Tifton Gazette

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November 7, 2013

Tift County faces Brunswick in season finale

TIFTON — When the lights dim on Brodie Field late tonight, it will be the end of the football season for both the Tift County Blue Devils and Brunswick Pirates. Neither will be going to the postseason, but it will be a guaranteed dogfight.

"We'll give it everything we've got," said Devils coach John Reid.

With a win, his squad will finish 5-5, It would be their best finish since 2010, also a 5-5 year. They have already doubled their win total from a year before. Brunswick is aiming for its third straight 4-6 finish.

This will be the first trip to Tifton for the Pirates. Brunswick had played in the state's largest classification through the 1990s, but several changes have occurred since then. They initially moved up when the classes expanded to five (now six), but went down to Class AAAA.

The other change has been to their old region. For years, Savannah schools played up, giving Brunswick and Camden ample opponents to stay in a region on the east coast. Recently, though, those schools have moved down and the last round of reclassification put Camden and Brunswick with Tift.

With Brunswick will quarterback Cory Dixon, a dual threat. He is second in the region in rushing, with 826 yards for seven scores and third in passing with 978. The yards through the air have only translated to three touchdowns, however, and nine interceptions.

Such big yardage numbers have also meant that he has the leading receiver in 1-AAAAAA, A.J. Jackson, who is just shy of 600 yards.

The Blue Devils have not been shabby on offense. Ladarius Stewart is fourth in rushing, with Wedgeworth sixth. Wedgeworth is also just behind Dixon in passing yards, with twice the touchdown total.

It has been a season of close contests. With the exception of the game against Lowndes, Tift has led in every one, though the only region win has come against Coffee. That is also the only team the Bucs have defeated in region play.

Of Dixon, Reid said "he's one of the best in the region." The team's overall record does not deceiver him. "They're good enough to win a lot of games."

That almost included Camden County. Brunswick led until late in the fourth quarter, but ultimately lost, 18-12.

Tift finally had an off week after nine consecutive games. The season's toll obviously took its grind as the coach admitted that "one more week and we'd have been worn out." He's hoping that next year's schedule is a little kinder in that department.

Several Blue Devils will be playing their last snaps. They include stars on both sides of the line.

Reid said he will miss all of them. "It will be interesting to see where they'll be be in a year from now."

Ike Powell has committed to Vanderbilt as a long snapper. Reid said that they have been working to make others as visible as possible to college teams.

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