Tifton Gazette

Local Sports

November 16, 2012

Strickland familiar with Northeast Macon

TIFTON — Even though he is now fully entrenched in his first year as the head football coach of the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes, Jason Strickland has several memories from his time as the head coach of Lamar County, the school he left to come to Fitzgerald.

One of those vivid memories comes in the form of the Northeast Macon Raiders. So when he sees the Raiders across the field from his Fitzgerald squad tonight in the first round of the state Class AA playoffs, he will know full well what his team is in for.

“They are very athletic, and very well coached,” said Strickland. “I know (Northeast) Coach (Bruce) Mullen well and he is an excellent coach.”

The Fitzgerald coach continued, “They are also a very disciplined team, they will make you beat them, because they won’t beat themselves.”

Northeast features a good mixture of run and pass.

Quarterback Davion Anderson has thrown for 1,473 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. His favorite target has been Drake White, who has caught 10 touchdown passes and has 794 yards receiving.

On the ground, the Raiders are led by Darius Jackson, who has run for 732 yards and nine scores.

Northeast has outscored their foes by an average of 28-10 this season. Their only two losses have come to the teams above them in the Region 4-AA standings, Lamar County, 36-0, and Bleckley County, 28-20.

The Bleckley game came last week, and with his own squad off, Strickland got to see the game in person.

“They throw the ball extremely well. We are going to have to be great tacklers in the open field, because they get a lot of yardage after the catch,” said Strickland.

The week off also worked well for the health of the Hurricanes.

“It was great to have an open week, we were able to get some guys healthy. We are in relatively good shape going into the game,” said Strickland.

The winner of the Fitzgerald-Northeast game will face the Vidalia-Westside Augusta winner in the second round.

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