Since taking the reigns of the wrestling program at Fannin County High School, head coach David Henson has been working to create a winning culture. Each year he begins the season with a team meeting, where he discusses team and individual goals and expectations. While he expects his athletes to have fun, he also pushes them to toe-the-line, hoping to see them standing on the podium at the end of the season.
This year, three of Fannin’s varsity boys have fought their way to the big finale – the GHSA Traditional State Championships. The tournament will be held in Macon later this week.
To get to the state event, wrestlers first had to place within the top four of their class at Area competition. In doing so, they then qualified to compete at the Sectional tournament this past weekend at Greater Atlanta Christian School. The Area 6-AAA meet was held last weekend (Jan 17) at Morgan County High School in Madison. 113 lbs sophomore Landon Galloway (2nd Place), 126 lbs freshman McCay Turner (4th Place) and heavyweight senior Bradley Flowers each qualified to advance to the Sectional meet. Flowers was the Area Champion, going undefeated in the event.
“It felt great to win,” Flowers told TeamFYNSports after winning the Area tournament. “Coach Henson and Coach Hutsell have been telling me to keep working hard in practice and this is something I’ve trained hard for.”
At the Sectional meet, the top eight finishers qualify to advance to the state tournament in Macon. Flowers finished 3rd, Turner finished 4th and Galloway once again came away with a 2nd place finish to advance all three teammates to state.
At the state tournament, Flowers (31-6) will face Dalton senior Walter Richards (54-5) in his first match to kick off the bracket. Turner (41-10) will face senior Blake Rice (3-0 in the 126-lb class) of Hall County; and Galloway (30-7) will lock horns with Calhoun freshman Blake Bailey (27-10). Weigh-ins are at 10am on Thursday morning and TeamFYNSports will be on location, posting updates on twitter and facebook throughout the tournament.
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.
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