The Bulldogs overcome a 13-point deficit to win a 2nd half shootout 37-34

On a damp night in Booster Stadium the Toombs County Bulldogs fell behind 13-0, trailed 13-9 at half and then in the final two quarters outscored the Hephzibah Rebels 28-21 in half that featured five lead changes. D.J. MIncey’s two touchdown runs of 12 and 22-yards, within less than a minute of each other, propelled the Dawgs to a 37-34 win in the first round of the GHSA State Playoffs. Y-101 archived play-by-play

The 8-2 Bulldogs move on to the second round of the playoffs and they will travel to Tiger to play 11-0 Rabun County which features Gunner Stockton- one of the top sophomore quarterbacks in the country. 11-0 Rabun shutout B.E.S.T. Academy 38-0.

Since the turn of the century the Bulldogs have won five-of-six home playoff games defeating Bleckley County and Irwin County in 2000, Cook  County in 2008, Fitzgerald in 2017 and Hepzibah. The only loss was in overtime to Brooks County in 2003.

The Rebels opened up their 13-point lead by scoring two rushing touchdowns from 8-yards out in just 10 seconds in the first quarter. E’shawn Mayes running out of the wildcat formation scored with 4:15 on the clock.

A short kickoff hit the Legion Turf and Hephzibah scooped up the loose ball and then the Rebels scored their second TD on Christopher Clark’s run with 4:05 to play in the quarter. The PAT was no good.

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Pictures by J.D. Rogers

Chandler Lynn celebrates his Pick-6

The Bulldog defense scored the first nine-points for the home team. Junior linebacker Chandler Lynn intercepted a pass near the goal line and and he stepped into the end zone with 6:07 to go in the second quarter to cut the Rebel to 13-7 and then the Dawgs scored two more points on a safety credited to Brannon Usher with 5:52 left in the half to make it 13-9.

“They ran the play where they swing the number three receiver out and they try to block with the other two receivers,” Lynn said. “I was waiting on that play all game because I knew when that time came I was going to be a game changer. The quarterback muffed it. He picked it up and tried throwing the ball and I was right there and I just snagged it and scored.”

The official signals Trey Cloud is in the end zone

Toombs County took its first lead with 7:36 remaining in the third quarter on a 7-yard run by senior quarterback Trey Cloud. The Julian-Marion Vitale PAT made it 16-13 TCHS.

Hephzibah went back to the wildcat formation and Mayes scored on an 11-yard run to push his team back into the lead at 20-16 with 4:35 to play in the third quarter.

The Bulldog offensive line leads Trey Cloud into the end zone

With 11:34 to play in the fourth quarter Cloud followed his offensive line into the end zone on a short run and his Bulldogs were back on top 23-20.

“It was all about reading our keys tonight,” Cloud said after running the ball for 58-yards on 13 carries. “On the two touchdowns the offensive line got a big push. You take what you can get. You take what the defense gives you. They (Kolby Scott, Josh Jackson, Angel Brown, Chase Miller and Dasunta Parker) told me before the play to just run behind them and I trusted them and they took me into the end zone.”

Clark scored his second TD with 5:38 remaining in the game on a 20-yard run to push the Rebels back into the lead at 27-23.

D.J. Mincey scores his first touchdown
D.J. Mincey shows the ref the ball
Trey Cloud signals touchdown D.J.
Me’Elle Marion (#4) raises his hands after D.J. Mincey’s TD
D,J. Mincey is on his way to the end zone
D.J. Mincey touches the goal line with his left foot
D.J. Mincey is in

Toombs County scored the next 14-points as Mincey scored scored on runs of 12 and 22-yards with 5:23 and 4:29 to play in the game. In between those two scores Bulldog sophomore linebacker Gage Herndon hit the quarterback and forced a fumble which was recovered by Tank Morris. The freshman linebacker led the Dawgs with 17 tackles.

“Trey (Cloud) told me to follow him and that is what I did because I wanted to win,” Mincey said after carrying the ball for 98-yards on 17 carries. “Coach (Daniel) Dorsey says always make one man miss. It was awesome. I had my head stuck in the wrong place in the first half and I had to realize I had to play for my brothers.”

The final touchdown of the game was scored on a pass which was caught by Harris with 2:24 left in the game to pull the Rebels to within three-points.

“My hats off to coach (William) Harrell and what he has done with that program,” head coach Richie Marsh said. “We made 900 mistakes and the kids kept battling back. I was encouraged by the kids just hanging together as a team with all the adversity that we faced. They just kept fighting back, believing in themselves, trying to make plays, not being negative about it and my hats off to the team, the brotherhood. There was nobody over there blaming the other person. It was a true team and I am so glad we were able to comeback.”

The Bulldogs had to play the second half without senior linebacker and running back Caleb Hartley who left the game with an injury. “We lost Caleb before halftime and that didn’t help anything defensively,” Marsh said. “We had another linebacker out and another linebacker out. So, Gage Herndon had to step in there at linebacker. I was proud of him. He stepped in there and he had never played that position and he was lights out.”


Comp Att Yds C % Avg TD Int Lng QB Rate
Team Totals 9 16 84 .562 9.3 21 70.8
12 Trey Cloud (Sr) 9 16 84 .562 9.3 21 70.8


Car Yds Avg Lng TD
Team Totals 37 184 5.0 22 2
1 Caleb Hartley (Sr) 3 9 3.0 8
2 Tyler Smith (Sr) 1 -2 -2.0 -2
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr) 17 98 5.8 22 2
12 Trey Cloud (Sr) 13 58 4.5 9
30 Brannon Usher (Jr) 3 21 7.0 8


Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
Team Totals 9 84 9.3 21
2 Tyler Smith (Sr) 1 0 0.0 0
3 Chandler Lynn (Jr) 2 21 10.5 17
4 Me’elle Merrion (Sr) 1 15 15.0 15
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr) 2 21 10.5 21
11 Drekari Jones (Sr) 2 17 8.5 9
15 Tyler Heath (Jr) 1 10 10.0 10


Tot Tckls TFL
Team Totals 66 9.0
1 Caleb Hartley (Sr) 4 2.0
2 Tyler Smith (Sr) 4
3 Chandler Lynn (Jr) 8 2.0
4 Me’elle Merrion (Sr) 4
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr) 7 2.0
11 Drekari Jones (Sr) 1
15 Tyler Heath (Jr) 4
18 Gage Herndon (So) 3 1.0
21 J. Marin-Vital (So) 1
25 Shauqae Gaffney (Sr) 1
30 Brannon Usher (Jr) 4 1.0
32 Tank Morris (Fr) 17 1.0
52 C. Braddock (Jr) 4
55 Dawson Malone (Jr) 3
64 Chase Miller (Sr) 1


Sacks Ydl Hurs
Team Totals 4.0 38 5
3 Chandler Lynn (Jr) 1.0 6
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr) 1.0 9
18 Gage Herndon (So) 1.0 7
30 Brannon Usher (Jr) 1.0 16 1
32 Tank Morris (Fr) 3
52 C. Braddock (Jr) 1


Int Int Yds Avg PD
Team Totals 2 9 4.5 6
3 Chandler Lynn (Jr) 1 6 6.0
9 Derrick Mincey (Jr) 1
11 Drekari Jones (Sr) 1
15 Tyler Heath (Jr) 1 3 3.0 2
25 Shauqae Gaffney (Sr) 1
64 Chase Miller (Sr) 1


Drekari Jones catches a pass
Kolby Scott and D.J. Mincey make sure Trey Cloud has a clean pocket
Tyler Smith goes one-on-one with a DB
Tank Morris and D.J. Mincey combine on a tackle
Chandler Lynn punts the ball
Tyler Heath catches a Trey Cloud pass
Trey Cloud runs the ball
Drekari Jones catches his second pass
Tyler Heath snags a ball 
Tyler Heath’s catch give the Dawgs a first down
D.J. Mincey runs in open space
Julian Marion Vitale kicks the ball into the end zone
Tyler Heath intercepts a pass
Tyler Smith returns a kickoff
Julian Marion-Vitale drills a PAT
Tank Morris (#32) on one of his 17 tackles
From the left- Chase Miller. Trey Cloud and Chandler Lynn celebrate a playoff win