Panthers back in win column, beat Gilmer 7-0 on Thursday Night

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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.

First Quarter

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.

Second 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.

Third Quarter

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.

Fourth 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.

Panthers Fall to Rabun 63-14, Panthers finish 3rd in region

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Tiger, Georgia– The Union County Panthers (3-4,1-1) traveled to Tiger, Georgia to face the Rabun County Wildcats (8-1,2-0).The Panthers had a tough task ahead as Starting Quarterback Logan Helcher & Starting Running-back Jonah Daniel were out due to injuries. Senior Kaston Hemphill would be the starting quarterback for the Panthers. The Wildcats have proved in the past 2 weeks that they are the best team in the region.

The Wildcats are led by Junior Quarterback, 5 Star 2022 South Carolina Commit Gunner Stockton and Senior Wide Receiver Adriel Clark.  The Panthers are led by Senior Kaston Hemphill and Senior Aaron Helton. Hemphill had a big task ahead of him Friday Night, but he was very confident.

First Quarter

The Panthers started on defense and the Wildcats came out swinging. Scoring quickly on a 39 yard touchdown run by Gunner Stockton. The Panthers came out moving the ball well and milking clock. The Panthers got around midfield but ended up punting the ball away. The Panthers defense held up well on the Wildcats second drive and recovered a fumbled snap by Stockton around midfield. The Wildcat defensive front didn’t allow the Panthers to move the ball and the Panthers were forced to punt. The Panther did a great job keeping the Wildcats explosive offense off of the field.

Second Quarter

The Wildcats started picking up the pace and moving the ball with ease, moving the ball all the way to the 30 yard line. Stockton would then find Clark for a 29 yard touchdown. The Panthers would again stick to running the ball on offense, getting good, hard runs by Junior Running-back Carson Walker. On 3rd down, Hemphill was looking for JJ Littles and the pass was tipped and intercepted by the Wildcats. The Wildcats would move the ball all the way down to the 3 yard line. The Wildcats scored again as Adriel Clark gets the end around handoff and goes in for the 3 yard score. That would make it 21-0 Wildcats. The Panthers wouldn’t move the sticks on their next drive and punt the ball away again. The Wildcats would score again on a 22 yard run by Stockton late in the second quarter. The Panthers tried to run the clock out to end the half, being down 28-0 but the Wildcats would use all of their timeouts with less than 2 minutes left in the half to get the ball back. The Wildcats would get the ball back and quickly score again. Stockton would find Clark for a 39 yard touchdown to make it 35-0. Those 2 match up with each other very well and are both insanely talented.

Third Quarter

The Panthers would start off the second half with the ball but would not be able to get anything going. The Wildcats would keep their foot on the gas to start the second half. On the second play of the drive, Lang Windham would take the handoff and score on a 37 yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 42-0. Later, the Wildcats would score again on a 1 yard pass to Lang Windham to make it 49-0. On the kickoff, JJ Littles would return it 90 yards for a touchdown to make it a 49-7 ballgame.

Fourth Quarter

Rabun County would drive down the field and extend their lead even more. Stockton would fine Clark again for a 12 yard pass to extend the lead to 56-7. The Panthers would finally start moving the ball on offense and move into Wildcat territory after a facemask penalty committed by the Wildcats. On the next play, Kaston Hemphill would find Junior Receiver Keyton Chitwood for a 40 yard touchdown pass, Chitwood’s first touchdown of the season. Rabun would then, again, extend their lead on a 5 yard pass from Stockton to Tate Ramey to make it 63-14.

The Panthers would fall to the Wildcats 63-14. Gunner Stockton finishes the game with 8 TD’s total (6 passing, 2 rushing) Going to give a huge shoutout to Gunner Stockton. One of the best high school athletes I have seen play in person. He will do huge things in the future.

The Panthers travel to Gilmer County next week. That will be the final regular season game for the Panthers before the playoffs begin.

Panthers fall to Rabun Gap, move to 3-4 on season

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The Union County Panthers (3-3,1-1) hosted the Rabun Gap Eagles (5-1,0-0) Thursday night @ Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium.

The Panthers are coming off their 3rd loss of the year, which is also their 1st region loss of the year. The Panthers are led by Junior Quarterback Logan Helcher & Senior Noah Underwood. The Eagles are coming off a big victory against Metrolina Christian Academy. The Eagles are led by Michigan Commit Junior Tight End Marlin Klein & Junior Defensive End Linus Zunk.  The Panthers would be without Junior Running-back Carson Walker.

First Quarter

The Panthers had a big task ahead of them on Thursday size wise but they prepared well. The Eagles received the opening kickoff but the Panthers held them to a quick 3 and out on the first drive. Trace Wright made a a great pass breakup on 3rd down, covering the 6’6 TE of the Eagles. The Panthers started off their first drive with 3 straight rushes by Senior Jonah Daniel, picking up 2 quick first downs. Logan Helcher also picking up a big a big 3rd down inside the Eagles 30 yard line. The Panthers’ drive stalled but Mason McCombs made a 34 yard Field Goal to make it 3-0 early in the 1st quarter.

Second Quarter

The Panthers defense started off strong during the Eagles’ second drive, getting a key PBU by Trace Wright & Noah Underwood on an early 2nd down. The Eagles would pick up the 1st down on 3rd down, sparking a big drive by the Eagles. The Panthers defense made the Eagles work on this drive but the Eagles would end up scoring on a 10 yard touchdown pass. The Panthers would again keep handing the ball to Jonah Daniel, driving the ball into Eagle territory quickly. Jonah Daniel would exit the game during this drive, what looked like to be because of an injury. Daniel never returned so the Panthers had to rely on 3rd string running-back, Cayleb Rogers. The Panthers converted a 4th down conversion just near midfield to keep the drive alive.
Logan Helcher found Senior Kaston Hemphill for a long pass deep in Eagle territory. The drive would again stall inside Eagle territory. Senior Mason McCombs would make the 41 yard Field Goal to make it 7-6. The Eagles would get another drive going but after a deep pass was broken up again by Junior Trace Wright, the Panthers would force another punt. On the first play of the Panthers offensive drive inside their own 10 yard line, Cayleb Rogers fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Eagles. The Panthers would again hold Rabun Gap to a field goal attempt, which was missed. Logan Helcher would leave the game due to an injury and Kaston Hemphill came in to kneel the ball to end the 1st half. Junior Quarterback Logan Helcher would not return for the remainder of the game.

Third Quarter

The Panthers got the ball to start off the 3rd quarter. Without Starting Quarterback Logan Helcher and Starting Running-back Jonah Daniel, the Panthers offense had to step up big in the second half. The Panthers quickly punted the ball away after 3 straight rushes. The Eagles got off to a hot start in the 2nd half, quickly moving the ball into Panther territory. Trace Wright, already having a huge game, intercepts the pass in the end zone and gets a huge turnover for the Panthers defense. The Panthers would take over at their own 20 yard line but would quickly turn the ball over again around their own 30 yard line. On the 3rd play of the Eagles drive after the Panthers turned the ball over, the Eagles give the ball right back to the Panthers, fumbling inside the Panthers 20 yard line. Then on the first play of the Panthers drive, Kaston Hemphill’s pass is intercepted by Rabun Gap and returned to the 5 yard line. Senior Receiver Mason McCombs also got injured on this play after making the touchdown saving tackle. McCombs never returned to the game. The Panthers defense held up strong inside their own 5 yard line, but the Eagles capitalized on some miscommunication by the defense and scored on a 5 yard touchdown pass.

Fourth Quarter

On the very first play of the 4th quarter, Kaston Hemphill’s pass is intercepted at the 48 yard line. The Eagles would move the ball deep into Panther territory and score on a 21 yard pass to make it 21-6. The Panthers would have a quick 3 and out around midfield but would get a great punt by Cayleb Rogers to pin the Eagles deep inside their own 1 yard line. The Eagles would hold the ball and slowly move the ball past midfield and eventually knee the ball to run the clock out. The Panthers fall to the Eagles 21-6.

The Panthers move to 3-4 overall. The Panthers travel to Tiger, Georgia to face the Rabun County Wildcats led by the #2 ranked QB in the country, South Carolina commit, Gunner Stockton.

Offense struggles as Panthers fall to Elbert County.

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BLAIRSVILLE, GA- The Union County Panthers (3-2,1-0) hosted The Elbert County Blue Devils (1-4,0-0) on a chilly night in the mountains.

First Quarter

The Blue Devils offense came out firing, pushing the ball all the way to the Panthers’ 35 yard line. The Panthers defense ended up forcing a punt. The Panthers offense, still trying to find an identity, started the game on the right foot. Huge rushes by Senior Running-back Jonah Daniel led the Panthers on the first drive. The Panthers had the ball on the 8 yard line and  fumbled on the 1 as Junior Quarterback Logan Helcher tried to reach for the goal line. The Panthers defense held up strong forcing the Blue Devils to punt from their own end zone.

Second Quarter

The Panthers defense again held the Blue Devils to another punt. The defense had huge tackles for loss by Senior Noah Underwood and Senior Aaron Helton. The Panthers just couldn’t get anything going offensively, failing the 4th down conversion inside the Blue Devils 20 yard line. Both teams could not get anything going offensively, credit to both defenses for not allowing any big plays after both teams’ first drive. The Panthers held the Blue Devils to another punt, which was blocked by Junior Elijah Helton and the Panthers took over from the Blue Devils 45 yard line. On the first play of the drive, the Blue Devils intercepted Quarterback Logan Helcher and returned it for a touchdown.  The next drive ended the same way. Logan Helcher’s pass was intercepted on an attempted screen pass. The Panthers defense held the Blue Devils to a field goal to make the score 10-0 late in the second quarter. The Panthers failed to score any points before halftime.

Third Quarter

To start the second half, the Panthers came out moving the ball down the field. Getting the ball down to the Blue Devils 12 yard line after the Blue Devils committed a pass interference on a deep pass intended for Kaston Hemphill. The Panthers would have to settle for a field goal which made the score 10-3. The Panthers defense forced a much needed turnover. Noah Underwood sacked the QB and picked up the fumble near midfield. On the first play of the Panthers offensive drive, Quarterback Logan Helcher evaded tackles and found Noah Underwood for a 40 yard touchdown to tie the game at 10 a piece. The Blue Devils started to move the ball well on offense, taking the ball all the way to the Panthers 35 yard line, but the Panthers defense stopped the drive there. The Blue Devils would again, intercept another pass and return it all the way to the 5 yard line and score on a 7 yard pass after a penalty, to take the lead, 17-10. The Panthers would get the ball moving well again offensively heading into the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

On the first play of the fourth quarter, The Blue Devils would intercept another pass as Quarterback Logan Helcher would try to get rid of the ball while getting hit. The Blue Devils would return it for a touchdown to extend their lead to 24-10. The Panthers offense couldn’t get going on the next drive and failed to convert on 4th down inside their own 30 yard line after a mistimed snap. The Panthers defense didn’t allow any points on that drive and forced another punt. The Panthers were forced to punt on their next offensive drive. The Blue Devils would quickly score on their next drive on a 47 yard touchdown run, extending their lead to 31-10. The Blue Devils would hold the ball until the clock ran out to end the game.

The Panthers fall to the Blue Devils, 31-10. That gives the Panthers their first region loss of the year.

The Panthers will host Rabun Gap on Thursday, November 6 @ 6:30.

Defense leads the way for the Panthers first region win against Banks

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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.

1st Quarter

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.

2nd Quarter

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.

3rd Quarter

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.

4th Quarter

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.

Lady Panthers advance to second straight Elite Eight, beating Armuchee in four sets

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BLAIRSVILLE, GA- Union County (17-7,8-0) hosted the Armuchee Indians (24-15,9-0) in the Sweet Sixteen matchup of the GHSA A/AA Volleyball State Tournament .

The Lady Panthers are coming off a victory against Atlanta Classical Academy, which they won in four sets, 3-1. The Armuchee Indians are coming off a victory against Fannin County, which they won in four sets, 3-1.

These teams were pretty evenly matched and it showed. Both teams battled it out with scoring going back and forth in each set. The Lady Panthers had huge performances by Sophomore Sofia Swartz and Junior Morgan Fussell. The Indians were led by Senior Mercedes McLaughlin, Junior Emily Tomlin and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin.

Set 1

It started off the way you would’ve thought, each team going back and forth in scoring. After being tied 4-4 early, the Lady Panthers went on a run, scoring 5 quick points making it 9-4. The Indians would not stay down, quickly tying the score at 9-9 led by Senior Mercedes McLaughlin and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin. Things again went back and forth with each team was playing great throughout the rest of the set. Late in the set, the score was tied at 18 but The Lady Panthers started pulling away towards the end, led by Juniors Saylor Noe and Riley Allison. The Lady Panthers won the first set 25-21.

Set 2

Armuchee got off to a hot start, scoring 5 quick points, leading 5-1 early. The Indians were scoring quick points by Senior Molli Womack and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin. The Lady Panthers came storming back, quickly tying the game at 7. The Lady Panthers kept their foot on the gas led by Junior Morgan Fussell. Just as you thought things were going the Panthers’ way, the Indians came storming back, pulling within 1. The Indians kept things close, eventually taking the lead late, 22-19. That is when things got interesting. The set went back and forth yet again as the score was tied at 24. In order to win it has to be by 2 points. Each team held their ground and wouldn’t let up one bit, even when their backs were against the wall when down by 1. Both teams showed they deserved to move on to the Elite Eight. The Lady Panthers would end up winning the set, 31-29.

Set 3

Again, Armuchee got off to a hot start, leading 10-5 early on. The Indians knew their backs were against the wall and were fighting to win one set and have a chance to play another. The Indians really held the momentum during the whole set. They started off strong and finished strong. The Indians were again led by Senior Molli Womack and Sophomore Bailey Tomlin. The Lady Panthers did not play their best game but did make a comeback late in the set, pulling within one, but failing to tie or take the lead. The Indians won the 3rd set, 25-21.

Set 4

The Lady Panthers struggled to get going early in the fourth set but credit to Armuchee for starting off strong. The Lady Panthers would take the lead 7-6 and never looked back. The Panthers had huge performances again by Junior Saylor Noe and Junior Morgan Fussell. The Lady Panthers finished the set strong to seal the victory and advance to their second Elite Eight. The Panthers won the fourth set, 25-17.

Union travels to Davidson Fine Arts on Wednesday for the Elite Eight matchup. Both teams are No. 1 seeds.

 

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