The 2019 All-State Football Teams as selected by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution were released Thursday and several area players were honored.
Two players were named to the Class AAA first team: North Murray senior Ladd McConkey was named the first team Athlete, while Fannin Co. junior Luke Holloway was named the first team Punter.
Dawson Co. placed two players on the Honorable Mention list: senior defensive back Riley Herndon and junior place kicker Caleb Bonesteel.
North Murray senior linebacker Dylan Flood was also named an Honorable Mention.
In Class AA, two players from Rabun Co. were named to the first team: sophomore quarterback Gunner Stockton and senior wide receiver Braxton Hicks.
Union Co. senior quarterback Pierson Allison was named an Honorable Mention in Class AA.
Friday night in south Georgia, it seemed like North Murray was going to keep pace with Jenkins in the Class AAA quarterfinals.
After the Warriors scored their third touchdown of the game midway through the third, the Mountaineers answered with a 38-yard fumble return touchdown by senior Dylan Flood.
The play drew North Murray within a score at 20-14 with 2:26 left in the third quarter.
But the home team wouldn’t be denied a trip to semifinals and Jenkins rattled off 21 unanswered points to advance 41-14.
Senior quarterback Ladd McConkey put up strong numbers as he tried to will the team to the win. He finished the night with 141 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, while going 13-for-30 for 112 yards and a score in the air. Junior running back Dante Tidwell added 60 yards on 16 carries for North Murray.
McConkey’s most impressive play Friday night might have been one of the first of the game.
With the game still scoreless on the Mountaineers first drive, McConkey took off on third-and-eight from his own 47-yard line. Fifty-three yards later North Murray led 7-0 with 8:16 left in the first quarter.
The teams traded turnovers before the Warriors managed to break through with 6:42 left in the half. They scored again with a 65-yard pass on their second possession of the third quarter, but missed the point-after to take a 13-7 lead with 6:27 left in the period.
Jenkins found end zone again with a 15-yard run with nearly three minutes left in the third to go up 20-7.
After an interception by Jenkins’ Ronald Cooper III on McCOnkey, Warriors quarterback Patrick Blake put the ball on the ground. Flood picked it up and rumbled 38 yards to put the Mountaineers as close as they would get for the remainder of the game.
Despite the loss, the Mountaineers (11-2) have much to be proud of this season.
North Murray won the school’s first Region 6-AAA championship in the 11th season of the program’s existence. The game at Jenkins was also the school’s first visit to the quarterfinals of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state playoffs.
With the loss, the Mountaineers season comes to an end.
Jenkins will host Crisp County this Friday, Dec. 6, in the state semifinals.
For the first time in its 11-season history, the North Murray football team is headed to the state quarterfinals.
The Mountaineers took down Jackson, 24-14, in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs Friday night in Chatsworth.
The game did not start off ideally for North Murray.
After receiving the opening kickoff, senior quarterback Ladd McConkey threw an interception to Jackson senior Anthony Henderson, who returned the ball down to the Mountaineers 9-yard line.
But the defense came out ready to play and held the visiting Red Devils, forcing a turnover-on-downs and setting up their offense with a first down on its own 1-yard line.
With such tough field position, the drive predictably stalled and North Murray punted.
The defense continued to play tough and forced Jackson into a field-goal attempt on the ensuing drive.
McConkey took it upon himself to keep the game scoreless by reaching up to block the attempt and the two teams remained knotted at zero with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
Mountaineers head coach Preston Poag said the block “killed the momentum” the Red Devils had after the interception.
“We battled like tha ton defense all game,” Poag said.
North Murray drove down the field quickly on the next possession, setting up a goal-to-go situation as the first quarter expired.
On the first play in the second quarter, McConkey hit senior Hayden Hulett with the short touchdown pass to the corner of the end zone to put North Murray into the lead at 7-0 just nine seconds into the period.
The points were the only ones put on the scoreboard in the first half as the two teams traded possessions and interceptions throughout the remainder of the second quarter.
North Murray went into the half up 7-0.
The Mountaineers came out in the second half and put up what proved to be the strongest drive of the night during the third quarter.
North Murray ate up six minutes of the period and finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run from senior Dylan Flood to take a 14-0 lead with six minutes to go in the third.
The Red Devils answered on their next drive as senior quarterback Josh Scott tossed a touchdown pass to put Jackson on the board at 14-7 with 3:46 left in the third.
The home team didn’t get nervous however, and preceded to put the game away in the fourth thanks to a field goal and another touchdown pass from McConkey.
“We don’t ever get ratteled,” Poag said. “We’re a veteran team with a lot of grit.”
On North Murray’s first possession of the fourth quarter, the offense drove down to the Jackson 3-yard line. Facing fourth down, sophomore Owen Hannah stepped onto the field to bury the 20-yard field goal and put North Murray on top 17-7.
Six minutes later the Mountaineers put the game on ice with a 24-yard touchdown pass from McConkey to junior Dante Tidwell to go up 24-7.
The Red Devils refused to go quietly as Henderson managed to break into the secondary and haul in a 69-yard touchdown pass from Carson Biles to put the score at 24-14 with 3:34 remaining.
North Murray managed to hang on from there to earn the first trip to the state playoff quarterfinals in school history.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Poag said. “They deserve this.”
North Murray (11-1), the Region 6-AAA champion, will face Jenkins (11-1), the Region 3-AAA champion, in the quarterfinals next Friday, Nov. 29.
Due to a coin flip performed by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) on Friday morning, when two teams with the same seed meet in the quarters, the bottom team in the bracket will be the home team.
As a result, North Murray will travel to Savannah to take on Jenkins at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29.
Jenkins defeated Dawson Co. 42-9 on Friday night to advance.
To see how North Murray has gotten to the point, click here.
There will be new school regions across north Georgia when the 2020-21 school year begins.
The appeal process for schools wishing to change regions or classifications within the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) was completed Tuesday, Nov. 19, and many area schools will soon see new foes in new places during the 2020 through 2022 school years.
After the GHSA released initial prospective region alignments earlier this month, several schools filed appeals to move to different regions or play in a different classification, including Fannin Co.
Fannin Co.’s appeal was granted, and they will play in Region 7-AA with Chattooga, Coosa, Dade Co., Gordon Central, Model, and Pepperell.
Fannin Co. had originally been placed in 8-AA but appealed due to travel times and distance.
Gilmer will move down a classification next year from Region 6-AAAA to play in Region 7-AAA. Along with Gilmer, Region 7-AAA will have newcomers in West Hall and White Co., while keeping Cherokee Bluff, Dawson Co., Lumpkin Co., and North Hall.
White Co. moves down from from Class AAAA to AAA.
Pickens will remain in Class AAAA but will move from Region 6 to Region 7. The Dragons will face Cedartown, Central Carroll, Heritage, Catoosa, Northwest Whitfield, Ridgeland, and Southeast Whitfield.
Murray Co. and North Murray remain in 6-AAA, which will include of Adairsville, Coahulla Creek, LaFayette, Lakeview-Ft. Oglethrope, Ringgold, Rockmart, and Sonoraville.
Rabun Co. and Union Co. remain in 8-AA, which includes of Banks Co., Elbert Co., and Riverside Military.
Towns Co. remains in 8-A Public, which includes of Commerce, Greene County, Lincoln County, Social Circle, and Washington-Wilkes.
Final region alignments still have to be verified by the GHSA’s Executive Committee for Reclassification, which is expected to meet in early December.
For a list of current GHSA regions, click here.
For the full list of anticipated regions for 2020-2022, click here.
Courtside coverage provided by Reagan Young, TeamFYNSports Reporter
This past Friday at the Mountaintop Holiday Classic, the White County Warriors and the Pickens County Dragons traveled to Fannin County for their match up on day two of the tournament. Both teams were coming off of a loss from the first day of the tournament and ready to walk away with a win.
It was a high action and fast paced game from the start. The Dragons made the majority of their points from down low while the Warriors did most of their damage from driving the lane. Dragon post, Seth Bishop, led Pickens in scoring from the block with twenty-one points. Warrior guard, Austin Harris, led his team in scoring with twenty-four points due to his hustle. Warrior post, Austin Rowland, had the hustle on defense to make steals and contribute twelve points for his team. With the Warriors in the lead near the end of the third quarter, Pickens makes a buzzer beater shot to tie the game 17-17.
The hopes were high at the beginning of the second quarter. Both teams had the same chances of winning and were not giving up. The lead went from team to team and it became unpredictable on who would have it next. Warrior, Chandler Harris’s outside shooting came alive which put eleven points on the board for White County. Warriors, Reece Dockery and J. Ben Haynes, also had a good game above the key by each adding five points to White County’s score. The Warriors took a seven point lead over the Dragons at the end of the second quarter by making the score 29-22.
With Pickens down more than they had been the entire game, they were determined to make a come back. Both teams applied heavy defensive pressure on the other by putting a full court press into action. The press resulted in both teams getting steals and adding onto their score. At the end of the third quarter, White County doubled their lead over Pickens with a score of 47-33.
Pickens picked up the pace at the start of the fourth quarter. The Warriors start to put even more defensive pressure on the Dragons and draw fouls. Warrior, Jay Lepkoske, contributed one of his five points from the free throw line. The Warriors also started to have good looks inside which resulted in Kaleb Crane’s overall four points. Warriors, Daniel Rowland and Cooper Turner, followed the trend and each added four points onto White County’s score. However, the Warriors were not the only ones adding onto their score. The Dragons came back at the end of the fourth quarter with a score of 53-53, putting the game into overtime.
The intensity came alive at the beginning of the quarter. Both teams had four minutes to win the game. Pickens finally took the lead that they had been working for the whole game just to have the score tied once again at 63-63, putting the game into double overtime.
Four more minutes were put on the clock as both teams gave the game their all. The quarter was filled with hustle after loose balls, fouls from attempting to keep the other team from scoring, and heart. The back and forth of the game had everyone on their feet as they watched with anticipation. Although both teams played to the best of their ability, the White County Warriors had a 74-67 victory over the Pickens County Dragons.
The White County Warriors win puts their overall record at 9-4 while the Pickens County Dragons stand at 4-9. Catch the Warriors next game on January 2 at 5:45 as they travel to take on North Cobb Christian!
Now that the regular season has come and gone, post-season GHSA changes start. The 2016-17 football scene could change for several teams. The realignment comes after a vote to make a new region “Super 44” which puts the top schools with 2,000+ kids in one super region. Now this changes everything from 6A to 1A. For every team that moves up or down another team has to do the same. Schools like Buford who have more than 3% of its kids outside the county are forced to move up with the new rules. Fannin and Banks Counties are looking like they will move down to AA, while East Hall, Lumpkin, Franklin and West Hall are moving to AAAA. Dawson County will remain the only 7-AAA team if all this plays out like suggested. It is unclear just yet as to what region Fannin will move to, but when we find out after the GHSA makes the changes later this year TeamFYNSports will keep you updated.
Here is a look at what things could look like next football season. Click Here