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.
Dalton, Ga — After having last week off, the Pickens Dragons were back on the field on Friday, September 15th as they took to the road for the first time during the 2023 season as they faced the Christian Heritage Lions in the final tune up before region play begins. An interesting part with these two teams playing is the head coach of the Lions, Frank Barden, used to coach the Dragons from 94-95. This was just the second ever meeting between these two schools in football as the Dragons came away with a 24-22 win in Jasper last year. This year, it was the Lions coming away with the win as they were able to hold onto a 29-24 victory.
The Dragons, much like they’ve done throughout the season so far, won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. Pickens, couldn’t get anything on their opening drive, and had to punt it away to the Lions. The Lions, saw their first possession of the game stall out as well and they would have to punt it back to the Dragons. It wasn’t until the 2:36 mark of the opening quarter when we saw the first points being scored as the Lions connected on an 8-yd touchdown pass. The snap on the PAT attempt was high, but it helped the Lions pick up a 2-point conversion to make it8-0. The Dragons, wasted little time answering as McCord Purdy took the ensuing kickoff back 80+ yards for the touchdown. The PAT attempt would be blocked and as they headed to the second quarter, the Lions led the Dragons, 8-6.
Scoring in the second quarter was hard to come by for both teams as Christian Heritage would add to their lead with a 4-yd touchdown pass. The PAT attempt was good and with 4:12 remaining in the first half, the Lions now led the Dragons, 15-6. The Dragons, were then able to sustain their first big offensive drive of the game and answer with points of their own as Miguel Salto, with a little help from his buddies up front on the offensive line, powered in for a 7-yd touchdown run. Pickens, then went for two to try to make it a 1-point game, but they were stopped short and with 1:18 left in the first half, the Lions lead was cut down to 15-12. After getting a stop on defense, the Dragons had a chance to tie or take the lead late in the first half. After picking up one first down, Sam Streicher’s pass into the end zone as time expired would be tipped away and as they went into the half, Christian Heritage led Pickens, 15-12.
There was not a lot of scoring in the third quarter for both teams, but the lone points in the quarter came from the Lions as they were able to score on a 54-yd touchdown on a screen pass. The PAT would be good and as they headed into the fourth quarter, Christian Heritage held a 22-12 lead over Pickens.
In the fourth quarter, the Lions added to their lead as their QB Carter Triplett scrambled for a 22-yd touchdown to make it 29-12 Lions with 10:09 left in the ball game. The Dragons, were able to cut into the lead as Streicher found Purdy for a 7-yd touchdown. The PAT attempt was no good and with 8:38 left in the game, the Lions now led the Dragons, 29-18. The Dragons, after getting a stop, looked to again cut into the lead. On fourth down, the Dragons Streicher rolled to his left, and his pass would be tipped by a Lions defender right into the waiting arms of Ezra Faber, who took it the rest of the way for a 44-yd touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good and with 1:54 left in the game the Lions lead was down to 29-24. The Dragons, then went for the onside kick attempt and nearly came up with it, but the Lions were able to fall on it. Christian Heritage would then run out the clock to get the win, 29-24.
After a tough stretch to end their non-region schedule, the Dragons will now turn to 7-AAA play as they will host a team in who many believe are the region favorites, the Lumpkin County Indians next Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
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 — 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.
Jasper, GA — It was the last regular season home game of the 2022 season as the Pickens Dragons welcomed the Wesleyan Wolves to Jasper for Senior Night. It was a first time ever meeting between these two teams, who had a lot to play for. A win for either team would secure the #3 seed in the upcoming State playoffs. In a game that was pretty much back and forth throughout, it was the Dragons that came up clutch to pick up the 20-13 win and the 3rd seed out of 7-AAA.
The Dragons, won the toss and elected to differ to the second half. The first possession for Wesleyan did not last very long as Senior Jack Flatt made a great play on the first pass attempt by the Wolves to get the interception. The first drive for the Dragons stalled as they were unable to capitalize on the turnover. Fortunately for Pickens, the defense came up with another interception on Wesleyan’s next possession as Senior Colby Brooks got in front of the receiver and took it to the Wolves 15-yd line. Miguel Salto ended the drive after one play as he took it in for a 15-yd touchdown. The PAT was no good and with 7:52 left in the first quarter, the Dragons led the Wolves, 6-0. Wesleyan, scored their first points of the game at the 3:55 mark of the first quarter after a 25-yd touchdown pass. Their PAT was successful and the Wolves now led Pickens, 7-6, as we headed to the second quarter.
In the second quarter, the Dragons defense was up to it again as a high snap caused a timing issue for the Wolves and led to a fumble recovery for Pickens. The Dragons, cashed in on the Wolves third turnover of the game as Salto found the end zone from a yard out for his second score of the game. The PAT was again missed and Pickens would go into the break leading Wesleyan, 12-7.
With no scoring in the third quarter, we’ll pick it up in the fourth. Wesleyan got down to the Dragon 1-yd line after a big pass and catch connection by the Wolves. To their credit, the defense for Pickens, still holding on to a 12-7 lead, held Wesleyan to a 20-yd field goal that made it 12-10 Dragons with 10:23 left in the ball game. Later on in the quarter, Pickens held the Wolves again to a field goal attempt. This one, from 36 yards out. Wesleyan also connected with that kick to retake the lead, 13-12 with 3:58 left in the game.
Trailing with time running down, this Dragons team, especially the Dragon team we’ve seen as of late, was not rattled. Hoping to engineer a potential game winning drive, Juniors Sam Streicher and Marcus Pike got their connection going. Streicher looked for Pike down the sideline, which drew the flag and set up the Dragons at the Wesleyan 9-yd line. Riding the hot hand, Streicher, connected with Pike in the corner of the end zone for a 9-yd touchdown. Pickens then made the decision to go for two to try to make it a 7 point game. They did just that as Streicher found Gabe Neil, who made an incredible one handed grab with a Wolves defender wrapped around him for the 2-point conversion.
With 1:03 left in the game, it was Wesleyan’s turn to try to come up with some magic of their own. Having just gotten over into Dragon territory with just around 20 seconds left, the Wolves threw a deep pass that was picked off by Mason Stanfield. That interception, sealed the Dragons fourth consecutive win, and the #3 seed out of 7-AAA.
Final 7-AAA Standings:
Dawson: 8-2 (6-0) Region Champion #1 seed
Lumpkin: 8-2 (5-1) #2 seed
Pickens: 5-5 (4-2) #3 seed
Wesleyan: 4-6 (3-3) #4 seed
White County: 4-6 (2-4)
Gilmer: 5-5 (2-4)
West Hall: 1-9 (0-6)
Jasper, GA — It was a beautiful Friday night for football as the Pickens Dragons hosted the White County Warriors in a critical 7-AAA game. Pickens, came into the game tied for 3rd in the region standings with Wesleyan. White County, were on the outside looking in coming into the game, but still had a shot at punching their playoff ticket. After being down early, the Dragons outscored the Warriors 48-14 to pick up their third straight win, 48-28.
The Dragons, won the opening coin toss and elected to differ to the second half. After both offenses had a crack with the ball, the Warriors struck first with a 16-yd TD pass. The PAT was good and with 4:11 left in the first quarter, White County led Pickens, 7-0. The Warriors, added on to their lead after a 73-yd touchdown run. The PAT was good and as they went into the second quarter, White County led the Dragons, 14-0.
The Dragons, got their offense going in the second quarter as they drove down the field and finished off the drive with a 2-yd touchdown run by Miguel Salto. The PAT was good and with 8:06 left in the first half, Pickens cut the Warriors lead down to 14-7. After the Dragons forced White County to punt, Pickens started their next possession on their own 6-yd line. After a loss of a yard on first down, the Dragons took a shot down field as Sam Streicher connected with Marcus Pike, who took it the distance for a 95-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 4:40 left in the first half, the game was now tied at 14. With 2 seconds left in the first half, the Warriors set up for a 41-yd field goal. The kick fell short and at the half, we were tied at 14 a piece.
To start the third quarter, the Dragons got the ball first. The possession didn’t last long as Salto broke through for a 56-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 11:08 left in the third, Pickens took it’s first lead of the game at 21-14. White County, was able to come right back and tie things up with a 3-yd touchdown run. The PAT was good and we had a tie game again at 21. With the two teams going back and forth, it was the Dragons turn as Streicher found a wide open Gabe Neil for a 43-yd touchdown pass. The PAT was good and with 6:36 left in the third, Pickens led, 28-21.
The Warriors, matched that score with a 25-yd touchdown run. The PAT was good and with 3:56 left, the game was once again tied. This time, at 28 a piece. The Dragons, got the last score the quarter as Streicher rolled to his left and found a wide open Isaiah Williams for a 20-yd touchdown. The PAT was no good and as we headed to the fourth, Pickens led White County, 34-28.
A little over midway through the fourth quarter, the Dragons added to their lead as Streicher again found Williams on the exact same play. Williams would take it in from 26 yards for his second score of the game. The PAT was good and with 5:38 left in the game, Pickens led the Warriors, 41-28. After a turnover on downs by White County, the Dragons used the short field to their advantage as Colby Brooks took it in from 2 yards out on the sweep. The PAT was good and with 1:57 left in the game, Pickens now led, 48-28. That would be your final score as the Dragons make it three in a row.
7-AAA Football Standings:
Dawson County: 8-2 (6-0) *Region champions
Lumpkin County: 7-2 (3-2)
Pickens: 4-5 (3-2)
Wesleyan: 4-5 (3-2)
Gilmer: 4-5 (2-3)
White County: 3-6 (1-4)
West Hall: 1-8 (0-5)
With the win, the Dragons have earned a spot into the AAA playoffs. Pickens, will be at home again next week as they welcome the Wesleyan Wolves to Jasper for a first time meeting. This will determine the 3rd place in the region standings heading into the playoffs. Kick off is set for 7:30 pm.
Jasper, GA — It was a cooler October night in Jasper as the Pickens Dragons welcomed their long time rivals, the Gilmer Bobcats. It was the first time these two teams have met since 2020, and the 64th all time meeting. Coming into the game, the Bobcats lost a tough one to the Lumpkin County Indians. The Dragons, came in off a bye week looking to right the ship a bit having lost two straight, and only scoring 7 points in the process. Pickens, got a big time boost from it’s run game and defense to lead them to a 27-10 win over Gilmer and their 8th win in a row in the series.
The Bobcats, got the ball first to begin the ball game. The Dragons, got the stop and gave the offense the ball for the first time. After a great drive by the offense, that included a halfback pass, Pickens got into the end zone with a 2-yd run by Kadyn Hampton. The PAT was good and the Dragons took a 7-0 lead with 5:54 left in the opening quarter.
Gilmer got the ball and were driving down the field as the first quarter came to an end. A great defensive stand by the Dragons left the Bobcats with a 24-yd field goal attempt. The field goal was good and Gilmer cut into the Pickens lead, 7-3, with 11:57 left in the first half. After a bit of a back and forth, the Dragons added to their lead after QB Sam Streicher tossed a screen pass to Colby Brooks and Brooks took it the rest of the way for a 79-yd touchdown. The PAT was good and with 4:37 left in the first half, Pickens led Gilmer, 14-3. After stopping the Bobcats on 4th down near mid-field, the Dragons were looking for more. Gilmer’s defense did a good job themselves stopping Pickens on 4th down as the Dragons also picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to help the Bobcats with field position.
After a good run by Brock Titus, QB Issac Rellinger heaved the ball into the end zone as time expired in the first half and Will Kiker was able to come down with it. The PAT was good and we headed into the half with the Dragons leading the Bobcats, 14-10.
In the third quarter, there was no scoring, but the physicality, especially one that comes with the territory of a rivalry game, was definitely there during the quarter. As the quarter was coming to an end, the Dragons offense, with big help from their run game, got down close to the end zone as they headed to the fourth, still up 14-10.
A couple of seconds into the fourth quarter, Miguel Salto bullied his way into the end zone for a 2-yd touchdown run. The PAT was good and with 11:56 left in the game, Pickens extended it’s lead over Gilmer, 21-10. Later on in the quarter, the Dragon run game, really left its mark on this game as Hampton got in for his second rushing touchdown after a 1-yd run. The PAT was no good and with 5:20 left in the game, the Dragons now led the Bobcats, 27-10. The defense for Pickens on Friday night was at its best as they held a high scoring Bobcats offense scoreless in the second half and just one touchdown all night. Pickens runs its win streak over Gilmer to 8 in a row after a 27-10 victory.
Dawson County: 6-2 (4-0)
Lumpkin County: 6-1 (2-1)
Gilmer: 5-3 (2-2)
Wesleyan: 3-5 (2-2)
White County: 3-4 (1-2)
Pickens: 2-5 (1-2)
West Hall: 1-6 (0-3)
The Dragons, will be back on the road next week as they head to Oakwood to take on the West Hall Spartans. The last time these two teams met was in 2009. The last time Pickens traveled to West Hall was all the way back in 2008. West Hall leads the all time series, 6-4. The first meeting took place in 1994. Kick off is set for 7:30.
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.
Ringgold, Ga — It was a rainy day and a cool night on October, 29th as the Pickens Dragons traveled up to Ringgold to take on the Heritage Generals in 7-AAAA action. Coming into the game, the Generals were in a tie for second place in the region with Northwest Whitfield, while the Dragons were in a tie for fourth in the region with Central-Carroll. Pickens, needed a win to stay in that hunt for possibly the second seed going into the playoffs. In a tough match up, the Generals came away with a 24-14 win.
The Dragons, won the toss and elected to differ to the second half. After converting a third and long, Heritage was able to put the first points on the board after a 4-yd touchdown run. With 8:20 to go in the first quarter, the Generals led Pickens, 7-0. The rest of the quarter was a stalemate and we would head to the second quarter with Heritage ahead, 7-0.
The second quarter mirrored the first quarter as the Generals put up the only points in the frame. At the 6:40 mark of the second quarter, Heritage got in on a 5-yd run to make it 14-0. That would be your score heading into halftime in this soggy played ball game.
In the third quarter, the Generals again would add to their lead with a 44-yd field goal at the 7:43 mark to make it 17-0. After a drive that took just over five minutes of game clock, Miguel Salto punched it in for the 3-yd touchdown to put the Dragons on the board for the first time. With 2:41 left in the third, Heritage led Pickens, 17-7. That would remain the score heading to the fourth quarter.
At the 7:08 mark of the fourth quarter, the Generals tacked on points with a 7-yd touchdown run to make it 24-7. Showing the fight that they always play with, the Dragons came back with a score of their own as Devin Hand got in with a 1-yd touchdown run with 3:05 left to make it 24-14. In the end, Heritage was able to hold on for the 24-14 victory.
7-AAAA Football Standings:
Cedartown: 7-1 (4-0)
Northwest Whitfield: 6-3 (3-1)
Heritage: 6-2 (3-1)
Central-Carroll: 4-5 (1-3)
Pickens: 4-4 (1-3)
Ridgeland: 1-8 (0-4)
*Southeast Whitfield: 2-8 (0-0) *Playing a non-region schedule
For the Dragons, they will close out the 2021 regular season on the road as they take on the Northwest Whitfield Bruins. By the looks of it, Pickens, can still find themselves in the playoffs with a win next week, and with a little help from their friends over at Ridgeland if the Panthers defeat Central-Carroll. The Bruins, will be looking to wrap up the #2 seed for 7-AAAA with a win so a lot on the line next week for both sides. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
Rossville, Ga — The Pickens Dragons took to the road on Friday, October 8th to take on the Ridgeland Panthers in 7-AAAA play. The Dragons, were looking to bounce back after a tough game against Cedartown last week. The Panthers, have had a difficult start to the season, but were back home for the Homecoming. Pickens, snagged four first half interceptions and got the offense going in route to a 45-8 win.
The first quarter saw the Panthers get the ball first to begin the game. It didn’t take long for the Dragons to put points on the board as Anthony Antinozzi picked off the pass attempt, and took it all the way for the touchdown. With 11:15 left in the first quarter, Pickens led Ridgeland, 7-0. The Panthers, bounced back on their next possession as they used a long run to help set up a 1-yd touchdown run. Ridgeland then converted a 2-point conversion to take the lead, 8-7, with 9:03 left in the first quarter. The Dragons, then took the field for the first time on offense, looking to regain the lead. Regain the lead is exactly what they did as Sam Streicher found Kadyn Hampton in the corner of the end zone for the 20-yd touchdown pass. The PAT was good, and Pickens reclaimed the lead, 14-8, with 5:43 left in the first quarter. The Dragons, added to their lead as Devin Hand took the snap from behind center on 4th down and went 45-yds for the touchdown. Going to the second quarter, Pickens led the Panthers, 21-8.
The second quarter didn’t see too much scoring, but it did see the Dragons force a couple more turnovers. The lone points came from a 46-yd field goal by Jose Sanchez to give Pickens a 24-8 lead over Ridgeland at the half.
In the third quarter, both teams were finding it hard to get some consistency going with their possessions. With nothing doing for either side in the third, the Dragons continued to lead the Panthers, 24-8.
The fourth quarter saw the Dragon offense come to life. The first score of the quarter came after Streicher found a wide open Marcus Pike, who then made one man miss to get into the end zone. All together the play covered 40-yds. The PAT was good by Juan Sanchez and Pickens extended it’s lead to 31-8. At the 6:35 mark of the fourth, Streicher found Hand on the screen pass and Hand took it 65-yds for the score. The Dragons would then force the Panthers to punt deep in their own territory on their next possession. After being close several times, Pickens finally got in and blocked the punt attempt. A play later, Miguel Salto took the hand off and scored from 11-yds out. Your final from Rossville, Pickens 45 Ridgeland 8.
7-AAAA Region Standings:
Cedartown: 5-1 (2-0)
Heritage: 4-1 (2-0)
Pickens: 4-2 (1-1)
Northwest Whitfield: 3-3 (1-1)
Central-Carroll: 3-4 (0-2)
Ridgeland: 1-6 (0-2)
Southeast Whitfield: 1-7
The Dragons, will be back home next Friday as they welcome the Lions of Central-Carroll in what will be a critical game in 7-AAAA. These two teams did not get to play one another last year due to Covid issues. It will also be Senior Night for Pickens as it is the final home game of the regular season next Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.