BY BRIAN HAMILTON, Sports Correspondent
Thursday night’s ‘Eight Mile War’ was one of the better recently, as Pickens County would not go away this year. The 20-13 Gordo win is the closest Pickens County has come to winning since the Tornadoes won 33-22 en route to a state championship.
“Hats off to Coach (Michael) Williams and his team,” Gordo head coach Ryan Lolley said. “That is the best team we’ve played all year. They have speed, size, strength, and a great scheme. He’s doing a great job with that football team. It came down to the very end and I’m proud of our quarterback (Tanner Bailey) and thought he made some big plays in the game. As a freshman, in a game like that, you can’t describe how big that is.”
Pickens County forced the Greenwave into a three-and-out on their first possession, but Gordo got on the board first, as Tanner Bailey found Deandrius Martin for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 6:32 remaining in the first quarter. Jaccaurian Washington ran in a touchdown from one yard out on the ensuing Pickens County drive to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:23 left in the first period.
Bailey hit Brantley Criswell in the second quarter for a 10-yard touchdown with 4:49 to go in the second quarter, but Dariun Doss’s extra point went wide right, with the Greenwave leading 13-7 at halftime. Alkwon Manning recorded two interceptions in the second quarter, including one in the end zone that stymied a Pickens County scoring drive.
The Tornadoes responded in the third quarter as Washington scored again, this time on a 3-yard run, once again tying the game at 13-13 with 7:04 left in the quarter. The teams would go into the fourth quarter knotted at 13-13.
Gordo would take a 20-13 lead in the fourth quarter when Bailey threw his third touchdown of the night on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ben Capps with 9:53 left in the game. Tadarien McIntosh intercepted Bailey with 7:24 left in the game, but would have to punt the ball back to the Greenwave. The Tornadoes recovered a fumble with 4:11 remaining and it looked as if that may be Pickens County’s final shot to tie the game or win.
Pickens County drove deep into Gordo territory late in the game but a sack, followed by an Aljaron Edwards interception when Cade Junkin jumped in front of a pass with under a minute left in the game, kept the Tornadoes out of the end zone.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.