Strong ground game leads Wildcats to dominating victory over Trion

Published 12:44 am Saturday, November 17, 2018

ELLAVILLE – The Schley County Wildcats (9-2) used the running game as their offensive weapon of choice to jump on the Trion Bulldogs early and secure a 40-13 win in the second round of the GHSA Class A-Public State Playoffs. Trion finishes their season at 8-4.

This year’s Schley County team is the first one in Schley County history to advance to the state quarterfinals of the playoffs.

“I thought our kids played hard tonight. They came out from the beginning,” Schley County Head Coach Darren Alford said. “I challenged them to jump on them from the start. Our game plan was to run the football. We felt like they (Trion) gave us some stuff that we could do, and we executed. Up front, our offensive line came off the ball. We ran the ball very well. Of course, our defense played lights out all night long. I felt really, really good. I was very proud of the effort that we had tonight.”

Schley County quarterback Garrett Peavy back to throw.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Schley County won the toss and elected to receive. They took advantage of the good fortune right away as they used the Sampson option to move the ball down the field and score. They gave the ball to running back Tra Sampson, who only took a few plays to run the ball the length of the field. He ended the Wildcats’ drive by scoring a touchdown to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead. The extra point was no good by William Blackwell, but Schley County had gotten off to a good start.

The Wildcat defense stopped the Bulldogs on their first possession. The Wildcats then resumed their running attack on offense as Zamon Ross broke through the Trion defensive line for an eight-yard rushing touchdown. Blackwell’s extra was no good, but the Wildcats increased their lead to 12-0.

On Trion’s next possession, the Bulldogs were able to move the ball deep into Schley County territory, however, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on a fumble, giving the ball back to the Wildcats. Schley County resumed their offensive attack, and the Bulldog defense seemed powerless to stop it. The Wildcats used the running game to march the ball all the way down inside the Trion 10-yard line. A couple of plays later, Garrett Peavy scored on a quarterback sneak from one-yard out to give Schley County an 18-0 lead. The Wildcats decided to go for two, and Peavy threw a short pass to High School All-American defensive end Zykevious Walker to complete the two-point conversion. At that point, Schley County led 20-0. Walker is a great defensive player, but the Wildcats will use him on offense as well. “We came out here and everybody did good,” Walker said. “Everybody needs to come out, play hard and get ready for Marion County.”

Schley County linebacker Jarrett Long (12) trying to make a play on defense.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Wildcat defense stopped the Bulldogs again on offense, as they had done the entire first half. The Bulldogs were forced to punt, and Schley County punt returner Jamyron Clayton ran the ball all the way down to the Trion 20-yard line. The Bulldogs were flagged for a personal foul, moving the ball closer to the goal line. Zamon Ross then scored his second rushing touchdown of the night. Blackwell came on to try his third extra-point attempt. This time, he made it. The Wildcats went into halftime with a 27-0 lead.

The running game was solid for the Wildcats in the first half. Tra Sampson had 66 rushing yards, and one touchdowns in the first half, and Zamon Ross rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

Trion got the ball to start the second half, but the Wildcat defense rose up and made a play. They forced a fumble deep in the Bulldogs’ territory, and it was recovered by Trent Bivins.

Schley County running back Zamon Ross about to cross the goal line for his first of two touchdowns on the night.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Later in the third quarter, Garrett Peavy threw a 41-yard pass to Michael Wainwright, who was forced out at the one-yard line. Walker then scored a short rushing touchdown. Blackwell’s extra point was good, and the Wildcats stretched their lead to 34-0 near the end of the third quarter.

The Bulldogs responded by moving the ball down into Schley County territory on their next possession. Running back Hagen Willingham scored a rushing touchdown to put Trion on the board, making the score 34-7 Wildcats early in the fourth quarter. Schley County put the icing on the cake as they marched down the field once again. Running back Jakim Hart scored a rushing touchdown from four yards out to give Schley County a 40-7 lead with 4:43 to go in the game.

Willingham scored his second rushing touchdown of the game with 1:10 left to put more points on the board for the Bulldogs, but Schley County went on to win 40-13.

SC defensive lineman Jacob Long (43), brother of Jarrett Long, trying to get around a Bulldog offensive lineman.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Schley County will play their region nemesis, Marion County, next Friday night, November 23, at Marion County in the state quarterfinals. The Eagles (11-0) defeated Montgomery County 48-21 to advance to the state quarterfinals. The Wildcats have already lost twice this year to the Eagles. They fell to Marion County 28-7 in Ellaville in the first game of the season on Friday, August 17. The Eagles defeated the Wildcats for the second time in the region crossover game 21-6 on Friday, November 2, in Buena Vista. The Wildcats will have revenge on their minds and will try to topple the undefeated Eagles when it counts the most: in the state playoffs. Kickoff from Buena Vista is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.