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Football Players of the Week: Lumpkin County's McCrary, Gilreath end season on high note

Indians pulled upset win over playoff-bound Stephens County in Toccoa

POSTED: November 11, 2013 10:07 p.m.

Quarterback Daniel McCrary and wide receiver Johnathan Gilreath ended their careers at Lumpkin County on a particularly high note on Friday in the regular season finale, even though making the playoffs was out of the question.

McCrary found Gilreath, his top receiver, on a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone with only 20 seconds remaining to complete a 31-28 upset win against playoff-bound Stephens County at The Reservation in Toccoa.

Even though Lumpkin finished the season with a 2-8 record, this was a game in which both players stamped their names in the school record book. 

With that 20-yard pass, McCrary closed the game with a school-record 294 passing yards and three touchdown passes. Gilreath finished with school records in both receptions (17) and receiving yards (226), while catching two of those touchdown passes.

For their efforts, McCrary and Gilreath are The Times Football Players of the Week.

Gilreath praised the unsung heroes of the offense for the numbers he and his quarterback were able to put up.

“The offensive line gets the credit for giving Daniel enough time to throw the ball and giving me enough time to get open to make the catches,” Gilreath said.

The come-from-behind victory was Lumpkin County’s first in four all-time meetings against Stephens County, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

And McCrary said it was a satisfying end to the season to beat a playoff qualifier, while also giving the players returning for 2014 something to feel good about heading into the offseason.

For the season, McCrary threw for 1,808 yards and nine touchdowns, while Gilreath surpassed his goal of 1,000 yards by tallying 1,073 yards receiving and seven touchdowns.

Gilreath felt good about the would-be winning touchdown call that McCrary made in the huddle — a throw over his back shoulder — since it had already worked on three previous plays during the game. It was also the final time connecting on a pass play in their playing careers, which trace all the way back to youth leagues.

“As soon as he called the play, I knew we were going to win,” Gilreath said.

The first touchdown between the two Lumpkin County seniors against Stephens County was a throw to the sideline by McCrary that Gilreath turned into a 40-yard score.

This was an especially rewarding victory for the two Indians seniors and one they knew was attainable when they went into the half ahead 17-7.

“When we went into halftime ahead, we knew we just had to push the gas pedal from there to keep it going,” Gilreath said.


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