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Bearcats host Yellow Jackets Friday

The Thomas County Central High School Yellow Jackets, the Bainbridge High School Bearcats final Region 1AAAA and regular-season opponent Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Field, nailed down the Region championship with a 27-18 Friday night victory over the Westside Macon Seminoles.

Central enters the game with an 8-1 overall record and 7-0 Region 1AAAA mark. The Bearcats are 6-2 overall and 4-3 in Region 1AAAA.

The Yellow Jackets, coached by Bill Shaver, who succeeded Bearcats head coach Ed Pilcher when he came to Bainbridge last season, run the same split-back veer offense the Bearcats run.

Consequently, the Bearcats and Yellow Jackets should be a mirror image of each other on offense Friday night. The Yellow Jackets edged the Bearcats 13-7 in overtime last season in Thomas County.

All season long, the Yellow Jackets offense has been led buy junior quarterback Eric Dodson. Against Westside Macon, Dodson ran two yards for a touchdown and passed for 98 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target when he drops back to throw is junior wide receiver Julius Reese, who has good speed and moves.

Friday night Dodson and Reese connected on a 67-yard, first-quarter touchdown throw. In the second quarter, Dodson threw to junior wide receiver Eric Hollis for 11 yards and a touchdown.

Central has a veteran offensive line with seniors Tyler Manning, Nick Glass, Matthew McDaniel and Brent Mathews.

A major strength for the Yellow Jackets all season has been their defense, which features an eight-man front and is led by senior defensive end Caleb Heard, who is second in the Region, allowing just 10 touchdowns through nine games.

The Yellow Jackets also has a strong secondary featuring junior defensive back Malcolm Franklin, who has four pass deflections and four interceptions, and senior free safety Rashard Cliett, who has three pass deflections and three interceptions.

The Yellow Jackets also have two excellent linebackers in junior outside linebackers Tom Eaton and Jamall Choice.