Tifton Gazette

Local Sports

September 9, 2013

Area teams hoping for good omens Friday

TIFTON — For the first week this season, all eight of the Tiftarea's football teams will be suiting up for action. The eight have picked the unluckiest day of lore, Friday the 13th. It remains to be seen if it will be a day of horror or one of happy campers.

One sign that would indicate bad luck is gone — Crystal Lake closed some time ago. The Irwin County Indians are further avoiding the issue by playing the East Laurens Falcons on the road.

While the Indians are away, there are a pair of area teams that may be specially tempting fate. Tift County's Blue Devils are playing a team coached by Jason (Tone), the Worth County Rams.

For the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes, it may work in their favor. Their Jason (Strickland) and crew will be hosting the Monroe Tornadoes.

A few schools will be believing that whatever the omen, this week will have to be better. Cook and Turner County lost their games while Fitzgerald and Irwin could not muster a win against the other, tying for the first time in over 35 years.

Most teams will be traveling this week, five games will be on the road. Worth, Cook and Fitzgerald have the only home games.

Tift County (2-0) at Worth County (1-1), 7:30 p.m. It has been an even series for the two. The Devils lead 11-10 and have split the last two games with the Rams. Before modern names, however, Tifton dominated, 21-1. The series was revived in 2010 after running from 1988-2005. Tift is 2-0 for the first time in two years, demolishing Houston County, 47-21, Friday. Worth was off last week after falling 36-29 to Cook. Last year, 33-0, Tift.

Tiftarea Academy (2-0) at Southwest Georgia Academy (2-1), 7:30 p.m. After a road trip two weeks ago to Albany, the Panthers go to Damascus this week. SGA holds the all-time advantage, 14-9, and has won the last three. In two games, Ryan Branch has equalled Tiftarea's win total for the past two years and it's their first 2-0 start in eight years. SGA edged Southland Academy last week 15-14. Last year, 27-14, SGA.

Monroe (1-1) at Fitzgerald (0-1-1), 7:30 p.m. The streak remains intact for Fitzgerald, barely. The 'Canes  tied Irwin, 20-20, but have not lost to them since 1999. That is also the last time they have gone this deep into a season without a win (0-3, on way to 4-6 season). Monroe comes off a 26-7 win over Wilcox County. Last year: Monroe, 35-28 in overtime.

Dougherty (0-2) at Cook (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Cook's magic over Region 1-AAAA was broken last Friday when Crisp County knocked them off in double overtime, 20-14. Previously the Hornets under Cofer were 10-0. The Trojans have gone 1-9 in each of the past two years and were blasted last week, 41-7. This will be only the second meeting of the two schools. Last year: Hornets, 42-14.

Turner County (0-2) at Calhoun County (1-1), 7:30 p.m. It has been a two-week period the Rebels would prefer to forget. A close loss to Crisp followed by a 49-0 defeat by Seminole County at home. Calhoun clipped Lanier County, 14-6, for their win. Turner has had good luck in this series, which dates back to 1972. They are 10-1 and have not lost to the Cougars since 1992. Last year: 40-12, Rebels.

Berrien (2-0) at Lanier County (1-2), 7:30 p.m. The Rebels are off to their best start since 2009. Both programs are going through a period of having four head coaches in four years. During that span Berrien is 1-2 but 4-3 overall in the series. The Rebels won on a last second 30-yard field goal by Luis Tyson over Brantley County. Lanier beat Atkinson County in week one, but have lost their last two. Last year, Berrien, 41-6.

Irwin County (1-0-1) at East Laurens (0-3), 7:30 p.m. The Indians had their first tie game since 1981 last Friday. This will be the fourth game between the schools and they lead, 2-1. The Falcons won the last one, a game that arguably jumpstarted the Indians, who won their next five. East Laurens, who was 6-5 last year, has had a rough season, including last week's 38-6 loss to Hancock Central. Last year, 21-13, East Laurens.

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