There is nothing like the taste of victory to inspire a football team to want to taste it again. The Toombs County Bulldogs, who opened up their 2016 season with a 31-17 home win over East Laurens, are back in the Pit on Friday night for game two and a first ever match up with the Twiggs County Cobras.
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Organization no Toombs County High School, Lyons Senior High or Toombs Central football team has ever played Twiggs County. The Cobras, like Toombs County, has been through multiple coaching changes in the past five years. Both teams have had four head coaches since 2011. The Bulldogs last winning season was a 7-3 2012 slate and Twiggs last over .500 season was an 11-3 in 2009. The Cobras did make the GHSA State Playoffs last season with a 4-6 regular season record losing to Marion County 22-20 in the first round of state. Marion advanced to the Class A quarterfinals.
The East Laurens victory is technically TCH’s second straight regular season win. The Dawgs ended the 2015 season with a 48-16 win at Claxton. The last time Toombs opened up a season with two straight victories was in 2012 when the Dawgs shutout Montgomery County and Bryan county on the road. Coach Richie Marsh mentioned in his Y-101 Radio interview on the Locker Room Show that it was good to see the Bulldogs smile and that smile continues to help the Dawgs build their family atmosphere.
“I think we are not the same old Toombs County and we are never going to give up,” said junior Jeidon Sistrunk. “We are all becoming more of a family than we used to be and getting closer and more dependable with each other.” Senior Oren Morgan added, “It feels like the team is a lot more tightly knit and we care for one another and people actually want to commit to the team and they will stand for their fellow man. As a Bulldog I feel we are finally together as a pack.”
The Bulldog fans are also getting back into Toombs County football, even when the Dawgs trailed East Laurens 10-0 in the first quarter. “I heard a few of them say ‘Let’s go Dawgs” and they got up and cheered us,” Senior Ervin Mincey said. “It gave us momentum and we came back and did what we had to do.” Mincey says he can hear the TCHS fans even with his helmet on and in the heat of the battle, “It feels good to hear your fans. My little brothers, they were cheering my name and I hear my mom out there screaming. It’s just exciting playing in front of all the fans and your family.”
Twiggs County will be opening it’s season in Booster Stadium. The Cobras, coached by Ashley Harden in his second year as head coach at Twiggs, return most of their offensive line and feature running back and linebacker (number 22) Ja’mon Height (5-9 205 senior). In 2015 Height ran for 1,142 yards and scored 14 touchdowns. The quarterback is senior (number 12) Calvin Stephens (6-5 186). Number 8 Javoris Smith is a 5-8 155 pound athlete who can run and catch and reportedly has 4.4 speed.
On defense Nathaniel Freeney is a 6-0 220 pound senior defensive end.