ATLANTA (WALB) - Day one of the GHSA high school football state championships came to a close Monday night.
The rematch between Irwin County and Brooks County certainly delivered and the emotions were high inside Center Parc Stadium for that game.
FINAL: Irwin County 27, Brooks County 19
And as long as these two teams stay in single-A public, there will be a new rivalry forming before our eyes.
Both teams came out strong in the opening drive of Monday’s game.
But Irwin County would prevail and they have a reserved spot waiting for them at the red light in Ocilla when they return home.
It was a beautiful night at Center Park Stadium as Brooks and Irwin met for a state title. Brooks finding fire first. Nitavion Burrus rolling and finding Willie Brown and with space, he makes magic happen. The shimmy and he scored. Brooks would take the early 7-0 lead. Later in the quarter, at 7-6, Irwin was on the move with 4th and 6. Cody Soliday found Garland Benyard inside the five would lead to a touchdown. To the second, Irwin struck again. Soliday looked deep downfield and found Gabriel Benyard, his third score of the half, the Indians go in front 20-7. But, back came the Trojans and the give to Omari Arnold. He looked bottled up but the junior broke free and was gone. The Trojans would trail 20-13 after one half and to the second, the Indians defense caught fire. Burrus floated one and Derrick Taylor picked him off. He took it back for six and Irwin would never trail in this one again.
“Look at this bracelet that I’ve got right here. I haven’t taken it off, I’ve worn it since last year. It hasn’t come off my wrist,” Casey Soliday, Irwin County head football coach, said of the late Buddy Nobles. “And he meant a lot, a lot of the character on this team comes from him and don’t think he ain’t on our mind while we’re doing this.”
“I love their fight,” Maurice Freeman, Brooks County head football coach, said. “We made some big mistakes that we should not have made and that’s what caused us the ball game. When you got kids that will fight like hell for you like that, you can’t be anything but proud of them. And not one day, not one time, not one instance did these young people embarrass Brooks County. I am so proud of them it’s ridiculous. It’s just sad that we had to come up on the short end of the sticks.”
Irwin County defended their state title and win back-to-back titles for the first time in program history.