Sports

Rabun starts fast, dominates Putnam

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TIGER — As celebratory firework smoke danced across the field, the Rabun County football team enjoyed its first Region 8-AA win. Gunner Stockton tossed four touchdown passes, Brody Jarrard ran for two scores and the Wildcats dominated the Putnam County War Eagles in a 55-8 rout at Frank Snyder Memorial Stadium last Friday night. The Wildcats, who scored a season-high last week and remained unbeaten through four games, had a stronger offensive start than the previous week, scoring on their first two drives to take a 13-0 lead with 4:27 remaining in the opening period.

Wildcats visit winless Hurricanes in second region clash

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TIGER — Rabun County and Monticello had polar opposite starts to their respective football seasons. While the Wildcats remain undefeated, the Hurricanes remain winless. Rabun travels for its second Region 8-AA contest Friday, visiting Monticello for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Monticello. Rabun coach Jaybo Shaw doesn’t want his team to underestimate the Hurricanes, despite their record.

Second-half burst powers Rabun Gap past Andrews

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RABUN GAP — Robin Verginelli rushed for 160 yards and the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee football team used a second-half scoring surge to beat Andrews (N.C.) 39-14 in Andrews, N.C., last Friday night. The Eagles trailed 7-6 at halftime and rallied with a 33-point second half performance, while limiting the Wildcats (2-2) to a third-quarter touchdown. “We made some mistakes in the first half that hurt us,” Eagles coach Shawn Bryson said. “In the third quarter, our defense gave us a spark by causing a fumble, which we were able to scoop and score. Also in the second half, our offense got going.”

TFS has top-five finishes at home meet

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Evan Prince finished second in the boys’ 5K and Sophie Alexander placed fifth in the girls’ 5K for the Tallulah Falls cross country team among 12 scoring schools at the 15th annual Cookies ‘n Quotes Cross Country Festival at TFS last Tuesday. Rabun County and Rabun Gap-Nacoochee were among competing schools at the event. Prince ran the 5K’s hilly course in 17:26.73, finishing 41 seconds behind course record-setter and state champion Graham Blanks of Athens Academy.

PREP ROUNDUP: Cats capitalize on base-running, clip Canes

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SOFTBALL Rabun County: Ayahna Jenkins had four RBIs and scored two runs, Isabella Green added three RBIs and scored two runs and the Rabun County softball team capitalized on base-running chances in an 11-2 win against the Monticello Hurricanes last Thursday. Jenkins and Green each blasted triples and Mary Lovell added a double with two RBIs. Sarah Sprinkle, Birdie Jordan and Danielle Loggins scored two runs apiece for the Wildcats (6-5, 3-3 Region 8-AA). Rabun picked up its third straight win and second straight against region opponents.

Wildcats pounce on Indians’ mistakes in big win

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TOCCOA — Gunner Stockton threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns, as the Rabun County football team capitalized on Stephens County’s mistakes and endured a 1-hour lightning delay to cruise to a 44-7 win last Friday night. “We fought through some adversity and I’m just really, really proud of them,” Wildcats coach Jaybo Shaw said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game, but winning against good opponents is too hard, especially in Georgia. I’m really proud of our football team for continuing to fight.” Playing in their final non-region game of the season, the Wildcats remained undefeated and improved to 3-0.

Rabun hosts ‘much improved’ Putnam in region opener

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TIGER — From what Rabun County coach Jaybo Shaw has seen, this year’s Putnam County team is different from the ones that missed the postseason for the past 3 years. “This is a very much improved team from the past couple of years we have played them,” said Shaw, as the Wildcats host the War Eagles in a Region 8-AA opener for both teams at Frank Snyder Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Putnam’s 1-2 record can be misleading. The War Eagles played two strong opponents to open the season in North Oconee and Temple.

Eagles rally late, but fall short vs. Knights

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RABUN GAP — Matt Linn passed for 237 yards and five touchdowns and Robin Verginelli ran for 170 yards and two scores, helping the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee football team engineer a late rally in a 55-48 loss against Robbinsville (N.C.) in Robbinsville, N.C., last Friday night. The Eagles (2-2) trailed 34-20 at halftime and 41-27 heading into the fourth. They scored three times in the fourth, but the Black Knights (4-0) found the end zone two more times. “We had been moving the ball and scoring throughout the game,” coach Shawn Bryson said. “In the third quarter, Robbinsville put together a long drive and held the ball most of the time. We knew that we had to score points, and we did.”

COLUMN: Failures, triumphs of a young reporter (Part 2)

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(Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series of stories detailing my career as a sports journalist. I’m not sure how many stories I’ll tell, but I have some to discuss. Some good. Some bad. Some ugly. These are the stories I’ve shared with friends and family, although some I’ve never shared. Enjoy.) There’s one place a sports journalist’s rooting interest should lie when covering a game: the story. What outcome makes for the best story? As a beat reporter, you can’t help but get wrapped up in the team you’re covering: the players, the coaches, the atmosphere of home arenas.