TCCH hands it to Marist once again

THOMASVILLE -- Don't look for Ed Pilcher to be on the Christmas shopping list of anyone from Marist High School. For the third time in a row, once in 1996, again in 1997, and finally this past weekend, Thomas County Central is in the state championship football game courtesy of Marist.

Friday nights game at the Dome proved to be an instant classic. On a day where overtimes were the norm, TCCHS and Marist used every last second to decide a winner.

In the end, the progress rule in Georgia forced the Jackets to go for two with under a minute to play.

Moses Cochran's two-point conversion sealed the deal as TCCHS won 35-34.

"Every game we've played with Marist has been great," says TCCHS Head Coach Ed Pilcher. "I'm not gonna take any weight from any game we play against Marist. It's another great ball game. I think it's just another classic Marist/Central hookup."

It was a hookup all right, a hookup that saw Jacket running back Moses Cochran find the end zone three times to go along with the game winning two-point conversion.

It was also the state wide coming out party of quarterback Eric Walden. Those in South Georgia know how good the Jacket Junior is, but on Friday night he showed the entire state what he was made of.

After severely spraining his ankle in the 1st quarter, Walden was able to return, only to re-injure the ankle later in the game. But this kid is a gamer, so much so, he limped around the field long enough to lead the Jackets on their game winning drive in overtime.

"I gutted it out," said Walden. "My coaches talked me through it. I did what I could."

Running back Moses Cochran added, "Everyone had to have a good game. We got here for the right reasons, and we did it."

So now it's on the road, again, for one of the best road teams in the state of Georgia.

TCCHS will meet up with Thomson and 70-year-old head coach Luther Welsh on Friday night. It'll be a battle of two teams with rich football tradition, but also a matchup of two legendary Georgia High School football coaches.

"It's great," said Pilcher. "I hope my kids enjoy it for a few hours. What a great game it was (Marist). But there are bigger things out there."

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