Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry shares a reporter’s breakdown of the monumental matchup between 5-star Georgia QB commit Brock Vandagriff and 5-star South Carolina QB commit Gunner Stockton from Friday night.
When I worked Friday night live TV for years in Birmingham with Mike Raita, he had a classic local sports anchor saying. Raita was big on alliteration, energy and fun. He pumped those into high school football, too. As he should.
He reserved a saying for big games. This was a different state, but Friday night’s tilt between Rabun County and Prince Avenue Christian would’ve raised his voice, too.
Monumentally. Mammoth. Matchup.
Those words fit walking into Frank Synder Memorial Stadium in Rabun County on Friday night. The backdrop of the North Georgia mountains at sundown was even able to take our eyes off the field. Our smartphones don’t have a filter like that. It was just right.
But then so were the military and patriotic tributes on the field and uniforms. Rabun even had a lone spotlight on an Amarius Mims-sized American flag off to the left of the home bleachers.
It was a big slice of America for a not-so-distant crowd that had been starving for it. ESPNU brought its cameras to see it, too.
There was no fooling anyone about why.
Everyone came to see Georgia commit Brock Vandagriff and his team face South Carolina commit Gunner Stockton and his team. It was one of those “Instant Classic” games that network used to brand its turnaround replays after a big Saturday.
That matchup was the first of its name. With at least a few more to come.
Gunner Stockton had a strong all-around game on Friday night against Prince Avenue Christian and Brock Vandagriff. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
First round: Vandagriff’s team versus Stockon’s team
The opening act was unforgettably staged. Covid-19 rules only allow each team to send one player to midfield these days for the coin toss.
Vandagriff came from the sunset sideline. Stockton strode to the 50 from the home bleachers. The bells before a Metallica classic had been ringing for a while now over the PA.
Brock Vandagriff held himself accountable and promised that he and his Prince Avenue Christian football team would get better in the wake of that road loss at Rabun County. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
Both young men are the sons of a high school football coach. They were both coaching on that field, too.
We have, to the best of my knowledge, never seen a pair of 5-star Georgia QBs facing off on the same high school field. Vandagriff is the senior. Stockton is a grade behind him.
Both were the undisputed engines of their teams.
They met up and Vandagriff towered over Stockton. Probably by about 2-3 inches. Think Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV” if we can all permit this narrative to indulge in a little 1980s/1990s nostalgia a little further.
Exit: Light. Enter: Night. Take my hand. We’re off to never never land.
That was Stockton for most of the night. He backpedaled into an end zone for one score but didn’t draw a flag from the crew. When he rumbled for another score, he did the first full-sprint spike we might ever see. It did draw a flag. Might have dented the turf, too. That’s how many RPMs were on that ball.
Those M-M-M moments started it out strong. The contest kept finding a higher gear once things got going. Stockton and Rabun built a 31-7 lead at the half in eye-opening fashion.