When the Leopards hosted the Wildcats Friday night, it was more than just a battle of “cats” but also a chance for one of the two 2-0 region teams to take another step toward a region title. In Homer, it was all Rabun County early and often as the Wildcats stretched their win streak to five with a blowout 68-7 win, a game in which they led 47-0 at the break.
#3-ranked Rabun County (5-1; 3-0 in 8-AA) used seven Gunner Stockton touchdowns in the win, and scored 33 second quarter points. Banks County’s coach Jay Reid declined a running clock in the third quarter despite a 47-0 deficit before the clock ticked away in the fourth.
The Leopards (3-3; 2-1) took their first region loss and snapped their three-game win streak. It was senior Jacob Lehotsky who found the end zone on the final play of the game to give the Banks County faithful something to cheer about.
The Wildcats scored on the game’s third play, a 59-yard screen pass from Stockton to Austin Jones to take a quick lead. Just before the end of the quarter, the Cats struck again on a 29-yard rushing score by Stockton, his first of four rushing touchdowns.
The 14-0 lead soon turned into an insurmountable deficit for the Leopards. In a ten and a half minute span, Rabun County scored 40 points, starting with that first Stockton rushing score. In the first play of the second quarter, Banks County was forced to punt from its end zone. The snap was on the ground, and AJ Wheeler recorded an easy safety, giving Rabun the 16-0 lead and the ball.
The Wildcats wasted about 30 seconds before the next score went on the board, a Stockton to Dawson Lathan 25-yard touchdown to go up 23-0. Less than two minutes later, Stockton recorded his second rushing score on a six-yard keeper up the middle, pushing the lead to 30-0 with 8:54 left in the half.
On Rabun’s next possession, it settled for a 37-yard field goal by Edwin Diaz, which made it 33-0 still halfway through the quarter. The Wildcats added a scoop-and-score (fumble recovery for a touchdown) by Hunter Dills with 3:14 left in the half, and a third passing touchdown from Stockton, this time to Jones for the second such combo, put Rabun up 47-0 going into the locker room.
The Wildcats jumped back on it in the third with a pair of Stockton rushing scores – one from six yards out and the other good from 31 yards – to spread the lead to 61-0. A fourth quarter touchdown run by Brody Jarrard capped the Wildcats’ historic night with 68 points. The shutout held until the final offensive play, a two-yard TD run by Lehotsky.
Rabun County takes its final bye week in Week 7 before taking on Elbert County in Week 8, a must-see game of two of the state’s top offenses potentially for the inside track to a region crown.
Banks County also has a bye week before looking to rebound at Union County, which won’t be easy seeing as the Panthers have a top-five offense and defense in Class 2A.