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September 19, 2013

Devils to face tough test at Thomas Co. Central

TIFTON — The Tift County Blue Devils have been off to the races in 2013. Mixing speed with a tight defense, they have jumped out to a 3-0 record. They will have a chance for their first 4-0 start since the semifinal year of 2006. First, they have to go through the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets. That game will be Friday at the Jackets Nest in Thomasville at 8 p.m.

Unlike last year when the Devils had to go to both Camden County and Brunswick, this will be their longest road trip in regards to mileage. Reid is at ease with the trip, as he said Thomasville really was not that far a journey, plus he said they have already got the bus ride down pat after their trip to Worth County.

He was quite pleased with how the Worth game worked out.

"I'll take it," he said. "We need more like it."

The Devils scored on their first five possessions and were able to rotate players all night as they dominated the Rams, 49-14.

That might be a taller order Friday.

Thomas County Central's program, ranked No. 7 in the state in the latest Associated Press poll, has always been a tough one, but one that really rose to prominence in the 1990s. Under Ed Pilcher, they captured five state titles during the decade and several players moved on to college careers.

Not much has changed since Pilcher's departure and its change to Bill Shaver. The Yellow Jackets are still winning and are still sending players on to bigger glory. Quarterback Adam Choice has a verbal agreement with Clemson.

Choice has gone for over 100 yards rushing in each of their games this season and accounted for seven touchdowns. Two have been passing, five were on the ground. He has had plenty of help, too, from Shaquille Coleman and Deondre Cooksey. Coleman has scored touchdowns in every game, including two against Thomasville. Cooksey has three scores.

Their opener against Thomasville ended 38-0, the most one-sided victory for the Jackets ever in the series. They fell to Valdosta by four in week two, but have defeated current Class AAAA No. 4 Marist and Cairo in consecutive weeks.

Tift County had the lead for most of last year's game. The Devils were up 14-7 until just 16 seconds left in the third quarter when Coleman's touchdown tied it up.

From there, Central scored three more touchdowns to put the game out of reach.

Their veer offense is what worries Reid, not just for what it does for them offensively, but also for what else it can do.

"It's a system that helps them defensively," he said, mentioning how it eats up minutes on the clock, allowing their other 11 to rest.

More than the Jackets' offense, though, he is worried about his own crew.

"We'll probably make it hard on ourselves," he said. They will also be without David Scott, who he said was out for a couple of weeks.

He was especially happy with Ryan Wedgeworth's performance against Worth County. "One of the best performances of the week," he said.

Wedgeworth had a career night passing, going for 285 yards and completing 12 of his 15 passes, including his first eight. He threw for three touchdowns Friday and has yet to throw a pick.

Worth did manage to do what no other team has done this year — keep Malik Henry from scoring on special teams — but they still saw plenty of him. Henry scored three times, twice on passes. He had five catches for 119 yards and two rushes for 58 more. He leads the team with eight touchdowns.

Tift returns home next week, opening their region schedule against the Coffee High Trojans. Robby Pruett's team has also started 3-0 and will host Mundy's Mill tonight.

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