Bulldogs earn a home playoff game with a 31-20 win at Swainsboro

After two tough Region 2 losses to Metter and Vidalia, the Toombs County Bulldogs were on the outside looking in to make the top four in the playoff race. However, these Dawgs rallied with two big wins (Jeff Davis 31-0) to close out the regular season and not only did their 31-20 victory at Swainsboro clinch a trip to the postseason, but also a home game in the opening round against Hephzibah. Y-101 archived play-by-play

The Bulldogs wound up in a three-way tie for second place with Swainsboro and Vidalia. The Dawgs won the tie breaker which was point differential. Metter won the region championship with a 15-12 home win over Jeff Davis. Vidalia wrapped up the regular season with a 26-10 home victory over Bacon County.

Final Region 2 Standings and 1st round playoff match ups

  1. Metter (9-1) (5-1)- versus Screven County (7-3) (5-3)
  2. Toombs County (7-2) (4-2)- versus Hephzibah (7-2) (6-2)
  3. Swainsboro (7-3) (4-2)- at Harlem (7-3) (7-1)
  4. Vidalia (7-3) (4-2)- at Jefferson County (8-2) (8-0)

For head coach Richie Marsh it will be his fourth straight trip (in his four years in Lyons) to the GHSA State Tournament and Toombs County hasn’t been to the playoffs at least four times in a row since 2003. Marsh also becomes the first Toombs County coach to beat Swainsboro twice. The Dawgs knocked off the Tigers 32-22 in 2017.

“God is good. The kids really busted their butts,” coach Marsh said. “My hats off to them and their hard work. They have done it the whole season. We just weren’t able to put things together. To the glory of God we have been able to put it together the last couple of weeks and it is just by their hard work day in and day out.”

Marsh’s Bulldogs scored all four TD’s on plays of 13-yards or more. “We knew we needed to have some of them. We didn’t know they would have as many as they had. We were close on so many. We are just glad we came out on the positive end of the spectrum.”

In the second half the Bulldog defense stepped up and held the Tigers to just one scoring drive. “I just think it was the kids believing,” Marsh added. “The first Swainsboro touchdown could have hurt our confidence, but it didn’t. Guys just kept fighting back and making things happen. They had to play a complete game offensively, defensively and on special teams. They just kept matching their intensity.” 

The game started off as back-and-forth, big play scoreathon. Swainsboro took the opening kick and drove 80-yards with senior quarterback Kade Youmans tossing a 48-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Seabrough. Cade Bell’s extra point made it 7-0 Tigers with 10:30 to play in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs answered quickly with a big passing play. Senior quarterback Trey Cloud threw his 10th TD pass. Junior Chandler Lynn caught his fifth touchdown throw and it was good for 39-yards. Julian Marion-Vitale booted the PAT to tie the game at 7 with 9:07 to go in the opening quarter.

“The whole week I was just watching video every night focusing on what their DB’s had and what I had on them,” Lynn said. “They were big but they weren’t very fast. I knew if I could just make one move I could get a little slight opening and I was gonna go.”

Cloud had another accurate passing game completing 14-of-19 passes (74%) for 187 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. In his last five games Trey has completed 45-of-63 passes (71%) for 596 yards.

“We have just been working on the routes that we run in practice and bringing it out here to the game field and converting it out here which was our main goal” Cloud said. “Getting (the third and fourth down) conversions meant a lot. Scoring on big plays helps with the energy. Everybody gets excited and it gets the momentum on our side.”

The Bulldog defense got a stop and then D.J. Mincey raced 38-yards for his ninth TD of his junior season and the Bulldogs were up 14-7 with 5:37 to play in the first quarter.

“Coach Dorsey said you want to play with your brother or play with each other and I am just playing with my brothers right now,” Mincey said. “We just kept chopping. Chop, chop, chop.” 

The Tigers came back and tied the game at 14 with 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter as Youmans and Seabrough connected on a 36-yard pass play.

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Pictures by J.D. Rogers

Caleb Hartley catches a short pass
Caleb Hartley runs down the sideline
Caleb Hartley scores a Bulldog TD

Toombs County scored the final touchdown of the first half on a short throw from Cloud to Caleb Hartley and the senior completed the 13-yard play with a run down the Bulldog sideline. With 8:27 to play in the first half TCHS was up 21-14.

“Every time I motioned tonight they would bring that linebacker out to,” Harley said. “Chandler Lynn happened to be there. He was suppose to block his guy, but ended up picking up the linebacker and his guy jumped inside of him and I ended up taking it to the house. So, that was pretty nice. It was a great play by Chandler. I was expecting to get my helmet knocked off and he picked that dude up and I was able to score.”

Hartley- a linebacker- also led the defense in tackles with nine including two behind the line of scrimmage and many came in the second half. “The inside getting up the field gave me a chance to meet the running back in the hole. Without the ends getting too far up the field he couldn’t penetrate too far. It just kind of slowed the running back down and I was able to make a few tackles here and there. Overall, they ran the ball pretty well tonight. So, kudos for them for doing that.”

Drekari Jones (left) celebrates Tyler Heath’s (#15) TD

The Bulldogs extended their lead to 28-14 with 8:17 to play in the third quarter. Cloud fired a strike to Tyler Heath. The junior receiver bobbled the ball in the end zone before securing the catch.

“The defensive back was playing me inside leverage,” Heath said. “I sent him inside and back outside. Trey threw a nice ball. I bobbled it a little bit, but I brought it in for the touchdown. The offensive line was blocking well tonight. Perfect job by them. I want to thank them for playing with the heart they had and allowing Trey to sit back in the pocket and throw some good balls for us.”

Heath was also a busy Bulldog on defense going one-one-one with Seabrough. He had six tackles from his cornerback position and was involved in 8-of-the-11 TCHS pass breakups. “I just faced the challenge. We have been practicing on how to guard them- inside or outside leverage. It just worked. I want to thank coach for helping me with that.” 

The Tigers scored their final TD with 4:33 left in the third quarter when Youmans jumped over the line of scrimmage from 1-yard out. Swainsboro went for two-points. The Bulldogs were called for pass interference on the first try and then on the second Toombs smothered a running play. So, the Bulldogs were up 28-20.

Julian Marion-Vitale kicks a 25-yard field goal

Marion-Vitale, who missed on a 53-yard attempt earlier in the second half, kicked a 25-yard field goal from the right hash mark with 2:05 to play in the game to give the Bulldogs an 11-point lead.

Game Statistics

Passing

    Comp Att Yds C % Avg TD Int Lng QB Rate
  Team Totals 14 19 187 .737 13.4 3   39 144.1
12 Trey Cloud (Sr) 14 19 187 .737 13.4 3   39 144.1

Rushing

    Car Yds Avg Lng TD
  Team Totals 29 170 5.9 39 1
1 Caleb Hartley (Sr) 5 29 5.8 24  
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr) 19 130 6.8 39 1
12 Trey Cloud (Sr) 5 11 2.2 12  

Receiving

    Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
  Team Totals 14 187 13.4 39 3
1 Caleb Hartley (Sr) 1 13 13.0 13 1
2 Tyler Smith (Sr) 1 2 2.0 2  
3 Chandler Lynn (Jr) 5 83 16.6 39 1
4 Me’elle Merrion (Sr) 1 14 14.0 14  
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr) 4 43 10.8 20  
15 Tyler Heath (Jr) 2 32 16.0 17 1

Tackles

        Tot Tckls TFL
  Team Totals     45 5.0
1 Caleb Hartley (Sr)     9 2.0
2 Tyler Smith (Sr)     7  
3 Chandler Lynn (Jr)     1 1.0
4 Me’elle Merrion (Sr)     3  
8 J. Robinson (Jr)     1  
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr)     1  
11 Drekari Jones (Sr)     5  
15 Tyler Heath (Jr)     6  
18 Gage Herndon (So)     2  
25 Shauqae Gaffney (Sr)     4  
30 Brannon Usher (Jr)     1 1.0
32 Tank Morris (Fr)     3 1.0
55 Dawson Malone (Jr)     2

Sacks

    Sacks Ydl Hurs
  Team Totals 1.0 7 1
1 Caleb Hartley (Sr)     1
30 Brannon Usher (Jr) 1.0 7  

Interceptions

    Int Int Yds Avg PD
  Team Totals       11
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr)       1
11 Drekari Jones (Sr)       1
15 Tyler Heath (Jr)       8
25 Shauqae Gaffney (Sr)       1

 

Gage Herndon smothers a Tiger
Tank Morris (#32) flies in for a tackle
The Bulldog coaches- Dwayne Wilson (near) and Richie Marsh
Tyler Smith leaps for a throw
Trey Cloud runs for 8-yards
Chandler Lynn is tackled after a catch
KK Gaffney and Dawson Malone (#55) combine on a tackle
Trey Cloud runs for a 1st down
The Bulldogs are inches short of a 1st down
The Dawgs pick up the 1st down on a 4th down play
Chandler Lynn with a catch and run
Trey Cloud completes a pass
D.J. Mincey is tackled after a catch
D.J. Mincey runs in open space
D.J. Mincey runs for a big 1st down
Trey Cloud takes a final knee
The TCHS coaches
Coach Richie Marsh congratulates Trey Cloud