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Burke County ready for rematch with Baldwin

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WAYNESBORO, Ga. --- Burke County has already survived one round.

Burke County junior quarterback Corey Mayton has passed for more than 1,000 yards this season.   ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Burke County junior quarterback Corey Mayton has passed for more than 1,000 yards this season.

Similar blown assignments and mistakes -- as coach Eric Parker put it -- might mean the end this time considering the strength of all the final 16 playoff teams.

"It's going to come down to play-by-play execution," Parker said. "We can't afford to give Baldwin cheap ones. And they'll make us earn everything we get."

On Friday, a spot in the Class AAA quarterfinals is up for grabs when the Bears play host to Baldwin.

This is the season's second meeting between the two; on Aug. 27, the Braves beat Burke County 14-8 in Milledgeville, Ga.

Both teams have dominated since, with the pair combining to go 18-2, including eight victories by at least 30 points.

Parker said while his team has improved since then, it's obvious the Braves have as well. One difference, however, is winning in this round.

Baldwin has reached the third round twice since 2005, but the Bears haven't made it that far since an appearance in the state final in 1997.

Burke County will also look to score more than the eight points it put up against the Braves almost three months ago.

Quarterback Corey Mayton has taken the majority of the snaps this season, with freshman Donquell Green also getting time.

Against Crisp County in the first round, the tandem combined for 155 rushing yards, with Mayton putting up 125 of those. The junior also scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown when his 7-yard run put the Bears up by seven as they hung on to win by one.

Parker said Green's biggest obstacle has been adjusting to the speed and intensity change from middle school to high school.

Still, Green has rushed for around 600 yards this season, averaging about 10 yards an attempt.

Mayton, who is nearing 700 rushing yards and just moved past 1,000 passing yards, said when the two are put in at the same time, he often hears confusion from the other side of the ball, especially once he proves he can run.

"It's awesome," Mayton said regarding the offensive weapons. "People don't expect me to run."

But this Friday is a difference challenge.

Burke County has never beaten Baldwin, going 0-5. All five games have come since the 2002 season, with three defeats coming by 10 points or less.

Mayton said the team has gotten better and closer since August's loss to Baldwin, adding he's improved at reading coverages.

Though Parker said there have been some mistakes, the team has improved, and it shouldn't let the concern of having more mistakes keep it from trying to make plays.

"They've grown up a lot," Parker said. "The only reason we're here is we got guys getting better in a hurry."


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