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.
The Pickens Dragons locker room has seen a lot over the past 5 years. From the glory of an 11-1 season, to the demise of a 3-6 season just 2 years later, it has been a roller coaster ride in Jasper recently. I could see how fans might want to jump ship. But boy would you be regretful if you did.
If anyone is going to be able to put Pickens County football on the map, it’s going to be Grant Myers.
The Dragons, had youth on their side last season with only a handful of seniors. While it’s true that they will again have youth on their side this season, they will bring in a year of experience and a knowledge of the growing pains that were suffered last season.
Grant Myers steps in as the head man in charge after spending the last two seasons as defensive coordinator. Myers, has shown an excitement and readiness to lead a program and this Dragons football team seems like a perfect match. Myers, has formed a good staff around him including newcomers Aaron Nance, comes to Jasper to serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after being at Grayson High School. Jay McClosky also comes to Pickens from Grayson and will serve as an offensive line coach. A familiar face to Dragon fans is Adam Wharton, who was at Gilmer High School for the last couple of seasons. Wharton has come back to Pickens to be the defensive coordinator.
While 3-6 doesn’t seem flattering, it’s also misleading. Looking back at that 2020 season, a few breaks here or there and the Dragons would have found themselves in the postseason. Even with the sub .500 record, the Dragons were a game away from another trip to the playoffs. The region the Dragons are in, 7-AAAA, will once again be very competitive. Six teams will once again fight for four playoff spots. The seventh team, Southeast Whitfield, will once again play a non-region schedule.
Schedule wise, the Dragons will have 5 home games and 5 road games. Pickens, will have a scrimmage game against the West Hall Spartans on August 12th at West Hall. While the Spartans finished 2020 with a 4-6 record, they gave up just over 23 points per game and scoring 23.6 points per game. That will be a good test for the Dragons. The non-region portion of the schedule has the Dragons opening the season in Ellijay against the Gilmer Bobcats. Pickens will then have back to back home games against the Chattooga Indians and the White County Warriors. The Dragons will go back on the road as they take on the Coosa Eagles. The non-region schedule wraps up with a home game against the Union County Panthers.
Continuing with the schedule, after a bye week, the Dragons will get into region play. Pickens will open region play with a home game against who many feel to be the favorite to win the region championship, the Cedartown Bulldogs. The Dragons will then take to the road to battle the Ridgeland Panthers. In a game that could be very interesting, the Dragons will come back home as they host the Central-Carroll Lions. These two teams did not play against one another in 2020 due to Covid issues. After their second bye week, the Dragons will be on the road for two straight weeks as they take on the Heritage Generals and the Northwest Whitfield Bruins.
Let’s look at some of the young men that will be impact players for the Dragons this upcoming season. Rising Sophomore QB Sam Streicher, will look to build off of a freshman season that saw him earn All-Region Honorable Mention. While Mykel Hand may not be catching long touchdown passes or covering receivers on the defensive end anymore for the Dragons, his brother Devin Hand, will be a handful for teams this year. Rising Sophomore Isaiah Williams, will be a big target for Streicher in the passing game and we could also see Williams make an impact on the defensive line. Two WR that can take a big leap is rising senior Tom Frechette, and rising Sophomore Marcus Pike. Rising Junior Kadyn Hampton, will see time on both sides of the ball at RB and LB. The offensive line, will feature guys like rising Seniors Rylland Holland, and Aaron Duncan, Junior Charlie Fleming.
Defensively, the Dragons will have a defensive line that features rising Junior Kaleb Taylor, and Kaleb Nicholson. Linebackers will feature guys like Mason Powell, Kenny Nelson, Triston Chapman, Anthony Antinozzi, & Connor Browning. In the secondary, guys like Devin Hand, who was mentioned earlier, Parker Rhodes, and Collin Kellogg will look to have big years.
All in all, the Dragons have the pieces for what should be an improved season. With a fired up staff and excited players, the Pickens Dragons will no doubt be fighting for one of those four playoff spots this upcoming season.
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
This week’s #TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week is Tucker Lowe! Tucker had a big game on Friday for the Dragons as the Junior defensive back picked off two passes against the Chamblee Bulldogs, & played great defense when the ball was thrown his way. Tucker now has 3 interceptions on the season. Lowe, was apart of a Dragon defense last night that as a unit, forced 4 turnovers, collected a safety, & only gave up 3 points in the 44-3 for Pickens.
With the win last night, the Dragons evened up their record at 2-2 heading into region play. Next week, they’ll be back on the road as they take that short ride up 515 to Ellijay to take on what looks like a much improved Gilmer Bobcat squad, that is also 2-2 on the season. Game time is set for 7:30 next Friday night.
Jeff Nelson, new head coach for the Pickens Dragons, is ready for the upcoming season and to continue the momentum from an 11-1 record last season.
“Everybody expects you to be good. You gotta play and you gotta practice with that intensity and that pride of where you were,” said Nelson. “We gotta play with that kind of intensity that is going to get us back to that region championship again.”
Intensity is an important aspect to the game for Coach Nelson.
“I’m very intense, and I want that to spill over to the staff and then onto the kids…something that I’ve prided myself on as a defensive coach is getting all the kids moving towards the football, everyone wanting to be in on the play,” said Nelson.
The Dragons have an exciting season ahead of them, and you can watch the full interview with Coach Nelson below!https://youtu.be/qCi0EruF-ZI
Dave sits down each Tuesday with the head coach of the Pickens Dragons, Chris Parker. Together they discuss the game from the week before and the upcoming game.
It was with great sadness FYN shares the following release. Please remember the family, teammates, school, and friends in your prayers.
Pickens County Georgia, March 11, 2017: Saturday afternoon, a tragic automobile accident claimed the life of 16-year-old Jordan Simonds. Along with Jordan, a passenger was also injured and had to be flown to Kennestone Hospital.
The accident only involved one vehicle and it occurred on Salem Church Road. The Georgia State Patrol Responded and is conducting the investigation into the accident at this time. Jordan was a Sophomore at Pickens High School and played on the PHS Football team. We are asking our community to keep the Simonds family, in your thoughts and prayers.
We would also like to ask that everyone pray for the students and staff at Pickens High School as well. School officials are going to have additional counselors on hand at Pickens High School on Monday to assist with any grieving students. The passenger was also a juvenile and he was alert and speaking with First Responders on the scene.
There will be an informal gathering/vigil tonight March 12th , at the stadium to honor Jordan and his family at 7:30 pm. All are welcome.
This past Friday night, The Pickens Dragons varsity football team welcomed the Dragons of Pepperell In a clash of the Dragons. Pepperell is out of 2-AA and was looking to complete their first game of the season after playing two scrimmages and having their first actual game of the season called a no contest due to lightening last week. This was the first meeting between the two schools since the mid 80’s. Prior to the game, the Mr. & Miss PHS court was recognized as Dominic Stephens was selected Mr. PHS & Hunter Harrington was crowned Miss PHS.
Pepperell won the toss and elected to differ to the 2nd half giving the Dragons the first shot at points. While both teams went back and forth with defensive stops, Pickens finally was able to get on the board at the 6:02 mark of the 1st quarter with a 32-yard field goal from Rudy Perez, making it 3-0. Pepperell struck for their first points soon after with a 58-yd pass and catch. The Dragons of Pepperell then got a two-point conversion to make it 8-3 with 3:02 left in the opening quarter. With the score still 8-3 as we went into the 2nd, quarter, Pickens grabbed the lead back after a 5-yd run by Trevon Hawkins, making it 10-8 with 4:21 to go in the 1st half. Pepperell got in after a 2-yd run with 33 seconds left to take a 15-10 lead going into the break.
In the 3rd, both teams again were going back and forth taking turns with possessions but finding no success. Pepperell got the lone points in the 3rd quarter with a 29-yd field goal at the 3:53 mark to stretch their lead out to 18-10. Pickens had several chances in the 4th including one late in the game, but it was not meant to be as the Pepperell Dragons got their first win on the year, 18-10.
Stats for the game.
Pickens had 11 1st downs, went 3-11 on 3rd down, 2-3 on 4th down, ran 52 plays for a total of 239 yards including 108 yards rushing on 37 attempts, and 131 yards passing on 15 attempts
Jacob Brumby went 7-14 for 81 yards & Avery Luke went 1-1 for 50 yards
Chris Pittman led the way rushing with 39 yards on 13 attempts, Trevon Hawkins ran it 5 times for 30 yards and a td, & Brumby ran it 14 times for 27 yards.
Alex Pittman led the receivers with 50 yards on 1 catch, Hawkins caught 3 passes for 46 yards, Zach Goss had 2 catches for 20 yards, & Dylan Huffman had 2 catches for 15 yards
The Pickens defense did all it could on Friday night keeping the Dragons in the ball game till the very end.
Alex Pittman & Will Wotring led the Dragons in tackles, each coming up with 10, Avery Luke had 8 total tackles, Devin Grant & Michael Cain each came up with 6 stops & Cain added a sack, Michael Casey forced the lone turnover on the night for the Dragons defense with an interception to go along with 3 total tackles
C. Pittman punted it 2 times for a total of 85 yards, Huffman returned 5 punts for a total of 47 yards, & Wotring returned 3 kickoffs for a total of 78 yards
Rudy Perez went 1-1 on PAT’s & went 1-2 on field goals
Pickens will now prepare for their first road game of the season next week when they travel to Gainesville to take on the North Hall Trojans in the Brickyard. The Trojans are in the AAA classification and were former region mates of Pickens several years ago. Game time is set for 7:30.
Today, the 2016 schedule for the Pickens Dragons football team was released. The Dragons will be taking on new teams, and facing old opponents as well. After the scrimmage game, the Dragons will face four non-region opponents before getting into region play. Here is how the schedule plays out:
Aug. 12th Coosa (Scrimmage) Home 7:30
Aug. 19th Chattahoochee Home 7:30
Sept. 2nd Pepperell Home 7:30
Sept. 9th North Hall Away 7:30
Sept. 16th North Forsyth Away 7:30
Sept. 30th Gilmer* Away 7:30
Oct. 7th Southeast Whitfield* Home 7:30
Oct. 14th Northwest Whitfield* Away 7:30
Oct. 21st Ridgeland* Home 7:30
Oct. 28th LaFayette* Away 7:30
Nov. 4th Heritage* Home 7:30
In non-region action, Coosa is out of Region 7-AA, Chattahoochee is out of Region 7-AAAAAA, Pepperell is out of Region 7-AA, North Hall is an old region foe of Pickens back in the 7-AAA days and that’s where the Trojans are this season, & finally, North Forsyth is out of Region 5-AAAAAAA. All in all, a non-region schedule that will surely have the Dragons prepared for region play.
Pickens will be in 6-AAAA which used to be 7-AAAA. All of the teams that were in 7-AAAA are in 6-AAAA with the exception of Cartersville, who is now in region 5. The Dragons went 5-1 against these teams in region play last season.
Earlier this evening, the PHS football team held it’s anual end of year banquet at Chattahoochee Technical College in Jasper. A huge turnout crowd got to reflect and honor the players, coaches, cheerleaders, and everyone involved in what was another great season for PHS football.
Head coach Chris Parker welcomed everyone, said a few words, and then invited the cheerleading coaches up to honor both JV and Varsity squads. The coaches said a few words, then all the cheerleaders, from freshman to senior, were recognized and presented with their letter. The senior cheerleaders then presented their coaches with gifts and said a few words expressing gratitude for all they have done for them.
Then, it was the managers and underclassmen football players turn to be recognized as coach Parker called them up to the stage starting with the freshman and ending with the juniors. As each class stood before the audience, coach Parker talked to the crowd about them and how they’ve done this season and what he expects in the season to come. For the seniors, coach Parker wanted to try something different.
Coach Parker asked the seniors to come up and say something about a coach of their choice. The coaches then had their chance to say something about the senior players. There were also several awards handed out this evening. Here are the winners:
Golden Helmet Award (MVP) Sr. Andrew Ortiz
Academic Award: Sr. Austin Massey
Ironman Award: Sr. Walker Lawrence
Jim Locke Award: Sr. Caleb Brooks
Team Captains: Zach Betts, Walker Lawrence, Jacob Pair, & Kyle West
The final award was the PHS Touchdown Club Scholarship. This is given to a senior player who has played all four years, had no major school incidents, & write an essay detailing how much football means to them. The players awarded this scholarship were:
Kyle West, Tucker Green, Billy Reed, Austin Massey, Jacob Pair, Zach Henley, Bradley Ragano, Jake Campbell, Marcus Byrd, Dillon Eilers, Zach Betts, Zach Hermann, Caleb Brooks, & Dillin Gasaway.
Congrats to everyone involved that made this a great season for PHS football.
This past Friday, the PHS varsity football team traveled down to Atlanta to take on region 6-AAAA’s #2 seed and #8 4A ranked Marist War Eagles in the 1st round of the GHSA 4A State Playoffs. Pickens, went into the ball game looking for their first ever playoff win as this was the first meeting between the two schools.
Marist won the toss and elected to receive to start the ball game. As the War Eagles were driving towards mid field, the Dragons defense forced a fumble and game the offense good field position to start their opening drive. The War Eagle defense was able to stop the Pickens offense and give the ball back to their offense. Marist found the first points of the game after a 2-yd td run at the 5:54 mark to take a 7-0 lead. Chris Pittman got the Dragons on the board after a 41-yd td run giving us a 7-7 tie going to the 2nd quarter.
In the 2nd quarter, both defenses made it very difficult for either offense to get anything going. Ty Chastian connected on a 27-yd field goal for the Dragons at 3:10 mark giving Pickens a 10-7 lead. The War Eagles marched down the field using their triple option offense looking to tie or take the lead before the half. Marist called timeout with 2 seconds left in the half looking for a game tying field goal. The Dragons were able to apply pressure and block the field goal attempt sending us to the break with Pickens ahead, 10-7.
As was the story for the majority of the 1st half, the 3rd quarter was dominated by defense as both teams made it tough for the other to find any rhythm on offense. The War Eagles were able to take the lead with the only points of the quarter getting in the end zone with a 1-yd run giving Marist a 14-10 advantage going to the 4th and final quarter.
In the 4th quarter, The War Eagles stretched their lead with scores at the 10:52, 8:00, & 3:55 marks using a 3-yd run, a 48-yd run, and a 20-yd pass respectively to make it 35-10 Marist. The Dragons found the end zone at the 2:18 mark after a 46-yd td run from Marcus Byrd making it 35-17 War Eagles. Marist was able to recover the ensuing onside kick and score the game’s final points after a 44-yd td run with 26 seconds left giving us a 42-17 final. The War Eagles will now play Mary Persons in the 2nd round.
Pickens finishes the season at 8-3. This was the first time the Dragons were in the playoffs back to back seasons since ’04 & ’05 & had back to back 8-win seasons for the first time in school history. The senior class leaves tied for the most wins by a class with 27 wins.
On the night, the Dragons finished with 10 1st downs, went 4/14 on 3rd down & 2/2 on 4th down, had 286 total yards of offense, ran it 44 times for 216 yards and threw it 11 times for 40 yards.
Marcus Byrd led the Dragons in rushing with 121 yards on 12 carries & 1 td, Chris Pittman had 82 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Dragons recovered a fumble, had 6 TFL, recorded 1 sack, & blocked a field goal attempt
Dillin Eilers led Pickens in tackles with 12, 4 solo, 8 assists, Kyle West finished with 11 total tackles, 8 solo, 3 assists, 1 sack, & 2 blocks, & Will Wotring finished with 10 total tackles, 7 solo, 3 assists, 3 TFL, a fumble recovery, & a pass break up.
Byrd punted it 6 times for a total of 235 yards, a 39.2 yard average, & landed 2 inside the 20 yard line
Hunter Golden returned 4 kicks for 101 yards and Dillon Gasaway returned 1 kick for 21 yards
Ty Chastain went 2/2 on PAT’s & 1/1 on field goals with a long of 27
For the season, the Dragons averaged 25.73 ppg, and gave up 19.09 per game, had 150 1st downs (13.6 a game), went 47/130 on 3rd down, & 11/24 on 4th down, collected 3,683 yards of offense (334.8 per game) on 636 plays (57.8 average), ran for 3,169 yards on the season (288 per game) on 531 plays (48.3 a game) for an average of 5.96 yards per rush. Dragons finished with a season total of 514 passing yards on 105 plays.
Marcus Byrd finished the season 30/64 passing for 333 yards and 3 tds while Jacob Brumby finished 20/40 for 181 yards
Chris Pittman led the Dragons in rushing finishing with 1,335 yards on 227 carries (5.9 yard average), and 18 tds, Byrd finished 771 yards on 106 carries (7.3 yard average) and 6 tds, & Dillon Gasaway ended the season with 505 yards on 86 carries (5.9 yard average) and 4 tds.
Walker Lawrence was the leading receiver on the season with 142 yards on 13 catches followed by Hunter Golden with 12 catches for 106 yards, then Bradley Ragano with 6 catches for 100 yards.
Defensively on the season the Dragons forced 22 total takeaways, 14 fumbles and 8 INT’s, had 751 total tackles, 68.5 TFL, 16 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, 30 pass break ups, and 6 blocks
Dillin Eilers led the Dragons in tackling this season with 110 total tackles (57 solo, 53 assists), followed by Kyle West with 85 total tackles (54 solo, 31 assists), & Jacob Gordon finished with 77 total tackles (48 solo, 29 assists)
Avery Luke led the team in INT’s with 4, Alex Pittman led the way in sacks with 4, Lawrence & A. Pittman led the team with 2 forced fumbles, Gordon, Lawrence, & A. Pittman tied for the team lead in fumble recoveries with 2, Caleb Brooks & Zack Hermann led the team in pass break ups with 6, & Cortlin Norton led the team with 3 blocks.
Byrd punted it 31 times for a total of 1,298 yards, a 41.9 yard average, a long of 58, & 10 inside the 20 while C. Pittman punted it 14 times for a total of 514 yards for a 36.7 yard average, a long of 53, & 4 inside the 20
Hermann led the team in punt return yards with 120 on 8 returns followed by Brooks with 117 yards on 8 returns
Gasaway led the team in kickoff return yards with 186 on 7 returns followed by Brooks with 185 yards on 6 returns, then Golden with 101 yards on 4 returns
On the season Ty Chastian went 35/36 on PAT’s, a 97.2% accuracy rate, & 10/12 on field goals, 83.3% rating, & a long of 42 yards.
This past Friday, the PHS varsity football team host the Purple Hurricanes of Cartersville in what was the 7-AAAA Region Championship game. Cartersville came in ranked anywhere from 1-3 in different polls and undefeated on the season at 9-0 with a 6-0 region record. Pickens came in winners of 4 straight, undefeated at home on the season, 8-1 overall, & 5-1 in region play. The Dragons had a little extra motivation as the seniors were recognized for Senior Night prior to the game beginning.
Cartersville won the toss and elected to receive. Pickens held the high powered Purple Hurricane offense and gave the Dragon offense a chance at the first points. The Cartersville defense held the Pickens offense as both defenses came to play early. The Purple Hurricanes got on the board at the 7:51 mark after a 49-yd run by Trey Creamer to make it 7-0. Both teams went back and forth for the rest of the quarter, but no points could be found and we’d head to the 2nd quarter with Cartersville leading 7-0.
It was a defensive battle in the 2nd quarter as both teams showed why they have been two of the top defenses in the region all year long. Creamer again found the end zone after a 19-yd run at the 3:06 mark making it 14-0. 14-0 would be our halftime score as we went into the break. Cartersville added to their lead in the 3rd with a 50-yd run by Creamer at the 9:43 mark & a 10-yd passing td from Trevor Lawrence to Creamer at the 1:18 mark giving the Purple Hurricanes a 28-0 lead going to the 4th and final quarter.
Lawrence connected on another td pass at the 7:46 mark in the 4th to make it 35-0 Cartersville. The Dragons got down to the red zone late in the quarter but an intercepted pass in the end zone stopped the Pickens drive & the Purple Hurricanes ran out the clock to take this one, 35-0. With the win, Cartersville wins the 7-AAAA Region Championship and will go into the playoffs as the #1 seed with a 10-0 record. The Dragons finish the regular season with their 2nd straight 8-2 regular season and will be the 7-AAAA #3 seed and travel to Atlanta to take on the 6-AAAA #2 seeded Marist War Eagles.
In what was a tough game offensively for Pickens, the Dragons finished with 8 1st downs, 2/13 on 3rd down, & 0/2 on 4th down, had 181 total yards on 55 plays, 113 yards rushing on 40 total carries, & 68 yards passing on 15 attempts.
Marcus Byrd finished the night 2/6 for 32 yards & Jacob Brumby went 4/9 for 36 yards
Byrd led the Dragons in rushing with 33 yards on 9 carries followed by Chris Pittman with 28 yards on 10 carries, Brumby finished with 24 yards on 6 carries, & Dillon Gasaway ended the night with 17 yards on 9 carries
Walker Lawrence led the Dragons in receiving with 22 yards on 2 catches, followed by Cortlin Norton with 17 yards on 1 catch, & Jacob Pair finished with 1 catch for 15 yards
The Dragons defense 3 TFL, forced & recovered a fumble, broke up 3 passes, & Dillin Eilers & Nick Southern combined for a sack
Ricky Klimbal & Avery Luke led the Dragons with 6 total tackles. Luke finished with 5 solo & 1 assist, & a fumble recovery, while Klimbal had 4 solo and 2 assists, Eilers finished with 5 total tackles, 4 solo, 1 assist, 1.5 TFL, & a 1/2 sack, & Dalton Gasaway ended the night with 5 total tackles, 4 solo, & 1 assist
Byrd punted 8 times for 337 yards, a 42 yard average, a long of 54 yards, & landed 2 inside the 20-yd line
Pickens will be taking on 8-2 Marist next week in the 1st round of the 4A state playoffs. This will be the 1st meeting between the two schools. Marist is ranked in the top 10 in 4A in some polls. Pickens will be looking for their first playoff win in school history.
Last night, the PHS Dragons varsity football team hosted the Generals of Heritage in another crucial 7-AAAA region game. On a night where the newest class of the PHS Athletics Hall of Fame and the 8th grade middle school championship football team were honored, the Dragons looked to clinch their 2nd straight playoff berth with a win over the Generals.
Pickens won the toss, electing to differ to the 2nd half giving Heritage the ball first. The Generals tried to catch the Dragons off guard with a trick play on the opening kickoff but, Pickens didn’t fall for it and Heritage had to start deep inside their own territory as a result. The Generals were able to march down the field however and got into the end zone after a double pass taking the 7-0 lead with 8:58 left in the opening frame. The Dragons answered the Generals score with a 1-yd Chris Pittman touchdown run to tie things up at 7 as we went to the 2nd quarter.
Both teams went back and forth defensively in the 2nd quarter as the only scoring came at the 5:34 mark when Ty Chastain knocked a 42-yd field goal through the uprights giving Pickens a 10-7 lead at the break. In the 3rd quarter, Chris Pittman found the end zone for the 2nd time on the night at the 3:17 mark as he put the Dragons ahead 17-7 going the 4th and final quarter.
Early in the 4th, with the Generals backed up deep in their own territory, the Pickens defense forced a safety with 11:34 left in the ball game stretching the lead out to 19-7. After getting the ball back on the ensuing kickoff, the Dragons marched down the field and Chris Pittman found pay dirt for the 3rd time making it 25-7 with 9-13 left in the game. Heritage did not go quietly as they connected on a 33-yd screen pass for a touchdown at the 6:01 mark cutting it it 25-13. Kelton Gilbert got in on the action as the Sophomore running back scampered 27-yds for the touchdown making it 32-13 with 3:29 left in the game.
The Generals found the end zone at the 1:06 mark after a 1-yd pass but could not convert the two-point try giving us a score of 32-19. The Dragons were able to fall on the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock to seal the win, 32-19. With the win, Pickens has clinched a playoff berth and are now 7-1 on the season & 4-1 in region play.
On the night, Pickens had 18 1st downs, went 6/13 on 3rd down, and 1/1 on 4th down, ran 69 plays for a total of 422 yards, ran for 366 yards on 63 rushes & threw for 56 yards on 6 passes.
Marcus Byrd went 3/4 passing for 45 yards & Jacob Brumby went 1/2 for 11 yards
Chris Pittman ran it 28 times for 119 yards and 3 tds, Marcus Byrd ran it 12 times for 95 yards, Dillon Gasaway ran it 7 times for 53 yards, & Kelton Gilbert ran it 5 times for 69 yards and a touchdown
Bradley Ragano led the Dragons in receiving with 21 yards, Caleb Brooks had a catch for 15 yards, Zack Hermann caught 1 ball for 11 yards, & Walker Lawrence reeled in 1 catch for 9 yards
Defensively, Pickens forced one fumble, recovered a fumble, recorded a sack, and forced several hurries and broke up 6 passes on the night.
Dillin Eilers led the Dragons in tackles with 11, 9 solo & 2 assists, Will Wotring finished with 5 total tackles, 1 solo, 4 assists, Caleb Brooks, Jacob Gordon, Avery Luke, Cortlin Norton, & Alex Pittman each finished with 4 total tackles
Chris Pittman punted it 5 times for a total of 171 yards for a 34.2 yard average, a long of 50, and left 2 inside the 20-yd line
Caleb Brooks returned 1 punt return for 22 yards and 1 kickoff for 32 yards while Michael Casey returned 1 kickoff for 21 yards
Ty Chastain went 3/4 on PAT’s & 1/1 on field goal attempts with a long of 42 yards
Pickens will travel to Ellijay to take on the Bobcats of Gilmer next week in the annual 515 rivalry match up. Gilmer is 3-5 on the season & 2-3 in region play and fighting for a possible 3 or 4 seed in the playoffs. Pickens, is hoping to stay in the hunt for the 2 seed.
Last night, the Pickens varsity football team hosted the LaFayette Ramblers in a 7-AAAA match up. The Dragons were finally back home after nearly a month on the road and looked to build off of their road win against Southeast Whitfield last week. The Homecoming crowd would not be disapppointed.
Pickens won the toss and differed to the 2nd half giving LaFayette the ball first. After the defense made a stand, Chris Pittman scored the 1st of his 2 rushing touchdowns with 9:40 to go in the 1st quarter. The other score came with 33 seconds left as the Dragons took a 14-0 lead into the 2nd quarter
The Pickens defense and punt return teams continued to give the Dragon offense great starting field position in the 2nd quarter. This quarter offensively belonged to Dillon Gasaway, who found the end zone twice on touchdown runs. The first one came from 5-yds out at the 11:24 mark stretching the Pickens lead to 21-0. The 2nd Gasaway touchdown run came from 6-yds out at the 1:11 mark giving us a halftime score of 28-0 Dragons.
During the intermission, Homecoming Maid of Honor & Queen were crowned. Hunter Harrington was named Maid of Honor & Kerrie Lee was named Homecoming Queen for the 2015-16 season.
In the 3rd quarter, the Pickens running game continued it’s strong performance as Dillon Gasaway found the end zone from 32-yds out for his 3rd score of the game making it 35-0 Dragons with 9:04 left in the 3rd quarter. Freshman Trevon Hawkins got in on the scoring as he plowed through from 2-yds out making the score 42-0 Dragons with 6:57 left in the 3rd. Ty Chastain then tacked on a 42-yd field goal giving Pickens a 45-0 lead going to the 4th.
Ten seconds into the 4th quarter, Hawkins again found pay dirt. This time, from 35-yds out giving the Dragons a 52-0 lead. The Pickens defense shut out the Rambler offense and the Dragons took this one 52-0. Pickens is now 6-1 on the season and now in 2nd in 7-AAAA at 3-1.
On the night, the Dragons collected 14 first downs, went 4/9 on 3rd down, & 1/2 on 4th down. Pickens 55 total plays for 408 yards including 356 yards coming on the ground and 7 touchdowns. Defensively, the Dragons forced 4 turnovers (3 fumbles & 1 INT), & held the LaFayette offense to 83 total yards.
In spot start duty, Jacob Brumby went 6/10 for 52 yards passing
Dillon Gasaway led Pickens in rushing with 147 yards on 12 carries, a 12.3 ypc average & 3 touchdowns, Trevon Hawkins finished the night with 103 yards on 11 carries for a 9.4 ypc average & 2 touchdowns, & Chris Pittman added 63 yards on 9 carries for a 7 ypc average and 2 touchdowns.
Hunter Golden led the Dragons in receiving on the evening with 3 catches for 25 yards while Walker Lawrence added 21 yards on 2 catches
Kyle West led Pickens in tackles on the night with 7 total 3 solo, 4 assists, and 1 fumble recovery, Dillin Eilers had 6 total tackles 4 solo, 2 assists, 2 TFL, & 1 INT, & Jacob Gordon added 6 total tackles 5 solo, 1 assist, & 1 forced fumble. Austin Massey & Nick Southern also had fumble recoveries.
Chris Pittman punted twice for 72 yards a 36 yard average, with a long of 37 & 1 inside the 20
Zack Hermann returned 4 punts for 68 yards a 17 yards average with a long of 33 yards
Caleb Brooks took 1 kickoff return back 38 yards
Ty Chastain was 7/7 on PAT’s & 1/1 on field goals with a long of 42 yards
Pickens again will be home next week as they host the Generals of Heritage, Catoosa in another key 7-AAAA game. Heritage is 4-3 on the season & 2-2 in region play.