THOMASVILLE — Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Those were the sentiments shared by Thomas County Central coach Bill Shaver following Friday’s 17-14 overtime victory over Bainbridge.
The Bearcats appeared to have won the game in regulation with a long punt return by Cameron McDowell. But a personal foul penalty negated the score.
In overtime, Bainbridge quarterback Damian Bouie was headed towards the goal line for a touchdown. But a big hit jarred the ball loose and was recovered by Central.
Central responded with its overtime possession with a 34-yard field goal by Gavin Wilson to propel the Yellow Jackets to a win in their Region 1-AAAAA opener at Thomas County Stadium.
“We had the good Lord shining on us tonight,” Central coach Bill Shaver said. “That punt return guy was about in the end zone, about the time that guy blocked 25 yards behind the play. Not just one referee, two referees threw flags.”
The penalty, one of 11 in the game for Bainbridge, backed the Bearcats up to the Yellow Jackets’ 44-yard line. After two incompletions and one long run, the game went into overtime.
“Just daggum too many penalties,” Bainbridge coach Ed Pilcher said.
In the overtime period, the Bearcats drove from their 15 to the 4-yard line in two plays. Then Bouie, a converted-running back who rushed for 76 yards Friday night, ran to his right and appeared to find daylight to the end zone. But the ball popped out, as Bouie was hit and Winston Codling recovered for the touchback.
In Central’s overtime possession, the Yellow Jackets’ offense was stuffed on three straight rushing plays back to the 17-yard line.
“I’m not real pleased with the offense there in overtime. That was a very poor effort,” Shaver said. “We get the ball and in three plays we don’t scratch a penalty.”
Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets, Wilson has been in this position before. He smacked a game-winning kick in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs last season at Statesboro. Wilson was calm, cool and collected Friday night.
“It felt great,” Wilson said. “I just looked at my holder and said, ‘Good hold, good kick.’”
The kick was a no-doubter and sent the Yellow Jackets faithful into a frenzy.
It was a frustrating loss for the Bearcats and Pilcher. The former longtime coach at Central was denied his first win at Central as a visiting coach. Pilcher is now 1-4 against Central since moving to Bainbridge in 2008.
Adam Choice led Central with 147 rushing yards and scored the team’s only touchdowns, a six-yard scamper in the second quarter and 32-yard jaunt in the third quarter.
Miller County shuts out Calhoun County, 22-0
COLQUITT — Jacolby Jones had two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead Miller County past Calhoun County, 22-0, for its second straight Region 1-A victory
Miller County was up 7-0 at the beginning of the fourth quarter until Jones recovered a fumble in the end zone after a 40-yard run by T.J. Means. Jones then caught a 25-yard pass from Algin Merritt, and Marcus Hawkins tackled a Calhoun County runner in the end zone for a safety to pull away.
Josh Kilpatrick scored the game’s only TD in the first half on a 18-yard pass from Merritt. Marvin Grant led Miller County with 86 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Miller County improved to 5-1 overall and 0-2 in the region, while Calhoun County, which has been shut out its last two games, fell to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the region.
VALWOOD 59, SHERWOOD 7: Sherwood turned the ball over three times in the first quarter — including two interceptions that were ran back for TDs — and GISA Class AA Valwood stayed undefeated.
The Eagles, who trailed 31-0 at the end of the first quarter, got their only score when Chandler Tabb caught an 18-yard TD from QB Dalton Todd in the fourth quarter.
Todd finished 7-for-25 for 88 yards and three interceptions, Chandler caught a team-high three passes for 42 yards and Grant Osteen led Sherwood on defense with five solo tackles.
Sherwood (3-4) plays again next week against Westwood.
MITCHELL 27, RANDOLPH-CLAY 7: Mitchell County outscored Randolph-Clay 19-8 in the second half to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Eagles combined for 467 yards of total offense and were led on the ground by Jaquan Williams and Anfernee Williams.
The Eagles are now 2-4 overall and 1-1 in Region 1-A, while Randolph-Clay, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end, fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the region.
Randolph-Clay’s lone score was a Gary McCrae rushing TD.
EARLY COUNTY 43, BERRIEN 19: The Bobcats had 451 yards of total offense and were led by Ladonis Bryant, who had 14 carries for 180 yards and a TD and a pair of receptions for 57 yards and a TD.
Early County QB Jacori Taylor was 9-for-14 passing for 176 yards and threw TD passes to Bryant (39), Marcavius Allen (10) and Laron Randall (37). Taylor and Brandon Carter also had rushing touchdowns for Early.
The Bobcats improved to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the region and are on a bye next week.
TIFTAREA 28, CRISP ACADEMY 12: Crisp Academy dropped its second game in a row after starting the season 3-0.
Hunter Chambers led Crisp with a pair of touchdowns — a 12-yard reception from quarterback Jake Smith and a 13-yard run.
Crisp (3-2) begins GISA Region 3-A play next week at Fullington Academy.
FREDERICA 24, RANDOLPH SOUTHERN 14: Frederica snapped a two-game winning streak for Randolph Southern, which fell to 3-3 overall this season.
No final stats were available at The Herald’s press time.
Randolph Southern plays again Friday at Toombs Christian Academy.
FAITH CHRISTIAN 48, LIFE CHRISTIAN 44: Despite a breakout performance from running back Dontravious Sims, Life Christian fell to 3-4 overall this season.
Sims rushed for 323 yards and five TDs in the loss.
Thomasville Times-Enterprise sports reporter Clint Thompson and Herald sports reporter John Millikan contributed to this report