Fayette County loses hard fought game to Central 20-14

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Defensive coordinator Dennis Bogumill fires up JaMarcus Williamson and the defense between drives. (Staff Photos by Christopher Dunn)

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Anthonie Powell racked up 100 yards and two scores.

Moral victories don’t count in the standings, but they can have a lasting effect. The Fayette County Tigers lost 20-14 to the Central (Carrollton) Lions Friday night, leaving with a brighter outlook for the stretch run.
Fayette can hang their hats on a promising performance against such a strong team in Central. The now 4-0 Lions averaged 31 points in their first three games while giving up only six a game en route to a top-10 ranking in class AAA.
The Tigers pushed them to the absolute limit. With a little more time on the clock, they would have stolen a win. Instead, they have a gameplan for success. There were tears in the eyes of the Tigers at the end of the night, but they were tears of pride from the coaches. They saw a group of young men become a team.
“I’m just proud of them,” said coach Mike Davis. “It’s a process. I’m praying that we stay healthy and, if we keep fighting like we fought tonight, we can have a shot.”
The gritty performance was symbolized perfectly by sophomore quarterback Makenzie Stills. Battling a leg injury, and with one of his top targets and backup Daveion Nash sidelined, Stills had no choice but to keep battling. Even as he hobbled and had to throw off one leg, he got better as the game wore on. He stood in and delivered big pass after big pass to keep his team in it.
Davis described the performance of Stills as all guts and heart. “With Daveion out, the next guy in line is a defensive end,” Davis said. “(Makenzie) kept saying, ‘Coach, I can do it.’ He couldn’t run, but he stepped up and made some good throws and led the team.”
Central scored on their first series with a rare big play, breaking free for a 64-yard touchdown run. Fayette’s defense was locked in all night, forcing three-and-outs on the majority of Central’s possessions. The Tigers showed their athleticism all over the defense, racing from sideline to sideline to shutdown the Lions. Safety Sean Harper was a wrecking crew, cutting across the field on countless plays and still somehow taking down backs in the backfield. If not for a questionable fumble late in the first half, the Tigers defense would have easily kept the game right within reach.
“Coach (Dennis) Bogumill does a great job with our guys,” Davis said of his defensive coordinator. “Central is a tough team to defend.”
The crucial call came late in the first half when Cory Andrews was stopped behind the line on a sweep by a Central linebacker. Andrews’ forward progress was stopped there, but the Lion proceeded to drive him several yards back and steal the ball away. Rather than blow the whistle to end the play, the officials questionably called it a turnover, setting the Lions up deep in Fayette territory. A 35-yard touchdown following the call gave Central a 14-0 lead heading into halftime.
Fayette did not sit and sulk over their bad fortune. Instead, they came out of halftime with a vengeance. Makenzie Stills dropped back and launched a bomb, hitting Anthonie Powell in stride for a 61-yard touchdown. James Hawkins’ extra point made it a 14-7 game early in the third quarter.
Jaylon Rhodes stole the ball right back with a fumble recovery, and the Tigers did not waste it. Stills attacked through the air, hitting Daylan Whipple for eight yards, but the possession looked stalled. Staring down fourth and eight, Stills calmly dropped back and found Powell streaking through the secondary on a post route for a 32-yard scoring toss.
Central responded with a scoring drive to pull back in front 20-14, Fayette blocking the extra point attempt, at the end of the third.
Fayette’s special teams joined the fun early in the fourth, Reginald Booker pouncing on a muffed punt. The offense stalled, but the defense returned the favor, Rhodes throwing the Central quarterback down for a huge loss on third down in the red zone to force a punt.
Stills marched the offense back down the field with precise short passes, moving the chains with throws to Whipple and Powell. He hit Malek Bowe for 11 yards on second and fifteen, but drops on third and fourth down ended the series at midfield.
Central promptly handed the ball back with a Malcolm Easterwood fumble recovery. A seven-yard pass to Wade Barlow was bookended by sacks as the Tigers offense would not be able to convert on their final possession, setting up the Lions to run out the clock.
Stills finished the night completing 12 of 27 passes for 176 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Anthonie Powell caught three passes for 100 yards and two scores.
Teras Hagans led the defense with 12 tackles and a forced fumble, followed by Sean Harper with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. Jaylen Rhodes tallied seven tackles, with Nathaniel Beamon, Tay Cody, Malcolm Easterwood, Trent Carrington, and James Hawkins each notching six.
The Tigers travel to play Cedartown this week.

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About

Christopher Dunn has been the sports editor for Fayette Newspapers since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Game Day magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.


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