The Toombs County Bulldogs and the Benedictine Cadets have played two game on artificial turf. Both were played at Savannah State and both were won by the Cadets. On Friday, August 16 at 7:30 p.m.the two schools will play their third game on a rug and this time it will be in Booster Stadium in Lyons. The game will broadcast on Y-101 Radio and streamed on Mixlr.
After three months of work the 54-year old Pit has been transformed from an historic natural grass facility to a vibrant, refurbished stadium with Legion Turf, aluminum bleachers and a whole new look.
Toombs County coach Richie Marsh says Friday is going to be a big night for the program and the community. “It is going to be a very special night with what the community has done for our kids. The personal energy and effort that was put in by some of the community on their own. Coach (Bill) Benton, Barry Waller, Clint Williams and Tommy Wright. They worked tirelessly to make sure this thing is first class. It’s not a job to them. They took a lot personal pride in it and I am so humble that we get to in something like that and I hope the kids feel the same way.”
The format of the scrimmage will have the junior varsity teams playing the first quarter and the varsity playing the final three. There will be live kicking in the varsity segment.
The Cadets have already played one scrimmage game before a big crowd. More than 4,000 showed up at Memorial Stadium in Savannah to watch Benedictine outscore Savannah Christian 41-32. The Cadets feature a high profile sophomore quarterback. Holden Geriner has already received an offer from Florida State and he threw two touchdown passes to Trent Broadnax for 56 and 27-yards and one to Gavin Stewart for 48. Geriner also scored a rushing TD on a short run.
Broadnax, a AAA All-State preseason player, is the son of Horace Broadnax, who is the head basketball coach at Savannah State and a former Georgetown Hoya. He played on the 1984 NCAA National Championship team.
Coach Marsh, who scouted the Benedictine/Savannah Christian game (Toombs also plays Savannah Christian during the regular season), has always preached to his defensive backs to not get beat deep.
“He (Geriner) threw a couple (deep balls) on Friday night and did really well with it,” Marsh said. “”He’s got a couple of kids who can play very well, some receivers who can go and catch it. He’s got an arm and he is a really good player. With what they do now. They throw the ball deep. They try to stretch the field and get on top of the coverage.”
Marsh says facing this potent Benedictine team will be unlike anything the Dawgs have seen this summer. “It’s been us for awhile. You get some 7-on-7 and some OTA’s, but you got a short field on that. There is nothing like a Friday night, with a quarterback who is able to the stretch the field. I would like to say we have seen it all summer, but that’s not true and that is going to be a huge test for us.”
The Bulldogs are 1-3 versus Benedictine in regular season match ups and 0-1 against the Cadets in scrimmage games.
A game turns into a rout, real fast
With 3:26 remaining in the first half the Toombs County Bulldogs were in a game with undefeated Benedictine at Savannah State. Jamar Smith had just scored his 16th rushing touchdown of the season on a one-yard run and the Dawgs trailed the Cadets 14-7. However, by halftime Toombs trailed 28-7 and then by the end of the third quarter the Bulldogs trailed by 44 in what turned into a 51-13 loss, their worst defeat in nearly 20 years (49-0 at Bleckley County on October 22, 1993).
What turned this contest into a rout was a pair of non-offensive touchdowns by the Cadets. First, after a Demetrice Baker interception, the Bulldogs were intercepted. Ben Wright picked off a pass and ran it 48-yards down the Bulldog sideline and into the end zone. On their next possession the Bulldogs were forced to punt and with just 15 seconds remaining in the half Mike Huggins returned a Brandon Dowd bomb 75-yards down the Cadet sideline for a touchdown. Huggins scored on a 13-yard run with 10:10 to play in the third quarter, Jon Gaines rambled in from 16-yards out with 6:18 left Bulldog quarterback James Ethredge was sacked in the end zone with 4:28 to go for a safety and Jack Muller scored on a 10-yard run with 1:07 left to make it 51-7 Benedictine after three quarters.
The Cadets ran for 162 yards and threw for 200. Powers completed 9-of-11 passes with a TD and an interception. Stewart caught six of those passes for 141 yards with 67 coming on one first quarter reception. In two games against the Bulldogs the junior has caught 12 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, in the Pit, he had six receptions for 124 yards in a game won by the Bulldogs 14-12.
The Bulldogs scored their first touchdown thanks to special teams, defense and offense. Dowd punted the ball 52-yards and the Dawgs downed it inches away from the goal line. Brandon punted the ball four times for an average of 48.8 yards. The senior is averaging 40.2 yards per punt this season. Then Cadet QB Stevie Powers fumbled the ball and TCHS recovered at the three-yard line and two playe later Smith took a James Ethredge handoff and then lowered his shoulder pads and powered the ball into the end zone.
The fourth quarter was played with a running clock and the Bulldogs scored a second touchdown, at the 6:05 mark, on a three-yard run by Smith. Jamar was held to his second lowest rushing total of the season- 89 yards on 25 carries with a long run of 24 and an average of 3.6 per carry. For the season Smith has 1246 yards on 181 carries. He is averaging 178 yards per game and 6.9 per run with 17 rushing touchdowns and one receiving score.
On defense J.D. Rogers, who was playing linebacker, had eight solo tackles and four assists to lead the Bulldogs.
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Oh, What A Night!
The Toombs County Bulldogs had been in this situation once before. Control a game with their defense and then try and hang on at the end. In September the Bulldogs lost a 7-6 home game to Bacon when the Raiders scored in the final half minute. On a nice October homecoming night Toombs held off Benedictine for a 14-12 Region 2 victory. The Cadets scored a touchdown with 1:02 to play, but their two-point pass for the tie was knocked away by Chris Mobley.
The Bulldogs controlled time of possession in the first half as they took a 14-0 halftime lead. Jamar Smith scored the game’s first touchdown on a two-yard run completing a short drive which was set up by a Cadet fumble. Oswaldo Guzman’s PAT made it 7-0 TCHS with 2:42 to play in the first quarter.
Smith made it 14-0 with 3:25 left in the second quarter on a 62-yard TD run down the Bulldog sideline going to the south end zone. Fullback Cameron Conner made a key block down field. Jamar ran for 190 yards on 35 carries and for the season has amassed 1,228 yards and is averaging 153.5 per game and 7.3 per carry,
The Bulldog defense, which has been a dominating force throughout the season, kept the Cadets multiple offense off the scoreboard for 45 minutes and 11 seconds. The Dawgs made 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and allowed the Cadets 221 yards of total offense, just 14 were gained on the ground. Casey Hughes finished a Benedictine drive with a two-yard run to make it 14-6 with 2:49 to play in the fourth quarter. Michael Kersey busted through the line and blocked the PAT to keep it an eight-point game.
After a Bulldog three and out Benedictine drove 68-yards with it’s spread offense and scored on a 23-yard throw and catch from backup left-handed quarterback Stevie Powers to Brad Stewart.
After the Cadets failed two-point conversion they tried an onside kick recovered by TCHS’s Anthony Britt. Bulldog quarterback Ben Brantley took a couple of knees from the victory formation and the Bulldogs improved to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the region.
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