2012-11-22 / Sports

Tigers to face defending state champ; coach urges fans to make the trip


TEREZ NORMAN STOPS A RED DEVIL IN MIDAIR BEHIND THE LINE It was well into the game before Bowdon gained a single yard against the Terrific Tiger Defense. 
Photos by MERCER HARRIS TEREZ NORMAN STOPS A RED DEVIL IN MIDAIR BEHIND THE LINE It was well into the game before Bowdon gained a single yard against the Terrific Tiger Defense. Photos by MERCER HARRIS The big news right now is not that the Washington-Wilkes Tigers won a playoff game and set a new all-time record for points scored in a playoff game. It’s not even that they beat the fire out of the Bowdon Red Devils and sent them home with their forked tails between their legs.

The big news today, and right up until Friday night, is that the Tigers will be facing the biggest and baddest of all Georgia Class AA teams in round two of the state playoffs. The Calhoun Yellow Jackets have been No. 1 since last year and are on a two-year roll with a big head of steam.

Favored to repeat at AA state champions, the Yellow Jackets are certainly favored over the Tigers. Calhoun has beaten three AAAA teams this year (all of those are still in the playoffs) and has logged four shutouts against its region opponents. The Yellow Jackets boast an average score of 47-15.


TREYVON BOOKER MAKES THE CATCH IN THE END ZONE He had two receiving touchowns against Bowdon last Friday. TREYVON BOOKER MAKES THE CATCH IN THE END ZONE He had two receiving touchowns against Bowdon last Friday. (Sounds impressive, but consider that the Tigers average score this season is 41-8 – a very slight difference in point spread.)

W-W Head Coach Robby Robinson knows the woes his team is likely to face in Calhoun the day after Thanksgiving.

“We’re facing a team that is the defending AA state champs,” he began. “We’re facing a team that has won 26 straight games,” he continued. “We’re facing a school that has an enrollment of over 900 students,” he lamented.

But then the coach’s words showed the attitude and conviction that he wants his players, and the community, to catch.


TOMARKUS YOUNG TAKES FLIGHT OVER THE DEVIL QB Bowdon was stunned at its inability to move the ball on offense. TOMARKUS YOUNG TAKES FLIGHT OVER THE DEVIL QB Bowdon was stunned at its inability to move the ball on offense. “We’ve got to realize that we are Washington-Wilkes and when you’re Washington-Wilkes you’re supposed to go on playoff runs and compete for state championships. This is why we’re here at Washington-Wilkes and this is what Washington-Wilkes has always been about. We’re getting that mindset back and this is what we’re supposed to do.”

With that said, however, he does realize that playing against Calhoun will be a daunting endeavor. “It’s going to be a tough task,” he said, remembering that Calhoun High School has twice the enrollment of W-WCHS.

“I’ve always referred to this team as the Northwest Georgia All-Star team because they get kids from 6-8 counties that they recruit from,” he reported. “And we’re taking the Wilkes County All-Stars up there ... but you can play only 11 at a time and they put their pants on just like we put ours on.”

The Yellow Jackets’ quarterback, Taylor Lamb, is a legitimate Division One prospect with plans to attend and play for the University of Southern Alabama. He is the nephew of Head Coach Hal Lamb. Robinson reports that Calhoun has probably as many as 10 Division One prospects.

Offensively, the Yellow Jackets run a very balanced spread type offense much like the Tigers. On defense, the run primarily a 3-3 stack.

Just a little confidence seemed to creep back into Robinson’s comments as he said, “We have a whole lot more tradition than they do. They have recent tradition and they are a great football team. They have been ranked No. 1 all this season and until somebody knocks them off they’ll stay No. 1. But sooner or later they’re going to lose a football game.

“We know what we’re up against but it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be exciting.”

As important as anything else, the coach said he wanted to issue a “big urging to our crowd” to make the trip up there. “I know it’s a long way and it’s Thanksgiving holidays but we need to have a big turnout for these kids,” he said.

Last Friday’s round one 66-28 win over Bowdon was a game of records. Besides the most points scored in a playoff game, it was also quarterback Buck Robinson’s personal best game at 407 yards passing which eclipsed the 44-year-old record set by Washington Wildcat Dwight Stokes (333 yards) in 1968. Stokes still holds the season mark at 2,402 yards but Robinson is closing in and has a chance of passing that in Calhoun.

In all, against Bowdon, five Tigers scored a dozen points each and Jalen Turner scored six. Those scoring 12 points were running backs Jaquavious Blackburn (137 yards total) and Tomarkus Young (73), receivers Mark White (149) and Treyvon Booker (95), and kicker Jordan Hall who booted nine perfect PATs and a 22-yard field goal.

The Tigers’ overall play so pleased the coaches that they named the entire team Players of the Week rather than singling out the usual seven standouts.

The only drawbacks to the game were two back-to-back kickoffs returned for touchdowns by the Red Devils. One of Bowdon’s other two scores was on a fumble picked up when all the Tigers assumed the play was over. The other was a legitimate strike set up by a long pass play.

“Everybody contributed except the kickoff team,”Robinson said. “That was the only negative thing of the whole night. There were lots of positive things. We came out and we played hard from the get-go, and jumped on them. Our kids were ready to play – they really were.”

Reports had come in that others were saying Washington-Wilkes wasn’t a very physical team, so the Tigers’ game plan had been to be as physical as possible and wear Bowdon down because they had more players going both ways. “We thought we would just keep it close and then blow it open late in the game,” Robinson said. “We didn’t have an inkling that it was going to be 21-0 before we could blink. Our guys just came out charged up.”

The coach could hardly contain his pleasure over the win.

“I’ve got to get over it but I just can’t even express how proud I am of our team,” he said. “To go from five wins last year to 10 wins this year and winning a playoff game ... to go undefeated at home, that’s 6-0 at Tiger Stadium ... We have accomplished so many goals that we set for ourselves this year. To watch our guys accomplish our goals just makes me proud.”

He added that the players have worked extremely hard and have put a lot of work into this season. “The old adage says that hard work pays off – well, it’s paying dividends for them and their attitudes have been outstanding,” he said. “It just kind of makes me giggle and laugh,” he added.

Offensively, the Tigers had right at 600 yards of offense. Defensively, except for two plays, they pretty much shut Bowdon down. On special teams, “everything was good except the two kickoffs,” Robinson said.

“I was a little concerned for our defense because it was facing the Wing-T for the first time,” the coach remembered. “But our coaches did a good job of preparing our defense and the defense did their assignments, read their keys, and were in the right spots.”

Bowdon can vouch for that.

Tigers vs. Bowdon

W-W B
First Downs 10 6
First Downs Rushing 4 4
Yards Rushing 185 135
Yards Passing 407 75
Passes 13-17-0 2-9-0
Total Yards 592 210
Punts/avg. 1/25.0 5/29.8
No. Penalties 6 8
Yds. Penalized 50 73
Fumbles/lost 0/0 2/0
Score by quarters
Tigers 21 10 21 14 - 66
Bowdon 07210-28

Calhoun Yellow Jackets

so far this year

W Ridgeland (AAAA).... 42-35
W Dalton (AAAA)......... 56-41
W Carrollton (AAAA).... 46-35
W Dade County.............. 50-14
W Coosa........................... 35-0
W Pepperell.................... 45-13
W Murray County............ 69-0
W Armuchee..................... 53-0
W Model........................... 35-0
W Chatooga.................... 49-14
in the post-season
W Wesleyan.................... 42-10

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