Starting this year, #TeamFYNsports will be bringing you their top football games of the week for our local area football teams. This week, we have some rivalries on the horizon, with four local area teams going head to head.
Team FYN sports director Jake West and Fannin County Rec. Department Athletic Coordinator Tim Towe will also be giving you their picks to win these games of the week and we will be tracking their pick ’em record going forward.
- Fannin County Rebels @ Union County Panthers
If there was ever a year for Fannin County to be able to break their 6 year losing streak agains the Union County Panthers, it would be this year. Fannin is coming off an impressive 5-6 season last year, and with all the returning upper-classmen they have this year, this is the year that they have to make some moves. Even Coach Chad Cheatham said himself at media day, they are poised to make a run. Union County on the other hand is coming off of a 10-2 record last year, where it looked like they were going to go deep into the playoffs until losing a 7-14 game against Metter High School. Head Coach Brian Allison has turned Union County into a juggernaut over there in Blairsville, losing a combined four games in the past two years. However with the loss of their starting Quarterback Pierson Allison to graduation, we will if the newcomer behind center can handle the pressure of Friday Night Lights.
Jake’s Pick: Union County
Tim’s Pick: Fannin County
2. Gilmer County Bobcats @ Pickens Dragons
The Pickens Dragons finished 2019 with a 6-5 overall record and tied for third in their division. Their offense was crazy hot last year, putting up an average of 31.6 points. We will see if they have improved any on the defensive side of the ball however, where they managed to give up an average of 26.2 points per game in the previous season. When watching Pickens last year however, one of their more impressive games came against then region rival Gilmer, who they will be playing to kickoff this season. This season the anticipated Gilmer-Pickens game will not be a region game due to the realignment that took place in the offseason. Even though this is not going to be a region game this year, you can tell that it still means just as much to the players and coaches as it did when it counted against their region record. Gilmer is coming off of a 4-6 overall record last year in 2019. But, as rebuilds go it looks like Gilmer is on the backend of theirs and should start putting together some winning teams. Also, with Gilmer being bumped down a level, their opponents in their new region should play more to their level. I just think that the speed and power of the Pickens offense will be too much for the Bobcats to handle.
Jake’s Pick: Pickens County
Tim’s Pick: Gilmer County
Lumpkin County high school earlier today released their football game-day guidelines and procedures for 2020 in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
These guidelines come straight from the Lumpkin County High School athletics website and are as follows:
- All stadium personnel will undergo temperature checks prior to entering the stadium.
- All tickets will be sold at the gate for $7.00
- All spectators are expected to self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entering the stadium. Spectators with fevers or any symptoms are asked to stay at home.
- Social distancing is to be observed by all spectators. Families are to stay together while seated in the stadium.
- Wearing a mask is not mandatory, but is highly suggested.
- There will be no restrictions on stadium capacity.
- The visiting school may bring their marching band. Each band will have a section of the bleachers that will be marked and the bands must practice social distancing. Please refrain from entering the marked locations for the band.
- No spectators will be allowed on the field at any time unless invited (senior night or homecoming). Their will be no pick-up football games, tag games, etc. before, during or after the game.
- The concession stand will be open, but we must follow state guidelines for “restaurants, bars, and banquet and catering facilities/services.” All concession workers must wear a mask and gloves. Any individuals in line must practice social distancing.
- Media with credentials will be allowed on the sidelines will administrative approval.
This is the first local area school to release their guidelines for football game-day.
It should be expected that all other schools will follow some sort of form of this plan.
Following the weekly meeting with the Sports Medicine Advisory Council, Georgia High School Association Executive Director Robin Hines announced that the GHSA will be moving forward with the September fourth football start date for the opening of the 2020 season.
After the Sports Medicine Advisory Council meeting, director Hines spoke with the Athens Banner-Herald in regard to the number of COVID-19 cases across the state, but was confident that the season would return on the now delayed football start date of September fourth.
Hines told the Athens Banner-Herald, “While the numbers aren’t what we would prefer right now, they’re trending down, we feel good about that, and pending some spikes between now and then, my recommendation is going to be that we go ahead and play.”
The GHSA has previously reported that there will be around 70 Georgia football teams of 425 total that are unlikely to play the first week of the season because of coronavirus concerns dictated by their school district or private schools.
Included in the list of teams that will be sitting out for the week of September 4th are 19 DeKalb County teams, 16 Fulton County teams, 8 Savannah-Chatham teams, and 6 Bibb county teams. Several other teams across the state will also be sitting out until given the OK from their administrators and school board.
Tennessee will begin their High School football season tonight, and they have already released their guidelines for spectators and fines which can be found HERE. Viewing this should help give GHSA fans a little insight in what to expect come September fourth when Georgia returns to Friday night lights.
The Georgia High School Association has released “strongly recommended” game-day operation guidelines in order for the high school football season to proceed as normal when it opens for good on September Fourth. These game-day guidelines and recommendations are given to spectators and parents in order to ensure that the football season will be able to continue and so that these student athletes are able to play a whole season. The whole list of guidelines can be found HERE.
Game Day Venue Restrictions
- Local school administrators, in consultation with local health departments and health care professionals should determine what personnel (cheerleaders, band, mascots, dance team, etc.) should participate in events. It is strongly recommended to take into consideration the venue’s ability to safely allow for and enforce proper physical distancing.
- The media accommodations will be handled by host school personnel.
- GHSA member schools should follow the guidance of local, state, and federal recommendations as it pertains to spectator events and stadium capacity restrictions if such information becomes available.
- It is highly recommended that spectators have their temperature assessed prior to entering the competition venue and should be denied entry if higher than 100.4 degrees.
- It is highly recommended that spectators always wear a facemask/covering possible. □ Spectators should be restricted from direct competition areas and from visiting with student athletes and personnel before, during and after events.
- Spectators should always practice social distancing whenever possible. Household members are excluded.
- Local school administrators, in consultation with local health departments, should determine whether “to-go” meals for their student-athletes in individualized, single packaged containers should be permitted.
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, they must follow state guidelines for “Restaurants, Bars, and Banquet & Catering Facilities/Services” as outlined in the current Governor’s Executive Order
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, concession workers should wear masks and gloves in accordance with state mandates.
- Any worker should be screened before they are permitted to perform work duties in the concession.
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, individuals in line for concessions should practice physical distancing.
- If sales at concession stands are permitted, precautions for social distancing should always be adhered to.
Lumpkin Co. high school’s football team may not be able to practice in pads until Saturday, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard.
The Indians returned to practiced on Monday, July 27th. In his second year as Lumpkin Co.’s head coach, Caleb Sorrells is excited for the opportunity that lies ahead for his young team.
“I’ll be very excited when we can put on pads and block and tackle and do what the game is all about. But right now it’s going well… it’s just such a learning curve because we missed so much time.”
The learning curve is to be expected for all teams, but, according to Coach Sorrells, “there’s about 35 freshmen and 35 sophomores, juniors, and seniors.”
It may take even longer for the team to get reacclimated to practicing at a high level, but Coach Sorrells understands that and is ready for the challenge. Heading into his second year leading the program, he is still in the process of building a winning culture at Lumpkin Co.
“We’re still learning how to practice. We’re in year two, but there’s a lot of things we didn’t do well last year that we’ve got to learn how to do this year. It’s a lot of learning how to be efficient, learning how to get the most out of every drill, learning how to compete. All of those are coaching clichés, but they’re clichés because they’re true.”
While there’s still over a month until the team will play it’s first game of the regular season, the team is already growing. The Lumpkin Co. Indians’ football program has a bright future and is in good hands with Coach Caleb Sorrells at the helm.
The GHSA has reported that over 600 players and coaches have tested positive for COVID since voluntary workouts began on June 8th.
The Georgia High School Association sent out and email on Tuesday, where they confirmed that they have had a reported 655 positive tests, including over 1,000 screen outs. Screen outs are when a player or coach is held out of practice due to a high temperature check or health questionnaire.
Several local area teams have stopped and started workouts since the June 8th restart, due to complications with the virus.
These numbers that he GHSA has released are not entirely accurate, as the GHSA does not require positive tests to be reported to the association, however it is encouraged so that the data can be compiled and used in the decision making process.
“The data is aggregate and for decision-making purposes,” GHSA associate director Don Corr said in Tuesdays email. “It is our belief that this data is incomplete and varies due to individual infectious disease plans formulated by each member school.”
6 GHSA teams have reported to the GHSA that they are shutting down their practice’s this week. There could be more since the GHSA also does not require practice activity to be reported either. The teams that are not practicing currently are Morgan County, Putnam County, Greene County, Social Circle and Lincoln County in east and central Georgia and Lakeside in DeKalb County.
Each school district has their own protocol in dealing with the positive coronavirus cases, as the GHSA has decided to give the power to the schools instead of setting a governing body of rules.
The nine players named TeamFYNSports Player of the Week during Lumpkin Co.’s 2019 football season were recognized Monday Jan. 27, at the high school. Each player received a commemorative shirt and a gift certificate for a free meal.
Week 1, Aaron Hopkins, senior: Against East Jackson on Aug. 23, Hopkins had 10 total tackles (seven solo, three assists) and two sacks.
Week 2, Jason Chamblee, junior: Chamblee had a standout performance and effort against White Co. on Aug. 30.
Week 3, Ethan Kline, senior: Kline was recognized for his all-around strong effort against Jackson Co. on Sept. 6.
Week 4, BoJack Dowdy, senior: Dowdy carried the ball 22 times for 175 yards in Lumpkin Co.’s only win of the season against Gilmer on Sept. 13.
Week 5, Brian Cunane, junior: Cunane was recognized for his five total tackles (two solo, three assists) against Dawson Co. on Sept. 27.
Week 6, Tucker Kirk, senior: Kirk went 7-for-9 for 101 yards and a touchdown passing, while carrying the ball 12 times for 38 yards against Cherokee Bluff on Oct. 11.
Week 7, Jackson Root, senior: Against Greater Atlanta Christian on Oct. 18, Root threw a 29-yard touchdown pass, caught an eight-yard pass, and assisted on a tackle.
Week 8, Noah Adams, senior: Adams had a solo tackle, a sack, and assisted on a tackle against North Hall on Oct. 25.
Week 9, Drew Allison, junior: Allison had 76 yards on 12 carries against Fannin Co. on Nov. 1.
Week 10, Tucker Kirk, senior: Kirk went 13-for-21 for 142 yards and a touchdown passing, while carrying the ball 13 times for 84 yards against East Hall on Nov. 8.
Editor’s note: TeamFYNSports would like to thank our sponsors for the 2019 Lumpkin Co. football season. Without their support, coverage of the Indians would not have been possible. A big thank you to Circuit World, Graphic Expressions, Day’s Chevrolet, Flash Media Group, Ingles, Pepsi, Walden & Co. Realty, Trammell Tire Pros, and Chic-Fil-A.
Congratulations to QB1 of the Lumpkin County Indians- Tucker Kirk! He is the Player of the Week for the last game of the 2019 season!
Tucker completed passes to gain yards all throughout the game against East Hall. Many of these passes were also for first downs. He proved his ability to run the ball as well with carries to gain yards.
Tucker was also responsible for several of the scores during the game with one passing touchdown and two rushing. After the scores he completed passes for two point conversions.
Congratulations again to Tucker!
Head coach Caleb Sorrells of the Lumpkin County Indians may have summarized the game against East Hall and the 2019 season as a whole with a few simple words during the post-game huddle. He said, “it’s okay to fight even when you don’t feel like it.”
Without a doubt, this season has been a tough one for the Indians. They started off with an entirely new coaching staff to adjust to, and a stacked region schedule. There were moments where it might have been tempting for the team to stop caring- but they never did.
Instead, even though the final score read 40-31 Friday night, the season ended with perhaps one of the best games Lumpkin County has played all season.
The Vikings started out with an early lead after a score during their first possession, but the Indians went to work putting drives together that paid off. Indians quarterback Tucker Kirk hit Trey Wilkes with one of many completed passes for a touchdown early in the second quarter. The two-point conversion was successful, and the Indians had the lead at 8-6.
The speed and athleticism of East Hall proved to be a struggle for Lumpkin County as they worked to stop the running game and block the passing. Both teams were also hit with numerous penalties throughout the game that would cost them necessary yards.
East Hall scored again with about half of the second quarter remaining to regain the lead 14-8. A two-point conversion was successful, and these attempts would continue to be important to both teams throughout the night.
Lumpkin County answered with just over a minute remaining in the half. Tavion Lawrence returned a kick nearly to the endzone, and Kirk drove it in for a 9 yard carry to close in on the Vikings 20-15. East Hall scored once more before the half to maintain their lead 26-15.
The second half of the game got off to a slow start with each team holding the other to three and out. Lumpkin County made the first conversion when Drew Allison carried for a first down and Kirk carried for another.
By the start of the fourth quarter, the Vikings were up 40-15 after two more touchdown passes. But they wouldn’t score for the rest of the game, and the Indians offense was ready to take over.
For their next possession the Indians put together a drive that started off with a 10 yard pass from Kirk to Allison for a first down. Kirk then gave a hand off to Trey Wilkes, who pitched it to Allison to convert on fourth down. It was all the distance Kirk needed to punch the ball in for a touchdown on the next play.
From that point on it was all Indians offense as the clock wound down. Kirk continued to complete passes to Allison, Wilkes and Caleb Norrell to gain yards. All of those passes moved Lumpkin County closer to the goal line, and it was BoJack Dowdy that ran in the final touchdown of the night for the Indians.
To finish things off, the Indians recovered an onside kick to stay on offense the remainder of the game.
Coach Sorrells gave his thoughts on the season by saying, “These kids right here continue to fight, they continue to show up, they continue to try and learn what it means to give best effort and best focus. I hope that [they learned] how to push through and how to try hard no matter what the conditions may be.”
Congratulations to the Lumpkin County Indians football team on their 2019 season!
Drew Allison came off of an injury ready to play Friday night against Fannin County. He was responsible for the majority of the carries for the Indians, and picked up yards and first downs.
Drew has also played on both sides of the ball throughout the season. He started out on defense as a safety, but transitioned into a more of a running back role. This change proves he is willing to step up and go where needed.
Congratulations to Drew Allison, this week’s TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week for Lumpkin County!
The Lumpkin County Indians football team faced a battle with several factors working against them on Friday night. First of all, the temperature dropped to a bitter cold. Second, the game was located a hour north in Blue Ridge. Finally, the opponent in Blue Ridge was the Fannin County Rebels football team, who had a playoff shot and several other records on the line.
But despite the uphill battle, the Indians ran onto the field Friday night with the same determined look they wear each Friday night. And although the scoreboard read 35-14 Fannin at the end, the Indians still had plenty of reasons to celebrate.
It took a bit for the Indians offense to warm up, but the momentum shifted when Drew Allison crossed the line for a first down. Tucker Kirk completed a pair of passes to Caleb Norrell and Ryan Burkhardt to inch closer to the goal line. Then came the trick play, the “Philly Special”, that has become common for the Indians. Except for this time, different people were responsible.
The three players were BoJack Dowdy, Trey Wilkes and Tucker Kirk. Dowdy handed off to Wilkes, who passed to Kirk in the endzone. Before anyone really knew what happened, the Indians had shortened the Rebels’ lead 14-7.
As the Rebels regained possession and drove down the field, the Indians worked hard to make stops. Ethan Kline and Luke Mundy did just that, before a chop block call on the Indians led into another Rebel touchdown.
Lumpkin County came out of the half firing on all cylinders. Between Dowdy’s rushing and the Kirk to Norrell connection, the Indians were picking up first downs left and right. Unfortunately it ended with a fumble recovered by the Rebels.
The Indians struggled against a high-powered Rebel offense and defense, but continued to battle nonetheless. For one of their last possessions, Drew Allison carried and picked up yards for first downs. Kirk threw to Wilkes for a first down, then again for one more touchdown. The game ended shortly after, and the Indians had gotten the last word.
For their final game of the regular season, Lumpkin County will battle East Hall. The two teams have the same overall record of 1-8, and 0-5 in the region. East Hall is coming off of a loss to North Hall. Game time is 7:30 p.m. on November 8th.
The scoreboard said North Hall 59 Lumpkin County 0 at the end of the game. What it didn’t reflect was the gritty determination on the face of each player for Lumpkin County as they ran from the sideline back onto the field.
This determination was apparent at the very beginning of the game. Running back BoJack Dowdy carried for a third down conversion, and the Indians defense held North Hall to a field goal for their first possession.
From there the Lumpkin County defense had their work cut out for them to stop the Trojans’ running game. They were assisted by numerous penalties on the North Hall offense throughout the game, but still struggled to get make a play on their Gainesville-based opponents. Part of this struggle was due to the loss of key starters because of injuries, including starting tight end/defensive end Aaron Hopkins.
Although the Trojans were able to put together drives to gain yards, there were plenty of Indian stops. Indian Noah Adams got a sack for a loss of five yards just before the half. Adams, Ethan Kline and Andrew Adams tied for the most solo tackles during the game with three each.
Lumpkin County also had some great moments on offense to prove they weren’t completely out of the game. Along with the usual carries for gain by Dowdy and Trey Wilkes, some younger players stepped up to fill in for injured starters. One of those players was Caleb Norrell, who played in the wide receiver role for most of the night.
Norrell was on the receiving end for the play that gained the Indians the most yards of the night- an incredible 30 yard pass from quarterback Tucker Kirk. Immediately after, the Lumpkin County switched it up a bit with a handoff from Kirk to Dowdy, who then completed a pass for nine yards to Kline.
The Indians will be looking for some plays to gain yards when they head to Blue Ridge next week to face the Fannin County Rebels. Defense will play an important factor as well against a Rebel offense that can pass, run and block. Fannin County lost to region 7 opponent Dawson County on Friday night, and fell to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the region.
After tonight’s loss, Lumpkin County fell to 1-7 overall, and 0-4 in the region.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. next Friday, November 1.
The Lumpkin County Indians football team proved on Friday night that it’s not always about what the scoreboard says.
Although the Indians lost to Greater Atlanta Christian by a final score of 49-6, numerous great moments displayed the improvements the team has made over the course of the season- and all against one of the toughest teams in the region.
“We’ve been talking all season, but really just in the last couple of weeks about how we need to be defined by our effort,” said head coach Caleb Sorrells. “We had a lot of fun, we competed and that’s what you’re supposed to do!”
With starting players Aaron Hopkins, Drew Allison and Ryan Burkhart out with injuries the Indians were forced to switch around in positions to make do. But instead of shrinking away, those in different positions stepped up to make great plays.
Lumpkin County’s defense started off on a strong note by holding the Spartans to three and out for their first possession.
The Indians defense provided great coverage of the Spartans receivers throughout the night. Jared Hoch broke up several passes to prevent first downs, and Joseph Allison broke through the line for a sack early into the game. Ethan Kline made several tackles, and even BoJack Dowdy, playing on the other side of the ball, stopped receivers with solid tackles in the second half.
The Lumpkin County offense struggled to convert a first down against the GAC starting defense, but came to life in the second quarter. A nine yard rush by Dowdy set up a play to get a first down, and then a pass from Tucker Kirk to Brian Cunane converted another.
Lumpkin County was able to convert another first down during their next possession, when Cunane carried on a fake punt. The play payed off- as the highlight of the night for the Indians came shortly after.
On second down, Kirk started the play with a handoff to Jackson Root, who then dropped back to complete a pass to Cunane for a touchdown.
The Indians offense would go on to convert several more first downs throughout the second half of the game.
Quarterback Tucker Kirk finished the night going 8 for 20 with 71 yards. BoJack Dowdy finished the night with 21 yards rushing over 12 carries. Tanner Barber also rushed for 21 yards later in the game over four carries.
On the receiving end, Cunane was Kirk’s go-to guy for several pass completions, but Ethan Kline also had a couple long catches for 37 yards.
Looking ahead, Lumpkin County will be back at home Friday night, October 25th, for their next region game against the North Hall Trojans. The Trojans are 4-3 overall in the season and 2-1 in the region.
Jackson Root earned this week’s nomination for Player of the Week for stepping up in a big game against the Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans. He played a key role in the play that scored the lone touchdown for the Indians.
After a handoff from quarterback Tucker Kirk, Jackson dropped back and completed a pass to Brian Cunane, who then ran it into the endzone. A celebration ensued as the Indians, players and fans alike, were thrilled over scoring against one of the toughest teams in the region.
Congratulations to Jackson Root, this week’s TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week for the Lumpkin County Indians!
Tucker Kirk is the starting quarterback for the Lumpkin County Indians, and he displayed his abilities in this role during the game against Cherokee Bluff.
Indians fans got to see more of the passing game they’d heard about- Kirk completed eight passes out of 11 attempts. One of those was an early 13 yard touchdown to Brian Cunane. Kirk also showed his rushing skills, keeping numerous times throughout the night for a total of 64 yards.
Undoubtedly Kirk is also a leader on the field, as he can be spotted communicating plays with coaches on the sidelines before doing the same for his teammates on the field.
Congratulations to Tucker Kirk, this week’s TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week for Lumpkin County!