Bulldogs fall to fourth place after 26-21 loss at Swainsboro

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Ashlee Ashley (#8) and Carson Roberts (#56) combine on a tackle (courtesy Swainsboro Facebook)

The Toombs County Bulldogs entered a game nine meeting with Vidalia playing for second place in Region 2, but after losing  to the Indians in the Pit and at Swainsboro 26-21 in their final regular season game the Dawgs finish fourth in the region. Still the 6-4 Bulldogs earned their first trip to the GHSA State Playoffs since the 2008 season. TCHS will travel to Sylvania to play Screven County on November 11 in the first round of the playoffs. The 9-1 Gamecocks won their ninth straight game 49-34 at Jefferson County in a showdown game for the Region 4 title.  Toombs County Football Page

Swainsboro head coach Mark Stroud ‘s 192nd career win came against Toombs County, the school where he won his first 120 games from 1992 to 2007.

The first meeting between TCHS and Swainsboro, played in Swainsboro since 2008, started off at an offensive pace that felt more like high scoring west coast game then a match up of Bulldogs and Tigers in Southeast Georgia. Both teams scored a pair of first quarter touchdowns. However, the scoring pace slowed considerably in the final three quarters.

Swainsboro took the opening kickoff and drove 60 yards and scored on a four-yard run with 8:28 remaining in the first quarter. The Tigers don’t kick extra points and their first two point conversion failed. The Tiger 6-0 lead lasted all of 15 seconds of game time because of a 80-yard kick off return for a touchdown by Keshawn Morgan. Rig Tinoco drilled a Bulldog PAT to give Toombs a 7-6 lead with 8:13 to play in the first quarter.

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Jalyn Willaims scores his first of two rushing touchdowns (courtesy Swainsboro Facebook)

Less than three minutes later the Tigers were back in the end zone with Jalyn Williams scoring on a two-yard run to end a 77-yard drive. K.J. McCoy ran in the two point conversion to put Swainsboro up 14-7 with 5:21 to play in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs, who had a hard time establishing their running game, scored their second touchdown on a Dalton McBride to Jaquail Boyd 24 yard TD pass which ended a 35-yard drive. A second Tinoco PAT tied the game at 14 with 3:25 left on the first quarter clock.

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Tiger QB Jacolby Gibbon scores on a fourth down run of 19 yards (courtesy Swainsboro Facebook)

Swainsboro scored the only second quarter touchdown on a fourth down run by quarterback Jacolby Gibbons.  The Tigers two-point conversion failed giving them a 20-14 lead with 3:56 to play in the first half. The Bulldogs put together a two minute drive. However, they ran out of time with the ball at the one yard line and didn’t score.

Neither team scored in the third quarter although the Bulldogs did start their final drive for six points in that period and it ended six second in to the fourth on a three-yard run by Keshawn Morgan. Tinoco’s extra point gave Toombs it’s second and final lead at 21-20 with 11:54 to play.

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Jalyn Williams is chased by Lane Adams (#1) and Dalton McBride on his 55 yard TD run (courtesy Swainsboro Facebook)

Coach Stroud’s first Swainsboro team has an explosive offensive player. Williams, a junior running back, fired through the line of scrimmage and scored on a 55-yard touchdown run to put Swainsboro up 26-21 with 9:31 to go. The two point conversion failed.

Toombs was driving for a winning touchdown in the waning moments of the game. However, a McBride pass was tipped and intercepted by Swainsboro inside the Tiger 20.

First Swainsboro touchdown- The Bulldogs kicked the ball short and it was returned to the Tiger 40. From that point it took Swainsboro nine plays to score. McCoy ran for seven yards, Gibbons threw to D.J. Jackson for 18 yards and a first down, McCoy carried for two more and Jeremy Smart caught a 12 yard pass for a first down as the Tigers went back and forth between the run and the pass before settling with the running game. McCoy ran for 5, 3, 3, 1 on four straight carries. Then Gibbons threw a fade to the end zone and the Bulldogs were called for past interference. McCoy ended the drive with a four yard run to put the Tigers up 6-0 with 8:28 to play in the first quarter. Williams ran the ball on the two point conversion and was he was stopped by Jimmy Stewart at the line of scrimmage.

First Toombs County touchdown- Morgan caught the kickoff with his back heel on the 20 and then he ran to the 30 where he was met by two Tigers and neither brought him down. Five yards later another Tiger took a shot at Keshawn and he missed so Morgan veered to his right to the Swainsboro sideline where he got a solid block from Jeidon Sistrunk at the 40. A the 50 Morgan was even with Zach Seigler, but he pulled away and ran the final 25 yards, at times, inches away from the sideline. At the 15 Luwaski McCloud dove and made slight contact with Morgan at the five, but Keshawn stayed in bounds and scored on an 80-yard return.

Second Swainsboro touchdown- The Tigers started the drive at their 27 and on the first play they were called for holding moving the ball back to the 17. On the next play Williams ran up the middle and picked up 48 yards and a first down as he was tackled at the Bulldog 35 by Mark Johnson. Gibbons threw a nine-yard  completion to R.J.Phillips and then the quarterback ran for four yards and a first down. Gibbons threw a short pass to D.J. Jackson and Luke Anderson played off a block and tackled him for no gain. Williams was stopped for no gain by Jimmy Edwards making it third down and 10. Gibbon threw a strike to Phillips for a 29-yard gain down to the Bulldog two and then on the next play Williams ended the 73 yard drive with a two-yard TD run.

Second Toombs County touchdown- Lane Adams punted 38 yards from the Swainsboro 48 to the Tiger 10. Swainsboro ran the ball twice for a total of three yard and then threw a pass that netted five as Will Fuller made the tackle and forced a Tiger punt. The ball only traveled only 12 yards to the Tiger 35. Swainsboro was flagged for a personal foul and penalized 15 yards and then McBride threw the touchdown pass to Boyd to tie the game at 14.

Third Swainsboro touchdown- The Bulldogs had a chance to score at the Tiger 12, but a high snap forced McBride to dive on the football at the Swainsboro 33. Adams ended up punting 23 yards to the Swainsboro 11. The Tigers were 2-for-2 on third down conversions on this 89 yard drive and one-for-one on a fourth down play. Gibbons completed a 21 yard pass to Smart on third down and eight at the Tiger 13. Then he threw a 26 yard strike to Phillips. On third and nine at the  TCHS 39 Gibbons picked up the first down with a 10 yard throw to Smart and the drive ended on fourth and one, at the Bulldog 19, with Gibbons running down his sideline for six.

Third Toombs County touchdown- A bouncing Swainsboro punt was downed at the Bulldog 12. Toombs took off on a 10 play, 88 yard scoring drive with nine running plays and one pass. Sistrunk picked up a first down on a 19-yard run and then carried the ball for eight yards. On third down and three Jeidon picked up the first down with a 13-yard run. Morgan ran for four and 17 yards and a first down. McBride connected with Boyd for an 18-yard completion and a first down and then Keshawn took over. The junior, who entered the game as the state’s 11th leading rusher, ran for four yards and then eight more for a first down before scoring the touchdown going to the outside on a three-yard run which, with a Tinoco PAT, gave Toombs it’s final lead of the game at 21-20 with 11:54 to play in the fourth quarter.

Fourth Swainsboro touchdown- The Tigers returned a short Tinoco kick to their 40 and then drove the 60 yards in just four plays. Each team was penalized five yards. Gibbons and McCoy each ran for two yards and then on third down and one Gibbons leaned across the 50 for a first down. After the Swainsboro penalty, Williams surged through the line of scrimmage. At the TCHS 45 there were five Bulldogs with within 10 yards of him, but Williams ran away from all of them and scored on a 55-yard run which turned out to be the game winner with 9:31 left on the fourth quarter clock.