JEFFERSONVILLE -- Twiggs County head coach Ashley Harden was reluctant to say earlier this week that his rebuilding project of the Cobras’ football program was ahead of schedule.
He had no such qualms after his team battled in a tight contest and pulled out a 20-14 GHSA Region 7A-A victory over rival Wilkinson County on Friday night.
The victory is the third of the season for Twiggs County, which had won just eight total in the previous five years.
“We’re ahead of schedule,” Harden said. “We’re definitely ahead of schedule. It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten (Wilkinson County) in just about anything, so it’s really big for us. I’m just so happy for the kids.”
After a scoreless opening quarter, Wilkinson County jumped on top 6-0 in the second on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tylan Grable to Christian Burney, but as would become the theme of the night, Twiggs County had an answer.
The Cobras scored on their next possession and converted a two-point play to lead 8-6 at the half.
Wilkinson County took the opening kickoff after the break and scored again for a 12-8 advantage, before Twiggs County responded right back on the ensuing possession with a score of its own.
“That’s just mental toughness, and that’s what we try to preach to them,” Harden said. “When you’re playing good teams, they’re going to answer, but you have to answer their answer, and we were really able to do that.”
Calvin Stephens gave the Cobras some breathing room with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Robert Cornelius early in the fourth quarter, but the two-point try failed, and the score remained a one-score game at 20-12.
After a snap on a punt sailed out of the end zone for a safety, Wilkinson County had one final chance to pull out the victory, but Grable was sacked for the fifth time in the contest, and the Warriors had to punt.
Twiggs County ran out the clock, aided by a first down on an offsides call for a fourth-and-3 conversion near midfield.
“We knew they were pretty good in space, and if we gave (Stephens) time that, he could hurt us,” Harden said. “We wanted to get pressure on him. We’ve got a really good guy in Calvin Jenkins that comes off the edge for us, and he’s like a little gnat. He aggravates everybody.”