It was a warm evening on the day the Pickens Middle School Dragons played host to the Rebels of Fannin County. The two teams were set to face off in what would be the Dragons final home game of the year. To commemorate this, the eighth grade football players and cheerleaders from Pickens Middle School were recognized prior to the start of the game. When the final whistle sounded the Dragons had scorched the Rebels to the tune of 24-0.
The game got underway with a kickoff Rebels kickoff received by the home team. The first play from scrimmage was a two yard run from Josh Cane, followed by a negative play and an incomplete pass. The Dragons lined up to punt the ball away after a three-and-out. A bad snap led to a fumble though, and the Rebels were in prim position to take an early lead.
The Rebels opened their drive with an incomplete pass. The next play was an attempted run, but Cane was in the backfield to drop the Rebel runner for a loss setting up 3rd and 12 the next play resulted in a Pickens picked off pass.
Both teams traded possessions for much of the first half. Another Pickens interception was returned all the way inside the Fannin 20 yard line, but a block in the back penalty brought it back.
Pickens had its best drive of the day following the interception, fueled by a 35 yard pass to Trevon Hawkins. This drive came up short as well though, resulting in a great punt that left Fannin with its worst starting field position of the day at its own 12 yard line.
The stout Dragon defense held again and forced a punt which left Pickens with great field position at Fannin’s 40 yard line. The drive started with a completion to Dylan Huffman for 15 yards. It was at the :54 mark in the 2nd quarter that saw the first score of the game, a 25 yard run by Huffman to put the Dragons up 6-0. The ensuing two-point conversion was converted on a screen pass to Hunter Fowler.
A 1 yard kick would make for an interesting end to the half, as Fannin was able to heave a long pass, but it wasn’t enough and the score at half time was Pickens 8, Fannin 0.
Fannin received the ball to start the second half and looked like a different team. Two long runs and the Rebels’ offense found itself inside the Dragons 30. A delay of game pushed the ball back and the Dragons’ stingy defense prevailed again with yet another interception.
This turnover looked to quickly lead to points when Kelton Gilbert ran the first play all the way to the house, but a holding call brought the ball back to the Pickens 18 yard line. Nothing developed for the offense, so it was forced to punt. This continued for both offenses into the fourth quarter.
With 5:15 left in the game, the Dragons took over in enemy territory. Gilbert took the hand-off and ran 39 yards to the end zone for a Dragon touchdown. The two-point conversion was again converted successfully on a screen pass to Cane
On the following possession for the Rebels, the Dragons continued the defensive theme for the night as Joseph Gossett picked off another Rebel pass and made his way to the end zone for a Dragon touchdown. Gilbert ran a sweep to the left to tack on another two-point conversion and the Dragons now found itself ahead 24-0.
Confusion was a problem for the Rebels on its final possession as the coaches were forced to take timeouts due to the wrong personnel being in the game. Players were running off and on the field and it created issues for the Rebels as Fannin had to punt the ball away.
This would do it for the Rebels, as the Dragons was able to melt the rest of the clock away and take the victory. This was a great final home game for the eighth graders who will be moving on to bigger and better things in the future.