Early's Jacori Taylor escapes the pressure of a Thomasville defender during Friday's 13-12 loss. (Hubby Brooks/Thomasville Times-Enterprise).
THOMASVILLE -- Fate was on Thomasville's side Friday night.
So, too, was a stellar defensive stand.
In their Region 1-AA opener at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Bulldogs stuffed Early County running back Ladonis Bryant's attempted two-point conversion at the goal line in overtime to preserve a 13-12 victory.
Herald No. 5 Early County pulled within a point in the extra session following a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bryant to Laron Randall.
The Bobcats decided to go for two and ran a play, but the pass was dropped. However, a referee ruled Thomasville had called timeout prior to the play, giving the Bobcats another shot.
"I started calling it way before that, and he wouldn't give it to me," Thomasville coach Richie Marsh said.
Given a second chance, the Bobcats decided to run the ball. Bryant ran for the left corner of the end zone but was stopped just short.
Thomasville's touchdown in overtime came on a 4-yard pass from Devante Jones to Tre Garland. Joseph Fennelly's extra point proved to be the difference, as the Bulldogs improved to 3-2. More importantly, Thomasville is 1-0 in region play.
"Region's everything now," Marsh said."That's a good football team. (Early coach) Trey (Woolf's) done an unbelievable job with them. We knew they were going to be ready to play. We knew what type of coach Trey was. We're blessed."
Missed opportunities were a big reason the Bobcats fell short. Out of Early County's nine possessions, seven reached Thomasville territory. The Bobcats were done in by a fumble inside the 10-yard line and an incompletion at the 8-yard line on a fourth-down attempt.
The Bobcats also missed their extra point in regulation. Bryant finished with nine rushes for 79 yards, while QB Jacori Taylor was 9-of-17 passing for 128 yards.
Thomasville will travel to rival Brooks County next week in a key region tilt.
Early County (2-3, 0-1) is off next week.