This past Friday, the PHS varsity football team host the Purple Hurricanes of Cartersville in what was the 7-AAAA Region Championship game. Cartersville came in ranked anywhere from 1-3 in different polls and undefeated on the season at 9-0 with a 6-0 region record. Pickens came in winners of 4 straight, undefeated at home on the season, 8-1 overall, & 5-1 in region play. The Dragons had a little extra motivation as the seniors were recognized for Senior Night prior to the game beginning.
Cartersville won the toss and elected to receive. Pickens held the high powered Purple Hurricane offense and gave the Dragon offense a chance at the first points. The Cartersville defense held the Pickens offense as both defenses came to play early. The Purple Hurricanes got on the board at the 7:51 mark after a 49-yd run by Trey Creamer to make it 7-0. Both teams went back and forth for the rest of the quarter, but no points could be found and we’d head to the 2nd quarter with Cartersville leading 7-0.
It was a defensive battle in the 2nd quarter as both teams showed why they have been two of the top defenses in the region all year long. Creamer again found the end zone after a 19-yd run at the 3:06 mark making it 14-0. 14-0 would be our halftime score as we went into the break. Cartersville added to their lead in the 3rd with a 50-yd run by Creamer at the 9:43 mark & a 10-yd passing td from Trevor Lawrence to Creamer at the 1:18 mark giving the Purple Hurricanes a 28-0 lead going to the 4th and final quarter.
Lawrence connected on another td pass at the 7:46 mark in the 4th to make it 35-0 Cartersville. The Dragons got down to the red zone late in the quarter but an intercepted pass in the end zone stopped the Pickens drive & the Purple Hurricanes ran out the clock to take this one, 35-0. With the win, Cartersville wins the 7-AAAA Region Championship and will go into the playoffs as the #1 seed with a 10-0 record. The Dragons finish the regular season with their 2nd straight 8-2 regular season and will be the 7-AAAA #3 seed and travel to Atlanta to take on the 6-AAAA #2 seeded Marist War Eagles.
In what was a tough game offensively for Pickens, the Dragons finished with 8 1st downs, 2/13 on 3rd down, & 0/2 on 4th down, had 181 total yards on 55 plays, 113 yards rushing on 40 total carries, & 68 yards passing on 15 attempts.
Marcus Byrd finished the night 2/6 for 32 yards & Jacob Brumby went 4/9 for 36 yards
Byrd led the Dragons in rushing with 33 yards on 9 carries followed by Chris Pittman with 28 yards on 10 carries, Brumby finished with 24 yards on 6 carries, & Dillon Gasaway ended the night with 17 yards on 9 carries
Walker Lawrence led the Dragons in receiving with 22 yards on 2 catches, followed by Cortlin Norton with 17 yards on 1 catch, & Jacob Pair finished with 1 catch for 15 yards
The Dragons defense 3 TFL, forced & recovered a fumble, broke up 3 passes, & Dillin Eilers & Nick Southern combined for a sack
Ricky Klimbal & Avery Luke led the Dragons with 6 total tackles. Luke finished with 5 solo & 1 assist, & a fumble recovery, while Klimbal had 4 solo and 2 assists, Eilers finished with 5 total tackles, 4 solo, 1 assist, 1.5 TFL, & a 1/2 sack, & Dalton Gasaway ended the night with 5 total tackles, 4 solo, & 1 assist
Byrd punted 8 times for 337 yards, a 42 yard average, a long of 54 yards, & landed 2 inside the 20-yd line
Pickens will be taking on 8-2 Marist next week in the 1st round of the 4A state playoffs. This will be the 1st meeting between the two schools. Marist is ranked in the top 10 in 4A in some polls. Pickens will be looking for their first playoff win in school history.