Panthers fall @ Fannin 34-7 in first game of 2021 season

Union County High School

Blue Ridge, Georgia-  The Union County Panthers traveled to Blue Ridge to face the Fannin County Rebels in the 2021 season opener. This is the first game for Michael Perry as head coach for the Panthers. The Panthers look to start the Perry era with a win in one of the biggest games for both schools each season. Both teams are looking to get their young teams going and gain confidence to start the season.

First Quarter

The Panthers defense came out looking strong. Tackling Fannin County running back Seth Reece isn’t something that is easy but they were getting the job done early on. The Rebels drove all the way down to the 5 yard line but the Panthers stopped Reece on 4th down and short. The Panthers offense couldn’t get things going early and were forced to punt. After a big pickup by Reece, the Panthers brought a lot of pressure and forced a bad throw that was intercepted by Junior Wilson Walker. The Panthers offense was forced to punt again after 2 short runs by Senior running back Eli Peugh and a dropped pass by Junior Sam Page. The Panthers defense held strong again, shutting down any runs by Reece and forced another bad throw to force another punt. The Panthers offense was forced to punt for the 3rd straight time to start the game after a dropped pass by Senior Keyton Chitwood. The score was tied 0-0 to end the first quarter.

Second Quarter 

The Rebels started the quarter at midfield and picked up a quick first down on third down. Senior Trace Wright made a huge play on first down, reading the play and making the tackle as soon as the Rebel receiver caught the ball. Senior Landon Panter also made a huge play on second down, blowing up the run play to make it third down and long. The Rebels were forced to punt again. On the first play of the Panther dive, Senior quarterback Logan Helcher completed a quick pass to Page but the offense still couldn’t find a rhythm and were forced to punt. The Rebels picked up a quick first down as Reece plowed his way through the Panther defense. The Rebels scored a long touchdown on a QB scramble but it was called back due to a penalty. The Rebels picked up another first down on third down to keep the drive alive. The Rebel offense started to find some rhythm as the Panther defense was starting to get fatigued. The Rebel offense crossed midfield and found their way inside the Panther 15 yard line after a nice run by Reece.  The Rebels took a 7-0 lead after quarterback David Mashburn scrambled and found his way into the end zone. The Panther offense started to find a little rhythm on offense until penalties backed them up. What started as a huge play by Junior Griffin Young ended as a fumble recovered by the Rebel around midfield. The Panthers just couldn’t get a good drive going on offense as their defense was getting tired while being on the field for most of the first half. In just three plays, the Rebels found the end zone on a busted play. The Rebels took a 14-0 lead going into halftime.

Third Quarter

The Panthers started the second half on offense and were looking for a huge offensive drive to gain some momentum. The Panthers picked up a quick first down but on the next play missed out on a huge deep pass that was dropped by Chitwood. Just as the Panthers were moving the ball down the field, Senior running back Eli Peugh fumbled and the Rebels recovered and regained possesion. The Rebels started moving the ball down the field with some quick passes and found their way inside the Panther 5 yard line. Reece scored on 2 yard run to extend the Rebel lead to 20-0. The Panther offense was moving the ball but the drive ended with another fumble recovered by the Rebels. The Rebels took over deep in Panther territory but ended up losing yards in back to back plays as the Panthers forced a punt. The Panther offense went 3 & out and had to punt again. The Rebels scored on just 1 offensive play after the Panther defense looked lost as Reece walked in the end zone. The Rebels extended their lead to 26-0.

Fourth Quarter 

The Panthers started the fourth quarter with another fumble, recovered by the Rebels deep in Panther territory. The Rebels attacked the fatigued Panther defense and scored another quick touchdown to extend their lead to 34-0. The Panther offense punted the ball back to the Rebels again as they couldn’t find a rhythm. The Panthers held the Rebels from scoring on 4th down and regained possession. On the first play of the drive, Helcher found Young over the middle and Young went 82 yards to put the Panthers on the board late. The Panthers still trailed 34-7. The Rebels would go on to win 34-7. The Panthers fall 0-1 on the season and look to bounce back at home next week as they host Commerce. The game will be Friday August 27 @ 7:30.

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