Emanuel County Institute at Wilcox County

1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW: Patriots at Bulldogs on Friday at 8 p.m.

There's something specific that opponents of Emanuel County Institute (14-0) have had a real problem dealing with all season long.

Now, Wilcox County (13-1) faces the same dilemna with the 1A state championship on the line: How do you stop Bulldogs tailback Washaun Ealey?

The junior tailback has run over, through, around and by each defense that ECI has faced this season and shows no signs of stopping. Just look at what he did in the semifinals last week.

The 6-foot, 190-pound standout, who entered the third round of the playoffs with a state-record 51 touchdowns, increased his impressive total to 55 and carried the Bulldogs on his back.

His 280 rushing yards rushing and scores from 3, 47, 57 and 80 yards out helped propel ECI past Clinch County and into the state title game for the first time since winning it all in 1923.

And Easley knows what it's going to take for the Bulldogs to end the 85-year drought.

"We have to stay focused," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the semifinals victory. "That's been the key for us all season."

Wilcox County, which will host the championship game in Cordele because of the large number of tickets sold, has the task of stopping Ealey after thumping Athens Academy 32-14 in the semifinals.

Last week was the first time the Patriots had played in the Georgia Dome and this week will mark the program's first appearance in the state title game.

Helping matters for Wilcox County against the potent offensive attack possessed by Ealey and the Bulldogs is an opportunistic defense that has allowed just nine points per game all season.

The offense, which is guided by star quarterback Lorenzo Dennard, holds its own, too. The Patriots average just over 36 points per game and last week Dennard passed for 256 yards against Athens Acedemy.

Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m.

GAVSV Top Stories