Football Player of the Year: Gunner Stockton

Well, Bailey Fisher (c/o 2018) passed everything on to Gunner Stockton at Rabun County. Not only does Stockton wear Fisher’s #14 at the QB position, running and passing to the same-type numbers, but Stockton has followed up Fisher’s three-peat of BLITZ Player of the Year with his first. We probably don’t need to remind you that Stockton is indeed just a freshman who led the Wildcats to a fifth straight region championship as well as another quarterfinals game appearance.

Gunner Stockton’s freshman season included numbers that some of the best in state history have put up in their respective freshman seasons, such as Gainesville alum and NFL QB Deshuan Watson.

2018 By the Numbers

  • 2,917 PASS YDS, 34 TD, 6 INT
  • 709 RUSH YDS, 17 TD, 6.8 YPC
  • 3,626 TOTAL YDS, 51 TOTAL TD
  • 190/291 (65% PASSING)

It was simply unforgettable…a freshman picking up the reins from the greatest player in Rabun history and running the offense without the team missing a beat. It’s unheard of – 2,917 passing yards, 34 TD to just 6 picks, and adding 709 rushing yards and 17 more TDs, averaging 6.8 yards per tote with the rock. That’s 3,626 total yards and 51 total TD. Don’t forget, Rabun County rarely had Stockton in for a full game, and often times he was off the field by midway through the third or at halftime. Two games combined late in the season, he ran the ball only three times because they didn’t need him to. Imagine if he played every snap what those numbers might look like…

Stockton passed for 6 TDs in a playoff win over Spencer as part of a 7-TD performance and tallied 7 TD vs Banks County early in the year, as well as 6 TD versus Union in the region title game, and six games during the season he had at least five touchdowns. Like we said…this is unheard of.

Worth noting – Stockton’s stat line in his freshman year far surpasses the likes of Gainesville alum, Clemson great and current NFL QB Deshaun Watson

STOCKTON FR YR: 2,917 pass yds, 34 TD / 709 rush yds, 17 TD
WATSON FR YR: 2,088 pass yds, 17 TD / 569 rush yds, 5 TD

Voting Results

  1. Gunner Stockton – 79 voting pts (11 first place votes)
  2. Austin Jones – 54.5 pts (7)
  3. Pierson Allison – 50.5 pts (2)
  4. Tre Luttrell – 43.5 pts (2)
  5. Ahmad Kamara – 20.5 pts
  6. Sevaughn Clark – 16 pts

Voting included our 22-person panel made up of sports reporters, writers, video producers, former coaches, players, GHSA officials, and sports experts. The voting is Heisman-style, with the following points system:
1st place votes: 5 pts; 2nd: 3 pts; 3rd: 2 pts; 4th: 1 pts; 5th-6th: 0.5 pts

History of Football POY

  • 2018 – Gunner Stockton – Rabun Co FR
  • 2017 – Bailey Fisher – Rabun Co SR
  • 2016 – Bailey Fisher – Rabun Co JR
  • 2015 – Bailey Fisher – Rabun Co SO
  • 2014 – Charlie Woerner – Rabun Co JR
  • 2013 – Joseph Mancuso – Union Co SO
  • 2012 – Tyler Dominy – Dawson Co SR
  • 2011 – Kevin Ellison – Habersham SR
  • 2010 – Ashely Lowery – White Co SR
  • 2009 – Ashely Lowery – White Co JR

Stockton is the first-ever freshman to win the Football Player of the Year award. He makes it five straight years that the award resides in Rabun County, however, as Bailey Fisher won three straight after Charlie Woerner won it as a junior in 2014. This award has seldom gone to a non-QB, as Stockton marks the seventh time a QB has won it out of the 10 years.

Looking Ahead – the Next Favorite(s)

Hmmm…it’s fairly obvious if a freshman is picked to win the award, that person is in it for the long haul. Nothing is guaranteed, however. Fellow finalist Pierson Allison (Union) had a fantastic season and will return as a senior next year. All other finalists this year are already seniors, so they move on. Guys like Braxton Hicks (Rabun), Colby Clark (Jefferson), Nate Ray (Commerce) and others return next year as seniors with a chance to take this away from Stockton…if they can.

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