Tied 14-14 with Rabun County in the second quarter, Jackson County reeled off 27 unanswered points Friday to roll to a 41-14 win on senior night and post its second consecutive 4-6 season. Click here for JCCHS-Rabun photos. The victory meant much to those Panthers playing their final high school game.
"Being a senior and all, I've played on this field since rec ball, eight years old, to go out winning, it just means the world to me," Jackson County senior Nick Oney said. "It's all these seniors and these underclassmen, they just followed our lead and it was a great game."
The Panthers took out the frustration of three straight losses on the visiting Wildcats (1-9) with their best offensive showing of the season, topping the 40-point mark for the only time this year and running for 331 yards.
Senior Billy Manis helped lead the rout in the season finale, running for touchdowns of 44 and 42 yards. Manis opened the game with his 44-yard score and then got the second half rolling for Jackson County with his 42-yard jaunt.
Manis finished with a staggering 102 yards on four carries.
"It feels good to do it on senior night, to break two (touchdowns) in my last game," Manis said of his long runs.
Besides Manis, Daivon Ledford had a big night with rushing touchdowns of 24 and 9 yards and 155 yards on the ground. Kyle Daniel also threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to senior Tony Holton. Senior Garrett Daglis added two field goals (32 and 31 yards) to end his Panther career.
"At the end of the day, we finished the way I wanted us to finish," coach Billy Kirk said.
Winning on the final night was also a bit bittersweet for the Jackson County seniors who had hoped for a better season but feel they've laid a foundation for the future.
"It (the 4-6 season) wasn't a winning record but I feel this team is really coming together and Jackson County is going to be on the board next year," Oney said.
Congratulations to the Panthers! Way to go guys, especailly you Seniors, finished the season with a WIN! 4 and 6 overall. I'm looking forward to next year! Can't wait! Way to go #34, good job, keep up the hard work, it will pay off. I promise!