High School Sports

Explosive offenses clash with Macon County, Taylor County

Friday might be homecoming for Macon County, but the real show figures to be on the scoreboard.

The Bulldogs (2-1), ranked No. 7 in the Georgia Sports Writers Association’s GHSA Class 1A Poll, resume region play in Region 4B-1A against neighboring rival and unbeaten Taylor County.

Neither team is short on offensive firepower by any stretch of the imagination. Macon County hasn’t been held to less than 42 points through its first three games. The Vikings, meanwhile, have been held to no fewer than 30 points in starting 3-0 after going 3-7 last year, and scored 55 two weeks ago against Central-Talbotton.

The kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Montezuma.

And it doesn’t take long for Macon County head coach Dexter Copeland to point out a major reason for Taylor County’s success. Vikings running back Lyn-J Dixon is averaging 242 rushing yards per game and has rushed for 12 touchdowns.

“They’ve got tremendous football team over there, are very well-coached and have one of the best running backs in the state,” Copeland said. “We’ve got to try and slow him down. He’s a great running back.”

He’ll bring the Bulldogs reminder of another dynamic running back they went up against earlier this year: Fitzgerald’s J.D. King, who is committed to Oklahoma State. King and the offense of Fitzgerald, ranked No. 1 in 2A, gave Macon County plenty to lose sleep over in a 70-42 defeat but also a good idea of what to expect from Taylor County.

“I don’t even want to see that anymore. It was a headache before and even during the game,” Copeland said. “But Taylor County’s offense is just as good as Fitzgerald. I think Lyn-J is just as good, if not better than (King). They have a very explosive offense. They have a quarterback (Gunnar Watson) that is pretty good and a receiver that can catch the ball. They have a lot of different weapons, also.”

The Bulldogs are enjoying a wealth of experience in their spread offense. Seasoned talent in the passing combination of senior quarterback K’Hari Lane and junior receiver Trey Brown is tough to stop. Lane has thrown for 932 yards and 14 touchdowns through just three games. Of those touchdowns, eight alone have gone to Brown.

But the Bulldogs hardly have a single-pronged approach on offense. Receivers Tra Mathis, Jadarrius Hicks, Keldric Thomas and running back Jared Daniels each have given Macon County additional passing options with at least six catches so far in 2016.

Toss in an experienced offensive line blocking for a proven running game led by Daniels, coming off a 1,000-yard season, and Aukeeveous McClendon following 900 yards rushing last season, and the Bulldogs have plenty of ways to score points and pile up the offensive yards.

And the road gets no easier for Macon County, whose non-region schedule wraps up next week against the current No. 2-ranked team in Class 6A, Northside.

“I wanted to play the top teams early on and test us and see how good we were,” Copeland said. “It makes you a better football team.”