Jasper, Ga — The Pickens Dragons began their 2023 campaign on Friday, August 18th as they welcomed the Sonoraville Phoenix to Dragon Stadium. The Dragons also recognized their Seniors on the football team and cheerleading squad before the ball game. Behind a great offensive showing and a physical defensive outing, the Dragons came away with an impressive 38-21 win over the Phoenix.
The Dragons won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. During their first drive of the season, the Dragons used a good mix of the run and pass game as they drove down the field 80 yards and capped off the drive with a 1-yd touchdown run by Senior Miguel Salto. The PAT from Senior Charlie Gibbons was good and with 8:30 left in the first quarter, the Dragons led the Phoenix, 7-0. The Phoenix wasted little time answering as a quick 3-play drive saw QB Jaxson Pate find Keegan Townsend for a 69-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and we were all tied at 7.
The Dragons had an answer of their own as Senior QB Sam Streicher found Sophomore WR McCord Purdy in the right corner of the end zone for an 18-yd touchdown. The PAT was once again successful and the Dragons retook the lead, 14-7.
We head to the second quarter now as the Dragons would extend their lead as Junior RB Canaan Denson punched it in from 1-yd out to make 21-7 with 8:57 left in the first half. The final score of the first half came when the Phoenix got their own 1-yd touchdown run from Ty Brown to cut the Dragons lead in half, 21-14.
Halfway through the third quarter, Streicher found Sophomore WR Hayden Jones in the left corner of the end zone for a 22-yd touchdown. With the PAT, the Dragons now led Sonoraville 28-14 with 6:06 left in the third. The Phoenix once again cut it to a one score game as Pate had to chase down a high snap and run around a bit until he found Langston Butler in the left corner of the end zone to make it 28-21 Pickens as they headed to the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Dragons defense came up big as a big sack on Pate led to a fumble recovery by Sophomore Jacob Watkins, who took it 40 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-21. On the next series for the Phoenix, the Dragons defense again came away with a turnover as Junior Oscar Rivera recovered the fumble to give Pickens the ball right back. That drive ended with Gibbons connecting on a 27-yd field goal to make it 38-21. The Dragons, open the season with a 38-21 victory.
The Dragons will be back in action next Friday as they welcome the North Murray Mountaineers to Jasper. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Oakwood, Ga — After a big win last week against their rivals, the Gilmer Bobcats, the Pickens Dragons looked to continue that momentum as they traveled to take on the West Hall Spartans. This was the first regular season game between the two teams since 2009. With a win and some help, the Dragons would find themselves tied for 3rd in the region standings with Wesleyan, who was on their bye week. At times it wasn’t pretty, but the Dragons did their part and defeated the Spartans, 29-7.
The Spartans, won the coin toss and differed to the second half, giving the Dragons offense first crack at points. Pickens, got a big down field play in their first possession as Sam Streicher found Colby Brooks on the screen play and Brooks was able to pick up big yardage. The Dragons, struck first as Canaan Denson powered his way for a 14-yd touchdown run. Pickens, went for a 2-point conversion, but it was unsuccessful. With 8:21 left in the first quarter, the Dragons led the Spartans, 6-0. As the first quarter came to an end, Pickens looked to add to their lead. West Hall, held the Dragons at the goal line on fourth down as time expired in the opening quarter. Going to the Second, Pickens led the Spartans, 6-0.
Early in the second quarter, with West Hall backed up on what looked like their 1-inch line, the Dragons were able to force a safety. With 10:44 left in the first half, Pickens led the Spartans, 8-0. There was a bit of back and forth between the two teams during the second quarter with both sides receiving penalties. Going into the half, the Dragons maintained an 8-0 lead over West Hall.
Almost midway through the third quarter, Pickens added to their lead as Kadyn Hampton scored an 8-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 6:27 left in the third, the Dragons led the Spartans, 15-0. Later on in the quarter, Hampton again found the end zone as he bullied his way to a 1-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 3:09 left in the third, Pickens led West Hall, 22-0. That 22-0 score held up till the end of the third and we’d head to the fourth.
A couple minutes into the fourth quarter, the Spartans got on the board with a 54-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 9:56 left in the game, the Dragons led West Hall, 22-7. A minute and 33 seconds later, Pickens got the touchdown back as Hampton found pay dirt for the third time in the second half with a 5-yd run. The PAT was good and with 8:23 left in the game, the Dragons led the Spartans, 29-7. That score would serve as the final score as the Dragons win their second straight game.
7-AAA Football Standings:
Dawson: 7-2 (5-0)
Lumpkin: 7-1 (4-1)
Pickens: 3-5 (2-2)
Wesleyan: 3-5 (2-2)
Gilmer: 5-4 (2-3)
White County: 3-5 (1-3)
West Hall: 1-7 (0-4)
The Dragons, will be back home next week as the host the White County Warriors in what can only be seen as a big game for both. A win for the Dragons, keeps them in the hunt for the playoffs. A win for the Warriors, gives them still an outside shot at making it. Kickoff set for 7:30 pm.
Chatsworth, Ga — It was a first time match up on Friday, August 26th as the Pickens Dragons took to the road for the second straight week as they battled the North Murray Mountaineers. Both teams came into this game looking to bounce back after tough losses to open the season as the Dragons fell to Sonoraville 27-15, and the Mountaineers fell to Dalton, 49-27. In this one, it seemed like if you blinked you missed another big play or touchdown. It came down to the final seconds as North Murray came away with a 54-50 victory.
In the first quarter, the Dragons got the ball to begin the game. As the Dragons were driving, the Mountaineers forced and recovered a fumble around mid-field. North Murray cashed in on that turnover and scored on a 5-yd touchdown run. The PAT was no good and with 8:11 left in the first quarter, the Mountaineers held a 6-0 lead. Pickens, came back out on offense, looking to answer. Answer they did as Sam Streicher found Marcus Pike streaking down the near sideline for a 57-yd touchdown. The PAT was successful and the Dragons took a 7-6 lead with 7 minutes left in the first quarter. The Mountaineers, came back with a 4-yd TD run by QB Seth Griffin. The PAT was good and North Murray took a 13-7 lead going to the 2nd quarter.
Early on in the second quarter, the Dragons finished off a scoring drive with a 9-yd TD run from Canaan Denson. The PAT was no good, and with 11:34 left in the first half, the ball game was all square at 13. The Mountaineers, countered with a second rushing touchdown from Griffin. This one from 13 yards out. The PAT was good an North Murray retook the lead, 20-13 with 7:55 left in the first half. Pickens, needed just 2 minutes and 39 seconds of game time to get into the end zone as Mason Powell ran in for a 6-yd TD. The Dragons, then went for 2 and converted it to take a 21-20 lead with 5:16 left in the first half.
The Mountaineers, retook the lead on a 29-yd TD run that needed 81 seconds of game time. North Murray, went for the 2-point conversion attempt but was unsuccessful. With 4:35 left in the first half, the Mountaineers led, 26-21. The Dragons, got back into the end zone after a 39-yd TD pass from Streicher to Powell. The 2-point try was good and Pickens retook the lead, 29-26, with 1:12 left in the first half. North Murray, went hurry up in the final minute of the first half and got in with a 7-yd TD pass. The PAT was good, and the Mountaineers took a 33-29 lead over Pickens going to the half.
The scoring definitely didn’t slow down in the second half. North Murray added to their lead after a 37-yd screen pass that went for a touchdown. The PAT was good and with 9:20 left in the third quarter, the Mountaineers took a 40-29 lead. The Dragons, looked to get back into the game as Powell plowed in for a 1-yd touchdown. His third total touchdown of the game. Pickens went for 2, but the attempt was unsuccessful. With 6:46 left in the 3rd, North Murray held a 40-35 lead. On the next Mountaineer possession, they ran a pitch play that had been successful for them prior, but the Dragons blew the play up and Kadyn Hampton recovered the fumble and took it into Mountaineer territory. Pickens cashed in on the turnover after a screen pass from Streicher to Isaiah Williams went for a 21-yd touchdown. The 2-point try was successful and with 4:46 left in the third, the Dragons retook the lead, 43-40.
After getting another stop on defense, Pickens extended their lead after Streicher found Hampton and he took the screen pass 66 yards for the score. The PAT was good and the Dragons would take a 50-40 lead over North Murray heading to the fourth quarter.
At the 9:32 mark in the fourth quarter, Griffin found the end zone for his fourth rushing touchdown of the game to cut the Pickens lead down to 50-47. Both teams had chances throughout the final quarter, but neither offense could quite break through. The Mountaineers, got into the end zone after a 24-yd TD pass. The PAT was good, and with 55 seconds left in the game, North Murray regained the lead, 54-50. The Dragons, had 55 seconds and all three timeouts to work with. The ensuing kickoff by the Mountaineers would go out of bounds and Pickens would take over at their 35-yd line. After a couple of runs and a big play to Pike, the Dragons were set up inside North Murray territory. With the seconds dwindling, Streicher heaved the ball towards the end zone, but it was batted down and the Mountaineers came away with the 54-50 win.
The Dragons, will look to rebound after a tough couple of weeks as they will again be on the road when they head to Blue Ridge to take on the Fannin Rebels for the first time since 2011. Both teams will be looking for their first win of the 2022 season and it is surely to be an exciting one between these two 515 schools. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm on September 2nd.