Ellijay, GA– The Union County Panthers(3-5) travelled to Gilmer County(3-5), home of the Bobcats. The Panthers heading into this game hoping to get a win and to gain momentum before heading into the playoffs.
The Panthers are getting back Starting Quarterback Logan Helcher and Running-back Jonah Daniel. The Bobcats are led by Junior Running-back Kobe Stonecipher and Senior Linebacker Ashton White.
The Bobcats would get the ball to start the game and would move the ball down the field very slowly. They would keep the ball for about 9 minutes in the 1st quarter. The Bobcats would take the ball all the way to the Panthers 25 yard line and fail to convert on 4th down. The Panthers would start the drive off with an 8 yard run by Helcher but fail to get anything else going after a holding penalty on 2nd down. The Bobcats would run one play to end the very quick 1st quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Senior Noah Underwood would force a fumble around the Bobcats 40 yard line and Junior Trace Wright would recover the fumble. The Panthers would put Senior Kaston Hemphill in to give Helcher a breather as he is still recovering from an injury he suffered against Rabun Gap. The Panthers would fail to get a first down and punt the ball back to the Bobcats. The Panthers stuffed the run on the first 2 plays but were called for targeting on the 2nd down play. On the next play, Senior cornerback JJ Littles would intercept a pass at midfield, credit to Senior linebacker Hunter Young for getting his hands on the ball and causing the ball to be tipped and caught. On the first play of the Panthers offensive drive, Helcher suffered, what appeared to be a shoulder injury, which would sideline him for the rest of the game. The Panthers would pick up some quick first downs with some good hard runs by Junior Carson Walker. The Panthers would score on a 4 yard touchdown run by Senior Jonah Daniel and go up 7-0. The Bobcats would pick up a quick 1st down but the Panthers defense would stuff the run again and pick up a key tackle for loss by Senior Noah Underwood & Senior Aaron Helton. The Bobcats would punt pin the Panthers down at their own 5 yard line. The Panthers offense would fail to get a first down. The Bobcats would pick up a quick first down on a reverse play and quickly go deep into Panther territory. Senior JJ Liitles would make a great play to break up the pass at the goal line. The Panthers would hold the Bobcats to a field goal, that was missed with 20 seconds left to go in the half.
The Panthers would start the second half on offense and would quickly pick up 2 first downs, sticking with the ground game. The Panthers offense would stall after that and would have to punt the ball away again. The Panthers defense would stand strong and sack the end around pass play on 3rd down and force another punt. The Panthers would start their drives in the 2nd half quickly picking up first downs but would quickly stall out. The Panthers had a chance to score on a deep pass to Senior Mason McCombs but McCombs was tripped up near the end zone before catching it. There was a penalty thrown for pass interference but was waved off. The pass was intercepted and the Bobcats took over at their own 15 yard line. The Bobcats would get a good drive going but the Panthers defense would stand strong to end the 3rd quarter.
The Panthers defense would force another punt to start the 4th quarter. The Panthers would pick up a big first down on the first play of the drive by Hemphill on a Quarterback keeper. The Panthers would have to punt again but they would pin the Bobcats inside their own 5 yard line. The Bobcats would run the same play from the same formation about 5 times in a row and catch the Panthers off guard with a QB keeper off the same play and pick up about 34 yards. Eli Peugh would make a huge tackle on 3rd and 10 and force the Bobcats to go for it on 4th down. On 4th down, the Bobcats would try to run a trick play and it was read quickly by Senior Clayton Lester. The Panthers offense finally got a big play and a penalty added to the end of it. The Panthers would drive all the way to the Bobcat 14 yard line but failed to covert on a 4th and 3 with 2:40 left in the 4th quarter. The Bobcats would quickly get to midfield on a 30 yard pass. The Panthers defensive backs had a bunch of opportunities to intercept multiple passes and end the game during this drive. The Panthers would force the Bobcats to go for it on 4th and inches but would pick up the 1st down. On 3rd and 10, JJ Littles would intercept the ball but it would be called back on a questionable pass interference call. The Panther defense would keep the Bobcats out of the end zone and hold on to win, 7-0.
The Panthers will finish 3rd in Region 8-AA and move on to the GHSA State Playoffs. They do not know who they will face yet, but they will matchup with Region 5-AA and face the 2nd place team out of that region. They will play next Friday November 27.