Rabbs cage Tigers in rain-soaked victory, 41-22
Atlanta faced the unknown last Friday night as they welcomed Mt. Vernon to town. The Tigers and Rabbits have faced each other on and off since 1921 with Atlanta holding a 13-12 edge in the series.
The Rabbs have not played the Tigers since 2011 and didn’t really know its opponent aside from video and hearsay, but none of that mattered as the Rabbits topped Mt. Vernon 41-22 in a rain-soaked contest for the ages.
The victory is important because the Rabbs have won four straight games, sit 4-0 in district play and are tied for first place with two games left on the schedule.
Atlanta received the ball to begin the game.
With the ball sitting on the 27, quarterback Andy Samples took the snap and found wideout Josh Edwards for 15 yards followed by a 7-yard rush by Caleb Hamilton and a 10-yard run by Dra Nelson.
After an incomplete pass and a short run by Jawan King, Samples found receiver Kade Wood open for 19 yards on a nice catch by the agile wideout.
Three plays later Nelson slipped into the endzone from 14 yards out for the game’s first score.
Fernando Campos hit the PAT and the Rabbs were up 7-0 with 9:16 left in the first quarter.
Mt. Vernon countered with a 6-play, 67-yard drive in three minutes and scored on a 7-yard TD.
The PAT was good and the game was tied 7-7 with 6:16 left in the first frame.
The Rabbits began its next drive from the 35 where King took the handoff from Samples and bolted 38 yards to the Mt. Vernon 27.
King gained 14 more yards and Hamilton eight on the ground before Samples darted into the endzone from five yards out for another Rabbit TD.
Campos hit the PAT and Atlanta was up 14-7 with 3:15 left in the opening stanza.
Mt. Vernon’s next drive ended on fourth down as the Tigers rolled the dice and went for it, but a big sack on the Tiger QB by Jacob Nash gave the Rabbits the ball at the 1:09 mark.
Atlanta’s next drive fizzled as well and Mt. Vernon took over at the 44 with 10 seconds on the clock after a failed fourth down attempt.
The Tigers picked up two yards to begin the drive, but time ran out on the first quarter of play with Atlanta up by a TD.
The Tigers’ next drive was wrought with nice play, penalties against both teams and a fumble recovered by Mt. Vernon.
In all the Tigers went from its own 46 to the endzone in 12 plays which ate up 7:22 off the clock.
The PAT evened the game at 14-all with 4:38 left in the second quarter.
Atlanta wasted no time in moving the ball as Nelson took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage 34 yards from the 41 to the Tigers’ 25.
King took two handoffs for a total of 15 yards before Samples connected with Wood on a 10-yard touchdown.
Campos hit another PAT and Atlanta increased its lead to 21-14 with 3:17 left in the first half.
Atlanta’s defense came up big on the next drive.
Facing a fourth down after a quick three-and-out the Tigers again rolled the dice, and came up snake eyes as Caleb Coleman and Kentrell Andrews made a big stop for the Rabbs.
The turnover gave the Rabbits the ball with 2:11 left on the clock at the Mt. Vernon 40-yard line.
Atlanta’s next drive looked like it was going to fade with the increasing rainfall, but on fourth-and-7 Samples connected with Farron Hall for 14 yards.
The drive ended with Samples finding Wood near the goal line for a score. The agile wideout stretched across the plane before his knee hit, and after another Campos PAT the Rabbs were up 28-14 with 20 seconds left on the clock.
The first half ended with a loss for the Tigers on a rushing play.
As the rain got stronger so it seemed the Rabbs got stronger in the second half.
Penalties hurt the Tigers on its first drive of the second half, but not as much as fumbling the ball away to the Rabbs at the 9:53 mark.
A few short runs by the Rabbits brought up a fourth-and-6 from the 15.
Samples took the ball on a designed pitch play, and made a perfect pitch to King as he was being tackled.
King took the ball down the sideline, stayed in bounds and scored with 7:57 left in the third quarter.
Campos hit the PAT and Atlanta was up 35-14.
Mt. Vernon, with its back against the wall, put together a long drive which was almost ended early by another fumble recovery by the Rabbs.
However the Tigers fell on the loose pigskin and proceeded to score on the 10th play of the drive from the 2-yard line.
Mt. Vernon made the 2-point conversion and was down 35-22 with 2:24 left in the quarter.
With a sudden shift of momentum the next drive for Atlanta ended with its first punt of the night at the 48 second mark.
The quarter ended with the Tigers running the ball on first down.
At this point the rain was torrential and with no wind sweeping it around the droplets fell straight down at a high rate of speed.
Both teams looked prime to score on its next drives, but neither were successful in doing so.
Mt. Vernon turned the ball over on fourth down at the 9:01 mark, Atlanta fumbled the ball after a nice 31-yard run by Hamilton at the 8:10 mark and Andy Samples intercepted the ball at the 7:51 mark.
Working from the Mt. Vernon 49 the Rabbs put the nail in the coffin as they say on its next drive.
It was all King until the last play of the drive. King gained yards of three, four, 11 and 30 which put the ball at the 1-yard line.
From there Samples snuck into the endzone on the QB keeper with 6:00 left on the clock.
Campos missed the PAT but the Rabbs increased the lead to 41-22.
Mt. Vernon did a nice job of moving the ball and taking time off the clock.
The Tigers turned the ball over on downs at the 2:50 mark, and the Rabbs eventually kneeled the ball to end the rain-drenched contest.
Atlanta’s defense held Mt. Vernon to 25 passing yards and 221 rushing yards on 49 attempts.
Connor Samples had a team-high 12 tackles, Coleman added 11 and both Andy Samples and Nash had 10 apiece.
The Rabbits travel to Jefferson this Friday, Oct. 26, with the district title on the line.
Both teams are undefeated in district play. The game is set for 7:30 p.m.