Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

December 3, 2013

Marion hosts Hawkinsville in another Region 4 playoff rematch on Friday

BUENA VISTA — Last Friday night the Marion County Eagles knocked off a tough Region 4-A opponent in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinal round of the GHSA Class A Public State Playoffs this weekend. On Friday night, the Eagles will face a similar obsticle as they take on another Region 4 rival, the Hawkinsville Red Devils, with a trip to the Georgia Dome for the Class A State Championship game on the line.

Marion County started their postseason play with a 30-0 shutout of Turner County in the opener on Nov. 22. The Eagles then earned the match-up with Hawkinsville after taking down major rival, Dooly County, 24-21 in Buena Vista this past Friday night. Thanks to a very strong defensive performance by Terence Riley and a 23-yard go-ahead field goal by A.J. Wells late in the fourth quarter, Marion was able to hold off the visiting Bobcats to earn another region rematch this week.

Hawkinsville comes into the semifinal contest with an 8-3 overall record and a 5-2 record in Region 4-A. The Red Devils started their playoff run by narrowly defeating Mitchell County 17-12 in their playoff opener on Nov. 22. Last Friday, Hawkinsville stepped up their play by defeating the number three seed, Clinch County, by an impressive 23-8 margin to advance to the Final Four round.

The Red Devils’ two region losses came at the hands of Dooly County and Brookstone, but interestingly enough, they were the only team that was able to defeat the region champion Eagles in 2013. Hawkinsville accomplished that task with a 14-10 victory over Marion County on November 1 in Hawkinsville, so they do know what it takes to beat the powerful Eagles.

Marion County will not back down from a challenge from anyone, however, and the Eagles have definitely been hoping for another shot at their nearby foe. Through the regular season and two playoff games for each team, Marion County holds a sizable advantage over the Red Devils on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Marion is scoring an average of 32.6 points per game on offense this season compared to 23.6 for Hawkinsville, and the Eagles are surrendering only 9.7 points per game compared to 13.4 for the Red Devils.

Marion County head coach Mike Swaney will lead his Eagles into the first semifinal game in the school’s history with the goal of avenging that Nov. 1st loss fresh in his mind. If the Eagles are able to fight off the Red Devils, they will head to the Georgia Dome next weekend to take on the winner of the Charlton County vs. Irwin County game, also on Friday night. Marion County will not be caught looking ahead, and you can expect this game to come down to the wire as these two familiar foes battle with everything at stake. The game will kickoff at Eagle Field at 7:30 p.m.

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