Dougherty running back Jacob Stallworth finds room to run against the Monroe defense during a 2021 game at Hugh Mills Stadium.

The Dougherty football team’s amazing turnaround season heads to Columbus for a Friday night Class AAAA quarterfinal against Carver.

The Trojans, 0-5 during a rough 2020 season that was impacted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic, sport a 10-2 record this year after knocking off Region 5-AAAA champion Riverdale in the second round. Devin Collier scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter for the only score in the 7-0 victory, which has Dougherty in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005.

Carver (11-1) is led by a familiar face to Albany football fans, head coach Corey Joyner, a Dougherty grad and the Trojans’ head coach from 2012-17. His brother Uyl, a former quarterback at Dougherty and Albany State, is one of his assistants. Their family still lives in Albany.

Joyner’s third-ranked Tigers have won 11 straight since a narrow 25-22 loss to Lee County in the Aug. 21 Hamp Smith Classic at Albany State. They defeated West Laurens 22-7 in the first round, and routed Hapeville Charter 52-12 in last week’s second round.

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