The Panthers traveled two and a half hours Southeast to Elberton, Georgia to take on the Blue Devils of Elbert Friday night. Union had one goal in mind and that was to go down and get a win to keep their Region Championship hopes in reach. Elbert County had the same mindset so you should not have expected anything else but a barn burner. A fun fact about Elbert County is it is the home to standout Georgia Bulldogs Wideout, Mecole Hardman.
During warmups you could tell this was going to be a game for the ages. The game started out very sloppy for both teams but the intensity and effort was very evident. The Panthers could not get it rolling on Offense, but the Defense led by Chayton Schafer was picking up any slack to hold the Devils scoreless in the first quart. However, on the flip side the Blue Devils was doing the same thing so the first would end 0-0. The second quarter is when the Offense for Union would start clicking when Pierson Allison led them a on a drive ending in a 22 yard pass to Chayton Schafer. This would not go unmatched by the Blue Devils. Elbert would throw a quick pass to Metrius Fleming and he would do the rest taking it 69 yards for a touchdown, they would miss the extra point though. Kyle Morlock would extend the lead to 14-6 going into to halftime on a 22 yard touchdown reception from Allison.
The second half is when you could see that this game meant a lot to both of these teams. The 3rd quarter would be all Blue Devils. Elbert would rush for a 27 yard touch down and go for a two point conversion to tie the game back up then they would take the lead on 9 yard kick bringing the score to 21-14 in favor of Elbert going into the 4th quarter. The Panthers would march down the field and score of a 2 yard rushing touchdown by Chad Buzzard, but just like most of the night the Devils would respond with a 12 yard rushing touchdown to bring them ahead 28-21 with a little over 3 minutes left in the game. Pierson would march the Panthers down the field and hand Buzzard the ball from 1 yard out to give the Panthers a score bringing it to 27-28 with 1 minute and 30 seconds left in the game. At this point head coach, Brian Allison, had the choice to kick the extra point to tie or go for two to put the Panthers a head. With everyone of their feet and the Panthers jogging out to go for two to win the game the Blue Devils would call a time out. After the timeout they took the field to go ahead in this game and that’s exactly what happened. Union Ran a reverse to Sawyer Drake and with the help of a huge block by Pierson he would sneak in. Elbert still had time they would march down the field and with 9 seconds left would go for the deep ball, but Junior Safety, John Mancuso was not having it. John would pick the ball and help secure Unions quest for the Region Championship alive. Congrats to Brian Allison and the Union County Panthers.
For region, standings click HERE!
It is like deja vu, but when you put up numbers like the Junior signal caller is it is hard not to keep selecting him for Player of the week. Pierson was on fire again Friday night doing what ever he could to help prevail the Panthers to a victory, including a huge block for the Panthers on a 2-point conversion. Pierson was 28/41 for 400 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he also rushed for 70 more. Congrats to the Panthers on another huge win!
The Panthers faced off against the Gilmer County Bobcats in a non-conference matchup. The Panthers entered the contest with a 1-1 record.
Davis took the mound for the Panthers for the second time this season. Davis pitched well as he allowed one earned run during 4 innings of work.
Davis got info some trouble to start the game allowing a hit and a walk as the Bobcats pounced onto an early lead 1-0.
Banton stepped in to relive Davis after 4 innings of work. Davis finished with 1 K and 2 BB’s over the course of 4 innings. Davis allowed one earned run.
Can Colwell helped the Panthers grab a lead in the bottom of the 4th with a 2-out, 2-run, single.
The Panthers got into some trouble early in the 6th inning after an error at 3rd base let the Bobcats gain some momentum as they went on to score 3 runs. The Panthers trailed 4-2.
After allowing 3 runs, 2 of which were earned, Banton returned to pitch in the 7th. Banton struck out a batter to start the 7th and finished with 2 groundouts.
Trialing by 2 the Panthers looked to regain the lead and a win. Allison and Ruff walked. Banton got on base with a single. Junior Kelley hit a 2-out, bases clearing, double in walkoff fashion to win the game.
The Panthers were led by, Ruff with 3 HBP BB’s 1RBI and Can. Colwell 1-3 with 2 RBI’s.
The Panthers improve to 2-1. The Panthers will host the Rabun County Wildcats Monday, Feb. 26th in a non-conference matchup.
The Panthers faced off against the Commerce Tigers in a double header. This would be the Panthers first test of the season. Commerce is considered one of the better teams in the 1A-Private region.
The first pitch was at 4:05. Baggett was UC’s first baserunner of the season and Dyer was the first base hit of the year.
Ruff was the first to pitch for the Panthers in a game that would dig into the bullpen. Ruff pitched 2 innings. Ruff struck 2 batters out, walked 1, allowed 4 hits, Ruff was allotted for 3 earned runs.
Rich took over in inning 3 as the Panthers trailed 3-0. Rich pitched 2 shut out innings as Baggett tied the game up in top of the 4th with a 3 run 2 our single.
Rich got into some trouble early in the 5th as 3 hits and 2 walks as he gave up 3 earned runs. Rich finished with 4 K’s, 4 BB’s, and 3 ER.
Banton stepped in to finish the inning as the Panthers trailed 3-7 at the end of the 5th.
The Panthers put the comeback in force as they scored 2 runs in the 6th which was started by a Baggettt walk.
Colwell stepped in to pitch the 6th as he allowed 2 runs Colwell allowed 4 hits with 1 K.
Baggett finished 2-2 with 4 RBI’s and 2 BB’s and 2 steals.
Harkins started the second game of the evening as he pitched 2 innings.
Baggett was the first run of the second game as he scored off of a walk, a stolen base, and an error.
The Panthers used a huge second inning to separate from the Tigers as Schafer hit his first home run of his career. The Panthers led 6-2 after the 2nd.
J. Colwell took over in the top of the 3rd as he gathered 4 K’s over the course of 4 innings. Colwell allowed 3 runs and walked 4.
Davis stepped in to close the game as he finished with 2 K’s and 1 BB.
Schafer led the Panthers going 2-2 with a homerun and a INF single. Dyer followed with going 2-3 with 2 RBI’s.
The Panthers improved to 1-1 as they split the series. The Panthers next game will be against Rabun county in a non-region matchup Tues. Feb 20th. The first pitch is scheduled for 4:00.
The Panthers look to improve after striking out on a 10-15 2017 season, and with a dugout full of experience returning this season, they’re chances are looking pretty good.
“The Panthers graduated only 3 players after the 2017 season,” third year head coach Robby Roxbury said in a recent interview with your TeamFYNSports reporter. He added, “This team has a lot of potential and we’re looking on building momentum early in the season and riding on it throughout the season.”
This 2018 Panthers roster returns many starters and carries a deep bullpen into this season. Region 7-AAA is one of the more difficult regions in the state as North Hall won the state championship during the 2017 season and GAC advanced into the quarterfinals.
Coach Roxbury when asked about how this region stacks up replied, “You look at this region and say wow! This is easily one of the most talented and most difficult regions in the state. Just to show how talented this region is, North Hall placed 3rd in the region last year and went on to win the state championship.”
The Panthers look to lean on the senior leadership from this team as they will have 7 seniors. All 5 of the 7 seniors have played all 4 years at Union County.
When asking senior infielder Patrick Baggett on what he thought about the upcoming season: ‘“This has been the quickest 3 years of my life I can’t believe we’re already seniors I’ve played with these guys since t-ball. I think we will improve a lot in contrast to last year, I’m not going to lie it was a difficult year for all of us we hate losing.”
Baggett along with the rest of the players, coaches, and fans hope to see this team make a deep run in the playoffs.
The Lady Panthers tipped off at 4:30 Feb 7. The Lady Panthers looked to face a Dawson County Lady Tigers team that they had fell to twice already this season. A win for the Lady Panthers would secure the 4th spot in the region and a playoff berth, a loss would end the season.
The Lady Panthers got off to a sluggish and slow start as the Lady Tigers got off to a 10-0 run to start the game. The Lady Panthers found rhythm and followed that run up with a 9-0 run of their own. The Lady Panthers trialed 17-9 at the end of Q1 led by Daniel with 3.
The Lady Panthers continued with their Q1 rhythm as they grabbed a lead right before the half going on a 12-2 run as they led 21-19. Senior guard Daniel led the Lady Panthers with 11 in the first half.
The halftime break got the best of the Lady Panthers as they lost all rhythm and scored only 1 point during the first 5:20 of Q3, the Lady Panthers had 7 turnovers in that span of time. UC trailed 41-27 going into Q4.
The deficit seemed too much to overcome as the Lady Panthers trialed by as many as 18. The Lady Panthers season came to an end as they lost 41-53. Daniel led the Lady Panthers with 15 in her final game, Mccarter followed up with 12.
The Lady Panthers finished the season 15-10 under first year head coach Corey Garrett.
Daniel finished her high school career with over 1000 points and 2 all region selections. Mccarter was the only other Lady Panther to make the all region team. Hill was selected as an honorable mention.
Union County High School is losing a great athlete, but Army-West Point is welcoming him with open arms. Senior quarterback Cole Wright signed with Army last week in a ceremony held with friends, family, coaches and faculty. The four-year letterman threw for 1,938 yards last year, completing 136-of-247 passing attempts with 19 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions.
After signing his letter of intent, TeamFYNSports sat down with Wright to discuss his career at UC and his future as a D1 commit.
TeamFYNSports: What are some of your accomplishments?
“I have maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and I was named 7-AAA Offensive POY in 2016 and 1st team All-Region in 2017. I was All-State honorable mention in 2016 and 2017. I reached 7000 total yards and 70+ TD’s in two years at QB
TeamFYNSports: How long have you played football?
“ I have played since I was five years old.”
TeamFYNSports: Who have you tried to model your game after?
“I have always loved Tom Brady and his winning mentality and competitiveness. Obviously I’m a different style QB, but I try to imitate his leadership ability and drive.”
TeamFYNSports: What’s your biggest highlight of playing football so far?
“Senior Night would definitely be the highlight of my career. After the game I looked across at my best friends who I’ve grown up playing football with and realized these guys were my brothers for life. It’s a great feeling knowing you’ve created bonds that could never be broken.”
TeamFYNSports: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how has that made you the person you are today?
“My biggest problem was worrying about negativity from outside of my circle. There will always be people saying, “You’ll never make it” and to that I say we’ll see. Once I focused on the game I loved and blocked all of the negativity I started to play better. This helped me grow not only as a football player but a person as well.”
TeamFYNSports: What’s a typical day for you training wise?
“I’ve been on a new West Point workout schedule for the last month and it’s intense. I’m also running track for speed and stamina. I’m working on gaining some weight before I leave, so I’m consuming a large amount of calories per day.”
TeamFYNSports: How have you trained? What have you done differently that has separated you from other quarterbacks?
“I started Speed and Agility freshman year and didn’t miss a day in two years. Joe Mancuso and I would go and throw and I’d learn as much as I could from him. I’m a very coachable guy so I would take little tips and advice from every camp and then try to execute them when I got back home.”
TeamFYNSports: How big of a influence did your parents or coach have on you to continue your playing career at West Point versus any other school?
“My dad was probably my biggest influence. No one in my family has ever had this opportunity to attend an Academy. My dad and I are all about leadership and history; when we toured the campus we both fell in love with the place. West Point offers the combination of a high level education, a chance to play D1 football, and leadership training that can’t be matched at any other school.”
TeamFYNSports: What other schools have offered you?
“No other schools have offered. Kennesaw State, Furman, GA Tech, and Georgia Southern were interested but after I committed they went cold.”
TeamFYNSports: What are your plans once you get to college? What are you going to major in? What position(s) do you plan on playing?
“Once I get to West Point I will begin my tough journey to become the greatest version of myself. I know it will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but I will stay mentality strong and prove the doubters wrong. I plan on majoring in aerospace engineering but I am not completely locked on that specific one. I am on the board as a Wide Receiver right now, but I will remain open for whatever position I am needed.”
TeamFYNSports would like to wish Wright the best of luck as he closes one chapter and opens another, with a bright future ahead of him.
The Panthers tipped off against North Hall @ 4:30 in the region tournament. The Panthers were looking to secure a playoff spot which a win would do. A loss would be the Panthers would not make the playoffs.
Both teams got off to a slow Q1 as the Panthers led 8-7 after Q1. Baggett led UC scorers with 3 in the first quarter.
The first half was one of the lowest scoring half’s UC had seen all season as they trailed 17-13. The Panthers were led by Drake with 4.
Can. Colwell fouled out with a little over 4:00 left to play in Q4. The Panthers fell to the Trojans 50-42. UC was led by Baggett and Drake whom both had 15.
The Panthers fall to 16-9. The Panthers season is now over. This is only the second team in school history to ever start 10-0. Both teams that started 10-0 lost to Murphy in the 11th game and neither made the playoffs.
Sophomores Drake and Allison were both selected to the 7-AAA all region team which is voted on by the coaches. Cra. Colwell and Baggett were honorable mentions.
Drake led the Panthers with 13.0 points per game followed by Allison with 12.1. Drake did this despite missing 4 games with a knee injury.
Craw. Colwell and Drake both averaged 6 rebounds a game. Followed by Allison with 4.5.
Can. Colwell led the Panthers with assists per game averaging 2.8, followed by Allison with 2.4.
Drake also led the Panthers in steals per game with 2.9 followed by Allison with 2.4
Drake averaged 1.0 block per game followed by Waller with .5.