White County Easily Defeats West Hall to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

Sports, Team FYN Sports

After two straight losses and a bye week, the Warriors were completely rejuvenated tonight, defeating the West Hall Spartans 42-0.

It was homecoming night at White County High School, and the Warriors came out in full force. From the opening kickoff, the Warriors were in complete control. On their third offensive play, Cooper Turner would score on a jet sweep in the red zone to give the Warriors an early 7-0 lead. Late in the 1st quarter, the Warriors would once again score as J. Ben Haynes would score his first of 3 rushing touchdowns, giving the Warriors a 14-0 lead to end the 1st quarter.

J. Ben Haynes and Devin Sullens celebrating a touchdown

West Hall was no competition for the Warriors tonight. However, they had their moments throughout the game where it looked as if they could compete. Early on, they were driving down field, and they looked as if they were about to score. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they would turn the ball over on downs, killing any momentum that they had.

The Warriors would respond in the 2nd quarter with no forgiveness.

J. Ben Haynes was responsible for every touchdown in the second quarter. He had two more rushing touchdowns, along with a 40 yard passing touchdown to Cooper Turner. Meanwhile, the White County Warriors defense was incredible. Although they were without Jesse Moose, the Warriors had no problem stopping the Spartans. Surprisingly, it was a freshman taking control of the game on defense. Defensive back Darius Cannon had his best game to date, with two interceptions in the second quarter, along with making multiple key tackles throughout the game. At the end of the 1st half, the Warriors went into the locker room with a 35-0 lead.

In the second half, the Warrior defense certainly didn’t lose control.

The Warrior defense continued to dominate in the second half. They had three turnovers, including two more interceptions from Silas Mulligan and Will Sampson. The defense continued to be dominant, even with more second unit players subbing in as the clock winded down.

Darius Cannon

Meanwhile, the Warrior offense would score again early on the 4th quarter. J. Ben Haynes would find the Homecoming King Jesse Thomas wide open for a 49 yard receiving touchdown, extending the lead to 42-0. In the 4th Quarter, the Warriors would play with a continuous clock, and it would not take long for them to secure the win.

Next week, The Warriors play their biggest game of the season.

The Warriors will play next week against the Denmark Danes at home. The Danes are a second year high school, and they have only two losses on the season, both of them against the two best teams in the region, Blessed Trinity and Marist. If the Warriors have any hope of making playoffs, then they must win this game. Otherwise, their chances will drastically decrease.

For more coverage of the White County Warriors, follow Team FYN Sports on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Team FYN Sports Player of the Week – Will Sampson #27

Player of the Week, Sports, Team FYN Sports

The wide receiver had an impressive outing against Flowery Branch, earning him Player of the Week honors.

Tonight, Will Sampson had a return to form, finding a chance to showcase his talents throughout the night.

It’s been an up and down year for Sampson so far. He’s dealt with a couple on injuries so far, which has prevented him from getting the same playing time that he had last season. But tonight, he was a key player. He scored the first TD of the game for White County, finding himself wide open in the endzone on a 5 yard receiving TD. He was also making key receptions throughout the night, giving the Warriors chances to continue drives.

Congratulations to Will Sampson for being named Team FYN Sports Player of the Week.

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White County Heads into Bye Week 3-3 after Loss to Flowery Branch

Sports, Team FYN Sports

For the second consecutive week, the White County Warriors suffer a road defeat to a regional opponent. This time out, the Flowery Branch Falcons defeated them 45-20.

The game was under the control of Flowery Branch from the very start.

Their rushing attack was unstoppable throughout the entirety of the game, starting out with their team rushing down the field and scoring on their first drive, with RB Chase Dial-Watson scoring his first of 2 rushing touchdowns. On their next offensive drive, it would be RB Jaizen Ellingham scoring his first of 3 TDs, which gave the Falcons a 14-0 lead to end the first quarter. 

An unwelcome sight for the White County Warriors

Meanwhile, the Warriors struggled. Their defense was almost nonexistent in the first half, especially against the run. On offense, the Warriors couldn’t buy a first down in the first quarter. They finally got to move the chains during the 2nd quarter after faking a punt and passing for a first down. However, it could be argued that the biggest adversary for the Warriors tonight was not wearing pads and dressed in black. Instead, their biggest adversary was a yellow piece of dirty laundry that constantly found its way onto the field. Yes, the penalty flag was constantly setting the Warriors back and killing their momentum all throughout the night. In the first half, the Warriors were called for 4 false start calls, along with being called for holding multiple times.

Eventually, the Warriors gained some steam.

Will Sampson catching the TD pass.

After the Falcons scored another TD and converted a 32 yard field goal, the Warriors finally had a good drive going. J. Ben Haynes led his team downfield with key passes to Will Sampson and Cooper Turner. He would eventually find Will Sampson wide open in the endzone, and the Warriors would go into the half losing 6-24.

The Warriors went into the 2nd half without a key defensive player. Two time player of the week Jesse Moose would not return to the game in the 2nd half as he left with an undisclosed injury. But they started the 2nd half on offense, and Haynes was once again driving the ball downfield, including a 42 yard pass to Jesse Thomas. Eventually, the ball was at the 5 yard line, and on the next play, Haynes would throw an interception, adding on to his unimpressive tally of INTs throughout the season.

J. Ben Haynes moment after his second turnover.

Things would go from bad to worse for J. Ben. After White County forced a 3 and out on defense, he would fumble the ball on the next offensive drive, bringing the morale of the Warriors to an all time low. 

Meanwhile, the Falcons continued to play well on offense. Jaizen Ellingham would score his 2nd TD after the fumble, giving the Falcons a 31-6 lead to end the 3rd quarter.

The Warriors would not lose without a fight.

The Falcons would bring on their 2nd unit on defense, which in return, gave the Warriors a chance to fire on offense. Haynes began to play like the man we had seen earlier in the season. Haynes would score on an 18 yard rushing TD after leading his offense on an impressive and uplifting the drive. Flowery Branch and Ellingham would once again score on the next drive to bring the lead back to 25. 

The next offensive drive for the Warriors was a flashback to the Lumpkin County vs. White County matchup. Zion McMullen absolutely flew past the Falcon defenders, rushing for over 70 yards on the drive, ending the drive on a 3 yard TD. But this effort was too late in the game, as Flowery Branch would drive down the field and kill the clock, before scoring another TD with less than a minute remaining, sealing their victory with the final score of 45-20.

Up next, a much needed break for the Warriors.

For the Warriors, they are now 0-2 in region play this season. On the plus side, they have an off week next week, and now have time to get healthy and recuperate. When they return in two weeks, it will be their homecoming game against West Hall. It is a must win game for the Warriors if they want any chance of making the playoffs. For more updates on the White County Warriors, follow Team FYN Sports on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week – Jesse Moose #24

Player of the Week, Sports, Team FYN Sports

For the second time this season, Team FYN Sports is excited to announce Jesse Moose as the player of the week.

Jesse was an unstoppable force on defense tonight, and was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable game. He had multiple sacks and tackles for loss throughout the game. Even when the Warriors were down as high as 28, he kept on making big plays. He also recovered another fumble, reminiscent of his heroics from earlier in the season.

Congrats to Jesse for once again being named Team FYN Sports’ Player of the Week for the White County Warriors.

 

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Warriors suffer a tough loss to the Marist War Eagles.

Sports, Team FYN Sports

In what was the expected result coming into the game, the Marist War Eagles were able to defeat the White County Warriors 35-19. 

The beginning portion of the game was controlled by Marist.

The War Eagles were on the hunt early. After a White County 3 & out to start the game, Marist QB Connor Cigelske scored a 58 yard rushing touchdown on one of their first offensive plays to almost immediately gain the lead. They would soon score again after another rushing touchdown midway through the first quarter, making the score 15-0 after a two point conversion. 

The Warriors would have multiple ups and downs throughout the game.

Seth Stonecypher before his TD.

Meanwhile, it was a rough start for the Warriors. It was in the 2nd quarter after four offensive drives to finally gain a first down after a fourth down conversion. Later on during that same drive, J. Ben Haynes would find Cooper Turner for a deep ball, and Turner would be stopped at the 1 yard line. Junior running back Seth Stonecypher would score his first career rushing touchdown on the next play, making the score 15-7.

The Warriors had another golden opportunity to score shortly afterwards. Marist would fumble the ensuing kick return and Jesse Moose would recover the fumble at the Marist 3 yard line. However, Marist would make an impressive goal line stand, stopping the Warriors from scoring on all four downs. On the War Eagles first play back on offense. Fullback Lincoln Parker scored a 98 yard rushing touchdown, killing all of White County’s momentum in a matter of seconds. To further deplete themselves, J, Ben Haynes would throw his first of two interceptions in the game. Marist would score another touchdown and a field goal in the remaining minutes of the half to go into halftime with a 32-7 lead.

Jaquez Williams after his fumble recovery.

To begin the 2nd half, Marist kicked another field goal to give themselves a 35-7 lead. After this, it was clear that they took their foot off the throttle, as they would put in their second unit on both offense and defense. Early on in this stint, the Warriors had trouble. After Jaquez Willimas recovered a fumble on defense, Haynes would throw his second interception to immediately give the ball back. 

The Warriors slowly began to crawl towards a comeback as the game progressed.

J. Ben Haynes after his 2nd interception

Things started to lookup for the Warriors afterwards. White County kept their first string units in for the game, and they began to look good. They forced Marist to punt on their next two defensive drives. Meanwhile, the Warrior offense began to gain momentum. Haynes was firing the ball downfield as Jesse Thomas and Cooper Turner were his leading targets. However, it was Reece Dockery that would catch a 17 yard receiving touchdown to bring the deficit to 22. On the Warriors next offensive drive, Haynes would rush in for an 8 yard TD, making the score 19-35 with less than six minutes remaining. . Both of these touchdowns were on fourth down. All game long, the Warriors were converting fourth downs, as they only punted the ball 4 times, all in the first half.

Marist was feeling the pressure of a Warrior comeback, and put in their first string offense maintain the lead and to seal the victory. They would run the clock out, and end the game with a 35-19 victory. 

What’s next for the Warriors?

Ultimately, the Warriors were always going to have a tough time tonight. Marist came into the game undefeated and are widely regarded as one of the top teams in the entire state of Georgia, and they proved why they are ranked so high tonight. Meanwhile, the Warriors have another tough road game next week as they travel to Flowery Branch to take on the Falcons before a bye week. To keep up with more White County Warrior news, follow Team FYN Sports on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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TeamFYNSports Writer’s Player of the Week – Jesse Moose #24

Sports, Team FYN Sports

Team FYN Sports is excited to announce the second Player of the Week for the White County Warriors – Jesse Moose. Jesse had arguably the most memorable play in recent history for the Warriors. After the Warriors caused a fumble against Pickens, the junior scooped the ball and returned the ball 80+ yards to seal the win for White County. Of all the plays in the game, this one will stick out for years to come.

Congratulations to Jesse for being selected as the Team FYN Sports Player of the Week for the White County Warriors!

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Sports talk Thursday with Lauren Hunter-First United Church of the Southeastern Conference

All of TeamFYNSports, Sports

On Wednesday I stopped by one of the local rec departments to iron out some details for an upcoming event that Team FYN Sports plans to cover. As often happens in small towns where time seems to move a little slower, you can’t go into a place where people are as close as a rec department and just have your meeting and leave. You end up talking about something like, in this case sports, that leads into one topic after another. Add a couple more people into the mix that you haven’t seen in a while and soon enough you glance down at your watch and you’ve been there for two hours with no idea where the time went. Southerners especially know what I mean.

Anyway, naturally with this being SEC country we had to talk about college football. And even more so when one of the people in the conversation was a Tennessee fan (you know who you are!)

Eventually our conversation turned to memories of our first college football games. The memories spanned years and were entwined with heartfelt stories of family, friends and Sanford stadium. There were tales of witnessing games where records were set and broken, of firsts and lasts. A couple of us could even recall games with rivalries so bitter that a rowdy fan from the opposing team was either physically injured or injured with glares.

Ah the glorious Sanford Stadium! And during a Georgia/Tennessee game, too!

For each of us that was sitting in the room we had a look of wonder in our eye. We were recalling memories that were so precious to us that we wouldn’t trade them for all the University of Florida defeats in the world. Especially the ones were loved ones were involved. Those are always the most precious.

Hearing those glorious tales took me back to my own first University of Georgia game. I couldn’t tell you who they were playing, but I remember watching the team run out with the big Georgia flag and feeling a since of pride I hadn’t felt before. I was with my mom and my grandparents. I had never seen my Nana get so rowdy. And my Papa Skip was especially proud to have the three most important women in his life with him and dressed in red and black. And a new love was born for me.

As a side note, my brother would later commit the ultimate sin in that side of the family and declare himself to be a Florida fan. I’m sure it broke Papa’s heart at the time, but he soon got over it when he had someone to accompany him to the Georgia/Florida game besides my Nana. Such is the seriousness of rivalries in the Southeastern Conference.

Here is a gem of a picture featuring my brother Devin, wearing a Florida shirt, and I with Governor Brian Kemp, who is a UGA alum. Even the governor gave Devin a hard time for being a Florida fan!

I know I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I firmly believe that nothing besides religion brings people together like a football game. Which is probably why it’s so common to refer to football as a religion in the South. You may hate someone during the week, but come Saturday morning if you’re both wearing red and black you’re going to at least be cordial.

I know that it may be more intense in other college towns, but in Athens people will arrive a full day early to claim their tailgating spots. Red and black tents flood the streets of downtown on every plot of grass that grows. Women (including myself) will go to get their nails and hair done ahead of time, and dress to the nine in ninety degree weather. There is no telling how many hundreds of thousands of dollars get spent on food and drinks for one weekend of tailgating alone.

I was recently watching an old episode of the show Designing Women. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, it’s about four women running an interior design firm in Atlanta. In one scene Julia Sugarbaker, who is the sharp-tongued primary owner of the firm, is leaving for a football game with one of her co-workers. Sadly, she was going to a Georgia Tech game, but we’ll overlook that part for now.

As the two characters are heading out the door, Julia says that she and her husband used to plan their weekends around the Georgia Tech games. She quips, “In the East, football is a cultural exercise. In the Midwest, it’s cannibalism. In the West, it’s a tourist attraction. But in the South, it’s a religion!”

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Warriors Struggle in Scrimmage Loss to Stephens County

Sports, Team FYN Sports

Football is back in White County! Unfortunately, the season did not start off on the right track.

The Warriors were unsuccessful in their scrimmage against the Stephens County Indians, losing 25-48. Early on, things looked bright for the Warriors, as senior DB Nix Burkett had an interception on their first defensive possession. Immediately afterwards, QB J. Ben Haynes found Jesse Thomas in the end zone for an early touchdown. However, this would be the only time all game that the Warriors held the lead.

The Indians scored two touchdowns to take a 13-6 lead to end the first quarter. The Warriors suffered a major blow in the first quarter, one which will affect their offense for the regular season. Junior wide receiver Jimmy King left the game midway through the first quarter with what turned out to be a dislocated left shoulder. Just like last season, King will likely miss the majority, if not all, of the 2019 football season.

As the first half progressed, things only got worse for the Warriors. They were unable gain any traction on offense until the end of the quarter, as Thomas caught another TD pass from Haynes. Meanwhile, Stephens County kept the foot on the throttle, scoring two more touchdowns to end the first half with a 27-13 lead.

Entering the third quarter, the Warriors were hoping to put six points on the board to give themselves momentum. On one hand, they put six points on the board. On the other hand, it was for Stephens County, as J. Ben Haynes threw a pick-6 to extend the lead for the Indians.

As the game progressed, both teams put in their second and third string players into the game. The younger Warriors played very well, as sophomore Silas Mulligan and junior Riley Stancil both scored touchdowns in the 4th quarter. However, their efforts were not enough to give the Warriors the preseason win.

Third year coach Tim Cokely will have a tough task leading this team to the playoffs. They have two state championship threats in their division in Marist and Blessed Trinity. Also, they have to deal with the always great Flowery Branch, and the up and coming Denmark. As for now, they will have two weeks to address their issues from today’s scrimmage before their season opener on August 30th vs. Lumpkin County.

 

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