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Lamar-Appling playoff preview

Lamar County hosts Appling County of Baxley in the quarterfinal round of the GHSA Class AA state playoffs at Thunder Alley. The Trojans, Region 4AA champions, are 12-0 while the Pirates, the number two seed from Region 2AA, is 11-1. Lamar is scoring 38.7 points per game (4th in the state) while yielding 11.5 (6th) for a point differential of +27.2 (5th). When and Where: Friday 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Field Weather: Clear skies with temperatures in the mid 50s at kickoff dropping only a few degress by game’s end. Advisory: A category 12-0 Blue Storm continues to strengthen and is set to strike Trojan Field Friday night full force shaking down the thunder on the Pirates ship. Admission: $10 at the gate as set by the GHSA. Advanced tickets are available Friday from 11 am til 3 pm at Slice’s Pizzeria on Main Street with no reduction in price per the GHSA. Only babies in arms and persons bearing GHSA membership cards and media passes will be admitted at no charge. Last week: Appling County beat North Oconee 26-13. Lamar County beat Blessed Trinity 28-14. Series: This is the first ever meeting between the two schools. Post-season records: The Trojans are 7-12 overall in 13 appearances in the post season. Lamar returns to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2000 when they lost 27-26 at Cook. The Pirates are in the playoffs for the 19th time in school history and have a post season record of 11-18. Their best finish was in 1999 when they were 13-1 making it to the state semi-finals. Pirate defense: 5-3 base allowing 11.8 points per game (6th). Pirate offense: Spread scoring 27.9 points per game (8th). Top players: #4 Lashune Moore QB, #3 Byron Buxton WR, #5 Jordan Vann WR, #14 CJ Nails NG. Pirate coach: J.T. Pollock, 7th season, all at Appling County, overall record 47-29-1, 3-3 in the post season. Prediction: Maxwell ratings has the Trojans a 2 point favorite. CalPrep projects Lamar a 27-21 winner. Rankings: The Trojans are ranked in the top ten in Class AA in five polls. Associated Press (#6), Atlanta Journal-Constitution (#7), Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (#8), Maxwell (#7) and MaxPrep (#8). Appling County is #10 in the AP and #6 in MaxPrep. Injury report: None What you should know: Friday’s winner will advance to the semi-finals to face the winner of Calhoun at Dublin. Lamar would flip a coin Saturday to determine the site. Appling would play on the road. The Pirates’ Byron Buxton recently signed a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Georgia and is projected as a top five pick in next year’s Major League Baseball draft. What Lamar Head Coach Jason Strickland says: “Appling County will be a tremendous challenge. They are as athletic as anyone we have seen since being at Lamar County. We have not faced anyone with their size and speed this year. It is going to be a very different challenge for us. Offensively they are spread and just put so much pressure on you. They live on the big play and have gotten them all year. Their quarterback has done a terrific job of directing that side of the ball. The kid throws it really well, is very elusive and has a couple of big time receivers. Both guys are just so tall and can absolutely fly. They just present all kinds of matchup problems. Defensively they show several different looks. We have been impressed with how well they pursue the ball. They play with a great sense of urgency over there. Their defensive line is led their nose guard. He has created havoc all year. It seems like every play he is in the backfield causing some sort of problem. Their linebacking corps is very physical, and you just don’t see them miss very many tackles.”

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