Mitchell holds off Terrell late, wraps perfect region record

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

CAMILLA -- Mitchell County, already having claimed the GHSA Region 1-A championship, didn't need a win Friday to improve their seeding in the playoffs.

The Eagles just wanted a win for the "Dirty Dozen."

Mitchell County rallied in the second half to pull out a 17-15 win over Terrell County, winning one for the Eagles' 12 seniors to complete an unbeaten region record.

"We wanted to come away with momentum and a win for the seniors -- the 'Dirty Dozen,'" said Eagles senior Jesse Atkins, who finished with 115 yards of total offense, including a key 43-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.

Mitchell (9-1, 7-0 Region 1-A) will be the top seed from the region and will host Region 3-A No. 4 seed Savannah Christian on Friday. Savannah Christian was the GHSA Class A runner-up last year.

Terrell County (5-5, 4-3 Region 1-A) is the fourth seed from the region and will travel to Wrightsville in the first round of the state playoffs, where they'll try to upset undefeated Region 3-A No. 1 seed Johnson County.

The Greenwave already had a playoff seed locked up coming into Friday, but they had their minds set on upending the region champs -- and nearly did it. Terrell, which led 7-2 at halftime, fell behind, 17-7, before a safety pulled them within a score with 2:43 left to play.

Greenwave quarterback Jerkerious Scott would then hit Charles Brown on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 1:07 to play, but Scott fired just over the head of his intended receiver on the two-point conversion that would have tied the game and possibly sent it to overtime.

"I thought we had him open, but we got a little excited," Terrell County head coach William Huff said.

Mitchell County had just two points at halftime after a Greenwave punt snap went out of the back of the end zone, but found some rhythm through the air in the second half. Eagles' senior quarterback Cedric Spooner completed 10-of-20 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the third quarter.

"If we execute the game plan, we can beat anybody," Spooner said. "It's not being cocky. The coaches have just taught us so (well)."

Ja'Kyari Jenkins caught a 17-yard strike from Spooner with 2:43 to play in the third to give Mitchell its first lead, 10-7. Atkins followed that up with his 43-yarder just more than a minute later after Terrell fumbled the ball away, putting the Eagles up 17-7.

Still, Mitchell head coach Dondrial Pinkins wasn't pleased with the four fumbles -- two of those lost -- in the Eagles' playoff tuneup.

"We were not focused in the first half," Pinkins said. "The closer we got to the goalline, we started shooting ourselves in the foot. We've got to go back to the drawing board."

Terrell County didn't do itself any favors by turning the ball over three times, although one led to a safety after Mitchell County recovered and ran back into the end zone. The Greenwave defense held the high-powered Eagles to just 262 yards of offense (Terrell had 313 yards).

"(Mitchell County has) been putting up a lot of points," Huff said. "I feel very good about how we played defensively. We've been on a little streak and built momentum. We just got to get ready for the playoffs now."

Terrell got the only first-half touchdown on its first drive after fullback Basheer Rogers broke loose on a 52-yard run. Rogers finished with 112 yards on 17 carries, while Jacoby Calloway had 81 yards rushing in the Terrell Wing-T. Scott threw for 105 yards, 67 of which went to Brown.

Atkins had 58 yards rushing, just four in the second half, on 12 carries and 55 yards receiving for Mitchell. Yancey Burns caught two passes for 78 yards.

University of Georgia commit, receiver Justin Scott-Wesley, was held to two catches for 17 yards.