It certainly wasn’t what anyone expected on Black Friday, as Rabun County had a tough time finding any good deals on a freezing cold, rainy, windy night. #8-ranked Fitzgerald upset the #2 Wildcats 28-17, ending Rabun’s season prematurely.
The Wildcats (11-2) put forth their second-lowest scoring output of the season, and allowed their second-highest point total in 2018. The Purple Hurricane (10-3) used a multiple-run attack, highlighted by Ethan Gordon, who scored two first half touchdowns that accounted for nearly 100 yards on those two carries alone.
Fitzgerald scored on the game’s opening drive, as Gordon found the end zone from 23 yards out. After a quick Rabun County drive that ended in a punt, Fitzgerald scored again on a 14-yard TD by Justin Reliford.
The Wildcats got on the board in the second quarter with a Gunner Stockton touchdown pass to Austin Jones that went for 36 yards. It was an apparent momentum shift, as the Rabun defense just held Fitzgerald on a mid-field fourth down try.
However, the extra point attempt was no good, making it 14-6. Just before the break, Gordon found a hole and dashed 67 yards for a gut-wrenching TD to go up 21-6.
Rabun’s Tito Diaz nailed a 39-yard field goal in the third to cut the deficit to 21-9, and moments later a typical slam dunk for Rabun inside the red zone ended in a missed field goal. The Purple Hurricane opened the fourth quarter with their final touchdown, stretching the lead to 28-9.
The Cats fought til the end, as Stockton’s long pass to Braxton Hicks set up a short-yardage rushing score for the freshman QB. A two-point conversion by Jones was good, capping the scoring at 28-17.
Rabun’s season ends with a fourth straight quarterfinals run, fourth straight 11-plus win season, fifth straight region title, and one of the top offenses in the entire state.