CHULA -- In a must-win game for Deerfield, the Knights stepped up to the challenge Friday with a decisive 35-7 win against Tiftarea to clinch a spot in the GISA Class AAA playoffs.
The victory sets up a game next week against Southland, which will determine Nos. 2-4 in the region standings.
It was Deerfield’s defense that shined brightest on Friday as the Knights picked off six Tiftarea passes and Tripp Presley and Aaron McNutt had two interceptions apiece.
McNutt ran one of his interceptions back for a TD, Grey Lanier returned an interception for a TD, Matthew Fox rushed for two TDs and Alec Miller scored once on a rushing TD.
SEMINOLE COUNTY 28, MILLER COUNTY 0: The Herald No. 2 Indians held the rival Pirates to 36 total yards of offense to dominate the annual “Border War” game.
Seminole is now 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the region, setting up a winner-take-all Region 1-A championship game in next Friday’s regular-season finale against Mitchell County, which is also 5-0 in region play.
The Indians tallied up 231 rushing yards Friday and were led by Alex Fudge, who tallied two TDs and 52 yards on 16 carres. Javon Wiggins (7 carries, 63 yards) and Danny Rambo (5 carries, 37 yards) also got in the end zone.
Miller, which lost four more yards in penalties than they gained on offense, only had four first downs and fell to 4-6 overall and 3-3 in the region.
SOUTHLAND 37, BULLOCH ACADEMY 7: Dustin Shattles ran for two TDs and caught another TD pass to help the Raiders clinch a GISA playoff spot on Friday.
Allen Gleeson and Colt Stephens also had rushing TDs for Southland, which led 21-0 at halftime and stayed in command throughout the second half. Southland is now 7-3 overall and 3-1 in the region.
EARLY COUNTY 33, PELHAM 6: Early County took a huge step toward the playoffs with a big win over Region 1-AA rival Pelham.
The Bobcats jumped ahead 27-0 in the second quarter and recovered four fumbles in the game, smothering Pelham with their defense.
Randy Wade (12 tackles), Akil Teal (11) and Chris James (10) led the Bobcats’ defensive effort, while Tyrek Lyles rushed for a game-high 45 yards and a TD to lead Early on offense. Jay Moses and Jay Barley also scored on rushing TDs, and QB Miles Norman threw a 14-yard pass to Trent Mock for Early.
Early (5-4, 3-2) plays Cook next week and can earn the No. 3 seed in the playoffs with a win.
RANDOLPH-CLAY 39, CALHOUN COUNTY 14: Herald Dynamite Dozen rusher Cornelius Bennett rushed for 243 yards and one TD on 25 carries to lead the Red Devils to a Region 1-A win and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Herald Dynamite Dozen RB Don Bolden also added 73 yards and two TDs, and Randolph-Clay QB Caleb McFather tossed a TD to Artie Lee.
Calhoun County’s highlight came in the first half on an 80-yard interception return for a TD by DaJohn Williams, which gave Calhoun a 14-6 lead.
Randolph-Clay, however, scored 33 unanswered points to run away with the win and improve to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the region. The Red Devils play Terrell County next week.