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Game of the Week Preview: Habersham vs Stephens

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The BLITZ Game of the Week is a long-time, bitter rivalry between Habersham Central and Stephens County. This one could be epic!

HABERSHAM CENTRAL

The Raiders didn’t quite get the start they wanted to 2019, falling in back-to-back games against Dawson County and Madison County despite having a share of the lead late in both games. A rebound win over White County got this team on track, and what followed was a frustrating visit to Franklin County, where lightning postponed the game until September 27. The Raiders get another tune-up before region play begins in October, and a chance to get back to .500 with a victory. That comes against long-time rivals Stephens County. Can Habersham FINALLY get this one in the win column? In the past two seasons, the Raiders held a sizable lead in this matchup only to suffer heartbreak, which hurts more than any other loss because of who it’s against. Ryte Woodruff (684 pass yds, 5 TD; 147 rush yds, 3 TD) has been progressing with each quarter of play, and is among the state leaders in passing yards early. Running back Jackson Clouatre (282 yds, 2 TD) continues to shine, as does receiver Joshua Pickett (320 yds, 3 TD), who ranks 21st right now in the state in receiving yards.

STEPHENS COUNTY

The Indians won their season opener, but had perhaps the toughest 3-game stretch in the state with #6 Hart County, #2 Athens Academy, and #2 Rabun County. Needless to say, Stephens County is finally looking to put that portion of the slate in the rearview mirror. The good news is, including the Week 5 date with Habersham (a 6A program), the Indians are far ahead of region opponents when it comes to playing next-level teams. Let’s see how that translates into the Habersham game. The man to stop is Hudson Spurlock (463 yds, 7 TD). Kenny Colwell’s status is unknown, as he was injured during the Athens Academy game. He was in a sling last week. In his absence against Rabun, Spurlock ran from the QB spot, and Mardy Lanier got a few throws in as well. The top target in the passing game has been Gamarion Carter (226 yds, 2 TD). MJ Jones (227 yds) has also been a force for the Indians. Spurlock and Carter are among the state leaders in their respective categories.

BY THE NUMBERS (2019)

HABERSHAM CENTRAL

  • 1-2
  • Region Standings: 4th
  • LAST: PPD vs Franklin
  • 25.0 OFFENSE
  • 27.0 DEFENSE

STEPHENS COUNTY

  • 1-3
  • Region Standings: 5th
  • LAST: L 7-44 vs #2 Rabun
  • 20.3 OFFENSE
  • 35.0 DEFENSE

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Be looking for highlights post-game late tonight as well as a story recapping WEEK 5. Highlights will also be shared on Channel 5 (Fox) on the 11 PM “High 5 Sports” show tonight. You can also follow us on Twitter (@BlitzSportsGa) for live score updates.

2019 Jacky Jones GIF

OUR PREDICTION

Stephens County’s offense is run-heavy, especially without Kenny Colwell being in the lineup. Habersham is a bit more balanced in terms of yardage between the run and pass. The Indians have allowed some big numbers on the board, and Habersham won’t be easy for them to keep off the board. The Raiders have been hurt by penalties, turnovers, and some bad luck (onside kicks and 4th down conversions), but the defense as a whole has been better than it was the last two years. That said, with the Raiders at home and Colwell likely out with injury, the law of probability says this will be the first Raiders win over the Indians in 23 years. OUR PICK: HABERSHAM

DETAILS OF THE MATCHUP

TIME: 7:30 PM Kickoff
PLACE: John Larry Black Field / Mt. Airy, GA
LAST MEETING: 2018; Stephens County 41, Habersham Central 28
ALL-TIME RECORD: Stephens County 30, Habersham Central 11, 1 Tie
RECORDS: Habersham Central Raiders (1-2; 0-0 in 8-AAAAAA); Stephens Co Indians (1-3; 0-0 in 8-AAAA)

2019 Bob & Teds GIF

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

This matchup is ancient, and for the most part has been one-sided (at least in recent memory). In 42 meetings, Stephens County has won 30 times (or 73%). Here’s the staggering truth: Habersham hasn’t won this thing since 1996. That is correct…NONE of the players on either team were alive at that time. That’s been 14 meetings in a row that the Indians have won. The series began in 1970. Habersham won the first one, and 3 of the first 5. The last two meetings have been especially crippling for the Raiders, as they fell 41-28 last year despite holding a big lead at the break, and 49-46 in 2017 despite a sizeable lead late in the game. There’s a lot of pressure for both teams in this one. For the Indians, it’s not being the group that let the streak end. For the Raiders, it’s to BE the group that breaks a streak. See the five matchups in this rivalry we have captured in the past:

TEAM LEADERS

HABERSHAM CENTRAL

PASSING
Ryte Woodruff: 684 yds, 5 TD, 4 INT (39/78 passing; 50%)

RUSHING
Jackson Clouatre: 282 yds, 2 TD, 5.4 YPC
Ryte Woodruff: 147 yds, 3 TD, 7.7 YPC
Arian Curry: 86 yds, 1 TD, 5.4 YPC

RECEIVING
Joshua Pickett: 320 yds, 3 TD, 19 rec
Grayson Taylor: 149 yds, 1 TD, 4 rec
Jackson Clouatre: 72 yds, 5 rec
Patrick Tedder: 59 yds, 1 TD, 4 rec
Austin Wood: 51 yds, 5 rec

TACKLES
Arian Curry: 34 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 1 Sack
Tanner Wade: 30 TKL, 3 TFL, 1 Sack
Patrick Tedder: 27 TKL, 1 TFL, 1 FF
Garrett Heaton: 20 TKL, 1.5 TFL

INTERCEPTIONS
Jackson Clouatre: 1

Skinny Ads - ACE2

STEPHENS COUNTY

PASSING
Kenny Colwell: 256 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT (16/34 passing; 47%)
Mardy Lanier: 24 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT (2/8 passing; 25%)
Hudson Spurlock: 5 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT (1/3 passing; 33%)

RUSHING
Hudson Spurlock: 463 yds, 7 TD, 5.9 YPC
MJ Jones: 227 yds, 8.7 YPC
Mardy Lanier: 76 yds, 1 TD, 8.4 YPC
Zach Feaster: 57 yds, 4.4 YPC
KP Hayes: 32 yds, 8.0 YPC

RECEIVING
Gamarion Carter: 226 yds, 2 TD, 13 rec
MJ Jones: 30 yds, 4 rec
Hudson Spurlock: 29 yds, 1 TD, 2 rec

TACKLES
Zhy Perry: 28 TKL
Kelton Cade: 28 TKL, 1 TFL, 1 Sack, FFum, 2 QB Hurries
KP Hayes: 26 TKL
MJ Jones: 24 TKL, 1 TFL, Fum Rec
DJ Jones: 23 TKL, 1 TFL
Chris Sinclair: 21 TKL, 1 TFL, 1 Sack
Javian Hightower: 21 TKL
Jahari Burns: 21 TKL, 2 TFL, 2 Sacks, Fum Rec

INTERCEPTIONS
NONE

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