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Defense shines as Warren County moves to next round of state playoffs

WARRENTON, Ga. - Warren County's Screaming Devils will be on the road this week for the third round of the state playoffs, traveling to Twin City to face the top ranked team in Class A in Georgia: the Emanuel County Institute Bulldogs.

"We're just glad to still be playing," Head Coach Lee Hutto said after his team's 28-7 win over the Jefferson Dragons last Friday night. "We made some mistakes against Jefferson and we've got to eliminate those kinds of things, if we want to continue winning in the playoffs."

Warren County's trip to ECI was decided by the flip of a coin Saturday morning. Coach Hutto joined ECI Head Coach Milan Turner in the parking lot of a Dollar General in Wrens for the flip, which was necessitated because both teams won their respective regions. Coach Hutto called tails, the coin came up heads, and the 10-2 Screaming Devils will have to beat ECI on the road to make it to the Georgia Dome.

Last year, the Screaming Devils season ended in third round on the road with a 42-15 loss at Clinch County. Coach Hutto said his team will be better prepared this time.

"We went down to Clinch County last year and had it handed to us," Coach Hutto recalled. "That's not going to happen this year in the third round. We're going to get after them. We're going to take it to them."

One key to the game will be the Screaming Devils' defense. The team will have to key on junior running back Washaun Ealey (5-11, 205), who eclipsed the Georgia prep all-time scoring record last Friday, managing to get into the end zone four times. Ealey has tallied 48 touchdowns this season.

If the defense can stop Ealey, it'll be up to Tommy Seals and the explosive Screaming Devil offense. Seals has 1,093 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground this year, while completing 44 of 93 passes for a total of 945 yards and eight touchdowns.

Warren County's trip to the third round of the playoffs took them through a team of Jefferson Dragons for the second time this season. And last Friday night, the result was the same: Warren County came out on top.

Bolstered by the team's best defensive effort of the year, the Screaming Devils blasted Jefferson's Dragons 28-7. Warren County held Jefferson to just 12 yards rushing and 135 yards passing, including a 46-yard touchdown strike. Earlier in the season when the same two teams met in Warrenton, Jefferson's Tyler Hill rushed for 212 yards in a 40-28 loss to Warren County.

"We knew going into the game that we were going to do some things different, defensively," said second year Warren County Head Coach Lee Hutto. "We were fortunate that what we did worked. It was a great effort by our defensive players."

The Screaming Devils wasted no time establishing their game plan, defensively. They set out to stop the Dragons any way they could and to take advantage of any mistakes.

It was a mistake that occurred on the Dragons' first drive of the game that actually led to Warren County's first of four touchdowns in the game. The mistake - a fumble - came with 10:09 to play in the first quarter. The ball was recovered by Warren County's Devon Walls at the Jefferson 16.

Just three plays later, the Screaming Devils capitalized on a 6-yard touchdown run by junior running back Kentrell Latimore. The extra point kick by Antonio Benton gave Warren County a quick 7-0 lead.

Jefferson was forced to punt on their next possession, which allowed the Screaming Devils to mount another scoring drive. It culminated on a 31-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Tommy Seals with 5:01 left in the opening quarter. Benton made it a 14-0 game with the extra point.

The Screaming Devils scored two more times - once in the second and again in the third quarters. Seals tallied his second touchdown of the game on a 37-yard run with 10:45 to play in the second quarter. The extra point was blocked. Devarrus Reynolds scored Warren County's last touchdown on a 59-yard run. It came with 5:27 left in third quarter action. Seals ran for the two-point conversion.

The leading rusher for the Screaming Devils was Latimore, who gained 129 yards on 21 carries. Devarrus Reynolds also surpassed the 100-yard barrier - garnering 101 yards. He also caught a pass for 10 yards.

Web posted on Thursday, November 29, 2007

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