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.
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.
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.