TIFTON — The Tift County Blue Devils are moving in the right direction, according to head coach Noel Dean.
“I like the way we’re coming together,” he said.
Dean said they will have to keep improving. A big challenge for that development comes tonight with the arrival of Dutchtown. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Brodie Field. The Devil Walk, with eighth grade football players participating with the varsity, begins at 6:30 p.m.
This will be the first ever meeting of the two schools. Dutchtown, located in Hampton, opened in 2004. The Bulldogs are led by Clifford Fedd, a former assistant at several area schools, including Berrien and Brooks County.
Fedd has been at Dutchtown since 2017 and has given them their most successful run. The Bulldogs were quarterfinalists in Class 5A in 2018 and 2019 and went 6-5 a season ago. They opened 2021 with a 28-10 victory over the Lanier Longhorns
Dean said Dutchtown’s most dangerous weapon is “an extremely athletic quarterback.” Highlight videos show Jacob Cockrell to be incredibly nimble under center, running as often as he throws. Cockrell ran for two touchdowns against Lanier.
Keeping contain on Cockrell will be extremely important, he said.
Lanier also possesses a speedster named Seneca Daniel, who torched Lanier for a score and was also fielding punts.
“They’re a downhill running team,” said Dean.
Defensively, he said the Bulldogs run a 42 and a cover 2. Dean said they were not big on the defensive line, but fast.
That will hopefully be an advantage for Tift, who moved around Westover with ease in their opening 41-0 victory. Dean thought much of his offensive line against the Patriots. He considers them the most improved unit from his arrival.
Quarterback Tyler Parker and Zach Carter ran for two touchdowns each against Westover. The defense forced three fumbles, with Jonta Strozier returning one for a touchdown.
Tift County’s parade of home games continues next week with Banneker. The Trojans (1-0) are set to play at Denmark tonight.