Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

September 16, 2011

Rematch in Brunswick

Wildcats, Pirates clash one year after 64-62 battle

VALDOSTA — VALDOSTA — Twelve months ago, Valdosta and Brunswick staged an epic gridiron battle that could go down as one of the most memorable games in Wildcat history.

Tonight is the rematch.

Valdosta and Brunswick meet again tonight, this time at Brunswick’s Glynn County Stadium. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. The game will be radio broadcast on 95.7 FM The Mix.

On Sept. 17, 2010, the Wildcats and the Pirates clashed at Valdosta’s Cleveland Field at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium, and put on one of the greatest offensive shows ever seen in the state of Georgia. The two teams traded touchdowns for four quarters, and when the score was tied after regulation, they traded touchdowns in overtime. Finally, Valdosta emerged the winner, 64-62, after linebacker Justin Williams sacked Brunswick quarterback Chris Anderson and forced him to fumble on a two-point conversion attempt.

The 126 total points set the GHSA record for most points scored in a regular season game.

Brunswick amassed an eye-opening 686 yards of total offense that day — 389 yards passing and 297 yards rushing. Valdosta had 479 yards (335 passing, 144 rushing). That’s 1,165 yards of total offense between the two schools. Brunswick collected 28 first downs, while Valdosta had 13.

Anderson had an epic day for Brunswick. He passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Another team that plays at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium apparently took notice — Anderson is now a member of Valdosta State’s football team.

Valdosta quarterback Ryan Whilden also had a big game, passing for 335 yards and four touchdowns. All-State wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell caught five of Whilden’s passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, while All-State tight end Jay Rome hauled in five passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

Brunswick receivers Rick Short (14 catches, 167 yards, 1 touchdown), Avery Sweeting (six catches, 106 yards, two touchdowns) and Tre Johnson (nine catches, 96 yards) all had big games.

The teams’ running backs also had big days. Valdosta’s Phillip Moore gained 141 yards and scored one touchdown, while Brunswick’s Justin Coleman ran for 88 yards and three touchdowns.

Only three high school games played in the state of Georgia have featured more scoring. Washington Street in Quitman beat Appling Consolidated 126-14 in 1969, Collins Hill beat South Cobb 70-68 in seven overtimes in the first round of the 2004 playoffs and Monroe Academy beat David Emanuel 83-52 in 2008.

Many of the biggest stars in last year’s Valdosta-Brunswick game are gone now. For Valdosta, Mitchell and Rome are at Georgia, Moore and Williams are now Anderson’s teammates at VSU and Whilden has also graduated. For Brunswick, Coleman is now a starting cornerback at Tennessee, and Short and Johnson have also moved on.

Brunswick still has some talented players, though. Sweeting is back. Demetrius Frazier, the No. 130 cornerback in the nation (according to scout.com), has committed to Louisville. Safety Willie Bolden has committed to Alabama-Birmingham. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Dominique Stallworth, the No. 91 offensive guard in the country, has offers from Troy and UAB.

“They are a very good football team. They really are,” Gillespie said. “They’ve got a lot of core guys back. The running back (Jarvis Small) is back. They’ve got a corner (Frazier) that didn’t play (in the 64-62 game); he’s an excellent football player. The free safety (Bolden) is back. They’ve got a d-lineman (James Trimmings) that they are moving around — he’s playing some linebacker — that was a really good player for them last year.

“Coach (Victor) Floyd’s doing all the right things. He’s got those kids out there working throughout the summer. They are extremely athletic, very similar to last year.”

Brunswick still runs a spread offense.

“Brunswick is a spread out, draw, zone read and throw the football team,” Gillespie said. “They are no-huddle. They’ve got a really good running back (Small). The quarterback (Cory Dixon) can hurt you running the football. When you’re in the spread, and you’ve got a back that can run and you’ve got a quarterback that can counter with him, (it’s challenging defensively). They do a good job of seeing open areas and attacking those open areas.

“Even though they’re a spread offense and they’re no-huddle, they possess the ball for long periods of time. They present challenges. The spread, the no-huddle, we have not seen that yet. We’ve tried to do some things to prepare for that.”

The Pirates show multiple looks on defense.

“Defensively, they give you a ton of looks,” Gillespie said. “They’ll line up in some five-man front stuff. They’ll line up in some four-man front stuff. Then last year, they came out in some odd stack stuff, some 3-3 stuff, and blitzed and brought a lot of pressure. They were a big-time pressure-oriented football team. They are extremely athletic in the secondary once again. ... They are not as pressure-oriented this year as they were last year.”

Like last year, the Pirates still attempt two-point conversions after touchdowns and don’t kick field goals.

Last week, the Pirates routed Savannah 56-0, scoring all of their points in the first half. Small was out, but Frazier rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, and returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown. Sweeting carried the ball nine times for 96 yards and two touchdowns, and also scored touchdowns on a catch and a kick return. The team ran for 335 yards.

What must Valdosta do to win tonight?

“We’ve got to get them off the field,” Gillespie said. “They possess the ball for long periods of time. ... We’re going to have to once again control the ball offensively, and do our job keeping that offense off the field. As always, special teams will be a big key. ... We’ve got to create some (turnovers), and we don’t want to (turn the ball over).”

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