For the second game in a row the Toombs County Bulldogs are facing a team off to an historically good start. Prior to their off-week, the Bulldogs played host to a Claxton team which won it’s first three games for the first time since 2002 and with a 21-14 win in the Pit the Tigers were 4-0 prior to opening region play with a 41-0 loss at Montgomery County. Toombs County Football Page
This Friday at 7:30 p.m. the Bulldogs will play at Metter in their first region game which will be broadcast on Y-101 Radio and streamed on Mixlr. Metter has opened the season with four straight non-region victories. In 2003 the Tigers won their first five games. They defeated Warren County, Claxton, Hancock Central and Savannah Christian and then they opened region play with a 41-0 shutout of Portal prior to losing their only regular season game at ECI 15-10. That Metter team went 11-2 under first year head coach Shane Dular. Dular coached two more seasons in Metter going 5-5 and 2-8 He most recently has been coaching in North Carolina as both a head and an assistant coach.
Coincidentally, Metter has new head coach this season. Former Vidalia High assistant coach Rodney Garvin took the job in late January after serving as the Indians’ defensive coordinator for 11 of his 22 seasons on the sideline. Former Metter head coach Chris Johnson is now the head baseball coach and is an assistant football coach at Effingham County High School.
Metter won it’s first three games by a touchdown or less. The Tigers beat Islands 27-20, Jenkins County 21-14 and ECI 14-13 on the road. They shutout Wilkinson County 35-0 last Friday in Irwinton.
In the past, when you think of Metter football, you think of a finesse offensive team. However, that is not the case this season under coach Garvin. He is running the wishbone behind a big offensive line. The tackles each weigh over 280 pounds. On the left side number 71 Jaden Bell is a 6-2 287 pound senior and the right tackle is number 73 Cory Durden and he is a 6-2 285 pound junior. The left guard- #59 Ravi Patel is 5-11 223 pounds and a senior and the right guard- #53 Hudson Poole is a 6-2 180 pound junior. Number 76 Jarred Jordan is the center and the Tigers also go with two tight ends- #5 Jamie Deloach (5-10 185 senior) and #1 T.J. Davis (6-3 210 junior)
Number 9 Walker Dollar is the quarterback and #22 Aaron Collins (5-7 162 sophomore) is the fullback. Collins job is to block for the two halfbacks in the Tigers’ bone. Keondre Williams (#11) is a 6-2 195 pound senior who plays right half back. He is a big play threat running the ball with 4.52 speed in the 40. He will also lineup at wide receiver and he beat ECI’s corner for a big play TD. Williams also is a hard hitting safety who can boom a punt 40 or more yards.
The left half back is #8 Jabarie Simmons– a 6-2 185 pound sophomore. Simmons is a hard runner (4.45 in the 40) who also plays on Metter’s defensive line. #3 Ahmod Collins (junior) ran for 121-yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns in the Jenkins County game and #33 Josh Kelley ran for 65-yards on 11 rushes in the same game.
Coach Marsh talks about Metter, Claxton and the off week
The Bulldogs will see an offensive you don’t normally see in high school football anymore- the power wishbone implemented by coach Garvin and his staff. “He’s got great character (coach Garvin),” coach Richie Marsh said. “I absolutely respect him and a lot and number two to get those kids to buy in to that type of offense in 2018. That’s not easy to do anymore. I know because I did it for four years at Bartow (Florida) and then when I was at Thomasville when Brooks County went to the spread, Early County went to the spread and Fitzgerald was in the what they called the spread Wing-T. So all the guys we had to beat were spread teams and that didn’t go over easy when it doesn’t go right. When you win nobody wants to say anything. When you lose everybody wants to point to that as the problem.”
Some teams have approached stopping Metter by putting basically almost everybody in the box. “They have faced straight out goal line. They have had 11 people at the line of scrimmage. It’s not like people haven’t figured out a way to defend them. They just go up there and Metter makes you work.”
So, do the Bulldogs have to toughen up to face a physical Metter offense? “From the first day we got here what we call toughness drills. We think the three pillars of our program are physicality, the spiritual part and then working on the mindset of the kid. Obviously, we are not there on all three of those things this year. The physical part is nothing new. We didn’t try to do anyting different this week. We have just been putting more emphasis on how we do what we have been doing and it is time that some of that stuff starts to become evident on the game field.”
How much of a challenge will it be on the front seven on defense to try and stop Metter’s wishbone? “To me it is a challenge on all eleven because whoever is behind the defensive line has got to keep their eyes on the read keys. Whoever is in the front has to play the pad level and then we have to be physical. You can’t just run up there and bump. You have got to go up there with a mindset that you want to hit somebody. But, as we all say that is how football was invented. It’s a fun game for the coaches to play because that is the way we grew up knowing football.”
Metter’s offensive line fires off the ball with a low pad level. “They are doing such a good job with what they are trying to do. You can tell that they have guys who know what they are doing and can coach it up. They are just so sound in what they are doing and how they are picking their plays.”
If both teams come out running the ball the quarters will fly by. In 2008, when the Bulldogs went to the I-formation, quarters would last 17 or 18 minutes in real time. “Oh yea it’s going to be halftime real quick and before you know it you are in the fourth quarter. There are a lot of plays in between there that are very physical too. As far as the time is concerned the game is short, but as far as the physicality part it is 48 minutes of it and you think about getting out there in an isolation drill for 48 minutes and that is about what it is like.”
Has coach Garvin’s defensive philosophy changed at a new school with new personnel? “That is another thing I respect about him, he does what he does. He’s smart because to me good coaches, coach what they know. That’s what he does and he does it right.”
The last two seasons, Toombs County’s off week has come after three non-region games prior to the start of Region 2 play. This year the Bulldogs played four non-region games, had an off week and this week they begin region action. “We always try to plan on having an off week prior to region schedule starting and the fact that we were able to get that again we felt really good about having that off week where we had it. As coaches I thought about doing somethings differently with the off week, but I felt we needed to continue to do what we do and I thought our kids handled it really well.”
In their 21-14 loss to Claxton, prior to the off week, the Bulldogs held the Tigers to no first downs on three three and out possessions in the first quarter. However, they were unable to score first and for the second straight game they trailed 7-0 and 14-0 before scoring a touchdown. “That is exactly what happened, but at the end of the day we talk about not getting beat deep and that happened. The game comes down to three plays, in my opinion, because I believe if you play great defense and if you play sound on special teams and you don’t turn it over, you can win. We got beat deep once, we loafed to a hitch route on the second play and then in the fourth quarter, X and O wise, we didn’t rise to the occasion. We had some mistakes X and O wise that is not common for us and especially in the fourth quarter with the way we practice and prepare in the summer and that’s what happened. Those three outcomes caused us to be on the opposite side of the scoreboard.”
The Bulldogs enter the Metter game with a 2-2 record and now they play one of three undefeated teams in Region 2 (Vidalia and Jeff Davis are the other two). “We talked a couple of weeks ago about the schedule which gets tougher and tougher and now we open up with an undefeated team which is doing things really well. Our kids have come to practice with an understanding that the goal is to get better. We call it climbing the mountain. We are on the side of the mountain and we have taken some steps and we slip and fall, but hopefully we have had some teammates pick us up and pull us back up and we are back on the climb. We knew way back in the off season that it was going to be like climbing a mountain and that is exactly what it has been like. We have progressed up the mountain because on special teams we were doing a lot of things early that we just did not like. We still have a long way to go there, but we have been able to make some progress. Offensively, to be honest, coming out of the Claxton game I think we have been able to progress like we needed to in weeks of practice which we hadn’t done in the practice two weeks prior to that. Defensively, we have got to continue to play the same style defense and not let those three things happen which happened to us. So, I do feel like we have gotten better.”
How is the young offensive line doing? A group that includes one returning starter and four new starters. “Ever since these kids were freshman I bet you you could fill up ten 55 gallon drums with the amount of times we have told Chase (Miller), Josh (Jackson) and Angel (Brown) if you will continue to work, we think good things can happen to you and we have always expected a lot out of Trayvon Wiggins (senior) and he has progressed and gotten better. With Chase, Josh and Angel they had never played varsity. Angel played B-Team last year. Chase didn’t get to play (due to an injury) last year. He played a little scout team in his freshman year and Josh was on the team and wasn’t on the team and then we came in and we knew those guys we’re going to be the four. It’s the law of football. They have to have experience before things start to jell, especially on the offensive line. Coach Hamlin has coached his butt off trying to get those kids to the point where they could jell together because you can make a great block and then the play fails. You make a big run at running back and there is a big gain. However, with the offensive line that is not the case. You have to be five guys working in unison and that takes time especially when you run the type offense that we do. We are a spread offense, but when you move the ball around so many places, those five better be on point. It has taken us a while to get those kids to where they start to jell and hopefully that is what you are going to see this week is an offensive line that is starting to play together as a unit.”
The Bulldogs introduced a turnover chain prior to the Claxton game. If you cause a turnover, you get to wear the chain. “We have a turnover chain like a lot of colleges do. Hopefully, as the season progresses we are going to get excited about putting that around some guys necks. It’s a nice chain too and it says climb the mountain on it.”
Toombs County Bulldog Unofficial Statistics after 4 games
Demetrius Owens 42 carries, 207 yards (4.9) 3 TD
D.J. Mincey 43 carries, 179 yards (4.2) 4 TD’s
Silas LeGrant 5 carries, 61 yards (12.2)
Trey Cloud 21 carries, 57 yards (2.7) 1 TD
Josiah Smith 1 carry, 15 yards
Caleb Harley 1 carry, 3 yards
Octavious Roberts 1 carry, 2 yards
Cole Graham 1 carry for 1-yard
Kodi Cortez 1 carry, -11 yards
Total 116 carries, 484 yards (4.2) 6 TD’s
Trey Cloud 33-for-81 (40.7%) for 443 yards 3 TD’s and 3 interceptions
Chandler Lynn 17 catches for 242 yards (14.2) 1 TD
Tyquan Toby 3 catches for 59 yards (19.7) 1 TD
Ashlee Ashley 4 catches for 52 yards (13.0)
Tyler Smith 1 catch for 30 yards
Cole Graham 2 catches for 26 yards (13.0)
Raekwon Powell 2 catches for 23-yards (11.5)
J.D. Myers 1 catch for 12-yards and a TD
Demetrius Owens 3 catches for -3 yards
Cole Graham 10 for 331 yards (33.2) Long 43
Chandler Lynn 5 punts for 167 yards (33.4)
Rafael Perez 12-for-12 PAT 0-2 FG missed 29 yards, 27 yards
Caleb Hartley 0-for-1 FG missed 43 yards
Scoring by quarters
|Toombs County||14||14||42||14||84 (21.0)|
Week 4 Region 2 Results
Claxton 21, Toombs County 0
Vidalia 42, Tattnall County 14
Swainsboro 42, Cross Creek 14
Savannah Country Day 25, Bryan County 7
Telfair County 27, Bacon County 0
Metter 14, ECI 13
Jeff Davis 34, Brantley County 22
Week 5 Region 2 Results
Metter 35, Wilkinson County 0
Vidalia 35, Long County 6
Washington County 47, Swainsboro 45
Toombs County, Bacon County, Bryan County and Jeff Davis are all idle
Week 6 Region 2 Games
2-2 Toombs County at 4-0 Metter
4-0 Vidalia at 1-2 Bryan County
4-0 Jeff Davis at 0-4 Bacon County
Swainsboro is off
Past Toombs County vs. Metter Games
TCHS has won 10-out-of-11 against Metter
Big plays break the Bulldogs
he Metter Tigers made four big plays of over 50-yards as they raced away to a 43-21 win over the Toombs County Bulldogs in the Pit in Lyons. The loss droped the Bulldogs to 1-3 overall and 0-3 in the Region 2 standings. Metter is 3-1 and 2-1.
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The Bulldogs came out throwing on the game’s first possession and they moved to the Metter side of the field before their drive stalled. The Tigers took the ball and stuck it in the end zone on a 17-yard run by Chris Tarver. Add a Miguel Bautista PAT and the Tigers were up 7-0 with 4:02 to play in the first quarter.
Big play number one for the Tigers came on the final play of the first quarter when Justin Parrish raced away on a 66-yard TD run down the Metter sideline for six. The Tigers’ two-point attempt failed so they win the first quarter 13-0.
The Bulldogs finally got a fourth down stop on defense in the second quarter and then the offense took over and drove the ball downfield. Sophomore quarterback Jordan Usher threw his first varsity TD pass to Jamar Smith, on a 10-yard play, with 21 seconds remaining in the half. The snap on the PAT was low and holder Ben Brantley’s pass for two-points was incomplete. Smith ran for 172 yards on 30 carries averaging 5.7 yards per run with a long gain of 26 yards.
The Bulldogs were hoping to begin the second half with a defensive stop. However, the Tigers big play number two was a 75-yard kickoff return that with a PAT pushed the Tiger lead to 20-6, just 11 seconds into the second half. The Bulldogs got the ball back and thought they were about to pick up a big first down on a throw from Usher to Cole Dowd. However, big play number three included a strip of the ball and a fumble recovery run of more than 50-yards down the Bulldog two. Quarterback LaQuavis Kelly scored on a two-yard run and with a two-point conversion the Tigers quickly turned a close game into a 28-6 advantage with 9:10 to play in the third quarter. Metter added another TD at the end of the third quarter on a Tarver run to extend the Tiger lead to 36-6 with another two-pointer.
Toombs County scored two of the game’s final three touchdowns. Smith ran 18-yards untouched with 6:01 to play in the game to make it 36-21 Metterm and Javon Edwards scored on an 18-yard run. The Bulldogs biggest play of the night came on a reverse run by Erion Gaffney. The senior ran the ball 44 yards down inside the 10. However, the Dawgs were stopped on fourth down. Tigers fourth and final big play was a 59-yard touchdown run by LaQuavis Kelly.
Revamped Bulldogs take care of Metter
Coming off a one-point home loss to Bacon County, the Toombs County Bulldogs made some significant changes prior to their road trip to Metter. They broke out of the wishbone and featured sophomore Jamar Smith as the tail of their I-formation and they turned some key Bulldogs into one-way players- offense or defense. The end result was a fresher team in the fourth quarter and a 21-6 Region 2 victory improving the Dawgs to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the region. Smith ran for 215 yards on 35 carries and averaged 6.1 yards per rush.
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After yielding a first down to Metter on the opening possession of the game, the Bulldogs drove 63-yards for their first touchdown and Smith was responsible for every yard on the drive. The offensive line opened up a big hole for Smith’s final carry and he darted to the left and down the sideline for a 15-yard TD run. Oswaldo Guzman tacked on the PAT to give TCHS a 7-0 lead with 6:23 to play in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs have only yielded 13 points all season and both touchdowns have come with about a half-a-minute remaining on the clock. Bacon County scored it’s game-winner with 37 seconds left on the Pit clock and Metter touched the end zone with 32 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Tiger quarterback Jacob Wedincamp fired a sideline pass to Malik Kelley and the sophomore receiver turned it into a 32-yard TD play. The Metter extra point was blocked by the center of the Bulldog line.
The Tigers began to clamp down on the Bulldogs running game so quarterback Ben Brantley took to the air and threw a slant in pass to Tomond Hampton. The senior made a nice catch and then broke a tackle and raced into the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown with 1:15 to play before halftime. Guzman nailed the PAT to give the Bulldogs a 14-6 lead at the break.
In their loss to Bacon, the Bulldogs were trying to add to their one-possession lead in the second half. However, they didn’t and they paid the price. Against Metter, Toombs drove 77-yards in the fourth quarter and scored on third and 10 on another big pass play. Anthony Britt, who took over at receiver for Hampton (left game with second half injury), caught a pass from Brantley near the sideline and slipped away and scored on a 46-yard completion with 6:15 to go. For Brantley it was his third TD pass of the season and second of the night. The last time a Bulldog quarterback threw two touchdown passes was the second game of the 2009 season when Berry Aldridge (also a sophomore) threw scoring strikes to Javec King (27-yards) and Kevin Dennard (24-yards) in a 41-0 home win over Southeast Bulloch.
Bulldogs pass, run and defend in easy win
The Toombs County Bulldogs opened their home schedule with a 53-6 win over Metter. Quarterback Seth Stroud threw touchdown passes to T.J. Smarts, A.J. Fletcher and Neal Rodgers and C.J. Scott tossed a TD pass to Ethan Kramer. Scottie Roach scored two touchdowns on runs of 43 and two-yards and Demery Hawkins scooted in for a 16-yard score.