Week three of the GHSA football season is already here, and it’s looking like it could be the best week yet as we are looking at a nice cool 73 degrees at the start of kickoff in the North Georgia Mountains, a far cry from the Heat advisory weather we were having last Friday night.
Almost all of our local area teams will line it up tomorrow night, and some will line up across from each other as the likes of Fannin and Pickens and Union and Towns will look to etch another chapter in their rivalry books.
In this article, we will take a look at a couple of our favorite games coming up tomorrow night and give our own analysis/preview what we think should happen come 7:30pm.
TOWNS COUNTY @ UNION COUNTY (Union 49 Towns 7)
After a scorching start to the season with a blowout win over Fannin County in game 1, Union County is looking to bounce back from last week’s loss vs Lumpkin County, and they’ve got a good matchup to do just that. The 0-2 Towns County Indians will make the short ride over to Blairsville to face a Panthers team that is eager to put last week behind them, and I am afraid this one could get out of hand quickly. While Towns County has some great athletes in the likes of Conner Chastain, Julian Mosley, and Grayson Youngblood, the Indian’s line play will not be up-to-snuff against the Panthers run-and-gun offense. This could be another game where we see Union put up 50+ points.
GILMER @ MURRAY CO. (Gilmer 35 Murray 14)
I have seen some people predict that this could be the upset of the week as Murray County comes into this game as huge underdogs, but I am here to tell you that is not the case. Gilmer is going to come into Murray County and control the line of scrimmage and bounce back from last weeks loss to Fannin County. Hopefully we will see another great showing from Wyatt Stokes on the ground, as well as see some of the younger kids in Bubba Callihan and Peyton Chancey get a couple more opportunities to tote the rock. Gilmer should win this one easily by 3 scores.
LUMPKIN CO. VS FRANKLIN (Lumpkin 42 Franklin 14)
Another blowout game on the docket for week 3, Lumpkin should take care of Franklin County without breaking a sweat. Even though the game is in Carnesville this year, Franklin just doesn’t have the athletes to compete against with the Indians who I am predicting will be Region 7AAA champs at the end of the season. Look for Mason Sullens success on the ground to continue in this one, as I don’t see the Indians having any reason to put the ball in the air.
FANNIN CO. @ PICKENS CO. (Pickens 35 Fannin 28)
This is a put-up or shut-up year for the Pickens Dragons with all of the experience they have returning and being able to catch Fannin at home while the Rebels are in a rebuilding year After the Dragons were embarrassed at Rebel stadium last season, I would venture to guess that head coach Grant Myers and Co. are itching for this rematch at in Jasper. Pickens comes into the game as a 2-point favorite according to the computers, and I think we very well could see a game that comes down to 2 or 3 points. Pickens has the offense and Fannin has the defense, so it’s going to come down to who wants it more. If Pickens can play their game and not allow Fannin to hold onto the football for extended drives, then I think Pickens should be in a position to win this one come crunch time in the 4th quarter. Home-field advantage means everything in these rivalry games, and Fannin has too many holes offensively to keep up the scoring pace the Dragons will set. Add that in with the experience Sam Streicher and the Dragons have, and I’ve got the Green over the Blue by 7.
Jasper, Ga — The Pickens Dragons are just 12 days away from taking the field against the Rockmart Yellow Jackets in their second scrimmage in preparation for the 2022 season. The Dragons, are in a new region this year as we discussed in a prior article. While the Dragons are in a new region and new classification, the teams they are going up against are very familiar.
The 2021 Dragons went 4-5 overall and 1-4 in 7-AAAA. Despite that, they were just a game out of reaching the playoffs in a very competitive region. The Dragons, had a young, competitive bunch last season and with another year of experience under their belt, that bunch looks to take the next step in 2022.
The Dragons, return a vast majority of their players from the 2021 season. Returning under center is Sam Streicher. While he did battle the injury bug late in the season, Streicher finished 2021 with 1,353 yards and 13 touchdowns. He added 155 yards and 1 touchdown rushing. The leading receiver, Marcus Pike, is also back. Pike, finished with 668 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Dragons, also have their third leading receiver Isaiah Williams and their fourth leading receiver Colby Brooks back as well. The Dragons, will also have their leading rusher, Miguel Salto back toting the rock.
Defensively, the Dragons return their leading tackler from last season, Kadyn Hampton. Hampton, racked up 112 total tackles in 2021 recording 12.4 tackles per game and 12 tackles for loss. Also back, the Dragons second leading tackler, Kaleb Nicholson. Nicholson, recorded 64 tackles last season from the defensive line averaging 7 tackles per game. He also had 10 tackles for loss. The Dragons will also return Kaleb Taylor, Trevor Morgan, and Mason Powell on the defensive side.
As mentioned earlier, the Dragons will take on the Rockmart Yellow Jackets on Friday, August 12th at Dragons Stadium in the final tune up before the 2022 season. The Yellow Jackets, have been a very consistent, very good team for a while and have several athletes on both sides of the ball. It will be a good test in the fall scrimmage for the Dragons. Right out of the gate to start the regular season, the Dragons will head to Sonoraville to take on the Phoenix. The Phoenix, took the place of the Dragons in 7-AAAA and they have the tools to potentially make a run in 7-AAAA. What a way to open the year. From there, the Dragons travel to Murray County to take on North Murray and their really athletic bunch. The Dragons will log more miles after that as they head to Blue Ridge to take on the 2x defending region champion Fannin Rebels.
After a bye week, the Dragons finally have their home opener as they host Christian Heritage. Another team with some up and coming players that will be a good test for the Dragons. The Dragons will then get into region play in 7-AAA. With away games at Lumpkin, Dawson, and West Hall and big home games against Gilmer, White County, and Wesleyan. The Dragons have in total, 6 away games and 4 home games on the schedule. There is no easy game on this schedule either. I’m willing to bet, that’s how head coach Grant Myers and the Dragons want it.
With the Dragons returning many from last season’s team, they do also have some holes to fill. Kaleb Nicholson and Kaleb Taylor will sub in on the offensive line, Kadyn Hampton and Mason Powell will join Salto in the backfield. We saw during the spring scrimmage, Hampton moved from the linebacker spot to the secondary. With the Sanchez brothers, Jose and Juan moving on after graduation, the Dragons will have to see who can and will take over the kicking duties.
Then there’s the young guys. If you’ve seen the youth football scene in Pickens County the last several years, you know that a very talented group are heading into their freshman year. If you don’t know about them yet, you will soon enough. Will any of these promising players make an impact during the 2022 season? Time will tell. The immediate future is promising for the Dragons.
The Dragons are looking to get back into the playoffs and moving into a new region I believe helps that. With their non-region schedule the way it is, I firmly believe it will help them get ready for the grind that is region football. I see the Dragons making the playoffs, and possibly contending for a home playoff spot.
There is no short selling how difficult the Dragons non-region schedule is. Quite frankly I believe it is one of the tougher non-region schedules in the area. Three of the four games are on the road and all of the teams have legit chances to make the playoffs. Their schedule as a whole will be challenging in its own way. I think if the Dragons can manage a 2-2 record heading into the region portion of their schedule, they will be in a good spot. Final prediction: 7-3.
Just here to spark a little bit of fun debate during the off-season! Our writers blind voted on their favorite stadiums in our viewing area, and these were the results. I’m sure everyone will have their own opinion, so let us hear your opinions and what we got wrong!
Each stadium write up is written by a member of the schools community.
1. Fannin County High School
Fannin County High School Football Stadium comes in at #1 on our FYN Sports Top Football Stadium in our Coverage Area.
Although the stadium has no nickname, it is often been referred to in the past as “The Battlefield”
Fannin County may have the best entrance in all of Georgia. The Rebels walk out of their locker-room directly to a gigantic blow up Fannin County Football Helmet. Coach Cheatham usually is the 1st one to break open the facemask on the helmet and the Fannin County Football team walks onto the field with arms locked. The cannon fires, the smoke rises, music blares, lights go out and then flash from pole to pole. It is a striking entrance and one that every High School Football fan needs to see.
Yes, we mentioned a Cannon. And yes, it does fire. Every time Fannin County enters the stadium and scores a Touchdown the Cannon is shot and is heard throughout the town of Blue Ridge. Yes, we mentioned Lights cutting off and flashing. Every time a Touchdown is scored Fannin County’s LED Light system will flash from pole to pole igniting the roar of the Fannin County 12th man.
Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is played and PA Announcer Tim Towe famous “ITS 3rd DOWN” sparks the Rebel Nation to make noise on 3rd Down.
I think if you witnessed a game here during Fannin County’s magical season last season you would agree with our choice.
The Stadium is a true 12th man Atmosphere. Powered by everything we have mentioned and the award winning Fannin County High School Marching band, the cheerleaders and “The Blue Crew” ( Student Section) Fannin County is our choice for Top Stadium in our coverage area.
2. Murphy High School
David Gentry Field at Bob Hedrix memorial stadium is nothing short of picturesque. The location of the stadium is one of it’s best qualities, being right off the road and allowing passers by to honk their car horns and cheer on the Dogs, whether that be on Friday night or Tuesday afternoon at practice. Watching the team walk down the hill at 7:27 on Friday night just before kickoff is electric. The sun setting behind the visiting bleachers on a crisp fall evening is really something to behold. Dont even get me started on the sheer history of what’s been accomplished on that field. 10 state championship teams have played under those lights, and for the past 40 years, perhaps the greatest High School football coach of all time has coached on that sideline. Add to that JR Carrol shouting “1st and 10 Bulldogs” over the speakers, you’ve got a recipe for one of the greatest high school football atmospheres in the country.
They don’t call it “BULLDOG COUNTRY” for nothin’.
Former Dogs Head Coach & Hall of Famer David Gentry said, “There’s no better high than the one you get on Friday nights in Murphy between the hours of 7:30 & 9:30. That feeling you get for those two hours, it’s unattainable anywhere else.”
3. Robbinsville High School
Robbinsville’s Big Oaks Stadium is a rethink-your-ranking kind of stadium. A truly historical field, it has hosted the home games of over 50 years of Black Knight football teams without ever being moved to a new location. The stadium is also directly adjacent to the original “old rock” schoolhouse of the 1900s.
The field is not the only piece of historical significance—the players themselves, often generational descendants of fellow state champions, give the Friday Night aesthetic of a Robbinsville Black Knights’ football game the aura of dominance. These boys know the magnitude of what they are playing for.
With 14 State Titles earned on its grass, the Big Oaks guarantees you a night of knock-down and drag-out, old-fashioned football, complete with rows of aged-oak trees, and a sunset view over its Smoky Mountain backdrop. Being the true embodiment of the AC/DC rock hit—Back In Black—the Big Oaks Stadium is THE must see stop of any stadium tour.
4. Union County High School
We look to Union County’s Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium a.k.a “The Mike.” There are many great high school football venues; not many, however, pack a 1-2 punch with a beautiful view and electric atmosphere like this one.
This venue offers a beautiful turf field and an even more astounding view of the crisp Blue Ridge Mountains. Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium is one that you’ll never forget, one that provides a bit of everything you could ever want on a Friday night underneath the lights!
5. Pickens County High School
The GHSA has reported that over 600 players and coaches have tested positive for COVID since voluntary workouts began on June 8th.
The Georgia High School Association sent out and email on Tuesday, where they confirmed that they have had a reported 655 positive tests, including over 1,000 screen outs. Screen outs are when a player or coach is held out of practice due to a high temperature check or health questionnaire.
Several local area teams have stopped and started workouts since the June 8th restart, due to complications with the virus.
These numbers that he GHSA has released are not entirely accurate, as the GHSA does not require positive tests to be reported to the association, however it is encouraged so that the data can be compiled and used in the decision making process.
“The data is aggregate and for decision-making purposes,” GHSA associate director Don Corr said in Tuesdays email. “It is our belief that this data is incomplete and varies due to individual infectious disease plans formulated by each member school.”
6 GHSA teams have reported to the GHSA that they are shutting down their practice’s this week. There could be more since the GHSA also does not require practice activity to be reported either. The teams that are not practicing currently are Morgan County, Putnam County, Greene County, Social Circle and Lincoln County in east and central Georgia and Lakeside in DeKalb County.
Each school district has their own protocol in dealing with the positive coronavirus cases, as the GHSA has decided to give the power to the schools instead of setting a governing body of rules.