FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Dawgs fall in border war; JMA, Baldwin gearing up for huge games


GMC Prep – 0
Wilkinson Co. – 47

IRWINTON – The Dawgs couldn't quite find their rhythm on Friday night against their old rival to the south.

The Warriors (3-3, 2-0) had some serious speedsters, and the GMC defense had a hard time keeping up. The Dawgs' star player – Jesse Washington – wasn't 100 percent healthy and has been battling a nagging injury, which further limited GMC on Friday night.

GMC Prep first-year Head Coach Bobby Rhoades

The Dawgs had defeated the Wilco three times in a row prior to Friday night, which had the Warriors pretty fired up and ready to play. GMC, on the other hand, came out flat and could never find much momentum.

Despite the loss, GMC (1-6, 0-2) still has a real shot of making the state playoffs. GHSA Region 5-A Divsion II consists of six teams, and four will make the playoffs. Johnson and Wilco's spots look pretty safe. Twiggs County is completely hapless and has only scored three touchdowns all season, while Glasock County isn't exactly world-beaters. Hancock-Central will present a challenge for the Dawgs, which means that GMC and Glascock likely will be battling out for the fourth and final state playoff spot in the region.

Next Friday night, meanwhile, is shaping up to be a big one for our Milledgeville teams. John Milledge will host Stratford in the most anticipated regular-season game on Log Cabin Road in a long time. 

For most of John Milledge's reign of terror over GISA, Stratford, Tattnall and several other old rivals were playing in the GHSA. Whenever JMA would win a state title, naysayers would always say "yeah, but," as in "yeah, but what if JMA had to play Stratford and Tattnall and schools like that." Well, Stratford, Tattnall and "other schools like that" returned to the GISA in 2021. The Trojans promptly beat Stratford 21-7 and Tattnall 28-21, both games played in Macon. Now, this year, Stratford and Tattnall both must come to Milledgeville.

JMA and Stratford currently have one like opponent – Brookwood School. Statford took down Brookwood 45-26 in week 4, while the Trojans defeated Brookwood 62-28 two weeks ago.

The Trojans will be looking to run their state-record winning streak to 57 games.

Meanwhile, Baldwin travels to west Houston County to take on Perry in a pivotal GHSA Region 2-AAAA matchup. Perry, an afterthought for much of it football-playing existence, is in the midst of its best run in school history, beating Baldwin three straight years and winning the region title all three times, in the process. Included was a 35-0 shutout win last October here in Milledgeville...


Baldwin (4-2, 1-1), coming off a 34-0 loss last week to Spalding, would be all but eliminated from the region championship race with a loss next Friday night against Perry, currently undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the state.

The Braves haven't won a region title since 2018.

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