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Sports Archives for 2022-08

Week 3: Pickens @ Fannin County

Not all shootouts require guns!

September 7, 1876, Jesse James and his gang of outlaws attempted to rob a bank in Northfield, Minnesota. When law enforcement arrived, gunfire ensued between the officers, the bandits, and even a handful of well-meaning townspeople. It was after this exchange that the term “shootout” was coined. Nearly 150 years later, a shootout occurred in Chatsworth, GA between the Pickens Dragons and the North Murray Mountaineers on August 26. Although this shootout lacked a bank robbery, desperados, and even gunfire, there was no shortage of offense in the high scoring affair.

With a total of over 100 points scored between the two teams, the Dragons lost a heartbreaker 54-50, with North Murray taking the lead inside the final minute. Those who fancy a defensive brand of football would have been sorely disappointed, as the teams traded blows throughout the game, neither holding a lead of larger than two scores. The game saw only one punt, which came in the form of slight trickery as QB Sam Streicher attempted a “pooch” punt from the shotgun formation. Mountaineer QB Seth Griffin backed up his preseason All-State designation, throwing for 395 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 178 yards and four touchdowns on the ground as well. Standouts for the Dragons include WR Marcus Pike with 155 receiving yards (including a 56-yard TD) and RB Mason Powell tallying three total touchdowns.

Despite the tough loss, the Dragons have a lot of optimism to take with them as they travel to meet an old familiar foe this Friday, September 2. Ten years have passed since the last meeting between the Dragons and the Fannin County Rebels. Both teams are exhilarated to renew the rivalry this season, and though fireworks may not be a Labor Day weekend staple, plenty are expected to be seen on Friday night.

Fannin County has seen their program trend upward ever since the hiring of coach Chad Cheatham. After enduring seven straight losing seasons, Cheatham turned things around and the Rebels are coming off two particularly strong seasons of 10 wins and playoff runs. Like the Dragons, they have taken a slight downturn to begin 2022 and have yet to find the win column this season. It is safe to say one team will buck their losing trend come Friday night. Kick off your Labor Day weekend by tuning in with Tucker and Jess Friday night on 93.7 and 98.1 FM, also streaming on wljaradio.com. Northside Hospital Pre-Game show @ 7:00, kickoff @ 7:30!

Week 2: Pickens @ North Murray

“Rain, rain, go away, come again when it’s not Friday” was the tune sung by fans, coaches, and players alike last Friday night in Sonoraville as rain poured in the moments leading up to kickoff. The rain and lightning ultimately delayed kickoff to around 9:00 p.m.

Once play finally began, the Dragons came out somewhat thunderstruck themselves. Whether it was the elements, first-game jitters, or simply not executing to the level they would like, the Dragons found themselves trailing at the half with the scoreboard reading 20-0. The second half proved to be a second chance for the team who finally got on the board with a 54-yard run by senior Colby Brooks after a defensive battle for most of the third quarter. Pickens held the momentum for a while after the long touchdown run, but never could quite reach the comeback. Even with junior RB Miguel Salto adding another rushing touchdown late in the game, the final score read 27-15 in favor of the Sonoraville Phoenix.

This Friday, the team will be road trippin’ once again to Chatsworth to face off against the North Murray Mountaineers. Like Pickens, North Murray moved down a classification in the offseason, moving from 3A to 2A. Also like Pickens, the Mountaineers started their season off on the wrong foot last week, falling 49-27 to the Dalton Catamounts. Even so, there is no reason to sleep on the Mountaineers come Friday night. Since current head coach Preston Poag took the reins in 2016, North Murray has yet to have a losing season and even made a quarterfinal appearance in 2019 with team standout Ladd McConkey, now a wide receiver for the Georgia Bulldogs. Looking to replicate that success this season, the team boasts two members of Georgia High School Football Daily’s Preseason All-State team: senior QB Seth Griffin and senior WR Jadyn Rice. Griffin and Rice’s passing game will be a force to reckon with all season long.

Given the level of talent on both teams, it should be a great matchup in what many believe will be a high-scoring affair. For a win on Friday, QB Sam Streicher and Pickens’s offensive weapons will need to keep pace while the Dragon defense slows down the potent Mountaineer attack. Don’t miss a minute of the action with broadcast team Tucker Green and Jess Walker, live on WPGY 93.7/98.1 FM and streaming on WLJAradio.com. Tune in early for the Northside Medical pre-game show at 7:00 with kickoff (weather permitting!) at 7:30.

Week 1: Pickens @ Sonoraville

With the end of the dog days of summer comes the hint of cool weather, and though there are certainly more ninety-degree days in the forecast, one can’t help but look forward to the crisp chill of fall on the horizon. Along with the welcome fall weather comes the much-anticipated football season. Though college teams and the NFL have yet to play, football fans in Georgia can officially kickoff the season this Friday as the Georgia High School Association [GHSA] teams return to the field for the regular season.

On the field is exactly where you’ll find the Pickens Dragons on Friday nights this season, which unofficially began last Friday with a scrimmage bout against the Rockmart Yellow Jackets. The Jackets were no walk in the park for the Dragons, bringing with them five consecutive regional titles and ranking seventh in Georgia High School Football Daily’s Class 2A polls. Living up to those credentials, the Yellow Jackets outscored PHS 63-0, exposing the Dragons to perhaps the toughest competition they will face this season—that blowout loss will almost certainly light a fire in the team as they head west to take on the Sonoraville Phoenix of Calhoun for this Friday’s season opener.

Both Pickens and Sonoraville are among the 129 GHSA teams that found themselves in new classifications for the 2022 season, with Pickens moving from Class 4A to 3A and the Sonoraville Phoenix taking the opposite route, jumping up from 3A to 4A. With the new classification, Sonoraville took the place of the Pickens Dragons in Region 7AAAA and will face many of the same teams that the Dragons went head-to-head with last season. Both teams also return to the field with a nucleus of players with ample varsity playing experience. Like the Dragons crew of juniors including QB Sam Streicher, RB Miguel Santo, WR Marcus Pike, and TE Isaiah Williams, Sonoraville’s ones to watch on offense include QB Jaxon Pate, RB Zach Lyles, WR Brant Bryant, and TE Ridge Redd as they each have experience at the varsity level.

Can the Dragons bounce back from their scrimmage loss and break through to the win column as they officially start the season this Friday? With each team posting a near .500 record last season, a win for the Dragons is absolutely within reach. Historically, the record between the two teams favors the Dragons 2-0 in matchups nearly a decade ago. Friday’s face-off is sure to be a tough competition with many fans looking forward to the performances of two of the area’s best tight ends: Pickens’s Isaiah Williams and Sonoraville’s Ridge Redd.

To hear Friday’s game live, tune in to WPGY 93.7 FM/98.1 FM or stream online at WLJAradio.com for the pre-game show at 7:00 p.m. and kickoff at 7:30 p.m. as the Tri-State Communications broadcasting team returns to bring you the play-by-play action all season long.

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