The Rockmart Yellow Jackets have their next test up ahead, and they’ll be back home this week for the second round of the Class AA state playoffs facing a team they’ve never played before.
Rockmart took down Temple in a defensive struggle on a soggy field this past Friday to continue their latest run in the playoffs and look for better conditions and a larger home crowd when they face Brooks County this coming Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
The Jackets didn’t know yet whether Javin Whatley would be back on his feet following an injury that pulled him out of the win over Temple late in the first half, replaced by Paine Culver in the backfield who himself was nursing a hip pointer following the Senior Night win over Model.
If Rockmart is without their junior quarterback, Culver will likely get the ball under center this coming week against a Trojans defense that has given up a combined 264 points over the past 11 games of the season. They’ve improved, only giving up an average of 11.4 per game over their last five wins to cap the regular season and head into the playoffs.
Rockmart relied last week on their run game to pound out yards in wet conditions, and continue to load up the points against all comers. The Jackets put up 24 to make their total up to 358 on the season, and 32.5 points per game in the last 11 games.
The Jackets have the upper hand on offensive scoring, and several threats around the field to keep Brooks County off-balance, including a freshman runner who proved willing to pound out the yards in the fourth quarter in last week’s win over Temple.
Lanear McCrary proved a positive force for the Jackets as they pushed down the field late in the game to help setup a a final touchdown hot off the heels of Mehki Floyd.
Floyd, Keyshaun McCullough and Jojo Haynes all remain reliable and stalwart forces for Rockmart’s offense.
Brooks County is a new foe for the Yellow Jackets. They’re 7-4 this season heading into this game after a 42-14 win over Washington County in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
Their offense is headed up by junior quarterback Ni’tavion Burrus, who has put up more than 1,300 yards this year.
The Trojans started their season with a win over Mitchell County, then went on a three-game losing streak against Clinch County, Bainbridge and Dublin before recovering in wins over Thomas County Central and BEST before taking a loss to Thomasville, and then running through the rest of the year with wins over Early County, Fitzgerald and now Washington County.
They finished second at 3-1 in region play behind Thomasville just about as far southwest in Georgia as one can go. Brooks County is situated between Valdosta and Thomasville along the Florida state line.
The Trojans are traveling this Friday from Quitman more than 270 miles, or a more than 4 hour drive to play at Rockmart. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.