Up 27-0, the Habersham Central Raiders were forced to sweat out a wild third quarter by the White County Warriors. Habersham held on though, taking a 42-28 win behind stellar play by Ryte Woodruff, Joshua Pickett, and Jackson Clouatre.
The Raiders (1-2) held a 21-0 halftime lead, and stretched it to 27-0 early in the third. White County (1-1) refused to go quietly, as junior QB J Ben Haynes, who was held in check for the first half, tallied four total touchdowns in the second half to give the Warriors life. It was Clouatre’s second TD that sealed the win for the home team midawy through the fourth, giving the Raiders their first win of the season on a night they celebrated 50 years of Habersham Central football.
Woodruff connected with Pickett on the opening drive, as the receiver made a stellar diving catch to move the chains. Woodruff scored on a keeper from 9 yards out for the game’s opening score. Two drives later, the Raiders used a bubble pass to Pickett for the next score. After catching it in the flats, he cut back across the entire field, made three men miss and jetted 56 yards for the TD. Late in the second, Clouatre orchestrated a drive that ended with his 1-yard TD to make it 21-0.
The Raiders immediately opened the third with a bang, when Arian Curry sacked Haynes to force a three-and-out and set up Habersham with a Pickett 55-yard TD run. The extra point missed, but Habersham was up 27-0 and in complete control.
Haynes and the Warriors offense found life, scoring just 40 seconds later on a 32-yard TD pass from the QB to Toby Turner. The Raiders responded well when Woodruff capped off a solid drive with his second rushing TD, this from two yards out.
However, Haynes and company, down 34-7, again made some noise. Haynes threw a 42-yard TD pass to Nix Burkett. The extra point was blocked, but the Warriors successfully converted an onside kick to get the ball back. Haynes converted a 4th & 13, the third 4th-down conversion of the quarter for White County, with a 37-yard run inside the one. He then powered it in, and Zion McMullen rushed for a 2-point conversion to make it 34-21.
Again White County successfully recovered an onside kick, leading to another Haynes rushing TD with 9:17 left in the game. All of a sudden a 27-0 lead was a slim 34-28, one possession ballgame. The Raiders put together a clutch drive behind great running by Clouatre, who powered in from two yards out for the game-sealing TD.
All told, White County’s third quarter consisted of three 4th-down conversions, two onside kicks, and three touchdowns (four if you count the one to open the fourth quarter). Habersham also turned the ball over twice, fumbling it away once and with a Burkett interception in the second quarter.
Habersham was led by Woodruff’s four total touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) as he threw for 300 yards and ran for 68. Pickett (10 rec, 193 yds) and Clouatre (141 rush yds, 36 rec yds) also added two touchdowns each for the Raiders. Haynes had 4 total scores (2 passing, 2 rushing), throwing for 229 yards and rushing for 84.
The matchup was the 10th all-time between the neighboring counties. The Raiders have now won three of the last four meetings and 7 of the 10. Habersham moves on to face Franklin County in Week 4, while White County will take on Pickens at home.
Digital Copy of Game Highlights – Habersham vs White
Digital Copy of Game Highlights - Habersham vs White