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HS football Player of the Week: Lumpkin County's Daniel McCrary
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Honor roll

Michael Byrd, Gainesville: 11 carries for 85 yards and three receptions for 22 yards Friday against Heritage.

Kevin Christmas, North Hall: Ran for 113 yards and a score and caught a touchdown pass Friday against Dawson County.

Jordan Degraff, Chestatee: Ran for two touchdowns Friday against Stephens County.

Tyler Dominy, Dawson County: Passed for 198 yards and a touchdown, and ran for a touchdown Friday against North Hall.

Caleb Eppling, North Georgia Christian: Two touchdowns rushing and two passing Friday against Philadelphia Christian.

Jonathan Gilreath: 10 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown; nine tackles and two pass breakups on defense.

Sam Greer, White County: Ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns Friday against East Hall.

Rodney Lackey, Gainesville: Four receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown Friday against Heritage.

Jackson McDonald, Flowery Branch: Three touchdowns passing and two rushing Friday against Salem.

Andrew Smith, North Hall: Passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third Friday against Dawson County.

Will Stonecypher, White County: Ran for a touchdown and forced a safety Friday against East Hall.

T.J. Tate, North Hall: Ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns Friday against Dawson County.

Sam Turner, White County: Ran for 97 yards and a touchdown Friday against East Hall.

Edward Vergara, East Hall: Ran for 30 yards and two touchdowns Friday against White County.

Deshaun Watson, Gainesville: Passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 113 yards and two scores Friday against Heritage.

Dontravious Wilson, Buford: Ran for 118 yards and a touchdown Friday against Banks County.

Terrance Wilson, Buford: Ran for two touchdowns Friday against Banks County.

Compiled by Zac Taylor

With the departure of 2011 senior quarterback Logan Moye, Daniel McCrary finally had the opportunity to be what he’d wanted to be ever since youth football.

The junior and lifelong Lumpkin County resident became the next Indians starting quarterback, a role he said he’d been working toward since the age of 9.

“Daniel’s father is the strength coach, he’s grown up in county, and he bleeds purple and gold,” said Lumpkin County coach Tommy Jones. “He’s probably been going to games since he was born.”

His first season at the helm hasn’t been easy. With electric, 1,000-yard rusher Ian McIntosh graduated as well, the Indians offense struggled, along with the defense, on the way to a 0-4 start.

“Last year we had Ian (McIntosh), you just give him the ball and let him make a play,” McCrary said. “Now we don’t have that big-time playmaker, so we have to work for everything we get.”

In the fifth game of the season last Friday against Region 8-AAAA opponent Walnut Grove, with the offense once again struggling but the defense holding firm, McCrary took control. The junior converted a pair of fake punts for big first downs and finished 22 of 32 passing for 211 yards and a touchdown, along with 18 carries for 77 yards and another score in leading the Indians to a 13-12 win.

For his efforts he is The Times Player of the Week.

“It felt pretty good,” he said of the first win. “Everybody was really happy because all the hard work we put in really paid off.”

McCrary, who said he considers himself more of a passing quarterback, tallied a big chunk of his rushing yards on the two fake punts, plays where he made the decision to go for the first down at the risk of a turnover on downs.

Jones has been impressed with his progress this season, and the big plays have only added to his maturation.

“Daniel has improved every week. He’s a very heady, smart player, and has the ability to get in the right formation and the right play when we ask him to,” Jones said. “The past two weeks he’s made some very good decisions; throwing the ball very accurate, and also throwing the ball away when he needed to, and scrambling for a first down.”

McCrary, also the starting punter, said the first fake punt came on a designed option play, where he could decide whether to punt it or keep it. The second came on a regular punt play, but the quarterback saw an opening on the outside and made the decision to go for it and get his team closer to that first crucial win.

“Any time you have a young football team you have to learn how to win close football games,” Jones said. “Hopefully this first one will be a springboard to do better the second half of this season.”

“It gives us more drive to go out and win the next one,” McCrary added. “But we’ve got to keep working, because there’s not an easy win on our schedule.”

Lumpkin County has a bye this Friday before playing its first home game — Oct. 12 against Madison County — since August.

And McCrary will get another shot at leading his team to its first win in the stadium he calls home.

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