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Devils Clinch Playoff Slot
The Red Devils clinched a playoff slot for the first time since 2006 with a 47-21 victory over the Telfair County
Trojans on Senior Night at Bobby Gentry Stadium. The win also gives the Devils five wins for the year and ensures
at least a break even season after having losing seasons in 2007 and 2008. A big salute goes out to the Devils and
especially the senior class. They had reached the playoffs as freshmen and now repeat as seniors. That is a nice
way to conclude your high school career. Not many people knew prior to the game but the Devils played tonight under
significant distress. The Devils were forced to play tonight without junior star running back Fabian Forrest.
Compounding matters was the fact that his backup, Jonathan Wright, spent time in the hospital this week and was
discharged on Thursday. Tyler Forrest, a starting linebacker, missed most of the week with a severe upper
respiratory infection. Deion Colson, a mainstay on the line, also missed tonight's game. As you can see the Devils
really had to circle the wagons as backups and "first timers" were forced into prime time action.
Early in the contest Brandon Adams broke a long run of some 40+ yards on the game's first play. Perhaps as an indication of the type of first half it was to be, the play was called back for holding. The Devils then proceeded to have another penalty and eventually be forced into a punting situation. A bad snap caused a blocked punt and the Trojans were in business. The eventually scored on a 4th and 1 from the 3 yard line. The PAT was good and it was 7-0 in the first quarter. The Devils moved the ball with ease on the ground behind the strong running of Brandon Adams, playing tailback for the first time, fullback J'Vonne Thomas, and Jonathan Wright. However, a 4th and 1 at the Trojan two yard line came up short and the Devils had to give the ball over on downs. Later in the 2nd quarter the Devils forced a Trojan punt. Senior Tevin Wilcox fielded the punt and sprinted down the Devil sidelines for a long return to put the Devils in business. A few plays later the Devils scored on a Jonathan Wright run. The PAT was good and the Devils were tied 7-7. In the waning moments of the 2nd half the Devils attempted a field goal only to have it blocked and the half ended 7-7.
To say that was a "lackadaisacal" first half would be an understatement. The players simply did not have any life or "spunk". I am not sure what was said at halftime, but I would be willing to be it was stern. It definitely would pay dividends.
The Devils kicked off to the Trojans and the Trojans returned it all the way for a TD. The PAT was good and the Trojans led 14-7 and more importantly now had a bounce in their step. As anyone knows, if you give a struggling team some momentum and allow them to gain confidence, they can jump up and bite you. The Devils were now at a crossroads. The had to step up or the upset was going to start looking very possible. After the kickoff, the Devils sputtered for 3 yards on their first two downs. On third and 7, the spark they needed was provided by sophomore Jonathan Wright as he sprinted 30 yards off tackle into Trojan territory. Two plays later J'Vonne Thomas plowed in from 13 yards out. Old reliable Don Vickers missed the PAT. Was this a sign of things to come? I mean, Halloween weekend and all, could the Devils fall to the upset? Brandon Adams took care of that. After forcing a Trojan punt the Devils took over on their own 47 yard line. Brandon Adams sprinted 52 yards to the 1 yard line and Jonathan Wright ran it in on the next play to put the Devils up for the first time all evening. Once again, trusty Vickers missed the PAT. The Devils led 19-14. After the kickoff, the Devils forced a punt and got good field position at the Trojan 40 yard line. Wright, feeling confident now, ran off tackle for 29 yards to the 11. From there, Thomas once again bulled his way into the end zone for the TD. Vickers righted the ship with the PAT and the Devils had their first two score lead with 4:31 left in the 3rd quarter. After the ensuing kickoff, J'Vonne Thomas pounced on a Trojan fumble and the Devils were in business from Trojan 40. On first down, Brandon Adams streaked around end for a 40 yard TD -- the PAT was good by Vickers and the Devils now suddenly led 33-14. Adams and West tacked on 4th quarter TDs and the Trojans scored a late TD for the final score of 47-21.
It was the tale of two cities -- or two halves in this case. The Devils scored 40 points in the second half and that total is the highest in a few years. Hopefully, the Devils learned that you can never overlook any opponent and must always play hard from the outset. Unofficially, the Devils rushed for 278 yards in the 2nd half. Brandon Adams had 8 carries for 141 yards and 2 TDs in the half. Jonathan Wright added 6 carries for 76 yards and 1 TD in the second half along with a TD in the first half. Senior J'Vonne Thomas contributed 4 carries for 38 yards and 2 TDs in the second half. Sam Jackson-West added 2 carries for 24 yards and a TD in the half.
Congratulations to the Devils for clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 2006! It is on to Turner County and the Devils have a chance to clinch a winning season for the first time since 2006 with a win over the Rebels in Ashburn. Let's all go and support the Devils in game ten!!
Go Big Red!
by Andy Hill - 10/30/09
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