The Valdosta Daily Times
On a night filled with first round upsets throughout the state, the Macon County Bulldogs came extremely close to almost upsetting the second-ranked Brooks County Trojans.
Key word was almost. The Trojans held on late to down the Bulldogs, 22-18, in the first round of the Class AA state playoffs and advance to the second round. Quarterback Malkom Parrish connected on a 38-yard pass deep down the center of the field with less than three minutes left to play, and the Trojans were able to hold off a Macon team seeking the upset.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Brooks County head coach Maurice Freeman said. “I’m just not happy with the way we played, but a win, is a win, is a win.”
Through the first half it looked like a win was going to come easy for the Trojans. Despite failing to gain any points on three redzone opportunities, the Trojans took a 15-0 lead into the locker room at halftime behind a couple of big plays by Deric Herring.
Parrish hit Herring on a fade in the end zone for the first score of the game. On the next Macon County drive, Herring picked off a deep pass and returned it 70-yards for the score.
A big blow to Brooks County’s game plan was struck on the same defensive series as the Herring interception. Parrish was in on a tackle for a short gain and injured his ankle. The injury may have had a lot to do with how close the game became in the second half.
The Trojans were limited to 93 total yards in the second half and one touchdown, which came after Macon County fumbled the ball on its own 7-yard line.
“I didn’t want Malkom to run the ball,” said Freeman. “That took a lot from us. He turned his ankle early and I really didn’t want to play him, but he said he could be in the game. We didn’t play him on defense, but offensively there was a no run policy, and that takes half of our offense away from us.”
With the Trojans’ offense struggling to pick up first downs, the Bulldogs took advantage of some good field position. The Bulldogs only needed seven plays on their second drive of the second half to put points on the board and make it a 22-6 game.
The Trojans held the Bulldogs on their next drive, but from their own 36, Brooks County lined up to punt. They faked the punt and the Trojans were taken down for a big loss.
“It wasn’t a fake punt,” said Freeman. “He said that he thought he saw something, wasn’t anything that I saw, it was what he saw. That wasn’t a fake, we wanted that ball punted.”
Macon was able to take advantage of the Brooks County miscue to make the score 22-12 after a missed two-point conversion. After another Trojans three-and-out, the Bulldogs scored again to bring the score to 22-18. The Bulldogs originally made the extra point to make it a three-point game, but an illegal procedure penalty took the point off the board, and the Trojans stopped them on the next attempt.
The Bulldogs got the ball back with one last chance to pull off the upset with under a minute left, however Brooks County held on to advance to the second round of the playoffs.