The BLITZ Game of the Week is a two-for (we featured Habersham/Dawson on Friday night). We also bring you Rabun County and Bremen in a Saturday evening game from the campus of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro at the Erk Russell Classic.
Coming off an historic 2017 season in which Lee Shaw and the Wildcats played in the State Title game, Rabun turned the offense over from perhaps the program’s greatest ever in Bailey Fisher to stud freshman Gunner Stockton. There was zero dropoff, as Stockton proved why he is worth the label as the Class of 2022’s top prize in the country. In 2018, it was Gunner, Austin Jones, Brison Beck, Braxton Hicks, Shawn Lovell, and Jackson Webb paving the way to another historic run. This time it ended in the quarterfinals, but did include a fifth consecutive region championship.
Rabun opens the Jaybo Shaw era in 2019 with much promise. Stockton is looking to be even better as a sophomore with dozens of scholarship offers, including from UGA, Alabama, just about every other SEC school, Penn State, and [insert about any school you can think of]. He has Hicks to throw to (also a D-I recruit), and Brody Jarrard as the featured RB in 2019. The defense and offense both return 6 starters.
The Blue Devils went 9-3 a year ago on the way to the second round of state. This included a 13-10 sloppy win over Rabun in the Erk Russell last season. This group averaged only 12.9 points per game allowed on defense, coming out with the best D in the region. The offense was awesome too, putting up 34.8 per game. However, 29 seniors from last year’s elite group are gone. It will be a reload (not a rebuild) for the Blue Devils in 2019. Bremen will miss the likes of Brant Ivey (FB/DE), QB Wade Cartwright, RB Tyran Dobbs, WR Jason Houston, and OL Will Hamil, who were all 1st Team Offense All-Region selections as seniors. Returning will be All-Region TE Jimbo Brown, and K/P Evan Fuller will be the only other 1st Team returner. Other losses that were 1st Team Defense last year include LB Kade Berry, DB Austin Standford, DB Jallen Dallas. Seth Hodges returns to anchor the D-Line, as well as Makai Terry to lead the DBs.
BY THE NUMBERS (2018)
- Region Champions
- 46.0 OFFENSE
- 15.0 DEFENSE
- Region 3rd
- Sweet 16
- 34.8 OFFENSE
- 12.9 DEFENSE
Be looking for highlights post-game late tonight or early Sunday as well as a story recapping WEEK 1. You can also follow us on Twitter (@BlitzSportsGa) for live score updates.
Last year there were many variables in this matchup. Gunner Stockton was playing his first varsity game under some pretty bright lights. The Cats had traveled far and spent much time on a bus. The weather wasn’t the greatest, with rain and lightning in the area. This time is different. FINAL VERDICT: Rabun Wins
DETAILS OF THE MATCHUP
TIME: 6 pm kickoff
PLACE: Paulson Stadium (GA Southern) / Statesboro, GA
LAST MEETING: 2018; Bremen 13, Rabun County 10
ALL-TIME RECORD: Bremen 1, Rabun County 1
RECORDS: Rabun Co Wildcats (0-0; 0-0 in 8-AA); Bremen Blue Devils (0-0; 0-0 in 5-AA)
This exact matchup played out last season in the Erk Russell Classic. Both were great playoff teams, but it came down to Bremen capitalizing on some Rabun miscues. Chalk it up to weather, jitters, new faces under bright lights, whatever. Bremen took the 13-10 last second FG win. The previous and only other meeting, it was Rabun who came out victorious in 2015, a 49-14 state playoff win in the first round. This round of the series breaks the tie.
TEAM LEADERS (2018 STATS returning players only)
Gunner Stockton: 2,917 yds, 34 TD, 6 INT (65% completion)
Gunner Stockton: 709 yds, 17 TD (6.8 YPC)
Brody Jarrard: 254 yds, 3 TD (7.3 YPC)
Landon Woodard: 183 yds, 1 TD (5.7 YPC)
Braxton Hicks: 1,042 yds, 14 TD
Dawson Lathan: 280 yds, 3 TD
Sam Adams: 233 yds, 3 TD
Sutton Jones: 115 yds, 1 TD
Mason Sprinkle: 121 TKL, 2 TFL
Trent Miller: 80 TKL, 5.5 TFL
AJ Wheeler: 79 TKL, 8.5 TFL
Brody Jarrard: 49 TKL, 5 TFL, 1 Sack
Phillip Roberson: 34 TKL, 10 TFL, 5 Sacks
Hogan Woodard, 4
Dawson Lathan, 3
AJ Wheeler, 2
Sam Adams, 2
Braxton Hicks, 1