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ECI earns shot at Class A football title

Ealey rushes for 280 yards, 4 touchdowns

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            ATLANTA — Washaun Ealey ran for 280 yards and four touchdowns to lead Emanuel County Institute to a 35-14 win over Clinch County in the Class A state semifinals on Friday.

            The Bulldogs (14-0) will play for the state title next week against Wilcox County, which beat Athens Academy 32-14 earlier on Friday.

            The last time both teams met was in the 2004 first round of the state playoffs, when Clinch County won 31-9. The Panthers went on to claim the Class A championship.

            But Emanuel County Institute prevailed this time, holding off an attempted rally in the second half. Clinch County (11-3) cut the lead to 21-14 in the third quarter when Ronnie Hill scored on a 2-yard run a few plays after a blocked punt.

            After the Panthers regained the ball off a turnover, they turned over the ball right back on a fumble by Dominique Ellis, who had three interceptions. That’s all the Bulldogs needed as Ealey then scored on a 57- and 80-yard run to put the game away.

            Ealey, who finished with 17 carries, scored on runs of 3 and 47 yards in the first half for the Bulldogs, who has scored at least 28 points in the every game this season.

            Clinch County quarterback Vintavious Cooper threw for 156 yards and gained 68 yards on the ground. Cooper had a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

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