QUITMAN -- Basketball season at Brooks County will have to wait. Trojans' football has a date with Macon County tonight in Montezuma at 7:30 p.m.
With the exception of last season, the round ball is usually on the mind of Brooks' football players about this time of year.
That's not the case this season.
"They're not ready to go do anything else right yet," Trojans' head coach Ryan Branch said. "They want to keep playing football."
A year ago, Brooks moved to the second round of the Class AA state playoffs before losing 30-6 to Toombs County. The Trojans look to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in Branch's four-year tenure tonight when they face powerful Macon County (10-1).
Earlier this season, a repeat of last year's run didn't look likely. The Trojans started the season 2-4 before Branch and his staff laid down a challenge.
"We said we know we're a better football team than this," Branch said. "I'm proud of the way the kids have come through that adversity and have ended up getting to this spot."
In last year's second round loss, Brooks was overmatched, but that doesn't seem to be the case this season even against a one-loss Bulldog team.
Macon's only loss was a 13-10 heartbreaker to West Laurens in the first game of the season, the same team Brooks defeated 26-25 in its opener.
"They don't do a whole lot of different things, but what they do, they do exceptionally well," Branch said of Macon. "They ain't used to losing ball games."
Regardless, Brooks will have its hands full tonight with the Bulldogs and junior running back Okeem McLendon, who has run for 1,854 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.
"If he ever gets into the open field it's going to be tough," Brooks' linebacker Andre Barber said of McLendon.
Brooks has won five straight heading into the second round, including last week's 28-0 win over Savannah Christian on the road. The Trojans, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AA, are the only region team left in the playoffs after top seed Thomasville, second seeded Cook and fourth seed Mitchell-Baker all lost in the opening round.
"We're showing who was the better team," Barber said. "If we play like we've been playing the last few weeks, we can play with anybody."
Macon's McLendon ran for 202 yards in the Bulldogs 13-7 win over Irwin County in the first round. Brooks will counter with sophomore sensation Donnell Golden. Golden, who was in the band a year ago, needs about 20 yards to break the 1,000-yard barrier, Branch said.
"Our kids want to win," Branch said. "They've made up their minds that they're going to do whatever they can to keep the season going."
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