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Homecoming is here again for the gridiron Gamecocks

Thomas Walter Josey’s Eagles will come to Kelly Memorial Stadium Friday night in what is the annual Homecoming game for the unbeaten and third-ranked Screven County Gamecocks of Coach Ron Duncan.

A win in this game for the Roosters and they will realistically sew up a home-field state playoff game for Nov. 10.

It is the week of Homecoming and I, for decades, have heard coaches bemoan the distractions of the activities this week presents. I will qualify that statement to say that I have never heard Duncan do such. The reality of this week is simple, you cannot make Josey scary.

Sometimes I may go overboard on my assessment of our upcoming opponent. I have to make things seem interesting don’t I? 

No way to do that this week. 

Josey comes to town at 1-6 with an Aug. 24 win of 35-18 over still winless Groves. The Rebels have scored 24 total points in their six losses since Josey. The Eagles have lost their last three games by giving up 121 total points to three teams we shut out.

What can I say?

Since we are on the subject of Homecoming, let me throw out a little history that I have probably thrown out before. 

According to the Sylvania Telephone published the week of Nov. 21, 1952, the game with Millen that week was the first Homecoming game. Jackie Parker, secretary of the S Club (that was the Letterman’s Club) sent letters to five years worth of alumni and invited them to come to the game.

Parker also requested that the people of Sylvania create lawn displays with the club awarding cash prizes to the best. Mothers of the team were recognized. A college atmosphere was the goal. SCHS won the game 39-0 and went on to win the Region 2B championship in a 6-0 win over Glennville in a game played in Statesboro.

There is your history lesson again. The test will be in a few more years.

No surprises about the three games from 4AA last week, though the score of one certainly was. It was the Gamecocks 49-0 over Westside; not a surprising score. It was Harlem 36-8 over Josey; also not a surprising score. Finally, and a surprising score, it was Jefferson County over Butler 62-30. The Jeffco fans, usually the most talkative on the new gasportsforum were totally silent on Saturday and Sunday morning as to how the Bulldogs managed 30 points.

Anyway, Harlem, who already owns a tiebreaker win over Glenn Hills, really solidified their hold on third place. Both Jeffco and SCHS sewed up playoff spots Friday.

At 5-0 (SCHS is just 4-0), the Warriors have actually already sewn up no worse than second place. A win by the Gamecocks this week definitively makes the Nov. 3 matchup for the region title.

This week Josey (1-6, 0-4) is at SCHS (6-0, 4-0); Butler (2-5, 1-3) is at Laney (1-6, 1-3); and Glenn Hills (4-3, 2-2) is at Westside (1-6, 1-3). The Spartans can really put themselves in the driver’s seat for fourth at The Battlefield. 

Jeffco and Harlem are open.

Sometimes your exact memories blur as you get older. Apparently, my memories of softball are blurry. 

When the Lady Gamecocks swept East Laurens last week I knew that we had not won a home state playoff series in a while. What I did not realize is just how long it had been. I had to go all the way back to 2009, the first year the GHSA moved to this format in fast pitch, to find a home series win for SCHS. 

That year we swept Tattnall County and Putnam County before heading to Columbus. So last week was just our third-ever home series win with the other two being eight years ago. That floored me.

From 2002-2008, the top four teams from regions 1-4 went to a tournament in Savannah to narrow the field down to four teams and the same thing happened in the north for regions 5-8. The eight surviving teams went to Columbus. The trips to Muscogee County in both 2006 and 2007 were attained that way.

Since 2009 we have won just two playoff series other than last week’s. We won in Adel in 2010 over Cook County and in Knoxville over Crawford County in 2015. The fact that the 2010 team was on the road in either the first or second round is a crime for which an umpire has never been indicted. That one will never go away.

Still wondering about the Jeffco-Butler game? Butler actually pulled within 27-24 with 6:35 left in the third quarter and it was still only 41-30 Warriors’ way into the fourth quarter. The Warriors may have turned the ball over five times, but Butler had nearly 200 yards of offense.

Consider this -- the Dawgs had negative 2 total yards on our Dirty Birds. Only one of those turnovers was a score. Does that matter for Nov. 3? No!

Want some more of the useless but fun stats that I love to include? 

After last week’s games, the Gamecocks still led all of AA in margin of victory at 40.5 per game. Rabun is second at 40.0. The Dirty Birds have the stingiest defense in AA at 5.5 per game. Brooks is second at 5.83. 

SCHS has allowed 33 points in six games, while Brooks has allowed 35 in their six. Both will play just nine regular season games. Brooks got caught in an interesting situation. One of their region opponents from a season ago, Albany High School, was closed down by the Dougherty County Board of Education.

Wonder what happened to Bluffton and Wade Hampton? Well Hampton (4-4, 2-0) is in the driver’s seat for the VIII AAA title after a 35-25 win over Bluffton (5-3, 2-1) last week.

There is more to throw out but this is already long. 

With no comment, GSU is now 0-5 and they go to 0-6 Massachusetts Saturday. Interesting. UMass fell to Tennessee 17-13 two weeks ago. 

The U.S. men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the next World Cup last week with a 2-1 loss to 99th ranked Trinidad and Tobago with its population of 1.3 million.

Georgia alone has 10 million people. Apply the “Tony Kornheiser population theory” to that one. That theory is the country with the larger population should have more players to choose from, and therefore be better than a team with a smaller population. 

See you at Homecoming.