Pope

Joel Brock and the Pope offense will duel with Rabun County in a non-region matchup Friday.

Game: Rabun County (4-1) at Pope (2-2), 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: First meeting

All-time series: First meeting

Prediction: Pope 28, Rabun County 24

Pope hopes to extend its winning streak to three games when it takes on Rabun County at the Pope Multi-Sport Complex on Friday.

The Greyhounds are stepping out of Region 6AAAAAA play for the final time this season when they host the Wildcats.

Pope coach Tab Griffin said Rabun County was a last-minute addition to the schedule after their original game against Auburn (Ala.) got canceled earlier this summer because of COVID-19 concerns.

“We originally had a team in from Alabama that was going to play us, but when the GHSA delayed the start of the season because of the pandemic, the Alabama team had to pull out, and we found ourselves with an open spot.

“We searched around and found out Rabun had an open date. So, we got together and made it official. We’re excited to play them.”

Rabun County comes into tonight’s matchup with a several recent years of success on its side. Hailing from northeast Georgia, near the border of Tennessee and South Carolina, the Class AA Wildcats own seven region championships, including the last six in a row, and have made the quarterfinals in four of the last five years. They’ve had 11 or more victories the last five seasons and was the Class AA state runner-up in 2017.

“I feel like we found a really great opponent for (Friday),” Griffin said. “They’ve been really good over the last several years and they’re at it again this season. We think they’re a good matchup for us”

Rabun County is averaging 41 points per game this season while holding opponents to 25.8. The Wildcats beat Class AAA East Jackson 70-36 last week.

“(Rabun County quarterback Gunner Stockton) is a junior who’s already committed to South Carolina,” Griffin said. “He can throw it and he can run. They have a good running back, good receivers and they’re big up front. They’re going to be to defend, offensively.”

Pope’s defense has stepped up in shutting down opponents. The Greyhounds gave up only seven points to Lassiter’s option offense in a win two weeks ago and held South Cobb’s spread offense to seven last week. The unit is hoping for similar results against the Wildcats.

“Our defense has definitely done a good job against two different offenses the last couple of weeks,” Griffin said. “Rabun runs as much as they throw, so they mix it up a lot. And that Class AA classification is deceptive. They’re a quality opponent and a dangerous team. Our defense will have their hands full.”

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