Milestone Watch: Who is closing in on big numbers in 2022?
With each season, there is an ultimate goal that goes beyond the numbers — to be a state champion, state playoff team, region champion, etc. However, there are always milestones that those programs and individuals eclipse along the way. Here are the notable milestones to watch for in 2022.
Travis Noland (Jefferson) – 200 Wins
Currently, Noland, who enters year one for the Dragons, has 189 career wins between Georgia and North Carolina. 143 of his victories have come in the Peach State, but an 11-win campaign (which is doable) for the Dragons, and Noland will hit career win number 200.
Jefferson – 500 Wins
Speaking of Jefferson, the program itself is 494-294-22 all-time (.623 win percentage). That’s 200 games over .500 going all the way back to 1947. Just six wins puts the program in even more elite territory with 500 all-time wins. Should come by October.
Commerce – Playoff Streak (26)
The Tigers have made the postseason every single year since 1997. That’s unreal! Not many teams can make it a decade, let alone a quarter of a century. A playoff berth for Commerce would make it 26 years in a row. It’s actually already a done deal in a 4-team football region in the new-look 8-A Division I.
Jaden Gibson – 4,477 Receiving Yards & 49 TD
Rabun County’s go-to pass catcher Jaden Gibson is at 3,174 yards receiving after a season that saw him post 1,878 (2nd most in state history). He also had 19 TD, making him to date one of just a few in state history to get to 3K in yards and 30+ TDs. Just 826 yards receiving will make him the fourth ever to get to 4,000, and if somehow he gets the 1,304 needed to get to 4,477, he’d be the top receiver in yardage in state history. That’s unreal. Along the way, he’ll pass former Rabun great Braxton Hicks (3,490) and Union County great Blake Gowder (4,002). With 30 TDs receiving, he is tied with former Rabun great Charlie Woerner and Dawson County great Bruce Clark. He’ll pass Gowder (41) and Hicks (46) as well as former Rabun one-year player Adriel Clark (43) if he can get 19 TD catches again. That would get him one past Travis Hunter, who just last year passed Hicks for the state record. So to recap, 1,304 yards and 19 TD makes Gibson the state’s all-time leader in those categories.
Union County – 300 Wins & Playoff Streak (5)
The Panthers sit at 295-338-10 in their history, which dates back to 1957. With just five wins in 2022, Union County will join the 300-win club. Seems like a safe bet to happen under coach Michael Perry. Also, a playoff berth would make five years in a row, which would mark a Union County record (currently tied with 4 in a row).
Keegan Stover – 4,000 Passing Yards & 50 Passing TD
The new Rabun County signal caller is up to 3,888 career passing yards. He’ll be just one game from eclipsing 4,000 passing yards for his career, and with 45 career TD passes, one game (a big one) could indeed also get him to 50 for his career. He is just four total TD (passing or rushing) to get to 50 overall.
Ben Stowe – 4,000 Total Yards & 50 Total TD
Stephens County’s QB1 needs just 773 total yards and 14 total TD to eclipse the 4,000 and 50 marks. The dual threat, if and when he gets that mark, will be one of just 14 QBs in the BLITZ era locally to get there. Keegan Stover (above) can be another when he gets there probably earlier in the season.
Lang Windham – 4,000 Total Yards & 50 Total TD
Rabun County’s speedy, elusive back is currently at 3,351 total yards and 39 total TD. He needs just 639 total yards, and 11 total TD to reach the milestones. His getting there, which barring injury will certainly happen, will make him one of just five in BLITZ-era history to do it, joining Colby Wood (Jefferson), Chaz Thornton (Stephens), Charlie Woerner (Rabun), and Zach Matthews (Lumpkin).
Sammy Brown – 3,000 Rushing Yards & 40 Rushing TD
The 5-star recruit who will more than likely be taken for what he does on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker, is close to some big milestones here in his junior year that you don’t see much. He has 2,121 rushing yards and 25 TD. When he gets to 3K just in rushing, and 40 TD, he’ll be just the sixth BLITZ talent to hit those marks, joining Wood (Jefferson), Thornton (Stephens), Matthews (Lumpkin), Cole Chancey (Commerce), and Ashely Lowery (White) to do so.
Dawson County – 200 Wins
Speaking of 200 wins, the Tigers are one win shy of 200 as a program, going back 55 years to 1967. This, according to state records. Dawson is 199-321-9 in its history, as Sid Maxwell’s next win gives the program this milestone. He is already the all-time coaching leader in wins at Dawson County.
Jaiden Daniels – 3,000 Total Yards
It may not seem like the biggest career milestone if he were just a senior. But Jaiden Daniels ripped up defenses as a freshman to the tune of 1,458 total yards. If he does that and then some this year, he’ll hit 3K total yards at the halfway point of his career – which is unbelievable. For reference, Sammy Brown after two years sits at 2,314 total yards, and players like Michael Babers (Habersham), Kaleb Crane (White), Kyle Oakes (Towns) were right at that mark for their entire varsity career.
Cam Lacy – 2,000 Receiving Yards
Stephens County’s top target in the passing game is at 1,399 yards and 11 TD receiving for his career. He’s 601 yards receiving away from 2,000, which puts him in a category with only 10 others in BLITZ history.
Banks County – Playoff Streak (3)
The Leopards have made the postseason in two straight years. That ties a program mark. A berth this time around means a new playoff streak record in Homer.