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GAC renews old matchup with Rabun County

GAC’s Price Roberts (76) tackles a player from Lovett causing a fumble which was recovered by GAC during the first half of last week’s game at GAC. (Photo: Kyle Hess)

GAC’s Price Roberts (76) tackles a player from Lovett causing a fumble which was recovered by GAC during the first half of last week’s game at GAC. (Photo: Kyle Hess)

An uncharacteristic number of turnovers cost Greater Atlanta Christian a region championship last week.

Rabun County may pay the price for being the next team on the Spartans’ schedule.

The two teams played annually from 1998-2005, but neither has the same staff or roster. And it wasn’t much of a rivalry anyway. GAC won all eight meetings, mostly by double digits.

Friday it’s in the first round of the Class AA playoffs with the Spartans coming off their only loss of the season, 17-14 to Lovett.

“It was a difficult loss,” GAC head coach Tim Hardy said. “We wanted to win a region championship. We wanted to beat a rival. We didn’t.

“It’s quit or fight. We’ve got to earn Round 1 to get to Round 2.”

GAC spent this week working on fine-tuning an already impressive stock of weapons.

Micah Abernathy leads the ground attack with 1,252 yards and 17 touchdowns on 106 carries. Jalen Venable also gets quite a few touches and has 520 yards and nine TDs.

Rafe Chapple is approaching the 2,000-yard passing mark (1,848) and has thrown for 19 scores. His primary targets have been Darius Slayton (804 yards) and Chris Williams (531). Both have seven touchdowns.

Ross Wood has also contributed a significant number of points this season. He has four rushing TDs, but also three pick-sixes and a punt returned for a score.

“We didn’t play as well as we are capable (against Lovett),” Hardy said. “The first thing we talk about is taking care of the football. That was critical.

“Clearly we don’t feel like we represented ourselves well in totality. We didn’t get it done. We’re used to getting it done.”

Rabun County has just two losses this season, both region games, against Jefferson in overtime and region champ Washington-Wilkes. The latter wasn’t close (52-7), but the Wildcats have put up a lot of points this season. They have scored 40 or more in seven games and except for the two losses, haven’t given up more than 18 points to anyone.

“Offensively, they’re a spread team,” Hardy said. “They’re pretty wide-open and have a dynamic quarterback. They also have a really good running back/receiver, a 6-foot-4 sophomore. He’s dangerous with the ball in his hands.”

RABUN COUNTY WILDCATS (8-AA)

Coach: Lee Shaw

Record: 8-2

Last week: Beat Oglethorpe County 57-0

GAC SPARTANS (6-AA)

Coach: Tim Hardy

Record: 9-1

Last week: Lost to Lovett 17-14

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: GAC won 28-7 in 2005

Directions to GAC: From I-85, go east on Indian Trail Road and school is on the right.