CUTHBERT -- It was a night of new beginnings for one team, and time to say goodbye for another.
Seminole County, which saw the triumphant return of star running back Chris Brown, continued its hot streak by beating Randolph-Clay, 47-19, on Friday as the Red Devils' once-promising season will end without the playoffs and the program will lose a staggering 22 seniors.
"That's pretty unheard of at the Class A level," an emotional Randolph-Clay coach Daniel McFather said after the game.
It's also unheard of to do what Brown did Friday.
The junior running back, who dislocated his hip in a freak injury during the Indians' final preseason scrimmage three months ago and has missed the entire season up until Friday, came back with a vengeance against Randolph-Clay on Friday, rushing eight times for 188 yards and one score, and also catching a TD pass of 66 yards from quarterback Antwan Buggs.
So how'd Brown look in his first game back?
"He looked like he'd never been gone," said Seminole coach Alan Ingram, whose team improved to 7-3 overall and locked up the No. 2 seed out of Region 1-A, meaning they'll host in next week's first round of the state playoffs.
Not to be outdone were Brown's teammates Buggs and Dee Virgin, who rushed for 136 yards in nine caries and scored three times on the ground -- then once on a pick-six on defense. Buggs, meanwhile, completed one pass -- that 66-yard score to Brown -- and also rushed for 55 yards and a TD on 12 carries.
Seminole raced out to a 33-0 halftime lead, then went ahead 40-0 early in the third and never looked back thanks to some big plays on defense, highlighted by Virgin's interception return and another pick by Kerry Crispin.
Randolph-Clay's Cardaryle Curry scored twice for the Red Devils, and in doing so eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season as he finished with 59 yards on the night. Teammate Johnny Foster finished with 157 yards rushing, and Calvin Paramore scored the other TD (61 yards out) for Randolph, which ends its 2010 season at 6-4 overall and 3-4 in Region 1-A.
But even Ingram felt bad for Randolph after the game, lamenting the fact it was the Red Devils' last game with so many of its upperclassmen.
"They'll lose a bunch of kids," Ingram said. "It's a shame."
McFather felt the same way, and when asked about what his final message was to 22 seniors who will move on with their lives after Friday, he had a hard time fighting back tears.
"I'll admit, it was emotional after the game, and not just because we didn't attain our goals but because we knew this was the last time we'd be together as a team," McFather said. "There were some tears because it felt like part of my heart was leaving. I've touched the lives of a lot of kids (in my two years), but they've also touched mine. I'm really going to miss 'em."
MILLER COUNTY 46, STEWART COUNTY 0:
Marvin Grant ran hard for Miller on his way to 183 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. Caleb Cunningham completed three out of six passes for 84 yard and two scores -- a 15-yard pass to Brandon Mathis in the first quarter and a 38-yard strike to Marcus Bullard in the third. T.T. Barber also recorded a TD in this game for the Pirates, who will be the No. 3 seed out of Region 1-A when the Class A state playoffs begin next week.
"We played well," Miller coach Frank Killingsworth said. "We needed that going in the playoffs.
Miller finished the regular season with an overall record of 7-3 and 5-2 mark in the region.
TERRELL ACADEMY 6, RANDOLPH SOUTHERN 0:
SHELLMAN -- In a rivalry series that has produced so many instant classics over the years, Randolph Southern and Terrell Academy treated their fans to a different kind of game Friday night.
Final: Eagles 6, Patriots 0.
The win for Terrell, the two-time defending GISA Class A state champs, locks up the No. 2 playoff seed heading into next week behind No. 1 Westwood. Randolph Southern, meanwhile, gets the No. 3 spot and will have to travel.
Zach Hurst scored the game's only touchdown, rushing in from one yard out in the second quarter, but the Eagles missed the two-point conversion.
It was a defensive battle the rest of the way as Terrell's effort was highlighted a goal-line stand and a Brian Ambrose fumble recovery.
BROOKS COUNTY 24, EARLY COUNTY 14:
After Ladonis Bryant scored from one yard out with 6:18 remaining before the half as Early led 7-3. But in the second half, the Bobcats lost hold of the game and were outscored, 21-7 the rest of the way.
The loss ends Early's outside shot at the No. 4 seed in Region 1-AA as the Bobcats finish the season at 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the region.
T.J. Allen added Early's second touchdown with 1:14 left in the game, but by then it was too late. Brakari Isom, meanwhile, was a beast defensively for Early with 14 tackles.
SGA 41, BROOKWOOD 14:
Senior star RB Taylor Tabb ended his final regular season with a bang Friday as he led the Warriors to a blowout win to end their GISA Region 3-AA campaign unbeaten at 6-0.
Tabb rushed for 140 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns, and he also returned a fumble 36 yards for another score. His cousin, Troupe Tabb, chipped in with 75 rushing yards on five touches and a TD, while QB Dillion Driver also reached the end zone for SGA. With the win, SGA ends its regular season 8-1 overall and will host throughout the state playoffs.
GLASCOCK 47, BACONTON 6:
James Davis' one-yard touchdown was the lone score for Baconton as he finished with 50 rushing yard on 15 carries.
"Our kids played their hearts out but we were just outmatched," said Baconton coach Glenn Palmer, whose inaugural varsity season ends at 2-6 overall. Being a first-year varsity program, Baconton elected not to play a Region 1-A schedule, but will next year.
Baconton's lone "real win," as Palmer calls it, came against Stewart County, 38-37. Baconton was credited with a victory against Pelham after the Hornets won, but they had to forfeit the 'W' for using an ineligible player.
COOK 42, ALBANY 12:
In the first half, Emmanul Byrd scored from two yards out and tossed a 60-yard TD pass to Jeconiah Jackson, but Albany still went into halftime trailing, 21-12.
"We played them well in the first half," Albany coach Felton Williams said.
In the third quarter, Cook came out with an onside kick that they recovered and eventually scored. From that moment on, the game was in Cook's control.
"After halftime, we just had some mental mistakes," Williams added. "The (third) quarter was the difference in the game."
With the loss, Albany finishes the season with a 2-8 overall record and 1-5 mark in the Region 1-AA.
WORTH 35, CRISP COUNTY 12:
CORDELE -- Jhue Rhodes had a big game for Worth County with 168 rushing yard and a pair of scores, while Will Peacock also reached the end zone twice for the Rams in the win 35-12 win against Region 1-AAA rival Crisp County on Friday.
Ellis Anderson accounted for the other Worth TD. It was a physical game and at halftime it was 13-6. But in the second half, Worth took the opening drive down field for a score that set the tone for the rest of the game.
"It was a great job (tonight)," said Rams coach Scotty Ward. "(But) we were just looking forward to the playoffs next week."
Worth County is the No. 3 seed entering the playoffs.
CALHOUN 20, PELHAM 14:
Vincent Powell broke free for the 40-yard, go-ahead TD with five minutes left in the contest to help Calhoun narrowly escape with the win. Powell also scored Calhoun's first touchdown after breaking for 20 yards in the first quarter.
For Pelham, Brandon Bostick led the way with eight carries for 64 yard and a touchdown. Domonique Harrell chipped in with the touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion that tied the ball game up with 8:08 left in the fourth.
"We had a lot of guys quit on us when thing got hard," Calhoun coach John Williams said. "But we had other guys that hung in there. I'm proud of our play -- we needed to end the season on a positive note.
With the win Calhoun finishes the season with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-6 record Region 1-A, while the loss left Pelham winless on the season.