Holloway: Bailey happy to share spotlight
Lumpkin County at White County
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Warriors Stadium, Cleveland
Coaches: Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones; White County, Tommy Flowers
Records: Lumpkin County (3-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA), White County (3-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA)
Key players: Lumpkin County, WR/RB/DB Ian McIntosh (5-9, 180 Jr.), QB Taylor Guthrie (6-5, 190 Sr.), TE/DE B.J. Dorsey (6-3, 230 Jr.). White County, RB/WR/DB Ashely Lowery (6-2, 205 Sr.), QB Cole Segraves (6-4, 200 So.), DL Adam Hooper (6-0, 265 Sr.).
Prediction: LUMPKIN COUNTY. The Indians have played great defense this season. That will come in handy when
facing a team like White County that can put up the points.
DAHLONEGA — The final stage of Lumpkin County’s football practice Wednesday may end up being the most important to have in order for tonight’s game against White County (3-1) in Cleveland.
As practice started to wind down, Indians (3-1) coach Tommy Jones hustled out in front of his team and shouted out the scenario, “ball at the 23, 1:32 on the clock and one timeout.”
The two-minute drill for any high school football team is nice to have ready when the game is on the line. However, with the big stage of this game, it may be a necessity for one of these teams to win.
First of all, White County and Lumpkin County consider one another its biggest rival. Add in the implications of both teams carrying a 3-1 record, and this marking the first of the five-game subregion schedule grind, neither wants to drop down one game early.
“This is an extremely important game,” said White County interim coach Tommy Flowers, was named interim coach after White County head coach Gregg Segraves was placed on leave by the school system last week. “We’re traditional rivals and we have to come out like our backs are against the wall.”
As Lumpkin County started its manufactured two-minute drill in practice, senior quarterback Taylor Guthrie used a variety of pass plays to get the ball in the hands of different receivers quickly, and moved down the field as efficiently as possible. After each play, they sprinted back to the line of scrimmage with the haste of a game hanging in the balance.
“This game might come down to a two-minute drill,” said Lumpkin County senior defensive end and fullback Michael Flanagan.
“We’ve all been working hard in practice.
“We’re going to go out there against White County and play hard and keep our swagger up.”
This drive ended the way Lumpkin County wanted. After moving the ball down to about the 10 with only seconds remaining in this drill they routinely practice, senior Taylor Burns came in to successfully convert on the imaginary game winning field goal.
Even though that drive was just for the use of an internal audit of which plays worked best, this game between two very evenly matched teams could see such a scenario.
This season, White County has looked impressive so far in wins against East Jackson, Oconee County and West Hall. The Warriors are led by an explosive offense in sophomore quarterback Cole Segraves and senior wide receiver/running back Ashely Lowery.
Even in its loss to Gainesville, the Warriors were in a position to win in the fourth quarter.
Flowers is anxious to see how White County will respond after a week off. In his four-year experience as a defensive coordinator with the Warriors, he’s seen teams respond differently after the luxury of two weeks to prepare for a game, especially one the magnitude of Lumpkin County.
“It’s good to be able to heal injuries and rest some, but personally I don’t like an open week,” Flowers said.
Flowers added he doesn’t want to put too much added pressure on one game in the subregion. Meanwhile, Lumpkin County has been equally impressive through the crossover part of the season. Now the Indians are eager to see how that translates in a very tough north subregion of Region 8-AAA with six teams battling for just two playoff spots.
However, most on Lumpkin County’s team is just looking at things with the perspective of taking one game at a time.
“Playing against White County is always big, but the next game on the schedule is always the most important,” Lumpkin County senior linebacker Skyler Donovan said. “Every game on the schedule is important to our team.”
As for Guthrie, who threw for 153 yards in a win at Johnson last Friday, he’s back to full speed after a broken finger on his non-throwing left hand kept him sidelined the first few weeks of the regular season. In his place, junior backup quarterback Logan Moye was impressive in orchestrating wins against Riverside Military and Union County.
Lumpkin County’s only loss was 10-3 against Monroe Area (4-0) in Week 3. In that game, the Indians did a good job of keeping the Purple Hurricanes’ explosive offense in check.
All 12 playoff-eligible teams in Region 8-AAA open subregion play tonight.
With the alignment in Region 8-AAA, the top three teams in each subregion, 8A-AAA and 8B-AAA, will play in a region play-in game the final week of the regular season. Only the subregion champions are assured of a playoff spot and a first-round home playoff game.