ATLANTA – The sort of mini roller-coaster 2020 Sabine High School football season continued and took a bit of a downward curve here Friday night, as the homestanding Atlanta Rabbits dealt Sabine its third loss of the season.
The Rabbits celebrating their homecoming with a 28-14 win over the Cardinals, now 3-3 overall this season.
The Cardinals, coached by Rex Sharp, are 1-1 in district play, and will host Jefferson next Friday night.
Here at Rabbit Stadium Friday night, Atlanta would lean on its ground game. They kept to the ground on the legs of Caleb Hamilton and Keith Kinney, who got them into Cardinal territory.
After a holding call on the Rabbits, Justin Pierce went to the air and the Cardinals’ Carter Patterson made him regret it. Patterson intercepted the pass to end the drive.
The Cardinals could not cash in and punted. On the Rabbits next possession, Terunte Neal fumbled the ball to ever-present Ty Francisco.
This time, Sabine’s offense was able to cash in. Quarterback Jace Burns took 2 runs of 14 yards, the final for the touchdown, followed by Eduardo Jaimes’ extra point and a 7-0 lead.
The defense, for the Cards stepped it up and forced the Rabbits to punt. Four plays later, after a 14-yard run by Brannigan Willige and a 37 yarder by Burns, Willige punched it in to take a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
Unfortunately and somewhat shockingly, that would be all the scoring for Sabine.
Perhaps with the interception still fresh on their minds, Atlanta started the second quarter sticking to their ground game. They took a 10-play drive and capped it off with a Hamilton 1-yard plunge to cut the lead to 14-7.
And then the Cardinals’ next drive was disastrous.
Burns was sacked for a large loss, and then was pressured and threw an interception to end the drive. This gave the Rabbits new life and they continued to chew up rushing yards. Hamilton took the final 5 for the touchdown to tie the score at 14.
Just before half, the Cardinals punted, and the Rabbits had a long return putting them in Cardinal territory. Four plays later, Hamilton got the hat trick of touchdowns with his third and the Rabbits took a 21-14 lead into the half.
The second half saw both defenses come out strong as the offenses were forced to punt. Then the Rabbits got the ball back and continued to sprint down the field. The quarterback was pressured and forced to pass where lineman Dawson Brooks found the ball drop into his hands for the interception. The quarter ended with no new score: Atlanta still led, 21-14, headed into the fourth.
To start the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were moving downfield when Burns was thrown to the ground and injured. Caden Richardson replaced him, but the Rabbit defense forced a turnover on downs.
Atlanta’s combination of Hamilton and Kinney moved the ball down the field, where Kinney took it in from the 10 for a 28-14- lead.
Trailing by two scores and with Burns back in the game, the Cards were forced to air it out. The constant blitzing by the Rabbits forced Burns to throw an errant pass that was intercepted, however, and that sealed the victory for the Rabbits.
Kinney ended the night with 190 yards rushing for Atlanta, and Hamilton added 128. For the Cardinals, Burns had 66 on the ground and 47 through the air.