Wildcats lose first regular season game in three years on field goal as time expires

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Rabun County found itself in a rare position when entering halftime tied at 3 with Bremen in the Erk Russell Classic Saturday evening. They then rallied to tie it at 10 late in the third, but a blocked punt attempt gave Bremen time and position to drill home a 24-yard field goal as the clock hit zero, thus dealing Rabun a 13-10 loss. The defeat is the first in the regular season suffered by the Wildcats since the season-opener in 2015, a 19-7 loss to Jefferson.

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It was a bit of a slow start for the Wildcats – but you can thank mother nature partially for that, as the Cats dealt with a 45-minute lightning delay halfway through the first quarter.

Neither team scored in the opening quarter. After Rabun’s opening drive stalled, senior Jackson Webb hit the Bremen QB for a sack, which invited the lightning and led to the delay at Georgia Southern’s Paulson Stadium in Statesboro.

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Out of the interruption, Bremen converted a 3rd and 17 to keep its drive alive, but fumbled it away at the Wildcats’ 29. Both teams then had drives stall. In Rabun’s last drive of the first, which bled into the second, QB Gunner Stockton used all his tools, including Austin Jones, who drew two pass interference calls from the defense. Despite having a first down at the 16, the Cats’ drive netted a Tito Diaz 27-yard field goal with 10:29 left in the second quarter.

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Bremen later converted on fourth down on the way to a 34-yard field goal with just over 2:25 left in the half to tie the game. Rabun appeared to be in a position to regain the lead after a 47-yard pass from Stockton to Jones got it to the 33, but Stockton was intercepted on the next pass. The game remained tied at 3-3 into the break.

The Blue Devils opened the second half with a drive that spanned nearly five minutes, capped by a 22-yard TD pass to go up 10-3. They forced a quick three and out on Rabun and got deep into Wildcat territory before Zach Ferguson and Webb recorded back-to-back sacks to force a punt and get the ball back.

The Cats finally got their touchdown with a Stockton to Brison Beck screen pass that went for 54 yards, tying the game at 10 with 35 seconds left in the third. It gave Stockton his first career touchdown.

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Both squads exchanged drives in the fourth, but Rabun County, after forcing a Blue Devils punt, got around midfield before a drive stalled. A punt attempt was then blocked by Bremen and recovered at the Wildcats 40. With just a few minutes left, Bremen didn’t appear to want to win the game. A false start was followed by a flea flicker attempt, thwarted by Austin Sosebee. It led to a 10-yard loss, which was followed by a delay of game penalty. On 2nd and 30 from their own 40, the Blue Devils ripped off a shocking 45-yard run down to the 15 with 1:43 to go. They bled out the clock and knocked home the easy 24-yard field goal for the 13-10 win.

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