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Lamar-Thomasville preview

By Ken K. Green Lamar County opens round two of the GHSA Class AA playoffs this week hosting the Thomasville Bulldogs. The Trojans (11-0) are the champions and top seed from Region 4-AA while the Bulldogs (8-3) are the number two seed from Region 1-AA. When and Where: Friday 7:30 p.m. at Trojan Field. Tickets: Admission for this week’s game is $10 per the Georgia High School Association. There will be no discounted admission but advance tickets will be available at all four schools and at Slice’s Pizzeria on Main Street until one o’clock Friday. Only card carrying GHSA members and babies in arms will be admitted free of charge. Weather: Mostly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-50s throughout the rain. Very minimal chance of precipitation but a maximum chance for Thunder. Last week: The Trojans scored 58 first half points, 37 in the first quarter alone, and cruised to a 58-15 win over Metter in the first round of the GHSA state playoffs. Thomasville beat Westside Augusta 45-20 to advance. The Bulldogs also have wins this season over Cairo 21-10, Stewart County 56-6, Cook 21-14, Berrien 35-13, Early County 21-6, Fitzgerald 14-9 and Pelham 42-24 while their losses were to Thomas County Central 38-0, Westminster 24-14 and Brooks County 30-23. About Thomasville: Located 190 miles southwest of Barnesville in Thomas County near Valdosta, Thomasville boasts a population of 18,500. Thomasville High, a 750 student public city school, has been playing football for 100 years. In that span, the Bulldogs, nicknamed the ‘Tommies’ and the ‘Red Cyclones’ until 1923, have amassed a record of 686-320-46. Their win total is sixth most in the state, behind Valdosta, Lincoln County, Gainesville, Clarke Central and LaGrange, and 60th in the nation. The Bulldogs, the second seed from Region 1-AA at 8-3, are back in the post season after missing last year with a 3-7 record. Thomasville claimed the prep National Championship in 1974, won the state title in 1945, 1958, 1973, 1974 and 1988, was state runners-up in 1993 and has been region champs 26 times. In the last 100 years, Thomasville has produced many great football players including William Andrews, Chad Brown, Eric Curry, Shawn Jones, Guy McIntyre, Brandon Thompson, Allen Williams and Sheddrick Wilson who all played in the NFL. Series, etc.: First meeting between the two schools. The Bulldogs opened the 1946 season with a 14-12 win over Gordon Military College’s prep team in Thomasville. The winner of this week’s game will move on to the third round to face either Region 5-AA champion Heard County or defending state champion Jefferson. The Braves and Dragons will play in Franklin and the Trojans, with a win over Thomasville, would either host Jefferson or flip a coin with Heard County for home Field. Trojan offense vs. Thomasville defense: Lamar is scoring 46.2 points per game while the Bulldogs are yielding 17.9. Thomasville offense vs. Trojan defense: The Bulldogs are averaging 26.5 points per game while Lamar yields 10. Top Bulldog players: Thomasville is led by senior running back (#2) Mario Cherry who has rushed for nearly 1500 yards and 16 scores. Senior Quarterback Payton Dixon (#8) has a 55% completion rate throwing for nearly 1000 yards to junior wide receivers Helon Hammonds (#13) and Javier McGriff (#6). The Bulldog defense is led by seniors Chris Mickens (#3) and Lewis King (#4) and juniors Jay Bowdry (#5) and Junior Hayes (#7). Thomasville coach: Leroy Ryals is in his first year at Thomasville after spending the previous seven seasons at Clarke Central in Athens where he led the Gladiators to a 68-25-1 record. Rankings: Lamar County is 2nd in Class AA in a composite ranking of six polls including a number one ranking by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Georgia Sports Writers Association and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Thomasville is the 13th best team in AA according to Max Preps. Prediction: Lamar County 40 Thomasville 14. The Trojans are 21 point favorites per Maxwell Ratings.

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