Jasper, Ga — The Pickens Dragons hosted the Heritage Generals on Friday the 13th in a big time 7-AAAA game. It was also Senior Night at Dragons Stadium as football players, football managers, cheerleaders, cross country runners, and band members were all recognized. The games with Heritage have been historically close and exciting ones over the past couple of seasons. The winner, would find themselves in 2nd place in the region. The Generals, were able to make some plays defensively and chew up the clock to come away with a 23-7 win.
The Dragons won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. Much like last week against Ridgeland, Pickens came out in their “wild Dragon” formation. Their take on the wildcat. The combination of Jarod Whitmore, Andrew Burrell, and Kadyn Hampton helped march down the field. With freshman Sam Streicher now under center, the Dragons converted a 4th down play as Streicher found Mykel Hand for the first. The drive was capped off by Devin Hand, who took the hand off on a sweep 11-yds for the touchdown. The PAT was good, and Pickens led Heritage 7-0 as we would head to the second quarter.
In the second quarter, both teams had their chances, but for the majority of the quarter the score remained 7-0 Dragons. The final seventy-one seconds of the first half is where things started to happen. The Generals got on the board for the first time with a 3-yd touchdown run to tie it at 7-7 with 1:11 left in the half. On the first play of the next possession for Pickens, Heritage recovered a fumble after a nice run from the Dragons. With 8 seconds left in the first half, Heritage turned that fumble into points with a 6-yd touchdown pass. Going into the break, the Generals led, 14-7.
In the third quarter, Heritage got the ball first to start the second half. The drive ended when Senior Mykel Hand made a leaping grab for the interception at the Dragons 9-yd line. The ensuing drive for Pickens stalled and they would be forced to punt. A high snap forced Whitmore to throw the ball away as he was being pulled down in the end zone. The officials ruled it intentional grounding and since it occurred in the end zone, it was ruled a safety. With 6:39 to go in the third, the Generals now led the Dragons, 16-7. Heritage ran down 5:39 of game clock on their next possession as they were able to score on a 1-yd run on fourth down to make it 23-7 going to the fourth quarter.
The Dragons began the fourth quarter with the football, but couldn’t get anything going on the drive. After punting it away to the Generals, Heritage kept possession of the ball for what seemed like close to 10 minutes of game time. The Generals would eventually settle for a 36-yd field goal attempt, but it was pushed wide right and no good. On the next play, Heritage picked off a Pickens pass attempt and were able to take a couple of knees to close this one out. Final score, Heritage 23 Dragons 7.
Cedartown: 6-2 (4-0) 7-AAAA Region Champions
Heritage: 5-4 (2-2)
Central-Carroll: 5-3 (1-2)
Northwest Whitfield: 6-2 (1-2)
Pickens: 3-5 (1-2)
Ridgeland: 1-7 (1-2)
*(these may not be entirely accurate as maxpreps has the whole region screwed up and with covid cancellations things are pretty complicated. I’ve been trying to keep up with it myself. Apologies if these records are not all right)
Next week, the Dragons will be right back home for the third straight week to close out the regular season as they welcome the Northwest Whitfield Bruins to Dragons Stadium. Playoff implications will most likely be at stake in this game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Jasper, Ga — It was a rare Saturday night football game as the Pickens Dragons welcomed the Ridgeland Panthers to Dragons Stadium. It was the first game for the Dragons since playing at Cedartown on October 16th. Coming into the game, Pickens was 2-4 overall and 0-1 in region play. The Ridgeland Panthers, came in with an overall record of 1-6, but tied for second place in 7-AAAA at 1-1. Traditionally, the games between Pickens and Ridgeland have been very exciting and very competitive. This one, was no different. Overcoming not having played in twenty-two days and missing some players, the Dragons came away with a 27-18 win.
Pickens, as they have for the majority of the season, won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Dragons, came out in their version of the wildcat offense to begin their opening drive with Senior running back Jarod Whitmore taking the snaps at the QB position. The opening drive ended in points for Pickens as Whitmore ran it in from 5-yds out to give the Dragons an early 7-0 lead. The defense for the Dragons did a good job in the opening quarter against what can be an explosive Panther offense. Going to the second quarter, Pickens led Ridgeland 7-0.
In the second quarter, both teams, especially the Dragons, had chances for points, but just couldn’t connect. At the 6:40 mark of the second quarter, the Panthers broke through with a 5-yd TD run. The PAT was no good and Pickens kept the lead, 7-6. The Dragons had another good chance just before the half, but we would head into the break with Pickens ahead of Ridgeland, 7-6.
The Panthers, got the ball first to start the second half and turned their first possession into points after a 50-yd TD run. the two-point conversion attempt was no good. With 10:33 left in the third, Ridgeland took the lead for the first time, 12-7. The Dragons came back with a good drive of their own as Junior Collin Kellogg, who took over at QB after the first possession of the game for Pickens, found Whitmore streaking down the middle of the field for a 28-yd TD. With 5:53 left in the third, the Dragons were back on top, 14-12. As time was running off the clock in the third, the Panthers scored on a 40-yd run. The snap on the PAT attempt was mishandled and the try was no good. Going to the fourth, Ridgeland held an 18-14 lead over Pickens.
The Dragons were down, but definitely not out as they turned their first possession of the fourth quarter into points. After a bad snap pushed Pickens from the 6-yd line to the 22-yd line, a holding penalty was called on the Dragons on their fourth down play. The penalty was accepted, and the ball was moved back, making it fourth and goal from the Ridgeland 32-yd line. Kellogg, lofted it up to the left corner of the end zone where Senior WR Mykel Hand fought two Panthers defenders and came down with it to give the Dragons the lead. With 8:51 left in the game, Pickens went ahead, 20-18. On the ensuing kickoff, and without his regular kickers, Dragons head coach Jeff Nelson decided to go for an onside. The gamble paid off as Pickens recovered it. The Dragons cashed in on the recovery as Sophomore Kadyn Hampton took it in from 20-yds out. The PAT was good, and Pickens extended their lead over the Panthers to 27-18. Needing a big play, Ridgeland turned to the passing attack. Junior Conor Browning, picked off a pass attempt, and helped seal the win for the Dragons. The final, 27-18 Pickens.
Cedartown: 6-2 (3-0)
Central-Carroll: 5-2 (1-1)
Pickens: 3-4 (1-1)
Northwest Whitfield: 6-2 (1-2)
Ridgeland: 1-7 (1-2)
Heritage: 4-4 (1-2)
Next week, the Dragons will again be at home as they welcome the Heritage Generals to Dragons Stadium. The game will be on Friday, November 13th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 in this 7-AAAA match up.