East Jackson coach Cameron Pettus instructs his players during a practice over the summer. The Eagles open their season Friday (Sept. 18) at Banks County after having canceled their first two games due to COVID-19 related issues. 

East Jackson has replaced one of the games lost from its schedule with one of the toughest teams it could find.

The Eagles will host Class AA No. 1-ranked Rabun County, led by five star quarterback recruit Gunner Stockton, on Oct. 9. That date was originally an off week for East Jackson.

“Some people might think I am crazy, but really I am not,” Eagle coach Cameron Pettus said of the adding the game. “I believe in our players and in this community. As we grow, this program we will embrace the challenges and look forward to the competition. As a competitor it doesn't get any better than playing a great team like Rabun County.”

East Jackson canceled two games from its schedule due to COVID-19 exposure protocol after a group of players came into close contact with a positive case.

The Eagles called off their Sept. 4 season opener with West Hall and will not play Jackson County this Friday (Sept. 11).

Pettus said it’s important to replace those games to allow his players as many opportunities as possible to play this fall.

“This is huge for our players; we do all of this for these guys,” he said. “They have worked so hard we want them to have the ability to showcase their talents and skills, not only for our community, but also for colleges and universities.”

Against Rabun County, the Eagles will face a program that has emerged as a Class AA juggernaut over the past five seasons. The Wildcats have won at least 11 games each year since 2015 and reached the state finals in 2017, going 14-1. Rabun County went 12-1 last year.

The Wildcats feature one of the nation’s most prized recruits in Stockton (class of 2022), who threw for 3,473 yards and 43 touchdowns against only six interceptions last year. He has committed to the University of South Carolina. Rabun County will host Prince Avenue Friday (Sept. 11) in an ESPNU-televised game pitting Stockton against fellow five-star recruit Brock Vandagriff (class of 2021).

East Jackson still seeks to schedule an additional game on its other off date, Oct. 30.

“Yes, we are working diligently and have a couple good leads,” Pettus said. “I feel confident with all the uncertainty and cancellations that have happened and will occur that we will be in a position to add that 10th game back to our schedule.”


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