Game Of The Week: Jefferson vs Rabun County

Let’s go! It’s officially time to open the 2021 season. For that, we make the easy GOW selection by going to Jefferson as the #1 Rabun County Wildcats take on the #1 Jefferson Dragons. Two of the top 5 nationally-ranked recruits, both 5-stars in Gunner Stockton (QB) and Malaki Starks (ATH) duke it out. You might not see a better game all season than this one. The battle of the number ones…

JEFFERSON

Coach Gene Cathcart and his Dragons are considered to be THE state champion favorites. These guys don’t get ahead of themselves at all, and you’ll see FOUR D-I players likely get chances to carry the ball with Malaki Starks, Jordan Perry, Sammy Brown, and even Kadin Bailey. This team is loaded. They didn’t get to play a scrimmage (cancelled), but no doubt will be dialed in for this one.

RABUN COUNTY

Coach Jaybo Shaw and the Wildcats open the 2021 season as the early favorites to win the state title in Class 2A. At 44-plus points per game was the average last season, its safe to say this year’s group is even better. Maybe not going for 40-plus against Jefferson (as both teams will be lucky to get 30 off such great defenses), but overall, the Cats are lethal. They scored 44 unanswered in their opening scrimmage against St. Francis in essentially just over 15 minutes (scored at the end of the 1st quarter and last scored at the beginning of the 3rd). The defense also looks very stout.

BY THE NUMBERS (2020)

JEFFERSON

  • 14-1 (4-0)
  • Region Standings: 1st
  • 41.69 OFFENSE AVG
  • 12.00 DEFENSE AVG
  • #1 State Ranking

RABUN COUNTY

  • 12-2 (3-0)
  • Region Standings: 1st
  • 44.36 OFFENSE AVG
  • 17.50 DEFENSE AVG
  • #1 State Ranking

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Be looking for highlights post-game late tonight as well as a story recapping Week 1. Highlights are shared on Channel 5 (Fox) on the 11 PM “High 5 Sports” show throughout the regular season. You can also follow us on Twitter (@BlitzSportsGa) for live score updates (WiFi pending).

OUR PREDICTION

This was WAY too close last season, and will be the toughest pick of the year. On the one hand, Jefferson is at home and with the addition of Sammy Brown, is arguably tougher on offense than they’ve ever been. On the other hand, the defense (while still very great) lost some guys last year that tonight will produce new players to make a name for themselves. Rabun too, with some additions, is better on offense than ever before. Their defense is nearly all back, and better. Too close to call. It’s up to you to make the pick for us. OUR PICK: FAN VOTE

DO WE BRING LUCK?

For Rabun County, we’ve captured exactly 47 games, and the Wildcats are 37-10 in those. We have covered 12 games for the Dragons, in which they are 10-2. In this exact matchup between Rabun and Jefferson, we have been to 4 of them, all of which were won by the Dragons.

DETAILS OF THE MATCHUP

TIME: 7:30 PM Kickoff
PLACE: Jefferson HS / Jefferson, GA / Memorial Stadium
LAST MEETING: 2020; #1 Jefferson 28, #1 Rabun County 14
ALL-TIME RECORD: Jefferson 21, Rabun County 3
RECORDS: #1 Jefferson Dragons (0-0; 0-0 in 8-AAAA) vs #1 Rabun County Wildcats (0-0; 0-0 in 8-AA)

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING

There’s a long history here, and it’s been dominated by the Dragons for the most part. The first matchup ever was in 1950 and produced a win for Jefferson. Rabun then won its only 3 in the series out of a 5-game stretch from 1951-1955. Rabun won the ’51, ’52, and ’55 editions. During the 70s, Jefferson won all 5 meetings, as well as all 4 in the 80s and both in the 90s. In 2008, ’09, and ’12, Jefferson won all 3 fairly easily. Since the Shaw-era began for Rabun County in 2012, it’s been closer, though Jefferson has still won them all. In 2012, the Dragons won 55-7 in their state championship season. It took overtime to win 26-20 in 2013. Though 2014 was a Jefferson blowout of 50-14, it was a 19-7 game in 2015 and 28-14 a year ago. Overall, it’s an 18-game win streak for the Dragons in this series. Below are the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2020 versions of this series that we captured.

TEAM LEADERS (2020 RETURNING PLAYER STATS)

JEFFERSON

PASSING
Malaki Starks (569 yds, 11 TD, 4 INT; 42% completion)

RUSHING
Malaki Starks (1,537 yds, 24 TD, 8.9 YPC)
Sammy Brown (1,368 yds, 14 TD) *transfer from Commerce
Jordan Perry (434 yds, 5 TD, 8.5 YPC)
Reese Johnson (377 yds, 2 TD, 5.2 YPC)
Bowman Horn (202 yds, 1 TD, 7.8 YPC)
Levin Jones (117 yds, 0 TD, 5.6 YPC)

RECEIVING
Jordan Perry (208 yds, 4 TD, 8 rec)
Spencer Neese (201 yds, 4 TD, 6 rec)
Sammy Brown (181 yds, 4 TD) *transfer from Commerce
Dawson Crawley (113 yds, 2 TD, 3 rec)
Levin Jones (44 yds, 1 TD, 2 rec)

DEFENSIVE LEADERS
A Redmon (61 TKL, 5.5 TFL, 1 INT)
Kadin Bailey (58 TKL, 15 TFL, 6.5 Sacks, 1 INT)
Malaki Starks (41 TKL, 3 TFL, 2 INT)
Jordan Perry (37 TKL, 5.5 TFL, 1 Sack, 4 INT)

RABUN COUNTY

PASSING
Gunner Stockton (3,128, 45 TD, 4 INT; 67% completion)
Garrett Horton (187 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT; 71% completion)

RUSHING
Gunner Stockton (1,581 yds, 26 TD, 8.3 YPC)
Lang Windham (1,378 yds, 12 TD, 8.6 YPC)
Keilin Sanders (183 yds, 3 TD, 8.3 YPC)
Bryson Addis (100 yds, 0 TD, 5.3 YPC)

RECEIVING
Jaden Gibson (931 yds, 9 TD) *transfer from Dawson County
Lang Windham (497 yds, 5 TD, 40 rec)
Baxley O’Brien (472 yds, 5 TD, 25 rec) *transfer from Flowery Branch
Tate Ramey (352 yds, 8 TD, 29 rec)
Ethan Clarke (173 yds, 1 TD, 14 rec)
Hogan Woodard (151 yds, 2 TD, 10 rec)
Cooper Welch (44 yds, 0 TD, 3 rec)
Keilin Sanders (28 yds, 0 TD, 2 rec)
Turner Grimmett (6 yds, 1 TD, 1 rec)

DEFENSIVE LEADERS
Will Turpin (124 TKL, 14.5 TFL, 5 Sacks)
Cory Keller (114 TKL, 6.5 TFL, 3 INT)
Turner Grimmett (85 TKL, 4 TFL, 1 Sack)
Hogan Woodard (72 TKL, 6 TFL, 1 INT)
Chris Thompson (59 TKL, 10.5 TFL, 5 Sacks)
Hunter Moore (46 TKL, 2 TFL, 4 INT)
Cesar Cruz (45 TKL, 4 TFL, 2 Sacks)
Will McCraw (44 TKL, 9 TFL, 3 Sacks)

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