Noles win replay of playoff game, advance in GDFL playoffs

DAWSON -- There was no brawl this time -- just a semi-pro football team with a "never-say-die attitude."

The South Georgia Noles and the Georgia Jets replayed a Gridiron Developmental Football League playoff game Saturday that was cancelled last week in the fourth quarter due to a fight between the Jets and the officials.

In Saturday's make-up game, the Noles overcame a 20-6 deficit in the second quarter to post a 40-20 victory and stay undefeated on the season at 11-0, advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

"This is the best win this season," Noles coach Ivory Williams said. "We were down 20-8 earlier this season for the conference championship and came back. We just have a never-say-die attitude. These guys never want to go home."

The sixth-ranked Noles, who have a roster largely made up of local players advanced to the second round of GDFL playoffs, and now will play Saturday on the road at the fourth-ranked Henry County (Ga.) Horsemen, who are also 11-0.

The Noles trailed 20-12 at halftime, but quarterback Marcus Brooks opened the second half with one of his four touchdown passes in the game, sparking a Noles comeback.

"I had to keep going up and down our sideline and motivating them, letting them know that there are four quarters of football," Williams said. "We came out in the second half and marched down the field. We took it from there."

However, the game wasn't without incident -- again. Late in the fourth quarter, Williams told The Herald Jets defender Matthew Hardemen threw a punch at of Williams' players on the Noles' sideline during a play.

"He blitzed Marcus, and then he ran over to our bench and swung at our players," Williams said. "Our players kept our cool, and he was ejected. The league may ban him from last year."

The original first-round playoff game last Saturday between the two teams got out of control when there was a dispute between Jets players and officials about the score. According to league officials, the score should have been 7-7 after both teams scored touchdowns and converted PATs. However, the officials made an error during the game and ruled that the Jets had just six points. That ruling prompted the Jets and the officials to get into an altercation that GDFL president Charles Thompson called "unacceptable."

The league hired a brand new crew of referees to officiate the makeup game, but according to Williams a pair of officials from Atlanta failed to show for the game. Their absence made the Henry County head coach, who was there simply as an observer, the impromptu line judge on the Jets' sideline.

-- john.millikanalbanyherald.com