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November 19, 2012

Temperature cools as season heats

TIFTON — The mercury is dropping, but the stakes are getting hotter for three Tiftarea teams  as they seek to continue their seasons this Friday as the state playoffs roll on. The Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes see their second week of win or go home while the Class A dance kicks into gear Friday with the Irwin County Indians staying in Ocilla and the Turner County Rebels making a short road trip.

Fitzgerald (9-2) goes to The Reservation to battle the Vidalia Indians (11-0). The Canes survived a fierce attack by the Northeast, Macon, Raiders, 35-19, in their first round game and Vidalia made the Westside Patriots of Augusta think they were not very sweet with a 57-0 pounding.

The teams had a series against each other from 1936-1941 and played another pair of games in 1998 and 1999.

One more win gives Fitzgerald their ninth consecutive year of 10 or more wins.  The Indians aim for their first quarterfinal appearance since 2003. Last meeting: 14-7, Vidalia, in 1999.

Turner County (6-4) also will be riding the buses, as they make the short trip to Vienna to play the Dooly County Bobcats (8-2) at Bobcat Grove. With the new format of Class A state tournaments, divided into public and private schools and using power rankings to determine seedings, both schools were off last week. Turner’s last game, a 30-20 win over the Clinch County Panthers, allowed them to slip into the playoffs. Dooly demolished the Schley County Wildcats, 48-0.

The Rebels have the slight advantage in the series, 10-9, but have lost five of the last seven between them. Last meeting: 27-6, Dooly, in 2009.

Irwin County (7-3) gets the lone home game for Tiftarea schools, when Indian Field is lit up for their game against the Trion Bulldogs (8-2). The last game for each school saw them at nearly completely opposite ends of the state. Trion defeated the Whitefield Academy Wolfpack, 16-7, at home while 320 miles away, Irwin outlasted the Charlton County Indians, 55-34, in Folkston. Not surprisingly, the two have never met on the gridiron before.

Other state games involving area schools:

Charlton County (5-5) at Marion County (8-2)

McIntosh County Academy (9-2) at Brooks County (11-0)

Early County (8-3) at Screven County (10-1)

Mary Persons (9-2) at Cairo (9-2)

Thomas County Central (9-2) at Northside, Warner Robins (11-0)

Warner Robins (9-2) at Harris County (7-4)

East Coweta (5-6) at Camden County (10-1)

Colquitt County (8-3) at Newnan (9-2)

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