Peachtree Corners, Ga — The first Friday of November was a cold one as the Pickens Dragons made the trip down to Peachtree Corners to take on the Wesleyan Wolves for just the second time ever. While the Wolves had the #2 seed out of 7-AAA locked up coming into the game, the Dragons needed a win and some help from their friends from Gilmer to make it into the playoffs. The Wolves, led by ’24 4-star Syracuse commit, Jamie Tremble, were able to pull away and get the win over the Dragons, 42-20.
The Dragons, got the ball first to begin the ball game. After their opening drive stalled, they would be forced to punt. The Wolves, would block the punt and return it to the Dragon 20-yd line. The next play, Wolves QB Ben Brown found Tremble for a 20-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 10:31 left in the first quarter, Wesleyan led Pickens, 7-0. The Dragons, saw some success with their second drive of the game as they drove into Wolves territory.
The Dragons, would go for it on fourth down, but would not be able to convert. The Wolves, would add to their lead on their following possession as Brown would keep it and score from 20 yards out. The PAT was good and with 5:35 left in the first quarter, Wesleyan led Pickens, 14-0. The Dragons, got on the board as Senior QB Sam Streicher found the receiving touchdown leader in 3A, McCord Purdy for a 26-yd touchdown. The PAT from Senior Charlie Gibbons was good and they’d head to the second quarter with Wesleyan leading, 14-7.
The Wolves, who started their latest drive towards the tail end of the first quarter, found the end zone on the second play of the second quarter as Brown found Tremble for a 9-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 11:12 left in the first half, Wesleyan now led, 21-7. The Wolves, added to their lead as Brown tossed the ball to Townes Hardy as Brown was being dragged down for a 2-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 3:55 left in the first half, Wesleyan led 28-7.
The Dragons, found the end zone after Streicher hit Landon Poole with the screen pass and Poole broke several tackles and ran 44-yds for the touchdown. The PAT was no good and the two teams would go into the half with Wesleyan leading, 28-13.
The Wolves, got the ball first to start the second half. Wesleyan would score on their first possession of the second half as Brown found Tremble for a 53-yd touchdown. The PAT was partially blocked, but just still barely made it through. With 11:08 left in the third quarter, the Wolves led the Dragons, 35-13. The Wolves, would add a 35-yd touchdown near the end of the third quarter as Brown hit Carter Hayes. The PAT was good and as they headed to the fourth, Wesleyan led, 42-13.
The lone score in the fourth quarter came from the Dragons as Streicher hit Purdy for a 35-yd touchdown. The PAT was good from Gibbons and that would give us the final score of Wesleyan 42 Pickens 20.
Region 7 matches up with region 6 in the first round of the playoffs. The four teams representing region 7 in the AAA football playoffs will be Lumpkin, Wesleyan, White County, and Gilmer. Lumpkin, will host Gordon Lee, Wesleyan will host Ringgold, White County will travel to Bremen, and Gilmer will travel to Adairsville.
Cleveland, Ga — It was a beautiful night for football on Friday, October, 27th as the Pickens Dragons made their way up to Cleveland to take on the White County Warriors. Coming into the game, the Dragons looked to build off of a nice win over West Hall at home last week. The Warriors, looked to bounce back after a high scoring, 4 overtime affair with Lumpkin. In an action packed, intense, back and forth game, the Dragons came away with the 39-37 win to keep their playoff chances alive.
The Dragons, got the ball first to start the ball game and moved down the field pretty effectively. As the drive looked like it was possibly about to stall, QB Sam Streicher tossed the ball to Landon Poole on a screen play and Poole took it 32 yards for the touchdown. The PAT was blocked and with 8:40 left in the first quarter, Pickens led White County, 6-0. The Warriors, would answer nearly two minutes later as QB Tripp Nix took it in from 15-yds out. The PAT would be good and with 6:41 left in the first quarter, the Warriors led the Dragons, 7-6.
The Warrior defense, then created a turnover on the Dragons next possession as a pass was tipped and intercepted. The Warriors, would cash in on the turnover and score a 1-yd touchdown. The PAT would be blocked and with 5:26 left in the first quarter, White County led Pickens, 13-6. The Dragons, turned to the run game with their next possession as RB Miguel Salto took the handoff and ran 66-yds for the touchdown. The PAT from Charlie Gibbons was good and as they headed to the second quarter, the game would be tied at 13.
The Dragons, began the second quarter by capping off a drive that started towards the end of the first quarter as Streicher found WR McCord Purdy for an 8-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 10:39 left in the first half, Pickens led White County, 20-13. The Dragons, then caught the Warriors by surprise as Gibbons executed a picture perfect onside kick that landed right into Poole’s arms. The defense for White County, was able to get a stop and their offense responded with a drive that led to a 9-yd touchdown run by Nix. The PAT was no good and with 3:52 left in the first half, the Dragons led the Warriors, 20-19.
Just before the end of the half, Streicher connected with Purdy again from 8-yds out for the score. The PAT was good and Pickens went into the break leading White County, 27-19.
The Warriors, got the ball first in the second half looking to cut into the Dragons lead or possibly tie it. RB Ryan Fowler, capped off the drive with a 4-yd touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good and with 8:23 left in the third quarter, the Dragons led the Warriors, 27-25. Later on in the quarter, Streicher found Purdy for the 3rd time as Purdy got in from 7-yds out. The PAT was no good. Going to the fourth quarter, Pickens led White County, 33-25.
Almost three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Warriors scored after the third rushing touchdown from Nix. This one from 5-yds out. White County, tried going for two, but the pass was batted down. With 9:02 left in the game, Pickens held on to a 33-31. The next drive for the Dragons saw WR Hayden Jones come up with some massive catches including a one handed catch.
That incredible catch help set up a 2-yd touchdown run by Streicher. The PAT was no good and with 6:40 left in the game, Pickens led White County, 39-31. The Warriors, once again found the end zone as their guy, Nix, ran it in from 6-yds out for his fourth rushing score of the game. The ensuing 2-point conversion attempt was almost complete, but the ball fell out of the receivers hands as he went to the ground. The Dragons, held onto a 39-37 lead with 3:40 left in the game. The Dragons offense, behind Streicher making a couple of clutch throws to Jones and getting some tough yards with his legs, was able to run out the remaining time and pick up a massive road win, 39-37.
7-AAA Football Standings:
Lumpkin: 9-0 (5-0) Region Champions
Wesleyan: 5-3 (4-1) #2 seed (regardless of outcomes next week)
Gilmer: 6-3 (3-2)
Pickens: 3-6 (2-3)
White County: 4-5 (2-3)
Dawson County: 2-8 (2-4)
West Hall: 1-8 (0-5)
The Dragons, will once again be on the road to finish out the 2023 regular season as they head to Wesleyan to take on the Wolves on Friday, November, 3rd. There will be some scoreboard watching going on that night. A win by the Dragons, plus a win by their friends to the north, Gilmer (play at White County), will put the Dragons into the playoffs. Kick off against Wesleyan is set for 7:30 pm.
Jasper, Ga — It was a nice, cool night on Friday, October 20th as the Pickens Dragons hosted the West Hall Spartans for their final home game of the 2023 season. Both teams were coming into the game on losing skids and still searching for their first region win. The Dragons, would send the Seniors out with a win in their final home game as they pulled out a 35-12 victory.
The Spartans got the ball to start the game. On the first play from scrimmage, QB Brett Sturm pitched it to RB Elijiah Hayes and he took it 85 yards for the touchdown. The PAT attempt hit off the crossbar and with 11:43 left in the first quarter, the Spartans led the Dragons, 6-0. The Dragons, got on the board after a 6-yd touchdown run from RB Miguel Salto. The PAT from Charlie Gibbons was good and with 5:01 left in the first quarter, the Dragons now led the Spartans, 7-6. At the 2:39 mark of the first quarter, the Dragons defense, led by Oscar Rivera, forced and recovered a fumble. Pickens, had possession as they went to the second quarter holding a 7-6 lead.
The only score in the second quarter came after the Dragons took advantage of the fumble recovery and turned it into points as QB Sam Streicher rolled to his right and the lefty threw a nice pass to WR Hayden Jones for a 10-yd touchdown. The PAT from Gibbons was good, and with 10:14 left in the first half, Pickens led West Hall, 14-6. Just before the end of the first half, the Dragons caused another turnover as Landon Poole came down with the INT. Heading into the break, the Dragons led, 14-6.
The Spartans, looked to even things up in the third quarter as Hayes would run it in from 28-yds out for his 2nd score of the day. The 2-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful and with 3:29 left in the third, Pickens led West Hall, 14-12. The Dragons, answered right back after a couple of great catches from Jones and nice runs from Salto set up a 1-yd TD run from Streicher to make it 21-12 Pickens going to the fourth.
The Dragons, would add to their lead at the 7:11 mark of the fourth quarter as Salto powered his way in from 10-yds out for his 2nd TD of the game. The PAT was good and Pickens now led West Hall, 28-12. The Dragons, once again took advantage of turnovers as Ezra Faber picked off the pass attempt and ran it back into Spartan territory. A late hit penalty on the Spartans gave the Dragons even better field position. Streicher, made his way in from a yard out for his 2nd rushing touchdown of the game and 3rd overall. The PAT was good and with 2:25 left in the game, the Dragons were up 35-12. The Pickens defense, would force a turnover on downs during the next possession by the Spartans and the offense ran out the clock as Pickens took this one, 35-12.
7-AAA Football Standings:
Lumpkin: 8-0 (4-0)
Wesleyan: 5-3 (3-1)
Gilmer: 6-3 (3-2)
White County: 4-4 (2-2)
Dawson: 2-7 (2-3)
Pickens: 2-6 (1-3)
West Hall: 1-7 (0-4)
The Dragons, will be back on the road next week as they head to Cleveland, Ga to take on the Warriors of White County on Friday, October 27th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Jasper, Ga — It was a hot night on Friday, August 25th as the Pickens Dragons welcomed the North Murray Mountaineers to Dragons Stadium for a non-region contest. Last season, these two teams met in Chatsworth, where 104 total points were scored between the two teams as the Mountaineers took that one, 54-50. This one, started off slow, but the fourth quarter was action packed as it gets. The Mountaineers, were able to hold off the Dragons at the last second as North Murray got the win, 44-37.
The Dragons, won the toss and elected to receive the opening kick. Driving down the field, the Dragons, got on the board first as RB Miguel Salto ran it in from 18 yards out. The PAT attempt from Charlie Gibbons was blocked and with 8:02 left in the first quarter, the Dragons held a 6-0 lead. The Mountaineers, wasted little time answering as QB Skyler Williams found RB Judson Petty for a 69-yd touchdown pass. Much like the Dragons first PAT attempt, the Mountaineers first PAT attempt was blocked and with 6:54 left in the first quarter, the game was all tied at 6. Gibbons, would give the Dragons the lead with a 22-yd field goal to make it 9-6 Pickens with 2:22 left in the first quarter.
The Dragons would extend their lead just before the end of the first quarter as QB Sam Streicher found WR Landon Poole for a 21-yd touchdown. The PAT from Gibbons was good and as they headed to the second quarter, the Dragons led the Mountaineers, 16-6.
In the second quarter, the Mountaineers got back into the game. A 14-yd field goal from Juan Martinez cut the Dragons lead down to 16-9 with 7:47 left in the first half. Right as the first half was about to end, Willams found Petty from 5-yds out for their second touchdown of the half. The PAT was good and as they hit halftime, Pickens and North Murray were once again tied. This time, at 16 a piece.
In the third quarter, the Mountaineers would take the lead for the first time in the ball game as Williams ran it in from 5 yards out to make it 23-16 North Murray with 9:16 left in the third. The Mountaineers, extended their lead as Williams found Petty, his favorite target, for a 24-yd touchdown. The PAT was good from Martinez and heading to the fourth quarter, North Murray led the Dragons, 30-16.
In the fourth quarter, the Dragons got the scoring started as Salto punched it in from 6 yards out for his second score of the game. The PAT from Gibbons was good and with 10:50 to go in the game, the Dragons cut the Mountaineers lead down to 30-23. North Murray, stretched their lead out to 14 again as Williams and Petty connected for the fourth time after a 32-yd screen pass. With 9:15 left in the fourth, Pickens now trailed 37-23. Streicher, found Hayden Jones streaking down the left sideline and Jones was able to take it to the house for a 69-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and it was now, 37-30 North Murray with 8:18 left.
The Dragons, then set up for an onside attempt as McCord Purdy placed it beautifully and Pickens would recover. After the Dragons drove down field, Streicher, was scrambling around looking for an open receiver and found Senior TE Isaiah Williams for a 6-yd touchdown. The PAT from Gibbons was good and just like that, Pickens and North Murray were tied at 37 with 6:05 left in the game. On their next possession, the Mountaineers would be forced to punt as Gibbons made an impact defensively and took down Williams for the sack. Pickens, needing a big play on a third and long, drew up a TE screen for Williams who barreled his was past the first down marker.
The drive for the Dragons ended up stalling and they would have to punt. During the punt, the Mountaineers fumbled the catch and the Dragons almost came up with it, but North Murray got it back. After a long pass down field to start the drive, the Mountaineers were able to take the lead after a 5-yd TD run by Williams to make it 44-37 with 29 seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, Martinez squibbed it, and Poole had to go pick it up. He proceeded to take the kick all the way back for a touchdown, but a holding penalty was called. Pickens, went for the hook and ladder to try to make something happen, but the Mountaineers were able to hold on to come away with the 44-37 win.
The Dragons, will be back at it next week as they host the Fannin Rebels on Friday, September 1st. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Jasper, Ga — It was a welcome sight for Dragon fans on Friday, September 16th as the Pickens Dragons were at home for the first time during the 2022 season as they welcomed the Christian Heritage Lions for Homecoming, and the final non-region contest. It had been a rough go to start the season for the Dragons as they were on the road against three playoff caliber teams and couldn’t come away with a win. The Lions, came in looking for a win as well as they came in with a 1-2 record. After some back and forth, a late touchdown and interception by the Dragons sealed a 24-22 win.
Christian Heritage, won the toss and elected to differ to the second half. The Dragons, got the ball first and drove down the field to punch it in for the first score of the game. Freshman Landon Poole took the hand off and ran it in from 15 yards out. Pickens went for two, but were unsuccessful in the attempt. With 8:04 left in the first quarter, the Dragons held a 6-0 lead over the Lions. The Dragons added to their lead as Senior Kadyn Hampton punched it in from 4 yards out. The ensuing PAT attempt was blocked and with 2:08 left in the opening quarter, Pickens led Christian Heritage, 12-0.
The Lions answered with a screen pass from Sophomore Carter Triplett to Senior Eli Thomason went 55 yards for the score. The PAT was good and as we headed to the second quarter, the Dragons led Christian Heritage, 12-7.
The next drive for Pickens started as the first quarter was coming to an end. As the second quarter began, the Dragons faced a third down just inside Lion territory. The Dragons were able to convert, and end up scoring on the drive as Junior Sam Streicher found Junior Marcus Pike in the corner of the end zone for a 13-yd touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good and with 11:10 left in the first half, Pickens led Christian Heritage, 18-7. AS time expired in the first half, the Lions hit a 39-yd field goal to cut the Dragons lead down to 18-10 as we headed to the break.
The third quarter was dominated by defense as both teams kept the offenses out of the end zone. Both teams had opportunities, but could not score. Going to the fourth quarter, Pickens still led Christian Heritage, 18-10.
In the fourth quarter, the scoring would resume. The Lions, got in on a 9-yd touchdown run by Sophomore Jaylon Gay. The 2-point conversion to try to tie the game was no good, and with 8:11 left in the game, the Dragons were clinging to an 18-16 lead. Christian Heritage took the lead for the first time after a 45-yd touchdown pass from Triplett to Senior Braden Koneman. Once again, the 2-point try would be unsuccessful, and with 5:08 left in the game, it was the Lions that held a 22-18 lead. Down, but not out, the Dragons offense took the field looking to send the Dragon faithful home happy. After a hold was called on the Lions, Streicher found Junior Isaiah Williams, who ripped the ball away from a defender, at the 50-yd line for a big gain.
Faced with fourth and long and the game on the line, Streicher, again made a big time throw as he connected with Senior Mason Powell, who made a fantastic sliding grab for the first down. Streicher then found Senior Colby Brooks on the screen pass and Brooks took it to the 7-yd line. Streicher, then kept it himself and got into the end zone from 7 yards out to give the Dragons the lead. The PAT was blocked, and with 47 seconds left in the ball game, Pickens led Christian Heritage, 24-22. The Lions, still had time on the clock to try to make a comeback as well. After getting near midfield, Christian Heritage had one last shot. The final pass was intercepted by Junior Mason Stanfield to end the ball game and give the Dragons a 24-22 win.
With the win, the Dragons finish off the non-region portion of their schedule at 1-3. With the non-region schedule done, the Dragons will now turn their focus to 7-AAA play next week. The Dragons will kick off region play as they travel to Dahlonega to take on the Lumpkin County Indians, who have been one of the surprise teams early on, have started the season 4-0. This will be the 39th all time meeting and the first meeting between the two schools since 2009. The Indians currently have a 3-game win streak against the Dragons. Pickens last win against the Indians came on the road in 2006. The Dragons lead the all time series 19-18-1. Kick off is set for 7:30.