SYLVESTER -- For the second season in a row the Worth County Rams must win their last game of the season in order to advance to the Class AAA state playoffs. And for the second consecutive year, the Rams' final opponent is Westover.
The Rams put themselves in a must-win situation following their 20-0 loss to the Dougherty High Trojans here last week.
"That was the first time we've played all season when we weren't in the lead or at least tied for the lead sometime during the game," said Worth County head coach Harold Brantley.
Turnovers plagued the Rams Friday as they gave the football away seven times in the form of four interceptions and three fumbles.
"You can't win when you turn the ball over that many times," said Brantley. "We actually had more first downs and had more time on the possession clock. We moved the ball up and down the field all night long, but we couldn't find a way to punch it in.
"I've been saying all along that we're not as bad as our record indicates."
For the season to continue past this week, Worth must get past a Patriot team that has had its share of troubles this season.
"Westover has played everyone close this season," said Brantley, who added that the Patriots have been bothered by injuries this season. "Their coach told me that they've had three knee surgeries this season."
Westover is 3-6 on the year and 1-3 in the region. Both the Patriots and Rams have wins over the Monroe Tornadoes, who have been eliminated from post-season play. Westover's other wins have come against Mitchell-Baker (21-20) and Albany (24-6).
"We've got to stop their running back and find a way to score ourselves," said Brantley. "It's that simple."
Worth started off the season with a pair of wins before running into the Tift County Blue Devils. The Rams fell to the Devils late when Tift was able to block a Worth punt and score the go-ahead touchdown.
"It seems like since the Tift game, with that blocked punt, it has been steady downhill for us," said Brantley. However, there have been a couple of bright spots as Worth defeated the Northeast Macon Raiders before beating Monroe. Struggles against Cairo, Crisp and Dougherty have left the Rams with their backs to the wall.
"If we don't win, we pack it up," said Brantley, "if we win we get number-four."
According to Brantley, Worth would then play either Thompson or South Effingham. Meanwhile Dougherty has locked up the number three-spot in Region 1-AAA while Cairo and Crisp will battle for number one.
Worth will be playing without the services of running back Darius Hawkins, who was injured in an automobile accident last week. Hawkins is recovering from a hip and back injury.
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