The Appling County Pirate football team traveled to LaGrange this past Friday night and defeated the Callaway High School Cavaliers, 44-21, in the quarterfinals of the AA State Playoffs. The Pirates will now move to the semifinals and face the Thomson High School Bulldogs. This will be the first time the Pirates have ever hosted a semifinal game in Baxley, and only the fourth time the football team has played in the state semifinals (2022, 2021, 2011 and 1999).
The four teams remaining in the 2022 AA State Playoffs are Appling, Thomson, Fitzgerald and Fellowship Christian of Roswell. Neighboring Pierce County (the only other Region 3AA team remaining) was defeated by Fellowship Christian this past Friday night 40-22.
Thomson won Region 4AA, had a season record of 9-1 and a region record of 7-0. The Bulldogs only loss on the season was against Burke County way back on August 19, the first game of the year. Thomson has defeated Tattnall County, Cook County and South Atlanta in the playoffs. The Bulldogs defeated South Atlanta 56-38 this past Friday night.
Appling and Thomson faced each other in last year’s AAA State Playoffs in the quarterfinals. The Pirates were able to win that matchup 21-7.
This is going to be a great game between two of the best teams in all of AA. The Baxley News-Banner encourages all Pirate fans to pack Jimmy Swain Stadium this upcoming Friday night and help cheer on the Pirates to another victory.
The Pirates struck first against the Cavaliers when QB Dayson Griffis connected with receiver Camden Hickox for an 18-yard passing touchdown. Kicker Alan Ramirez added the PAT and Appling had the lead 7-0 at the 6:28 mark in the first quarter.
Callaway came roaring back on their next offensive possession and scored on a pass play. The score was tied at 7-7 at the 4:26 mark in the first.
Pirate runner Jaylen Johnson was next to get in on the scoring action when he darted nine yards for another Pirate TD. The PAT was no good, and the score was 13-7 with 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
After fumbles by both teams, Callaway was able to score again early in the second quarter. Their PAT was good, and the score was 14-13.
With just 36 seconds remaining in the first half, Alan Ramirez kicked a 35-yard field goal, and the Pirates had the lead going into the halftime break, 16-14.
In the second half, Jaylen Johnson returned a punt 67 yards for an Appling TD. Pirates 23, Callaway 14, with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter.
Following another great offensive drive by the Pirates, Jaylen Johnson scored from four yards out. Dayson Griffis and Camden Hickox connected again for another long pass play during the drive. The PAT was good, and the score was 30-14 with 4:15 left in the third quarter.
At the 6:21 mark in the fourth quarter, the Pirates scored again on a nine-yard run by Jaylen Johnson. That made the score, with the Ramirez PAT, 37-14.
On the ensuing kickoff Callaway fumbled giving the Pirates great field position again. Jamarion Williams punched it in for the Pirates, this time from 22 yards out. The score was 44-14.
Following some questionable calls by the officiating crew, Callaway was able to find the end zone one more time before the end of the game making the final score 44-21.
First downs – ACHS 20, CHS 10
Rushing – ACHS 39/213, CHS 19/31
Passing – ACHS 16/10/226, CHS 17/7/254
Total offense – ACHS 439, CHS 285
Penalties – ACHS 11/104, CHS 8/69
Time of possession – ACHS 30:06, CHS 17:54
Passing – Dayson Griffis completed 10 passes on 16 attempts for 226 yards and 1 touchdown.
Receiving – Camden Hickox had 4 receptions for 113 yards and 1 touchdown, Kellen Echols had 2 receptions for 65 yards, Nehemiah Howard had 2 receptions for 43 yards, and Dawson Griffis had 1 reception for 5 yards.
Rushing – Jaylen Johnson had 18 rushes for 87 yards and 3 touchdowns, Jamarion Williams had 11 rushes for 111 yards and 1 touchdown, Trent Griner had 3 rushes for 11 yards and Nehemiah Howard had 1 rush for 8 yards.
Defense – Sherman Clay had 5 tackles and 1 sack, William Solomon and Tre’Shawn Moore had 5 tackles each, Cameron Mobley, Mikel Crayton and Michael Moye had 3 tackles each, and Dawson Griffis, Ja’Kari Kinsey and Nehemiah Howard had 2 tackles each.
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