The Pickens High School Dragons football team traveled to Bartow County to take on the Purple Hurricanes of Cartersville for a chance at history. A win would give the Dragons the first Pickens High School region title in football and would give the Dragons the most wins in a ten game regular season. Both teams came into the game at 8-1 overall, with Cartersville being 6-0 in region play and the Dragons 5-1. Both teams were also assured of a home playoff game but the #1 seed and Region 7-AAAA championship was still up for grabs.
Cartersville won the toss but differed to the second half meaning the Dragons would get first crack at putting points on the board. Despite a big screen play from Marcus Byrd to Shannon Brooks, the Dragons couldn’t get anything going resulting in a punt to the Purple Hurricanes.
The Dragons defense played well in the opening quarter as Cartersville missed a field goal and headed to the second quarter the same way that began the game, tied 0-0.
While the Dragons’ offense continued to look got consistency in the second quarter, the defense kept the high powered Purple Hurricane offense out of the end zone. Cartersville kicked a field goal with 8:17 left in the first half to take the lead 3-0 and was poised to add to that lead later in the half; however, Zack Herman picked off a pass for Pickens near the goal line and ran it back 20 yards.
Both offenses would have trouble finding the end zone as both defenses played exceptionally well in the first half. Cartersville added another field goal just before the half to take a 6-0 lead into the half time break.
Cartersville found the end zone for the first time in the ball game at the 6:44 mark after an 8-yd run stretching the lead out to 13-0 as we headed to the 4th and final quarter. The Purple Hurricanes had the ball prior to the end of the 3rd as a long play helped set up a 7-yd screen pass to bring the lead to 20-0 with 11:56 remaining in the game. The Dragon defense would continue to fight as they forced a safety to get on the board at the 6:55 mark to make it 20-2. Cartersville would add a 5-yd run with 2:55 left to make it a final score of 27-2.
Offensive stats for Pickens: 11 first downs, 5/14 on third down, and 0/1 on fourth down, 224 yards on 55 plays for a 4.0 yard average, 131 yards rushing on 42 carries for a 3.1 yard average, 93 passing yards on 13 attempts for a 7.1 yard average
Marcus Byrd went 10/13 for 93 yards and added 20 yards rushing on 8 carries
Shannon Brooks ran the ball 30 times for 116 yards and added 42 yards receiving on 4 catches
Zack Herman had 2 catches for 24 yards, Walker Lawrence had 2 catches for 12 yards, Bradley Ragano had 1 catch for 10 yards, and Derek Messner added a catch for 5 yards
Defensively, the Dragons forced one fumble, picked off a pass, and forced a safety
Kyle West led in tackles with 11. 9 solo and 2 assisted 2 tackles for loss and 1 sack
Will Wotring had 7 total tackles 5 solo and 2 assisted
Deondre Green had 6 solo tackles and 2 for loss
Next Friday, the Dragons will host a playoff game for only the 2nd time in school history and the first time since 2004 when they welcome the #3 team out of 8AAAA, the Stephens County Indians. Pickens is 8-2 coming into this game and Stephens County is 7-3. Pickens is looking to win their first playoff game in the school’s history.