Defense Powers Dragons Past Ridgeland In Region Opener

Team FYN Sports

Last night, the Pickens Dragons football team made the long trip to Rossville, Ga to take on the Ridgeland Panthers in the opening game of 7-AAAA play for both teams. Last year, the Panthers won a back and forth game inside Dragons Stadium and in the last three meetings, were 2-1 against Pickens. The Dragons looked to turn that around in this one.

 

The Dragons received the opening kickoff and Caleb Brooks nearly took it back as he set up the offense with good field position at the Panther 28-yd line after a 53-yd return. During the opening drive, Marcus Byrd completed two passes to Hunter Golden for 13 yards, then stretched across the goal line after a 7-yd run putting the Dragons up 7-0 with 10:39 left in the 1st quarter. After the Pickens defense forced and recovered a fumble, the offense looked to add to the lead. However, a tipped pass was taken by the Ridgeland defense all the way to the end zone to tie things up at 7 with 8:37 to go in the quarter.

 

Chris Pittman found pay dirt from 6-yds out for his 6th rushing touchdown of the year giving Dragons the lead back 14-7 as we headed to the 2nd quarter. Defense dominated the 2nd quarter as both teams only managed field goals in the frame. Ty Chastain tacked on 3 from 37-yds out at the 10:32 mark giving Pickens a 17-7 lead. The Panthers got their field goal as time expired in the first half giving us a 17-10 score as we went to the break.

 

The third quarter was controlled by defense as neither team was able to get points of any kind. Plenty of excitement still remained as the 4th and final quarter of play rolled around with the Dragons still leading it, 17-10. Ridgeland, using their running game, got down to the goal line of Pickens looking to tie things up late in the game. The Dragons defense held strong and stuffed the Panthers at the 1-yd line. Pickens punted it back to Ridgeland, and had one last shot to send this one into overtime. With under 20 seconds left, the Panthers pass was picked of by Avery Luke to seal the win for the Dragons 17-10.

 

For the game Pickens had 9 1st downs, went 4/11 on 3rd down, & 1/2 on 4th down. Dragons finished with 196 total yards on offense on 47 plays, including 180 yards rushing. The Pickens defense, along with 2 takeaways, stopped the Ridgeland offense on several key drives.

 

C. Pittman led the Dragons in rushing with 81 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown while Byrd added 40 yards on the ground on 10 carries and a touchdown

 

Dillin Eilers led Pickens in tackles with 18 total tackles with 6 solo and 12 assists, Kyle West added 16 total tackles with 12 solo tackles and 4 assists, & Avery Luke chipped in 10 total tackles with 6 solo, 4 assists, & the game preserving INT

Byrd punted it 4 times for 175 yards with a 43.8 yard average

Brooks added 59 yards in return yardage including the 53-yd return on the opening kickoff

Chastain went 2/2 on PAT’s and hit a field goal for 37-yds

With the win, the Dragons now improve to 4-0 on the season and now find themselves in a three-way tie with Cartersville and Heritage for the top spot in the region standings at 1-0. Next week, Pickens will make the trip up to Tunnel Hill, Ga to take on the Bruins of Northwest Whitfield. The Bruins are 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in region play after an early season loss to Southeast Whitfield 21-12 and shutting out LaFayette 24-0 last night.

 

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