The game lived up to its billing and Vidalia lived up to its ranking. The No. 2 Indians held off No. 4 Benedictine and took over sole possession of first place in Region 2-AA with a 35-28 win.
Vidalia (7-0, 4-0) entered on a four-game shutout streak and its opportunistic defense played more than a passing role Friday night. The Indians forced three turnovers against one of the state’s most prolific offenses, including two in the second half that helped seal the win.
The first set up one of Devin Johnson’s three touchdowns and put Vidalia ahead, 28-21, late in the third quarter. The last one, Nate McBride’s interception, was arguably just as crucial, giving the Indians possession with a seven-point lead and less than four minutes remaining.
Vidalia ran for 316 yards on 60 carries, led by quarterback Jordan Black’s 93 yards on 18 carries. Black also completed 3 of 4 passes for 43 yards and hit Josh Eason for the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Johnson added 90 yards on 19 carries.
Vidalia hosts Bacon County (4-3, 3-1) next week, while Benedictine (5-2, 3-1) hosts Groves (5-2, 2-2).
Thomasville on top in 1-AA
Thanks to a 57-29 win by No. 7 Fitzgerald over No. 5 Brooks County, Thomasville now stands alone as the only unbeaten team in Region 1-AA. The Bulldogs, who defeated Fitzgerald last week and play Brooks County on Oct. 31, won 51-36 over Berrien on Friday to extend their winning streak to five games.
The 57-point output for Fitzgerald was the most scored by a Purple Hurricane team since 2009, and the most Brooks County has given up since 2003. It leaves Fitzgerald (6-1, 2-1) in second place and Brooks County (5-3, 3-1) in third due to the head-to-head tiebreaker, though Brooks County could still force a three-way tie with a win over Thomasville (5-3, 4-0). Third place in Region 1 will likely receive the unenviable draw of playing at Benedictine in the first round of the playoffs.
Rabun County takes lead in 8-AA
In a game that featured very few defensive stops, Rabun County moved into first place in Region 8-AA with a 45-31 win over Union County thanks to a goal line stand in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats (6-2, 4-0) turned back the Panthers (7-1, 3-1) at the 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter to preserve a seven-point lead. They followed with a 99-yard touchdown drive that provided the final margin.
Rabun County closes out the season with fellow playoff contenders Greene County (Friday) and Washington-Wilkes (Nov. 7). Two wins would guarantee the Wildcats their first region championship since 1998 and just the second in program history.
Other news, notes
– No. 10 Screven County is now alone atop Region 3-AA after knocking off Swainsboro, 28-22 on Friday night.
-No. 8 Lamar County and Macon County appear headed for a region title-deciding clash to close out the regular season on Nov. 7. Lamar County (5-1-1, 2-0) got four touchdowns from Juan Tucker to defeat Northeast-Macon, 34-17, on Friday, while Macon County (5-2, 2-0) scored an impressive 28-0 win over Bleckley County.