With four games to go in the 2017 season, the Habersham Central Raiders still hold their own destiny in their own hands. That’s a good place to be, even after five straight weeks of torture in dropping games in the final moments by a combined 14 points.
The Raiders (1-5; 0-1) look to rebound with a home game against Lanier, a team that lost a lot of talent off last year’s state playoff team. Habersham will get its points — the boys have a top-five team in the state in offensive points per game (41.3), but the defense has also allowed 40.8 points per contest.
As head coach Benji Harrison says and seniors AJ Curry and Carson Moore agree, Habersham has been just one play away from putting these games away. Instead of 1-5, Habersham could and should be 6-0 or 4-2 at worst. Call them the most unlucky team we’ve ever seen — just victims of bad luck.
Make no mistake, this Raiders team is GOOD! Curry is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the state, as the 3-star recruit has 1,694 passing yards (14 TD) and 530 rushing yards (9 TD). The former Stephens County player took his first visit to Auburn on October 7. The War Eagles are among a handful who have been in touch with Curry.
The Habersham receiving corps — Donovan Curry, Jim Barnett, Bryce Tanner & Trey Wetherton — have been exceptional, as has senior running back Baylor Hinshaw, whose emergence this season has been monumental after losing star back Michael Babers to graduation following the 2016 season.
Habersham has fallen to Franklin County in an overtime thriller, losing on a 2-point conversion attempt. The following week at home, the Raiders lost narrowly to White County, with a Curry hail mary attempt sailing past a tripped up Barnett in the end zone. Against Stephens County, a lead with six minutes was erased with a last minute touchdown by the rival Indians. A 31-7 lead over Chestatee at home the next week didn’t hold up either, as the War Eagles stormed back for an unlikely win. As if that weren’t enough, last week’s loss to region foes Gainesville saw Habersham just two minutes or so from victory, until a 4th & 19 (from the G’ville 19) was converted into an 81-yard hail mary touchdown. The unbelievable freakish play tied the game, and the Red Elephants got the ball back in time for a game-winning 37-yard field goal with just one second remaining.
Despite all that, Curry, Moore, Harrison and the rest of the Raiders are focused on just one game at a time from here on out. If Habersham can win at least two of the final four games, they’ll be in a spot to make the state playoffs.