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!
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.
On Friday night the Rebels headed to Gainesville for the season finale looking for their first win in Region play.
From the opening drive of the game you could tell that it would be a game without any defense as QB, Brad Davis, connected with Cooper Earls for the games first touchdown with under two minutes played in the game. On the following drive by East Hall, the Vikings had a huge gain on the ground of about 50 yards before being brought down. A few plays later the Vikings were able to force their way into the end zone. After the the East Hall touchdown the Rebels were able to drive the field but would stall just inside the 20. Bryan Carranza would come out and hit the 31 yard field goal with 5:32 left in the 1st quarter.
East Hall would only take 2 minutes off of the clock before scoring another touchdown on the ground. Both defenses struggled with tackling all night long. On the Rebels final drive of the first quarter was the only drive during the first that didn’t end with a score. The Rebels would get inside the 30 before failing to convert on 4th down. Immediately after the turnover on down the Rebels caught a break as #87, Jacob Hood, intercepted the pass! The Rebels would get the ball into the red zone as time expired in the 1st quarter with a score of 13-9, East Hall.
On the continuation of the drive, breakout running back, Hunter Gray, ran in for a 5 yard score. Following the Gray touchdown, Brandon Carranza would surprise the special teams unit from East Hall with an onside kick, and the Rebels would recover of course. I have never seen a kicker be this good at onside kicks. Throughout the season there was probably only two onside kicks that Fannin did not recover. The Rebels would take advantage of the great field position and score quick again. Hunter Gray got his second touchdown of the night, this time on a 9 yard rushing play. During the first East Hall drive of the 2nd quarter the Viking running back broke through the line and looked like he could score, until Jacob Reece made a huge play forcing a fumble in the Rebels side of the field, recovered by Brad Davis. Fannin would again only use 2 minutes before scoring again, this time as rushing touchdown by Cooper Earls. With 3:23 left in the half, Fannin led 30-13.
East Hall would score in the next 40 seconds on a screen pass that went about 50 yards. Following the the Vikings score the Rebels would stall on the other side of the 50 before stalling and punting for the first time in the game. With under two minutes left on the clock the Vikings would turn to the air attack and score on a jump pass with 45 seconds left in the half. At halftime the Rebels lead the Vikings 30-29.
To start the second half the Vikings were ready to recieve the kick before Carranza caught them slipping again as he surmised them with an onside kick. With the ball already on the Vikings side of the field it took no time at all for the Rebels to march the ball down the field before Hunter Gray punched the ball in from 1 yard out for his third touchdown of the game. East Hall would only need a minute and half before scoring on a 30 yard passing touchdown, the Vikings would fail on the two-point conversion. Davis would answer the passing touchdown with one of his own as he would connect with Earls for a 40 yard passing touchdown, Fannin would convert on the two point conversion. The following kickoff was returned for a touchdown by East Hall. At the end of the 3rd quarter the Rebels had the ball in scoring position and led 45-43.
On the first play of the 4th quarter, Jacob Reece would have his first touchdown of the night on a 6 yard rushing play. The Vikings would continue the quick scoring trans as they would score on a 56 yard passing touchdown just 45 seconds after the Rebels touchdown. This time they would convert on the two-point conversion, now trailing 52-51. On the following drive the Rebels would take 3 minutes off the clock before having the punt the ball back to the Vikings. East Hall would take over on their own 22 yard line with under 7 minutes remaining. They would move the ball as fast as they had all night, getting to the Rebels 40 before throwing another deep pass for a touchdown and not convert on the two-point conversion. With under 5 minutes left in the game it looked as if the Rebels would have a chance to win the game on their final possession. On one of the first plays of the Fannin drive, East Hall would jump the route and score on a 40-yard pick-six with 3:57 left, now leading 65-52. On the very next offensive play #5 from East Hall would intercept the ball again. The Vikings would seal the game on just a minute later with another rushing touchdown. The Rebels were able to score another touchdown but would not have time to mount a comeback. The final of this game was East Hall 71, Fannin County 58.
The Rebels finish the season 2-8.
On Friday night the Fannin County Rebels celebrated their Seniors for their final home game.
On the opening drive the Rebels defense was looking sharp. On a third and long the Union quarterback, Cole Wright, threw the ball deep downfield and a big hit by Mason Rhodes, the Fannin Linebacker, broke up the big gain. On the following play the Panthers punter mishandled the snap but was able to get the kick off before it was tipped, and also getting hit on the play. The Rebels were going to get the ball around the 40 until a flag for roughing the kicker went flying. I have never in my life seen a call that bad, and that call alone set the tone for the game.
The Panthers were able to take advantage of their second chance and march the ball down the field, scoring the games first touchdown. The Rebels, and QB Brad Davis were glad to see a familiar face back on the sideline as Cooper Earls returned from injury. Davis wasted no time on the opening drive, finding his favorite receiver for a touchdown. The Rebels attempted a two-point conversion but were unsuccessful in the attempt. The Panthers would respond with another touchdown after the Rebels score, now leading 14-6. The Rebels were moving the ball rather well on the following drive before stalling and having to punt the ball back to the Panthers. This time driving the field and forcing the ball in on a 3rd and goal at the 1-yard line. After the first the Panthers lead the Rebels 21-6.
During their first drive of the second half the Rebels advanced the ball onto the Union side of the field before a Union defender jumped the route and intercepted the ball, returning it 30 yards before being brought down. Just a few plays later the Union QB, broke free and scored on a 45 yard touchdown run. Davis continued to struggle through the air in the 2nd Quarter as the defense would intercept two more passes before the half ended. In the 2nd quarter the Panthers scored 21 points off turnovers. At halftime Union led 49-9.
The Rebels would drive the length of the field but would not be able to punch in the ball, as the drive would stall inside the 5 yard line. As the Panthers took over, with the shadow of the goalpost on their uniforms, they would turn to the ground game. On 3rd and about 8, the Union running back Bo Lynch busted through the line and headed for the goal line. Only to be called back because of an illegal block in the back. The Panthers would later go on to score on that drive. After allowing another score the Rebels tried to mount an incredible comeback, now being down 56-9. A score at which you would expect absolutely nothing to happen. Fannin would go on an impressive driving ending with a 30 rushing score by Cooper Earls. On the ensuing kickoff the Rebels would go with an onside kick by Senior kicker Brandon Carranza. I have never seen someone this talented when it comes to an onside kick. When thats what they decide to do, you can almost bet that the Rebels will recover, and in most cases Carranza recovers his own kicks.
With great field position the Rebels would only need to go 48 yards to score. They would get down to the goal-line and use a QB sneak to score again. On the next kickoff the Rebels would once again turn to Carranza for an onside kick. The Rebels would go on to recover this one also. Senior, Jacob Reese would also have the biggest hit of the game on the onside. Clearing the way for a Rebels recovery. Followed by another Rebels touchdown. The Rebels would not attempt for three-in-a-row for the onside kick. Instead they would kick it over the heads of the Union players. Union would recover. A few plays later the Union QB would once again break down the field for yet another big touchdown run, putting any talks of a comeback to rest. On their final possession the Rebels would put even more points on the board as Brad Davis would once again find Cooper Earls down the sideline for the games final touchdown. The final of this one, Union 63 and Fannin 39.
The Rebels have struggled with stopping the run all year, especially so in the past two weeks. Next week the Rebels head to East Hall to take on a very fast team. Both teams will be fighting for pride next week as both teams are 0-5 in the Region.
On Friday night the Rebels continued Region play with Greater Atlanta Christian. A side note from the game itself, GAC has the nicest facility of any high school I have ever seen. The place was just incredible. As the opening kick was caught the GAC returner took it to the right side of the field and found the sideline, opening the game with a 98 yard kick-off return for a touchdown. After the return, both teams had very short possessions. On the Rebels second possession, QB Brad Davis found his favorite receiver, Cooper Earls, for a 70 yard touchdown. Both of GAC’s next two possessions ended with a rushing touchdown. At the end of the first the Rebels trailed 21-7.
During the second quarter, GAC’s QB, who is rated the best QB in the entire nation and is going to Stanford, started to air it out and found his receiver for a touchdown. The Rebels would then drive the field on their next drive and kick a field goal. After the Fannin field goal, Greater Atlanta Christian started to impose their will. Scoring 17 points in the last 9 minutes of the half. 14 of which came with under a minute to go in the half, one was a rushing touchdown, the other a pick-six. Fannin trailed at half by a score of 45-10.
The second half was a rather dry affair. Neither team was able to do much. GAC would have the only score in the half, that being a rushing touchdown with 3 minutes left in the third. The final score would go on to be 52-10. Now, GAC is one of the best teams in the entire state and they have a very good chance at winning the State Championship. Fannin now finds themselves at 0-2 in the region after played two of the toughest teams in the region. There is still plenty of football to be played and this is still a good football team. The Rebels now head into a bye week, before taking on Dawson County at home on October 14th. So be sure to come out on the 14th and support the Rebels as they take on the Dawson County Tigers!
Around the Region
Dawson County: 45 North Hall: 27
Lumpkin County: 20 White County: 14
Union County: 51 East Hall:46