On a chilly night in Quitman, Georgia, the Swainsboro Tigers clinched their second straight State Title berth with their 24-17 win over Brooks County, a heavyweight in the state of Georgia.
“Brooks County has been a tough place to go into and win for a long time.” said Head Coach Scot Roberts “We talked all week to our guys about what they should expect to encounter and I could not be prouder of the way they responded. We played our most disciplined game of the season while being extremely physical at the same time. That’s a hard combination to achieve.”
Swainsboro received the opening kickoff and the war began. Fans from both sides showed up and created a lively environment.
The first drive stalled for the Tigers and they were forced to punt. Brooks County got something going offensively, getting to Swainsboro’s side of the field, but a play later, the Tigers knocked the ball and out Sophomore Aiden Foskey jumped on it and it was Swainsboro ball.
It wouldn’t be long until the Tigers cashed in the turnover for a touchdown, it came on an 18-yard Qin Brown run, Demello Jones added the two-point and the Tigers led 8-0.
Brooks County quickly responded with a touchdown drive of their own making it 8-7.
The Tigers next two offensive drives didn’t go well as Jones threw an interception on the first, and a punt on the second, but the Tiger defense made two pivotal stops to ensure Brooks got no points.
The Tigers finally got something going on offense and retook the lead on a Jordon Williams eight-yard rushing touchdown. Kason Edenfield completed a slant to Jones to make it a two-possession deficit, 16-7, with 52 seconds remaining in the half.
Brooks County marched it down the field to start off the second half with a touchdown and cut the lead to 16-14.
Swainsboro’s next drive stalled again, resulting in a punt. Brooks County went on a long drive deep into Tiger territory, but the defense was able to hold them to only a field goal, but that did give Brooks County a 17-16 lead.
The Tigers now, with their backs against the wall and limited possessions left, had to score. Who else to call on than their stud rusher, Demello Jones, who went 61 yards walking into the endzone, the closest defender snatched his towel off trying to catch him, but unfortunately for Brooks County this wasn’t flag football.
This sent Tiger fans now in a frenzy along with the sideline, as they inch closer to another State Championship berth.
The two-point conversion was good thanks to the Freshman Ja’bios Smith brushing off tacklers into the endzone, Tigers now led 24-17.
The Tigers defense now had to be big with only seven minutes remaining. The came up huge with a turnover on downs.
Brooks County was able to get a stop and force a punt. Brooks would have to drive it 88 yards with a little more than a minute on the clock to tie the game.
They moved quickly and got something going, getting it to Swainsboro’s 35 yard line. It was 4th and three, a stop meant the game was over. Brooks County’s quarterback drops back and heaves it up to the post route receiver who is double covered and it was intercepted in the endzone by Senior Schuyler Coney.
The leading rusher for the Tigers was Jones with 134 yards on 17 attempts and a touchdown. Jordan Williams added 60 yards and Qin Brown had 56 yards, both had a touchdown.
“Obviously, we are thrilled that we have earned our way back into this game.” said Coach Roberts. “I love the way our guys have been resilient and responded to adversity every time in the playoffs. I say it all the time….playoff football is different. These guys have met the challenges that playoff football always presents. Now, we have to go be the best team in the stadium, one more time.”
This win sets up a rematch from last year’s State title game between the Tigers and Prince Avenue Christian School. The Tigers fell 52-34 in this game last year, so the Tigers will hope to avenge that loss.
The game will take place this year at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons on December 11 at 1:00 p.m. Show up and show out! Go Tigers!