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.