Cleveland, Ga — It was a beautiful night for football on Friday, October, 27th as the Pickens Dragons made their way up to Cleveland to take on the White County Warriors. Coming into the game, the Dragons looked to build off of a nice win over West Hall at home last week. The Warriors, looked to bounce back after a high scoring, 4 overtime affair with Lumpkin. In an action packed, intense, back and forth game, the Dragons came away with the 39-37 win to keep their playoff chances alive.
The Dragons, got the ball first to start the ball game and moved down the field pretty effectively. As the drive looked like it was possibly about to stall, QB Sam Streicher tossed the ball to Landon Poole on a screen play and Poole took it 32 yards for the touchdown. The PAT was blocked and with 8:40 left in the first quarter, Pickens led White County, 6-0. The Warriors, would answer nearly two minutes later as QB Tripp Nix took it in from 15-yds out. The PAT would be good and with 6:41 left in the first quarter, the Warriors led the Dragons, 7-6.
The Warrior defense, then created a turnover on the Dragons next possession as a pass was tipped and intercepted. The Warriors, would cash in on the turnover and score a 1-yd touchdown. The PAT would be blocked and with 5:26 left in the first quarter, White County led Pickens, 13-6. The Dragons, turned to the run game with their next possession as RB Miguel Salto took the handoff and ran 66-yds for the touchdown. The PAT from Charlie Gibbons was good and as they headed to the second quarter, the game would be tied at 13.
The Dragons, began the second quarter by capping off a drive that started towards the end of the first quarter as Streicher found WR McCord Purdy for an 8-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 10:39 left in the first half, Pickens led White County, 20-13. The Dragons, then caught the Warriors by surprise as Gibbons executed a picture perfect onside kick that landed right into Poole’s arms. The defense for White County, was able to get a stop and their offense responded with a drive that led to a 9-yd touchdown run by Nix. The PAT was no good and with 3:52 left in the first half, the Dragons led the Warriors, 20-19.
Just before the end of the half, Streicher connected with Purdy again from 8-yds out for the score. The PAT was good and Pickens went into the break leading White County, 27-19.
The Warriors, got the ball first in the second half looking to cut into the Dragons lead or possibly tie it. RB Ryan Fowler, capped off the drive with a 4-yd touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good and with 8:23 left in the third quarter, the Dragons led the Warriors, 27-25. Later on in the quarter, Streicher found Purdy for the 3rd time as Purdy got in from 7-yds out. The PAT was no good. Going to the fourth quarter, Pickens led White County, 33-25.
Almost three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Warriors scored after the third rushing touchdown from Nix. This one from 5-yds out. White County, tried going for two, but the pass was batted down. With 9:02 left in the game, Pickens held on to a 33-31. The next drive for the Dragons saw WR Hayden Jones come up with some massive catches including a one handed catch.
That incredible catch help set up a 2-yd touchdown run by Streicher. The PAT was no good and with 6:40 left in the game, Pickens led White County, 39-31. The Warriors, once again found the end zone as their guy, Nix, ran it in from 6-yds out for his fourth rushing score of the game. The ensuing 2-point conversion attempt was almost complete, but the ball fell out of the receivers hands as he went to the ground. The Dragons, held onto a 39-37 lead with 3:40 left in the game. The Dragons offense, behind Streicher making a couple of clutch throws to Jones and getting some tough yards with his legs, was able to run out the remaining time and pick up a massive road win, 39-37.
7-AAA Football Standings:
Lumpkin: 9-0 (5-0) Region Champions
Wesleyan: 5-3 (4-1) #2 seed (regardless of outcomes next week)
Gilmer: 6-3 (3-2)
Pickens: 3-6 (2-3)
White County: 4-5 (2-3)
Dawson County: 2-8 (2-4)
West Hall: 1-8 (0-5)
The Dragons, will once again be on the road to finish out the 2023 regular season as they head to Wesleyan to take on the Wolves on Friday, November, 3rd. There will be some scoreboard watching going on that night. A win by the Dragons, plus a win by their friends to the north, Gilmer (play at White County), will put the Dragons into the playoffs. Kick off against Wesleyan is set for 7:30 pm.