Raiders score 34 unanswered to shock Warriors
It appeared White County was going to take the game over when it got out to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter, but Habersham Central stormed back with 34 unanswered points in the second half to a 34-20 win.
It was truly a tale of two halves for both teams, as White County got 14 of its points in the first half while Habersham did all its damage all in the second half.
Neither team won the first quarter, but it was the Warriors’ Kurtis Havlen who notched a 34-yard touchdown run to cap a 67-yard drive with 10:53 left in the second. The point after was blocked, but White County (1-1) led 6-0.
The Warriors’ next drive ended in a Michael Mintz two-yard touchdown run, which came on an 11-play, 46-yard drive in which White County nickel and dimed its way less than half a field, and bled over four minutes off the clock. Cody Versluis caught a Mintz pass for the two-point conversion, making it 14-0.
It was more of the same to open the second half, as J Ben Haynes found Cooper Turner for a 32-yard score. Again the extra point was no good, leaving White County up 20-0 with 10:25 to go in the third.
The Raiders began their ferocious comeback with a Tre Luttrell touchdown pass to Dontarius Bailey that went 31 yards, pulling Habersham (2-1) within 20-7. That TD came with 7:49 on the clock.
Just 50 seconds later, Habersham Central struck again after a turnover gave them just 25 yards to go for pay dirt. It was sophomore Jackson Clouatre who pounded it in from a yard out, cutting the deficit to 20-14.
Habersham got the ball back again off a turnover and with 3:40 left in the third, completed a short 18-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown from Luttrell to Tarin Westbrook. The PAT failed, thus tying the game at 20 apiece.
It didn’t take long for the Raiders to notch the go-ahead touchdown, as Tracey Lowery capped a long 80-yard, 12-play drive that spanned over four minutes with a one-yard score. The extra point failed again, which added up to four missed extra points by both teams in the contest. The score came with nine minutes on the clock and put the Raiders up 26-20 at Warrior Valley.
Less than two minutes later, Habersham again had a short field (32 yards) and used Arian Curry’s two-yard touchdown run to seal the win. Donovan Curry caught a two-point conversion pass from Luttrell to cap the scoring at 34-20.
The game featured 22 penalties for well over 200 yards, and White County had six first half touchdowns, four of which were called back by penalties.
Luttrell finished 10-of-27 passing for 167 yards and 2 TD and 65 rushing yards. Clouatre led Habersham on the ground with 79 yards and a score, while Lowery tallied 66 yards and one TD. Curry was Luttrell’s top target with five catches for 72 yards, while Bailey added 58 yards on two catches with a TD. Cooper Woodruff led Raiders’ tacklers with 10, including one for loss.
J Ben Haynes was 9-for-25 passing, going for 131 yards and a TD, throwing two interceptions. Mintz led the way with 88 rushing yards and a TD, while Havlen finished with 55 yards and a score. Turner had three catches for 66 yards and a TD, Jessie Thomas had two receptions for 40 yards and Mintz led the defense with 15 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
For the Raiders, it marks back-to-back wins for the first time since ending the 2016 with a win and opening 2017 with a win. In the last three games between Habersham and White County, the visiting team has earned the win.
The Raiders take on Franklin County at home in Week 3, while White County travels to Pickens County.
Feature Photo by Daniel Purcell // Now Habersham