Dahlonega, GA — The Gilmer Bobcats went on the road to Lumpkin County Friday night to face off against the Indians. The game was back and forth, ultimately won by Lumpkin 29-21. Despite the loss, Gilmer was impressive in this final game before the start of their region schedule in two weeks. For the most part they did what they wanted to do offensively — put together several long, sustained drives that resulted in touchdowns. Unfortunately, they could not overcome early miscues and some key injuries, despite making several big plays to stay in the game.
“We had some kids hurt, we played with three linebackers that never played the position before and that just killed us on defense,” said Head Coach Saunders following the game.
Saunders was referring to the early losses of his two Junior starting linebackers Kyle Allison and Ashton White. The loss of these two defensive stalwarts helped set the stage for Lumpkin Running Back Bojack Dowdy to have the game of his life. Dowdy carried it 22 times for 153 yards and three touchdowns.
Gilmer’s first drive stalled after they received the opening kickoff. Lumpkin’s spread attack quickly moved the ball inside the red zone. The drive was capped by a ten yard Drew Allison run to give Lumpkin the early 7-0 lead.
After trading possessions the Bobcats embarked on an eight minute drive that ended with a two yard Spenser Smith touchdown. Adolfo Bautista’s extra point tied the game at 7.
Lumpkin would respond immediately with a 56 yard run by Dowdy. Gilmer blocked the extra point to keep it at 13-7. A Gilmer turnover on downs on the ensuing possession allowed Lumpkin to get the ball back and drive inside the Bobcats 10. Indians Sophomore kicker Will Ramirez kicked a short field goal to extend the lead to 16-7 at the break.
Coming out of halftime the Bobcats executed a successful onside kick to steal possession away. However, after picking up a first down they fumbled it to Lumpkin. As so often has been the case, Gilmer’s defense stood tall, forced a punt, and went to work on offense. This time it was a five minute drive that culminated in a play action run by Smith that faked out the entire stadium. Smith’s 30 yard touchdown run and Bautista’s PAT made it 16-14.
In what became a common theme throughout the night, Lumpkin was able to answer quickly. Two big plays got the Indians inside the Gilmer 5 and was capped off with another Bojack Dowdy touchdown run. Lumpkin converted the extra point to extend their lead to 23-14, and it stayed that way through the end of the third period.
The ensuing drive was a “must-score” scenario for the Cats. Faced with 4th and long from around midfield the Gilmer offense elected to run the ball, witch caught the Indians off-guard. Sophomore RB Gray McClure busted a 50 yard run all the way inside the the Lumpkin 5 yard line. Smith then scored his third touchdown of the night on a short carry. Bautista connected on his third straight PAT to bring the Cats within two points, 23-21, with 10:00 left to play.
Lumpkin took a page out of the Cats playbook and embarked on a long drive to seal away the game. Their 4-minute offense consisted of a steady dose of Bojack Dowdy running left, right, and up the middle. It ended with Dowdy’s third score of the game. However, Gilmer blocked another PAT to keep the game within one possession, 29-21.
That’s where the Bobcats luck ran out. Their attempt to drive down the field and tie the game fizzled out at midfield with consecutive incomplete passes.
Although there is no such thing as a moral victory, this was still a positive performance for the Gilmer Bobcats. Their ability to overcome the adversity of early injuries combined with their ability to keep coming back said a lot about them and the coaching staff. It’s reasonable to believe that in the past, they would’ve quit on the game when they went down by double digits. That didn’t happen. In fact, they made big plays when they needed to. The blocked PAT in the closing minutes gave them a chance to have the ball and attempt to put together a game tying drive. Staying in the game, having a chance to win throughout all 48 minutes is a hallmark of a good football team. They aren’t quite there yet, but going into region play there is lots to look forward to.
Gilmer is 2-2 on the season. They have a bye next week before hosting the Pickens Dragons to open up region play on September 27. Pickens is currently 1-2 after losing 27-20 last night to White County.
Calhoun, GA — We got a taste of it against Fannin in the season opener. The Gilmer Bobcats put together a grinding, methodical drive on their first possession that resulted in points. Then a lot went wrong and the Bobcats were forced to play catch up. Not what they wanted to do. Last week in the home opener, Towns was outmatched in talent and depth the Cats were able to score early and often. Friday night at Gordon Central we really got to see how they will operate. We got to see them do what they wanted to do. They controlled the ball all night and made big defensive plays in critical moments to escape Calhoun with a 6-3 victory.
“We won a football game that we probably didn’t play really well, but we found a way to win,” said Coach Kevin Saunders after the game. Don’t let the modesty or the low score fool you. That’s exactly how this team will attempt to keep winning. Saunders then added, “They found a way to get the job done and we won, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
There is lots to be proud of. It was Homecoming Night at Gordon Central. It’s something we’ve grown used to over the years. The assumption of victory from the opponents. The PA announcer in the stadium referred to the Cats by number all night, like an anonymous pick-up group. The PA Announcer claimed to have never gotten a roster. So off they went, #6, #1, #24, and #8 as they’d be known, all had a busy night.
After muffing the opening kickoff out of bounds, the Cats opened things up inside the 10-yard line. The drive fizzled and the Cats were forced to punt. The Warriors came out playing fast in the spread, with running back Jordan Boone breaking a few runs of over ten yards. Yet, the Cats defense able to stall the drive and force an Edgar Ramirez field goal attempt. In what turned out to be one of the bigger plays of the game, the kick was no good. The Bobcats offense took over and went to work.
Throughout the rest of the first half Gilmer was able to slowly flip field position. They cashed in with a drive that started before the end of the first quarter and didn’t end until there were only four minutes left in the half. A couple fourth and short gambles got them inside the 5 yard line. A combination of Kobe Stonecipher, Ashton White, Gray McClure, and Spenser Smith chipped away at the Gordon Central defense. Gilmer Quarterback Spenser Smith punched it in to put the Bobcats ahead. The extra point attempt was no good.
The Warriors got the ball back looking for points before the break. After a couple first downs they were forced into a fourth down at midfield. They attempted a fake punt, Punter Peyton Parker rolled right and, under pressure, threw a ball up into double coverage that was broken up. However, a questionable late hit call kept the drive alive. In what seemed like an eternity thanks to clock issues, four timeouts, and more penalties, the Warriors positioned themselves inside the red zone for a field try at the buzzer. Ramirez was able to put it through this time, making it 6-3 Gilmer.
After forcing a quick Gordon Central punt to open the third, the Bobcats went on the drive of the game. Much like the scoring drive in the first half, the Cats pounded the ball three yards at a time. Slowly working the ball into the red zone. The drive ended with no points after a failed 4th down try, but it took almost ten minutes off the clock and pinned Gordon Central deep in their own territory. Gilmer forced a quick three and out but couldn’t get anything going. That set the stage for perhaps the biggest play of the night. Punter Seth Darling pinned the Warriors inside their own 10 yard line.
Boone and Gray got back to work for the Warriors, quickly moving them down field. Once again, the Gilmer defense was able to halt them on 4th down to get the ball back and seal the game. Unfortunately, a Gilmer fumble gave the ball back at midfield with 3:00 left on the clock.
Yet again, the Gilmer defense stood tall. They turned Gordon Central over on downs in just four plays. From then it was only a matter of running the final seconds off the clock. Spenser Smith took a knee and the game was over. It was their first road win since October of 2015.
Gilmer extended their record to 2-1. It was an old-school football slugfest, a defensive struggle that went down to the wire. The score shouldn’t fool you, this was a game of long drives, key special teams plays, and clock control. “We control the football, we pound on people, and make it a four quarter game, and it’s ugly,” added Saunders.
An ugly win is always better than a pretty loss. The Gilmer Bobcats (2-1) will travel to Lumpkin County (0-3) next week. Lumpkin lost 31-0 to Jackson County in their last game.
Ellijay, GA — Think back if you can to November 6, 2015. The world was a much different place. President Donald Trump was four months into a candidacy that many considered to be a giant publicity stunt. 800,000 people had just packed the streets of Kansas City, MO to celebrate their first World Series championship in 30 years. The Georgia Bulldogs football team was 5-3, coming off an embarrassing loss in Jacksonville. Many wondered how much longer Coach Mark Richt would be around. Meanwhile, Nick Saban’s Alabama (with DC Kirby Smart) was steamrolling through the SEC en route to their fourth national title since his arrival. November 6, 2015 was also the last time the Gilmer Bobcats were victorious on the field of play.
A lot has happened since then. Four different Head Coaches have roamed the sidelines for the Bobcats since that night, all with the same result. 31 consecutive losses. That changed Friday night at Huff Mosley Stadium in Ellijay where the Gilmer Bobcats unleashed four years of frustration on the outmatched visitors from Towns County.
The outcome wasn’t full of suspense, it was 56-6 at halftime. Towns added a second half, running clock touchdown to make it 56-12 when the final buzzer sounded. However, the final score was secondary to the moment. The eight first half touchdowns were something we haven’t seen from Gilmer since… maybe ever. But the lasting images won’t be the dominant on-field performance. It will be the players, all of whom were in middle school in 2015, dumping the Gatorade bucket on their coach. It will be the students, loyal throughout the losing streak, being held back by deputies and school officials before finally getting the green light to rush the field. It will be the sight of the players rushing the field after their postgame meeting inside the field house, embracing their classmates and cheerleaders. It will be the parents, who endured the frustration and constant change, with tears in their eyes taking postgame pictures on the field, thankful this night had finally come to be.
As for the game itself, one could pick out multiple players of the game. Kobe Stonecipher built upon his impressive week one performance with multiple touchdowns. Quarterback Spenser Smith scored on the ground and through the air. Fullback Ashton White was a work horse, adding a touchdown of his own. The defense lived in the backfield all night and forced Towns into mistakes that led to turnovers. The only bright spot for Towns were the Oakes brothers, Quarterback/Safety/Punter Kyle and Receiver/Running Back/Kick Returner/Cornerback Garrett who were quite impressive in defeat.
It’s been said that the character of a man is built through adversity. How they respond in the face of failure. For the Gilmer Bobcats it’s been a brutal four year lesson in adversity. I think back to the names and faces, guys like David Smith and Avery Bertolini running the Triple Option, then turning around to play play defense. I think of Blake Buntin returning kickoffs, 8 or 9 per game in some cases. They kept coming back, week after week, knowing full well their chances of success were dim. It all led to August 30, 2019 and the sweet taste of victory. It led to the chance for us to say this… the Gilmer Bobcats are 1-1 and look to get a game over .500 next week when they travel to Gordon-Central.
Congratulations to the Gilmer Bobcats’ Kobe Stonecipher for being named this week’s Player of the Week in the season opener!
Kobe stood out in the season opener against Fannin on Friday. He had several successful kick returns, and scored the only touchdown of the night for the Bobcats! Congratulations again, Kobe! Good luck for the rest of this season!
The scoring was early and often for the Fannin Rebels in the first half of the season opener against the visiting rivals from Gilmer. For the new look Gilmer Bobcats, the first game under Head Coach Kevin Saunders unfolded much like the others during their current 31 game losing streak. Fannin moved the ball up and down the field with ease, capitalized on turnovers deep in Gilmer territory, and even caught some lucky breaks that only seem to happen to Gilmer.
Gilmer answered Fannin’s opening touchdown with a field goal in the first quarter to make it 7-3. From there, it was all Rebels. Two quick touchdowns on the ground late in the first and early in the second made it 21-3. The following Gilmer drive started with promise, as Ashton White broke through the defense on a carry of nearly 30 yards. It would be short lived. Gilmer would be stripped of the ball, only to force a second fumble of the Fannin defender. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Fannin Safety Cohutta Hyde picked up the second loose ball at midfield and returned it all the way for another Fannin touchdown. The failed two point conversion attempt left the score at 27-3.
From there, the Rebels combined stifling defense with a mix of running and passing on offense to tack on two more touchdowns before the conclusion of the first half — highlighted by a long pass from QB Luke Holloway to TE Jalen Ingram.
A running clock in the second half sped up the inevitable result. The Gilmer defense seemed to settle in a bit more, allowing zero second half points. The lone touchdown for Gilmer happened in the waning moments of the game when Kobe Stonecipher punched it in from the 4 yard line. Final score: Fannin 41 Gilmer 9.
The Bobcats look to rebound next week in their home opener against Towns County. Towns lost their opener to Hayesville 35-0.
With the start of a new football season comes a new head coach for the Gilmer Bobcats, and Kevin Saunders has a vision for the program.
“I have a vision, we’re gonna do it. It’s gonna be hard, you can’t miss, you have to make a commitment to the program.”
For Saunders, all focus is on the future.
“This team’s not 0-30, this team has never lost a game, never won a game. What they’ve done in the past is the past, this is a completely different team.”
Watch the rest of the interview below with BKP, only on Team FYN Sports.
At the start both teams warmed up like pros and were ready for a fierce game. As both teams face off, the ball is tossed into the air with the Lady Raiders getting the ball first.
As each team went back and forth down the court the Lady Raiders took the first two points of the game due to a foul against Emma Deyton #20. Raider’s #3 takes her two shots flawlessly. Throughout this game there many fouls allowing each team to rack up the points. The Lady Cats didn’t let this phase them, they begin to pull away by the halftime leading the Lady Raiders 29-11.
Right as we begin the third period the Lady Raiders they make an impressive three pointer helping them gain a few more points. As we look at the faces of the Lady Cats and them passing the ball back into play you can see it, their faces read not today! Bailey Teague #32 brought the heat answering back with a three pointer giving them a 20 point lead over the Lady Raiders. The Lady Raiders have a strong 4thperiod but the Lady Cats didn’t back down they kept clawing their way to the top leaving their mark everywhere they went. That lead us to the last shot of the game taken by Emma Callihan #24 shooting a two pointer to bring home the win.
The Lady Cats are going to need more basketball shoes after burning up the court tonight claiming the victory over the Lady Raiders 52-34.
Marylee Callihan #10 – 15 points, Elly Callihan #1 – 8 points, Emma Callihan #24 – 8 points, Emma Deyton#20 – 6 points, Bailey Teague #32 – 6 points, Mallory Kiser #25 – 5points, Hope Colwell #4 – 2 points, Jalynn Ledford #52 – 2 points.
After this hard fought win, the Lady Cats will be playing again Tuesday, January 15thagainst Heritage @ home, game starts at 6:00.
The title doesn’t do it justice. #34 surprised us all making a shot at the buzzer. Let’s Recap and bring you to the monumental event and MOST definitely nail biting, standing, shouting, INTENSE game that the NBA Players would be proud to watch.
Let’s start this game; I’m not sure I can handle reliving this intense match! As these two men face off Kell Weaver comes out with an impressive vertical jump giving the ball first for the Bobcats. The ball then turns over to the Raiders and they take the first 3 points of this nail biting game but the Bobcats respond back. Tripp Pierce #13 takes a shot that misses but with Weaver #45 rebounding for a solid two points. As we progress, the Raiders give us our first foul of the game on Carter Hice #2. He takes that first shot missing, but as he steps up once more, dribbles a couple times, and looks at the goal you can see it in his eyes foreseeing the ball going through the hoop. His vision was absolutely right he sinks the second shot without any issue. These two teams now decide to have a 3 pointer shoot out. Raiders Andrew Fowler #2 shoots a three, then Bobcats Coady Cobb #10 sinks one as well. That wasn’t good enough still. They each do it once more bringing the two teams to a close game 11-10. With each and every possession of the ball each team brings it back to their hoop scoring more points, at halftime Bobcats lead the Raiders 32-29.
The speed continues through the third period but with a few less baskets than the first two periods. Gilmer gets a technical in the third period for the Coach talking to another player during game play. That leaves us with 2:05 left in the third, score is still going up but remaining close 40-34. As we move onto the fourth period we stay neck and neck, basket for basket these teams are FIERCE. A coin toss is what we can say for the possible ending thus far. Bobcats and Raiders are playing their hearts out. Both teams start sharing fouls. Bobcats Kell Weaver #45 fouls Raiders Bryce Stanley #3 for two shots. We have another set of fouls against the Bobcats gaining more points for the Raiders tying the game up 51-51. Kell Weaver #45 is taken out of the game for his 5thfoul with two minutes left in the game. Folks, I know you can’t know this by reading it but Weaver has played a pivotal role in this game, making some incredible rebounds and plays throughout, most definitely an asset during this game. As the clock ticks down both teams are taking time outs left and right trying to get the next best play, what will they pick to beat their opponent. I’m in suspense folks just waiting!
What you are about to read would have you standing on your feet shouting with rest of the crowd as the last few seconds tick down to the final of the game. We have .5 seconds left on the clock; Bobcats pass the ball into play from the Raiders sidelines. At this point, we ALL believe we are going into overtime. Tripp Pierce #13 passes the ball across the length of the court to Cade Carter who is being guarded but wait he takes the shot and scores the winning basket for the game!!!!! NONE of us thought this was going to happen. Everyone jumps to their feet. The roar of the gymnasium is that of excitement, thrill, and belief in the Bobcats as the team celebrates.
Tripp Pierce #13 – 21 points, Kell Weaver #45 – 14 points, Coady Cobb #10 – 13 points, Braden Jenkins #22 – 9 points, Cade Carter #34 – 2 points, David Smith #5 – 2 points, Carter Hice #2 – 1 point
If the next game is anything like this one, you will want to be there. Bobcats will be playing on their court Tuesday, January 15that 7:30 against Heritage.