By Justin Gray
The Swainsboro Tigers have a well oiled machine disguised as a football team this year. Game after game they do everything right to win and typically do so in dominating fashion. Game after game, no team has been able to stay in the game with the Tigers and they are on track to accomplish their ultimate goal of winning the GHSA State Championship for the first time since 2000.
In the quarterfinal, the Rabun County Wildcats came down from out of the mountains to tangle in the jungle against the Tigers. Rabun County was undefeated coming in with an explosive offense, with a wide receiver who holds the record for most receiving yards in a career in GHSA history, so this was set up to be a tough matchup for the Tigers. Rabun County jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, but it wouldn’t last long as Demello Jones took the direct snap and ran it around the left side for a 28-yard touchdown run to tie it at 7. Rabun soon took the lead again with a field goal to make it 10-7. The Tiger offense was in a bit of a rut, but the defense jump-started them as Jerrod Steward intercepted the pass across the middle and returned it to the Rabun County redzone. Ty Adams took the QB power from three yards out, around the right side for a touchdown and the Tiger went into half up 14-10.
After halftime, it would be all Swainsboro. Jones tacked on another rushing touchdown to extend the lead to 21-10. The vaunted Tiger defense was dominant in the second half, not allowing the Wildcats any hope of a comeback. After another stop by the dominant defense, the Tigers were going for the kill-shot and got just that when Ty Adams dropped back and hit Jones in stride down the sideline for a 64 yard touchdown. That put the Tigers up big, 28-10. In the fourth quarter, the Tigers ended any hope that Rabun County had of a comeback when Adams threw a jump ball to Keshon Deloach for the touchdown from six yards out, and the Tigers strolled to a 35-10 win.
This is just one step closer to where Coach Roberts and his Tigers hope to be. The Tigers are back in the State Semifinals for the second year in a row. Next up, the Tigers head to Irwin County. They are 11-1 on the season, but are also a one-seed and their side of the bracket won the coin toss for home field advantage. Irwin County is no stranger to this stage as they have played in seven of the last eight Single-A State Titles, so this will be a slobberknocker for the Tigers. Cancel your plans, reschedule what you have to, because the Tigers need everyone who can to take the 104-mile trip down to Ocilla. Let’s go cheer on these guys!