HOMER, GA- The defense was key for the Panthers as they hold on to beat Banks County 19-7. The Panthers struggled on offense but made the right plays at the right time to seal the victory.
This was the first region matchup for both Union County (3-2,1-0) & Banks County (1-6,0-1). Union had not played a game in 2 weeks due to one of their games being cancelled because of COVID-19 and then one week was their bye week. Banks County had lost to Haralson County last week, 44-0. Both teams have played Commerce & Fannin County and had both lost to each team.
The Panthers got off to a great start defensively led by senior Aaron Helton who had a big tackle for loss on the first drive and a sack on the second drive. (0:00-17:00) The Panthers struggled to move the ball most of the first quarter, mostly due to not playing the last 2 weeks. The Panthers defense held their ground all of the first quarter, not giving the Leopards a chance to get anything going offensively.
The Panthers had 2 quick turnovers, each happening on the first play of each drive, giving the Leopards great field position after each turnover. The Panthers did get the ball right back after the second turnover, the Leopards also fumbled on the first play of their drive. (18:00-29:00) That really lit a spark for the Panthers offense knowing that they can play better and getting a chance to prove it on this drive. On the second play of the drive, Junior Quarterback Logan Helcher ran a read option play and kept the ball and taking it 66 yards to the house. (30:00-49:00) The Panthers missed the PAT to maker it 6-0. After that, give credit to the Panthers defense, forcing the Leopards into some mistakes and forced another punt. The Panthers offense stalled out again going into halftime up 6-0.
The Panthers got the ball to start the second half and got off to a hot start running the hurry up offense. Gaining lots of yards each play and spreading the ball all around the field. Junior Quarterback Logan Helcher running for a gain of 30+ yards (0:50-1:01) and throwing a long pass to Junior Wide Receiver Keaton Chitwood.(1:02-1:13) The Panthers capped off the drive with a 1 yard touchdown by Senior Running back Jonah Daniel, his first of the season, in his first game back after breaking his ankle in week 1 against Fannin County. (1:14-1:26) Union County missed yet another PAT but still held the lead, 12-0. Again, the Panthers defense held the Leopards to a punt after letting up a few first downs. The Panthers drive ended on another turnover as Quarterback Logan Helcher threw his second interception of the game.
The Leopards gave the ball right back to the Panthers, bobbling a handoff that was recovered by Senior Kaston Hemphill. (1:28-1:39) The Leopards would get the ball back after a 3 and out by The Panthers and finally get the ball rolling on offense. The Leopards stuck with the run game and caught the Panthers by surprise with a counter play on a 36 yard touchdown. The Panthers had another 3 and out on the next drive and the Leopards had the ball mid 4th quarter with the chance to take to the lead. The Panthers defense held strong and forced the Leopards to go for it on 4th down. On 4th down Senior JJ Littles made a great defensive play, breaking up the double-pass. (1:40-1:53) The Panthers took over deep in Leopard territory and scored on a 24 yard screen play to senior Jonah Daniel on 4th down with 1:36 left to seal the victory for the Panthers. (1:54-2:14)
Union County hosts Elbert County next Friday, Oct 30, which is their second region matchup of the season.