The Valdosta Daily Times
The undefeated Brooks County Trojans start the Class AA state football playoffs tonight, when they host the Macon County Bulldogs.
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Stadium in Quitman.
The Trojans (10-0) just completed the first undefeated regular season in school history. They have won their first 10 games, and are ranked No. 2 in Class AA.
“The first time in school history, so I’m glad to be a part of school history,” Brooks County head coach Maurice Freeman said. “I’m happy about it. ... It’s been a great season for us.”
Macon County, on the other hand, is a team that made the playoffs with a losing record (4-6). The Bulldogs finished fourth in Region 4-AA, which means they have to travel to Quitman tonight to face the Region 1-AA champion Trojans.
Despite Macon County’s losing record, Freeman is not taking the Bulldogs lightly. The veteran coach understands that you can’t take anyone lightly in the playoffs. And he has seen a few things on film that impress him about the Bulldogs.
“They’re big. They’ve got some big linemen,” Freeman said. “They’re playing a few young kids, so they’re inexperienced in a couple of spots. The quarterback is a slasher. He throws the ball pretty well. The running back plays receiver as well, and he’s real slippery, so he’s a guy that we’re nervous about. He’s a big play guy. The quarterback’s (also) a big play guy. Those are two guys you have to worry about. Defensively, one of their inside linebackers is pretty good, and they’ve got a huge defensive end that’s pretty good.”
“I’ve watched a bunch of tape on them. Some games, I think they’re better than their record indicates. And then there’s a couple of games where they’ve played like their record says,” Freeman added. “There have been a couple of games where I’m like, ‘How in the world are these guys 4-6?’”
Macon County averages 23 points per game, running a spread offense, and allows an average of 24 points. The Bulldogs use several different defensive fronts.
“I think we match up well (with them),” Freeman said. “What they do well we defend fairly well, and what we do well could possibly give them a little bit of trouble.”
Brooks switched to a spread offense this year, after using a run-based offense for many years, and it has paid off. The Trojans are averaging 35 points per game.
Junior quarterback Malkom Parrish is one of the state’s top quarterbacks, having thrown for 2,400 yards and run for another 700 yards. Deric Herring has been his favorite target; the junior wide receiver has close to 800 yards receiving. Sam Bradley, Exavius Medlock and Atta Jenkins have also been reliable receivers for the Trojans.
Brooks’ defense is giving up just 13 points per game.
What will it take for the Trojans to win tonight?
“We’ve just got to stick to what we do well, and just pound it,” Freeman said. “(We need to) complete passes and do some smart things with the ball. Defensively, if we tackle, we’ll be fine.”