In the past 20 years the Toombs County Bulldogs have faced some talented quarterbacks. However, have they faced a QB with the numbers and the reputation of Rabun County’s sophomore dual threat named Gunner Stockton and the answer is no.
Stockton has already thrown for 5,813 yards with 69 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his career. He also has rushed for 1,581 yards and has scored 35 touchdowns. His record in 34 starts is 32-2. His only losses were at the start and the end of his freshman season, to Bremen 13-10 in the Erk Russell Classic in Paulson Stadium and at home in the third round of the playoffs to Fitzgerald 28-17.
Looking back through the years these are some of the talented quarterbacks the Toombs County Bulldogs have faced on a Friday night. In 1990- in the second round of the playoffs- Dondrial Pinkins led Mitchell-Baker on a 99-yard game-winning drive in Camilla. Dublin’s Rashard Smith (North Carolina State DB and wide receiver) tormented the Dawgs in 2007 in the Shamrock Bowl and in 2008, in Booster Stadium, he scored on runs of 12, 20 and 25 yards and he tossed TD passes of 39 and 23 yards.
In 2008, Jefferson County’s Barry Bostic (Georgia Tech running back) scored on TD runs of 58 and 62-yards in the Pit. In a playoff clinching Bulldog victory in Swainsboro- in 2008- Malcolm Eady threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores for the Tigers.
Brantley County’s Devon Blankenship riddled the Bulldog defense with his accurate passes and his scrambling ability to beat the Dawgs by 15 points in 2010.
Vidalia’s Jordan Knight (who was a QB at the Citadel) ran for one TD and passed for another in an Indian win in 2014. Also that season the Dawgs encountered a future University of Georgia quarterback. Stetson Bennett threw four TD passes against the Dawgs on his home field and then the next season at Booster Stadium- Jake Fromm’s backup- threw two TD passes and ran for two scores including a 73-yard run on Pierce County’s first play from scrimmage.
In 2016 and 2017 Benedictine’s Nick Iannone quarterbacked the Cadets to two victories. in Booster Stadium. He threw a pair of TD passes in his first trip to Lyons. In those same two seasons the Bulldogs also went up against a Ian Blankenship, a dual threat QB, who’s running and throwing in McRae kept his team in the game despite Keshawn Morgan’s six touchdown game. The next season- down 20-19- he nearly led the Trojans to a comeback victory.
Gunner Stockton will face a Bulldog defense that is allowing teams to complete only 43.3% (75-for-173) of their passes for 989 yards with five touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
In his freshman season Stockton threw for 2,917 yards, 34 touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 65% of his passes. He also was second on his team with 709 rushing yards and he scored 17 touchdowns. The only team that had a handle on him in his first season of high school ball was Fitzgerald. Stockton by far had his worst statistical game. He completed only 10-of-30 of his passes for 190 yards and one touchdown.
Last Friday in a 38-0 home win over B.E.S.T. Academy, Stockton completed 21-of-30 (70%) passes for 246 yards and two TD’s. He also ran the ball 19 times for 45 yards and scored twice. Only one other Rabun player ran the ball in that game.
Through 11 games this season Stockton has thrown for 2,896 yards, completing 72% of his passes (205-of-284) with 35 touchdown passes and five interceptions. He has run for 872 yards and is averaging 6.9 per carry while scoring 18 touchdowns.
He threw six touchdown passes in back-to-back games against Social Circle and Oglethorpe County and five against Monticello. On the ground he scored five times against Union County and three against Bremen and Banks County.
In February Georgia Bulldog coach Kirby Smart took a helicopter ride to visit Gunner landing on the practice field. South Carolina has offered Stockton a scholarship. On June 22 Gunner tweeted this “After a great conversation with Coach Saban, I am thankful to say I have an offer from Alabama.”
He also was quoted as saying, “I’m interested in Clemson,” Stockton told The Clemson Insider. “They are national champions. Their QB room always has a stud.”
Stockton is listed a 6-1 and anywhere between 196 and 204 pounds and is considered by many as a 5-star recruit.
Scout Gunner Stockton