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Claxton has daunting challenge tonight
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The Claxton Tigers will welcome the state's No. 1 team in Class A, Emanuel County Institute, to the Pecan Grove tonight for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Bell Memorial Stadium.
    "They're by far the best team we've played all year," said Claxton's first-year head coach Allen Cartwright. "If there's a weakness (in ECI), we couldn't find it."
    The Bulldogs of ECI (6-0, 2-0) finished 2005 at 6-4 and ended up in fifth place in the region. Not much was expected by the experts of the team from Twin City coming into this year.
    But since the start of the 2006 season, the Bulldogs have gone on a tear, beating their opponents by a combined score of 292-60. They've posted three shutouts, are averaging 48.6 points/game and have beat opponents by an average of 38.6 points. All that incudes a 56-40 shoot out win over Toombs County on Sept. 22.
    But while the Bulldogs have been steamrolling anything that gets in their way, the Tigers of Claxton (2-3-1, 2-0) have slowly but surely put themselves in a first place tie with ECI.
    "We're going to see how we stack up," said Cartwright. "We have an oppurtunity, an oppurtunity to do something special."
    Claxton was in a similar situation entering 2006. Having gone winless in their last 13, CHS broke that streak with a 27-14 win over Calvary Day on Sept. 29. Unbeaten in region play, the Tigers are in a healthy position to make the playoffs.
    "We've been getting better every week," said Cartwright. "We still haven't put together a full game yet, so we're still trying to become consistent."
    Claxton and ECI are similar in the way they line up offensively and defensively. Both will run out of the Wing-T on offense and the 50 on defense. Cartwright said the best chance for his team to win will be the ability of his offense to stay on the field and work the clock.
    Fullback Delvin Diggs has already eclipsed 1000 yards rushing on the season for a Claxton offense putting up 24 points/game.
    "We know that all the pressure is on them," said Cartwright. "We're just going to go out and play and have fun and see what we're made of."