustle, Christian Heritage closed out the tournament with a 77-59 championship win.
Before Christian Heritage got to claim their first place trophy, All Tournament medals were to be given out. Bobcats Kell Weaver, Carter Hice, and Tyler Sims were selected as Gilmer’s All Tournament Players.
Gilmer’s loss puts their overall record at 5-9 while Christian Heritage stands undefeated at 12-0. Catch the Bobcats next game on January 5 at 8:30 as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield!
This past Saturday at the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Lady Bobcats and the Lady Warriors came ready to play their last game of the tournament. Both teams were coming from a loss the day before and ready to win the matchup for third place.
It was a “foul” game full of twists and turns. There were fouls left and right and the lead went from team to team. Lady Bobcat, Marylee Callihan, led Gilmer in scoring with nineteen points thanks to her hustle. Lady Warrior, Dasha Cannon, led White County in scoring with nineteen points due to aggressive playing. The Lady Bobcats had good cuts and passes inside which was how they did most of their damage. Lady Bobcat post, Michaela Staley, contributed ten points for her team from down low. The Lady Warriors scored the majority of their points from driving the lane. Lady Warrior, Naumi Crumbley, added fourteen points to White County’s score due to her ability to make layups. The Lady Warriors had the lead at the end of the first quarter with a score of 23-14.
Both teams were putting heavy defensive pressure on the other and drawing fouls. Out of Lady Bobcat Taylor Boling’s nine points, five of them were from foul shots. With Maddie Futch’s overall three points for the Lady Warriors, two of them were scored from the free throw line. Makenna Maysic also contributed two points from foul shots out of her six overall for White County. The Lady Warriors ran into some foul trouble towards the end of the second quarter when two technicals were called on them. The first foul being on player Kyleigh Johnson who scored an overall fifteen points for her team. The second being on the Lady Warriors head coach, Buster Brown. Even after many fouls, the Lady Warriors still had a lead over the Lady Bobcats with a score of 39-32.
The Lady Bobcats picked up their hustle at the beginning of the third quarter. Lady Bobcat, Hope Colwell, proved to be an asset to Gilmer’s defense by going hard and getting steals. Lady Warrior, Bentley Cronic, had a good game above the key by contributing three points for her team. Another Warrior, Annabeth Vandiver, added two points onto the Lady Warriors score. Lady Bobcat, Emma Callihan, put eleven points on the board with her scrappy playing. Gilmer started looking up the court to find Katie Kiker who added ten points to the Lady Bobcats score. Madi Phillips for the Lady Warriors added six points to White County’s score to extend their lead. At the end of the third quarter, the game was tied 53-53. It was Gilmer’s ball when they looked inside and found Mallory Kiser who contributed fourteen points overall, two being scored as the buzzer sounded to end the quarter which put the Lady Bobcats in the lead 55-53.
The intensity came alive at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Both teams started to foul more in attempts to stop the other one from scoring. The score was tied 70-70 with seven seconds left on the clock. Everyone was expecting the game to go into overtime when the Warriors fouled number ten for Gilmer, Marylee Callihan, with only one second left. With the pressure being high, Callihan stepped up to the free throw line. Callihan was given three shots and she made them all, putting Gilmer in third place of the tournament with a 73-70 victory over the Lady Warriors.
After the game, it was time for the awards and trophy to be given. The three Lady Warriors to be selected for All Tournament Players were Naumi Crumbley, Madi Phillips, and Dasha Cannon. Before the Lady Bobcats claimed their third place trophy, Marylee Callihan, Mallory Kiser, and Taylor Boiling were selected as Gilmer’s All Tournament Players.
The Gilmer County Lady Bobcats win puts their overall record at 8-6 while the Lady Warriors stand at 9-6. Catch the Lady Bobcats next game on January 5 at 7:00 as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield! Catch the Lady Warriors next game on January 3 at 2:00 as they travel to take on North Forsyth!
The White County Lady Warriors and the Pickens County Lady Dragons traveled to Fannin County this past Friday to take on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic. Both teams came ready to carry on their winning streaks after their wins on day one of the tournament.
The Lady Warriors started off the game strong. Warrior, Madi Phillips, led her team in scoring down low with thirteen points. Lady Dragon, Mykenzie Weaver, led Pickens County in scoring with twenty-three points. The Warriors started looking up the court and found Naoumi Crumley who scored eight points overall. As the first quarter came to an end, the Lady Dragons had a 19-12 lead over the Lady Warriors.
With the Lady Warriors only seven points away from the Lady Dragons, they picked up the intensity. Lady Warrior, Dasha Cannon, contributed eighteen points for White County with her powerful ball handling skills. Kyleigh Johnson put four points on the board for the Lady Warriors with her scrappy playing. The Warriors started to double team the Lady Dragons on defense which resulted in steals and more points. At the end of the second quarter, the Lady Warriors were only down by one point with a score of 34-33.
As soon as the Lady Dragons were in the Lady Warriors reach, they fought for the lead. With Pickens County driving the lane, White County started taking outside shots. Lady Warrior, Annabeth Vandiver, contributed two points for her team. Sakina Wilmont and Erin Dorsey followed the trend by each putting two more points on the board for White County. Lady Warrior, Maddie Futch, added five points to the score due to her grit. With the third quarter ending, the Lady Dragons still had the lead with a score of 48-45.
With the score being so close, the Lady Warriors started fouling. As White County kept fouling, Pickens score increased. Even though the Lady Warriors started the game off strong, they could not walk away with a win. The Lady Dragons defeated the Lady Warriors 62-54, putting them in the championship game to be played the next day.
The White County Lady Warriors loss puts their overall record at 9-5 while the Pickens County Lady Dragons stand at 10-2. Catch the Lady Warriors next game on January 3 at 2:00 as they travel to take on North Forsyth!
This past Friday on day two of the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the Gilmer Bobcats traveled to take on the Fannin Rebels. Gilmer was warmed up from their win on day one against Coahulla Creek while the Rebels were ready to play their first game of the tournament. Both teams were determined to wrap up day two of the tournament with a win.
You could see the determination on all of the players faces as soon as they took the court. The rival teams were neck and neck from the beginning to the end of the game. Rebel, Chandler Kendall, led Fannin in scoring with thirteen points due to his ability to make outside shots. Bobcat, Kell Weaver, was an asset inside and led his team in scoring with twenty points.
Post for the Rebels, Joel Kinser, got back in the game after recovering from a concussion a few games prior. Kinser had grit down low and contributed three points for his team. As the end of the nail biting first quarter approached, Gilmer led Fannin with a score of 8-5.
The lead went from team to team. Tyler Sims of the Bobcats drove the lane and contributed twelve points overall for Gilmer. Another Bobcat, David Smith, followed the trend and scored two points for his team.
Fannin guard Joe Satchell, had snatches on defense and put eight more points on the board for Fannin. Another Rebel sharp-shooter, Jack Gobble, added onto Fannin’s score by making a three point shot. As the second quarter came to an end, the Bobcats doubled their lead over Fannin from the first quarter with a score of 21-15.
As Gilmer’s lead grew, Fannin fought harder to catch up. Rebel, Payton Holt, contributed eight points overall for Fannin with his hustle. Rebel, Ryan Beavers, was the go to guy on the block who put eleven points on the board for his team. With the Rebels score increasing, so did their number of fouls. Bobcat, Carter Hice, scored two points for Gilmer off of foul shots. Out of Bobcat Tripp Pierce’s ten points, seven of them were from foul shots. The Rebels were catching up to the Bobcats at the end of the third quarter with a score of 34-31, cutting Gilmer’s lead from the second quarter in half.
At the start of the fourth quarter, it appeared to be anyone’s game. Gilmer kept passing inside while Fannin drove the lane and took outside shots. Although the teams had different methods, they both proved to be effective. That is, until the Rebels ran into foul trouble.
With the tension being very high, Fannin had two technical fouls called on them. One being on player, Chandler Kendall. The second being on head coach, Scott Eggleston. Gilmer chose Bobcat, Coady Cobb, to shoot the technical free throws.
With Gilmer’s score behind Fannin’s, Cobb made his first shot to tie up the game. Even with the high pressure, Cobb made his second shot, putting Gilmer in the lead. Cobb contributed six points overall for the Bobcats.
With Gilmer in the lead, Fannin fouled even more. Rebel, Chandler Kendall, fouled out towards the end of the quarter. As Fannin kept fouling, Gilmer’s score increased. As the clock started to wind down, Gilmer took a 52-46 win over Fannin which put them in the championship game to be played the next day.
The Bobcat’s win puts their overall record at 5-8 while the Rebels stand at 3-11. Catch the Gilmer Bobcats next game on January 5 at 8:30 as they travel to take on Northwest Whitfield! Or catch the Fannin Rebels next game on the same day and at the same time at home as they take on GAC!
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!
Fannin County High School is all set to host the 2017 Thanksgiving Tip-Off Tournament this Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. This year there are only four teams participating in the tournament, with Gilmer, Pickens and Hiwassee Dam all set to enter the gym for round-robin play. The tournament schedule is listed below:
Sat: 3 p.m. Girls: Gilmer vs. Pickens (boys play at 4:30 p.m.)
6 p.m. Girls: Fannin vs. Hiwassee Dam (boys play at 7:30 p.m.)
Mon: 3 p.m. Girls: Pickens vs. Hiwassee Dam (boys play at 4:30 p.m.)
6 p.m. Girls: Fannin vs Gilmer (boys play at 7:30 p.m.)
Tues: 3 p.m. Girls: Gilmer vs. Hiwassee Dam (boys play at 4:30 p.m.)
6 p.m. Girls: Fannin vs. Pickens (boys play at 7:30 p.m.)
The #TeamFYNSports “Fetch Force” will be courtside throughout the event, tweeting updates on our @TeamFYNSports twitter and uploading photos, videos and brief interview clips onto our TeamFYNSports facebook page throughout the tournament. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for full coverage of the games.
This week’s #TeamFYNSport Sportswriter Player of the Week for Fannin County High School is senior runningback Cody Jacobs. Jacobs has carried the workload of the offense for the Rebels all season long, taking a majority of the carries in the Rebels’ running game and this week was no different as Fannin found success moving the sticks with a committed running attack. He racked up a “bunch” of yards against the Panthers, but we really don’t have any idea how many yards he actually recorded because we typically don’t get offensive stats from Fannin until 10-12 days after the games are played. Jacobs also took several snaps in the second quarter, as the Rebels moved personnel around and took advantage of direct-snap opportunities to throw the defense off-guard in some gutsy and entertaining play-calling. Great job Cody Jacobs, and best wishes this Friday as Fannin hosts East Hall for senior night and the final football game of the season for the Rebels.
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.
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.
TeamFYNSports director Jason Banks called in this morning for our Monday Morning Quarterback segment. He and BKP discussed Fannin’s tough loss to Lumpkin, Ridgeland’s win over Pickens, and East Hall’s loss at Dawson. Follow TeamFYNSports for all your up to date high school football coverage in our North Ga region. Every Friday night we have your complete sideline coverage.
This week’s #TeamFYNSports Sports Writer Player Of The Week is kicker Sarah Sosebee. The sophomore had an impressive opening game last Friday against rival Gilmer, making 100% of her PAT’s (6) and becoming the first female athlete to score in a Fannin County High School football game in FCHS history. You can catch Sosebee and the rest of the Rebels on the road on September 1st, when they travel to Ringgold to take down the Tigers of Region 6-AAA.
8/18/2017 – (Blue Ridge, GA)
The mania and excitement for the 2017 Solar Eclipse has taken Fannin County by storm, with tourists and locals flocking to grocery stores for their milk and bread as they prepared for the rare historic event. On Friday night, however, the Fannin County Rebels hosted the Gilmer Bobcats and made a little history of their own. In fact, while the offense steadily marched up and down the field, seemingly to the tempo of the FCHS band percussion beats; the defense completely shut the Cats out — a performance only to be eclipsed by the six PAT’s by Rebel kicker Sarah Sosebee. With each swing of her leg, Sosebee made history; she was the first and only female to ever score a point in a Fannin County football game.
The Rebels struck first, scoring on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Norton (#1) to Luke Cowart (#85) as Cowart cut through the heart of the secondary and darted into the end zone. A packed stadium held it’s breath and then shook the dust off the bleachers with cheers as Sarah Sosebee (#86) booted her first PAT of the night. “I was really nervous [and] didn’t want to let my team down,” Sosebee told TeamFYNSports after the game. “After I kicked and it was good I realized my hands were shaking but I was super excited at the same time.” Sosebee, whose kicking experience prior to this season was primarily as a soccer player, tore her ACL two years ago while playing on a boys’ travel team. Doctors told her she’d never play competitive soccer again. “My parents encouraged me to try something new. I always loved going to the soccer field and shooting for hours – that gave us the idea of kicking a football,” Sosebee said as she shared the details of her journey from the soccer field to the football field. “My dad asked Coach Pavao if I could try out for a kicker position. I worked out with the team and Coach Pavao let me join the team. I thank God for answering my prayers in a surprising way, and I’m really thankful to be part of a great team and a community who has given me an amazing amount of support and encouragement!”
Following the kickoff, Fannin answered any questions Gilmer may have had about the Rebels’ defense. Three quick snaps later the Bobcats’ punter was on the field, only to have the long-snapped ball sail over his head toward the end zone. The punter scooped the ball up before being tackled inside the 1-yard line, a turnover on downs. Norton took the snap and put the ball in running back Cody Jacob’s (#15) breadbasket, bouncing to the outside and across the goal line for a 13-0 lead. Sosebee once again split the uprights, Fannin leading 14-0 with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter.
Following the Rebel kickoff, the Gilmer Cats once again found themselves overwhelmed by the speed and aggressiveness of the Fannin Rebel defensive front. Rebel linebackers Brett Galloway (#9) and Mason Rhodes (#44) and defensive lineman Keenan Putnam (#52) closed in on the Cats’ quarterback and as the pressure built, he sent the ball into the turf, resulting in an intentional grounding penalty. A failed screen pass snuffed out by the Rebel defensive backs forced Gilmer to once again punt the football.
The following possession for the Rebels offense kicked off the second quarter and they wasted no time confusing the Bobcats with a variety of ground and air attacks. Fatigue began to show in the Gilmer defensive front and the Rebels took advantage of it, handing the ball to Jacobs to pound it at the heart of the defense, then quickly resetting and sending the ball through the air to a versatile receiving core. From their own 48-yard-line, Norton took the snap from center Bradley Flowers (#66) and threw a swing pass to Jacobs. Jacobs took the pass to the house, a 52-yard completion, but a penalty brought the ball back to the Gilmer 30. After another brilliant run by Jacobs up the gut, Norton found Dawson King (#30) in the end zone for the third unanswered score of the game. Following the PAT, Fannin extended the lead to 21-0 (6:02 remaining in the 2nd quarter) and never looked back. Luke Cowart (#85) hauled in a beautiful spiral thrown by Norton for a 46-yard touchdown with less than five minutes remaining in the half.
Late in the third quarter, the Rebels were once again marching down the field and controlling the tempo of the game, with an outstanding performance running the football. Jacobs cut through the defense, bouncing off defenders and racing toward the pylon in a valiant attempt to extend the Rebel lead. Despite a holding penalty that overturned a touchdown, the Rebels went back to Jacobs on the following play and he carried the pigskin through the end zone. After three quarters of football, Fannin led Gilmer 35-0. With 8:54 remaining in the game, Matt Postell (#41) carried the ball across the goal line for the final touchdown of the game.
Statistically, this was an absolute nightmare for the Gilmer Bobcats, and the Fannin Rebels literally controlled every aspect of the game from start to finish. The Rebel offense racked up 359 yards, while the defense held the Cats to only 33 yards of total offense (all 33 yards coming by way of running the football). Fannin’s balanced attack gave way to 163 yards through the air and 196 yards on the ground; many of which came by way of Rebel running back Cody Jacobs (#15). Jacobs led the Rebels offensively with 21 carries for 91 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game. He averaged 4.3 yards each time he touched the football.
Rebel receivers Dawson King (#30) and Luke Cowart (#85) also played a vital role in the Rebels’ ability to reach paydirt. King caught 3 passes for 41 yards and a touchdown while Cowart hauled in 3 receptions for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Perhaps even more impressive that the offense, was the dominance of field position by the Fannin Rebel defense. The Gilmer quarterback struggled under relentless pressure and the Fannin defense penetrated the backfield seemingly at-will. Although the pressure did not lead to any turnovers, it forced seven 3-and-outs for the Cats as Gilmer was unable to convert a single third down in the game. Fannin, however, converted 8-of-10 third downs and was only forced to punt the football twice.
Fannin has a bye this week before returning to action Friday, September 1 at Ringgold. The Tigers (0-1)lost their game at Northwest Whitfield High School (1-0) last week, 48-29; they face rival Heritage (1-0) this week. Heritage won on the road last week as they rolled over Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (0-1) 39-7 (all 39 points coming in the first half of play). For more photos from the game and live updates throughout the season visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fetchyournews