Indians Edge Oconee Co., 28-27

Stephens County comes from behind to win and clinch the Region 8-AAA football regular season championship.

Ben Stowe’s 1-yard touchdown run with less than a minute to go put the Indians on top for the only time in a 28-27 come from behind win over Oconee County in Watkinsville.

Coupled with Hart County’s 48-27 win over Hebron Christian, Stephens County clinches the region title with a 4-0 record entering into the final week, while all other region teams have at least two losses.

“It’s just hard for me to describe what happened to be honest with you, other than a lot of praying and a lot of perseverance and grit,” said Indians’ Head Coach Wesley Tankersley. “For these seniors, four years ago to be 1-9 and do what they are doing right now, it’s unbelievable and I’m so proud and humbled to be their coach. I just hope next week the stadium is packed for these guys because they are playing their tails off.”

Oconee County jumped out on their opening possession, scoring on a five-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0. The Indians forced a couple of turnovers and were able to capitalize however, tying the game at 7 on a 31-yard fourth down touchdown pass from Ben Stowe to Cam Lacy on the opening play of the second quarter.

The score didn’t remain tied for long as Oconee County retook a 14-7 lead on a 67-yard touchdown pass. Stephens County came right back, however, and scored on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Stowe to Lacy to tie the game at 14.

Oconee County added two field goals in the late stages of the first half, including a 47-yarder that hit the crossbar and went over on the final play of the half to take 20-14 lead into halftime.

Coming out in the third quarter, Oconee County scored on its first possession on a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 27-14, Warriors. The Indians kept fighting back though, recovering a fumble and returning it into Oconee County territory. Then, Stowe found Corey Richie for a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 27-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Indians were stopped on a fourth-and goal with less than six minutes to go, but got a second chance after an interception and would not be denied as Stowe ran it in from one yard out with less than a minute to go and then Colton Bartmas’ extra point gave Stephens County its first lead at 28-27. A late Oconee fumble clinched the win for the Indians.

With the win, Stephens County moves to 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the region, while Oconee County falls to 5-4 overall and 2-2 in the region. Stephens County will return home this coming week for the regular season finale against Hebron Christian. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday with air time on WNEG and set for 5:30 p.m. with the Indian Tailgate Show.

Elsewhere, Franklin County lost 55-0 to Monroe Area and Habersham Central beat Apalachee, 28-14.

Player Awards

Georgia Farm Bureau Player of the Game – Cam Lacy

Hart EMC Lineman of the Game – Cooper Dean

Highway 17 Diner Sub of the Game – Tyson Everett

First Baptist Church Spirit Award – Jordyn McDaniel