FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: GMC routs Riverside; Trojans forced to fight longer than usual


GMC Prep – 46
Riverside Military – 12

GAINESVILLE – First-year Head Coach Bobby Rhoades picked up his first win at GMC following his team's resounding performance in the annual Military Bowl.

The Dawgs have now won the last three Military Bowls and improved to 13-17 in the all-time series, which dates back to 1911, four years after the rollout of the Ford Model T.

It was the first victory in the state of Georgia for Rhoades but not his first career victory as a head coach. Rhoades previously coached at two different high schools in Alabama. Rhoades' father – Ricky Rhoades – was a legendary football coach in the Yellowhammer State.

The Dawgs (1-4)  will have a bye next Friday before opening GHSA Region 5-A Division II play at home on Sept. 29 vs. Johnson County, which is currently the region bully. The Trojans went 13-1 last season, with the lone blemish coming in the semifinals of the state playoffs against Schley County.

John Milledge – 17
Frederica – 7

ST. SIMONS ISLAND Any night the Trojans don't win by at least three or four touchdowns, it's sort of surprising.

Such was the case on Friday, as JMA received its first semblance of resistance of the 2023 season against the home-standing Knights. The Trojans had won their first three games of the season by 40, 46 and 27 points, respectively.

The Trojans had a four-plus hour bus ride to the game, and for most of the night they played like a team with travel lag. JMA's first three possessions of the game went dropped pass on third down, missed field goal and interception. Senior standout Javian Butts finally broke the ice with 3:15 remaining in the second quarter, barrelling in from a yard out to give JMA a 7-0 lead. Later in the third quarter Kolt McMichael connected on a picture-perfect deep ball to sophomore Wyatt Echols, setting up JMA with a first-and-goal. Bud Veal punctuated the drive with a 3-yard TD run and the Trojans then converted on the two-point conversion, upping the lead to 15-0.

Following a JMA safety made the score 17-7, the Knights ran back a punt return for a touchdown with 53 seconds left in the game, as their fans and cheerleaders celebrated as if they'd just won the Super Bowl. The days, apparently, any touchdown scored against JMA is one worth cherishing for the other team and its fans.

With the victory, the Trojans extended their state-record winning streak to 54 games, and J.T. Wall's guys haven't lost a game in the last 1,750 days, dating back to the 2018 state championship game against Frederica, coincidentally.

On deck is a home game next Friday night on Log Cabin Road against Brookwood Academy, a team that the Trojans handled 56-19 last season. Region play begins at home on Oct. 13 vs. old Macon rival Stratford.

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