“Hold The Rope” is the slogan that the 2019 Wildcats have ridden with since day one. That holds true the Friday before Thanksgiving, as the #1-ranked Rabun County Wildcats (12-0) kept to the status quo of a fifth consecutive quarterfinals berth following a 34-14 victory over Toombs County (8-3).
Gunner Stockton threw two touchdowns and ran for another, while Cory Keller (1 rush TD), Sam Adams (1 rec TD), and Hogan Woodard (1 rec TD) accounted for touchdowns. Edwin Diaz (2 field goals) and Braxton Hicks (100-plus rec yds, 2 INT) also had big nights.
The Wildcats opened the game with a quick scoring drive, capped by a Stockton TD pass to Hogan Woodard for 13 yards. Toombs County used a lengthy drive on their opening possession, converting a fourth down and a third-and-long to get inside Wildcat territory. A Trey Cloud pass to Chandler Lynn got the Bulldogs to the 27, where Derrick Mincey took a handoff to the end zone to tie the game.
After forcing Rabun to punt, Toombs then took the punt back for a score, as Mincey found space to go 50-plus yards and put the Bulldogs up 14-7 with less than a minute to go in the first. Rarely finding themselves behind this season, Rabun immediately responded on a long drive that ended with a Stockton 4-yard rushing score to tie the game with 7:48 left in the half.
The Wildcats got a big momentum-changing play when Braxton Hicks picked off cloud near midfield. It was the first of 2 interceptions for Hicks on the night, and 3 overall for Rabun. The Cats capitalized with a Stockton 9-yd TD pass to Sam Adams with 2:39 left in the 2nd, going up 21-14.
Rabun got another crack at it before the half, and Diaz hit a 29-yard field goal at the buzzer to send the Cats up 24-14 into the break. After holding Toombs to nothing to start the 3rd, Rabun used its first possession to put the game out of reach, as Keller found pay dirt from 5 ticks out with 5:52 left in the 3rd. Diaz sealed the game with a 26-yard field goal in the 4th quarter.
Stockton went over 3,000 passing yards and 40 passing scores on the season, and eclipsed or neared 1,000 rushing yards as well. Hicks’ first catch of the game (on the first play from scrimmage) put him over 1,000 yards for the second straight season.
Toombs split the 4 games against ranked opponents this season after the loss. Toombs’ offense, which average 30.3 per game, couldn’t find much aside from the one offensive score. Rabun’s offense (47.4 average coming in) missed other opportunities to put up points, so played right around its average, while the defense (10.5) was once again phenomenal, allowing only 7 points against the offense. Hicks had 2 interceptions, and AJ Wheeler added another for Rabun.
Rabun County advances to play Thomasville on the road on Black Friday in the 2A Quarterfinals.
Digital Copy of Highlights – Rabun vs Toombs
Digital Copy of Highlights - Rabun vs Toombs