By Maurice Patton
Date Night wasn’t an appealing option for Charlie Lansdell.
With Columbia Academy facing an idle Friday following last week’s news that Clarksville Academy would be quarantined for two weeks, the veteran Bulldogs’ coach was able to fill the vacancy Tuesday – finalizing a matchup with Rabun County High School out of Tiger, Ga.
The two will play at Boyd Buchanan School in Chattanooga. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT).
“He (Rabun County coach Jaybo Shaw) texted me last night,” Lansdell said. “He was looking for a game and he knew we were looking for a game. He offered me a financial incentive, we were able to find a common ground and a neutral site. I researched and watched some film, and I think it’s a good move on our part to hopefully put ourselves on a national stage.”
The challenge for Columbia Academy (1-5), coming off its first victory of the season – a 43-21 decision Friday over Division II-A West Region rival Tipton-Rosemark – will be slowing down Wildcats junior quarterback Gunner Stockton. The 6-1, 195-pounder, a South Carolina commit, is considered among the top signalcallers in the country in the 2022 recruiting class. He has thrown for 1,409 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 624 yards and 12 scores, leading Rabun County to a 5-1 record in Georgia’s Class 2A (out of seven classes).
“We’re going at it as preparation for the playoffs,” Lansdell said. “They run a similar offense to the first two we’d see in the playoffs. Facing the No. 2 quarterback in the nation – hopefully we wouldn’t see that strong of competition (elsewhere). A five-star quarterback, we feel it will prepare us.”
Rabun County is located in northeast Georgia, near the North Carolina and South Carolina borders.
“It would have been a five-hour trip for us,” Lansdell said. “Chattanooga is a good midway spot for both of us. Boyd Buchanan is away Friday, so we worked through all the logistics today and found out we’d be able to do it.”
With a ‘COVID win’ over Clarksville Academy and a victory in the season finale at Fayette Academy, CA would secure a postseason berth and likely face early-round playoff contests against Middle Tennessee Christian and Jackson Christian.
Friday’s game against Rabun County will be live streamed on the NFHS Network.
Other schedule tweaks: At least two Week 10 contests have been moved to Thursday in anticipation of inclement weather this weekend. Both the Lawrence County-Summertown and the Stratford-Columbia Central games have been shifted ahead a day from Friday.