High School Sports

Washington County defense set for tough test

Joel Ingram is aware his offense gets most of the attention surrounding his Washington County team, and rightfully so with AJ Gray running the show.

But the Golden Hawks’ defense has played well this season, and it will be tested once again Friday.

Washington County hosts Pierce County and its high-powered offense, coached by former Valdosta State standout Sean Pender, in the GHSA Class AAA quarterfinals.

“Our defense has played well this year, and sometimes people overlook that,” Ingram said. “They’re going to have to play well again this week. Pierce County has a very good offense, and we’re going to have to be ready for that.”

The Golden Hawks have allowed only 129 points in their 12 wins, an average of 10.75 points per game. Seven times, Washington County has allowed fewer than 10 points in a game, including two shutouts.

Last week, Washington County (12-0) held Callaway to seven points in a 31-7 win.

“We didn’t dwell on last week very long, once I started looking at Pierce County’s video,” Ingram said. “They’re very dynamic, and they’re very athletic. They’re very advanced offensively, and their passing game is as good as we’ve seen.”

The Bears (10-2) have scored 40 or more points seven times this season, including the past four weeks. Pierce County beat Jackson 49-21 and Oconee County 49-6 in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The Bears have won four straight since losing to Appling County in October.

“Our defensive coaches are smart, and they have a good plan,” Ingram said. “We have a high-risk, high-reward scheme, and you just hope the risks pay off more than the negative impact of giving up big plays.”