2011-11-10 / Sports

Tigers to face Prince Avenue in first round of state playoffs

T.J. MICKENS SCORED FOUR TOUCHDOWNS AT TWIGGS COUNTY LAST WEEK He will help lead the Tigers into the state playoffs against Prince Avenue Christian Friday night. 
Photo by MERCER HARRIS T.J. MICKENS SCORED FOUR TOUCHDOWNS AT TWIGGS COUNTY LAST WEEK He will help lead the Tigers into the state playoffs against Prince Avenue Christian Friday night. Photo by MERCER HARRIS The season is over, let the new season begin. By beating the winless Twiggs County Cobras 60-0 last week, the Washington-Wilkes Tigers finished even-money for the regular season at 5-5, a small step up from the 4-6 finish in 2010. The “new” 2011 season begins this Friday night when W-W will travel to Prince Avenue Christian for the first round of the Class A state playoffs.

The Wolverines, currently ranked at No. 9 in the state, are undefeated in 2011 and will be at least the sixth Top Ten team the Tigers have faced this year. However, Prince Avenue’s schedule included no Top Ten teams at all this year. They did have one opponent in common with W-W, Commerce, whom they beat 35- 13.

At Twiggs last Friday, the Tigers were expectedly dominant and cruised through the game with no trouble whatsoever. In impressive crowd of faithful W-W fans accompanied the team on its longest road trip of the year and new Head Coach Robby Robinson was properly impressed. “I was shocked. I shouldn’t have been but I was – and it was nice,” he said of his team’s support from the stands.

“ We accomplished what we needed to,” Robinson commented. “We went over there and took care of business in a hurry. We didn’t mess around,” he explained. “We threw only three passes all night long. We pretty much staying in our two-back offense because we wanted to get better at it.”

An added bonus of the runaway game was that everybody got to play. Robinson also reported that there were no injuries suffered in the game.

“We won and got ourselves in the playoffs,” he said, “so it was a very good night.”

It was especially “a very good night” for a total of nine Tigers who added point to the board through touchdowns and extra points. Leading the touchdown count was steady senior T.J. Mickens who crossed the goal line four times during the game. He racked up a total of 137 yards on just 11 carries. Other Tigers with touchdowns to their credit included Tomarcus Young, D.J. King, A.J. Meyers, Buck Robinson, and Deotre Milton. Jalen Turner contributed a two-point conversion, Jordan Hall kicked three PATs and William George contributed another one.

Prince Avenue is 10-0 and that never comes easy for a team but according to Robinson, the Wolverines at “a good, solid, well-executionedtype team.” He did point out that to be 10-0 also usually involves a lot of luck.

“They are region champs and they do a good job of executing. They are very disciplined,” he analyzed, continuing, “We are the No. 4 seed and the underdog but I do like our matchup. We are 0-2 against private schools this year and I’m hoping that will add to our fuel this week.”

That fuel, he indicated, will also include anything he, the other coaches, the school, and community can come up with to keep spirits up and make the coming game a big deal. “We want to keep it special,” he said.

It would be special because Washington-Wilkes hasn’t won a post-season game since 2006 when the team went to the third round in Class AA. “We need to set all our sights on winning a playoff game because it has been since 2006 since that has been done here and we’ve got to get that monkey off our back,” Robinson said.

“The playoffs is an exciting time and I want our players to be excited along with our coaches and our fans,” he continued. “Winning a playoff game this year would be a big step in the right direction. In the playoffs, if you lose your season’s over but win or lose, I think we have made some steps in the right direction. To win a playoff game, I think, would be another huge step.”

Not only that, but a win would put Washington-Wilkes ahead in the wins column for the first time this year.

“We have to execute,” Robinson emphasized. “We can’t break down against teams that execute very well. We have to take advantage of the matchups where we feel we have the upper hand.”

He explained that the Wolverines run a Wing-T offense so the Tiger defense is going to have to play solid assignment football to keep Prince Avenue’s offense off the field.

On the other side of the ball, PA’s defensive coordinator is a former defensive coordinator for the University of Georgia and the Air Force Academy. Richard Bell is “the mad scientist behind what they do,” Robinson said. “They do a lot of moving and stunting and blitzing, and that presents some problems,” he added. “They have been quite successful and they have a great scheme.”

Overall, Robinson indicated, Prince Avenue is one of the most disciplined teams the Tigers have faced this year. “They always step with the right foot, they always line up in the right gap,” he said. “They might get beat by personnel but they’re not going to get beat because they weren’t in the right spot.”

The Tigers still haven’t scored back-to-back wins since the middle of September and if they’re going to do that again in 2011, this week has to be it.

“Our morale better be up but you know, when you’re one of those 32 teams in the playoffs, that’s a special thing,” Robinson said, “especially considering there are over 100 Class A teams that play football.”

Tigers vs.Twiggs Co.

First Downs 8 8
First Downs Rushing 8 7
Yards Rushing 337 63
Yards Passing 32 44
Passes 2-3-0 4-13-1
Total Yards 369 107
Punts/avg. 0/00.0 3/25.6
No. Penalties 3 7
Yds. Penalized 25 55
Fumbles/lost 1/0 2/2

Score by quarters
Tigers 15 25 14 6 - 60
Twiggs 0000-0

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