As if the battle for first place with Washington County last week wasn't enough, the Swainsboro Tigers have to get up again this week -- only this time it's for the region title.
Swainsboro's matchup with Putnam County tonight could give the Tigers their first region championship since 1986.
"It's hard to play two big games back-to-back," said Swainsboro coach Rayvan Teague. "(Putnam) had Hancock Central last week, and they've been building for us."
While Swainsboro's offense is led by talented junior running back Brandon Andrews and junior quarterback Jason Sample, it was the defense that got the job done last week in a 31-20 victory over Washington County, led by sophomore linebacker DeWayne Woods.
BACK IN LINE:
Thomson's 21-20 victory over Josey last week put the Bulldogs in position to win their first region title since the 1993 season.
All they must do now is take care of winless Glenn Hills tonight, then top Dublin in the region finale next week.
"That would be great, but you have to work hard for that because nobody is going to give it to you," said Thomson coach Luther Welsh. "We can't sit back and think we have it made, because we don't. Our last two games are just as important as the first eight."
STILL TALKING PLAYOFFS:
This week's two biggest games will be played on Saturday night -- Statesboro at Westside and Lakeside at Butler. After last week's 42-35 loss to Dublin, the Patriots must beat Statesboro and Laney in their final two games.
"All the games are important," said Westside coach Gerald Barnes. "We had chances to win against Burke County and against Dublin last week. But we didn't stop either one of them."
Eric Parker's Laney Wildcats are out of the postseason race, but that doesn't mean they can't play the spoiler role. One team they certainly would like to beat is Dublin tonight.
The Wildcats gave the Irish fits last season before Dublin escaped with a 17-14 victory.
"They've got a tough game to end with in Thomson," Parker said. "I know (Dublin coach Sam Barrs) has been preaching to them to win the last two games. He puts us in the same category as Josey, telling (Dublin) that we have a bunch of good athletes and if they don't come ready to play, we can beat them. I hope we can jump in there and spoil one or two of their seasons."
Westside quarterback Matt LeZotte's 414-yard passing performance last week fell 110 yards short of the state record of 524 set by Lamar County's Ron Hinson in 1977. ... Swainsboro's Brandon Andrews is the area's second-leading rusher with 1,182 yards. The 6-2, 195-pound junior has amassed that total in just six games. That's an average of 197 yards per game. ... Screven County has to beat South Effingham this week to make the playoffs for the second straight season. ... Jefferson County can still make the playoffs but must beat West Laurens tonight and Greene-Taliaferro next week to clinch the fourth seed from Region 3-AA. ... Washington-Wilkes has won six straight games since starting the season 0-2.
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