Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The Brooks County Trojans won their first two-playoff games by wide margins, scoring over 50 points in both contests. On Friday night, the Trojans had a tougher game but ended with a victory over the Bowden Red Devils 42-26.
After working on speeding up the tempo of the offense in practice, the Trojans came out moving the ball much slower than usual.
“We had some kids miss time due to discipline problems; We wanted to slow the pace down so we could run the clock to get them back in the game. We had to teach the players a lesson, and it helped us coaches adjust to some adversity,” said Head Coach Maurice Freeman.
Quarterback Malkom Parrish for the Trojans had another 5 touchdown performance, this time with all of them scored coming through the air.
“My performance was good enough to win, but as time goes by, I’ll get better. I found myself having to force a few things this week that I shouldn’t force. It was a life lesson.”
Receiver Deric Herring found the end zone twice on receptions from Parrish and continued to flash his explosive speed on a few other catches in the game.
“I’m glad we came out victorious. I did whatever it took to help my team to help us get the win. Next week we’re just going to work harder,” said Herring.
On defense, the Trojans held strong when it counted, holding the Red Devils to only 26 points, just a week after they scored 48 points over Washington-Wilkes.
“We tackled much better tonight. The players were out there hustling hard, and made good plays. We had some trouble defending the pass. We will work on that and it’ll get better. We have another game to work on it and we will,” said Freeman.
Receiving the ball first, the Trojans normally fast paced offense came out moving methodically, driving down the field in small chunks, as opposed to big plays down the field. On the first play of the Trojans drive, Parrish took the snap and bolted off for a 14-yard run for a first down. After a 3-yard catch by Herring, the Trojans drew the Red Devils offside and continued to move the ball down field. Another catch by Herring, this time for 20-yards, moved the Trojans into the red zone. To cap the drive off, Parrish found Herring once again for a 23-yard touchdown, to put the Trojans up 8-0 over Bowden.
On the Red Devils first drive, defensive tackle Torrie Bryant stopped running back Chris Keith for just a 1-yard gain. Last week, Keith was apart of the Red Devils rushing attack that gained over 300 yards in their win. On the very next play, defensive tackle Darren Anderson stopped Keith for a 3-yard loss. After an unsuccessful 3rd down run, the Red Devils were forced to punt to the Trojans after a 3 and out.
On an odd drive for both teams, the Trojans took the ball on their own 30 to start the drive. On second down, after a 2-yard run by running back Mitavius Brooks, Parrish took the ball for a 25-yard gain to move the Trojans onto the Red Devils side of the field. After both teams received sideline warnings from the referees, Bowden was hit with holding and roughing the passer penalties on back to back plays, but the Trojans could not capitalize on their good field position.
On 3rd down, Parrish attempted to throw a fade route to Herring and the play was broken up by the Red Devils defense. The Trojans tried to catch the Red Devils off guard by running the exact same play, but to no avail, as the pass was broken up again on 4th down, causing the Trojans to turn the ball over.
With the Red Devils getting the ball once more, Keith took the handoff and blew right up the middle for a 62-yard touchdown score, making the score 8-6 after they missed the extra point.
The next drive by the Trojans led to another touchdown pass by Parrish. After catches by receiver Exavius Medlock and Deric Herring moved the ball down the field, the Trojans were faced with a 4th and 24. The Trojans went for it and Parrish found a wide-open Medlock in the end zone for a 28-yard score, putting the Trojans up 16-6.
Both teams received the ball once more and had their drives stalled by penalties.
On Bowden’s last drive before halftime, they found the end zone with a touchdown pass by Marcus Thurman. Brooks was flagged twice for pass interference on the drive, which helped the Red Devils move into scoring range.
The score going into the half was Brooks 16, Bowden 13.
Receiving the ball first, the Red Devils broke off two big runs for back-to-back first downs. On the first pass of the drive, Thurman was intercepted by Medlock and gave the Trojans the ball at their own 15-yard line. On the drive however, Parrish was injured, with what seemed to be a leg injury.
“The injury made him a better passer in the pocket because he couldn’t run. We pray he is ok and he played his butt off. I can’t say anything but good things about him (Parrish),” said Freeman.
Coming in for Parrish was sophomore quarterback Demontay Jones, who looked stiff in his first series, throwing 3 incompletions and scrambled for a loss. Parrish checked back in at quarterback after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Red Devils. Parrish connected with Herring for his 3rd touchdown pass of the night for 70-yards, making the score 22-13.
With the ball on their 35-yard line, the Red Devils took advantage of the Trojans defense without Parrish and drove all the way to the Trojan 28-yard line. On a 4th and 12, linebacker Michael Reynolds sacked the quarterback causing a turnover on downs.
With the ball on their own 35, the Trojans quickly found a way to score. Parrish found a wide open Devon Wimms for a 68-yard touchdown score, making it his 4th score of the night and pushing the Trojan lead to 28-13.
On the ensuing kickoff, Darrell Holland for the Red Devils took the kickoff all the way back for a touchdown, putting the game back in reach for the Red Devils.
The score stood 28-20, with the Trojans still in front.
After taking a sack on the next drive, Parrish found his younger brother, John Parrish for a 37-yard touchdown, pushing the Trojans to a 36-20 lead.
With Keith running the ball well for the Red Devils, they continued to feed him the ball as he gained 15-yards on two back-to-back runs. Moving all the way to the 12 yard line, the Red Devils drive stalled, and the Trojans defense forced a turnover on downs.
With the ball on their own 12-yard line, Parrish handed the ball off to running back Mitavius Brooks for a 88-yard touchdown score, moving the Trojans to a 42-20 lead over Bowden.
With 39 seconds left in the game, Keith found the end zone once more for a touchdown reception, but it was too little too late for the Red Devils as the Trojans eliminated them from the Class AA playoff race.
The Trojans (12-1) will move to the fourth round to face off against the Lovett Lions (12-1) next week. With both teams being number one seeds, a coin flip will decide the home team for the matchup, to be played Friday, Dec. 6.
“I’ve never been to the fourth round before. We’re going to live it up. I hope my knee heals and I’m going all out for the win,” said Parrish.