Indians 28, Panthers 13
Difference maker: Ian McIntosh, Lumpkin County's all-purpose dynamo, rushed for a career-high 237 yards and three touchdowns, scoring on runs of 68, 63 and 60 yards.
Stat that matters: Lumpkin County rushed for 278 yards, but passed for only 8.
Turning point: With the score tied 7-7, Lumpkin's Mitchell Stephens jumped in front of a wide receiver screen for an interception and raced 19 yards to give the Indians their first lead late in the first quarter.
Who's next: Lumpkin County is off next week, before traveling to Monroe Area on Sept. 16. Union County is at Heart County on Sept. 9.
DAHLONEGA — Ian McIntosh had a little more wiggle, a little more shake and a lot more horsepower than anyone on the field.
McIntosh rushed for a career-high 237 yards and three long touchdown runs to lead Lumpkin County to a 28-13 win over the Union County on Friday at the Burial Grounds.
McIntosh scored on a 65-yard reverse, a 60-yard dash off of a direct snap and 63-yard sweep to help the Indians improve to 2-0. Each run was highlighted by one sharp cut, and then he was gone, showing off what he claims is sub-4.3 speed.
"My best time is 4.24 [in the 40-yard dash]," said McIntosh, who boasted the fastest 100 meter time in the region last year and is starting to see increased recruiting interest. "But I couldn't have done any of it or scored any of those touchdowns without my teammates and line. This team has the ability to do a lot this year."
Union County (1-1) opened the game with an eight-play, 50-yard scoring drive, capped by quarterback T Bentley's 5-yard keeper that put the Panthers up 7-0.
The Indians answered right back with McIntosh's first score on a reverse that he took off the right side, cut inside and then ran away from Panther defenders.
With McIntosh fueling the offense, a host of Indians made big plays on defense.
Mitchell Stephens jumped in front of a wide receiver screen, picking off the pass and racing 19 yards for a touchdown that gave the Indians their first lead, 14-7, late in the first quarter.
McIntosh scored twice in the second quarter, bursting off tackle out of the Wildcat formation to put Indians up 21-10. His last score came on a sweep in which he turned the corner and was never to be caught.
The only thing that stopped the senior all night was cramps, which limited his touches in the second half.
Meanwhile, Lumpkin's defense, after adjustments from coach Tommy Jones and staff, stiffened and kept the Panthers' spread attack out of the end zone for the final three quarters.
Evan Gaddis had a clinching interception late in the fourth quarter and also added a drive-killing sack earlier in the second half. Stephens led Lumpkin with seven tackles, and John Webber had a tackle for a loss on a fourth-down attempt by Union and broke up a pass.
But the news wasn't all good for the Indians. Star senior defensive end B.J. Dorsey injured his right knee on the first series and sat out the rest of the game. Dorsey, who missed the end of last season with an injury to his left knee, is scheduled to have an MRI on Tuesday.
Dorsey will have an extra week to rest, with Lumpkin County off next week. The Indians travel to Monroe Area on Sept. 16. The Purple Hurricane kept the Indians out of the state playoffs last year.
"I'm proud of how we executed tonight and persevered after Union County jumped on us early," Jones said. "Now, we just need to get healthy."