Years of frustration for the Raiders evaporated when the clock hit zero. The scoreboard said it all: Habersham Central 27, Stephens County 21. For the first time since 1996 (23 years), the Raiders walked off the field victorious over their bitter rivals.
The Habersham (2-2) win marked only the 13th time in 31 meetings and broke a 14-game slide in the series. Habersham puts in the rearview mirror the brutal losses over the past 3 years especially, when it felt like Habersham was more than favored to win each time.
For the Indians (1-4), it represents a 4-game losing streak on the season, following losses to #6 Hart County, #2 Athens Academy, and #2 Rabun County.
Habersham scored on the game’s opening drive when Ryte Woodruff threw a long-distance pass to Joshua Pickett, who made a stellar diving catch for the 35-yard TD. The Indians responded to open the second quarter when Hudson Spurlock scored on an electrifying 38-yard touchdown to tie the game.
As the half was winding down, Woodruff orchestrated a drive that ended with a wide open TD pass to Caleb Wade from 29-yards out. The extra point missed, but the home team clung to a 13-7 lead.
Immediately out of the break, the Indians fumbled the ball away at their own 14. Woodruff made them pay, taking one in himself to push the lead to 19-7 (the 2-point try was no good). Stephens wouldn’t remain quiet. Spurlock capped off a lengthy drive with a one-yard TD to cut the deficit to 19-14 with 6:02 left in the third.
Within 10 seconds later in the quarter, the momentum shifted multiple times. Habersham got a huge boost when recovering another fumble. Woodruff scored his second rushing TD of the night, this time from 4 yards out. This time the 2-point conversion attempt was good, as Woodruff connected with a wide open Pickett. The 27-14 lead was short-lived, as the ensuing kickoff went the other way for a Mardy Lanier TD, bridging the gap to 27-21.
The fourth quarter saw both teams trade empty drives, but it was Habersham who made the bigger stands. On the first drive of the final quarter, Spurlock and MJ Jones got the Indians to a 1st & Goal situation. However, on 4th & Goal, Colwell missed a wide open Kenny Davis in the end zone, as the ball was underthrown.
Habersham held on in the final seconds again. As Colwell’s final heave dropped against the turf, so too did that monkey on the Raiders’ back.
Spurlock’s two touchdowns gives him 9 on the season, while Woodruff’s two passing gives him 7 in the air, and his two on the ground gives him 5. For Pickett, it was touchdown number 4.
GAME HIGHLIGHTS – Habersham vs Stephens
Own the official video highlights - Habersham vs Stephens ($10/digital copy)