Tankersley Credits Belief and Togetherness in Comeback Win Over Rival

The Stephens County Indians recovered a late onside kick leading to a Luke Waters 31-yard field goal and came away with a 31-29 victory over Habersham Central in the season opener on Friday night in Mt. Airy.

Habersham Central led the entire game until Waters field goal sailed through the uprights with five seconds remaining. WNEG’s Ken Brady had the call of the go-ahead kick.

The Raiders jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter on Hayes Gunn’s 12- yard touchdown run, and the first of two touchdown passes from Carson Parker to Zeke Whittington from 21 yards.

Later in the quarter, Stephens County got on the board on a Tripp Underwood to Jasec Smith touchdown pass and after the missed extra point trailed 14-6.

Habersham Central extended the lead to 16 points in the 2nd quarter when the Raiders Brandon Hensley caused a safety followed by a kick return touchdown by Somdee Satiphone Jr.

The Indians Javon Gordon closed out the first half scoring with a 21-yard touchdown run followed by a Waters extra point and Stephens County trailed 22-13 at the half.

Parker and Whittington hooked up again on a 34-yard touchdown pass to open the 2nd half scoring and extend the lead to 29-13.

The Indians provided the scoring the rest of the way with a Gordon 8-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter and a late 4th quarter pass of 16 yards and 2-point conversion from Underwood to Smith to set up the onside kick and Waters game winning kick.

Stephens County Head Coach Wesley Tankersley was excited and thankful after the game.

The Indians had 337 yards of total offense. Gordon had 22 carries for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. Underwood was 14 for 26 for 185 yards through the air with 2 td passes to Smith who had 5 catches for 112 yards. The Indians had three turnovers on an interception and 2 fumbles lost.

Habersham Central had 358 yards of total offense without a turnover but was hurt by penalties with 13 for 158 yards. The Raiders will travel to White County this Friday.


Stephens County will host Rabun County, a 45-24 winner over Haralson County, in the home opener this Friday. Our broadcast will begin with the Indians Tailgate Show at 5:30 P.M. and kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 P.M.