A win on the road in the playoffs is big.
Two wins add up to massive.
Dodge County is going for humongous on Friday.
A week after the Indians knocked off eighth-ranked Westside in Macon, the Indians hunt bigger game when they head north to face Jefferson.
The Region 8-AAA champs are undefeated, ranked fourth in the final regular-season Georgia Sports Writers Association poll, and are 35-4 since the start of the 2012 season, with that year’s Class AA title.
“They got it going on over there,” said Dodge County head coach Rex Hodges, whose team will have a ride of a little more than three hours Friday.
Jefferson will offer more of a home-field advantage than did Westside, which had a small home crowd. The Dragons have lost 41-34 to North Hall (which went 8-3) early last season. The previous home loss was in the middle of the 2011 season to Elbert County (which went 11-2). The Dragons lost three weeks earlier to North Oconee (11-1).
“Their quarterback is a really good player,” Hodges said of Evan Shirreffs, who has 2,246 yards passing. “They’ve got two good running backs (Sammy Williams and Colby Wood). They’re not real big, but they’re fast. And they’ve got an outstanding offensive line.”
Jefferson offers a balanced offense, while the Dragons are pretty sure their defense will face a run-oriented attack. Dodge County averages 231.9 yards on the ground per game, thanks to the four-headed running monster of Landon Martin, Roscoe Wilcox, Kyle Glover and Gerrard Davis.
Only 157 yards separate the four, who have 2,301 yards and 33 touchdowns together for the Indians, who have reached nine wins for the first time since the final season of former head coach Greg Robinson -- now at Warner Robins -- in 2007.
But Jefferson (11-0) hasn’t allowed more than 16 points in any game this season, with seven opponents failing to crack double figures. So the Indians will have to do what they’ve done most of the season, and a little bit more.
“Defensively, they just play good team defense,” Hodges said. “Their region was 4-0 in the first round, also.
“We’ve been fortunate we haven’t turned the ball over very much all year. We’ve got to continue to do that.”
-- Michael A. Lough
VIDALIA PLAYERS HONORED
When Vidalia hosts 8-3 Coosa on Friday, the undefeated Indians will take the field with the GHSA Region 2-AA Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year.
Senior quarterback Jordan Black has rushed for 1,057 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, including five in top-seeded Vidalia 56-35 win over Berrien last week.
Linebacker Mason McBride anchors the defense. McBride, at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and only a sophomore, reportedly has already received scholarship offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida and South Carolina. Doubling as a running back, McBride ran a kickoff back 89 yards and also scored on a 49-yard pass from Black in the Indians’ 45-13 regular-season finale against Bryan County.
Coosa won its first playoff game since 2004 last week, 14-7 over Greene County in overtime.
-- Eldredge McCready
HAWKINSVILLE READY TO START
In Class A public schools, Hawkinsville (9-1) will host Jenkins County on Friday in a first-round contest.
Hawkinsville’s Red Devils have recorded three shutouts and are seeded fourth, finishing sixth in the Georgia Sports Writers Association Poll.
Head coach David Daniell has a 22-11 record in his third season.
Jenkins County is 7-3, seeded 13th in the bracket. The Eagles have never defeated Hawkinsville in four previous meetings, the most recent occurring in 2009.
-- Eldredge McCready
Tattnall Square second baseman Elizabeth Wainwright signed with Young Harris on Tuesday.
Wainwright, a four-year starter, hit .461 with 31 runs scored and 30 stolen bases this season. She holds Tattnall’s single-season stolen base record with 33 and the career stolen base mark with 106, as well as the career batting average mark (.421), the single-season run mark (48), the second-highest single season batting average (her mark this season), the second-highest career run total (132) and the second highest career hits total (166).
Young Harris plays in the Peach Belt Conference.
“Liz has been a great player for us for four years,” Tattnall head coach Joey Hiller said in a release from the academy. “Her speed and instinctive play have helped our softball team achieve great success in her four years as a starter. She plays the game at a pace that is consistent with championship level softball. Young Harris will be very pleased with the tools and talents that she brings to their softball program.”
-- Ron Seibel