Friday Preview: Bulldogs seek strong finish in regular season finale
What a difference a week makes.
Once in a fight for a conference championship, Thomasville will now regroup and try to bounce back seven days after a 40-0 loss to North Rowan. The Bulldogs will conclude the regular season Friday at rival Lexington before a host of orange and blue at Philpott Stadium.
"We're going to have to play a heck of a lot better than last week," Thomasville assistant coach Dickie Cline said of his team's performance against the Cavaliers. "They were really good, and we didn't help the situation with our kicking games and things like that."
Playing from behind throughout, the Bulldogs lost their composure and showed the type of undisciplined play atypical of the team during a three-game winning streak. Bad snaps and fumbles in the punting game foiled plans Cline had for Thomasville (4-6, 3-1 Central Carolina 2-A) to hang around until the fourth quarter against its unbeaten opponent.
The Yellow Jackets (1-9, 1-3 CCC) are coming off a shutout loss of their own, as they dropped a 17-0 decision last Friday at East Davidson. Four different Golden Eagle defenders had interceptions in a game that saw Lexington come unglued. Thomasville will need to apply the same kind of pressure to get off to a quick start and take the upset-minded Yellow Jacket crowd out of the game.
If the favored visitors can gain an early advantage, it could be a long night for Lexington. Both teams average 14 points per game, so the first one to three touchdowns probably wins Friday.
A storied rivalry dates back nearly a century, with Thomasville leading the all-time series 41-36-2. Over that span of time, both schools have seen their fair share of successes and failures, but the record books -- and even playoff seeding, apparently -- means nothing when it comes to beating a cross-county foe.
As it stands, Thomasville is locked into the No. 2 seed in the CCC for playoff seeding, but Cline says the team should not lack for motivation to beat the Yellow Jackets.
"I sure hope they're looking forward to it," Cline said. "It's a great rivalry, and we need to play well. If we're going to make any kind of noise in the playoffs, we've got to start playing better football."
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.