Bulldogs Fall In Elite 8
Courtesy of TCHS
On Friday, Toombs County High School traveled four hours north to Rockmart High School in Polk County to face the Rockmart Yellow Jackets in the third round of the Class AA State Playoffs. It was a tough game for the Bulldogs as they fell behind early and could not catch up to the Jackets. The loss ended an 11-2 season for the Bulldogs that saw them make the Elite 8 for the first time since 2008.
The Dogs took the opening kickoff and started moving the ball through the air. After Junior TJ Stanley completed back-to-back passes to Junior LaGonza Heyward and Senior Keshon Deloach, the Toombs drive stalled, and the Dogs punted the ball away. Rockmart took the ball and ground out a drive to the Bulldog 8-yard line. The Dogs held the Yellow Jackets, who then settled for a 25-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead with 5:28 to play in the opening quarter.
On the Dogs’ next drive, the Yellow Jackets picked off a Toombs County pass and returned it for another Yellow Jackets score, going up 10-0. Toombs answered back on their next drive. Stanley hit Deloach on a screen pass that Deloach raced 76 yards for a Bulldog touchdown. Senior Braylen Dietrich connected on his point after to pull within 10-7 with 2:56 to go in the first. On the Yellow Jackets’ next drive, they benefited from two penalties that converted third downs into first downs. Rockmart later scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass, taking a 17-7 lead in the second quarter.
Rockmart added another touchdown on an 8-yard run with six minutes to play in the half, increasing their lead to 24-7. The Dogs drove the field on big plays by Mike Polke, who ran for a 48-yard gain and caught a 25yard fourth-down pass to the Yellow Jacket 8. Stanley appeared to score a touchdown on a third and fourth down goal-line surge up the middle, but the officials ruled that Stanley did not break the goal line. Rockmart took over, and the halftime score stood at 24-7 Rockmart.
The Dogs tried to mount a comeback late in the game, with Stanley throwing touchdown passes to Hayden Roy and an 80-yard pass to Heyward. In the end, Rockmart held the lead, and the Dogs’ season came to an end with an amazing 11-2 record. Stanley had a career day, completing 20/33 passes for 333 yards and 3 scores. Deloach also had a career-high 10 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. The Dogs were projected to finish the season at 5-6 in the preseason by various news sites.