TIFTON -- The Tift County Blue Devils will be welcoming an old friend home tomorrow night.
But, after the welcome back before the game for Brooks County Trojan head coach Ryan Branch, the Devils will hope not to be as hospitable during the contest.
"I hope he wins every game, but one," Tift coach Tommy Seward said with a smile about Branch.
A former Tift County linebacker, Branch was coached by Seward during his career as a Blue Devil.
"He has done a good job down there. I have always thought a lot of him. He was a good player for us and he has become a good person," said Seward.
The Class AA Trojans will come to Tifton with a 1-1 record. Brooks opened the season with a 26-25 win over West Laurens. The Trojans then traveled to Homerville and was defeated by Clinch County, the No. 2 ranked team in Class A, 34-14.
"They have looked good on tape. We are expecting another close, hard-hitting game against them like we had against Irwin last week," said Seward.
The Tift coach said Brooks will appear very similar to the Devils.
"They run the same defense we do and Ryan has a lot to do with it, so I know they will be tough," said Seward. "Offensively, they are similar to us. They run some wing and the shotgun. They try everything to move the ball."
The Trojans have several players back from last year's team that went 8-3-1 and made the second round of the state Class AA playoffs.
Leading the way is quarterback/cornerback Micah Edwards, wide receiver/free safety Joseph Huewitt and lineman Ron Neloms.
Junior lineman Alex Wright is one of the biggest players at 235 pounds.
"We are expecting the best from all who play for us," Branch said about his team before the season.
The Irwin contest resulted in several bumps and bruises for the Devils.
"(Wide receiver) Lee Caquelard received a concussion and we are really banged up this week," said Seward. "Us and Irwin beat each other up in that game."
Caquelard and linebacker James Pitts are both listed as doubtful this week by the Tift coach. Pitts has missed time with a shoulder injury.
With Caquelard out, the Devils will have to rely on quarterback Donnell Cullins even more. The senior leads Region 1-AAAAA in passing, as he is 16-for-41 for 268 yards. He has also rushed for 95 yards on 24 carries.
Emanuel Nelson leads Tift in rushing with 117 yards on 30 carries. Israel Troupe is the leading receiver with six catches for 88 yards.
Defensively, Matthew Cushion has been one of the team's leaders all year.
"He had a really good game against Irwin," Seward said of Cushion.
"But, overall the defense has played really good for us," added Seward.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Brodie Field.
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REDDING [mdash] Charles Emory Parrish, age 79, passed away peacefully on October 1, 2020 with his daughter by his side. He was born in Florida and grew up in Tifton, Georgia to Lois and Tom Parrish. He joined the Navy in 1964. During his service he earned four medals and was deployed to Viet…