For the third straight season the Toombs County Bulldogs will play host to Single A Twiggs County in Booster Stadium. The Dawgs played them as their second opponent in 2016 and 17 and this year they will open up the 2018 season playing the Cobras at 7:30 p.m. on Y-101 Radio and streamed on Mixlr. The pregame show starts at 7.
Twiggs won the first meeting ever between the two schools 24-17. That veteran Cobra team finished the season with an 8-4 record. Last year a veteran Bulldog team pushed around a young Cobra team which went winless. Toombs won 38-6.
Last Friday Twiggs played host to a home scrimmage against the Central-Talbotton Hawks- a Single A school which plays in Region 4 with Manchester. The Hawks went 3-7 in 2017.
Neither team was able to sustain an offensive drive in the first three quarters. However, Twiggs was able to pull out a 6-0 win with a fourth quarter eight play, 59-yard drive.
The Cobras recovered a Central fumble at the Twiggs 41-yard line with 7:57 to play. Junior quarterback Titonio Smith rolled to his left, to the strong side of the formation, and the right-handed thrower tossed the ball, a step away from the line of scrimmage, to the right hash for a gain of 21-yards down to the Hawk 36 on second down and eight. On the next play- from the left hash- Smith hit a wide open receiver, eight-yards away from the sideline- for a gain of 16-yards down to the 20-yard line and a second first down.
On a third down and 12 play from the 22 with 3:25 to go Smith, from the center of the field, threw the ball toward the left sideline and it was caught for a gain of 21 yards and a first down at the Hawk one-yard line.
A first and goal running play came up short of scoring the game-winner. So, on second down the Cobras emptied the backfield and put the game in the hands of their best athlete. Smith took the snap and ran through a big hole opened up by a double team block by the center and left guard and scored untouched for six big points with 2:05 left on the clock. Punting and kicking were non-contact in the scrimmage. However, the Cobras missed the extra point.
3 Twiggs County coaches in 3 years
On December 6, 2017 Kelvin Blackshear Sr. officially became the head coach at Twiggs County. Blackshear was a very popular choice. In fact a petition was signed by over 200 Cobra supporters requesting his return to his alma mater.
Blackshear was a Cobra player from 1998-2001 and played on two winning teams. In 1998 Twiggs went 6-4 and then in 99 the Cobras made the playoffs and finished 6-5. To make the postseason Twiggs had two win a pair of mini-games staged at Bobby Driggers Stadium in Soperton.
Twiggs County shutout Johnson County 6-0 and beat Jenkins County 16-7. Tony Hollings was the star of the night. The back with legs like tree trunks seemingly flew five-yards through the air for a touchdown on that Monday night.
Hollings went to Georgia Tech and in 2002 he led the Yellow Jackets in rushing with 633 yards and topped the team with 11 touchdowns. He was a second round draft choice of the Houston Texans in 2003 and played three seasons. He only ran for 149 yards in his pro career. However, he did earn the nickname “Superman” from head coach Dom Capers for his ability to fly over opponents. Hollings wound up playing three seasons in the German Football League before retiring. His career was cut short by injuries.
Blackshear has been a graduate assistant at Fort Valley State and an assistant coach at Lithonia High School and MLK in Atlanta. He has also coached middle school ball.
Blackshear’s first day on the job was January 10 when the Cobras began their conditioning program.
Twiggs County’s featured players
QB- #7-Titonio Smith- 5-10, 165 junior- sets up in the shotgun in an offense which huddled before every play in the scrimmage game. Smith was a wide receiver last season. “He has a natural instinct for the ball,” coach Blackshear said. “When he gets it he likes to go places and he gets there fast. The coaching staff decided to put the ball in the best athletes hands and we will go from there.” Smith also plays in the defensive secondary and is a good cover man.
RB- #30- Chucky Stephens Jr.- 5-9 173 sophomore- “He can block and run and catch,” Blackshear added. “He has grown a whole lot mentally and physically. He is picking up on his reads and keys.”
#51- Roland Brown- 5-10, 221 junior
#56- Tyquez Martin- 5-11 200 junior
#57- Shantavius Rouse- 6-3 280 junior
TCHS Bulldog Update
Last Friday a young Toombs County team scrimmaged a potent AAA Benedictine Cadet squad which raced away to a 47-0 win– 40-0 in the three quarters of varsity action. “We’re right on the edge,” head coach Richie Marsh said. “We’ve got all these new guys who have never played a varsity football game and when that happens you do everything you can to try and prepare them for the mindset that you are going to play four quarters. Well either we under did it or over done it during the summer. We shot big. They are going to need some time and we have worked really hard on their mental toughness this week in practice and I really believe that if we can get that down there is going to be some confidence that comes along with that. I hope they gained some confidence last Friday night. We showed them the video on Monday (of Benedictine game) and spoke about those things, but you don’t gain mental toughness by watching a video. As coach (Nick) Hyder (former Valdosta High head coach) used to say it’s called pressure practice. We have really tried to up the pressure at practice this week, not that we weren’t doing it during the summer. Practicing in the afternoon with the heat like it is, it is just something to overcome mentally as far as executing with the heat. So, hopefully on Monday and Tuesday we got better at that and will be able to perform better on Friday night.”
“Everybody asks why schedule that game?” Marsh added when talking more on the Benedictine scrimmage. “We don’t have small expectations here, you kind of got to keep the bar high. That’s why we scheduled that game because we knew they were going to be very disciplined and be good at what they did. We were going to have a true test of the things that we needed to fix and things that we needed to rely upon. We can throw the ball when we want to and Trey (Cloud) doesn’t get bothered by the pressure. If you have a quarterback and there are four people chasing him and people are blitzing and he can stand in there and throw the ball that is special for high school football.”
Last week Twiggs went with both a 4-4 and 4-3 front and the Cobras’ defensive line put constant pressure on Central’s quarterback plus the cornerbacks, even when they were matched up one-on-one with no safety help, seemed to do a good job in pass coverage. “They are very talented. They run around and they are just athletic and for a defensive line they don’t have to be very disciplined when it comes to defending the pass, they just rush the quarterback. Both defensive ends do a really good job of rushing the quarterback” Marsh said. “You put a corner on a wideout that is the thing they can do. So, we are going to have to have some time to get our combination routes open. They are very athletic on defense. You see they shutout their opponent last Friday night.”
On offense the Cobras completed three passes for 15 or more yards on their touchdown drive and the Bulldogs were tested last week by Benedictine’s precise passing game. “I think we did a good job covering the deep ball last week against Benedictine, keeping receivers in front of us,” Marsh said. “We have to do that this week. We just have to be better breaking on the ball. We have to keep our head on a swivel and know where the receivers are coming from and we made some mistakes in that last week. Coach (Telvin) Thomas has been working on that this week. We have made some progress in our secondary.”
One big point of emphasis this week in practice for the Bulldogs has been special teams. Toombs had two very short punts against Benedictine and also had a bad exchange on the snap on another. “Our special teams aren’t even close to where we need them to be right now. That is something we pride ourself in and we are not doing a very good job at it and we have just got to be better coached and that is just the bottom line at that.” Marsh said.
This year the Bulldogs will play six home games in historic Booster Stadium beginning with Friday night’s non-region game with Twiggs County. “I pray we run out there and the community is in full support like they always are and our kids understand there is a certain way we are expected to play and that has been out goal all week and there are certain expectations for Toombs County football whether it is with all young guys or old guys and it just happens to be the other way around this year, but that doesn’t change expectations. It might change what we do, but not the expectations. We plan on going out there and playing like Toombs County is expected to play and that is playing fast and with a lot of emotion,” Marsh said.
Region 2 Schedule for August 17
Swainsboro at Jefferson County
Fitzgerald at Bacon County
Jeff Davis at Glenn Hills
Vidalia is idle