JUB holds off Abbeville, advances in Class 2A playoffs
By JOSH FRYE
For the first time in 11 years, J.U. Blacksher is bound for the second round of the AHSAA Class 2A playoffs. The Bulldogs advanced after a hard-fought, 38-30 win over Abbeville last Friday, November 8, in Abbeville.
JUB quarterback K.D. Rabb spearheaded the offense, rushing for 147 yards and a touchdown and completing 9 of 14 pass attempts for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Rabb scored the first points of the game on an 8-yard dash into the end zone. Andrew Dawson booted the extra-point for a 7-0 lead.
With one-minute left to play in the first quarter, Rabb connected with J.T. Tucker on a 15-yard strike, and Dawson’s PAT kick extended the Blacksher lead to 14-0.
Dawson opening up the second-quarter scoring, splitting the uprights for a 20-yard field goal and a 17-0 lead.
With just under three minutes left to play in the half, the Yellowjackets struck back on an 11-yard run. A successful two-point conversion closed the gap to 17-8.
JaDaniel “Bubba” Nettles opening up the second-half excitement, recovering a Yellowjacket fumble, but the Bulldogs returned the favor with a fumble of their own.
The Yellowjackets took advantage of the stroke of luck and scored on a 49-yard run, closing the gap to 17-14.
Abbeville enjoyed another run of good luck when with 3:14 left in the second period, the Jackets returned a JUB fumble for a touchdown. Another two-point conversion put the Yellowjackets in front 22-17 at the end of three periods.
With just over 11 minutes left to play, Nettles exploded downfield on a 37-yard touchdown romp to put the Bulldogs back in front, 23-22.
Abbeville’s luck turned bad with just under 10 minutes left in the game, as a bad snap fell into the hands of JUB’s Tucker, who returned it for a touchdown and a 31-22 advantage.
With 6:28 left in the game, a Jaylin Hunt 29-yard dash extended the lead to 38-22.
Abbeville closed out the game’s scoring with a 78-yard kickoff return for a touchdown but could not overcome the Bulldogs.
“I am very proud of my guys,” JUB head coach Wes Sims said. “This is the first time we have made it to the second round of the playoffs in 11 years and we have never captured a state title. We are hopeful but are keeping our focus on the next task at hand.”
Defensively, Tucker Spence had three tackles, Nettles had five, Tucker had the fumble recovery for a touchdown, and Rabb had an interception.
Complementing Rabb’s offensive performance were a 20-carry, 99-yard effort by Nettles that included a touchdown, and a 4-tote, 40-yard, 1-TD night from Hunt.
The Bulldogs, now 9-2, will host Reeltown (10-1) this Friday, November 15.
“We are pretty evenly matched,” Sims said of the postseason showdown. “They have some strong players, including a South Carolina commit, but we are confident that if we can match up and keep them contained, we can come out with a second-round victory and a chance to make a semi-finals appearance.”