Class 2A Semifinals Preview

Rabun Co. OC Jaybo Shaw and QB Bailey Fisher. Credit: Rabun County

No. 6 Brooks County at Rabun County No. 5

Entering the semifinal game, Brooks County is in familiar territory to say the least. The Trojans have made the playoffs for the last ten seasons, and in that span, it has advanced to at least the quarterfinals three times while making it to the semifinals four times. However, Brooks County’s Achilles heel is that it  has never made it past the semifinals. Its lone state championship came in 1994 under coach Maurice Freeman’s watch. Freeman left Brooks in 1997 for stints at Southwest and Brunswick before returning in 2008 to pick up where he left off.

Rabun County, on the other hand, is vying for its first state title appearance. The higher-ranked Wildcat team is led by senior quarterback Bailey Fisher who is 180-of-250 passing for 2,911 yards and 39 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Fisher also leads the Rabun County rushing game with 1,119 yards and 25 touchdowns on 170 carries. He has six games of 100+ yards of rushing.

The Wildcats average 229 yards passing per game and their leading receiver, Cole Keener, has 975 yards and 13 touchdowns on 49 receptions. Sophomore Braxton Hicks adds 706 yards and 11 touchdowns on 36 receptions.

This will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

No. 2 Hapeville Charter at No. 8 Heard County

In its seventh season, Hapeville Charter will be looking to move past the semifinals for the first time ever. The Hornets are riding momentum into this game after defeating Benedictine 31-17 last week, ending the Cadets’ 27-game winning streak. Last year, Hapeville fell to Fitzgerald, 42-21, in its first-ever semifinal appearance for the school that began its program in 2011. This season, the 12-1 Hornets’ only blemish came at the hands of Thompson, AL on Aug. 25, since then Hapeville has put together an 11-game winning streak which included five shutouts – Wesleyan (35-0), BEST (49-0), Douglass (35-0), KIPP (24-0) and Spencer (24-0).

The Hornet defense is led by DB Chris Smith, a Georgia commit, and Kingsley Enagbare, a South Carolina commit. The defense has only allowed 6.8 points per game through the season. On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams is 142-of-218 passing for 2,239 passing yards and 22 touchdowns with five interceptions. Williams leads an offense that averages 175 passing yards and 134 rushing yards per game.

Heard County, which fell to Rockmart in the first round of the playoffs last season, 42-0, have not lost to a Georgia team all season. The Braves’ only blemish came at the hands of Saraland, AL in a game that they let slip away. Since then, Heard, which is a 21-point underdog to the Hornets, has reeled off 11 wins including victories over South Atlanta, Pepperell and Thomasville in the post season.

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