On Friday September 4th, the 2020 high school football season got underway for the majority of the state of Georgia. With all of the ups and downs that has been this year and the will they won’t they speculation, to get to this opening night was a huge deal. In Jasper Georgia, two teams very familiar with each other took the field to open their seasons. The Pickens Dragons came into the 2020 season having to fill many major holes on both offense and defense after graduating most of their production from the team last season. The Gilmer Bobcats, came in with a lot of momentum having exceeded expectations last season, moving to a new region, and returning players with a lot of varsity experience. After it was all said and done, the Dragons picked up the win, 17-8.
The Bobcats won the toss, but elected to defer to the 2nd half, giving the Dragons the ball first. After a pooch kick was fair caught, the Dragons took over with a new starting quarterback in freshman Sam Streicher. If that last name sounds familiar, it should. Sam is the younger brother of Dragon football standout C.J. Streicher. The Dragons used a heavy dose of the run game on their opening drive with senior Jarod Whitmore getting the bulk of the carries. At the 9:44 mark of the opening quarter, Whitmore turned the corner on the right side and got in for the touchdown. The extra point from Juan Sanchez was good, and the Dragons took a 7-0 lead. After a Bobcat fumble on their opening drive, Pickens turned that into points with a 30-yd field goal by Sanchez to make it 10-0.
Defense was the name of the second quarter as neither offense could find hardly anything. The score remained 10-0 Pickens until late in the first half when the snap on a punt attempt by the Dragons sailed over the head of Whitmore and landed in the end zone. Gilmer picked up two points with the safety, and had a chance to get more before the half. The defense for the Dragons held and we would head to halftime with Pickens leading 10-2.
The Bobcats, started the second half with the football and with a tweak to their game plan. Gilmer came out throwing more for their first possession of the second half and found success with it. After a pass interference call against the Dragons, the Bobcats connected on a 36-yd touchdown pass to make it 10-8. The ensuing two-point conversion try was no good, and Pickens still held the lead, this time at 10-8 with 8:55 to go in the third. Using that momentum from having just scored, Gilmer transferred that over to the defensive side of the ball where they got the stop. The Bobcats next possession was a quick one as Andrew Burrell picked off a pass attempt and set the Dragons up with good field position. Pickens turned that interception into points when Streicher found the returning Mykel Hand after a nice pass for the touchdown. The first varsity touchdown pass for Streicher. The PAT was good and the Dragons extended their lead over the Bobcats 17-8, going to the fourth quarter.
In the fourth and final quarter, Gilmer had their chances to cut into the lead, but the Dragons defense held strong and helped Pickens come away with the win, 17-8.
After the set of games this week, here are the records for the teams in the new 7-AAAA:
Northwest Whitfield: 1-0
Cedartown: 0-0 (game canceled)
Central-Carroll: 0-0 (game canceled)
Pickens will travel to Summerville Georgia next Friday to take on the Chattooga Indians in non-region play. Chattooga is in region 7 in AA. They fell to Adairsville 35-28 on Friday night. Kickoff set for 7:30 pm next Friday.