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Round 2: Trojans face storied program in Thomasville

By Ken K. Green When Thomasville visits Trojan Field Friday night for the second round of the GHSA playoffs, the Bulldogs will bring with them one of the most storied programs in the history of high school football in the state of Georgia. Thomasville High, a 750 student public city school located 190 miles southwest of Barnesville in Thomas County near Valdosta, 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. Friday will mark the first ever meeting between Thomasville and Lamar County. The Bulldogs opened the 1946 season with a 14-12 win over Gordon Military College’s prep team in Thomasville. The Bulldogs are coached by Leroy Ryals who 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. This year under Ryals, Thomasville has wins 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. The Bulldog losses were to Thomas County Central 38-0, Westminster 24-14 and Brooks County 30-23. Last Friday, the Bulldogs beat Westside Augusta 45-20 in the first round of the playoffs 45-20. Junior running back Mario Cherry led Thomasville with 252 yards rushing on 16 carries including touchdown runs of 16, 61 and 66 yards and, for the season, has run for nearly 1500 yards and 16 scores. The Bulldogs racked up over 500 yards of total offense against the Patriots. For the season, Thomasville is scoring 26.5 points per game while allowing 17.9. In contrast, the Trojans score at a clip of 46.2 points per game while yielding just ten.

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