Jeff Davis High got a big win Friday night in Hazlehurst with a 35-14 Region 2-AA victory over Toombs County. The win keeps the Yellow Jackets, 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the region, in the hunt for a playoff spot. They travel to region-leading Swainsboro this Friday and then close out the regular season with Metter, in Hazlehurst, where the winner of that game may very well decide a playoff slot.
Swainsboro, 4-0 in the region and 6-2 overall, has sewn up a playoff position, with Jeff Davis, Toombs, Vidalia and Metter battling for the final three slots. Bacon County has an outside chance but, with a 1-3 record and a Nov. 2 visit by 7-1 Vidalia, the chance is a slim one.
Against Toombs, the Yellow Jackets scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. But the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away and trailed only 21-14 at intermission.
But the Jeff Davis defense stymied Toombs in the second half and the offense tacked on two more scores for the 35-14 win.
Jeff Davis received the opening kickoff and survived a scare as the kick was muffed and the Jackets barely recovered at their own 33. It took them five plays to cover the 67 yards. Emanuel Rumph started things with a 7-yd. run and Jashaun Kirby followed with runs of 2 and 16 yards. In the latter run, Kirby darted through a big hole and then carried Bulldog tacklers for the final 12 yards. Metts then hit Cade Walters for a 10-yd. pickup to the Toombs 32. On the next play, Tre Chandler went through a gaping hole, slipped a tackler and stiff-armed clear of a second tackler and raced into the end zone. Rici Rubio kicked the extra point to make it 7-0.
Toombs could pick up only three yards on their first possession and a dismal 4-yd. punt put the Jackets in prime field position, starting at the Toombs 26.
On a designed keeper, Metts picked up a couple and a late hit against a Bulldog moved the ball to the 11. Kirby scored four plays later on a 1-yd. plunge. Rubio kicked the P.A.T. to make it 14-0.
Following the kickoff, Toombs got its initial first down of the game with a 15-yd. run to the Toombs 44. But on the next play, James Wood burst through the line to nail a Bulldog runner for a 4-yd. loss. Following that, Chandler and nose guard Cody Ewing pressured the Dog quarterback into a bad throw, then Rumph broke up a pass and Toombs had to punt the ball away.
On Toombs’ next possession, they marched 58 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 5-yd. run. early in the second quarter.
The Jackets came right back taking the ensuing kickoff and marching to paydirt. The drive got off to a bad start as a penalty moved the ball back 10 yards to the JD 36. From there, Rumph got 4 and Kirby 5, making it 3rd-and-10 at the 45. Metts then spotted a wide open James Wood and hit him at the Toombs 40 and the sophomore tight end raced down the home sidelines all the way to the Bulldog 15 for a 40-yd. pickup. Kirby then got 3 and 4 yards, Metts picked up another and on 4th-and-2, Rumph carried the ball 8 yards for the score. Rubio made it 21-7.
Toombs responded quickly, going 70 yards in seven plays to get on the scoreboard again. The Bulldogs’ big plays were 32- and 36-yd. pass completions, the latter one good for the TD. The conversion cut the Jackets’ lead to 21-14.
Two plays after the kickoff, Metts was hit as he tried to pass and Toombs picked off the pass at the Bulldog 44. Toombs completed passes for 26 and 13 yards to get inside the JD 20 but time ran out on the first half clock.
On Toombs’ second possession of the third quarter, they made a threatening drive but came up empty. The Bulldogs moved the ball from their 38 to the Yellow Jacket 15 in 14 time-consuming plays. Once the ball reached the 15, Ewing took down a Dog runner for a yard loss and on 3rd-and-10 the Bulldog quarterback made a perfect throw to his receiver in the back of the end zone but Walters came up to knock the ball loose. On 4th-and-10 a run picked up only six yards and the Jackets took over on downs at the nine.
From there, Jeff Davis marched 91 yards in 10 plays to break the Bulldogs’ spirit.
They quickly got out of the hole as, on first down, Rumph got outside on the right side, cut off a block from Jaylen Grady and raced to the 26 for a 17-yd. run. Bradley Owens then picked up four as the third quarter came to an end.
On the first play of the final quarter, Chandler went up the middle for seven and a first down at the 37. A fumbled snap backed up the Jackets 2 yards but they quickly recovered. Chandler ran for seven and then took in a pass from Metts for 11 more to the Bulldog 47. A 15-yd. penalty added to a 7-yd. Austin Wood run put the ball at the 25. Chandler then got five, Austin Wood 10 and Chandler 10 more and the score. The scoring run was carved out by the offensive line as Chandler wasn’t touched. Rubio’s kick made it 28-14.
Four plays after the kickoff, Walters broke up a Bulldog pass, the ball was flipped into the air into the arms of Aahiyus Allen who returned the ball 17 yards to inside the Toombs 30. But three plays later the Jackets fumbled the ball back at the Bulldog 17.
After a pair of incomplete passes, Gerardo Villareal and Ewing sacked the Bulldog quarterback for an 11-yd. loss back to the 6. Going for it on 4th-and-21, Toombs’ pass was broken up by Walters and the Jackets took over at the Bulldog 6.
On the first play, Austin Wood outran everyone to the corner of the end zone for the score. Rubio’s P.A.T. kick made it 35-14.
Following the kickoff, Toombs kept the ball for seven plays, two of which were sacks by Roderick Lewis and Austin Wood. The final pass for the visitors was broken up by Nyjai Gillis and the Jackets took over. They then ran out the clock in four plays.
The Jacket offense picked up 338 yards for the evening and the 275 rushing yards were evenly distributed. Chandler ran eight times for 62 yards, Rumph had seven carries for 52 yards, Kirby picked up 48 yards on 14 carries, Austin Wood ran six time for 47 yards and Metts had six carries for 45 yards. Chandler had two TDs, and Kirby, Wood and Rumph one each.
Metts was 4-for-5 passing for 61 yards with James Wood having a 40 yard reception.
Defensively, the Jackets allowed 252 yards of offense — 140 rushing and 128 passing — with Austin Wood leading the tackling with 11 stops. Aahizus Allen had an interception.
With 61 yards passing and 45 rushing, Metts earned Offensive Player of the Week honors and Wood’s 11 tackles earned him Defensive Player of the Week. Jaylene Grady’s work along the line of scrimmage earned him Trench Player of the Week.
Score by quarters:
TCHS 0 14 0 0 -14
JDHS 14 7 0 14 -35