Jessel Curry, Buford: Four carries for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a win against Thomson.
Ben Souther, Chestatee: 18 carries for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to White County.
Connor Shaw, Flowery Branch: 14 carries for 106 yards and three touchdowns, and 10-for-15 passing for 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a win against East Hall.
Rodney Young, Flowery Branch: Four receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown against East Hall.
Shunquez Stephens, West Hall: 13-for-28 passing and 185 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Lumpkin County.
Kevin Ellison, Habersham Central: 32 carries for 142 and two touchdowns in a win against Monroe Area.
Austin Brown, Habersham Central: 8-for-15 passing for 91 yards and a touchdown in a win against Monroe Area.
Caleb Meek, Jefferson: Nine carries for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a win against Banks County.
Lucas Redd, Jefferson: Eight rushes for 83 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Banks County.
Michael Flanagan, Lumpkin County: Four carries, 76 yards, three touchdowns in a win against West Hall.
Jake McClure, Lumpkin County: Eight carries, 111 yards, one touchdown; nine tackles, .5 sacks in a win against West Hall.
Lucas Bersin, Riverside Military: 151 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in a win against Fannin County.
Kolt Owenby, Union County: 12-for-26 passing for 248 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as well as 90 rushing yards and three rushing scores in a win against Oglethorpe County.
Ashely Lowery, White County: Seven carries for 118 yards and a touchdown in a win against Chestatee.
Cole Seagraves, White County: 12-for-18 passing for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Chestatee.
Ancient Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu once said of battle, “When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.”
And while the race for the Region 8-AA playoffs is much less dramatic than the cruel and sobering realities of war, Union County has definitely found themselves in danger.
Yet in the Panthers’ favor is senior Caylan Tanner, who showed his verve for victory Friday against Oglethorpe County with two touchdowns, six receptions for 184 yards and a record-setting 100-yard kickoff return in Union County’s 42-28 win against the Patriots.
“I felt like I did pretty good except for those two passes I dropped,” Tanner said of his performance.
“Caylan came in and did a tremendous job,” coach Brian Allison said of the senior. “He grew up a Panther and there is no one more dependable. We wouldn’t be where we are without him.”
But with the first three spots of the playoffs already ensured to the unbeatens — Jefferson, East Jackson and North Oconee — the Panthers (4-3, 3-3) have found themselves in a deadlock for the fourth seat with Riverside Military Academy.
“I’ve been trying to focus on this week,” Tanner said. “I’m thinking about getting some payback, since (Dawson County) beat us last year with a field goal in overtime.”
Allison reciprocated Tanner’s sentiment saying, “Dawson worries me enough. We haven’t even thought about the playoffs.”
Whether or not the Panthers have thought about it, the Eagles (3-4, 3-3) are Union County’s main competition for getting into postseason play, and are its next opponent after the Tigers (1-6, 1-5), who it faces at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Dawsonville.