The Screven County Gamecocks entered the second round of the state Class AA playoffs not really having been challenged all season, having outscored their opposition by a whopping 43-6. That all changed Friday night as the (10-1) Toombs County Bulldogs came back from a 34-7 deficit to make it a game before Screven County finally came out on top 34-20.
Gamecock head coach Ron Duncan went into the game praising the Bulldog offense saying they reminded him of themselves but the Gamecock defense held Toombs and leading rusher Keshawn Morgan — who came into the game with 1,400 yards and 19 touchdowns — in check until the fourth quarter when Toombs scored twice and executed two onside kicks before finally falling by 14.
“We knew going in it was going to be a tough battle,” said Gamecock head coach Ron Duncan, “We faced a lot of adversity off the feild with a stomach bug that ran through the team and we knew we were facing a good team as well, but our kids powered through it and got the win.”
The Gamecocks started the scoring in the first quarter as Kim Hunter capped off an 80-yard, 12 play drive with a 19-yard touchdown for a 7-0 Gamecock lead. That score held up until the first play of the second quarter as quarterback Armani Bunbury hit Tyquan Johnson across the middle in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown to give Screven a 14-0 lead.
Toombs finally answered later in the second as Bulldog quarterback Dalton McBride scored on a 1-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7. The Gamecocks then went three and out but were bailed out by their special teams as Johnathan Roberts picked off a McBride pass at the 20-yard line. The offense then went 80 yards with CJ Wright capping the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run for a 20-7 halftime lead.
“To go up two scores with the kind of style they play was huge,” said Duncan, “They are a ball controlled offense and forcing them to start passing was important.”
In the second half the Gamecocks extended their lead to 34-7 on a Kim Hunter 3-yard touchdown and a 2 yard score by CJ Wright, Tooms rallied with a 5 yard Keshawn Morgan touchdown, followed by recovering an onside kick and then added a 5-yard touchdown by McBride.
“We need to work a little on our hands team” said Duncan, “Weed need to try and work a little better on finishing the games cleanly.”
Things got a little out of control with just over two minutes to play as Toombs County failed on a fourth down attempt and local law enforcement had to be called onto the field as a number of personal fouls were called on the Bulldogs and their athletic director Bill Benton and assistant coach Isaac Ferrell were ejected from the game.
Next up for Screven County they will host Rabun County next Friday, and while that is typically done after a team wins coach Duncan knew about it earlier in the day and actually used it as motivation for the team.
“I didn’t really want to know the outcome of the coin toss but our principal told me right after it happened,” said Duncan, “The kids didn’t know until during the pre-game I told them if we win we will host next week and they were very excited about that opportunity.”
The Gamecocks and Wildcats meet Friday at 7:30 at Kelly Memorial Stadium.