Talk about coming up clutch when your team needs you the most. With Jefferson junior QB Colby Clark out with injury, sophomore Carter Stephenson rose to the occasion and is rewarded with the Fan Vote Player of the Week. He’s joined by BLITZ Players of the Week Luke Smith and Tracey Lowery.
After 7,455 votes, Stephenson was the top vote-getter with 4,357. The next closest was Commerce RB Caleb Mason (2,403).
Carter Stephenson may not be a household name yet when talking about Jefferson football, but the sophomore proved he has a big part of the team’s future when he took over for injured star QB Colby Clark.
Clark was hurt in Week 6 at Franklin County, and was expected to miss about 2-3 weeks (which included Week 7 vs Hart County). Stephenson got the nod to start, and didn’t disappoint. The numbers don’t exactly blow you away…but what does is the fact that in his first start, he rallied the team to a huge region win.
The 7-7 halftime score was suddenly a 35-7 win. Stephenson showed good decision-making, throwing for 94 yards on 7-of-13 passes, including a TD pass to Zac Corbin. He also recorded 26 rushing yards in the win and did a great job commanding the offense.
In previous opportunities, very sparingly Stephenson was 0-for-7 passing, so this represented his first completion, yards and TD as a QB. He has rushed this season for 175 yards and 3 TD, getting some time the last few weeks.
Luke Smith is one of the least talked about running backs in the area. The senior is enjoying a breakout season at Lumpkin County in which he is almost a shoe-in for 1,000 yards.
His most recent performance against Cherokee Bluff (42-19 Lumpkin win), he turned in perhaps his best game of his career. He ate up the defense with 164 yards on 13 carries, good for 12.6 yards per tote. That included a career-high 3 TDs. His 164 yards was just six shy of his career-best set in a win over Gilmer this season. He also set the Indians up nicely in field position with 64 kick return yards in the win at CB.
Smith had two 100-yard games as a sophomore, one as a junior and now four this season, giving him seven 100-yard games overall. In the win over Cherokee Bluff, Smith scored on runs of 77 yards, 1 yard and 11 yards. Worth noting also that smith has 111 career tackles and a sack to go with two forced fumbles and six pass deflections.
2018: 659 yds, 8 TD, 8.3 YPC; 4 100-yd games // 38 rec yds, TD
CAREER: 1,711 yds, 14 TD, 6.4 YPC; 7 100-yd games // 106 rec yds, 2 TD
Tracey Lowery is just the latest star to have an incredible game for Habersham Central. The Raiders have many weapons: Tre Luttrell, Donovan Curry, DonDon Bailey, Jackson Clouatre, and add Lowery to that list.
The former Stephens County running back enjoyed arguably his best career night in Week 7’s win over Gainesville. He chewed up major yardage to the tune of 184 yards and 3 TD, including the first two TDs for Habersham in the win as well as the last, a dramatic 43-yard score that put the game away.
His 184 yards came on 16 carries (11.5 yds/carry), and he scored on rushes of 14, 11 and 43 yards. Lowery recorded 10 rushes of nine or more yards in the game, including rushes of 9,16,14,11,18,26,13,11,15 and 43 yards. With reports that Clouatre has a broken collarbone, we can assume that Lowery will take on a larger number of carries moving forward as the lead back. As a junior last year at Stephens, he tallied 134 rushing yards and a TD, and 20 yards with a TD as a sophomore. His season totals are below:
2018: 535 yds, 6 TD, 7.6 YPC
FEATURE PHOTO BY BOBBY ESCOE