It was another set of Eagles on Friday night for the Banks County Leopards and after falling the previous week to East Jackson, the boys were determined not to let it happen again.
In the last non-region game of the season for the Leopards, Big Blue held on for a 28-20 win over Athens Christian. The win moves Banks County back to the top of the sub-region with a 3-1 overall record. With the teams in the north side of the region taking this week off, Banks County’s players will heal as several key players get over some bumps and bruises from the past four weeks.
Coming up, Banks County will open region play, hosting Union County on Oct. 1 at 7:30.
The Oct. 1 game is also Homecoming for the Leopards, with the annual spirit night the Thursday night before the game.
The Banks County Mother’s Huddle is organizing the Homecoming festival which includes a parade from the elementary school to the high school. A tentative parade start time is set for 5:30 p.m.
The Sept. 30, festival activities will be on the front lawn of the high school with food, a rock climbing wall, hayride, sumo wrestling, music and a car-smash. The festival is open for all ages and for families as local vendors including Arby’s, McDonald’s, Sonic and Papa John’s will have booths with food for sale. Portions of the funds go to benefit the BCHS football program.
The festival will last until dark when the bonfire will be lit.
The festival is just one of the ways the school is working to pump up the athletes, but coach Blair Armstrong would also like to see the stands full on Oct. 1 to support the Leopards as they take on Union County. Big Blue has a score to settle with Union County after last season’s 48-20 loss, where Banks County started out leading by 14 points.
This year, the Panthers are 1-3 after facing some out-of-state competition, AAA teams Lumpkin and Hart County in the crossover game. The Leopards not only want to pick up the first region W of the season, but also want to ease the memory of the last meeting between the teams. Banks trails 16-19 in the series between the two.
With the week to prepare, Armstrong is taking a close look at the Union County passing game.
“Union throws very well,” he said, adding that the Panthers can work the long pass. The Banks County defense will spend some time this week looking on how to shut down the receivers.
While Union County is not to be underestimated, Banks County does have some confidence built up, going into the game 3-1 this season. The key for the Leopards, it seems, is to maintain that level of confidence while on the field. The East Jackson loss was due in part to the Leopards wearing down mentally after stalling on the first scoring opportunities.
Last week’s win over Athens Christian showed that Banks County is starting to break this trend as the Big Blue boys came back after trailing at the half to grab the win.
Athens Christian started the scoring off with a 10 yard run and took the lead after a 60 yard breakout rush play in the second quarter. Banks County came out in the second half and erased the deficit with 15 straight points as Dylan Lackey picked up a huge chunk of his 123 yards of rushing. Lackey had 18 carries and three touchdowns, leading the offense for the Leopards.
The AC Eagles closed the gap with a touchdown, but trailed by one after missing the PAT.
In the fourth quarter, the Leopards turned it up another notch and pushed the one point lead into a 28-20 lead for Banks County and held onto to it for the win. Athens Christian had a chance to close the gap late in the game, but the fourth down, incomplete pass from the Leopard’s 9 yard line was the death keel for the Eagles.
See the Banks County News for individual stats.